Easy two finger and three-finger major and minor mandolin chords

Easy two finger and three-finger major and minor mandolin chords

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Two finger mandolin chords are the reason why playing chords on the mandolin doesn’t have to be difficult or complex.

Although there are many variants of chords that when used by mandolin masters and especially jazz musicians can give great depth and rich sound to the tiny instrument we love (the mandolin), there are also easy chords to be played on the mandolin.

Western music is based on chords and their relation, i.e. harmony, so it is really not possible to progress as a musician without understanding chords theory and mastering how to play chords on mandolin (or guitar or whatever instrument one has selected).

You need to remember that, but before diving in the depths of music, here is a guide that can help a mandolin beginner enjoy music by playing easy two-finger mandolin chords and also some easy three-finger ones.

The guide includes major and minor chords for C, D, E, F, G, A, and B (Do, Re, Fa, Sol, La and Si) . Enjoy!

Playable Mandolin Chords!

This article can be considered as the next step of my popular chords article for beginners How to Play Five easy mandolin chords.

Let’s start!

Playing Chords Is an Essential Skill

Western music is based on chords and chords relations (i.e. harmony), so if you want to play and enjoy music you must learn to play chords

Mandolin chords in this article are presented with photorealistic images.The numbers in the circles represent fingers of the left hand, i.e. 1=index, 2=middle etc.

Two and three finger mandolin chords

Some chords require finger "stretching", other require muscle strength. But not the ones included here.

These chords are playable and easy even for beginners. Only two or three fingers are involved, that makes it easy to play them and switch between them fast!

Some of the below easy chords are  inverted chords. For example the C major chords are C/G (Do/Sol) i.e. the lowest bass note is G instead of C. Why I recommend them? Because they sound very nice and are super easy to play!

More about chord inversions can be found at the ‘Understanding Chord Inversions’ popular article.

 

 

Two finger mandolin chords

C Major

C major two finger mandolin chord

The C (Do) major is 0-2-3-0 / G-E-C-E (Sol-Mi-Do-Mi), played as following (left hand):

  • 4th string pair: The G (Sol) string is played “open”
  • 3rd string pair: Index finger plays E (Mi) note on the 2nd fret of the D (Re) string
  • 2nd string pair: Middle finger plays C (Do) note on the 3rd fret of the A (La) string
  • 1st string pair: The E (Mi) string is played “open”

C minor (Cm)

C minor two finger mandolin chord

The C (Do) minor is 0-1-3-3 /G-Eb-C-G (Sol-Mib-Do-Sol), played as following (left hand):

  • 4th string pair: The G (Sol) string is played “open”
  • 3rd string pair: Index finger plays Eb (Mib) note on the 1st fret of the D (Re) string
  • 2nd string pair: Third finger plays C (Do) note on the 3rd fret of the A (La) string
  • 1st string pair: Third or Fourth finger plays G (Sol) note on the 3rd fret of the E (Mi) string

D Major

D major two finger mandolin chord

The D (Re) major is 2-0-0-2 / A-D-A-F# (La-Re-La-Fa#), played as following (left hand):

  • Index finger plays A (La) note on the 2nd fret of the G (Sol) string
  • D (Re) string is played “open” or un-freted
  • A (La) string is played “open” or un-freted
  • Middle finger plays F# (Fa#) note on the 2nd fret of the E (Mi) string

D minor (Dm)

D minor two finger mandolin chord

The D (Re) minor is 2-0-0-1 / A-D-A-F (La-Re-La-Fa), played as following (left hand):

  • Middle finger plays A (La) note on the 2nd fret of the G (Sol) string
  • D (Re) string is played “open” or un-freted
  • A (La) string is played “open” or un-freted
  • Index finger plays F (Fa) note on the 1st fret of the E (Mi) string

E Major

Emajor200x300

The E (Mi) major is 4-6-2-0 / B-G#-B-E (Si-Sol#-Si-Mi), played as following (left hand):

  • Middle (or third) finger plays note B (Si) on the 4th fret of the G (Sol) string
  • Fourth finger plays note G# (Sol#) on the 6th fret of the D (Re) string
  • Index finger plays note B (Si) on the 2nd fret of the A (La) string<
  • The E (Mi) string is played “open”.

E minor

Eminor200x300

The E (Mi) minor is 4-5-2-0 / B-G-B-E (Si-Sol-Si-Mi), played as following (left hand):

  • Middle (or third) finger plays note B (Si) on the 4th fret of the G (Sol) string
  • Third (or fourth) finger plays note G (Sol) on the 5th fret of the D (Re) string
  • Index finger plays note B (Bi) on the 2nd fret of the A (La) string
  • The E (Mi) string is played “open”.

F Major

F major two finger mandolin chords

The F (Fa) major is proposed here with two easy variants, either 5-3-0-1 / C-F-A-F (Do-Fa-La-Fa), or x-3-3-5 / x-F-C-A (x-Fa-Do-La). The latter is played as following (left hand):

  • The G (Sol) string is not played at all (muted)
  • Index finger (barre) plays note F (Fa) on the 3rd fret of the D (Re) string
  • Index finger (barre) plays note C (Do) on the 3rd fret of the A (La) string
  • Third finger plays note A (La) on the 5th fret of the E (Mi) string

F minor

F minor two finger mandolin chords

The F (Fa) minor is x-3-3-4 / x-F-C-Ab (x-Fa-Do-Lab), played as following (left hand):

  • The G (Sol) string is not played at all (muted)
  • Index finger (barre) plays note F (Fa) on the 3rd fret of the D (Re) string
  • Index finger (barre) plays note C (Do) on the 3rd fret of the A (La) string
  • Second finger plays note Ab (Lab) on the 4th fret of the E (Mi) string

G Major

G major two finger mandolin chords

The G (Sol) major is  0-0-2-3 / G-D-B-G (Sol-Re-Si-Sol),  played as following (left hand):

  • The G (Sol) string is  played open (un-fretted)
  • The D (Re) string is  played open (un-fretted)
  • Index finger plays note B (Si) on the 2nd fret of the A (La) string
  • Second finger plays note G (Sol) on the 3rd fret of the E (Mi) string

G minor

G minor two finger mandolin chords

The G (Sol) minor two finger mandolin chord is 0-0-1-3 / x-G-Bb-G (x- Sol-Sib-Sol), played as following (left hand):

  • The G (Sol) string is  played open (un-fretted)
  • The D (Re) string is  played open (un-fretted)
  • Index finger plays note Bb (Sib)on the 1st fret of the A (La) string
  • Third finger plays note G (Sol) on the 3rd fret of the E (Mi) string

A Major

Amajor 200x300

The A (La) major is  2-2-4-0 / A-E-C#-E (La-Mi-Do#-Mi) displayed above or even simpler 6-2-0-0 / C#-E-A-E (Do#-Mi-La-Mi),  played as following (left hand):

  • Fourth finger plays note C# (Do#)on the 6th fret of the G (Sol) string
  • First finger plays note E (Mi) on the 2nd fret of the D (Re) string
  • The A (La) string is  played open (un-fretted)
  • The E (Mi) string is  played open (un-fretted)

A minor

Aminor 200x300

The A (La) minor is 2-2-3-0 / A-E-C-E (La-Mi-Do-Mi) displayed above, or can be even simpler as 5-2-0-0 /C-E-A-E (Do-Mi-La-Mi), played as following (left hand):

  • Third finger plays note C (Do) on the 5th fret of the G (Sol) string
  • First finger plays note E (Mi) on the 2nd fret of the D (Re)  string
  • The A (La) string is  played open (un-fretted)
  • The E (Mi) string is  played open (un-fretted)

B Major

B major two finger mandolin chords

The B (Si) major two finger mandolin chord is  4-4-6-x  / B-F#-D#-x (Si Fa# Re#),  played as following (left hand):

  • First finger (barre) plays note B (Si) on the 4th fret of the G (Sol) string
  • First finger (barre) also plays note F# (Fa#) on the 4th fret of the D (Re) string
  • Third finger plays not D# (Re#) on 6th fret of A (La) string
  • The E (Mi) string is not played  (muted)

B minor

B minor two finger mandolin chords

The B (Si) minor two finger mandolin chord is 4-4-5-x or B-F#-D-x (Si-Fa#-Re), played as following (left hand):

  • First finger (barre) plays note B (Si) on the 4th fret of the G (Sol) string
  • First finger (barre) also plays note F# (Fa#) on the 4th fret of the D (Re) string
  • Second finger plays note D (Re) on 5th fret of A (La)  string
  • The E (Mi) string is not played  (muted)

Epilogue

You have made to the end! Well done!!!

Now, you need to practice these easy, playable two finger mandolin chords you just learned, till you feel comfortable playing each one of them and switching between them!

Don’t give up now, with practice comes excellence!

864 chord diagrams in 94 pages e-book (PDF)

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About the Author:

I’m Chris, a mandolin lover from Greece, trained in Music, Mathematics and IT who makes a living on technology but enjoys life through music and arts. Welcome to my adventures!
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