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Chords and how we can learn from the tenor guitar
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Gordon Shumway
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December 2, 2018 - 10:41 am
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The tenor guitar should really be tuned CGDA. I say that because it can be, and often is, tuned DGBE, with different strings of course.

But chords on any instrument tuned in fifths all have the same limited shape (excepting physical limitations to stretching and so on). Same goes for arpeggios.

This video gives a very useful description of how triad chords work in fifths tuning. It is directly applicable to violin, viola, mandolin, tenor banjo.

If @Fiddlerman wants, he can move this post somewhere else - maybe to a category like the mandolin category? Really I wanted it to be about violin chords and arpeggios, although it could fit well in a mandolin thread.

There are only three major chord triad shapes (humanly) possible on three strings (the subject comes under the heading "group theory" if you know maths), but I lack the notational tools to list them here. Maybe @Fiddlerman could do a video on them? You'll find that each of the three shapes on the top three strings will combine with one other on the lower three strings to make three four-string shapes. The minors simply involve finding the third and flattening it, and then you can work out how to do a dom 7 yourselves.

Interesting - the spellchecker likes maths but not math!

Using standard guitar notation, the three shapes would be

x023 (major) A

x013 (minor)

x122 (major) B

x022 (minor)

x002 (major) C

x001 (minor)

The 4-string combinations are A+B (0233), B+C (1224/1220) and C+A (0023).

I hope that's not too confusing. If you don't play guitar, it will be.

For your delectation, here's John Lawlor. I think a year or two ago I checked his tuning, and it's what you might call "slack" - a tone below the norm - Bb,F,C,G

Andrew

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Mark
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December 3, 2018 - 4:09 am
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Here are a couple of examples of chord charts for the Fiddle you might find interesting.

 

Mark

Master the Frog and you have mastered the bow.

Albert Sammons

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Gordon Shumway
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December 3, 2018 - 4:40 am
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Thanks, Mark!

Andrew

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BillyG
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December 3, 2018 - 6:16 am
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That's cool @Mark - it probably comes intuitively to folks knowledgeable with music theory - but I had never quite "internalized" the relationships as an actual visual image.   Sweet !   That'll stick in my head !  hats_off

I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes. D'oh - guntohead.JPG

Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)

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Gordon Shumway
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December 3, 2018 - 6:20 am
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Ah, violin tabs! (clearly 1L means 1 Low)

Andrew

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December 5, 2018 - 6:59 am
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more examples of chords for reference.

Mark

Master the Frog and you have mastered the bow.

Albert Sammons

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Found this interesting is for mandolin how ever it would apply to the fiddle.

Mark

 

Master the Frog and you have mastered the bow.

Albert Sammons

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Gordon Shumway
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December 5, 2018 - 7:22 am
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What I wanted to stress was the very small number of chord shapes.

But explanations (using clumsy notation) and diagrams of interwoven triangles add a level of complexity that obscures the simplicity of the reality. You have to try to see through it all to the underlying structures.

Andrew

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January 1, 2019 - 10:53 pm
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Don't let any die-hard bluegrass mandolinists see this thread. Open chords are sacrilege to them let alone letting them resonate.

I started with mandolin and I've got some good chord cheat sheets. What is beneficial to know for beginning fiddlers is that there are a handful of easy "one finger" and "two finger" open chords. These are easier to play without the dreaded accidental string muting screeches.

Coming from mandolin, it's my experience that people often misunderestimate how much is applicable between the two instruments. Same exact tuning, you finger out the same notes with the left hand(albeit with frets). Though my mandolin is oft neglected since I've taken on the fiddle, I'll often try new melodies, rhythms, and passages on the mando before picking up the fiddle and how.

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Gordon Shumway
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I've got a mandolin, but the only thing I've ever done on it is strum along to Bob Dylan's Wagon Wheel. Maybe I should buy a pick and learn to play it Italian/Neapolitan Classical style.

Andrew

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Tremolo is the mandolin counterpart to the violins vibrato but even more important if you want to get that simulated sustain, especially on classical pieces.

My recommendation is to buy more than one, all in varying thicknesses and flexibility. You may find some are easier for tremolo than others. I tend to prefer them on the thinner side.

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Gordon Shumway
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Amateur said
Tremolo is the mandolin counterpart to the violins vibrato but even more important if you want to get that simulated sustain, especially on classical pieces.

My recommendation is to buy more than one, all in varying thicknesses and flexibility. You may find some are easier for tremolo than others. I tend to prefer them on the thinner side.  

That reminds me that I've got a lot of guitar picks in different thicknesses, but I've never used them, and I don't know if mandolin picks are different. For the purposes of good tone production, I found that the thicker the pick, the better, so I don't know if I kept the thin ones.

Andrew

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Gordon Shumway said

That reminds me that I've got a lot of guitar picks in different thicknesses, but I've never used them, and I don't know if mandolin picks are different. For the purposes of good tone production, I found that the thicker the pick, the better, so I don't know if I kept the thin ones.  

A lot of mandolinists prefer thicker but I'm the opposite. I think I dig in more and strike harder to mask any significant projection differences.

The picks are the same. It's all really personal preference. I've found some picks are easier if a lot of tremolo is involved and some are better for high tempo melodies.

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