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Mandolin Lessons: Egypt

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Hi there,
I'd like to teach you this tune of mine
called Egypt now.
This is a song that goes way back for me.
I think 1984, I might have written it.
I wrote it for a group called the Montreux
And we recorded it at the Montreux Jazz
Festival at Switzerland then that year and
it came out on the Wyndham Hill label.
That was a group I had with Darol Anger
and Barbara Higbie,
I believe Todd Philips was playing bass
and Andy Narell was playing steel drum.
So, it was a multiple instrument band.
And this tune was a great vehicle for
everyone having their own parts.
So, I'm gonna try to show you all the
different parts,
even though you might just play it on
mandolin with a guitar player.
Or but if you've got a bass player around
that you'd like to jam on it with
there's some specific bass parts that I'll
show you.
I'll show it to you on the mandolin.
But you can pass it around to your
There are also other recordings of this
I recorded it with the group from Sweden
with Darol Anger, and
that's on album we did together on the
Adventure music label.
And then I recorded as a duet with the
great Brazilian mandolinist
Hamilton de Holanda.
So, you can hear various versions of this
tune, but
in each version you'll hear these parts
that I'm gonna show you.
So the, the, probably the key most
important thing about this tune is that
it's in five four, which puts it in the
advanced category, I suppose.
But feel free to dive in and give it a
shot no matter what level you are but
you'll have to feel comfortable with.
This five four, okay?
One, two, three, four, five, one, two,
three, four, five, one, two, three,
four, five, one, two, three, four, five,
one, two, three, four, five.
You guys know the famous tune, Take Five.
that same kind of breakdown of the five.
It's one, two, three, one, two, one, two,
three, one, two,
one, two, three, one, two, one, two,
three, four, five.
Some fives are, are situated one, two,
two, three, one, two, one, two, three.
But this one is three and then two.
So, I start the piece I do the intro no
which version I've recorded this with, it
usually starts with me.
And I've figured out a little cross
picking thing to do.
The chords are D-Minor to E-Minor.
instead of playing the chords like that,
what I'm doing is this.
And this is the intro.
this continues into the A section, which
is the melody.
The tune's called Egypt.
So, it's got that kind of 50 harmony.
Fifths, and I play them with the finger,
the tip of my finger is capable of
fretting two pairs of strings.
Now yours may not be, you may have to lay
the finger flat in order to do this.
But before we get to the melody,
let me breakdown this intro for you,
so that you can figure out what I'm doing
with this cross picking.
starting at the seventh fret with the
first finger.
And then the tenth fret with the sec,
the third finger.
And then open A,
back to the tenth fret, third string and
then open E.
So it's four, three, two, three, one.
And then I bring that up two frets.
This is the E-Minor.
E-Minor seven actually.
It's nine, 12, again with that open A
Four, three, two, three, and
then I fret the G note at the tenth fret
So I'm open on the A string at first.
And then I fret it, so
it creates a little melody.
Back down to the D-Minor now.
With that cross picking pattern four,
three, two, three, one.
Four, three, two, three, two.
Four, three, two, three, two, for
the E-Minor.
So, once again, and after you play the
One, two.
So this is one, two, three, four,
five,one, two, three, four, five, one,
two, three, four, five, one, two, three,
four, five, one, two, three, four, five.
And what usually happens is I will
continue playing that
while another instrument will play the
And the melody is what I was just starting
to play earlier.
Three, four, five.
One, two, three, four, five.
One, two, three, four, five.
One, two, three, four, five.
One, two, three, four, five.
One, two, three, four, five.
One, two, three, four, five.
One, two, three, four, five.
So you're playing these barred fifths and
do them however it works for you.
If you have really big fat fingers like me
you can use the tips of the fingers.
It's basically 8-5-10,
8-5-3, 5-3-5, and cross over to the
Five open, fifth on the middle strings,
open on the E and A.
I'll do that again.
So I'm borrowing the eighth fret, E and A
8-5-10, 8-5-3,
5-3-5, the middle strings,
then middle strings open.
While this is going on.
Okay, that's the A section.
Now onto the B section.
This continues.
So if you got a mandolin playing buddy,
you could play this and have him play the
melody or switch.
So again, while this is happening,
we've got the sort of a second part of the
A section.
And it's this.
five, one, two, three, four, five, one,
two, three, four, five.
One, two, three, four, five.
One, two, three, four, five.
'Kay, I'll go over that slow.
One, two, three, four, five,
one, two, three, four, five, one, two,
three, four, five.
It's all being played out of.
Through the D Dorian D mode.
It starts at the fifth fret.
D fifth fret, second string.
Then it starts on the B note.
G, E, at the end.
Then it starts on the G note.
And the B note, is simply that.
Okay, all the while that this is
So now, next part, the C part.
Or I guess you could call this, you could
call this the B section.
You could call the, the first two A1 and
A2, and we'll call this the B section.
And what's happening here is.
That's the part I play.
It happens four times and what this is is
it's alternating bars of five and six.
So you've got one, two, three, four, five.
One, two, three, four, five, six.
One, two, three, four, five, one, two,
three, four, five, six.
I'm muting with the palm of my hand, back
by the bridge.
I'm just barely bringing the hand over.
So that, instead of the bright loud sound
as you bring your hand over,
you hear mute, it gets a little bit like a
marimba type sound.
And the notes are F, D, A, C-sharp,
G, A, B-flat, E, D, A.
Then the same notes.
D, F, though the ending is different.
Instead of D-A, it's D-F.
So, one way to count this instead of five
and then six is to just say,
one, two, three, four, five, one, two,
three, four, five, wait, one, two, three,
four, five, one, two, three, four, five,
wait, one, two, three, four.
All then, the way this stacks up is
there's counterpoint now.
This is sort of the intense counterpoint
I play that phrase and
while that's happening the bass player
plays this underneath me.
a guitar player could do this, starting at
his, say fifth seventh fret D note,
on the third string, and it would be an
octave below what I'm doing.
D, C-sharp, A, G-sharp, G, F,
D, C-sharp, C, G, B-flat, D.
I do it with a bar here.
Or you could do this, say,
on a mandocello, starting from the D note,
seventh fret, first string.
four, five, one, two, three, four, five.
One, two, three, four, I'm sorry.
One, two, three, four, five, one, two,
three, four, five, six.
One, two, three, four, five, one, two,
three, four, five, six.
So that's the bass, you've got the
Now what, there's another part that goes
on top of all of this.
After the second repeat.
On the third repeat.
The violin or
the steel drum would play this up high.
And it starts on the second beat.
This is getting kind of complicated but
you'll have it all, here.
So it begins like this.
Three, four, five, one.
Okay, so it's one, two,
it's a hammer from G-sharp to A.
Then G, F, E, D, G, A.
Then the same thing.
Hammer, G, F, E, F, G, D.
Okay, it's a very simple phrase but
it's all about lining it up rhythmically
starting on that second beat.
Three, four, five, one.
Okay, so
all these parts are part of the C section.
They're all happening while I'm doing.
Here's the bass line.
Here's the high counter point.
[LAUGH] Okay, so
you got something to play along with
Then, or to quote Todd Phillips, hey man,
if you've got another section save it for
the next song.
[LAUGH] But we won't do that.
We go back to the intro.
And usually what happens here
is somebody improvises over the D-minor to
the E-minor.
And I'll do a separate.
Thing on how to improvise in five four
after we're all done.
Basically we go back to the intro and we
play everything again.
So while this is happening,
you'll hear the melody.
That's a fifth thing.
That melody.
Then the C part.
Here comes the bass.
Here comes the high melody.
Now we're into the new section, and
I'll break this down for you.
Still in five.
B-flat major seven or major nine.
A-minor, G-minor, D-minor.
B-flat major nine, A-Minor seven,
E7 with a sharp five and a sharp nine.
And it's just a cycle of these chords.
G minor,
D minor, B flat major,
A minor, E sharp five, A7.
And the melody is.
So, strumming in five.
Let's break this down a little bit.
One two three four five, one two three
four five,
one two three four five, one, let's just
do one chord, lets do the B-flat major.
I'm borrowing the bottom three strings and
then at the third fret and
then playing the high A above it.
That's a B-flat major nine.
It sorta, if you look at it, it grew out
of a B-flat major chord.
Major seven is like that.
All we're doing is adding the nine to it.
Or the second, note of the scale, the C
To that chord.
It's a tricky bar, and I definitely use
the thumb in the back to,
to get that to really hold.
But strumming wise, one, two, three,
four, five.
I'm really doing down, up and then I'm
I'm letting the pressure off the left
And then, for the 4-5 it's just a chuck.
Two down strokes.
And the cool thing about these chords is
that they, a lot of them have the same
notes as each other.
Like I could play a B-flat this way.
With the open D and A.
Just 3-0-0-1.
And then the A minor, I could play open.
Everything open, or I could play the C
down here.
Because keep in mind, I'm thinking of,
that there's already a bass player playing
the roots of these chords.
So, as a mandolin player your role is
to function on the upper partials your
harmonic structure.
So I don't always play the bass notes
thinking that
somebody is already below me.
Even playing with Hamilton, he's another
mandolin player, but
he has a low C string.
So he's often covering the bottom parts of
the chords.
And I can then play the upper partials.
So the G Minor,
a lot of different G Minor and D minor.
I might play this.
A, D, D, E.
I love the sound of that high E over top
of the D.
It's the nine.
I might play
the G minor with the A note open, instead
of the B flat.
And then back to this open D-Minor.
Here's an E7 plus 5.
That A7, I might even let the G note ring
even though it's the 7 in the bottom,
kinda weird, but again,
with a bass player under you, this is a
nice voicing.
G, E, C-Sharp, G.
Let me show you a couple of other places
where I might play.
B-Flat I might do up here.
Play the whole thing up here, 7-8-8.
That's three string chords now.
Bottom three strings.
5-7-7, 3-5-5, 2-3-3.
It naturally wants to lead
down to the open,
Might play the D-minor here 7-3-0.
7-6-3 is a nice E7 plus 5.
then I might just bring those bottom two
notes down.
for the A7.
That's E-7, A-7.
Back to the B-flat up here.
'Kay, what did I do.
B flat, 7-8-8, and I'm using the nine just
as a bounce off,
just to create a little melody in the
upper part of my chord line.
Here on the A minor,
I went up to the F note.
On the G, I'm going up to the E.
Here I'm going from the C to the D.
The B-flat.
Off of the C.
And the D-minor.
Here's the E7.
You know.
[SOUND] Spin back from that C note to a B
which leads me to the open A for the A7,
the A7 is now 6-5, okay.
Many different ways now, so
you got a bunch of different options for
playing this section.
And the reason I'm giving you so much is
that it does happen for a long time.
The melody gets played.
And then various people
improvised over these chords.
There's another rhythmic way of dealing
with the five.
One, two.
One, two.
Chucka chucka.
One, two.
Chucka chucka.
And I'm muting.
In between each of the.
The one, two.
One, two.
I'm lifting.
Or I'm letting the pinky do the muting for
Check out the two note version.
Ten and eight is a B-Flat.
Nine and seven, seven and five.
Five and three is a D-Minor.
Three and three is a B-Flat.
Two and two is an A-Minor.
One and three is an E7.
O and 2 is an A7.
This is like your really simplified,
almost chop chords.
B flat, A minor,
G minor, D minor 7.
B flat, A minor, E7,
Flat nine, A7.
That section continues to everyone's solo,
that wants a solo on it.
And then the last guy to solo plays the
melody as a queue, as a queue out.
That way everybody knows, okay, this is
the last time, he's playing the melody, so
we're gonna play through the section one
more time.
And then we're going back to the intro.
So as we come out of that melody.
We go back to this.
Just cross picking.
I do it four times, and then the melody
comes in.
This thing.
The fifths, and then.
Wow, the cross-picking is good.
Then the C section.
This is the C section with all the counter
The bass line.
And the third counter point.
It helps to hit the open D string on the
down beat.
Because this is a tricky part where you
come in on the second beat of the,
of the, of the bar.
One, two.
One, two, three, four, five, six.
One, two, three, four, five.
One, two, three, four.
Five, six.
It actually ends after this section.
There's a decrescendo.
It starts real quiet.
And with each repeat, it gets louder.
And that's the end.
Wow, a lot of stuff there.
You might wanna break that up into many
parts for yourself.
Take it slow.
Go over it several times before moving on.
But that's Egypt, and we do have a live
version of it on the website,
you can watch the Montrose Band performing
It will provide some, some clarity and
hopefully some inspiration.
So, hope you enjoy, and we'll see you
around the corner.