Yesterday evening at band practice I learned to play two chords that I had been fudging all along (meaning that I figured out how to play something on two strings that sounded a fine; a real chord should involve at least three strings): B minor and F# minor. They are not particularly hard chords, but they don’t come up that often in folk music, and so I had never bothered to actually figure them out. The thing is that the mandolin is wonderfully set up for keys like C, G, and D, and so it was really easy for me to figure out those commonly used chords. I told my bandmates that after taking ukulele lessons, I am wondering if I should take mandolin lessons to actually learn how to play properly, and the guitarist said why not, but the fiddlers were not super enthusiastic about the idea. One told me she would never take violin lessons because she has been playing for more than sixty years, but a teacher would tear apart everything she was doing and make her start over, and another said, “You’ve been playing fine all this time. You just have your own unique sound.” It’s true that I have been a semi-professional (very semi) mandolin player for fifteen years with this band, and I played with other bands before that in public, if not for pay, so if I don’t know this instrument by now, what’s the point? Other than learning weird chords like B minor and F# minor, that I could probably just learn from a book for the rare times they come up. What do you think, readers? Should I take mandolin lessons once I have mastered the ukulele?