Instructors: Aaron Weinstein

Welcome to Chord Melody Mandolin

Sponsored By

by Aaron Weinstein
May 27, 2019

Hello wonderful people (I know you're wonderful because you're here, interested in chord melody on the mandolin).  Welcome to my course where we're going to demystify the world of chord melody and learn some accessible and user friendly chord melody arrangements.  I'm here for you, so please feel free to write in with any questions and/or requests for repertoire and concepts you'd like covered in future lessons. I look forward to hearing from you!

- Aaron

Chord Melody Mandolin course page


Tags: Mandolin, Jazz, Swing
Category: Instructor Blog

Questions About Your Course?

If you have questions about the course or a specific lesson, or want to request a lesson from your instructor, you can email instructors@pegheadnation.com

Comments and Discussion

Posted by jsmun@telus.net on
Thanks so much for this course. I am learning so much, and it is very clearly presented.
Posted by david84808@gmail.com on
Aaron, I really enjoyed the FaceBook live yesterday, especially the arrangement of Don't Like Goodbyes.
Posted by slowburnballoon@gmail.com on
Really enjoying this so far Aaron, thank you! Deed I Do is a great start by being sophisticated enough to be interesting but also obtainable.
Posted by alambertr@cableone.net on
I like the way this is building with the intros adding layers to the learning.
Posted by alambertr@cableone.net on
This series is putting a smile on my face as big as a bowtie. ;} Thanks, Aaron and PHN for bringing this challenging material to us.
Aaron would you mind saying what gauge strings you use when you play the 4 string Johnny Gimble set up on your Red Diamond? Is it just half of a STD elixir set? I have a spare Mando I have been trying set this up on. Getting the C string right has been a real problem. I gave up for a while. Your set sounds great on you tube. I have been listening to you for a couple of years. I laugh a your drole waggish jokes so..."Help me he pleaded".
Along with the other excellent song suggestions here I would like to see Lime House Blues, Shadow of your Smile, Back Home in Indiana, and Lady B Goode. But I'll take anything you offer gladly.
It looks like you have put a lot of thought and effort into this course. I am prepared to actively listen to the concepts you want to teach.

Regards, AL
Posted by Scottnyg on
Hi Bob,
Glad you're enjoying Aaron's course. You can change the playback speed on the videos to 1/2 or 3/4 speed using the little tool wheel in the lower right-hand corner of the video window. You can also download the MP3 of Aaron's Play-Along Track and use it with a slowdowner to practice at whatever speed you want. As for iRealPro, there is a version of Deed I Do in the Jazz 1300 collection, and you can use Aaron's Lead Sheet and the iRealPro editor to change the chords to match Aaron's version.
Hope this helps.
Best,
Scott Nygaard
Peghead Nation
Posted by bobdriz@comcast.net on
AARON--My first lesson with you, Deed I Do, love the lesson, your teaching technique and the PDF notes. I picked this tune up fairly fast and the play-along track is good, but it would be very helpful to have a backing track where a student could adjust the tempo. I went back to your playing the tune at the start of the first lesson, but that's a bit too fast for me right now. How about a iReal Pro file for each of the tunes you teach?

Bob
Posted by Scottnyg on
Here's a question from a student that Aaron wanted to share:

Aaron
I noticed from your intro lesson you use your “pinky” fingwr quite alot
moreso than may other styles, so here’s my question.
sadly my Pinky on my left hand was injured years ago such that it wont quite
straighten out. It had made four finger Monroe style chording a bit hard in
first and second position, beyond that, not so much.

But here’s the thing, being an older guy, I love the stiff you play, Swing, Gig Band,
20’s thru 40’s stuff and would love to try learning it. But I’d like to know
if, having made mention of the baby finger, would I be, in your opinion wasting my time
and money on a style I’ll never be able to really play?

Thanks,
Alan

----------------------
Hi Alan,

Thanks so much for writing. The short answer is, NO!!! Don't Stop! Don't even think about it!! Here's the thing. Many of us have finger issues of one kind or another. And while it's true that I extensively use my pinky, that's more about the way that Im comfortable playing. Its by no means, a comment on what's needed to play this music.

A few things to consider: in many instances, the notes I play with my pinky can be played with your ring finger. Of course, there ARE instances when I am playing 4 note chords. And in those instances, the pinky would need to be used (if you want to play that exact voicing-more on that in the last paragraph).

Perhaps there is a way to gain partial use of your pinky. That's something that I can't answer over email. But it is often said that style is defined by limitation. Any time I hear of someone with left hand finger issues, I think about Django Reinhardt--a guy who had essentially two working fingers on his left hand. Now, could he play voicings that would require four fingers? Well, no. But do we care? Well, no. Cause we are too busy listening (in awe) of what he DID play. It's all to say that we all have challenges. Part of the fun of playing is finding ways to make beautiful music despite though perceived deficits.

So again, you ABSOLUTELY can play this music!! Pinky be damned.

Also keep in mind, any place where I'm playing a 4 note chord, there is almost always a way to reduce it to a 3 note chord while maintaining the "chord sound" we're after. In fact, it might even sound more appealing.

Wishing you all the very best,
Aaron
Posted by Aaron Weinstein on
Re: pick strokes, I’m hesitant to state any kind of blanket statement. But like with everything, it’s important to be conscious of what you’re doing and in this case, pick the strings in the way you really intend (rather than just letting your right hand do the thinking for you). I’d suggest experimenting with different picking combos and seeing how it affects the sound and feel of your playing. Obviously a downstroke is always going to be stronger than an upstroke (we have gravity helping us out). Every player has a different style of picking and it’s interesting to take a look at what works for others. The great jazz guitarist, George Barnes played essentially all down strokes. And his rhythmic attack was profound. I know this isn’t a simple answer. But that’s cause there isn’t a simple answer, which is part of what makes this so much fun!! Happy picking!!
Posted by athamm2@comcast.net on
Oh Aaron Thanks so much for such a delightful course. You make it appear so do able and I really love the way you hold your instrument as well. As for me a volunteer came offering unsuspecting me 30 minute sessions of Rieki I was told that she had healing energy flowing from her hands as she would lay her hands on my body. Upon my research after a second session I learned it’s considered pseudoscientific healing and is banned in Catholic hospitals! She had ended her last session with a massage of my hands and knees with her fingers feeling like metal and it hurt. I have done away with her and any power healing. I am trying to get my hands better as best I can. I am going to check with my nurse to see if she broke the one left hand finger. Hahaha I lead such an exciting life in my recliner. I love this new jazz tune and will do as you suggest taking it phrase at a time. You are really encouraging dear! Thanks so much. Ann Thamm
Posted by jimreineke@me.com on
HI Aaron,

I noticed that on the alternative A part of I Got Rhythm when you articulate the chord by playing the melody note first and then the chord, you play the melody note with an up stroke on the beat and then a down stroke after the beat. That varies from the down-up-down-up pattern. Could you talk a bit about pick strokes and general approaches to them in jazz?
Posted by Aaron Weinstein on
Ann, I've not used any creams or such. However, getting the fingers ready to play is very helpful, and if you feel that some kind of cream or lotion makes a difference, definitely do what works for you. Before playing I do some basic finger stretches away from the fretboard (you can find all sorts of ideas on YouTube). Also, first thing in the morning I play for a few minutes on the mandolin, aiming to prepare the fingers for "work" (e.g. making sure they are ready to reach whatever I might want them to).

Zachariah, I'm glad to hear that you're learning these arrangements on the mandola. I love the sound of the instrument and in fact, have an electric 4-string mandolin that I've tuned as a mandola. It sounds an awful lot like a guitar which I really like. All the bass motion is that much more pronounced when there's a C string involved. Enjoy!!
Posted by Michael Hatton on
Hi Aaron, I have a suggestion please. Give our study group advance notice on which song you are choosing for the next lesson, what's the source (performer for ex) you are using, and in which key you are going to teach the song in. That way, we can go to the source (written format, you-tube etc) and do some pre-study on our own in order to familiarize our brains with the basic melody and chord changes in advance of your lesson.
Also, if you can start each lesson with the basic melody and chord structure of the song, we can then refer back to that section of your video as a reference.
Thanks, Mike
Posted by jones.zachariah@gmail.com on
Hi Aaron,

Thank you for deciding to create this course. I am translating your ideas to mandola. That low C sounds real nice on "Deed I Do." "Nice and Dandy" is real challenging. Looking forward to more lessons!

PS: I use a product called "Fast Fret," on my strings. It is basically mineral oil (with a dash of perfume lol.) It allows me to keep a set of strings for a few months, as I use regular phospher bronze d'addarios. Also, keeps my fingers gliding along, no sticking dryness.

Zachariah Jones
Posted by athamm2@comcast.net on
I am wondering if you ever apply any cream or lotion to your hands previous to playing your instrument to limber up the fingers I read somewhere to apply a pain cream a half an hour before practicing. Can’t remember what cream however. I am having a little trouble getting my middle finger to cooperate because of my arthritis. However will continue to work with it hoping that it will loosen up. Might have a chord missing a note hahaha! Thanks Ann
Posted by DR.RHETTCOOK@GMAIL.COM on
To athamm2@comcast.net,

Your comment is very moving. I am a physician, and I tell my patients "quality time is the only currency that matters, so spend it wisely." Your family will cherish them memories your record for the for many many years.

-RC
Posted by athamm2@comcast.net on
Aaron I just want to tell you how wonderful your lessons have been for me. I am now ninety years old and am enjoying studying music so much that I don’t give one thought about not really having much more time with my guitar and mandolin that I have bought in these last twenty months of being00 in hospice. honestly I am hoping that the lord will continue to wait until I get a a few happy and joyous tunes my sons and grandchildren will be able to listen to and remember what fun it was. I go over all your materials many times and you make it easy for me. I do not know music and am also trying to learn notation. My life now is in my recliner listening to and learning all about music. Thanks Aaron for all of your part in this. Pegheadnation I feel that the lord led me to you. I have signed up vand each new month has possibilities perfect and so sweet!
Posted by Tedrath56@aol.com on
Really enjoying learning new chords and putting a name to them It’s like starting all over again which isn’t a bad thing. I’d love to learn Somewhere over the rainbow. Thanks
Posted by Scottnyg on
New lessons will go up every month, generally on or around the 1st of the month.

Scott Nygaard
Peghead Nation
Posted by jge@hughes.net on
When will there be more lessons? Thanks
Posted by Aaron Weinstein on
Hi Everyone!

Thanks so much for your questions and positive comments about the course. I'm thrilled you're enjoying it so much. I appreciate the repertoire suggestions as well and I'll definitely keep that in mind for our next round of lessons.

Re: questions about set-up, I think you should set up your instrument so it sounds good (no matter what style of music you're playing) and...most importantly, is comfortable for your hands. Then, it's up to your fingers to play in the style. In other words, I don't think there's a specific set up or specific picks or specific strings that are most conducive to playing Jazz. I can't tell you how many times I've seen Bucky Pizzarelli or Frank Vignola play on someone else's instrument and...yep, they sound just like themselves. It really is all in the fingers. To answer the question about action, mine is pretty standard.

With all that said, I do think it's still worthwhile to experiment with new picks and strings every now and then just to see what's out there. You might discover something that sounds better or is more comfortable than your current set up.
Posted by ystern.net@gmail.com on
Hi Aaron, I have the same question as Claude regarding the gauge of strings or is it more likely, that I'll need to strengthen my pinky.
Keep up the good work.
Yair.
Posted by mgromkey@gmail.com on
Hi, Aaron,

Thank you so much for doing this course. One of my goals for the year was to pick up some jazz vocabulary. Can’t tell you how many times I have tried that over they years without getting anywhere. Thank you for putting together a coherent, very well dissected and digestible lesson. The scores are excellent and the discussion about the hows and whys are valuable. I look forward to more. (How frequently will there be new lessons?) I hope you will discuss *how* you take a melody and come up with the chords to fit the melody. I say this as someone who has never until now knowingly played a Gm6 or a C7b9. As for repertoire, I’ll second “Sweet Georgia Brown” and anything from the gypsy jazz genre — the sort of things that makes a Monroe/fiddle tune player like me put the mandolin back in the case when they come up a jams or sessions.

Warm regards,

Mike
Posted by bellamy@bmts.com on
Just a quick note..the 2nd chord on the deed I do Chord Melody page 1(C7), shows a 214x fingering. The video has Aaron using a 213x fingering....much easier than the chart.
Great course, very enjoyable learning experience
Posted by posey@oldcitymillwork.com on
Excellent! Thank you, Aaron. Really enjoyed the first tune, and looking forward to the next. Great notation too. Song ideas: Blue Skies, Moonglow, After You're Gone, In a Mellotone, Here's That Rainy Day, Stardust, Skylark.
Posted by benjaminlevy1945@gmail.com on
Hi Aaron,
Since you mentioned that we could request repertoire, I suggest the following tunes:
All of Me, Autumn Leaves, Black Orpheus, and Sweet Georgia Brown. These are tunes that I play on the violin and so would be interested in learning chord melody on the mandolin.
Thanks,
Ben
Posted by hallaquitania@gmail.com on
Hi Aaron,

I had taken over a year long break from mandolin to play jazz chord melody on guitar, Your course has brought me back to Peghead Nation and my mandolin. I bought your Mandolin Chord Melody System a couple of years ago but was distracted from finishing it. It's much nicer to seeing you demonstrate your playing style on video. I am looking forward to learning more songs. Some suggestions: My one and only love, Someday my prince will come, Moonlight in Vermont, Misty, and your version of Somewhere Over the Rainbow. Thanks! Don
Posted by hatton@buffalo.edu on
Wow! I echo Ben's comments...just what I needed in my bluegrass and celtic mando life!
Tnx for putting this course together!
Mike
Posted by Scottnyg on
Glad you're all enjoying the course. John, the "lead sheet" included in the Notation and Tablature downloads, shows the tune's basic melody and chord changes.

Scott Nygaard
Editor and Co-Founder
Peghead Nation
Posted by jwalsh@pvcc.edu on
Hi Aaron;

Am loving your course, especially your explaining the why’s of what you do and the options for alterations. Glad that your lessons are more than just ‘play this then play this’! How about including a page of each tune’s melody? If I am not familiar with a tune, the chords may hide the actual melody. By all means
keep ‘me coming!

John
Posted by benjaminlevy1945@gmail.com on
Hello Aaron.
This is just the course I have been wanting to take! Your teaching is very clear with a logical progression. You have come along at the right time in my mandolin life.
Many thanks,
Ben Levy
Posted by athamm2@comcast.net on
Hi! Just wanted to let you know that I think this class
Is going to be Terrific ! I don’t know how good I will
Get to be at this but I surely am going to work at
making chordal melodies even if they are only mine..
Posted by DR.RHETTCOOK@GMAIL.COM on
Very excited. Haven't played Mandolin in years, didn't even own one. Bought one just to take this course.

-RC
Posted by claudemeyer4@gmail.com on
Hello Aaron . My first question is very basic: I play an eastman F5. What is your advise on setup for this style.?
It seems that you like very low action. But what brand and gauge of strings do you prefer ? And I suppose that pick is almost important ?
By advance , many Thanks
Claude
Posted by rustyshackleford356@gmail.com on
Made it through the basic video, excited to start 'Deed I Do' this weekend. Thanks for this course!
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