Mandolin Beginner

Mandolin Beginner: Week #3


1st finger first fret string one 8 times with alternate picking, repeat 8 times for fingers 2-4.  Repeat the whole process on strings 2-4


Your new strum is labeled on the chart.  Remember to practice 4 times daily with last week’s strum as well.  Also please spend time with each new chord voicing— play one note at a time a few times each day until they feel natural to you.  For this week leave out the 3rd finger note on string 4.

Chord Practice 3 (PDF)

Ginger DoldenComment
Mandolin Beginner: Week #2

TUNING: If you missed this week’s Snark tutorial take a look at the video below to get started tuning your mandolin!  Remember to check tuning every time you practice.

String one fret one: quarter quarter, fret two same rhythm, fret three same. Repeat fora a total of 4 times, then repeat the whole process on strings two, three, and four.

I  IV  V  (remember what that means?)  as played in “Bury Me Beneath the Willow” by the Carter Family.  The song repeats on this chart, so play the whole page twice a day.  Also try these chord changes with a down up down up down strum: short-short-short-short-long beats.

Bury Me Beneath the Willows (PDF)
D Chord (PDF)


Ginger DoldenComment
Mandolin Beginner: Week #1

Hello class!  

So great to meet all of you yesterday!  I’m really excited to cover some fun music with you over this session.  Please take a look at the diagram of of parts of your instrument— we will have a short quiz on this next lesson.  Tuning from bass string to high string is G D A E. Remember to schedule 10-15 minutes of practice time each day.  

First our tune and a brief description— Bill Monroe’s "Southern Flavor”

Over his 50 year career, Bill Monroe made an indelible mark on American music.  As the founding father of bluegrass music he invented the sound of the bluegrass mandolin as well as the role of each instrument typically used in a bluegrass ensemble.  He wrote and/or recorded an extensive list of bluegrass, gospel, blues and country standards and has been covered by hundreds of artists to come after him.  His influence and importance can’t be overstated, and I strongly recommend exploring what we now call “Monroe-style” mandolin.


ou should practice your finger exercises and chord practice each day!

Finger exercise #1:
Start with a careful set-up of playing position: your back should be straight and your shoulders open but relaxed.  The mandolin rests on the right leg with the neck raising up slightly toward the left shoulder.  Your right forearm rests on top of the instrument to hold it firmly against your rib cage and the neck rests on the first finger of your left hand (remember to "shake the hand" of your instrument).

Now pluck the E string with your pick in a downward motion several times as follows: 1st finger/2nd fret — 2nd finger/4th fret — 3rd finger/6th fret.

Chord Practice # 1

After setting up your instrument with proper playing posture, fret your G chord as depicted above, making sure that each finger is just behind the fret and on it's finger tip.  Play each string of the chord one at a time then give it a few strums.  Repeat for the C chord.

After a few days you can start to move the G chord shape to the C shape, strumming each one a few times each before repeating a few times.

 Remember to bring a Snark tuner to next week’s tuning tutorial!



Ginger DoldenComment