Bruce Bernhart's Mandolin Lessons One and Two
-A Brief Background on the Mandolin:
Mandolins have a long history, and much early music was written for
them. In the first half of the 20th century, they enjoyed a period of
great popularity in Europe and the Americas as an easier approach to
playing string music. Many professional and amateur mandolin groups and
orchestras were formed to play light classical string repertory. Just
as this practice was falling into disuse, the mandolin found a new
niche in American county, old-time music, bluegrass, and folk music. More recently, the Baroque and classical mandolin repertory and styles have benefited from the raised awareness of and interest in early music. Tremolo and fingerpicking methods are used while playing a mandolin.
#1-- Know how to tune the mandolin- E-A-D-G, high string to low string.
- Tuning is often done with the A strings first
especially in sessions. Each of the other courses can be tuned up or
down to get them in pitch.
- Get a reliable 'A' from other instruments
and tune the second strings to it. Often necessary to tune to the fixed
pitch instruments such as the reeds (accordian, melodeon or concertina)
- Hold the second strings down on the 7th fret, and they sound an E. Adjust the first strings until they sounds the same.
- Hold the third strings down on the 7th fret, and they sound an A. Adjust the third
strings until they sound the same as the second.
- Hold the fourth strings down on the 7th fret, and they sound an D. Adjust the fourth strings until they sound the same as the third.
- It is often easier to tune one string of a course, and then tune the other one to it.
buy an electronic tuner and tune each string using the indicator on the
tuner. This is best done in a quiet envionment unless you have a
pick-up on the mandolin or a clip on mic which you can plug into the
Be sure you are holding the pick correctly with your right hand, between thumb and index finger, resting on last joint of your finger with pick point pointed toward the strings. You do not want to hold the pick in such a way that it is extending out from the tip of your finger.
the other course and remaining strings as you tune with an electronic
tuner since the ringing of the other strings sometimes confuses it.
- Tune frequently (before you start to play each session).
you tune, if you take the string too sharp, tune flat again and tune up
to the note. (Tuning down has a tendency for it to slip flat a little
further as you play.)
- Change the strings regularly, and change them in sets.
Are you "cradling the neck" with your left hand? Rest it between thumb and index finger.
Practice fingering your G chord and your A chord. See charts in lesson book. Remember- no dead notes!
#2-- Whole steps and half steps, sharps and flats.
Know your notes: Fifth fret- A/D/G/C
Know: A whole step up is two frets, and a half step up is one fret
Know: Sharps are one fret higher and flats are one fret lower
Scale is repeated at the 12th fret.
Know your notes: Third fret, high to low: G-C-F-Bb. Fifth fret, high to low: A-D-G-C. Seventh Fret, high to low: B-E-A-D.
Know the the C major scale and learn these notes on the mandoin:
Here is what a one-octave ‘C’ major scale looks like on a piano keyboard (notes in red):
A note on harmony
Wikpedia describes harmony as the study of vertical sonorities in music. Vertical sonority refers to considering the relationships between pitches that occur together; usually this means at the same time, although harmony can also be implied by a melody that outlines a harmonic structure.
Watch for more websites on scales and chord construction!
Thank you for visiting the Bruce Bernhart Mandolin Websites!
Be sure to visit the other Bruce Bernhart Mandolin Websites:
Bruce Bernhart mandolin rock tabs
Bruce Bernhart mandolin lessons- common scales
Bruce Bernhart on buying and setting up your new mandolin
Bruce Bernhart mandolin lessons- tuning
Bruce Bernhart mandolin lessons- chord patterns
Bruce Bernhart on mandolin history and basic chord structures
Bruce Bernhart on string and saddle adjustment
Bruce Bernhart more tuning tips and whole/half steps
Bruce Bernhart on more chord patterns
Bruce Bernhart on the mandolin family
Bruce Bernhart on mandolin bluegrass chords and patterns
Bruce Bernhart on temperature considerations
Bruce Bernhart lessson on mandolin flats and sharps
Bruce Bernhart lesson on scales, circle of 5ths and meter
Bruce Bernhart on triads, gears
Bruce Bernhart mandolin chord diagrams
Bruce Bernhart on modern emergence of the mandolin
Bruce Bernhart on simple chords
Bruce Bernhart on whole and half-note steps on the mandolin
Bruce Bernhart mandolin practice excercises
Bruce Bernhart on playing waltzes
Bruce Bernhart on majors, minors and sevenths
Be sure to also check out the Bruce Bernhart RV Websites:
Solar power for your RV
The care and feeding of your RV battery
The sport of "geocaching" and RV refrigeration basics
The basics of RV power inversion
RV travel tips and tire care
Advanced discussion on power inversion
Tips on buying a house battery and cold weather maintenance
RV Insurance basics
Buying the right generator for your RV and portable power
RV television reception options
Care and maintenance of the RV air conditioner
Top RV destinations
RV long-term supplies and weight considerations
RV Insurance- Road protection and bodily injury coverage
RV battery types and winter charging considerations
Deep cycle battery basics