Compared to the guitar, mandolin chords are EASY. In fact, most mandolin chords only use two fingers or sometimes only one.
In the mandolin chord charts below, each horrizontal line represents a pair of mandolin strings. The E string is the one closest to the floor, as you hold your mandolin in playing position, and the G string is closest to the ceiling. The numbers represent the fret. Be sure to place your fingers between, not on, the fret. The letter to the left of each chord chart tells you the name of that chord. The letters on the strings tell you the name of the note where you put your fingers. Each chord chart also tells you what fingers to use. An “X” means you don’t play that string.
When you’re making a chord, it’s essestial that you go to the chord with both fingers landing on the strings at exactly the same time.
In the key of G, for example, you’ll normally need these three chords: G, C, D.
In the key of D, you’ll need D, G and A.
And in the key of C, you’ll need C, F and G.
Check out my article “Easy Two Chord Mandolin Songs.”
By the way, I have a wonderful new book, Bluegrass Mandolin for the Complete Ignoramus! This book will be your new best friend. Its friendly style and easy songs makes learning the mandolin fun and nearly painless. It comes as a set with a CD with 90 tracks where I play each melody very slowly and clearly on the mandolin. I’m so sure that you’ll like the book that I’ll offer you this guarantee. If you purchase the book and CD ($19.95) and either don’t like it or don’t get anything of value out of it, return it, and I’ll send you a check. Just tell me how much you paid for it. I only ask that you USE the book first. Fair enough?
My newest book, Bluegrass Jamming on Mandolin, is now available! This book covers how to play with others, how to improvise, how to add licks and fills, and pretty much everything you’ll need to march confidently into your next jam or picking session. You’ll love it, guaranteed.