Tag: improvisation

learn to play the mandolin

Blues in A – Improvisation with Playback Track

Backin tracks are great to learn how to imnprovise. Especiall the Blues scheme is easy to learn and great to start improvising.

You can practice the chords and you learn the orientation on the fretboard. You can practice the fingering with the left hand and train playing in different positions and changing the positions without fear.

In this post I have compiled some ideas about how to use Blues in A backing tracks to learn to improvise. I have decided to use a Blues in A. You need the following three major chords:

A
D
E

Play the major chords together with the backing track, later you can play A7, D7 or E7 as shown in the chord tables for the backing track. Play the chords as shown on three strings only, A on the upper three strings, D and E on the lower three strings.

Alway use the fingers 1, 3 and 4 to fret the major chord. This makes it easy to fret the minor or 7th chord later. The 4th finger is always the root note of the chord – A, E or D.

Use strumming patterns form my link collection below or try anything that works for you with the backing track. Listen to the backing track to get new ideas! Start simple, get more complecated slowly.

Base notes – First Position

Now we learn the 3 base notes for the improvisation. To start play the notes in the first position, use the open strings D, A and E and the fretted notes from the following diagram. Play any rhythm that fits to the backing track, start simple, then tray more interesting rhythms.

Base Notes – High Position

Now play the three notes A, D and E with your first finger on the 7th fret of the D-String and on the 5th and 7th fret of the A-String. Always play the root note of the chord (that’s the name of the chord) together with the backing track.

Tone Sequences

Starting with the base note of every chord you play the following notes:

You can see that you play the same pattern in three different positions.

Start to explore the different notes step by step. When you can play the root note to every chord try playing the root note and the second note:

1 – 2 – 1

Then try the first and third note, you can try different rhythms:

1 – 3 – 1 or 1 – 1- 3 – 1 or 1 – 3 – 3 – 1 and so on.

Now play more and more notes, here are some examples:

1 – 2 – 3 – 1

1 – 2 – 3 – 5  /  1 – 2 – 1 – 5  /  1 – 3 – 5 – 3  / 1 – 5 – 1

1 – 3 – 5 – 7 / 1 – 3 – 5 – 6 – 7 / 1 – 3 – 5 – 6 – 7 – 6 – 5 – 3 / 1 – 3 – 5 – 6 – 8 – 6 – 5 – 3

1 – 3 – 5 – 7 – 8 / 1 – 5 – 8 – 7 / 8 – 7 – 5

I have compiled many backing tracks for a Blues in A in the following playlist:

Additional information

Link collection about strumming patterns:

Strum patterns

jazz

Jazz Improvisation for Beginners – A Set of Great…

I have recently discovered a great new resource for learning to improvise on jazz tunes. Leo Ravera has compiled a set of exercises based on the chord progression of Take the A Train. Those exercise are very well suited for the mandolin.

This is the chord progression of the song.

You can play the exercises using the sheet music on the site and play all the notes in the first position.

But there is another option. I propose to use the first finger for the root of every chord. You will need the following root notes: C, D G, F. The first finger needs to jump between the notes. You can play those notes on the 3rd and 5th frets of the D- and A-string. Or you can play the notes on the 5th and 7th fret of the G-string and the 3rd and 5tf fret of the D-String.

If you do it like this you can play the same sequence of fingers again and again.

Finger positions for major chord / scale (from C)

Finger position for minor chord / scale (from C)

leoravera.it

leoravera.it Jazz Improvisation

Read more “Jazz Improvisation for Beginners – A Set of Great Exercises and Playalong Tracks – Take the A Train”