Tuesday, 19 August 2014


The book, Beginning Mandolin, arrived today.  It looks very comprehensive and useful, one of the best instruction books I have seen, and I have looked over a few.

At first glance at the chord charts, I was very excited to see that he uses the ones I had worked out for myself.     How's that!    There is a DVD as well.

Monday, 18 August 2014


Here is an online chord chart. Of course it is a beginner chart. See the little crosses indicating that string is not played.
Lets look at the C Chord. The notes that make up the C Chord are 1 - 3 - 5 = C - E - G.
The open notes are G D A E.  The chart above tells us to play E and C, and not the open strings G and E which are part of the chord. I don't understand the thinking of whoever prepared and approved the above chart..

 If we strum the four strings we are playing G E C and E, (4th to 1st string) all notes that make up the C Chord.  A much fuller sound  and to my liking.

A Chord. The notes are A C# and E.  What does the chord chart say? Play C# and  a high A.
My A chord  is  A on 4th string E on third string, C# on second string and open first string  = E, easily doable and a rich sound. And so it goes on, I've made up my own chord chart and Barry has helped me check them all, playing the chords on the guitar along with me.

We played several songs from www.music-folk-play-hymns.com including Beautiful Isle of Somewhere and In the Garden (I come to the garden alone), last night, very clearly set out.


While I await my new mandolin which should arrive this week, I am going to remind myself what has been going on over the past few years.  At hubby's choice we have had a fairly high level of entertaining at Nursing Homes and mainly for the Aged, and back to averaging six or seven a month lately. We are in the process of dropping back to three from September. Pic is typical though we have done lunches for 100+ particularly Christmas thank yous for volunteers and Christmas in July.

For last couple of years we have been helping out our friend, who leads worship, accompanying her, Barry on guitar and me on ukulele.  This is on second and third Sundays of the month, six numbers on former, and three on latter occasion.  My tenor ukulele at left of pic (and I made the banner too).

We also have a small group at the community garden and this pic below is on the first day.  We have had up to 27 attend, and there are 12 -15 regulars. Instruments - guitar, ukulele, mandolin, octave mandolin and voice. The attendance of a man with age onset polio, (coming back after polio in childhood), in his gofer, and his satisfaction and enjoyment on the ukulele is particularly heartwarming to me. His wife, who started off helping him, has also joined in on ukulele.
I made up a book with 40 chorded songs, with ukulele chording on each tune, and we have been using that one so far. We have beginner ukulele players progressing very well and now three mandolins players.
We already had two mandolins in the house, so I was able to get started on the mandolin and took it along at our last session at the garden.  I added the mandolin chords in my copy, though I find most of the chords easier on the mandolin.  I practised and was prepared to play in church yesterday, but unfortunately came down with a head cold, so it did not eventuate.

I  listed all the notes in the chords that I need to use from a piano book and worked the chords out, and quite frankly some of the chord charts online are not satisfactory in my opinion.  I have also been learning where the notes are as I am particularly interested in picking my favourite tunes and prefer notation. I find with tab that I still look at the melody line to check, though I mainly attempt tunes I know.

I thought I would reward myself with a new mandolin towards the end of the year, but hubby encouraged me to go ahead now, and the new mandolin, and a book with DVD arrive this week.  He is quite good on the mandolin, though guitar is his main instrument, so I am confident that I will go ahead.  I have had bad experiences with "professional" teachers, or people who portrayed themselves as teachers in the past, and am not going to look for a mandolin teacher here in our country town.

I have been in Mandolin Cafe forum and see people talking about mandolins at $5,000 plus, and all the big names,  and my modest instrument doesn't rate a mention , but that is all I am prepared to spend.
A favourite pic, on back deck. Emi with Barry's handmade in Australia mandolin.