In advance of creating a lesson on this for Djangobooks.com, a little food for thought on chord voicings:
Since you can play up to four notes at a time with conventional fingering, there are a lot of good possibilities for chord voicings.Information on basic triads is widely available, but for those of you into advanced jazz/swing type 7th chords, you may wonder how to voice extended chords, like E7 #9 b13.
Isn't that a six note chord (1,3,5,b7,#9,b13)?
It doesn't have to be. The trick is knowing which notes to eliminate. If you use the 3rd and 7th
of the chord on the bottom two strings, believe it or not you are playing the 'basic chord sound'. Yeah, it is tricky to think of an E chord based on D in the bass (if you play the D on the 4th string, 7th fret)- but you get used to it (guitarists who use altered tunings have bigger worries). So, on strings 4 through 1, play the frets 7,6,3 and 3
and you'll have the notes D G# C G,
of the E7 chord.
You can apply this concept to many extended chord situations, on any instrument.If you are serious about playing jazz on the mandolin, you'll want to become fluent with these sounds.