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Video FAQ

Here are Roland's video responses to some frequently asked questions about mandolin playing. We may have paraphrased your question.

Q.  I find it difficult to make what has been called a "barre" chord, such as the A at the second to fifth frets. Can you demonstrate?-Jane in BC, Canada

Q.  What gauge and type of pick do you use, and what strings? - from Damon, Deer Park, Washington

Q.  I'm having trouble making the G chop chord. Can you show us how to make it? - from Richard, Tennessee

Notes: In the "easy" G position, you fret both the 2nd and 3rd strings with your middle finger. Also, when Roland says to move a position back 3 "steps"--he means "frets".

Q.  I was having problems moving my left hand under the neck of my mando for it kept sticking to the underside of the neck... from Clayton B. in Maine

Roland didn't say, but might have: his Randy Wood mandolin eventually got all the finish rubbed off the neck from playing. When he gave specifications for his recent Gibson mandolin he purposely asked that the neck not have stain or varnish so that his hand would slide more easily, as it had on the worn Randy Wood mandolin neck. It does have a rubbed oil finish to seal it.

Q. Cameron, age 14, from California, requested some tips on tremolo.

Please check back - we will post video or in some cases text answers to the following soon.

Q.  "If I don't know the melody, what is the best way to take a break on that song? And are there any techniques or tricks you could reveal to aid in 'faking' a break?" - Anthony, Oregon

Q.   "I would like to know how to play counterpoint, and how to play up the neck." - Barry F.

Q.  "How do you bring out the melody when playing double and triple stops or droning open strings?" - Tal H.

Q.  "What are some variations on bluegrass chop chord rhythms? In particular I have heard a triplet type of snare drum effect at the end of a song, or in the middle of a song where a brush upstroke appears. - William R.

Q.   "What are some creative ways to motivate my 9 year old son to practice?" - Steve L.

Q.  "Do you have any tips for developing speed, keeping accuracy and tone but not ending up having carpal tunnel surgery?" - Marty, NH

Q.  "I am looking for scale patterns." - Ken

Q.  "Could you show how the same break to a simple 3 chord song could be played in more than one key?" - Mike F.

Q.  "How can I adapt a Carl Perkins style? Is there any way I can practice so it is automatic?" - Greg W.

Q.  "What are some qualities to look for in a mandolin?" - Bob

Q.  "Can you talk about how to jam along in a certain key--playing more than just scales?" - Micah M.

Q.  "I have struggled with understanding the relationships of double stop notes. Are there constant relationships?" - John E.

Q.  "Aside from a tremolo, how do you achieve the sustain that is natural in fiddle?" - Tim R.

Q.  "I'd like to learn to arrange chord melodies and play by ear" - Thomas R.

Q.  "Are there tips that would help me play breaks from other than first position? How do I get started working further up the fretboard?" - Ed R.

Q.  "Can you demonstrate some of your favorite chord forms and how to use them in a song?" - John G.