Just Enough 2 B Dangerously Fun

A little bit of knowledge can be a dangerous thing, that is unless you've just acquired a mandolin, which in case it then becomes a dangerously fun thing. I've always said to beginning guitar players, "all you really need is 3 chords to play 1,000 + songs. When you get tired of the first 1,000, learn a couple of more chords." Eventually, with that system, you get up to about a dozen chords, which will carry through most Classic Rock, and 60's Folk song books.

My friend Mark Jafrate, of Guitar Works, had a mandolin dropped in his lap when a customer decided not to spend what it would rightfully cost to fix a mandolin with a caved in top. Mark is an outstanding mandolin player, doesn't need another one, and doesn't have the heart to throw an abandoned mandolin in the dumpster, so when I happened to wander in, he gave it to me.  BUT, not before he wedged some wood and glue in the F holes to raise the deck. Not the caliber of fix he would have done for the original customer, but for me....what do I know....just raise the pup tent and put some strings on that puppy..

One catch. I don't, or didn't, know a G chord from a spinal chord on that thing. "Hey Mark, show me 3 chords, a G,C, and D. Because I know with those 3 chords I can play 1,000 songs." So there I was, with a Kentucky mandolin, 1/2 pound of wood glue, and just enough musical knowledge 2 B dangerous.

I gotta tell ya, I don't think I've had so much fun since I learned the same 3 chords on the guitar. With total abandon I interpreted Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan, Kris Kristofferson,and even Ricky Nelson. My theory was that if there was more than 3, just skip 'em and keep strummin.'.
So for now, I'm pickin my favorite three - 3 chord songs. Then, I will find me an Open Mic and have myself some DANGEROUS FUN.

5 comments

  • Johnny Kee

    Johnny Kee Melbourne, FL

    Ken has turned our church praise band into a bluegrass band! He puts down the Gretch and picks up the new mandolin, Mike climbs out from behind the drums and picks up his 6-string, and I grab my 5-string Gibson, and off we go. Great fun. This week will be Will The Circle Be Unbroken? Just need to get that mandolin miked up!

    Ken has turned our church praise band into a bluegrass band! He puts down the Gretch and picks up the new mandolin, Mike climbs out from behind the drums and picks up his 6-string, and I grab my 5-string Gibson, and off we go. Great fun. This week will be Will The Circle Be Unbroken? Just need to get that mandolin miked up!

  • Joyce Bugaiski

    Joyce Bugaiski Lakeland, FL

    Love the story and you have given me new hope of learning my guitar. Instead of trying to learn all the chords (toughening up the tender fingers) I can begin with three. With three, I can play 1000 songs. Rock on!

    Love the story and you have given me new hope of learning my guitar. Instead of trying to learn all the chords (toughening up the tender fingers) I can begin with three. With three, I can play 1000 songs.
    Rock on!

  • Mike Moulton

    Mike Moulton Lower West Brownfield Heights

    Danger Was always your Best Business , KENDO MANDO , Strum on oh Great one and add a little E & A .

    Danger Was always your Best Business , KENDO MANDO , Strum on oh Great one and add a little E & A .

  • Pearl Joy

    Pearl Joy Melbourne, FL

    Great story Ken! Maybe it's time for me to learn the 3 chords on the guitar...darn, will have to trim down my long fingernails! ;-|

    Great story Ken! Maybe it's time for me to learn the 3 chords on the guitar...darn, will have to trim down my long fingernails! ;-|

  • Who I Am

    Who I Am

    Joyce...yes 1,000 songs at your fingertips! You'll be jamming at this years NRFestival. Pearl...would you really sacrifice those nails for the Mando??? NOT!! I've heard you and Howard, you already have 2,000 songs and counting.

    Joyce...yes 1,000 songs at your fingertips! You'll be jamming at this years NRFestival.

    Pearl...would you really sacrifice those nails for the Mando??? NOT!! I've heard you and Howard, you already have 2,000 songs and counting.

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