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Thread: Shifting into third position for C tunes

  1. #1
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    Default Shifting into third position for C tunes

    Do others shift into 3rd position to help make playing C tunes (and I guess F tunes?) easier? A friend once gave me that tip, but I have trouble working out where to shift up and shift back, and tend to forget to do it at all and just play in regular position, doing a lot of ring/pinky stretches. Tonight I was working on L & N Rag, an old favorite, and tried working some shifts into it. Indeed, in parts, the fingering is easier when I shift into 3rd, but I still canít seem to find the best places to shift up and back. Are there any rules of thumb (or index, as it were...) for doing this?

  2. #2
    The Amateur Mandolinist Mark Gunter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Shifting into third position for C tunes

    In a C major tune, you can often use a note on one of the four open strings to give yourself the time to shift into 3rd position or back down to first. That’s one useable hint. G, D, A, E are all in the C scale. It’s usually pretty easy to find a place to pedal off one of them when shifting.
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  4. #3

    Default Re: Shifting into third position for C tunes

    What Mark said, definitely, but I'll also add two things:
    (1) I find it easier to shift from a 1 to a 1, eg an A (on the G-string) up to a C, or an E (on the D-string) up to a G, and vice versa going down.
    (2) I also find it easier (or at least more satisfying to do) if the note I'm shifting to is on a downbeat, on the 1 or the 3.

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  6. #4
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    Default Re: Shifting into third position for C tunes

    Thank you both for the tips, Mark and Jim!

  7. #5
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Shifting into third position for C tunes

    I have rarely ever needed to switch position except to reach notes higher on the E strings or if it made it easier to play a particular phrase. I have played L&N Rag on both fiddle and mandolin for years and stayed in first position. Lately I play lots of tunes in C, F and Bb and stay pretty much in first position. However, if you find you prefer to switch positions and it works for you, why not?
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