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This is a collection of less-challenging versions of a few of the exercises (for GDAE instruments only). Some don’t move into the upper positions as much, some skip the less-travelled half of the circle of fifths, they have more fingering and other info, and the videos are slower than those on the Video page. Easier, but not “beginner” stuff –  contact me if you need help.
More detailed descriptions are on the Video page – you’ll have to hunt around (there’s a lot there), but at least they’re in the same order as here.

Major & Minor Triads Ss

3 pages

Major & Minor Triads Ss
Major & Minor Triads Ss

Pentatonic Scales Ss

2 pages

Pentatonic Scales Ss
Pentatonic Scales Ss

Sexatonic Zigzag Ss

6 pages

Sexatonic Zigzag Ss
Sexatonic Zigzag Ss

Sexatonic Zigzag Ss 6k

1 page

Sexatonic Zigzag Ss 6k
Sexatonic Zigzag Ss 6k

Mixolydian Major Triads Ss

2 pages

Mixolydian Major Triads Ss
Mixolydian Major Triads Ss

Major & Minor Sevenths Ss

2 pages

Major & Minor Sevenths Ss
Major & Minor Sevenths Ss

I–IV–V–IV Ss

2 pages

I-IV-V-IV Ss
I-IV-V-IV Ss

WHAT YOU’LL PLAY

DESCRIPTION

GIVE IT A GO

Scales 1st Position Ss

No gradually increasing tempos, so not a warm-up like the Video one, and because of that plus the minimalist backing track, I’ll concede that ya, it’s not really all that much different than playing with a metronome. The benefits of using the video are still there, though – you’ll likely to find yourself phrasing with a little more drama, and it’s good practice for being able to stumble without stopping, without losing your place.
(The pdf for this one is on the PDF page.)

55 minutes   924 MB

Major & Minor Triads Ss

Similar to the Video one, with less upper-position chords, and only the first position arpeggios. Still has the spicy seventh-sounding chords (C major triad over an A bass sounds like an Am7) on the third and fifth go-round.
I don’t recommend getting locked into the standard mandolin “chords” that you can learn anywhere – chords (especially triads) are simply three notes at a time, and you want the freedom to choose what note goes on top, so that you have a choice as to what you, well, what you want to say.

25 minutes   419 MB

Pentatonic Scales Ss

All the major and minor pentatonic scales in first position (four are in second position). Basic stuff, as easy as it gets, the video tops out at 120 bpm – it’s a fun ride.
(I’ll agree, the accompaniment is a little weird (harmonically) by itself at the slow tempo – it needs the missing melody, meaning you, and it’s hallelujah! when it really gets jumping.)

26 minutes   426 MB

Sexatonic Zigzag Ss 2

A pattern based on what I call the sexatonic scale (a minor pentatonic scale with one more note). It’s a super-rhythmic scale – you play a note of the root chord, the I minor, on every downstroke, and a note of the VII major chord on the upstrokes (eg Am for downstrokes, G for upstrokes).
There are three sections: starting on the root, the third, and the fifth, and because of all the variations it’s quite a long exercise, so there are only two tempos here, but it brings up an important point: the “10,000 hours” thing. It’s
real, you can easily hear it in a pro’s confidently relaxed tone, and cruising through exercises like this one is how you get there – you’re not just practising scales, you’re practising tone, phrasing, and relaxing too, and you need to do it a lot to get that pro-sounding “sheen”. Even noodling while watching a movie counts – riff away along with the soundtrack, and with time you too will start to get that smooth polished tone.

42 minutes   694 MB

Sexatonic Zigzag Ss 6k

So, the one immediately above wearing out your left hand? Feeling a little “ya, playing this riff fast in any key is a laudable goal, but let’s get E and A down really well first”? This exercise focuses only on the six most common keys, and only in first position.
It’s a short one (it repeats the cycle 10 times!) – no pressure to get to the end.

28 minutes   462 MB

Mixolydian Major Triads Ss

Same as on the Video page, but only in the lowest positions. It’s a “2-in-1”, there are two patterns, but each pattern is twice as long as in the pdf, so that you can enjoy groovin’.

29 minutes   485 MB

Major & Minor Sevenths Ss

A much easier version of the CGDAE one, and you also have a choice of difficulty – the exercise is written throughout the video at the mid-level, but you can figure out from the first page that you can also play one chord per bar, or four.

29 minutes   476 MB

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