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Thread: "Fretboard Logic" for the Mandolin

  1. #1

    Default "Fretboard Logic" for the Mandolin

    I was looking at my old Fretboard Logic guitar book tonight, and thinking about the whole CAGED approach, and how you would apply a similar concept to the mandolin.

    We have an open G that can be played GDB starting from the fourth string.
    Move it down one string and we have open D with DAF# starting from the third string.

    We have open A played C#EA starting from the fourth string.
    Move it down one string and it is E played EC#A

    We have C that can be played GEC starting from the fourth string.
    Move it down one string and it is G played DCG

    Finally, we have D# that can be played GD#A# starting from the fourth string.
    Move it down one string and it is F played DA#F

    All of these chords can be moved up the neck by shifting your fingers and using your first finger to play the open note. (A stretch, though, on that second pair of voicings)

    So, is that it? Are these eight chords (or four pairs of voicings) the mandolin equivalent of the CAGED chords on guitar? Does it work the same way with mandolin scales and the CAGED guitar scales? Is there a better way to organize one's thinking about mandolin chords?

    Oddly, I haven't seen it explained quite this way, and I am a mandolin book addict.
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  2. #2

    Default Re: "Fretboard Logic" for the Mandolin

    Double click this image to see the chords:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    We tend to talk about inversions, rather than shapes. I guess I am a visual thinker, because it is easier for me to remember shapes.

    Am I missing something glaringly obvious?
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    Registered User AZStu's Avatar
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    Default Re: "Fretboard Logic" for the Mandolin

    I think I see what you are driving at. I’m fairly visually oriented myself.

    However, I think the CAGED concept is more suited for guitar since the principle is that you move up the neck from chord form to chord form. (i.e. C to A, A to G, etc.).

    As a guitar is tuned in 4ths and 3rds, the different chord forms are closer to one another on the fret board as opposed to the 5ths of the mandolin.

    Your shapes certainly can help generate moveable forms and reinforce the 5th relationships of the mandolin tuning.

  4. #4
    man about town Markus's Avatar
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    Default Re: "Fretboard Logic" for the Mandolin

    There's something vaguely similar as far as I've seen, in how you can move chords up the neck.

    If you would use the chord shapes of:
    A 2245
    G 7523
    E 4224
    C 7455
    D 7452

    and move up the fretboard.

    For example, G would use those same shapes moving up the fretboard as follows
    0 0 2 3
    7 5 2 3
    7 5 5 7
    7 9 10 10
    12 9 10 7
    12 12 14 15 [repeat of first]

    All G chords, which should allow you to find one to work with wherever you happen to land on the fretboard. Slide around as needed for any key.

    Or am I missing something or is this what you're looking for?

  5. #5
    man about town Markus's Avatar
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    Default Re: "Fretboard Logic" for the Mandolin

    If I help you further, will you change your avatar?

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    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: "Fretboard Logic" for the Mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by JonZ View Post
    Is there a better way to organize one's thinking about mandolin chords?
    I think the CAGED approach makes more sense to someone who plays guitar and has used it in the past. For a mandolinner like me it doesn't seem to simplify things.
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  7. #7

    Default Re: "Fretboard Logic" for the Mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by Markus View Post
    If I help you further, will you change your avatar?
    What, you think your kid is cuter than mine?!

    I'm not sure whether it is you or I who is missing something. I think a little of both. I understand that chord shapes in one part of the fretboard make different chords in other parts of the fretboard. I guess I am really just talking about labling. A name like "C shape" sticks with me better than one like "First Inversion".

    I have been working with Mike Marshall's Chord Book, and he shows the three easier voicings I show, leaving out the A/E voicing (I emailed him, and he said he uses that one too). You can see in his examples how the various inversions can be played as open chords, and moved up the neck, but he talks about inversions, rather than the open chord shapes that are the basis of each voicing. I guess part of it is that CAGED is a great mnemonic, whereas "CAGEb"--not so much. Part of it might also be that a lot of mandolin theory comes from violin theory, where chords are arpeggios, rather than grips.

    Here's a good example of what I mean by "visual learning".
    Last edited by JonZ; Dec-08-2010 at 1:00am.
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    Registered User pickloser's Avatar
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    Default Re: "Fretboard Logic" for the Mandolin

    I think shapes and distances when playing the mandolin. If you're a "shape thinker" too, this might be of some use to you.
    Click image for larger version. 

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  10. #9

    Default Re: "Fretboard Logic" for the Mandolin

    I like! I will print it out for further study.

    Thanks
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    Registered User granite's Avatar
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    Default Re: "Fretboard Logic" for the Mandolin

    Pickloser,
    Thanks for posting. I have been learning the theory, but having trouble putting it effectively to use. This is very helpful.

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    Default Re: "Fretboard Logic" for the Mandolin

    A few years back when I was taking lessons, my teacher taught me CAGE for mando (not CAGED - no D shape for mando). He tought there where 4 chord shapes and we went over how they transitioned up the next.

    For example - The A (2245) - then make the 4 fingure G shape (7956) to make another A - and so on and so forth up the fretboard - starting from any of the 4 shapes. I had notes of all the single note positions in each chord shape for scales - and pentatonics for help in jamming. Unfortunately, I've lost these and been looking for a similar resource online.

    If anyone knows of a spot for me to find this, please post.

    Good thread!
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    formerly Philphool Phil Goodson's Avatar
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    Default Re: "Fretboard Logic" for the Mandolin

    Where the CAGED system gives you multiple ways to play chords up the neck on guitar, I think of a similar group of shapes on mandolin.

    In my mind, they amount to:

    1. The C chop shape: 523x
    2. The A barre shape: 2245
    3. The G chop shape: 7523
    4. The E barre shape: 4224
    5. The D 'Mon' shape: 245x

    These all move all over the fingerboard, and even spell CAGED.

    Minor alterations of each will give you convenient 7 chords and minor chords.
    Pretty much all you need to "rhythm jam" with others.

    (P.S. Similar to what Markus said, with a few differences.)
    Last edited by Phil Goodson; Dec-30-2010 at 8:16pm. Reason: attributing credit
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    Horton River NWT Rob Gerety's Avatar
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    Default Re: "Fretboard Logic" for the Mandolin

    Mike Marshall's DVD #2 covers this in spades. Very well done DVD. Highly recommended.
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    Default Re: "Fretboard Logic" for the Mandolin

    Pickloser,
    I can't thank you enough for your guide to double-stops - they were a revelation. I, too, think in shapes and patterns. The way you presented everything along with names for the various shapes made this stuff easy and obvious for the first time. This is quite a resource and I hope more people download it and use it.

    Phil

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    Default Re: "Fretboard Logic" for the Mandolin

    The wonderful thing about these instruments is that they transcend every "system" we come up with to learn them.

    I have just discovered the value of barre chords (see thread), which I have been avoiding for years because of how I had to change my hand position to accomplish them. I have played up the neck without them for a long time, and kind of resented having to "drop my wrist" to a guitar type hand position to do them well. Now I am exploring what I can do (could have done) with barre chords and the "portable nut" way of thinking. So far it doesn't make anything easier (I still hate the wrist drop), but it is a new way of looking at the fretboard. The mandolin is new again.

    The mandolin just is. Our human brains require these systems of nomenclature and tonal relationships to make our way, but the mandolin transcends them all.
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  18. #16

    Default Re: "Fretboard Logic" for the Mandolin

    This is so helpful. I am a newbie, and I have been going over so many explanations of this exact thing!! I think that there is a mando lessons tutorial video on this. I like to compile though, and learn from multiple examples and explanations. Thanks soooo much Pickloser!

  19. #17
    Registered User Tim C.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: "Fretboard Logic" for the Mandolin

    My professional advice to everyone: simply learn the names of the notes and how they form scales and chords. It's not that hard, it's a far superior system, and then all of this confusion will disappear.

    This way your playing will sound musical, and you'll understand how music really works, instead of being stuck in a "CAGE" haha.
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    Registered User Ky Slim's Avatar
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    Default Re: "Fretboard Logic" for the Mandolin

    Seems like FFcP is the mandolin fretboard logic most like CAGED for guitar. I've only recently (within the last couple years) even heard of the CAGED system for guitar. If I understand it right the CAGED shapes come from the open position chord shapes of C,A,G, E and D.

    So for mando wouldn't it be like this:

    C : open C shape: 0-2-3-0
    C : open A shape: 5-5-3-3
    C : open G shape: 5-5-7-8
    C : open E shape: 9-10-10-8
    C : open D shape: 12-10-10-12

  22. #19
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: "Fretboard Logic" for the Mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by Ky Slim View Post
    Seems like FFcP is the mandolin fretboard logic most like CAGED for guitar.
    Ky I think that is a good way to think about it.

    FFcP has been really helpful to me. I is how I first got up the neck with any confidence at all.

    The only drawback, IMO, is along the inspired by the advice of Tim C.'s above. I find that I can play and noodle and double stop and find harmonies and chords all with an FFcP and related mindset, without any anchor to any particular key or note. I often have to stop and think what the heck key I am actually playing in.

    With my interest in classical I have now a lot more grounding in position play, and thinking of chords as triads of notes in the position I am playing in, say third position. Much different way to go, and no easier or harder than FFcP. But it keeps me cognizant of what notes I am playing and what key I am in.

    So the best advice is to do both ideas. So I do FFcP and related systems for jamming, improvisation, etc., and position play for more formal ensemble playing and studying a piece to learn to play it.
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  23. #20
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    Default Re: "Fretboard Logic" for the Mandolin

    Both Evan Marshall and David Benedict have covered this recently

    there are 3 basic 3 finger shapes that go up the fret board vertically and up the and down the strings.

    root in the bass, third in the bass, and 5th in the bass. I would check out Dave Benedict's you tube channel.
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    The Amateur Mandolinist Mark Gunter's Avatar
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    Default Re: "Fretboard Logic" for the Mandolin

    All these shape systems are good and useful, but if all you do is learn shapes without regard to music theory you are limiting yourself and possibly limiting some creativity; Tim Connell is correct in that learning the notes and the theory can be thought of as superior.

    What I mean can be illustrated by noting, for example, post numbers 4 & 12 show how to produce many chords but none with the third in the bass; post number 20 states there are three basic shapes - true, but not comprehensive, see if you can find more than three.

    I have used chord books, played songs, studied theory, learned from “systems”, used fretboard and theory knowledge to find my own way, etc., and still have a lot to learn and am no exceptional player. It’s all good. Learn all you can, play all you can, life is short.

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    Default Re: "Fretboard Logic" for the Mandolin

    Replying to act as a bookmark for me.
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    Registered User Simon DS's Avatar
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    Default Re: "Fretboard Logic" for the Mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by Tim C. View Post
    My professional advice to everyone: simply learn the names of the notes and how they form scales and chords. It's not that hard, it's a far superior system, and then all of this confusion will disappear...
    The world famous mathematician asked Picasso to explain his drawing of a bizarre bull-shape.
    The far superior Picasso, in reply, scratched some lines on a scrap piece of paper.

    He’s confused thought the far superior mathematician.


    Actually I agree, if you learn the positions of all the notes on the fretboard and the relative positions of the other notes then it will definitely help.

  28. #24
    Registered User mbruno's Avatar
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    Default Re: "Fretboard Logic" for the Mandolin

    I may bump up the release of the series - but I think my Chord Shape series is probably something you'd like

    https://mattcbruno.com/post-preview/

    Each post in the series focuses on a specific chord type (major triad, minor triad, 7th etc) and shows at least 4 ways to play the chord and where the root, 3rd, 5th, and etc are in the chord shape. If you're a beginner and just want to play with friends, memorizing these shapes is a really easy way to get there. I would suggest focusing on where the root, 3 and 5 are in each chord shape and really drilling that in your head. Once you have that, everything gets way easier.

    LMK if you have questions or find a typo.
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    Default Re: "Fretboard Logic" for the Mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by mbruno View Post
    I may bump up the release of the series - but I think my Chord Shape series is probably something you'd like

    https://mattcbruno.com/post-preview/

    Each post in the series focuses on a specific chord type (major triad, minor triad, 7th etc) and shows at least 4 ways to play the chord and where the root, 3rd, 5th, and etc are in the chord shape. If you're a beginner and just want to play with friends, memorizing these shapes is a really easy way to get there. I would suggest focusing on where the root, 3 and 5 are in each chord shape and really drilling that in your head. Once you have that, everything gets way easier.

    LMK if you have questions or find a typo.
    Matt - the link to post-preview above gives me a 404 'not found' error? Thanks, Max

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