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Old 12-30-2020, 06:36 PM
Explorer Explorer is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2010
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Originally Posted by jwhelan56 View Post
I know mandolins are tuned G-D-A-E. The mandola I have coming is tuned C-G-D-A. Obviously I will have some learning curve for chords on this mandola vs. guitar chords. Neither of these tunings mimic guitar tuning.

Any advice on getting acclimated to this new instrument? I'm sure I can find some chord charts online.
I own more mandolas than mandolin or octave mandolin. The mandolas get the most active use for me.

My first suggestion is to get a decent chord book. I started with Mel Bay's Deluxe Tenor Banjo Chord Encyclopedia. I eventually got the big tenor mandola chord book published by Fretted Friends.

With book in hand, learn barre forms for the various major and minor chords, then adding the seventh variants and diminished and augmented chords. Practice the forms by playing rhythm guitar on hit songs from across the decades. I started with classic Doobie Brothers, adding guitaristic suspensions and hammer-ons when working songs like Listen to the Music.

Start learning scales using FFCP (Four Finger Closed Position), using materials you can find online for mandolin. I gradually stretched my fretting hand working these to where I can easily play them all over the neck.

Start working your ear. Mandola is an oddball, so resources like slowing down free YouTube videos is a huge tool.


Just to note, Barney McKenna really established EADG tuning as the standard for traditional Irish banjo. Your instrument's scale length isn't really suited to octave mandolin EADG or mandolin EADG an octave higher. I recommend you learn the heck out of CGDA mandola tuning, for which your instrument was designed.

Good luck!
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