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Thread: If you jam . . . .

  1. #1
    Registered User Sherry Cadenhead's Avatar
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    Default If you jam . . . .

    If you play in a "friendly" jam, are you put off by mandolinists who primarily play 2 finger chords?

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    Gummy Bears and Scotch BrianWilliam's Avatar
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    Default Re: If you jam . . . .

    No. Do they play in time?

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  4. #3
    Registered User Sherry Cadenhead's Avatar
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    Default Re: If you jam . . . .

    Quote Originally Posted by BrianWilliam View Post
    No. Do they play in time?
    Assume "yes."

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    Registered User Dave Hicks's Avatar
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    Default Re: If you jam . . . .

    I play 'em all the time. But I'm not generally playing bluegrass, where chop chords are usually standard.

    D.H.

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    Gummy Bears and Scotch BrianWilliam's Avatar
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    Default Re: If you jam . . . .

    Quote Originally Posted by Sherry Cadenhead View Post
    Assume "yes."
    Yay!

  7. #6

    Default Re: If you jam . . . .

    Quote Originally Posted by BrianWilliam View Post
    No. Do they play in time?
    Good question, that’s one of my difficulties sometimes.
    In order to play a double stop you really need to have the fingering on the previous note to be set so that you can easily slide up or down to the double stop.
    Occasionally I’ll forget that the next eighth note to play is a double stop, and my fingering is ‘standard’ for single notes.
    If I try to play the double stop anyway, then there’s a fraction of a second delay which, to my ears sounds awful.

    The easiest doublestop is one where the previous note is on an open string that immediately gets damped by the following double stop. Another easy one is where the previous was another doublestop on the same strings, you’re just sliding up.

    It’s personal preference too but I prefer the double stops to ring out rather than be damped. Of course this is difficult with a fast tune.

  8. #7
    Registered User Sherry Cadenhead's Avatar
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    Default Re: If you jam . . . .

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Hicks View Post
    I play 'em all the time. But I'm not generally playing bluegrass, where chop chords are usually standard.

    D.H.
    Assume it isn't a bluegrass jam.

  9. #8

    Default Re: If you jam . . . .

    Quote Originally Posted by Sherry Cadenhead View Post
    If you play in a "friendly" jam, are you put off by mandolinists who primarily play 2 finger chords?
    Are you asking for a ‘friend’...why would it matter? Doesn’t sound like a “friendly’ jam.
    Northfield F5M #268, AT02 #7

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    Default Re: If you jam . . . .

    Quote Originally Posted by bigskygirl View Post
    Are you asking for a ‘friend’...why would it matter? Doesn’t sound like a “friendly’ jam.
    I agree, a friendly jam is helpful to new players. If someone doesn't like two finger chords they are not very friendly. We all started with two fingered chords.
    I will, on some tunes, play the entire tune with double stops. So in actuality I am playing the melody with two fingered chords. It is very powerful. There are times when a two finger chord is more appropriate than a chop chord.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

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  13. #10
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    Default Re: If you jam . . . .

    Why are two finger chords considered "beginner" or not appropriate in a jam? To be honest I am more put off with folks that cannot play in B or B flat now that I think of it.

  14. #11

    Default Re: If you jam . . . .

    Quote Originally Posted by Sherry Cadenhead View Post
    Assume it isn't a bluegrass jam.
    If it's not bluegrass, then roll with whatever chords sound/feel good!

  15. #12

    Default Re: If you jam . . . .

    I think itís OK to use whatever sounds good and helps the song or tune. I often use two finger chords on the 3d and 4th strings because I like that sound and because I donít have to move my left hand so much. Perhaps I am just lazy but my chop is mostly those two strings anyway. I also use two finger chords on higher strings when I am looking for an open ringing sound. If it sounds good, it is good, as one wiser than I once said.

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  17. #13

    Default Re: If you jam . . . .

    Just be sure there are not other issues. An instructor friend of mine says that "No one has the right to kick you out of a jam but you do not have the right to ruin other people's jams."

    As an extreme case, there was a banjo player I used to know who could mostly only play if he had sheet music in front of him and then would play the notes in order but badly out of time and so loudly it drowned out some very good players. Several people, including a good instructor he went to, tried to nicely get him to learn basic rolls, because his default when he did not know the song was to loudly bash in a kind of strum. He refused to listen even to the instructor he was paying to teach him. There was a YouTube video, now mercifully taken down, I used to share as an example of what not to do, as he could be heard in a group of about six or eight of us on stage at an open mike half a measure ahead to a full measure behind for the entire song. I finally got fed up one day when he jumped in uninvited on a practice session with a singer friend, played in the wrong key for a verse and a half, got defensive and argued when I said he was in the wrong key and got mad when I tried to show him how to tell what key we were in since we had different capo positions. I will hope and assume you are not like that.

    You say to assume you are in time. Don't assume. Be sure. That is the number one culprit for jam complaints and the person with the problem usually thinks they are doing fine. People will complain about other issues when the real issue is that you are playing inappropriately, too loud, out of time or in a style that does not fit the song.

    It can sometimes be personality issues , not necessarily yours. Then you have to sadly walk away.

    Other times people can be gently or maybe less gently trying to lead you in a better direction. Then you need to listen.

  18. #14
    Registered User Dave Hicks's Avatar
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    Default Re: If you jam . . . .

    Quote Originally Posted by Sherry Cadenhead View Post
    Assume it isn't a bluegrass jam.
    You'd be fine by me.

    Years ago I took a workshop presented by Seth Rosen, a departed musician that I miss. Seth talked about playing "secondary rhythm", meaning that in many band/jam situations the mandolin player is free to play double stops, 2 finger chords, tremolo lines, counter melodies, chops, etc. - whatever supports the music. You can contribute lots of interesting stuff if the guitar, bass, etc., are filling out the chords.

    D.H.

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    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: If you jam . . . .

    First off: the standard bluegrass chords are not always the most beautiful sounding way to play the chord.

    That said: If the person is playing all strings two finger chords it means he/she is leaving some strings open. That makes a decent chop harder to accomplish. And leaving those open strings to ring does muddy up the sound. In bluegrass.

    Now an easy fix, (that I use all the time), is to only pick the two courses being fretted. Chop is barking crisp, and not in the way. Depending on all the personalities involved and if appropriate, it might be ok to talk to this two finger chord person only picking the two courses. The standard two finger D has the open strings in the middle, but if you are not going to play open strings, a two finger double stop D can be found in the middle, at the fourth and fifth fret.

    My rule for jams is to listen - and if it is not bluegrass, don't chop.

    IF BG? = 0 THEN CHOP? = 0

    For non bluegrass I play a lot of two finger chords with and without the open strings. They are often times a prettier sound.

    As a general rule, within reason, there isn't much that other mandolinners could do that would put me off. Especially if they are struggling to keep up and keep in the game, bless them.
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    Default Re: If you jam . . . .

    What difference would it make to me what kind of chords other people play? I can't see where it matters.

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  24. #17
    Registered User Sherry Cadenhead's Avatar
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    Default Re: If you jam . . . .

    Thanks for all the input. I asked my question because I can easily play 2 finger chords, but adding another finger is terribly challenging for me.

    The problems I have with 3 finger chords are primarily (1) changing chords at the required speed while keeping the beat, and (2) tender fingertips. I realize the speed thing is mostly about practicing regularly, which I do. Seems to me by now my fingertips would have toughened up, though. I can play melody and 2 finger chords continuously with no problem, but add that third finger to a chord and I can't play long at all because my fingertips are so tender.

    Up until a couple of years ago I played in a jam at the senior center. All those guitarists were so glad to have a different instrument in the mix, they wouldn't have cared if I'd played with one hand tied behind my back. I hope to one day play with more sophisticated players and am trying to prepare myself now.

    Honestly, I'd rather be focusing on double stops and improvisation, both of which would enhance my enjoyment, than beating myself up over the 3 finger chords. On the other hand, I feel I shouldn't abandon them altogether.

  25. #18
    Hands of Pot Metal
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    Default Re: If you jam . . . .

    Three finger chords are useful in a lot of genres, especially if you want to play chords and keys beyond 'standard' major keys, ie, G, A, C, and D. I'd encourage you to learn them as they may be useful in the future.

    In many jams the other players are paying so little attention to what's happening that their rhythm wanders, let alone listen to the voicing of chords from other players.

    have fun and enjoy yourself.
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    Not all the clams are at the beach

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  27. #19
    Registered User tree's Avatar
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    Default Re: If you jam . . . .

    What Bill McCall said, plus an occasional solitary chop for emphasis where appropriate.
    Clark Beavans

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    Default Re: If you jam . . . .

    Sherry - two finger chords are fine - when you move into 3 and 4 finger chords, don't forget about 2 finger chords- for they can be very useful a lot of the time, if you don't feel comfortable- hang back - focus on rhythm or just pay attention to other players who's style might inspire you.
    I agree with Carl M, as open and inviting as we like it to be, the minute folks start arguing about how to play this or that - I am out, I do not go out of my way to attend jams to listen to people argue about the correct way to play music, or criticize new players for that matter.
    intelligent debate and discussion of tunes and tune history are welcomed, sited references are often required for this.
    its important that you enjoy playing and that playing does not become "a chore".
    "Mean Old Timer, He's got grey hair, Mean Old Timer he just don't care
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  29. #21
    Registered User Sherry Cadenhead's Avatar
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    Default Re: If you jam . . . .

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill McCall View Post
    Three finger chords are useful in a lot of genres, especially if you want to play chords and keys beyond 'standard' major keys, ie, G, A, C, and D. I'd encourage you to learn them as they may be useful in the future.
    I do like that 3 finger chords are movable. Forgot about that being a reason to learn them.

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    Default Re: If you jam . . . .

    Just be in the rhythm. Blend...
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    Default Re: If you jam . . . .

    I don't care how a player gets it done as long a they do. If a player is a beginner who has a hard time keeping up, I try to be as encouraging and helpful as possible and try to keep that stink eye look off of my face.

  32. #24
    Registered User Buck's Avatar
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    Default Re: If you jam . . . .

    Of all things someone could do to annoy me, playing two finger cords in time and with the feel of the song is VERY low on the list. :-)
    Todd Yates

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  34. #25
    Registered Muser dang's Avatar
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    Default Re: If you jam . . . .

    Quote Originally Posted by Sherry Cadenhead View Post
    I do like that 3 finger chords are movable. Forgot about that being a reason to learn them.
    The movable 3 fingered chord is the really the basis for two different 2 fingered ďdouble stopĒ style chords (3 if youíre willing to skip a string). Learn the 3 fingered chord and then choose which 2 fingered chord to use, one voicing or the other usually sounds better for an individual song. At least thatís what I do sometimes, and it helps every G chord not sound exactly the same. And in the same way different 4 fingered chord voicings can reveal some nice sounding two fingerings 45xx is a useful G and 75xx is another which sounds different.

    Muting can be important. Two fingered chords when you let the open strings ring too loud and too long can be annoying in a jam?
    Last edited by dang; Jul-22-2020 at 3:26am. Reason: I guess I said the same thing as JeffD but in a different way Lol
    I should be pickin' rather than postin'

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