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Thread: Explain This Chord

  1. #1
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    Default Explain This Chord

    Understand I'm just a beginner. Can anyone explain this to me. I keep seeing folks say on the A chord to play in 2nd fret the 2nd & 3rd strings (the middle two on G & D strings) leaving out the 1st & 4th strings? What am I missing, it sounds the same to me if I depress all four both A & E notes instead of just the 2nd and 3rd A & E notes. Hope this is not too dumb of a question

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    Registered User Bob Visentin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Explain This Chord

    I don't understand your question. See if this helps.
    The notes in an A Chord are A (root) C# (third note in A scale) and E (the fifth note in A scale). All major chords are made up of the first third and fifth notes of their scales. Any combination of these notes in any order will give you an A major chord. 2 2 0 0 (frets from low G string to high E string will give you A E A E . This will work as an A chord but lacks the third note.
    Try this instead. 2 2 4 5 . A E C# A.
    This is your 2 finger G chord 0 0 2 3 up a step. move this shape up 2 more frets 4 4 6 7 and you have a B One more fret and you have a C. 5 5 7 8

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    Phil Goodson Philphool's Avatar
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    Default Re: Explain This Chord

    After reading this a few times, I think I get what you're asking.

    To play the A chord, you can fret the G & D strings at the 2nd fret, producing the notes of A & E, the 1 & 5 of the chord. You play the A & E open strings also to make a fuller chord. You are not including a 3-note (C#) in this 'chord'.

    Your description of pressing just the "2nd and 3rd" strings comes from explaining that you can play the G & D strings by putting JUST ONE FINGERTIP on the middle 2 strings of the 4 strings of the G & D courses. The first and fourth of these strings may also sound out if your fingertip is big enough, but if your finger is small, the outside strings will be muted by the finger while the middle strings of those 4 will be enough to produce a usable A chord.

    I hope my description is accurate to your question and understandable.

    This is just the mechanics of pressing 2 courses with one finger.
    Phil

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    Registered User GrooverMcTube's Avatar
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    Default Re: Explain This Chord

    I'll take a stab at it:

    The notes in an A chord are:

    Root - A
    3rd - C#
    5th - E

    Playing the second fret on the G & D strings, the notes are A & E - both notes are in the A chord

    (The notes on the 2nd fret of the A & E strings are B & F# - both notes are not part of the A chord)

    Move those two notes to the 4th fret and you have a B chord
    Move those two notes to the 5th fret and you have a C chord
    Move those two notes to the 7th fret and you have a D chord

    However, if you play the 2nd fret notes on the D & A strings, you are playing E & B notes

    The notes in an E chord are:

    Root - E
    3rd - G#
    5th - B

    So you'd be playing an E chord

    Move those two notes to the 3rd fret and you have a F chord
    Move those two notes to the 5th fret and you have a G chord
    Move those two notes to the 7th fret and you have a A chord

    If you want to really go crazy, play the notes on the 2nd fret of the A & E strings - those would be the B and F#

    The notes in an B chord are:

    Root - B
    3rd - D#
    5th - F#

    So you'd be playing an B chord

    Move those two notes to the 3rd fret and you have a C chord
    Move those two notes to the 5th fret and you have a D chord
    Move those two notes to the 7th fret and you have a E chord

    It wasn't a dumb question, but was possibly a stupid answer. Someone please correct me if my information is incorrect.

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    Default Re: Explain This Chord

    Tks folks and I'm sure I explained it all wrong but maybe this is simpler to what I've seen taught in using index finger tip to play just the high octave of A note and low octave of E note when I could simply bar the complete A & E notes with index...does that make sense?

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    jbmando RIP HK Jim Broyles's Avatar
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    Default Re: Explain This Chord

    I believe your original question is predicated on splitting strings. By this I mean fretting only one of the G strings, for example. This is a special technique that some players use, but it is not easy to master. I have heard Jesse McReynolds and David Grisman do it, but it is not widely used.

    You also seem to be calling the individual strings by a number, starting with the lowest first: GG DD AA EE would be 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8, if I am following you correctly. This is incorrect. The individual strings in a course are both called the same number, starting with the highest string: GG DD AA EE would be called 4 3 2 1, in that order.

    When a note is described as ''second fret, second string,' it means to fret the A course (both strings) at the second fret. This is a B note.

    A simple A chord on a mandolin is 2200, meaning you fret the fourth course (both strings) at the second fret and the third course (both strings) at the second fret and leave both the second and first course (all four strings) open. This is not actually a full A chord, because the 3rd (C#) is missing.

    This should clear it up for you. I hope.
    "I thought I knew a lot about music. Then you start digging and the deeper you go, the more there is."~John Mellencamp

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    Default Re: Explain This Chord

    Tks I went around the world with that question. It was the string splitting that had me so confused as to why

  10. #8

    Default Re: Explain This Chord

    Quote Originally Posted by CBFrench View Post
    Tks folks and I'm sure I explained it all wrong but maybe this is simpler to what I've seen taught in using index finger tip to play just the high octave of A note and low octave of E note when I could simply bar the complete A & E notes with index...does that make sense?
    I use my index finger to play the 2nd fret A chord - and others up the neck. The tip of my finger is not big enough to cover all 4 strings (both courses) cleanly so I get the effect of muting the top G string and bottom D string...is that what you mean? I don’t barre like on a guitar because sometimes I’m using other fingers for other notes or for the A chord I might want the A and E courses to ring.
    Northfield F5M #268, AT02 #7

  11. #9
    Confused... or?
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    Default Re: Explain This Chord

    I may detect some additional confusion:

    Some folks, mainly beginners & the uninitiated (no slight intended; we've all been there), think of the "highest" string(s) as the pair closest to the ceiling which, for right-handers, are actually the lowest-pitch G-string course. Eventually, most realize that the "high / low string" term is best reserved for pitch, leaving the floor & ceiling out of it.

    Also realize that, as Jim Broyles detailed above, mandolinists casually refer to, for example, "the E string", when they really mean, and most understand, that they're referring to the E-pitched pair, or "course", of strings.

    So for most casual conversations, the "high string" are the 2 strings closest to the floor, and the "low string" are pair closest to the ceiling. Hey, it just works that way!

    In similar ilk, "up / down the neck" ALSO refers to pitch, with up being toward the bridge, and down being toward the nut & tuners.
    Last edited by EdHanrahan; Jul-04-2019 at 7:16pm.
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  13. #10
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    Default Re: Explain This Chord

    if someone is telling you to make an A chord by planting a finger between the G and D string, noting one of each pair and hoping the sides of your finger will kill the other two, my recommendation would be to ignore any and all advice by that individual.

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    Phil Goodson Philphool's Avatar
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    Default Re: Explain This Chord

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandoplumb View Post
    if someone is telling you to make an A chord by planting a finger between the G and D string, noting one of each pair and hoping the sides of your finger will kill the other two, my recommendation would be to ignore any and all advice by that individual.
    If the courses are close enough to each other and your fingertip is big enough, it works. Otherwise, not so much. (It's not so much "between' as 'on top of'.)
    Phil

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    Default Re: Explain This Chord

    I didn't say it wouldn't work, but of all possible ways to make an A chord why would one even suggest split strings to someone new to the mandolin. Yes it would work IF one was very precise, IF the strings were close enough, IF, IF, IF. So many less iffy ways to make the chord.

  16. #13
    Phil Goodson Philphool's Avatar
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    Default Re: Explain This Chord

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandoplumb View Post
    I didn't say it wouldn't work, but of all possible ways to make an A chord why would one even suggest split strings to someone new to the mandolin. Yes it would work IF one was very precise, IF the strings were close enough, IF, IF, IF. So many less iffy ways to make the chord.
    I doubt that anyone suggested 'split strings'. More likely just describing a way to play a one finger A chord.
    Phil

    “Sharps/Flats” “Accidentals”

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    jbmando RIP HK Jim Broyles's Avatar
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    Default Re: Explain This Chord

    I don't think splitting strings was suggested, but I do believe that the original poster misunderstood someone before (s)he posted the question and thought (s)he was supposed to split strings to play an A chord. (S)He thought (s)he had to play the second course on the G string and the first course on the D string at the second fret to get an A chord. How (s)he got this I don't know, because (s)he was naming the strings as the 2nd and 3rd strings, believing each individual string to be numbered, lowest to highest, and the second fret on the actual second and third (D and A) strings would not produce an A chord. They should have told him/her the 3rd and 4th strings, but that might have resulted in fretting only the D string at the second fret due to the way (s)he was numbering the strings. My post was to try to clear up the misconception of how the strings were numbered.
    "I thought I knew a lot about music. Then you start digging and the deeper you go, the more there is."~John Mellencamp

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    Default Re: Explain This Chord

    sorry I was so confusing, just mis-wrote, I do know 1E - 2A - 3D - 4G, may be an idiot at times but not totally stupid...4th & 3rd is that better?

  19. #16
    jbmando RIP HK Jim Broyles's Avatar
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    Default Re: Explain This Chord

    CB,

    I don't think you are stupid but weren't you asking about fretting only one of the G strings and one of the D strings in your original post? That's what I got out of it.

    In case you didn't know it, the way we use the string/fret numbers here at the cafe is left to right, low to high. Low and high refer to pitch, not location or orientation relative to the ceiling or floor. For example, the G chop chord would be diagrammed like so: 7523. 7th fret on the G, 5th fret on the D, 2nd fret on the A, 3rd fret on the E. It's the easiest way to diagram chords so we all know what we're talking about. If you already knew this, please disregard and excuse me. I do not assume you are ignorant in any way.
    "I thought I knew a lot about music. Then you start digging and the deeper you go, the more there is."~John Mellencamp

    "Theory only seems like rocket science when you don't know it. Once you understand it, it's more like plumbing!"~John McGann

    "IT'S T-R-E-M-O-L-O, dangit!!"~Me

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