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EXERCISE 10 - THE NAMES OF THE "NATURAL" NOTES
Here are the names of the "natural" notes found on each string. Remember that the open strings are simply the name of the note which the string is tuned to.

mandolin tablature


You should learn the names of each of these notes and be able to find them. (You will not accomplish this in one day. Just take your time and review it a few minutes each time you get your mandolin out to play. It will give you something useful to do when your fingers get sore!) These notes will become a "roadmap" to help you know where to play chords, and will allow you to find all of the other notes on the fingerboard. Notice how the note names ascend in "ABC" fashion. From A to G and then just go on repeating.


EXERCISE 11 - FLATS AND SHARPS
If you go down one fret from a natural note, you have "flatted the note". If you raise a note by one fret, you have "sharped the note". In this example we start with an "A" note. By dropping down one fret, we have made "A flat" (written Ab).

mandolin tablature

By raising the A note one fret, we have made A sharp. (Written A#). Here now are all of the notes on each string. This squence is known as the chromatic scale. The notes are filled in for the first measure. Using what you have learned so far, try to say aloud the note names for the rest of the measures. You might even want to print this page and write the notes names above each number on the tab. (Just to be sure you really understand what's going on here and to give you some homework!)

mandolin tablature

Look again at measure one and notice that the second note (G sharp) is played at the first fret. In the explanation of flats and sharps we said that this note was called Ab. This note actually has two names. It can be called G# or Ab. Same for all of the flats and sharps. Db is also called C#.
Important: There is no B# or E#. A B# simply is called C. And an E# is called F. The reverse is also true that there is no Cb. It is just called B. And Fb is called E. Other than those two exceptions, it is fairly simple.


NOTE ABOUT TABLATURE vs STANDARD NOTATION

If you know how to read standard musical notation, the names of the notes will be much clearer than with tablature. Tablature is simply a diagram of where to put your fingers. There are some great benefits to be gained by learning to read standard notation as well as tablature. Thousands of songs are published in standard notation and only a small percentage are in tablature. Tablature has its benefits, however, in that it is easier to understand quickly. Both forms have their pros and cons and I suggest that all players learn both systems.

Roger that! Take me to lesson 7.

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