Results 1 to 18 of 18

Thread: Amy Helm chord form

  1. #1
    Registered User Dave Hicks's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Northeastern Indiana
    Posts
    283

    Default Amy Helm chord form

    (I originally posted in a different forum, but this fits better here.)

    Does anybody else play the chord form that Amy is using in the photo? I assume she is in standard tuning, so that would be a C5.

    I saw her play a couple days ago, and saw her using this kind of chord. I tried it out - it's not very intuitive for me to hook my thumb over like that!

    Dave Hicks

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	amy.jpg 
Views:	206 
Size:	115.7 KB 
ID:	181129

  2. #2

    Default Re: Amy Helm chord form

    She is not being mic'd and there is a studio musician behind a curtain playing the real chord.....just a guess!.......

    Actually, there seems to be a whole school of hillbilly guitar players who hook the thumb over the neck and play bass notes that way.....on guitar imagine an F chord in the first position with the thumb on the big E playing the F note -- then if you maintain that position it sort of becomes a barre chord as you go up the neck...F, G, A, B.......but I think you have to start doing it when you are about 9 or 10 years old.......

    I've never seen it used on mandolin, FWIW, but probably the same idea....

  3. #3
    Registered User Tom C's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Warwick, NY
    Posts
    3,899

    Default Re: Amy Helm chord form

    Looks like a "C" Chord. She's playing 2 Cs and 2 Gs.

  4. #4
    Registered User mbruno's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    San Diego CA
    Posts
    348

    Default Re: Amy Helm chord form

    She's plugged in so she's playing. Looks like a C5 (low to high notes are C G C G).

    Overlaying the thumb for the G string isn't all that weird by itself - it's a technique many have used and still do typically get specific voicings that require that fingering. Depending on the melody being played and what chord comes before / after, it could make a lot of sense - like if G was the chord before and she just wanted to move the B note to C in order to build up. Or perhaps she just wants to have a more bass / percussive sound to the chord (I often play just the 1 5 of chords on the G and D strings and leave out the A and E strings to get a more percussive feel - especially when playing in a smaller group).

    It also could just be a weird voicing that works for her.
    www.mattcbruno.com
    www.thebigdecisionsband.com
    https://shakedownstringband.org

    Mando's in use
    Newson 2018
    Gibson F9 2014
    Jonathan Mann OEMsc 8
    Jonathan Mann OSEMdc 5
    Weber Gallatin Mandocello

  5. #5

    Default Re: Amy Helm chord form

    If she's playing two Cs and two Gs, that is a C "power chord" or C5. It is moveable, of course, and can be played with C major or C minor.

  6. #6
    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    11,984

    Default Re: Amy Helm chord form

    Hm. I use my thumb for 2-finger D and Dm chords in first position, but I never thought about doing this.

    I just played in the pit band for a stage musical and there were a lot of 5 chords in the mandolin part ... I don't typically use 5 chords and had a hard time fretting this form cleanly with 1st & 2nd or 1st & 3rd fingers. Perhaps I should have tried Amy's approach. Unless it was an A5 (2200) or G5 (0053) I usually took the Larry Rice approach and just played an open 5th or 4th on the G and D strings without trying very hard to fret the A and E.
    Emando.com: More than you wanted to know about electric mandolins.

    Notorious: My Celtic CD--listen & buy!

    Lyon & Healy Wood Thormahlen Andersen Bacorn Yanuziello Fender National Gibson Franke Fuchs Aceto Three Hungry Pit Bulls

  7. The following members say thank you to mrmando for this post:


  8. #7

    Default Re: Amy Helm chord form

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Mando View Post

    Actually, there seems to be a whole school of hillbilly guitar players who hook the thumb over the neck and play bass notes that way.......
    Hi Jeff - I can't speak for the mandolin, but among the hillbilly guitar players who hooked their thumb for bass notes was Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan!

  9. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to KVee For This Useful Post:


  10. #8
    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Saint Augustine Beach FL
    Posts
    4,430

    Default Re: Amy Helm chord form

    And Richie Havens.
    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

  11. The following members say thank you to Charles E. for this post:


  12. #9
    Registered User Dave Hicks's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Northeastern Indiana
    Posts
    283

    Default Re: Amy Helm chord form

    She was definitely actually playing at the show I saw. For one song (Mandolin Wind), she was alternating between a Bb5 played in the form in the picture and an F chord 5301 low to high. I tried it and it was pretty tough to keep time - I expect she's practiced it a lot, though. Probably don't want to thumb-wrestle with her.

    I hook my thumb over all the time with guitar, but it doesn't work for me on a mando neck.

    D.H.

  13. The following members say thank you to Dave Hicks for this post:


  14. #10
    Registered User mbruno's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    San Diego CA
    Posts
    348

    Default Re: Amy Helm chord form

    I use this chord a lot, but I finger it with my 2nd and 1st fingers usually (second finger covering the G and D strings at the 5th fret and first finger on the A and E strings at the 3rd fret). I don't think this variation would work for me - but if it works for her, it works.
    www.mattcbruno.com
    www.thebigdecisionsband.com
    https://shakedownstringband.org

    Mando's in use
    Newson 2018
    Gibson F9 2014
    Jonathan Mann OEMsc 8
    Jonathan Mann OSEMdc 5
    Weber Gallatin Mandocello

  15. #11
    Registered User rockies's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Kimberley BC
    Posts
    473

    Default Re: Amy Helm chord form

    POWER Chords !!!! mandolin players must lead very sheltered lives. When I was young very many years ago every kid that had a guitar could play almost anything using a power chord moving it up and down the neck. I still use them even on mandolin. Works over almost any chord, minor, major, 7th, 6th etc etc. Provides extremely powerful rhythm chord to back up singing like Emily is doing there.
    Dave
    Heiden A, '52 Martin D-18, Taylor 510, Carlson Custom A with Electronics

  16. #12
    Registered User rockies's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Kimberley BC
    Posts
    473

    Default Re: Amy Helm chord form

    Sorry for saying Emily instead of Amy, I must have been thinking of my granddaughter.
    Dave
    Heiden A, '52 Martin D-18, Taylor 510, Carlson Custom A with Electronics

  17. #13

    Default Re: Amy Helm chord form

    I just noticed that I hook my thumb over for this funky chord:

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Screen Shot 2019-11-30 at 5.38.35 PM.png 
Views:	5 
Size:	240.1 KB 
ID:	181530

  18. #14

    Default Re: Amy Helm chord form

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Mando View Post
    . . . Actually, there seems to be a whole school of hillbilly guitar players who hook the thumb over the neck and play bass notes that way . . . .
    And not just hillbilly. It's a pretty standard guitar technique, whether it's country, blues, jazz, or rock. Took a lesson from a jazz teacher once, and he used his thumb for just about all his comping, all the way up and down the neck.

    It can be handy, pun intended. For instance, there's really no other way to make a six-string cowboy D chord in standard tuning.

    And judging from how she's holding her pick and the almost horizontal neck angle, she was probably a guitar player first.

    Don't know whether classical players use their left thumbs, but why wouldn't they?

  19. #15
    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    11,984

    Default Re: Amy Helm chord form

    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie Bernstein View Post
    Don't know whether classical players use their left thumbs, but why wouldn't they?
    How else are they going to get a ride to the next gig?
    Emando.com: More than you wanted to know about electric mandolins.

    Notorious: My Celtic CD--listen & buy!

    Lyon & Healy Wood Thormahlen Andersen Bacorn Yanuziello Fender National Gibson Franke Fuchs Aceto Three Hungry Pit Bulls

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


  21. #16
    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    11,984

    Default Re: Amy Helm chord form

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Bevan View Post
    I just noticed that I hook my thumb over for this funky chord:
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Screen Shot 2019-11-30 at 5.38.35 PM.png 
Views:	5 
Size:	240.1 KB 
ID:	181530
    VERY good! Yes, 5-string players in particular should consider thumb-hooking when appropriate.
    Emando.com: More than you wanted to know about electric mandolins.

    Notorious: My Celtic CD--listen & buy!

    Lyon & Healy Wood Thormahlen Andersen Bacorn Yanuziello Fender National Gibson Franke Fuchs Aceto Three Hungry Pit Bulls

  22. #17

    Default Re: Amy Helm chord form

    I played guitar for years before picking up the mandolin and my reaction was honestly that this isn't a very weird way of playing. I don't do it a lot on the mandolin because of how high on my chest I like to have it hanging. Strains the wrist a bit to bend the thumb down like that on such a small neck. I definitely do it though. The thumb is mighty useful.

  23. #18
    Registered User Dave Hicks's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Northeastern Indiana
    Posts
    283

    Default Re: Amy Helm chord form

    I use my thumb a lot on guitar, and some on mando, but this form of power chord is kind of painful.

    D.H.

Posting Permissions

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