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Soldier’s Joy tab and video

Sunday, March 9th, 2014

I recently slowed down one of my favorite fiddle tunes for use as an instructional video. Here is the tab for the arrangement shown. You can listen to the midi on Tabledit for free as well.

Below is the video of me playing through Soldier’s Joy. I play all of the rhythm parts and really slow down the A part.

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Spice up bland guitar chords, and learn to read chord charts

Saturday, June 8th, 2013

In the video below two different concepts are touched on. The first concept is how to give a simple G chord a more powerful and unique sound without making it any more difficult to play. I learned this way to play by listening to Tony Rice, and later at an Orinn Star workshop I found very helpful for my playing.

The second concept exemplified are what are called chord inversions. Often they are listed with a (/) on chord charts.

The (/) is a more concise way to write and read chord charts once you understand how they work. Also using theoretical names like first and second inversion make the chord seem much more difficult than it it. C/G was shown and heard in the video above. What C/G tells us is that we are playing a C chord, a simple C chord would do just fine with a G note as the lowest, or Bass note in the chord.
To cover a particular song the, “right way.” or to compose a guitar piece with some added sonic depth the G tells us that a G note is played/strummed over the C chord. Keep in mind in this model ({)/(}) or C/G the first letter is the chord being played. The second letter after the slash is the note in this Base a…G note. The G note is played as the bass note within the chord, it can also be strummed within the chord again

To go more into the theory, a simple chord like C only has three note C (root), E(third), and G(fifth). Playing the E in the bass (C/E) is called the first inversion. Playing the fifth in the bass is know as the second inversion. These names for inversions carry over to all chords. The second inversion is more common in most guitar styles of playing, it is also easier to play on the fret board. The above example is the video only focus on second inversions, (inversions of chords with the 5th in the bass.) Below is some tab to help.

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Musical scales, lessons for the beginner #2

Thursday, April 11th, 2013

Just playing through scales never makes much sense to the up and coming student. Reasons for it include understanding the fretboard and having control over note selection. What seems to trump boring scale studies is real music. By altering scales and playing them in new ways we can find musical ideas. Playing what I call, “folded scales,” is a trick I learned from a guitar instructor, but it applies well to musical mandolin scales. Being familiar with my lesson #1 for the beginner will help with this, although I do go over the straight scale first. Below is a video where I show a way to “fold,” the A major scale.

Enlarge the above image to view the tablature

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Isn’t it a Pity, a great song by George Harrison.

Monday, January 14th, 2013

The beauty of this tune is that it has only three chords. The good news is one of those chords is a diminished chord, so chances are it is new to you. If it is not new to you, there is always much to learn about chord groups.

Diminished chords repeat every four frets, watch the video below to get an idea for the sound (tension) that chords of this character evoke.

Diminished chords are get the name from diminishing, or shrinking intervals, similarly tense chords but opposites are…you guessed it augmented chords. Chords where intervals are stretched or augmented to be longer.

Click the graphic below for the tabs and notation in free tabledit files format!

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Great Mandolin Chord Voicings

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

After reading some threads on Mandolin Cafe, I realized I had some favorite chords of my very own. I found that using, “TablEdit,” software I could share my chords, and have them be heard! TablEdit is a magnificent, and free resource allowing sheet music to be heard. A link is provided here to view my chords in the tabledit format. I also included simple image files of the sheet music so you can be the judge.

Some dominant sound ideas

The chord name is provided under the tabs

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The Mandolin of Levon Helm

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

Below is a video of me playing a riff in the likes of Levon Helm. Best know for his drumming and singing with The Band, Levon also contributed some fantastic mandolin work.

Enjoy! My advice is to take off running with this idea, just like all the others I have taught here. I call this, “making it your own.” Hints: This riff can be applied to many songs, songs in the key of E or over an A7 chord. This lesson is also a great practice for “double-stops,” and rhythm playing. The tabs are at the bottom of this post.


Intro and verse chords.

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Closed Position Major Scales

Sunday, November 11th, 2012

Below is a video where I show how one can play the major scale in any and all of the 12 keys. I show starting with an Eb major scale, followed by E and F. Where you start this pattern denotes which major scale you play through. The root of the scale is played by the index finger and then by the pinky in the next octave.

Starting with the first finger.

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The use of triplets, a useful trick

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012

Below is a video where I demonstrate a trick I have learned for implementing triplets.

Below is some sheet music and tabs for some Major scales as played on the mandolin. The G major scale and A major scale that are used in the above video are included.

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G licks for the Bluegrass Guitarist.

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

Below are some tabs for some nice G runs that sound great in bluegrass music. I will post a video of me playing them, even without that the tabledit software makes it capable to listen to the Midi. I have them split into four exercises I discuss in more detail below.

Clarence White influenced

Ex 1. I took this straight from Clarence White, it is also the beginning of Huckleberry Hornpipe. There is a nice pull-off, this run can be played with more left hand techniques like hammering on. Try to mix it up some to give it your own voice

Ex 2. Very similar to example one with a slight variation and a 2nd measure. After a quarter note pause you need to do some string skipping (going from an open G string to the A string fretted at Bb) so start this one at a slow tempo.

Ex 3. A “floatie” run having open strings vibrating against fretted notes. I found this particular riff myself, it sounds best over a G7. Left hand must stay out of the way of your high e string.

Ex 4. The third position is a fun one to play with in the key of G. 1st finger on the 3rd fret B string (D note) 3rd finger on the D string 5th fret (G note) with the open G string to drone under your 3rd finger. Experiment with it and trust your ear. Again, keep fingers from dampening open strings to give a full harp-like sound.

G licks audio

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Some tabs for major scales, lesson #1 for the beginner

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

Below is a video of my playing through some scales commonly used in mandolin music utilizing open strings.

G, C and D major

Pg.2

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