- Mar, pm#1Registered User
- Join Date
First post here. Though I have to admit i've been lurking for a couple of days
Probably not a GREAT first post, BUT i'm wondering. I have to pick up a couple songs on the mandolin pretty quickly for a show i'm going to be in. I've been playing the banjo for about two months now, and have played guitar for years, and i'm thinking
would it be possible for me to retune a mandolin to open G and play using chords I already know from that tuning?
Would I need a different set of string gauges than normally on a mando?
Thanks for any advice you guys can give! Hope to be around this forum a lot more in the future!
- Mar, pm#2
- Apr, pm#3
- Apr, pm#4Scroll Lock
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- Austin, Tx - some call it heaven
Re: Open G
I would encourage you to start by learning the two fingered mandolin chords.
That will most likely be close to half the chords you need, and many of the rest can be made with three fingers.
From there, simply work on the remainder of the chords needed for your particular set list.A quarter tone flat and a half a beat behind.
- Apr, pm#5Registered User
- Join Date
- Redwood City, CA
Re: Open G
Do yourself a favor from the outset: don't seek to learn to play the mandolin in open G tuning. Learn and play it in its regular tuning. If you can learn guitar in its regular tuning and 5-string banjo in its regular (open G) tuning, you can certainly learn to play a mandolin tuned to GDAE! And if you do, there will be a wealth of resources available to help you learn. Not so much with open G -- I don't know anyone who does that on a mandolin. A bit of extra effort early on will pay huge dividends later. Don't try to turn the mandolin into a banjo: it's not.
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- Apr, am#6but that's just me
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Re: Open G
Looking at the OP date and the number of OP's posts, I doubt if all your advice is even being read.the world is better off without bad ideas, good ideas are better off without the world
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By Wayne Erbsen
Compared to the guitar, mandolin chords are EASY. In fact, most mandolin chords only use two fingers or sometimes only one.
In the mandolin chord charts below, each horizontal line represents a pair of mandolin strings. The E string is the one closest to the floor, as you hold your mandolin in playing position, and the G string is closest to the ceiling. The numbers represent the fret. Be sure to place your fingers between, not on, the fret. The letter to the left of each chord chart tells you the name of that chord. The letters on the strings tell you the name of the note where you put your fingers. Each chord chart also tells you what fingers to use. An X means you dont play that string.
When youre making a chord, its essential that you go to the chord with both fingers landing on the strings at exactly the same time.
In the key of G, for example, you’ll normally need these three chords: G, C, D.
In the key of D, you’ll need D, G and A.
And in the key of C, you’ll need C, F and G.
For more on this, check out my article Easy Two Chord Mandolin Songs.
Wayne Erbsen has been teaching banjo, fiddle, guitar, and mandolin since dinosaurs roamed the earth (really, about 50 years). Originally from California, he now makes his home in Asheville, North Carolina. He has written 30 songbooks and instruction books for banjo, fiddle, guitar, and mandolin.
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FREE KEY OF G MANDOLIN CHORD CHART
This is a set of bluegrass style mandolin chords for the Key of G. Be sure to watch the free mandolin chord videos here too!
Back to chord chart index page.
I also invite you to consider this series of beginner video lessons. Thousands of people have learned to play chords and lead picking using these videos because they really work! Click on the image below to read about them and watch free demos:
Moveable Mandolin Chords
Moveable chords are a great way to expand your chord vocabulary on the mandolin. Thus opening up the fingerboard and enabling you to figure out many different chords. It can also help you to gain access to almost any key.
Any chord, or shape on the fingerboard can be made into a moveable chord as long as you understand where the root is, and you don’t play any open strings. However, there are a few popular moveable chords and shapes that we can take a look at.
Every chord is named after its root note. In the following diagrams, the root note is indicated in red.
Moveable Chords Shape 1
For discussion purposes, we’ll call this chord shape the “A-style”.
“A-style” moveable chord
As you can see, the root note for this chord shape is on the 4th string (the G string) of the mandolin.
If we place this chord on the fingerboard with our index finger (the red dot) on the second fret of the G-string, we get an “A” chord (as seen in the diagram) because the second fret of the 4th string is an A note.
So, the notes on the 4th string (the G-string) define, or name our chord.
Therefore, you can move the shape up and down the neck, naming the resulting chord after note fretted on the 4th string. If we move the whole shape down a fret, so that our index finger (the red dot) is on the first fret of the G-string, we’d have an “Ab” chord (or a “G#”). Also, if we slide it up so that the root is on the 3rd fret of the G-string, we get an “A#” (or a “Bb”).
• 4th fret – “B”
• 5th fret – “C”
• 6th fret – “C#” or “Db”
• 7th fret – “D”
• 8th fret – “D#” or “Eb”
• 9th fret – “E”
Variations to the A-style moveable chord
- A basic chord consists of the first (root), third and fifth of the scale.
- To get a minor chord we flat the third.
- We add a flatted 7th note to get a 7th chord (dominant 7th).
- If we want a minor 7th, then we flat the 3rd and add a flatted 7th.
- For a major 7th , we add the 7th note of the scale to the basic triad.
Each variation can be moved up or down the neck!
Variations for the A-style moveable mandolin chord.
Moveable Chords Shape 2
For discussion purposes, we’ll call this chord shape the “E-style”.
“E-style” moveable chord
As you can see, the root note for this chord shape is on the 3rd string (the D string). If we place this chord on the fingerboard with our index finger (the red dot) on the second fret of the D-string, we get an “E” chord.
With this shape, the notes on the 3rd string (D-string) define, or name the chord.
If we move the whole shape down a fret, so that our index finger (the red dot) is on the first fret of the D-string, then well have an “Eb” chord (or a “D#”). By sliding it up, so that the root is on the 3rd fret of the D-string, we get an “F”.
• 4th fret – “F#” or “Gb”
• 5th fret – “G”
• 6th fret – “G#” or “Ab”
• 7th fret – “A”
• 8th fret – “A#” or “Bb”
• 9th fret – “B”
Variations for the “E-style” moveable mandolin chord.
Moveable Chords Shape 3
We’ll call this shape the “D-style” moveable chord.
“D-style” moveable chord
As you can see, the root note for this chord shape is under our middle finger, on the 2nd string (the A string). As a result, the chord is named by the notes on the 2nd (A) string. If we place this chord on the fingerboard with our middle finger (the red dot) on the 5th fret of the A-string, then we get a “D” chord.
With this chord shape, the notes on the 2nd string define, or name our chord. We don’t usually want the 1st string to sound, so we try to mute the 1st string with the fleshy part of our index finger.
If we move this shape down 2 frets, so that our middle finger (the red dot) is on the third fret of the A-string, this will result in a “C” chord. If we slide it up one fret from there, so that the root is on the 4th fret of the A-string we end up with a “C#” (or a “Db”).
• 5th fret – “D”
• 6th fret – “D#” or “Eb”
• 7th fret – “E”
• 8th fret – “F”
• 9th fret – “F#” or “Gb”
• 10th fret – “G”
Variations for the “D-style” moveable chord.
Here is another variation. It’s a bit of a stretch for the fingers, but it frets the 1st string. Because its used as a chop chord, it’s one you should work on.
“D-style” chop chord.
Moveable Chords Shape 4
Well refer to the next chord shape as the “G-style”.
Chord shape for a “G-style” moveable chord.
As you can see, the root note for this chord shape is under our middle finger, on the 1st string (the E string). So, if we place this moveable shape on the fingerboard with our middle finger (the red dot) on the 3rd fret of the E-string, we get a “G” chord.
Because the root is on the E-string, the notes on the 1st string define, or name the chord.
We don’t usually want the 4th string to sound, so we try to mute the 4th string with the fleshy part at the base of the thumb.
Moving the shape down a fret, so that our middle finger (the red dot) is on the second fret of the E-string, results in a “Gb” chord. Also, if we slide it up so that the root is on the 4th fret of the E-string we get an “G#” or “Ab”.
• 5th fret – “A”
• 6th fret – “A#” or “Bb”
• 7th fret – “B”
• 8th fret – “C”
• 9th fret – “C#” or “Db”
• 10th fret – “D”
Variations for the “G-style” moveable chord.
Here is another variation that frets the 4th string. This is the common “G-style” chop chord and it’s definitely one you should learn.
“G-style” chop chord.
Mandolin g on
This is the second installment of a series of articles designed to help those at the beginner/intermediate level learn mandolin chords, as they would apply to each given key. Here we are covering the key of G in this article. So let’s get started with the basic chords in the key of G.
The Basic chords in the key of G Chart 1
Now let me explain the chord charts in case you don’t understand them. They represent the mandolin's neck, as you would look at it sideways. From right to left are the four (pairs of) strings of the mandolin and the horizontal lines represent the frets. Got it? Good. Each finger is represented by a number from , with 1 being the index finger, 2 being the middle finger, 3 being the ring finger and 4 being the pinky. The "0" means that the string isn’t fretted, just plucked. Whenever you see a line connecting the dots, it means that all of the dots are pressed down by the same finger. Which is called "barring" the chord. Simplified: one finger lays across the strings. Above, I’ve shown the basic chords for the key of G. Below are some additional chords that I refer to as substitute chords.
Some substitute chords for the key of G Chart 2
In chart 2, I have listed what are called substitute chords. Let’s say you played the first chords listed in chart 1, in the order that they were listed. For the G major chord, you can substitute a G major 7th chord. The A minor chord can be replaced by the A minor 7th chord. The same is true for each of the remaining. Play them. Has a jazzy ring to it, doesn’t it? Some people refer to substitute chords as orchestral chords but it doesn’t matter. A rose by any other name still has a thorn. I’ve included additional substitute chords so that you can improve your chordal vocabulary. You’ll be the life of the party and the envy of all your peers. You will be on your way to achieving greatness. The sky is the limit. Let’s move on to some more substitute chords.
So now we’ll close by saying that we hope you will find this article useful in the process of learning mandolin chords. If there is something you think we should add, just send a letter or E-mail and we’ll be happy to give your suggestions some consideration. We covered 20 chords in this lesson and in each future installment we’ll cover 20 more. So keep on playing and we’ll see you next time.
Next installment: The key of F
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