In Part 1 of this lesson, Mike Marshall teaches the classic tune Old Joe Clark. Mike breaks the song down bar by bar and explains the chords used and the melody line for the song.
- Okay here's Old Joe Clark. We're gonna finally start playing some melodies now and we're gonna start you off with the most basic version of this tune that you could ever imagine and kind of build on it. The idea being that just right from the beginning of learning melodies I want you to start to think about making variations of them because that's so much a part of the tradition and not to get stuck on playing a tune as one single way but to think about more broad kind of musicality of how these tunes are put together because all this is going to tie in to how we improvise later on.
So here's Old Joe Clark, the most simple way to play it without hardly any notes, just single notes. (mandolin music) Let's do that with the rhythm guitar at 60 beats per minute. It'll be fun to play along with somebody. - [Rhythm Guitarist] A one, two, three and a (mandolin and guitar music) - Now we're gonna do the same tune, same tempo but we're gonna play it with more notes, more notes per minute.
We're gonna do two notes with the right hand for every one with the left. (mandolin music) And we're gonna continue that way through the whole tune. (mandolin music) Even the B. (mandolin music) And when you first start doing this the first thing that comes to mind, is for many players, one of the biggest problems I see is that the upstrokes are never as strong as the downstrokes.
So this is gonna be something that will haunt you forever as a mandolin player. It's something I still work on every day. It's just getting that upstroke (mandolin strumming) to really be as solid, as round a tone, a lot of times what you'll hear from people is a really fat down and then a thin... (mandolin music) and it almost becomes kind of a rhythmic thing. Dada, bada, bada, bada. I mean it can be an effect but if you're locked in to only playing that way, that's not great.
You want to have the flexibility to make them even. (mandolin music) So this is a good, great chance to try to do that on Old Joe Clark. Let's have it one more time with the rhythm guitar. - [Rhythm Guitarist] A one, two, three and a... (mandolin and guitar music) - Okay here's another way to vary this melody.
This time is a little closer to how you've probably heard it before many times when you hear fiddle players play this song. They slide into this open E string, (mandolin strumming) instead of that you have a slide on the second string up to the seventh fret and it's the same note. (mandolin music) And then...
(mandolin strumming) you do this... (mandolin music) So we're getting pretty fancy right off the bat here. Sliding up to the high E. (mandolin music) Wait and then, (mandolin music) then this with the second part you're going to slide into this A string on the D string up to the A on the seventh fret.
(mandolin music) So let's do that with the guitar now.
- [Rhythmic Guitarist] A one, two, three and a... (mandolin and guitar music)
Note: This course is one of a 4-part series created and produced by ArtistWorks. We are honored to host this training in our library.
- Sitting and standing with the mandolin
- Tuning a mandolin
- Positioning the right and left hands
- Strumming open chords
- Playing two-finger chords and melodies
- Playing beginner mandolin tunes
- Finding minor and moveable chords
- Playing 7th chords
- Playing chop chords
- Picking on the mandolin