Returning

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Returning

Postby atticus » Tue Mar 07, 2017 1:30 pm

Hello all. I joined about 4 years ago, when I had bought a mandolin having made a New Year's Resolution to learn to play the instrument. In my 50s and with no previous musical experience, this was ambitious.

Fast forward 4 years. Self teaching was getting nowhere in particular. And then I got an e-mail asking if I was still looking for someone to teach me mandolin. Well I've been having lessons for 6 weeks, and that 30 minutes every week is making a huge difference. I'm starting to get confident with scales and simple tunes. I'm quite enjoying the welsh folk tunes my teacher is finding - which is good as he's Welsh.

But...

Chords! These strange things were introduced yesterday (I knew they would be coming).I can do individual chords (just about). But moving coherently from one to another: how do people do it?

Yes, I know. Practice, practice and more practice. I shall get there.
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Re: Returning

Postby John Kelly » Tue Mar 07, 2017 1:46 pm

Can I suggest that you stick with two-finger chords at the start rather than the four-finger shapes beloved of bluegrass players (and others). Think of a basic three chords for each key you play in and work round the three, getting changes smoothly and confidently.
Lets look at the key of G as an example. You would have the G major, C major and D major (or D7th) as the basic three, with an E minor if you feel a bit more adventurous! Those shapes, as 2-finger chords, would be:
G - 0032, C - 0320, D - 2002, Eminor - 0220. The numbers are the frets on the four strings, the G string being to the left in the diagrams. Practise changing between the G and C for a start, then work on other pairs as you gain dexterity.

Hope this is of help.

John Kelly
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Re: Returning

Postby atticus » Tue Mar 07, 2017 2:18 pm

Thank you for the quick reply. Those are the chords I've been given to start with. We were doing exercises moving to and fro between G and D.
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Re: Returning

Postby Ray(T) » Tue Mar 07, 2017 6:18 pm

Rest assured that it does get easier. To some extent its largely a matter of playing the chords so frequently that your fingers fall into the right place without your brain having to work out where you're putting them. The other issue is being able to cram your fingers onto such a narrow fretboard.

I don't want to talk at cross purposes with your teacher but, personally, I don't try to make every note in every chord ring out as, perhaps, you would want to do on a guitar. You may have heard of the, so called, bluegrass "chop" and that technique, which can be adapted to suit a host of accompaniment styles, positively discourages ringing strings. The strings are damped (pressure released) shortly after each strum to produce a percussive, off beat, rhythm.
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Re: Returning

Postby atticus » Thu Mar 09, 2017 1:45 pm

Thanks, Ray. I'm finding it hard enough coordinating left hand, right hand and brain. letting of the pressure with the left hand in between strokes and then putting it back, all in a fluent way, will be a major achievement!

I think that technique will come some way down the line.
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Re: Returning

Postby Ray(T) » Thu Mar 09, 2017 3:10 pm

Don't lift your fingers, just relax them. It will come evenually - I find it easy; but I bought my first mandolin in 1970!
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Re: Returning

Postby atticus » Mon Mar 13, 2017 12:38 pm

Well, a week's practice and moving between G, C and D is becoming almost coherent.

Now to try to maintain a consistent strumming pattern!
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Re: Returning

Postby John Kelly » Mon Mar 13, 2017 1:07 pm

Your fingers are now learning where to go themselves! Muscle memory is developing and this will increase as you practise more. When you get a tune or a chord sequence into memory then you will be playing it without really thinking about the notes you are playing. i attend a fiddle workshop here at home and the method is to teach by ear principally (I and some others like to get the dots too, but the emphasis is strongly on learning by ear and playing from memory. it is interesting that when our tutor is teaching a new tune such as a jig or reel, when she slows it to a learning pace she often has to stop and think about the phrases and notes, yet when she plays the tune at normal speed she delivers it faultlessly becaus the muscle memory is working strongly.

Keep it up and you'll be reporting more progress in another week.
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Re: Returning

Postby Ray(T) » Mon Mar 13, 2017 2:03 pm

Just what John said.

I suppose it's like patting your head and rubbing your belly at the same time; impossible at first but, with practice, it comes naturally.
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Re: Returning

Postby atticus » Mon Mar 13, 2017 3:02 pm

Ha! I still cannot do that :lol:
beginner - with an Ozark 2001 mandolin
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Re: Returning

Postby atticus » Tue Jul 11, 2017 2:17 pm

6 months of lessons, and amongst loads of other things we're working on tremolo. My wife says that every now and then it almost sounds right!
beginner - with an Ozark 2001 mandolin
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Re: Returning

Postby John Kelly » Tue Jul 11, 2017 6:04 pm

Now think how far you will have progressed in another six months!
Remember to keep up the chords as well as melody, and do not neglect the stomach/head-patting routine. :roll: :razz:
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Re: Returning

Postby Daniel » Tue Jul 11, 2017 9:16 pm

The process is always more important than the goal.
If you like what you're doing, you'll keep doing it and you will get better at it.

:grin:
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