Mandolin Chords--Widgetized

Classical chord shapes

As soon as I put the banjo stuff out there where folks could find it, I got an e-mail from a mandolin expert suggesting the same kind of thing for that instrument.

Big thanks to Ross Cherednik for this idea; Ross is a retired mathematician,former college professor, musician, teacher and all-around renaissance guy out in Washington State. He's written several instruction books for mandolin, ukelele, and who knows what else, that you can still get from Mel Bay Publishing.

Ross' idea was to take what he calls the "classical" chord shapes, and display those on a picture of the Fiddlewidget display, so the scale degrees are easily seen. That way you can see which notes you need to move around to make those minors, 7ths, and all the other chord forms.

These are all "covered" chords, just like the banjo examples, meaning all the strings are fretted so you can just move the shapes up and down the neck wherever you need to, to get the chord you want. You can use the Fiddlewidget to help locate these shapes for any chord, anywhere on the neck, until you get familiar enough with the process.

Here they are, shown for an A major chord:

A chord1 A chord1 A chord1

Starting at 2nd fret

Starting at 6th fret

Starting at 9th fret

As for the preferred fingering, Ross says "just bar the places where fingers are adjacent and use the easiest fingering beyond that".

That sounds easy enough; typically use the lower-numbered fingers on the lower-numbered frets and just figure out the easiest thing to do with the other notes you need. If you are looking for something beyond just the major chord, learn the rules for it from the table at the chords section and make the easiest adjustment. Then you can make this 7th, minor, diminished or whatever, for any chord in this position.

Here's a few of my interpretations of all this, going from the three basic chord positions to make minors and 7ths. I'm not enough of a mando player to go much beyond this, but it will give you some ideas.

A chord fingering 1 A chord fingering 2 A chord fingering 3

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