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Thread: Question for pickers who play BOTH mandolin and guitar

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    Default Question for pickers who play BOTH mandolin and guitar

    I've returned to my guitar after becoming totally absorbed in mandolin for the past few years. Once I discovered how to find melody/harmony notes on mandolin by fretting with my index/pointer finger on the root note and my middle finger on the 5th, my growth has been incredible (he said to himself, immodestly....). All notes are then closed, fretted notes. As I'm coming back to guitar, I wonder if there is a parallel pattern somewhere on guitar? In my previous guitar picking, I never much ventured past the 3rd or 4th fret, and I counted on playing a lot of open notes out of the appropriate chord position. Maybe there's another whole new world out there? So much to learn and so much to love learning!

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    Default Re: Question for pickers who play BOTH mandolin and guitar

    The guitar is tuned in a combination of fourths, and a major third. With on finger per fret there is less of a range on adjacent strings without shifting position. I would suggest that learning scales on any instrument will open up opportunities.

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    Default Re: Question for pickers who play BOTH mandolin and guitar

    Guitar patterns are all messed up because of that d@^^*% second/third string being a different interval. There is nothing as clean as ffcp scales on mandolin.

    The best way I have found of moving up the neck on guitar is to play out of appropriate first position chord shapes and move them up the neck. That is the basis of the CAGED system though I have never exactly, formally studied that system. There are only five open position chords ,the CAGE and D shapes. They can all be moved up the neck so for instance your D shape moved up two becomes E and five spots becomes G, etc. You are familiar with the notes around them from working in first position. You can close them by finding spots that correspond to the open strings. That is what a lot of the pros seem to do. I have asked David Grier and Jack Lawrence (Doc Watson's picking partner) specifically, in workshops, how they moved up the neck and that approach is how both of them responded. David said "Play me a G chord" then "play me another" and another till I had come up with five or six different G chord positions. He said he then treated those as if they were in first position and found notes around them to make the melodies.

    There are also box scales particularly for pentatonic and blues scales that can be useful. Those are closed and movable. Some classical players use three octave linear scales. I never found them useful because of two much hand movement.

    Other approaches use arpeggios, double stops and triads. The neck can be broken down by using three note pieces of familiar chord shapes such as the barre F, B flat barre and extended D shapes. There was a teacher at Kaufmann Kamp, David Keenan, who has a system for breaking down the neck into triads and double stops. These can be broken out further into arpeggios . The Gypsy Jazz guys especially use that approach with minor chord arpeggios and triads. Django's solos are full of that approach.

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    Default Re: Question for pickers who play BOTH mandolin and guitar

    Quote Originally Posted by CarlM View Post
    Guitar patterns are all messed up because of that d@^^*% second/third string being a different interval. There is nothing as clean as ffcp scales on mandolin.

    The best way I have found of moving up the neck on guitar is to play out of appropriate first position chord shapes and move them up the neck. That is the basis of the CAGED system though I have never exactly, formally studied that system. There are only five open position chords ,the CAGE and D shapes. They can all be moved up the neck so for instance your D shape moved up two becomes E and five spots becomes G, etc. You are familiar with the notes around them from working in first position. You can close them by finding spots that correspond to the open strings. That is what a lot of the pros seem to do. I have asked David Grier and Jack Lawrence (Doc Watson's picking partner) specifically, in workshops, how they moved up the neck and that approach is how both of them responded. David said "Play me a G chord" then "play me another" and another till I had come up with five or six different G chord positions. He said he then treated those as if they were in first position and found notes around them to make the melodies.

    There are also box scales particularly for pentatonic and blues scales that can be useful. Those are closed and movable. Some classical players use three octave linear scales. I never found them useful because of two much hand movement.

    Other approaches use arpeggios, double stops and triads. The neck can be broken down by using three note pieces of familiar chord shapes such as the barre F, B flat barre and extended D shapes. There was a teacher at Kaufmann Kamp, David Keenan, who has a system for breaking down the neck into triads and double stops. These can be broken out further into arpeggios . The Gypsy Jazz guys especially use that approach with minor chord arpeggios and triads. Django's solos are full of that approach.

    I play P4 tuning. Tune the B and E strings up a semitone each, and congratulations you now have a symmetrical instrument that actually makes sense, and the only sacrifice is a few cowboy chords.

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    Default Re: Question for pickers who play BOTH mandolin and guitar

    Quote Originally Posted by Nevin View Post
    The guitar is tuned in a combination of fourths, and a major third. With on finger per fret there is less of a range on adjacent strings without shifting position. I would suggest that learning scales on any instrument will open up opportunities.
    Thanks. I'd assumed whatever pattern would need to be used up the neck where the frets are closer. Wayne Benson's Wayne's World of Mandolin has some fantastic videos that make understanding scales, double-stops, scale chords, etc quite richly rewarding!

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    Default Re: Question for pickers who play BOTH mandolin and guitar

    This looks like excellent stuff, Carl! I can't wait to try some of it out! Thanks very much.

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    Default Re: Question for pickers who play BOTH mandolin and guitar

    Quote Originally Posted by lowtone2 View Post
    I play P4 tuning. Tune the B and E strings up a semitone each, and congratulations you now have a symmetrical instrument that actually makes sense, and the only sacrifice is a few cowboy chords.
    But I always wanted to BE a cowboy! And I've been playing country and bluegrass music with standard tuning for nearly 60 years. Too old to start doing otherwise!

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    Default Re: Question for pickers who play BOTH mandolin and guitar

    Quote Originally Posted by RickPick View Post
    I've returned to my guitar after becoming totally absorbed in mandolin for the past few years. Once I discovered how to find melody/harmony notes on mandolin by fretting with my index/pointer finger on the root note and my middle finger on the 5th, my growth has been incredible (he said to himself, immodestly....). All notes are then closed, fretted notes. As I'm coming back to guitar, I wonder if there is a parallel pattern somewhere on guitar? In my previous guitar picking, I never much ventured past the 3rd or 4th fret, and I counted on playing a lot of open notes out of the appropriate chord position. Maybe there's another whole new world out there? So much to learn and so much to love learning!
    Wow! Exact same thing happened to me. Starting with that same technique (root on finger 1, finger 2 on lower 5) and then just following the pentatonic scale from there, I started to be able to easily and quickly find the melody notes for most songs. My ability to improvise a solo really took off from that point and playing became more fun. Now that I’m more comfortable with the mandolin, I recently tried to see if I could transfer some of these skills to guitar too. The tuning and the scale is throwing me off but I am making some progress.

    Funny too though, I also started playing fiddle a couple of weeks ago and now just realized how often they play in first position and utilize those open strings. Waaaay more than I do on mandolin. I didn’t realize how much I use closed scales and discovered that I’m now not so fluid with incorporating open strings. It’s an area that I’m now working to improve.

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    Default Re: Question for pickers who play BOTH mandolin and guitar

    Quickest way is CAGED system. Each of those chords can be played up the neck - C. All minors, dims, 7s, etc work too. It's not quite as elegant as the symmetry of the mandolin (or the bass, in fourths) but it's pretty great.
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    Default Re: Question for pickers who play BOTH mandolin and guitar

    Only thing to add, is as stated, I pick up a fiddle or mandolin and the scales and melody are right there, in any key. But I pick up a guitar for comp chords. Now, if I rolled or finger pick those chords, it's a chord arpeggio. Arguably a type of scale. Melodic banjer players can attest to the melody being within the chord. Something tells me as far as guitar goes, the melody is probably in the chord as well. As I usually have both a guitar and a mandolin or fiddle at arms reach, I haven't took the time to figure it out. I really admire Billy Strings, and Tony Rice, etc. Why is the grass always greener on the other side?

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    Default Re: Question for pickers who play BOTH mandolin and guitar

    In my previous guitar picking, I never much ventured past the 3rd or 4th fret
    I was told that there's no money above the fifth fret...

    Kirk

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    Default Re: Question for pickers who play BOTH mandolin and guitar

    Quote Originally Posted by farmerjones View Post
    Only thing to add, is as stated, I pick up a fiddle or mandolin and the scales and melody are right there, in any key. But I pick up a guitar for comp chords. Now, if I rolled or finger pick those chords, it's a chord arpeggio. Arguably a type of scale. Melodic banjer players can attest to the melody being within the chord. Something tells me as far as guitar goes, the melody is probably in the chord as well. As I usually have both a guitar and a mandolin or fiddle at arms reach, I haven't took the time to figure it out. I really admire Billy Strings, and Tony Rice, etc. Why is the grass always greener on the other side?
    It is true that most melodies are constructed mostly of chord tones. Almost all also contain connecting notes that are not chord tones, but even in that case, the essential notes are chord tones. Of course, if you include american songbook standards, the chord tone could be a b9 or a #11...

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    Default Re: Question for pickers who play BOTH mandolin and guitar

    Funny too though, I also started playing fiddle a couple of weeks ago and now just realized how often they play in first position and utilize those open strings. Waaaay more than I do on mandolin.

    I think fiddlers like to play in D and A because of all those notes (and drones) on open fiddle strings. And I like to use open strings on mandolin too, but learning to play out of closed positions is incredibly valuable when singers want to sing in whatever key - and guitar players just capo up!

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    Default Re: Question for pickers who play BOTH mandolin and guitar

    Quote Originally Posted by David Lewis View Post
    Quickest way is CAGED system. Each of those chords can be played up the neck - C. All minors, dims, 7s, etc work too. It's not quite as elegant as the symmetry of the mandolin (or the bass, in fourths) but it's pretty great.
    I don't know the caged system, but a quick google shows that can soon be remedied! I've had some fun with CarlM's suggestion about the D shape -- so long as I stay on the 3 highest strings! But these ideas are all quite helpful. It's surprising what you can figure out on a fretboard once you start "figuring out"!

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    Default Re: Question for pickers who play BOTH mandolin and guitar

    Stop thinking about it and let your hands do it.

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    Default Re: Question for pickers who play BOTH mandolin and guitar

    Quote Originally Posted by RickPick View Post
    I've returned to my guitar after becoming totally absorbed in mandolin for the past few years. Once I discovered how to find melody/harmony notes on mandolin by fretting with my index/pointer finger on the root note and my middle finger on the 5th, my growth has been incredible (he said to himself, immodestly....). All notes are then closed, fretted notes. As I'm coming back to guitar, I wonder if there is a parallel pattern somewhere on guitar? In my previous guitar picking, I never much ventured past the 3rd or 4th fret, and I counted on playing a lot of open notes out of the appropriate chord position. Maybe there's another whole new world out there? So much to learn and so much to love learning!
    Not sure what you're talking about in the second sentence. I believe much of what people refer to as ffcp builds on the idea of dividing an octave scale into two tetrachords. E.g., in G major: g-a-b-c ... d-e-f#-g (same fingering on two adjacent courses) or b-c-d-e f#-g-a-b ... Not my way of thinking, I started with the positions defined by the fret markers and took off from there.

    As for the guitar, my key to higher positions (more than 60 years ago) was the realization that in first position (allowing open strings) the C and F major scales use only three frets; hence they tranpose easily to higher positions, e.g., playing off the third fret you can get the Eb and Ab scales with very strict fingering on frets 3-6. This is essentialy the same as playing around the standard C and E chord forms. Of course, in time I developed a much freer approach combining various devices across and along the strings, also using more PO's and HO's.

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