Updated January 4, 2021
In Minnesota, Bruce Bernhart has been a mandolin player/enthusiast since the 1980's
The Bernhart Mandolin Webpages explore the history of the mandolin, buying and building mandolins, the various makes and models of mandolins available on the market, basic chord structures, different styles of playing, practice exercises, tabs, and performance.
-First, A Brief Background on the Mandolin:
Mandolins have a long history, and much early music was written for them. In the first half of the 20th century, they enjoyed a period of great popularity in Europe and the Americas as an easier approach to playing string music. Many professional and amateur mandolin groups and orchestras were formed to play light classical string repertory. Just as this practice was falling into disuse, the mandolin found a new niche in American county, old-time music, bluegrass, and folk music. More recently, the Baroque and classical mandolin repertory and styles have benefited from the raised awareness of and interest in early music. Tremolo and fingerpicking methods are used while playing a mandolin.
#1-- Know how to tune the mandolin- E-A-D-G, high string to low string.
Alternatively, buy an electronic tuner and tune each string using the indicator on the tuner. This is best done in a quiet envionment unless you have a pick-up on the mandolin or a clip on mic which you can plug into the tuner.
Be sure you are holding the pick correctly with your right hand, between thumb and index finger, resting on last joint of your finger with pick point pointed toward the strings. You do not want to hold the pick in such a way that it is extending out from the tip of your finger.
Are you "cradling the neck" with your left hand? Rest it between thumb and index finger.
Practice fingering your G chord and your A chord. See charts in lesson book. Remember- no dead notes!
#2-- Whole steps and half steps, sharps and flats.
Know your notes: Fifth fret- A/D/G/C
Know: A whole step up is two frets, and a half step up is one fret
Know: Sharps are one fret higher and flats are one fret lower
Scale is repeated at the 12th fret.
Know your notes: Third fret, high to low: G-C-F-Bb. Fifth fret, high to low: A-D-G-C. Seventh Fret, high to low: B-E-A-D.
Know the the C major scale and learn these notes on the mandolin:
A note on harmony
Wikpedia describes harmony as the study of vertical sonorities in music. Vertical sonority refers to considering the relationships between pitches that occur together; usually this means at the same time, although harmony can also be implied by a melody that outlines a harmonic structure.
Watch for more Bruce Bernhart websites on scales and chord construction!