Mando chords

Mando chords DEFAULT

Open Mandolin Chords

Open mandolin chords are chords formed on the neck of the mandolin utilizing open strings. The following is by no means a comprehensive charting of the open chords available on the mandolin. However, there are enough major chords here, as well as minors and sevenths, to play a lot of tunes. Especially in the common keys of C, G, D and A. When I add more, I’ll probably have to group them better.

Major Chords

You’ll notice with the first couple of E-chords that you don’t want the 4th string (the low G) to sound, so you either don’t hit it, or mute it with the fleshy part of your thumb. For the first E-chord and the first A-chord, – if you can’t fret both strings with one finger, then use two. The finger numberings are suggestions based on attack, strength and economy of movement.

Chord charts for mandolin

Chord charts for mandolin

Minors and Sevenths (dominant sevenths)


Play Chords On Mandolin

The mandolin is a musical instrument, originating in Italy, that somewhat resembles a guitar. Typically, mandolins have 8 metal strings that are grouped in 4 pairs. But depending on the style of the mandolin, there are many variations of the string numbers and groupings. A mandolin is in the lute family. Below you will find helpful information on where to find mandolin chords online, as well as educational information on the mandolin.

Mandolin Chords and Notes

  • Mandolin Tablature - A great place to start learning mandolin chords. This University websites offers tablatures for the mandolin, in addition to midi files of the song you will be learning how to play.
  • Mandolin Cafe - This website not only features an extensive "how-to" of mandolin chords, but it also is a hub of information involving the mandolin. From mandolin news, tour dates on well known mandolin artists, to community message boards, this is a website you will want to bookmark and revisit often.
  • Mandolin Chord Finder - A very easy-to-use website. Simply select the chord you are interested in learning, and the website walks you through what steps need to be done. Perfect for the beginner mandolin player.
  • Mandolin Chord Generator - A unique website that actually generates the chords you want by a simple click of the mouse. A basic walk-through of the mandolin strings is also included.
  • Mandolin Chords - John Tauxe has put together a wonder PDF document of several mandolin chords. Make sure you have adobe reader to view the PDF file.
  • Scales on the Mandolin - This online video walks you through step-by-step on how to play scales and chords on the mandolin. This is a great tutorial video for beginner mandolin players.
  • Beginner Mandolin Chords - If you are just starting out on the mandolin, these PDF files are the perfect tutorials. Offer fingering charts in addition to lyrics with the correct chords, you will be playing full songs in no time.
  • Mandolin Chords - Nothing but simple charts, this is an easy website to print out and make a handy pocket reference when learning mandolin chords.
  • Basic Mandolin Chord Progression - This web page offers in depth explanations and instructions on mandolin chords. It also offers basic terminology and definitions on parts of a mandolin.
  • Mandolin Chord Grids - Easy to read and easy to remember, this web page lists the most common and basic mandolin chords.

Mandolin Organizations

In addition, there are many websites that offer mandolin chord books and mandolin sheet music for you to purchase.

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Mandolin Chords Every Beginner Needs to Know

If you’re going to play mandolin well, there are some basic chords that you need to know. Keep reading to learn about chord symmetry as well as open, minor and movable mandolin chords.

Symmetry in Mandolin Chords

The great thing about the mandolin is that it’s tuned symmetrically (open 5ths), meaning that you can use the same chord shapes across all the strings.

For example, play the 2nd string, 2nd fret and the 1st string, 3rd fret. That’s G Major. Now take that same chord shape and move it down one string, so that you’re fretting the 2nd and 3rd strings. That’s C Major.

Pretty cool, right? Now let’s take a look at some other must-know open chords to help your playing.

Open Chords

The mandolin is the same as all other fretted instruments in that there are certain keys and open chords which lend themselves easier than others, due to the tuning of the instrument.

As such, let’s choose the key of G Major as our starting point. In the previous section, you learned the G Major and C Major chords, the I and IV chords in this key. Plenty of folk songs for beginner mandolin can be played with just three chords: G, C, and D.

Here’s how to play the V chord, D Major: G string, 2nd fret, and E string, 2nd fret. The D and A strings are open. Practice playing G, C, and D to a familiar folk tune, changing chords on the downbeat (usually coinciding with the start of a word in the vocal part).

Minor Chords

In the last two sections, we learned the G, C and D Major chords. You only have to change one note in each of these three chords to change the chord quality to minor. Here’s how:

Play G Major, then simply lower your index finger one fret. Now you’ve got G Minor. Do the same for C Major, and you’ll get C Minor. The same goes for D Minor, just slide the 1st string note down one fret.

The only difference with D Minor is that you’ll have to change your fingering to make it less awkward. Play the G string, 2nd fret with your 2nd finger and the E string, 1st fret with your index finger.

Movable Chords

Remember how we said that the mandolin is tuned symmetrically? That means it’s super easy to move various chord shapes across the neck. For example, let’s take a look at the movable barre* form of the A Major and A Minor chords:

(*”Barre” means that your index finger must lay flat in order to cover two or more strings.)

A Major: Barre the G and D strings, 2nd fret + A string, 4th fret and E string, 5th fret.

A Minor: Barre the G and D strings, 2nd fret + A string, 3rd fret and E string, 5th fret.

When you compare the above chords, you’ll notice that, just like the first minor chords we learned, there is only one note that is different. The third of the major chord is lowered ½ step, or 1 fret, to produce a minor chord.

You can now find any major or minor chord that you want, using the lowest note as a guide. For example, the lowest note of the A Major chord is “A.” If you want to play B Major, simply slide the entire chord shape up two frets (the lowest note is now “B”). The same goes for minor chords.

Find some tunes that incorporate a mix of major and minor, and see if you can create your own version, playing some of the chords as open and some as movable barre chords.

Ready to take your Mandolin playing to the next level? Study Mandolin online with Mike Marshall, or Classical Mandolin with Caterina Lichtenberg -- and hear the difference in your playing.


Explore Mandolin at ArtistWorks:


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What it Takes to Become an Advanced Mandolin Player


How to Noticably Improve Your Playing in 30 Days




Easy Mandolin Chords - G, C, D - Beginner Lesson
Fretter is a advanced guitar, banjo, mandolin, ukulele chordfinder. It doesn't rely on a database with diagrams, instead it is a very intelligent piece of software that calculates all the possible diagrams for a given chord/instrument/tuning combination. It's algorithm is optimized to only present to you the chords that you can actually play as a human.

Because Fretter is build this way, it has a lot of exciting possiblities not found in other standard chord apps. For example, you can select any tuning, even custom ones, and still have all the possible chords presented to you. Also included is a reverse lookup option.

You can easily select a basic or advanced chord, optionally with added bassnote, and go to the diagrams. Each diagram has extra information about the chordnotes, the intervals used, and you can strum up and down to hear how that particular diagram sounds on your instrument.

Chords mando

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