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Mandolin Players

Pick mandolin-family instruments as well as guitar? Share tips, tunes, and techniques in the mandolin group.

Members: 153
Latest Activity: Nov 13

Discussion Forum

new to the game 6 Replies

Started by Ron. Last reply by Robert Williamson Nov 13.

New mando player 4 Replies

Started by Jason Derrick. Last reply by Robert Williamson Nov 8.

Why do so many pros play the old Gibson A's? 5 Replies

Started by Janice Hamilton. Last reply by Jim Yates Apr 15.

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Comment by Tarheel Blue on December 21, 2009 at 6:05pm
Hi everyone,
Been playing guitar for a couple of years, always loved the mando. Just received an early Christmas present from my wife last month and am already loving every minute. Still struggling with the basic chords, but acutally was able to transcribe Chris Thile's "How Great Thou Art" (won't say how long it took me) and am inspired to keep on learning . Anyway, looking forward to chatting w/ all you good folks on here.
Comment by Tony on December 8, 2009 at 1:01pm
Hi Mary,

Thanks SO much for your information. I have some DvDs from Fred Sokolow for guitar, blues, etc., and I think I have the guitar version of the Fretboard Roadmaps. I have heard the term double stops, but wasn't sure what it really meant. I have practiced my scales the way you describe while practicing on my diatonic accordion, guitar, and trumpet when I used to play it in high school. I have seen Butch's name numerous times as I roam the internet looking for information. I will take a look at the Homespun site you provided. You do have valuable experience, and I am grateful you shared it with me!

Comment by Mary Stoughton on December 8, 2009 at 10:20am
Hi Tony,
You already play the guitar so your experience will be different than mine. I come from a background of piano lessons when I was a young girl.

I started out with instruction, because I didnt want to start off learning bad habits. I had fun and leaned to play by ear some of the old standards. It was double fun when John would chop chords in the background.

I am not taking instruction now, I am working through a theory book and video series. I have come to believe that it is crucial to learn how your instrument communicates before you can begin to have a conversation with it. One book I recommend is the Fretboard Roadmaps Mandolin, the essential patterns that all the pros know and use. I can locate the notes on my frets now and understand how to find a major scale. Next they take you through the D and A Major Scales by showing you the chord and the basic exercise for the scale. What I have a lot of fun with (what a friend tells me fiddle players use as scale practice are the scales )where you play the first 4 notes and go back one as you add one and so on. Here is were I am building my speed and confidence.

I thought I had died and gone to heaven when they introduced me to double stops (two harmonizing notes played simultaneously). They are so pretty! I don't understand yet why there are 5 for the A chord and 6 double stops for the first position D chord, but I know the light bulb will go on eventually...they have a great diagram that shows how to find the double stops on your own.

Each chapter gives you new songs to work on, but I am moving through learning the scales and just nodding at the songs for now.

In addition to my theory book, I am enjoying the teaching style of Butch Baldassari. I didn't realize what a patient teacher he was until my friend asked me to watch his Anyone Can Play Mandolin by Mel Bay. Oh gag me. (Sorry you Mel Bay lovers...;-) The instructor is constantly hitting the wrong notes...he seems sloppy to me. Butch Baldassari's lessons are produced by Homespun Tapes You cannot go wrong with anything they have to offer. I also have instruction DVDs for my hammered dulcimer and they are top notch.

I recently started a DVD series to play the harmonica. And the instructor, J.P Allen echos what I was finding on my own. Learning the basics first will go a long way in playing songs and jamming with other musicians. He doesnt teach you scales, the harmonica is different, he starts you off with basic patterns that will enable you to jam with friends and doesnt recommend even learning a song for the first 10 lessons.

I loved playing those standards, but where was I going to go from there? I had no confidence to jam with anybody because I didn't now my instrument.

So there you have my valuable experience. lol
Comment by Edward Sparks on December 7, 2009 at 7:36pm
Recording parts to rehearse with is a great band does that when someone brings a song for the others to learn...the lead singer makes the tape and the others can listen and come up with their parts before we get together...since I do solo gigs as well it makes my time in rehearsal more valuable working on our ideas together. If you can pre-record yourself on guitar and then practice the mando with it you will be that much further ahead when it comes to playing mando with a another actual person on guitar...just don't try to reach over and rewind them!!! Edward
Comment by Tony on December 7, 2009 at 7:24pm
Wow John, thank you SO much for the book references, and the recording idea! I will definitely try your suggestion. I know it is good when you have some kind of accompaniment when you practice. If I could provide my own, I could gain experience in several areas at once!
Comment by John Gundrum on December 7, 2009 at 7:01pm

Something else I'll mention. I'm assuming you play guitar. What you can do record the chord progressions for the songs on guitar. Then play it back and practice the mandolin parts. Record the mandolin on another track (if you have that ability) and you'll be able to hear how it all sounds and fine tune your technique.

John G.
Comment by John Gundrum on December 7, 2009 at 6:56pm

I have the following mandolin books of varying styles and study (including links):

Teach Yourself to Play Mandolin
- - -This book goes through all the basics and is probably the best place to start
Teach Yourself Bluegrass Mandolin with CD
- - -Another good beginner book with many standards. You'll also gain exposure to a different notation method which is similar to guitar tab
Mel Bay's Deluxe Bluegrass Mandolin Method with CD
- - -Another bluegrass method with more standards and a CD

I also have a couple books I use for references:

Mandolin Chord Book
- - -Couldn't get any simpler. What makes this book nice is it doesn't just list lots of chords. It lists chords for each scale. So if you are playing in the key of G there's pages showing you all the chord forms played within the key of G
Mandolin Scales & Studies
- - -I found this to be a great reference especially when I'm looking for a scale to pattern to learn so I can improvise over a chord progression or create a solo for an original song. Spiral bound too!

The two books below are good after getting some playing under your belt:
Bluegrass Mandolin
- - -Contains more songs and instruction. Contains a lot more history and stories about the mandolin, technique and some of the more accomplished players
Fiddle Tunes & Irish Music for Mandolin with CD
- - -There are some really fun songs in this one. It explains reels, jigs, hornpipes, etc.

Hope this gives you a start!

John G.
Comment by Edward Sparks on December 7, 2009 at 4:28pm
That's alright you posted one pic twice, your mando deserves a double-take! I play guitar and mandolin totally by ear, so I have no recommendations for books or DVD/CD's...but you have come to the right place, someone here will be able to give you that info and advice!
Comment by Tony on December 7, 2009 at 4:05pm
What a beautiful mandolin Edward! I wanted an F-Style, but couldn't justify the expenditure at this time. Perhaps sometime in the future. By the way, know of any good beginner books, preferably with DvD/CD?

John, I will figure out how to upload a video as soon as I learn something presentable...jeje!

I noticed I posted a picture twice, but I couldn't find a way of editing my post...:(
Comment by Edward Sparks on December 7, 2009 at 3:54pm
Beautiful!!! So, there you go Paul an decent mando for under $450.00 including case...not bad!
Here is a direct link to my mando on my website...I have an interesting story about it's origins there too! Check it out!

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