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Thread: Best Way to Practice Moveable Chords???

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    Registered User Sherry Cadenhead's Avatar
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    Default Best Way to Practice Moveable Chords???

    I attended an acoustic gospel jam yesterday with a friend who has played mandolin well for years. Afterwards I asked for suggestions for improving my skills. She indicated I should learn "all the chord shapes" so I can play in any key. I do know the movable shapes, but freak out when a tune is in any key other than G, C, D, A or F. Is there a systematic way to practice, say, just the I, IV, V(7) chords in different keys so as to get the hang of those before moving on?

    I like the idea of playing along with recorded music, and could actually do that in different keys at Musicnotes.com now that I think about it, although I would only be able to play the preview page.

    Other suggestions?

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    Default Re: Best Way to Practice Moveable Chords???

    Iím no help ha
    Last edited by CBFrench; Apr-25-2021 at 6:24pm.

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    Registered User Sherry Cadenhead's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Way to Practice Moveable Chords???

    Thanks, CB. I actually understand moveable and the note changes. And I know the note names through 3rd position, using the Fretboard Learn app to learn the rest. What I'm wondering is the best way to practice chords in various keys, such as playing a single tune in multiple keys, for example.

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    Default Re: Best Way to Practice Moveable Chords???

    Never mind
    Last edited by CBFrench; Apr-25-2021 at 6:23pm.

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    Dave Sheets
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    Default Re: Best Way to Practice Moveable Chords???

    I used to practice things around a circle of fifths, (or backwards, making it a circle of fourths), just play each chord for two or four beats and on to the next
    C-G-D-A-E-B-F#-Db-Ab-Eb-Bb-F-C. You can do this with major, 7 or minor chords. It's a common practice approach in jazz at least. You can do scales this way as well. Using a metronome helps as well.
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    Default Re: Best Way to Practice Moveable Chords???

    I think she just wants to practice tunes in a bunch of different keys...playing along with the track. There's a bunch of software out there that'll change the keys..

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    Registered User Sherry Cadenhead's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Way to Practice Moveable Chords???

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Sheets View Post
    I used to practice things around a circle of fifths, (or backwards, making it a circle of fourths), just play each chord for two or four beats and on to the next
    C-G-D-A-E-B-F#-Db-Ab-Eb-Bb-F-C. You can do this with major, 7 or minor chords. It's a common practice approach in jazz at least. You can do scales this way as well. Using a metronome helps as well.
    Thanks. I'll try this.

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    Registered User Sherry Cadenhead's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Way to Practice Moveable Chords???

    Quote Originally Posted by mondoslug View Post
    I think she just wants to practice tunes in a bunch of different keys...playing along with the track. There's a bunch of software out there that'll change the keys..
    I didn't know about the software. I can do a search, but would appreciate recommendations.

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    Default Re: Best Way to Practice Moveable Chords???

    Here is something fun, and very useful. If you know the four finger bluegrass chords, it isn't hard to break them apart into three finger chords, with the top or the bottom course not strum.

    So it would be very straight forward to find a three finger closed form chord for G, C, and D. And then once knowing them, get good at going back and forth between them.

    Last step, move them up and down the neck, still going between the three of them. Two frets up you are doing A, D, and E chords etc.

    You are well on your way.

    If you recognize which finger it is in your configuration that is fingering the note of the chord, then you can put that finger anywhere and play the chord for the fingered note. A month or two of practice later and you will never again have nothing to do backing any tune in any key.
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    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Way to Practice Moveable Chords???

    Quote Originally Posted by Sherry Cadenhead View Post
    I attended an acoustic gospel jam yesterday with a friend who has played mandolin well for years. Afterwards I asked for suggestions for improving my skills. She indicated I should learn "all the chord shapes" so I can play in any key. I do know the movable shapes, but freak out when a tune is in any key other than G, C, D, A or F. Is there a systematic way to practice, say, just the I, IV, V(7) chords in different keys so as to get the hang of those before moving on?

    I like the idea of playing along with recorded music, and could actually do that in different keys at Musicnotes.com now that I think about it, although I would only be able to play the preview page.

    Other suggestions?
    Hmmm ... all of them ... Well, there are only four strings, equidistant apart, shouldn't be too difficult ...

    As I recall, when I was starting out, so long ago memory barely existed, there seemed to be three basic chord shapes for major chords: G, C, and E (which started as a D, but was adjusted for barring purposes).

    G: 0023 => A: 2245 => C: 5578 etc

    C: 0233 => D: 2455 => E: 4677 etc

    E: 1224 => F: 2335 => G: 4557 etc

    I'm sure some will be aghast at my use of barred seventh intervals. I find they sound strong to me, more like power chords. So I'm a rocker. I'm trying to get you started on moving up the neck, in different keys. You can adjust to your liking, making that first C 523 as many do. Try different fingerings, see what you like.

    For seventh chords, in these forms:

    G7: 0021 => A7: 2243 etc.

    C7: 0213 => D7: 2435 => E7: 4657 etc.

    E7: 1020 => G7: 4353 etc.

    You'll notice the second form doesn't contain the root note. Yeah, bit of a problem. Doing that makes for a hand-stretching chord, up there with the G chop chord of 7523. You may try working toward that. These chords are easier to play, move up the neck, and sound pretty much right. Plus, that E7 - You may recognize that, if you play it just so, as the main chord in "Wooly Bully." There's a fun one!
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

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    Fingertips of leather Bill McCall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Way to Practice Moveable Chords???

    There are 3 shapes for triads, root in the bass, third in the base, fifth in the base. 233, an F chord, can be moved to x788, just ‘rooted’ on a different third, the A note.
    Do it for the other 2 shapes and you’ll have gone a long way to mastering the fingerboard, and moving chords.

    Moving the bluegrass chop chords will suddenly seem quite easy.

    Hope this makes sense.
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    Default Re: Best Way to Practice Moveable Chords???

    strummachine.com is fantastic for this. It has chords for 1000s of tunes and the key and tempo can be changed with one click. Highly recommended.

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    Default Re: Best Way to Practice Moveable Chords???

    Quote Originally Posted by Sherry Cadenhead View Post
    I didn't know about the software. I can do a search, but would appreciate recommendations.
    Sorry about that. i was thinking something like Audacity which is free, has a slight learning curve though & the tunes can get a bit munchkin-like sounding if you stray too far from the original key but it works & I've definitely used it to show what something sounds like in another key but hogansislander wins. The software he mentions below is killer, never saw it before, easy to use also.

    Quote Originally Posted by hogansislander View Post
    strummachine.com is fantastic for this. It has chords for 1000s of tunes and the key and tempo can be changed with one click. Highly recommended.
    Hey thanks for the link, that's way easy to use. I would think that this is tough to beat for what the original poster is looking to accomplish.

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    The Amateur Mandolinist Mark Gunter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Way to Practice Moveable Chords???

    I paid the subscription and used strummachine.com for two years, it was a great tool for my early practice years. Easy to add your own chord progressions and save them.
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    Registered User Sherry Cadenhead's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Way to Practice Moveable Chords???

    Quote Originally Posted by hogansislander View Post
    strummachine.com is fantastic for this. It has chords for 1000s of tunes and the key and tempo can be changed with one click. Highly recommended.
    I just signed up for the free trial. Can't wait to give it a try this afternoon!

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    Registered User Sherry Cadenhead's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Way to Practice Moveable Chords???

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Sheets View Post
    I used to practice things around a circle of fifths, (or backwards, making it a circle of fourths), just play each chord for two or four beats and on to the next
    C-G-D-A-E-B-F#-Db-Ab-Eb-Bb-F-C. You can do this with major, 7 or minor chords. It's a common practice approach in jazz at least. You can do scales this way as well. Using a metronome helps as well.
    Someone recently started a thread on practicing the circle of 5ths. Think I'll take a look.

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    Dave Sheets
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    Default Re: Best Way to Practice Moveable Chords???

    Quote Originally Posted by Sherry Cadenhead View Post
    Someone recently started a thread on practicing the circle of 5ths. Think I'll take a look.
    You could probably set up strummachine to play this pattern so you can play along with it.

    It's more fun than it sounds
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    Default Re: Best Way to Practice Moveable Chords???

    deleted my post as things started getting too intense...but do you need a backing track or practice a clockwise and counter clockwise circle to practice moveable chords? Do you know your chord shapes in all keys? If so the chords shapes are moveable just don't complicate the uncomplicated. Crawl, walk run
    Last edited by CBFrench; Apr-26-2021 at 10:08am. Reason: spelling

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    Fingertips of leather Bill McCall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Way to Practice Moveable Chords???

    IReal Pro is a great tool. Has plenty of songs and has the ability to enter your own exercises. You can have it automatically change keys and increase the tempo. I build my own exercises for practice, and being able to cycle through keys is great.

    Runs on iPhones, iPads and macs. Don’t know about android or pc.
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  30. #20

    Default Re: Best Way to Practice Moveable Chords???

    Quote Originally Posted by CBFrench View Post
    deleted my post as things started getting too intense...but do you need a backing track or practice a clockwise and counter clockwise circle to practice moveable chords? Do you know your chord shapes in all keys? If so the chords shapes are moveable just don't complicate the uncomplicated. Crawl, walk run
    Well, the idea of tracks or no tracks in general of course can be debated forever but she said she likes the idea of playing along with recorded music so...

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  32. #21
    Registered User Sherry Cadenhead's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Way to Practice Moveable Chords???

    Quote Originally Posted by CBFrench View Post
    deleted my post as things started getting too intense...but do you need a backing track or practice a clockwise and counter clockwise circle to practice moveable chords? Do you know your chord shapes in all keys? If so the chords shapes are moveable just don't complicate the uncomplicated. Crawl, walk run
    Just looking for the most efficient way to practice chord shapes in different keys. I know 2 moveable chord shapes.

    I'm good at complicating what shouldn't be complicated, CB. That's why the advice I receive in the Forum is so important to me. I also ask my teachers questions, but most typically in the context of what we're working on.

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    Default Re: Best Way to Practice Moveable Chords???

    Quote Originally Posted by journeybear View Post
    I'm sure some will be aghast at my use of barred seventh intervals.
    I meant "fifth intervals." Seven frets = a fifth. No idea what happened there. The "barred" should be enough of a clue. Oh well!

    PS: Also, when I said this - "Hmmm ... all of them ... Well, there are only four strings, equidistant apart, shouldn't be too difficult ... " - I was referring to what your friend had said: "She indicated I should learn "all the chord shapes" so I can play in any key." Don't know why I quoted your whole post, rather than just the relevant part. That's a pet peeve. Must have been some distraction distracting me ...

    Sorry for any confusion. Trying to clear things up, not muddle them further.
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

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    gardener catmandu2's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Way to Practice Moveable Chords???

    Quote Originally Posted by Sherry Cadenhead View Post
    Just looking for the most efficient way to practice chord shapes in different keys. I know 2 moveable chord shapes.
    I believe the most efficient way will vary among people. For many, I think it will be in a musical context (i.e., playing along with music).

    I recommend learning 12 chord shapes: 3 maj, 3 min, 4 7th, 1 dim, 1 aug. (all moveable). This gives you all the inversions, anywhere on the neck. Find the easy tunes you want to play (youtube perhaps) and deploy your chords variously. This will give you training in many aspects, but perhaps foremost it will familiarize you with the fretboard.

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  37. #24
    Registered User Sherry Cadenhead's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Way to Practice Moveable Chords???

    Quote Originally Posted by catmandu2 View Post
    I believe the most efficient way will vary among people. For many, I think it will be in a musical context (i.e., playing along with music).

    I recommend learning 12 chord shapes: 3 maj, 3 min, 4 7th, 1 dim, 1 aug. (all moveable). This gives you all the inversions, anywhere on the neck. Find the easy tunes you want to play (youtube perhaps) and deploy your chords variously. This will give you training in many aspects, but perhaps foremost it will familiarize you with the fretboard.
    12? (Gulp!)

    I do see what you mean - and have some idea of changing from a major to minor, 7th, etc. Seems it might be difficult to apply those when playing along (i.e., not in the lead) at a jam - unless you there's another mandolin player to watch - or unless you know guitar chords and can watch a guitar player.

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    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Way to Practice Moveable Chords???

    Changing a major chord to its relative minor involves moving its V note up two half-steps (two frets) to the VI tone in that key.

    G: 0023 => Em: 0223

    C: 0233 => Am: 2235

    F: 2335 => Dm: 2355
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

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