Results 1 to 20 of 20

Thread: (in)definitive chord guides

  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2018
    Location
    Illinois
    Posts
    5

    Default (in)definitive chord guides

    I'm a newbie (Kentucky km-256) and am working my way through a couple practice books and getting acclimated to chords (I can read standard notation, but would also like to get more proficient with chords overall). One book I like introduces a few chords at a time, along with other information and exercises. I also have a few sheets and posters that show hundreds of chords on a page for quick reference. So, I figured i'd take the chords from the book and circle them on my chart or poster, so I can see them all at once. But the fingering in my main book does't always match the fingering on the charts. I understand they're different iterations of the same chords. But now I'm questioning whether the book is introducing me to chords in the best way. Any advice on the best guides, books, chartschoreds out there for introducing chords in sequential and sensible ways?

  2. #2

    Default Re: (in)definitive chord guides

    If you otherwise like the content of your book, it is probably safe to assume that the chords it presents go well with that content.
    Object to this post? Find out how to ignore me here!

  3. #3

    Default Re: (in)definitive chord guides

    For me, aside from the harmony and chord theory books I've used, by far my most efficient approach was learning inversions - 12 basic forms (maj/min/7/dim/aug) upon which you form the extensions. This opens the entire board, and is intuitive and logical both. A memorization approach I used was just playing through all the inversions throughout songs/tunes, experimenting with voicings, or just playing around. You could do it mathematically, or just improvise, or whatever.. if you want to improvise it's a good way of learning the fingerboard, chord melody, harmony..

  4. The following members say thank you to catmandu2 for this post:


  5. #4
    Registered User SincereCorgi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Bay Area, California
    Posts
    2,119

    Default Re: (in)definitive chord guides

    What books are you using? You can use different fingerings within shapes, the only rule is that it makes sense in context and works for your anatomy.

    In the early stages, I think it's good to learn the chords one by one for a while. Trying to learn all the inversions all over the fretboard is daunting for a beginner and requires a solid grasp of theory. When you do want to do a thorough tour of all the inversions, I think the Mike Marshall Homespun DVD on chords is the best material I ever encountered. He teaches chords as they're commonly used, whereas I think most of those huge posters present chords that are mathematically possible.

  6. The following members say thank you to SincereCorgi for this post:

    DougC 

  7. #5

    Default Re: (in)definitive chord guides

    Ah yes, I missed the newbie part - I think I confused it with other threads of folks coming over with lots of gtr experience

    Caveat: with understanding of theory, it's logical and intuitive. *One thing - this approach obviates the need for chord chart posters and paraphernalia as it's a functional approach, rather than relying on memorization.

    Quote Originally Posted by SincereCorgi View Post

    ...Trying to learn all the inversions all over the fretboard is daunting ...
    It's only 12 forms to memorize. MV
    Last edited by catmandu2; Sep-11-2018 at 3:40pm.

  8. #6
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2018
    Location
    Illinois
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: (in)definitive chord guides

    Thanks everyone. This has helped me focus. A few final notes, some in response to, or following up with, above comments and questions:
    1. I bought a used copy of Don Julin's Mandolin for Dummies. I'm not a book for dummies guy. But I've really appreciated its broad, yet thorough, introduction.
    2. I've also been very impressed with the amount of content available on line: sheet music, videos, exercises, advice, etc. Wow.
    3. I am not able to take lessons at the moment, but I realize I benefit from more structured approaches. Don's book is great. But I'm finding I'll probably need to go key by key, chord by chord, and practice and build and practice and build.
    4. Confession: I am a failed violin player. Too long of a story. But the violin is, for me, and imho, a relatively unforgiving instrument. I have found grace and hope in the mandolin (and an easy transition regarding notes, strings, music concepts, etc.). That said, I by no means intend to underestimate what it will take to excel on the mandolin.
    5. Final question: Marshall's DVDs were recommended. I see they can now be downloaded. But there are many of them. Which ones are best to start with for someone who has an above-average amount of music knowledge but needs skill development (and theory reinforcement)?

  9. #7
    Registered User bradlaird's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Americus, GA
    Posts
    202
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default Re: (in)definitive chord guides

    Hi Mandolinner! Since chords are pretty much always played in the context of KEYS I have organized a bunch of free mandolin chord charts based on the key you want to play them in. It's a "learn them in groups" concept... and that's how we use them in the real world. Have fun: http://www.bradleylaird.com/playthemandolin/chords.html

  10. The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to bradlaird For This Useful Post:


  11. #8
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Location
    Grand Rapids, MI
    Posts
    47

    Default Re: (in)definitive chord guides

    I have been working through Chad Manning's Mandolin & Fiddle Theory class on Peghead Nation (NFI) and after 30+ years of playing fiddle (including almost 10 years of formal instruction) and a dozen years playing a few other stringed instruments, it's the first time I actually understand *what* chords are made of and *why* a chord is a minor, or what the difference between a major 7th and a diminished 7th is. And because the theory class is designed for the mandolin, he teaches really simple fingering patterns for arpeggios and scales that had never occurred to me before, despite playing scales and arpeggios all the time. The lesson on barre chords and how to modify this one shape to make all the variations on a chord was amazing. I watched it 3 times. Definitely worth the time.

    I think Matt Flinner offers a similar course sometimes, too. (Also NFI).

    I think one of the most interesting things is that I now understand how chords are constructed, and so I can find different ways of making them without having to look at a chord chart.

  12. #9

    Default Re: (in)definitive chord guides

    Quote Originally Posted by mreidsma View Post
    ...

    I think one of the most interesting things is that I now understand how chords are constructed, and so I can find different ways of making them without having to look at a chord chart.
    Ya that's a bit of epiphany for many players - when suddenly the whole fingerboard is vividly and logically interconnected

    The tool to uncover THAT is most "sensible" approach (the strategy and concept to open that up, the technique to practice it, etc). Naturally it depends where you are, what you want, etc. Mileage varies.

  13. #10

    Default Re: (in)definitive chord guides

    Btw, i don't mean to sound to dis others' methods or approaches - everyone's diff! what I like was more for jazz - no doubt that more mndln/genre-specific material are as effective.

  14. #11
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2018
    Location
    Illinois
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: (in)definitive chord guides

    Thanks everyone. Brad: I've been feverishly bookmarking mandolin sites lately and I discovered yours was among sites I've already bookmarked! Thanks for all the work you've put into your website. It's a great resource. I really like your proposed routine and the way you've organized chords by key. I also am interested in the Peghead course on theory. I will be checking that out. I'm sold on getting the theory right and seeing that as the language that opens up one's understanding on how the mandolin and fifths work. Finally, I am very interested in sticking with standard notation--my comfort zone. But I think getting into chords, chord charts, etc., will help me develop a more well-rounded understanding and ability to improve my standard notation sight reading. You can't really play what you don't really know, right?

  15. #12

    Default Re: (in)definitive chord guides

    Quote Originally Posted by SincereCorgi View Post
    What books are you using? You can use different fingerings within shapes, the only rule is that it makes sense in context and works for your anatomy.

    In the early stages, I think it's good to learn the chords one by one for a while. Trying to learn all the inversions all over the fretboard is daunting for a beginner and requires a solid grasp of theory. When you do want to do a thorough tour of all the inversions, I think the Mike Marshall Homespun DVD on chords is the best material I ever encountered. He teaches chords as they're commonly used, whereas I think most of those huge posters present chords that are mathematically possible.
    I think you need about six inversions of the dominant seventh chord and some not so daunting theory to figure out most chords you would ever use. Whether it is worth the time investment or not depends on your repertoire. Most musical styles donít call for a huge variety of chords, so you can learn them on an as needed basis. For jazz, you will need a lot of chords and voicings, and the up front time to understand how it all works is worth the investment.
    Object to this post? Find out how to ignore me here!

  16. The following members say thank you to JonZ for this post:

    DougC 

  17. #13
    Registered User SincereCorgi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Bay Area, California
    Posts
    2,119

    Default Re: (in)definitive chord guides

    This (the second one) is the Marshall DVD that I think is very good for mandolin chords: Click image for larger version. 

Name:	jtzpdvyjhrckosqleoxv.jpg 
Views:	18 
Size:	50.7 KB 
ID:	171083

    It used to be about the price of a single mandolin lesson with an average teacher, and for me it was absolutely worth the money.

  18. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to SincereCorgi For This Useful Post:


  19. #14
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2017
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    71

    Default Re: (in)definitive chord guides

    Hi Mandolinner, here’s my advice—not as an expert, by any stretch, but as a beginner like you. I started learning mandolin almost a year ago. I’m also a long-failing fiddler (but I won’t concede defeat yet)! I’ve collected most of the books and DVDs that everyone has mentioned. They’re all great, and I’ve been learning from them all! We really are lucky to have so many terrific learning resources at hand. For learning chords in a systematic way, these are my two favorite resources:

    1. Frank Geiger’s FREE pdf guide of the fretboard and the wonderful repeating patterns to contains:
    http://www.calgaryuke.com/ukerichard...nstruments.pdf

    2. A book by Canadian fiddler & mandolin player Gordon Stobbe, called Mandolin Chordology: How to Create Every Chord You Will Ever Need. You can find this book and others at fiddlebooks.com. Stobbe focuses on the three 3-string inversions based around the simple open G-chord that we all learned first (0023)—or, more generally, the 4-string A-chord (2245). Of course, these three simple forms work everywhere on the fretboard. What I really like about this book is that he gives systematic exercises, and then tunes, to practice shifting between the main chord families (e.g., I, IV, V) in the keys named by each chord. He then shows you how to modify each of these three chord shapes to form the other “suffixed” members of their family (minor, Dom7, etc.). There are many books and chord charts that show you the same information, but I really appreciate how Stobbe guides you through it all step by step and gives you the exercise to systematically transfer all the “theory” into your left hand (He also includes, various rhythmic strumming patterns, so your right hand isn’t left out).

    I do have a few quibbles with Mandolin Chordology. He keeps all the chords on the bass side of the neck, and doesn’t even mention (at least, I haven’t found it yet), that you can move each shape over by one string to play the resulting chord a fifth above its neighboring bass-side shape. The book also doesn’t cover the standard bluegrass chop chords (the big G and A chords and their common 3-string C and D chord neighbors). So, even though the subtitle of the book may be true—“every chord you’ll ever need”—the book may not show you every chord you’ll ever WANT. But it will get you off to a very comprehensive start.

  20. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to wormpicker For This Useful Post:


  21. #15
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2018
    Location
    Illinois
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: (in)definitive chord guides

    This is great. Thanks. I'm eager to look into these resources!

  22. The following members say thank you to Mandolinner for this post:


  23. #16

    Default Re: (in)definitive chord guides

    I came across Jethro Burns' book and it was an eye opener for me to see that there were only 3 shapes you needed to play 3 voicings over every major chord.

    My advice would be to learn only 3 major chord shapes to begin with and to only play 3-fingered chords (muting the E-string).
    I would call the three different shapes:

    1. Root on top
    2. Root on middle
    3. Root on bottom
    (Here 'top' means on the G-string or the lowest note in the chord)

    Taking A major as an example we have:
    1. 2-2-4-x (Root on top - root is on G-string)
    2. 6-7-7-x (Root on middle - root is on D-string)
    3. 9-11-12-x (Root on bottom - root is on the A-string)

    These three chord shapes exist for every chord. Find any note on any of the top three strings. To play a major chord of whatever note your finger is on, use the "Root on top" shape for the G-string, "Root on middle" for D-string and "Root on bottom" for A-string. If you can find a note on any of the top three strings, you can play that major chord.

    Once you have these down you can easily flat the 3rd on all these shapes to learn every minor chord. You can build 7th and augmented from there as well. Common chord progressions fall exactly in the same relationship to one another regardless of the root key. If you start playing around with these shapes you will notice the open C-major and G-major are really the "5th on top" shape and can connect these shapes to form 4-finger chords.

    I hope this helps.

  24. The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to dadsaster For This Useful Post:


  25. #17
    The Amateur Mandolinist Mark Gunter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Sweetwater, Texas
    Posts
    3,191

    Default Re: (in)definitive chord guides

    G major (open, as you it) chord has root on top; C has 5th. That method you describe is a great method for starting IMO

    That open G is your shape #1 with E string G note included.
    Technique, theory and fun, fun, fun. I love playing, studying and sharing MUSIC.
    "Life is short. Play hard." - AlanN
    ------------------------
    HEY! The Cafe has Social Groups, check 'em out. I'm in these groups:
    Newbies Social Group | The Song-A-Week Social
    The Woodshed Study Group | Collings Mandolins | MandoCymru
    - Advice For Mandolin Beginners
    - YouTube Stuff

  26. The following members say thank you to Mark Gunter for this post:


  27. #18
    Registered User DougC's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Minneapolis, MN
    Posts
    1,288
    Blog Entries
    3

    Default Re: (in)definitive chord guides

    The only thing that bothers me are the terms used. I think of the e string as the 'top' because it is the highest pitch. So to me, it seems backwards. I'd have to write it and print it this way to 'convert the method'. (And I'd do it if it was not the end of a long day. Ha, ha.) Also I think Mandolin for Dummies borrows Jethro's method too.


    Quote Originally Posted by dadsaster View Post
    I came across Jethro Burns' book and it was an eye opener for me to see that there were only 3 shapes you needed to play 3 voicings over every major chord.

    My advice would be to learn only 3 major chord shapes to begin with and to only play 3-fingered chords (muting the E-string).
    I would call the three different shapes:

    1. Root on top
    2. Root on middle
    3. Root on bottom
    (Here 'top' means on the G-string or the lowest note in the chord)

    Taking A major as an example we have:
    1. 2-2-4-x (Root on top - root is on G-string)
    2. 6-7-7-x (Root on middle - root is on D-string)
    3. 9-11-12-x (Root on bottom - root is on the A-string)

    These three chord shapes exist for every chord. Find any note on any of the top three strings. To play a major chord of whatever note your finger is on, use the "Root on top" shape for the G-string, "Root on middle" for D-string and "Root on bottom" for A-string. If you can find a note on any of the top three strings, you can play that major chord.

    Once you have these down you can easily flat the 3rd on all these shapes to learn every minor chord. You can build 7th and augmented from there as well. Common chord progressions fall exactly in the same relationship to one another regardless of the root key. If you start playing around with these shapes you will notice the open C-major and G-major are really the "5th on top" shape and can connect these shapes to form 4-finger chords.

    I hope this helps.
    Decipit exemplar vitiis imitabile

  28. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to DougC For This Useful Post:


  29. #19

    Default Re: (in)definitive chord guides

    Quote Originally Posted by dadsaster View Post
    I came across Jethro Burns' book and it was an eye opener for me to see that there were only 3 shapes you needed to play 3 voicings over every major chord...
    Yep. 3 maj, 3 min, 4 7th, 1 dim, 1 aug = 12.

  30. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to catmandu2 For This Useful Post:


  31. #20
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2018
    Location
    Illinois
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: (in)definitive chord guides

    Just wanted to say thanks to everyone who's been posting. I feel like I hit the jackpot with great advice all around. You guys are awesome. Thanks again.

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •