Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Discuss the Mandolin lesson: Mandolin Fretboard Geography- 1, 4, & 5 Chords


I promise to give this a try… And provide feedback.

The thing is… It will take me a bit to grasp, perform and absorb… but I will work on it!


Good stuff. Where do we go from here?


Hi @granaghan Welcome to @BanjoBen 's Forum. At this time Ben is without power due to a tornado passing through his home town. I am pleased to report Ben and his family are fine. But it may be a while till he sees your post and gets to reply as he is also preparing to host the first Cabin Camp this year in just a few short weeks.

I am not a Mandolin Player but what I will say if your are new to the mandolin focus on the beginner section for now. Learn the fundamentals because you will need these as you progress to the next level.

Maybe @Mark_Rocka or @Fiddle_wood can offer some guidance. Good luck


Hi @granaghan and welcome to the forum!

If you have a good understanding of the whole beginer section you can either pick another song or exercise or you can expand further on this exercise by using your imagination.

Some ideas on expanding this lesson:
Change which finger you start the lick with. These licks (and many others) can be played starting with any finger but the fingering changes if you hold the same hand position through each chord. (this can be very challenging but is great for dexterity and more understanding of hte scales)

Change the chord progression to any song you already know or another song lesson on the site.

You could go through the Bag o Licks lessons and combine it with the same ideas of from this lesson.

Hope this helps some.


If you’d like to apply what you’ve learned in this lesson series to more exercises, I’d recommend the pentatonic scale lessons followed by the scale lessons.

But there’s also a lot of fun to be had in learning actual songs. If you’re ready for fun, pretty much any song that you’re drawn to is a good place to start. Just make sure you don’t do like I did and go for the really tough stuff first. Work your way up to it. Going too difficult in the beginning can get discouraging.


You’ve got me inspired to work on this lesson next!


This is the greatest lesson I’ve found on this site yet! More like this for Mando and Guitar will keep me coming back for more! I think I saw one on Banjo, so I need to check that out (even though I play Clawhammer, the fret work is applicable to both). Thanks!!



Thanks for posting on the best forum for the first time! Happy to have you and hope to see you post often in the future!

By the way, I lived the small town of Milford, Michigan so I did a double-take when I saw your user name… :wink:


Great lesson thanks so much for the geography lesson.

Quick question about double stops in relation to the I IV and V chords. In the key of G it seems like the double stop most often played is the D the string above but I’m having trouble finding a one for C.

I’d love a lesson just like this that shows where the double stops are along the way since often times they lead into or out of licks.

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I am certain some with more experience than I will answer your question but I did want to welcome you the the forum @techmandu!


I am not quite understanding what you mean. D is most often use for G

There are several DS that have both a D and G in them. What they “are” is a matter of what inversion you may be using and what chord is in the rhythm at the time.

You can have a G doublestop with D either above or below the G
Also with B either above or below the G

A D double stop many times had an A with the D.

There are also many positions to find each of these combinations.

Some common C double stops

C with E over or under
C with G over or under
I C is the melody note (by something else…usually at end of a phrase in key of C) you can use combinations of the E and G: over it to create a C chord and stay out of the way of the melody.


I would love a fretboard lesson for guitar. I’m trying really hard to learn my fretboard. So just wanted to add my request here. Thanks!


Mind Blown. This rivals the Alan Munde Banjo Fretboard Lessons.


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I have been working hard on this…great lesson…I can do the 120 but I am heading toward the next speed level. The pinkie was hard but I have been pretty focused so it it coming along. Lessons like this are the reason I chose BanjoBen over the other mando schools out there. I am really improving because of it.

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Great to hear, @patriciaormsby16!

Oh man, this is exactly the sort of content I am here for. I have someone in my circle who loves to call songs in uncommon keys (A# anyone?). Now, instead of getting irritated, I can join in!

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