A mandolin chop chord is any chord that frets at least three strings
you to either fret or mute the 4th string. This allows you to strum the
chord and either let it ring or immediately relax the left hand chopping
off the sound of the chord. In 4/4 time you would strum and let it ring
on the 1 and 3 beats and chop on the 2 and 4 beats. The result will be
a boom chuck boom chuck boom chuck boom chuck. It makes a nice rhythm
that is easy to dance to and seems to lift the tune.
Don't worry if you can't do it at first. One thing about music
is always something else to learn.
I would suggest learning a tune that you are already familiar with the
melody. Learn to play the melody, then learn to play the chords for it.
Try to pick a tune that other's will know, like 'bile them cabbage down
or a very common tune called Soldiers Joy. It is usually done in D. It
is played in Bluegrass and Old Timey, also at contra dances, so most
every one will know it.
Also, when you start learning the chords, you can usually forget about
the numbers along side of them. Just play the major chord instead of
the 7th. It will sound ok and you can learn the 7th later, besides, the
guitar player is probably playing the 7th anyway.
For the key of D, learn the D, G and A chords. One thing that is very
handy about these chords is, If you learn them, you can slide them
toward the nut two frets and you will be playing in C. Slide the
towards the bridge two frets, and you can play in E. Three frets F five
frets and you can play in G. Up two more frets, so your index finger is
on the 12th fret and you will be playing in A. (people will be
surprised that you are playing up the neck so soon.)
Here are the chords for the key of D, G and C. (The colors represent
the normal chords used in a particular key or position)
|D Chord (slide this towards the headstock two frets
and it is a C. Slide it two frets toward the bridge and it is an E.)
(M or DP = mute or don't play this string)
|_____________5__________________ M or DP
|A Chord (Slide this
two frets towards the headstock and it is a G. Slide it one fret
towards the bridge and it is a B.)
|_________________________________9 _ M or DP
|_______________________7___________ M or DP
|Alternate G chord (This
form is very handy for playing melody up the neck.)
|Alternate G chord (Traditional Bluegrass G
chord formation, usually used to play in G.. Slide it up two and
have an A.)
|Alternate D chord. This one is real handy
if you are playing in G.
|_____________3_____________________ M or DP
|__1_____________________________ Or M or DP
|__________________________________ M or DP
|Dm (I tend to use only double or triple stops
out of this formation)
|E coming from Am.
|Note: If the music calls for a 7th chord, you play a standard chord. e.g. G can be substituted for a G7, D for D7, A for A7, etc. Also, if it calls for a minor chord, you can play the relative major. D for Bm, C for Am, G for Em, A for F#m. These chords will not clash with other instruments playing the minor chord. In fact it usually make for a fuller sound and the combination becomes a 6th chord. i.e. G and Em played together by two different instruments gives the sound of a G6 chord.|
|G chord double stops. These are notes in the G chord. Any two of them played together will be a G chord double stop. (Two strings played as a chord)|
fret board and G chord arpegios on it
G B D G B
B D G B D
D G B D G
G B D G B D
|Note that the patterns repeat after the12 fret.|