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Thread: Wish it was true

  1. #1
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    Default Wish it was true

    How can I tune my mandolin to match this song? Will it work?
    Iíve been playing my new Eastman 505 for a few months, and absolutely love it.
    I have to switch back to my guitars so I donít lose all the knowledge Iíve put into those though.
    Thanks for your response in advance, and is there an easy way to see what tuning a song is in?
    I do have a digital tuner.
    This mandolin has opened up a whole new world of music that I never knew existed.
    Thanks again,
    George

  2. #2
    Registered User grassrootphilosopher's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wish it was true

    I donīt really understand your question.

    I would not "tune the instrument to match the song". You have to understand which chords youīll have to use in order to play a song. Thatīs the same as with a guitar. On a guitar you can play a song in a certain key (letīs say G) but you play the song out of different chord positions (Key of G; no capo = G chord; capo 3rd fret = G = E chord shape etc.).

    Of course the mandolin is generally tuned like a fiddle/violin or the upper guitar strings upside down, namely G, D, A, E. That - like the regular tuning of the guitar (E, A, D, G, B, E) dictates certain chord shapes.

    I would never think of "having to play a song in a certain key". Play a song that youīd like to sing in the key that suits your voice. Learn to transpose the song into that key (f.ex.: "Amazing Grace" in the key of G has the G, C and D chord; play it in the key of C and the chords are C, F and G).

    If you play along with a recording I suggest that you try to find the key by focusing on the beginning or the ending of the song and try to find the beginning or ending note by playing notes on one string of your instrument. If you (finally) hit the right note youīll see which key the song (on the recording) is in.
    Olaf

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    Registered User Bruce Clausen's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wish it was true

    I'm as confused as Olaf.

    What song are you asking about, George? I don't see an attachment to your post.

    And your title: are you thinking your new mandolin is "untrue"? (that is, can't be tuned properly)

    Or is Wish it was true the song title? Can you post a recording?

  4. #4
    Registered User Bruce Clausen's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wish it was true

    Aha, the White Buffalo tune? Sounds like the chords are just D, G, and A.

    No need to retune, just learn those chords for the standard mandolin tuning.

    Lots of possibilities. You could try

    D: 2002
    G: 0023
    A: 2240 (or 6200)

    Good luck!

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    Default Re: Wish it was true

    Just FYI: One attribute or oddity (to guitarists) of mandolin compared to guitar is that, because the strings are tuned further apart BUT the frets are closer together, there are more available chord shapes on mandolin than on guitar. A-major could be the 2240 or 6200 noted above, or could be 2245 or 6700. Even 2200, which has no 3rd, fits both A-major AND A-minor; it's a favorite of Sam Bush. And that's without moving up the neck OR considering 3-string chords ... the mind boggles!

    But don't fret (uhmm...), most here played guitar before mandolin, and the majority of us still do. Welcome!
    - Ed

    "Then one day we weren't as young as before
    Our mistakes weren't quite so easy to undo
    But by all those roads, my friend, we've travelled down
    I'm a better man for just the knowin' of you."
    - Ian Tyson

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    Default Re: Wish it was true

    Guitarists are much more likely than mandolinists to play in alternate tunings, so it can get confusing to get a song to sound just right on mando sometimes (or at least harder to figure out the chords) if a guitar is tuned in, say, Nashville tuning, for example, or an open tuning. But you can get close without retuning on mandolin, you just have to play with chord inversions until you find one that sounds best for that particular song. The chord library here is pretty darn good, and there are plenty of chord books out there if that’s more comfortable for you. Good luck!
    Chuck

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    Default Re: Wish it was true

    First of all, thanks for all of your responses. Iíve been doing some research, and Iím more confused as ever.
    Is a mandolin tuned to a key? Of course we canít use a capo like a guitar.
    The song Iíve posted, is in the key of ďG.Ē Iíve seen it fretted with a capo on the second fret, and up high somewhere on the fingerboard.
    Iíve been trying to play along with the guitar. I donít think itís possible, or if it is, Iíll just play without listening to it played on a guitar.
    It seems too complicated for me to fathom at this time. It sounds nice when played alone, as when I play other songs, but I canít match it to a guitar.
    Maybe itís not possible. Iím kind of new at this, although Iíve been playing guitar for 40 years or so.
    I might not be understanding this, which is ok, as I donít understand many things in life.
    I think Iím comparing apples to oranges.
    Thanks again for your input.
    George
    Yes, I do have a chord book, which have been a blessing.

  8. #8
    bon vivant jaycat's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wish it was true

    Quote Originally Posted by NeoGeo View Post
    Is a mandolin tuned to a key?
    You're confusing "key" with "chord."

    I'm sure there are open tunings where you're tuned to a particular chord. As things stand, GDAE makes an A7sus4 chord. Not very helpful, I'm afraid.
    "The paths of experimentation twist and turn through mountains of miscalculations, and often lose themselves in error and darkness!"
    --Leslie Daniel, "The Brain That Wouldn't Die."

    Some tunes: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCa1...SV2qtug/videos

  9. #9
    Confused... or?
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    Default Re: Wish it was true

    Quote Originally Posted by NeoGeo View Post
    ... more confused as ever. ... Is a mandolin tuned to a key? Of course we can’t use a capo like a guitar.
    The song I’ve posted, is in the key of “G.” ... I might not be understanding this, which is ok, ... apples to oranges ...
    Maybe some de-confusion:

    1 - Neither guitar nor mandolin is "tuned to a key", although their standard tunings tend to favor some keys over others, based on the available open strings. Mandolin (and fiddle) are conducive to G D & A keys, while guitar is MOST conducive to E & A, the keys of primative rock. But both can be played in any key, with or without a capo. Capos are rarely used on mandolin, but DO work just as on guitar. (Most often found under "banjo capo"!)

    2 - Don't confuse "sounds like" with "be compatible with". Mostly, a mandolin won't "sound like" a guitar, but is fully compatible with any guitar chord of the same name.
    My favorite comparison: Human hearing spans 10 octaves (less for the more mature among us). Piano spans 8 octaves. Guitar and mandolin each span about 3 1/2 octaves, more if you include harmonics. But guitar & mandolin differ by about only 1 octave. Compared to the full range of human hearing, that's surprisingly close.
    A "G" chord (G B & D notes) played in ANY octave will sound compatible with those notes played in any other octave. Don't expect them to "sound" the same, but DO expect them to blend nicely.

    3 - Compared to the full world of instrument (piano, banjo, fiddle, piccolo, tuba, pipe organ, kazoo) guitar & mandilin tones sound surprisingly similar. Capo way up a 12-string guitar and it sounds somewhat like mandolin. While that bunch of instruments all have different "tones", they ALL can play one or several of the notes in a G chord (the results defined as one giant freakin' G chord!).

    4 - Just for your reference as a guitar player. Think of open C, played 332010, low to high. Now move each of those notes up by two frets (including the open strings) and you have 554232. Most of us can't finger THAT formation, so we drop the 4-string note, shift the 5 & 6 strings over by one string, and play x00232, for an open D chord. Capo at 2 with a C-formation would also sound as D. Capo C-formation at 4, it sounds as E, at 7 it sounds a G, etc. Same logic applies to G capo'd up two grets: sounds a A; at 5, it sounds a C. Etc.

    Hope this helps you see some of those individual trees in the forest! Whoops, gotta go play music!
    - Ed

    "Then one day we weren't as young as before
    Our mistakes weren't quite so easy to undo
    But by all those roads, my friend, we've travelled down
    I'm a better man for just the knowin' of you."
    - Ian Tyson

  10. #10
    Registered User grassrootphilosopher's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wish it was true

    Quote Originally Posted by EdHanrahan View Post
    Maybe some de-confusion:

    ...

    Hope this helps you see some of those individual trees in the forest! Whoops, gotta go play music!
    Very nicely explained!

    I think one has to accept the similarities of the instruments (strings, pick, frets) yet tackle each instrument without trying to impose things learned on the other instrument on the "new" one.

    When you play a tune in a G chord voicing on guitar, you may play it in G (no capo), G# (capo 1st fret), A (capo 2nd fret), Bb (capo 3rd fret) etc. If you do not use a capo on a mandolin as I do (some use a capo), you may still use a closed chord (chord that fingers all 8 strings) while playing in G. If you want to play in a different key, you "just" move the chord to where it fits (playing in A means moving the closed G chord two frets up the neck). If you want to play a solo, just hunt for the notes. You have to understand that youīre only one fret away from the right one.

    You can match any playing with a guitar (or any other instrument). What you need is:
    - be in tune (this cannot be overemphasized)
    - be in rythm (this cannot be overemphasized)
    - be in time (this cannot be overemphasized)
    - Everything else is a matter of taste (some like garlic and chilies, some donīt; play according to your taste)

    Donīt feel discouraged. We all were, where you are.
    Olaf

  11. #11
    Registered User Bruce Clausen's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wish it was true

    Quote Originally Posted by NeoGeo View Post
    The song Iíve posted, is in the key of ďG.Ē Iíve seen it fretted with a capo on the second fret, and up high somewhere on the fingerboard..
    The player on the video is playing a G-chord shape with capo at the seventh fret. The capo turns the G chord into a D chord. (G plus seven frets makes D.) He then changes to a C shape and a D shape, giving the chords G and A. (C+7=G, D+7=A.)

    So the player is probably thinking in G, but playing in D.

    Confusing, but you'll get used to it.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Wish it was true

    I do not wish to be rude or disrespectful here. But you seem to have some really really fundamental misunderstandings on this stuff. Getting an in person teacher to go over some basics could clear a lot up fairly quickly. Some of your misunderstanding seems to extend to guitar as well. Again not trying to be rude or put you down but we could spend pages writing and still not make clear what a good teacher could show in half an hour or an hour. You should ask the teacher to explain keys and how the capo works especially. It would be time well spent.

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  14. #13
    Registered User Tom Haywood's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wish it was true

    Quote Originally Posted by NeoGeo View Post
    First of all, thanks for all of your responses. I’ve been doing some research, and I’m more confused as ever.
    Is a mandolin tuned to a key? Of course we can’t use a capo like a guitar.
    The song I’ve posted, is in the key of “G.” I’ve seen it fretted with a capo on the second fret, and up high somewhere on the fingerboard.
    I’ve been trying to play along with the guitar. I don’t think it’s possible, or if it is, I’ll just play without listening to it played on a guitar.
    It seems too complicated for me to fathom at this time. It sounds nice when played alone, as when I play other songs, but I can’t match it to a guitar.
    Maybe it’s not possible. I’m kind of new at this, although I’ve been playing guitar for 40 years or so.
    I might not be understanding this, which is ok, as I don’t understand many things in life.
    I think I’m comparing apples to oranges.
    Thanks again for your input.
    George
    Yes, I do have a chord book, which have been a blessing.
    Maybe this will clear up some confusion and help you get started. This song - Wish It Was True - appears to be recorded by The White Buffalo. There is a video on YouTube of him playing it live. We are assuming that this is the song you are referring to, since you did not post a link or other info. There is also an album or single recording that sounds the same.

    The song is in the key of D, which means that the main chords are D, G, and A. These are the chords you will play on the mandolin. There may be other related chords in the song. I haven't listened to the entire song.

    In the live video, you can see that he has a capo at the 7th fret. He is playing a "G" chord there, which means it is a D chord in reality. When he begins to sing, he plays a quick chord pattern of G, C, G; or I, IV, I; which means you will play D, G, D for that part on the mandolin. Then there is a third chord that will be an A on the mandolin.

    I do not hear a mandolin on the recordings of this song. I recommend finding a song that has a mandolin on it so that you can hear the sounds you need to play.
    Tom

    "Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect." - Mark Twain
    Luthier Page: Facebook

  15. #14
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    Default Re: Wish it was true

    Quote Originally Posted by NeoGeo View Post
    ... although I’ve been playing guitar for 40 years or so.
    Oooh, that one got me! Yes, I played guitar for 40 years - of actively avoiding the dreaded "music theory", even if I felt like Guitar George who knew all the chords... at least all the R&R ones! Then a shattered humerus put me out of guitar for 18 months, but, golly gee, I COULD hold a mandolin at 2 months in. Six months of recuperating at home gave me time to absorb "Music Theory for Dummies" where I learned ... NOT a whole lot new, but LOTS of new connections between the assorted tidbits that I already did know. One big hint: Mandolin makes it easier to absorb theory than does guitar, because of the consistent tuning across all strings. Thinking back, MOST of Theory for Dummies learning was on a friend's $1 yard-sale-special 1st-gen Cascio mini-keyboard, played left-hand only, 'cause of ... well...
    - Ed

    "Then one day we weren't as young as before
    Our mistakes weren't quite so easy to undo
    But by all those roads, my friend, we've travelled down
    I'm a better man for just the knowin' of you."
    - Ian Tyson

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