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your hand. The left thumb should rest on the top side of the
fingerboard about even with the second fret.
The mandolin is played with a small pick or plectrum, which
is held between the thumb and first finger of the right hand.
When you first start to pick out notes and play easy tunes,
use a down stroke for each note. This means to move the pick
in a downward direction across the string you want to strike.
You should let your hand swing freely up and down from the
wrist when striking with the pick. Thus, in making a down
stroke, first swing the pick upward toward your face, pivoting
your right hand on the wrist. Then swing your hand and the
pick down, again pivoting your hand on the wrist, and let the
pick strike the string and slide quickly over it to come to rest
against the next string. When you strike the first string there is,
of course, no next string for the pick to come to rest on.
The tremolo is used a good deal in mandolin playing. It con-
sists of a rapid up-and-down movement of the pick over one
string. On the mandolin, of course, one string means a pair of
strings, as we have already mentioned. The tremolo is used
most often on half notes and whole notes in order to sustain
their tone for the correct length of time.
Now Try to Play "Yankee Doodle"
As soon as you have learned the most commonly used notes
(those which are on or near the staff), you should have no diffi-
culty in picking out simple tunes, playing them slowly at first,
and then, after some practice, as fast as you wish.
Fig. 26 is the tune of "Yankee Doodle" written in the key of
G (one sharp). It contains only seven different notes—D, E,
F, G, A, B, and C. These are played on the second and third
strings, as you will see by looking back at Fig. 24.
Start out by playing G on the third string. Put your third
finger against the fifth fret and keep it there while you down-
stroke the string twice. That makes the first two notes.
Play the second note—A—on the open second or A string.