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!
If you have questions about the course or a specific lesson, or want to request a lesson from your instructor, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org
Comments and Discussion
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.
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.
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 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,
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?
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!!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Keep up the good work.
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.
Great course, very enjoyable learning experience
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.
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
Tnx for putting this course together!
Editor and Co-Founder
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!
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.
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..
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
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