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View Full Version : Mandolin Beginner asking for: "10 steps on how to play mandolin"



twangbender
Jul-10-2013, 11:26am
Hi , guys and gal's

first of all im new to this forum my name is wes im a beginner on mandolin but i played double bass for 2 years then i switched to electric / acoustic guitar and im playing 5 years now getting into country/rockabilly lead guitar and always tought bluegrass music is very cool !
my wife is playing the violin so i tought it might be a cool idea to learn playing a second instrument so we can play bluegrass together.
i've learned allot myself on guitar till i got stuck and got myself some teachers.
one thing i remember of starting out on the guitar is if u don't know where to start it's some kind of a maze or puzzle and it will take you allot of time to get things rolling.
thinking back of the time i began playing guitar i can know tell a beginner what to do and how to begin in 10 steps like buy this book, learn open chords , learn barre chords, learn this scale , combine that .. etc..

so my question is can anyone of u write down how to play mandolin in 10 steps ?

btw im getting my first mandolin "The Loar" LM-600" in about 1 week. :mandosmiley:

UsuallyPickin
Jul-10-2013, 12:13pm
10 probably isn't enough ....... I'll try and hit the high spots as I see them .... Best wishes for your mandolin journey....
1. Learn both open and closed position chords and scales and arpeggios.
2. Take lessons from a mandolin player / teacher not someone that just teaches mandolin.
3. Get a 1.2mm or thicker pick.
4. Keep a loose wrist and fingers. If you don't drop the pick occasionally you are gripping it too tight. Watch a video od Tim O'Brien.
5. Hold your pick at 90' to the side of your thumb.
6. Do a lot of active ,with mandolin in hand, and passive, while doing other things , listening to mandolin players.
7. Learn fiddle tunes. THen learn to play them in odd keys.Not to befuddle your wife but to really learn the fingerboard.
8. Find a jam to play with folks. It's the best way to dive in to playing.
9. Start practicing tremolo and crosspicking early on. Right hand control is crucial to tone production as well as keeping your playing interesting.
10. If you don't already know basic music theory learn it. It will help you evolve as a mandolinist and as a musician.

Mike Floorstand
Jul-10-2013, 7:00pm
1-10. Learn 10 tunes!

Chris Rizos
Jul-11-2013, 3:51am
This is an interesting question, really. I tried to create a list of my own, and include some links that may help:
1. Get the "Mandolin for Dummies" book from Don Julin
2. Understand the mandolin tuning methods and tools (http://www.themandolintuner.com/tuningsixsteps/)
3. Make sure your mandolin is properly setup (http://www.themandolintuner.com/5-easy-steps-to-set-the-mandolin-bridge/), and has new strings
4. Get a proper pick (http://www.themandolintuner.com/all-about-mandolin-picks/) - should be 1.2mm or thicker, lots of options available
5. Start with the five easy to play chords (http://www.themandolintuner.com/how-to-play-five-easy-mandolin-chords/) -
6. Understand how to use your left hand on the fretboard (http://www.themandolintuner.com/left-hand-for-beginners/)
7. Understand and practice picking, tremolo etc.
8. Select three songs that you really like and find the tab/sheet music for it.
9. Practice, practice, practice and then play the songs to your wife, friends etc.
10. Go back to #8 :)

JeffD
Jul-11-2013, 9:54am
1. Learn the names of the strings and how to tune the thing.
2. Go to a jam.
3. Go to a jam.
4. Go to a jam.
5. Go to a jam.
6. Go to a jam.
7. Go to a jam.
8. Go to a jam.
9. Go to a jam.
10. Go to a jam.


If you commit to going to a jam 9 times in a row, you will figure out everything else you got to do.

twangbender
Jul-14-2013, 1:23pm
Thanks for all the reply's guys !
i bought the "Mandolin for Dummies" book.
now let's wait for the mandolin it needed a full setup.
there are not too many bluegrass jams here, im from europe the netherlands.
i will plan some vacation trips to bluegrass festivals and meetings in europe next summer.

Chris Rizos
Jul-14-2013, 3:49pm
No problem,
if you ever come to Greece, I could point you to some mandolin events as well - no bluegrass jams though!

Capt. E
Jul-17-2013, 1:33pm
No. 11: study FFCP (four finger closed position) http://www.mandolincafe.com/eschliman1.html

twangbender
Jul-17-2013, 7:08pm
many thanks for those great reply's guys i got the mandolin for dummies book and already began reading and my mandolin is shipped so i will get it this week :)

ralph johansson
Jul-19-2013, 10:28am
10 probably isn't enough ....... I'll try and hit the high spots as I see them .... Best wishes for your mandolin journey....
1. Learn both open and closed position chords and scales and arpeggios.
2. Take lessons from a mandolin player / teacher not someone that just teaches mandolin.
3. Get a 1.2mm or thicker pick.
4. Keep a loose wrist and fingers. If you don't drop the pick occasionally you are gripping it too tight. Watch a video od Tim O'Brien.
5. Hold your pick at 90' to the side of your thumb.
6. Do a lot of active ,with mandolin in hand, and passive, while doing other things , listening to mandolin players.
7. Learn fiddle tunes. THen learn to play them in odd keys.Not to befuddle your wife but to really learn the fingerboard.
8. Find a jam to play with folks. It's the best way to dive in to playing.
9. Start practicing tremolo and crosspicking early on. Right hand control is crucial to tone production as well as keeping your playing interesting.
10. If you don't already know basic music theory learn it. It will help you evolve as a mandolinist and as a musician.

Item 5 is somewhat confusing. How do you arrive at the very small angle of 90' and what exactly is the side of the thumb?
You sure you don't mean 90 degrees?

I would simply say, hold the pick loosely between your straight thumb and curled index; a somewhat slanted attack (there is a video of Thile explaining this) will fix it in place.

J. Galoshes Esq.
Aug-13-2013, 10:08am
1. Learn the major scale, open chords, and moveable closed chord positions.

Play them and think about them until you understand how they all interrelate.

2. Right hand: Alternate (up/down) picking, tremolo, arpeggios, strumming, and chopping.

Research these techniques here on the cafe or elsewhere and work towards perfecting them as best you can.

3. Train your ear: Try to play every melody you hear. If you're sitting around watching tv, try to figure out the jingle in each commercial before the next one comes on. It will annoy everyone around you, but it's a fun game.

4. Songs: Try to learn a few of your favorite tunes. It will keep you interested and ensure that you always have a song or two up your sleeve.

5. Fall in love with it: Read up on the history of the mandolin. Youtube some old videos of mandolin heroes. You'll fall victim to the charms of the instrument and never want to put it down.

6. Play with other people. Keep doing it until you understand why people say it's so important. It really can be magical. Never stop.

7. Roll with the punches: You will inevitably have ups and downs in your progression. Enjoy the highs and don't obsess over the lows. They will pass.

8. Set goals: Try to visualize how you want your playing to sound. It's hard.

Try to figure out how to make the mandolin in your hands sound like the one in your head.

9. Make sure your mandolin is playable. Have it set-up if it needs it, which it probably will. You deserve to be rewarded with nice sounds when you do something right.

10. Walk before you run.

stevejay
Aug-13-2013, 11:20am
7. Learn fiddle tunes. THen learn to play them in odd keys.Not to befuddle your wife but to really learn the fingerboard.

I wonder how many people actually do this. I am going to try and play a tune like liberty in Bb. Maybe some of the tonalities will be kind of interesting.