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Fiddle Lessons: Solo: Mandolin Chop Position

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[MUSIC]
Let's
have a little call and response, shall we?
Let's start with the key of G.
I'm going to start, just do a few little
things in the key of G.
I'm going to wait for you to play it back
to me here, so here we go.
We'll start on the G.
[MUSIC]
[MUSIC]
[MUSIC]
[MUSIC]
Cool.
All right, so, what all those phrases had
in common,
that they were played out of this G
position, and
when you look over at that mandolin player
in your bluegrass band,
you'll notice that they are playing a lot
of, [SOUND] this stuff.
[SOUND] They're playing out of this
position, which is basically-
[MUSIC]
It's this hand shape.
So, and they're just moving all over the
neck.
And a lotta times, when they're playing a
solo, they don't even leave that chop,
if we're playing something in B, for
instance.
[MUSIC]
And the mandolin player's up here,
[SOUND] chopping up here, [SOUND] and
then he might not even leave that position
when he plays a solo.
He might be doing all this.
[MUSIC]
And that's nothing that we can't do.
In fact, we could do that too, a lot.
That's a very beautiful position,
especially for playing like bluesy,
kind of active, really angry-sounding
bluegrass.
So if we go to the, the G here.
[MUSIC]
That's a good lick, right there.
Why don't you play that back with me?
I'll play it again.
[MUSIC]
Right?
So that kinda uses all those fingers that
go into that position.
And we move that out to A.
We just move our whole hand up to A,
right, and then we find.
[MUSIC]
Let's get use to that.
[MUSIC]
And then we go.
[MUSIC]
Try that.
Move that up a half step into B.
[MUSIC]
Find our B.
[MUSIC]
Again same lick.
[MUSIC]
Again, up to B.
[MUSIC]
Right?
Same thing.
Get comfortable up there, find your.
[MUSIC]
And then, same lick.
[MUSIC]
There's a quality up there.
[MUSIC]
You know, it's very nice.
You know, that just stopping the string,
and you,
reaching up with your fourth finger and
really playing that.
[MUSIC]
That's very satisfying.
And we can do that all up and down, and
we can actually move it over, play it in,
in D.
We could go up, find the D on the A string
with your second finger.
[MUSIC]
So really, this is our key of three right?
The third finger is playing the tonic on
the bottom, and
then going up, connecting into the key of
two,
where [SOUND] second finger is playing the
tonic up at the top.
But.
[MUSIC]
But it's really sort of like,
it feels like the mandolin chop position.
That's what I think of it as.
[MUSIC]
Right?
[MUSIC]
So there's
all these wonderful little bluesy licks
that you can play out of this position.
You can jump around and play them, and
then come back.
So if you're playing along in B-flat for
instance.
[MUSIC]
All right, so you could just jump up
there.
Give them a little shot of like,
adrenaline and then come back down and
play some lyrical stuff.
So I want you to experiment a little bit
with that going up, playing that
chop position stuff up and down the neck
in various places.
All right, now I think I would like you to
submit a video
in which you play Dark Hollow.
And I want three choruses.
And there's gonna be a backup of Dark
Hollow, backup track with three choruses.
I want you to play some fiddle licks over
Dark Hollow and
I want you to try to make them rhyme
rhythmically.
You know, find a couple of fiddle licks
that you like.
Find a way to work them in.
Make sure they sort of connect
rhythmically to each other.
The second chorus I want you to do some
double stops.
They don't have to be all double stops but
some, find, even if you only find,
like a little bit of a section that you
like the double stops, throw that in.
If you can get the whole thing together,
great.
It doesn't have to be perfect.
Just want to see where, you know, where
you're going.
And, then I, the third time, I want you to
start,
I want you to play the whole thing out of
that bluegrass chop position.
And that's gonna be in the second position
with your second finger on the D string.
So you don't have to play fast, you don't
have to play a lot of licks.
Just goof around in that in that position
and
it could be slow stuff or it could be a
few bluesy things.
Just try that out.
And that's gonna be interesting and
probably be kind of a handful.
And I'm really interested to see how
you'll be doing on that, and
I'm sure I'll have a lot of feedback to
give you on that.
Now if you're finding this to be a
horrible struggle,
like it's just not happening, it probably
is a sign that you need to go back and
look at some of those basics.
And that's not a bad thing.
It's just the learning process.
This is how we find out what we need to
fill in, what we know, what we don't know.
So this is don't get discouraged.
It's just part of how we're putting our
personal
work together, you know, so just see how
it goes.
[MUSIC]