Clark JM Jazz Mandolin
Tips & Tricks Mel Bay Mandolin Sessions








Sage Wisdom

"Good improvisation communicates harmonic progression melodically. Effective melodies manipulate harmonic content through the use of guide tones and preparatory gravity notes, masterfully woven in systematic tension, release, and transparent harmonic definition."

Efficient Learning: The Circle of Fifths

It's always nice to have a physical tool, an "educational aid" around to help with a deep intellectual concept. How could we have ever learned to count to ten without using our fingers? How could we grasp the concept of how far Chile is from Iceland without looking at a globe? How many times did we go back to a chord chart to learn those first few chords on the mandolin.

We've mention the concept of the Circle of Fiths in other places of the website. It's an important one to internalize, and we've come up with a way for you to include this in your daily practice AND keep your mandolin clean at the same time! Introducing, the Circle of Fiths Mandolin Polish Cloth!


The ultimate in portability, you can carry this everywhere you take your mandolin. It feeds your brain the magic 5ths progression while you practice scales, and folds up nicely in your case after you wipe dust and skin oils off your instrument when you're done. (Try doing that with a chord chart!)
Drape the cloth over your case or music stand while you practice your FFcP or Turnaround progressions:

Ci5ClothDrapeCase.jpg Ci5ClothDrapeMusic1.jpg

Remember the Five Benefits of Fluency with the Circle of Fifths:

  • 1. Visual reference to the 5th of the key at all times gives you the opportunity to immediately exploit the tonic/dominant (I/V7) relationship.
  • 2. Knowing a sequence of 2-4 fifths in the sequence provides you an opportunity to do "Turnaround" phrases and the end of a blues progression.
  • 3. Learning your key signatures is much easier with the chart. Flats go counter-clockwise, sharps go clockwise. Add one flat or sharp and you progress to the next key.
  • 4 The bottom of the circle you gives you that "Netherworld" of Enharmonic keys, five flats, six sharps, etc. Though they aren't listed above, you have the enharmonic equivalents of B (Cb ), F# (Gb), and Db (C#).
  • 5. Your "Tritone" relationship is always directly across the clock. The farthest point away will be that magic opportunity for tritone substitution chords.

Use this enough and eventually, you'll internalize all 12 key relationships. Look at the strings on your mandolin, EADG, you're already 1/3 of the way there; just 4 more to the the left, and 4 more to the right and you have all 12 keys down!

Just as important: Clean your mandolin when you're done! This cloth is baby soft, fabric woven of the latest in microfibre technology. (Note, it's a diferent material than our Jupiter Silkweave Cloth, and larger in dimension.) It gently pulls harmful oils and light grit off the wood, frets, and strings, virtually paying for itself in preventitive maintenance and long term mandolin hygiene. Time and wear can be viscious to your precious instrument. Slow the aging process down with light but regular cleaning.

Washes easily with your weekly laundry, no need to dryclean with your tuxedo... No bleach either, please. Not recommended to be used in conjunction with a commercial polish, regular and frequent wiping will make any polish unnecessary.


Fold it in the case, and you have it handy for the next practice session!

As low as $5.00 a piece (quantity discount) including shipping!

Click to order:

Price with shipping: $7.50 (International orders add $7.00)
Order ONE Circle of 5ths Polish Cloth

Spread the love & share the benefits of proper mandolin hygiene with your friends!
Buy 2 and get the 3rd one free! ($15.00)
Order THREE "Spread the Love" Circle of 5ths Polish Cloth

Educational Discount: Teachers, purchase a quantity for your students (great graduation presents or general gift item)!
Buy 10 and distribute!! ($45.00)
Order TEN "Educational Quantity Discount" Circle of 5ths Polish Cloth

SPECIAL SAVINGS when you order packaged with JM-11 strings:

Only $5.00 with one set JM-11 Flatwound strings ($19.95 total)

Only $5.00 with two sets JM-11 Flatwound strings ($29.95 total)

Put a JazzMando Shirt
in your Shopping Cart, while you're here!


Send $7.50 check payable to "Jazzmando" (no cash, please!) specifying quantity (remember 3 for the price of 2 special: $15.00) with your request, and your mailing address to:
7341 So 35th
Lincoln, NE 68516

Questions about international orders: contact

About the JazzMando Merchandise Center: Products offered in our Merchandise area are for the benefit of promoting the art of jazz mandolin. All profits are redirected into developing artists, underwriting and supporting concerts, and encouraging the proliferation of jazz mandolin pedagogy. Consider a purchase in the center an opportunity to help this cause and give to the ever expanding community of this art.

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