MANDOLIN LICKS

Here is a page of miscellaneous bluegrass mandolin licks.

These licks were originally sent piecemeal to the CoMando list during the latter half of 1999, as postscripts to e-mails on other subjects. A number of players contacted me to say that they had found the licks useful, so I'm putting them up again here. Please use or discard as appropriate!

If you think there are any mistakes in these licks, or you would like to send your own licks for publication in this format, please mail me at john.baldry@btinternet.com


A word about format

The format of these tabs uses standard word processor characters. You can easily create a template for writing your own tabs. Here is the one which I use, which you may like to copy.


ch-------------------------------------------------------
lh-------------------------------------------------------

E-|-----------------|-----------------|-----------------|
A-|-----------------|-----------------|-----------------|
D-|-----------------|-----------------|-----------------|
G-|-----------------|-----------------|-----------------|


The ch line is for chords.

The lh line clarifies any left hand fingering problems, and is also used for other information (e.g. Trip = triplet. Sometimes I have put chords in the lh line, where there is space.

If the ch and/or the lh line is not needed, it is deleted. The aim is to keep things as simple as possible.

^ = a tie, slide or hammer, depending on the circumstances.

Sl = slide H = hammer

Trem = tremolo this note

d = downstroke u = upstroke


Timing

Very important! A note followed by a dash (–) is a 1/8 note. A note followed by three dashes (---) is a quarter note, and so on. Three notes together, not separated by dashes, comprise a triplet; this is confirmed by Trip in the lh row above.

This system is OK for basic timing. However, it does not allow for the many subtleties of bluegrass mandolin notation, including grace notes and complex syncopations. I'm intending to write out some stuff using the MusEdit program, which should deal with this problem, but it is going to take a bit of development time. Meanwhile, I hope you can get some use out of the word processed tab.


Important: To get correct vertical alignment of the lines of the tab staff, you should view it in an equal-spaced font like Courier New or Courier.

I have set the font of the page in Courier New (with Courier as an alternative). If by any chance you are not viewing the page in either of these, you may need to change your browser font setting.

To copy the tabs, you should cut and paste into a word processing document, and print in Courier New/Courier or other font with equal spacing.



Bluegrass mandolin licks


Extended D lick (used against a D chord in the key of G)

lh--3-2---------------3-2--------------------------------

E-|-----------------|-----------------|-------0-2-0-2-3-|
A-|-----------------|-------0-3-2-3-0-|-5-4-5-----------|
D-|-------0-4-3-4-0-|-7-6-7-----------|-----------------|
G-|-7-6-7-----------|-----------------|-----------------|


E-|-5---------------|-----------------|-----------------|
A-|-----------------|-----------------|-----------------|
D-|-----------------|-----------------|-----------------|
G-|-----------------|-----------------|-----------------|




G lick

lh--1-------4----------------3-Sl--2-3-------------------

E-|------------------|-----------------|----------------|
A-|-5---7---10---7---|-5-7-5-----------|----------------|
D-|------------------|-------8^9-9-8-9-|-5--------------|
G-|------------------|-----------------|----------------|




Gm lick (eg at end of 'Kentucky Mandolin') Also works against G major, apart from the final chord.

E-|-----------------|-----------------|-----------------|
A-|-----------------|-----------------|-----------------|
D-|-5-4-5-0-3-2-3-2-|-0---------------|---0-3-4-5-3-0---|
G-|-----------------|---6-5-3-0---0-3-|-5-------------6-|


E-|---------3-------|-----------------|-----------------|
A-|---------1-------|-----------------|-----------------|
D-|---------0-------|-----------------|-----------------|
G-|-5-3-0---0-------|-----------------|-----------------|




D lick resolving to G (or a G D G lick)

lh----------------1---2-1---------1-1--------------------

E-|-------------0-1-|-2-1-0-----------|-----------------|
A-|-----5---5-------|-------5-3-0-1-2-|-----------------|
D-|-0---------------|-----------------|-5---------------|
G-|-----------------|-----------------|-----------------|




G lick

E-|-----------------|-------0-3-------|-----------------|
A-|-------0-2-0-2-3-|-5-4-5-----------|-----------------|
D-|-5-4-5-----------|-----------------|-----------------|
G-|-----------------|-----------------|-----------------|




Downhill G run (bluesy)

lh---------------------(4)-------------------------------

E-|-------------0-1-|-3-6-3-1-0-1-0---|-----------------|
A-|-----------------|---------------5-|-3-0-1-2---------|
D-|-----------------|-----------------|---------5-------|
G-|-----------------|-----------------|-----------------|




Monroe monster arpeggio in G (2 octaves)

E-|-----------------|-----------------|-------3-3-------|
A-|-----------------|---------------2-|-2-5-5-----------|
D-|-----------------|-------0-0-5-5---|-----------------|
G-|-------------4-2-|-0-4-4-----------|-----------------|


Same thing in A (closed position)

lh-----------------------------(3)-(1)-------------------

E-|-----------------|-----------------|-------5-5-------|
A-|-----------------|---------------4-|-4-7-7-----------|
D-|-----------------|-------2-2-7-7---|-----------------|
G-|-------------6-4-|-2-6-6-----------|-----------------|




A to D lick (V - I in the key of D)

Monroe-style downpicking (e.g. Bluegrass Stomp)

All downstrokes except triplet (d-u-d) and final tremoloed double stop


lh--------------1-2-A-2-3-----------------4----Trip-1-1--

E-|-----------------|-----------------|-----------------|
A-|-----------------|---------------5-^-5-9-5-----------|
D-|-----------------|---7-----7---7---|-------7-677-3-4-|
G-|-------------4-5-|-6---5-6---------|-----------------|


--D-3----------------Tremolo-----------------------------

E-|-----------------|-----------------|-----------------|
A-|-----------------|-----------------|-----------------|
D-|-----------------|-4---------------^-4---x-----------|
G-|-7---7-0-5-0-4---|-2---------------^-2---x-----------|




Yodel lick in D(e.g I V I turnaround for "Peach Pickin' Time In Georgia")

lh------------1-2-2-D-1-3---------1-1-A-1-3--------------

E-|-----------------|-----------------|-----------------|
A-|-----------------|---9-------9-----|---7-------------|
D-|-----------4-5-6-|-7-----7^7---7-6-|-5-----5^5-0-2-3-|
G-|-----------------|-----------------|-----------------|


lh-D-----------------------------------------------------

E-|-----------------|-----------------|-----------------|
A-|---5-3-2-0-2-----|-----------------|-----------------|
D-|-4-----------3-4-|-0---------------|-----------------|
G-|-----------------|-----------------|-----------------|




Another yodel lick (in D): extended V I lick.

The position shifts may look complicated at first, but you are really just moving down the neck in double stops.

Try this lick for the last measures of a break for Footprints In The Snow in D. (The lick can easily be transposed to E, if you want to sing Footprints in that key. In that case try finding the initial notes on the first two strings.)


ch---------A---------------------------------------
lh--1-2----2--3--2--2--2-3--2-2---1-3---2-2-3-1-3-

E--------|----------------------|-----------------|
A--------|----12---------10-----|---9---------4-7-|
D---9-10-|-11----11-10-9----9-8-|-7---7-6-5-7-----|
G--------|----------------------|-----------------|


ch--D----------------------------------------------------
lh--2------trip-trip-------------------------------------

E-|-----------------|-----------------|-----------------|
A-|-5-------020-----|-----------------|-----------------|
D-|-------------542-|-0---------------|-----------------|
G-|-----------------|-----------------|-----------------|




G lick

E-|-----------------|-----------------|-----------------|
A-|-----------------|-----------------|-----------------|
D-|-------------0-2-|-3-2-0-----------|-------0-5-------|
G-|-----------------|-------5-4-0-2-4-|-0-2-4-----------|




Modal A lick (e.g. for last four measures of Pike County Breakdown or Old Joe Clark [B part]). Play out of second position (second finger at 5th fret)

ch--------------------A----------------------------------
lh----------------1---2-4--------------------------------

E-|-------------0-3-|-5-8-5-3-0-3-0---|-----------------|
A-|-----------------|---------------6-|-5-6-5-3-0-3-0---|
D-|-----------------|-----------------|---------------6-|
G-|-----------------|-----------------|-----------------|


ch-(G)------E---------A----------------------------------

E-|-----------------|-----------------|-----------------|
A-|-----------------|-----------------|-----------------|
D-|-5-6-5-3-0-------|-----------------|-----------------|
G-|-----------6-5-0-|-2---------------|-----------------|



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