Bruce Bernhart Mandolin Websites

Lesson #8


Updated!
  Bruce Bernhart Mandolin Lessons

Original articles, lessons, tabs plus the "best of the web" on topics of interest to mandolin enthusiasts by player/teacher Bruce Bernhart

New! Tabs for Popular Fiddle Tunes:

"Angeline the Baker"
"Farewell Waltz"

Updated May 26, 2013

Chord Groupings, Adjusting the Tuning Gears, Tabs


Bruce Bernhart Mandolin Websites
The Bernhart Mandolin Webpages offer basic instruction, explore the history of the mandolin, buying and building mandolins, basic chord structures, the different styles of playing, the various makes and models of mandolins  available on the market, and the best of the web for mandolin students.


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In Minnesota, Bruce Bernhart has been a mandolin player/enthusiast since the 1980's
Bruce Bernhart Mandolin Lessons

The Bruce Bernhart Websites

Bernhart on Advanced Chord Groupings

You'll hear bluegrass musicians use terminology like 1-2-4-5-1.  Ever wonder what that means?  The number sequence represents notes in the scale you are playing.  What is the "2" chord?  It would be the second note in the major scale of the key you are playing.  So, if you are in the key of A, the 2 chord would be a B.  Countless bluegrass songs, including many gospel songs, have a 2 chord.

Some tunes have a "7" chord.   What is the 7 chord in the key of A?  It would be a G. because G is the 7th note in the A major scale. "Little Maggie" has a 7 chord.  You can hear it right at the beginning of the song.

Practice playing the different chord groups that we reviewed.  These include most of the numbered chords you will encounter playing bluegrass tunes. Now, you can play these songs in any key because once you know what the 1 chord is, you'll know what the other numbered chords are in relation to the major key.

Bluesy tunes often fall into the 1-4-1-5-1 pattern.  "Bluegrass Stomp" by Bill Monroe is a good example.

Here's a terrific chart I found on cyberfret.com on how to construct 3-note chords:

First you have to KNOW the basic 3 notes chords built from a C major scale. Why a C major scale? Because the key of C major has no sharps or flats, and the chords built from that scale will contain only natural notes.

C     D     E     F     G     A     B - C major scale
|     |     |     |     |     |     |
C     Dm    Em    F     G     Am    Bdim - Chord Name

|     |     |     |     |     |     |
G     A     B     C     D     E     F \
E     F     G     A     B     C     D  - Notes in each chord
C     D     E     F     G     A     B /

You are going to use these 7 chords as your starting point to spell every 3 note chord. So no matter what type of chord you have, if it has a root of C, C# or Cb you are going to use a C major chord as your starting point. For every chord with a root of D, D#, or Db, you are going to use a Dm chord as your starting point.

So armed with the knowledge of how to spell a C major chord, and the knowledge of the chord formulas for all of the other 3 note chords, you will be able to spell every type of C, C# or Cb chord.

Definitions: Phrasing

  • phrase: A phrase is a group of scale notes being played together to form a musical "idea".
  • period phrase: A period phrase is a phrase that ends with the root note. This leaves the listener with a sense that the idea is done or complete. It has a "finished" sound.
  • comma phrase: A comma phrase is a phrase ending in a note other than the root note. This leaves the listener with the feeling there must be something more to come. The idea does not sound "finished" yet.
Polychords are chords constructed from two or more separate chords. Composers and improvisers use polychords as a resource for rich and complex sounds in their music. Polychords frequently occur in jazz and modern classical music.


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Bruce Bernhart Mandolin Websites

Be sure to visit the other Bruce Bernhart Mandolin Websites:

Bruce Bernhart mandolin rock tabs

Bruce Bernhart mandolin lesson on scales, meter, using a metronome

Bruce Bernhart mandolin purchase tips

Bruce Bernhart mandolin orchestras, tuning

Bruce Bernhart mandolin lessons- chord groups and intervals

Bruce Bernhart on mandolin family history

Bruce Bernhart on string and saddle adjustment

Bruce Bernhart beginning mandolin lessons one and two

Bruce Bernhart on more chord triads, blues patterns, and self-tuning

Bruce Bernhart on the mandolin family tree

Bruce Bernhart mandolin chord diagrams


Bruce Bernhart on temperature considerations

Bruce Bernhart lessson on mandolin flats and sharps


Bruce Bernhart lesson on chromatic scales, circle of 5ths and meter


Bruce Bernhart on mandolin chord theory

Bruce Bernhart mandolin C and G major chord diagrams

Bruce Bernhart on emergence of the modern mandolin

Bruce Bernhart on two finger mandolin chords

Bruce Bernhart on whole and half steps on the mandolin

Bruce Bernhart perpetual motion practice excercises

Bruce Bernhart on playing waltzes on the mandolin


Bruce Bernhart on majors, minors and sevenths



Bruce Bernhart Mandolin Websites

Also, check out the Bruce Bernhart RV Websites and Blogs:

Solar power for your RV

The care and feeding of your RV battery

The sport of "geocaching" and RV refrigeration basics

The basics of RV power inversion

RV travel tips and tire care

Advanced discussion on power inversion

Tips on buying a house battery and cold weather maintenance

RV Insurance basics

Buying the right generator for your RV and portable power

RV television reception options

Care and maintenance of the RV air conditioner

Top RV destinations

RV long-term supplies and weight considerations

RV Insurance- Road protection and bodily injury coverage

RV battery types and winter charging considerations

Deep cycle battery basics


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