©2011 Bradley Laird
FREE MANDOLIN CHORD CHARTS from PlayTheMandolin.com!
This page contains an assortment of useful mandolin chord charts. These free chord charts are organized in sets according to the key of the song you are playing. For example, if you are playing a song in the key of C you'll most likely encounter the set of chords found on the Key of C chart.
In case you are unfamiliar with how to read chord charts I suggest that you watch this free video first. Then come back and start learning to play more chords.
A LITTLE MORE INFORMATION ABOUT CHORDS
The most common chords found in any key are the I, the IV, and the V. If these roman numerals mean nothing to you you might want to go watch this video lesson called Chord Progressions By The Numbers.
The I, IV and V chords are the most common chords you will find in bluegrass, folk, rock and blues songs.
You'll also find the VIIb in a lot of songs. (Songs like "Little Maggie") Sometimes tunes will use II instead of IIm and VI instead of VIm (Songs like "Salty Dog") so those chords are included in each set too. Also, once in a while you will find a III7 chord, usually played right before a IV chord. (Songs like "Old Home Place")
There are quite a few options for playing some of these chords in other positions or with other chord shapes but these are the chord forms which I personally tend to favor when playing bluegrass style songs.
In case you are wondering, I have been playing mandolin for over 30 years, and I can count on one hand the times I have been asked to play a song in a key other than the ones listed above. Keys, such as Ab, Db, Eb, and F# are so rare in bluegrass that I wouldn't even worry about them. And besides, once you learn to play these, you'll be able to figure out on your own how to play in those other keys.
Here's a link to a great little mandolin chord widget that I think you'll find very useful too! (Courtesy of Howard Knight)