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About This Course

Learn to play solos to any bluegrass song in any key with Sharon's intermediate-level method for learning the fingerboard, based on arpeggios, chop-chord shapes, and double stops.



Sharon Gilchrist has long made her home in the American acoustic music scene. Whether she’s playing mandolin, thumpin’ the upright bass, singing a traditional ballad, or performing one of her original pieces, her music is steeped in traditional Appalachian sounds, delivered with a distinct spacious, graceful, and fiery style all her own. Sharon has performed with Darol Anger, Peter Rowan and Tony Rice Quartet, Uncle Earl, Laurie Lewis and the Right Hands, the Kathy Kallick Band, and many others. She is also a respected mandolin teacher and has taught at music camps throughout the US.

Watch the video above to get a taste of what you’ll learn in Sharon Gilchrist’s Bluegrass Mandolin Fingerboard Method.

Sample Bluegrass Mandolin Fingerboard Method Lesson

I’ll Fly Away, Part 2: Harmonizing the Melody with Double Stops

In this video, Sharon shows you how to harmonize the melody of “I’ll Fly Away” with double stops. With Notation/Tab

Peghead Play-Along Tracks

Peghead Nation is creating a library of accompaniment videos (and downloadable MP3s) for songs and tunes that are taught on the site, classics that you'll find at many jams and picking parties. As a subscriber, you have access to this library and can use the tracks to practice playing tunes and songs at a slow or medium tempo with guitar accompaniment. New songs will be added regularly. 

Bluegrass Mandolin Fingerboard Method Lessons

A subscription to Bluegrass Mandolin Fingerboard Method includes:

  • An easy to learn method for learning the fingerboard so you can play in any key
  • Melody-based solos for popular bluegrass songs
  • New lessons added every month
  • Extensive right- and left-hand technique lessons
  • Notation and tab provided for all lessons
  • High-quality video with multiple camera angles so you can see close-ups of both hands in action
  • Play-Along videos so you can practice what you’ve learned
  • Downloadable audio MP3s of each tune

Get started now! Use promo code “SharonLand” at checkout and get your first month free or $20 off an annual subscription. Subscribe to Intermediate Bluegrass Mandolin today for access to all of these bluegrass mandolin lessons.


  • Intro to the Bluegrass Mandolin Fingerboard Method, Part 1: The L Shape Sharon talks about the basic concept of her Bluegrass Mandolin Fingerboard Method, which teaches intermediate bluegrass mandolin players how to walk into jam sessions and play solos to any bluegrass song in any key. The method uses shapes and patterns that you may already be familiar with, but Sharon shows you how to use those patterns (chords, scales, and double stops) in different places on the neck and construct melody-based solos from them. She starts by explaining “the L shape,” a concept Sharon got from mandolinist John Moore that gives visual representation to the roots of the I, IV, and V chords on the fingerboard.
  • Intro to the Bluegrass Mandolin Fingerboard Method, Part 2: Arpeggios Sharon shows you how to use the L shape to easily find arpeggios for the I, IV, and V chords in the key of D: D, G, A. She gives you a couple of exercises to help you practice moving between the arpeggios of the D, G, A chords.
  • Intro to the Bluegrass Mandolin Fingerboard Method, Part 3: Double Stops Once you know the arpeggios based on the L shape, you can easily find double stops to harmonize the melodies of the songs you’re playing. Sharon shows you two handy double stops in the L shape for D, G, and A, and gives you a couple exercises using them.
  • Intro to the Bluegrass Mandolin Fingerboard Method, Part 4: Simple I–IV–V Solo Sharon gives you a simple solo to play using the L-shape double stops, arpeggios, and scales you’ve learned for D, G, and A.

BLUEGRASS SONGS After learning the basics of playing arpeggios, scales and double stops using the L shape, it’s time to put the concept to use on some songs.

  • I’ll Fly Away Learn to play a solo on the bluegrass/folk/gospel standard “I’ll Fly Away” in the key of D. Sharon gives you advice on finding the melody of the song you want to build a solo for, and shows you the basic melody and chords of the verse and chorus of “I’ll Fly Away.” Then she shows you how to harmonize the melody with double stops, using the “short” and “long” double stops you’ve already learned. She also shows you a couple of simple “kickoffs,” one for the verse and one for the chorus.
  • Nine Pound Hammer The song “Nine Pound Hammer” is one of the most popular bluegrass jam songs, and is played in a few different keys. The version you’ll learn here is in the key of D, so Sharon starts by reminding you of the L shapes, arpeggio patterns, and double stops in the key of D. Then she walks you through the melody and chords of the verse and chorus of “Nine Pound Hammer”and shows you how to add double stops to the basic melody. She also shows you a typical Bill Monroe ending lick and gives you advice on practicing the solo in different keys. 
  • I’m on My Way Back to the Old Home “I’m on My Way Back to the Old Home” is a bluegrass standard, written by Bill Monroe. You’ll learn the melody and a basic double-stop solo in the key of D. Before showing you the melody, Sharon reminds you of the “L shape” in the key of D and arpeggios for D, G, and A. Then she shows you how to create a simple solo to “I’m on My Way Back to the Old Home” with a kickoff and double stops.
  • Will the Circle Be Unbroken “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” comes from the Carter Family and is one of the most well-known bluegrass and old-time country songs. As with the last couple of lessons, you’ll learn to create a melody-based solo to “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” in the key of D using the L shapes, arpeggios, and double stops.
  • Long Journey Home The bluegrass standard “Long Journey Home” comes from the Monroe Brothers: Bill Monroe and his brother Charlie, and was recorded by them in 1936. You’ll learn it here in the key of G using the same shapes you’ve been using in the key of D, but over a string. Sharon explains how to move everything you’ve learned so far to the key of G, showing you where the roots, arpeggios, and double stops are. After showing you the chords and basic melody of “Long Journey Home,” she walks you a through a double-stop solo.

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