Since I proposed the December concert and have been (so far) the only contributor to it, I would like to leave the selection of the January tune to others. Does anyone have something nice that they're working on?
Happy new year!
Happy New Year to you too - my camera is still broken. Think it might have something to do with leaky batteries! am hoping to borrow one soon as really want to share one tune for comment. Over Christmas I exchanged my octave mando (sorry Velo you are on your own now!) for a tenor guitar. I really struggled with the shape of the OM in my lap for some reason - and even though the tenor guitar is bigger - seems to sit better.
fingers crossed for the weekend camera.
I've been working on a classic Monroe tune, Big Sandy River...it's a good, fun bluegrass jam with plenty of finger movement for exercise Here's a standard/tab version if anyone's interested.
I downloaded the tab upstatepicker. I will give it a shot. Not sure about taping it but I will give that a try too.
@upstatepicker - this one is on the song a week - i listened to some and thought ' i'll give that a go' - then someone put a link to a bill monroe recording - its soooooooooo fast. its brilliant but am warning you now - i'll be playing very very slowly! Am trying to use mt little finger and think from your tab it'll get the chance to try to join in!
I saw this on the Song-of-the-week group, as well. Unfortunately, I can't learn a song in one week yet, so I am perpetually behind that group, though the recordings give a great resource for hearing the tune. Then I turn down the bpm's so I can actually give it a go @onawhim, I wouldn't worry about playing too slowly...sometimes I have time to take a coffee break between my eighth-notes.
@bwachter70 - to record and post video, you'll need a youtube account and a way to video record/edit. There's a great guide to doing this on the Song-of-the-week group under "New to the group ~ Read me first" thread.
Thought I'd break the ice and get the videos rolling. I've been working on this tube for a couple days now, and am finally getting through it relatively clean...will search for the speed and some embellishments over the next few weeks (they've got to be in there somewhere, right).
Feedback, criticism, and general slander is always appreciated
criticism, and general slander is always appreciated
and awe!!! great precision and pace. did you fluff at all? oh boy - am going to have to work hard over the next 2 weeks to match that.
You've been working on it a couple of days, eh? Officially consider yourself a musical genius! That's a very fluent performance, with impressively even time-keeping. There seems to be just one minor hesitation - which isn't much for so many notes at newbie level - and your left-hand technique looks pretty good. You fret each note calmly and cleanly, which I'm still struggling to achieve after 2 years. You seem to have long fingers, which must help when playing mandolin!
If you are looking for ornaments, perhaps a slide would be practical and stylistically appropriate. Where the unusual D# forces you to move your finger from the 5th to the 6th fret, you could try to experiment with sliding up from C# to E, or anywhere within that phrase.
It's interesting to dip into Bluegrass, by the way. The main forum appears to be dominated by American players from the Bluegrass and Old-Time traditions, but in this group we've had a strong representation of Celtic folk so far. I still prefer the latter, but it's an interesting change!
Thanks for the feedback folks...due to an unexpected snow day (I'm a school teacher) I'll have plenty of time today to work on a few of those ornaments you've suggested Gelsenbury. I've had a little trouble with slides so far. Tried the common slide from G-A on "Old Joe Clark" and always found myself overshooting the A.
As for the long-fingers, I figured these monkey hands of mine would someday pay off. They still aren't moving too quickly though. It's always a little daunting when you think you're playing about as fast as you can, then you record it and realize how slow it is. My version is at least 20 BPM slower than most versions recorded on the song-of-the-week board, and what sounds like a few thousands BPM slower than Monroe I've been focusing on trying to play with as relaxed a right and left hand as possible which resulted in the on flub in the B section when I didn't nail the triplet, so no musical genius here (this is now one of three tunes I can play...not quite a concert act yet ) Oh well...keep on pickin'
Nice, nice job, Upstatepicker! The experienced folks always say to learn a song slowly and cleanly before trying to pick up the speed, so you are well on your way. Good clear, steady playing!
OK! I feel challenged by that FINE performance by upstatepicker to try and learn Big Sandy River. I'm really a newbie. First held a mandolin on Dec 11th, but I think I can do it...just not as fast. I really enjoyed that upstatepicker.
You've inspired me. I'll try... and whatever I achieve by the end of the month will more than I can do now. Right?
go for it justkaren. one of the great things on here is looking back at your own progress through your videos/mp3. on a day when practice is proving hard looking back on those first few months can be rewarding.
I really hate to admit that I don't know about this....
On the Big Sandy River tab that's posted above...what does the music in the box designated 1 and music designated 2 mean? I know it must mean the first and second part of the song but I'm lost on where to begin and end each part. I can hear that upstate plays from the first two notes up to the place with the double bar (first thin and second thick)...this means play that part over again...right? (or wrong...)
I know I need basic music theory badly...I'm beginning to work on that right now by reading lessons on theory online. I really wanted to try to pick out this song but probably I'm not ready.
I've been working on it measure by measure trying to get the sense of the timing and so forth. I like the tune.
Also...I'm getting ready to order a couple of basic music theory books and a chord book for mandolin. I'm willing to work...(am working hard actually)....just need an instructor I think.
The measure with the 1 is the first ending, and the measure with the 2 is the second ending for the first part of the song. So, you play from the beginning the first time, including the notes in the 1st ending. The two dots that look like a colon, is a reapeat symbol, meaning you go all the way back to measure 1 at the beginning of the song and play everything again. When you get back to the endings, you play the notes in the second ending and continue on to measure 11, the second part of the song. You do the same with the 1st and 2nd endings in the second part. However, when you see the repeat symbol this time, you go back to measure 11, the start of the second part of the song. When you get back to the 2nd ending, you end the song there. This sounds more difficult than it is I am sure.
Tony...thanks SO much for taking all the trouble to spell that all out for me. Your explanation is just right!
I think I was trying to make it more complex than it is or something. Wow...great responsiveness on this thread for those of us just beginning.
justkaron, glad to hear that I've given a little inspiration. Take a look at the Big Sandy River thread on the Song of the Week social group if you want to hear how it really sounds by some seasoned pickers. I've only been playing since Thanksgiving, got my Mando and a Turkey dinner on the same day. It was a good day So I am sure you'll pick up the tune in no time.
One book that I've really enjoyed has been Greg Horne's Beginning Mandolin. It's a great introduction for those of us with no musical background, and explains some basic music theory without overwhelming you. I've also enjoyed working through Jack Tottle's Bluegrass Mandolin, if that's your genre of choice.
Enjoy the Pickin'
Upstate....thanks for the book recommendations. I was leaning towards the Horne book as one of my purchases. And a chord book I saw on Amazon this morning...don't remember the name right now.
I love bluegrass music....all kinds from the oldest to the newest progressive stuff out there. Have appalachian heritage so the love of bluegrass comes very naturally. That's not all I enjoy though.
Just really enjoy all kinds of music, rock, jazz, country, bluegrass, standards, blues....etc.
Love to sing too, but not such a special voice. I just do it all the time...throughout the day...singing has always been a joy.
Upstate....I can tell you have a real affinity for the mandolin. I think you'll pick it all up really quickly. Me...not so much. But my own pace will work just fine. I'm retired so plenty of time to work on it all. Thinking I'll love the journey even though I have SO much to learn. Obviously....LOL.
I've listened to several renditions on Youtube of Big Sandy River to get a feel for the tune. Tried to play through it a couple of times and tried to tap out the 'time' of the measures. Yes...it is quite a stretch for me now even at a very slow pace...but that's all good.
Folks...please just call me Karon.
Karon wrote: "Upstate....I can tell you have a real affinity for the mandolin. I think you'll pick it all up really quickly."
I get the same impression. Talent is a wonderful thing to watch. Hats off, upstatepicker! This tune still defeats me, but I'll keep working on it, note by note.
Hi everyone. I began learning this tune from a site I found with free lessons. Then I got distracted and dropped it, so I decided to try it again now so that I could contribute to this group. I have too many other toys that distract me (guitars, electric bass, diatonic accordion, and ukulele) besides work that gets in the way, so it took me a while. I still made a couple boo boos, but got tired of recording and didn't notice the low volume level until I was done, so please turn the volume up for this one. I forgot how to embed the video, so will need to read up on it again and come back and fix it. Sorry!
Nice job so far for those that have contributed!!!!! Ooooooooo! I can't wait until this certification exam is done and over with (tomorrow, 8am, wish me luck!!!!) then I can starting playing more seriously again! I'm itching to get back in the mando world! Also, I envy you guys with long fingers lol With my short stubby little guys, I have a hard time stretching them out around the fret board some of the time.
Anywho, great playing guys
@nor - less mando cafe cruising and more last minte swotting!! Good luck with your final exam.
Great rendition! I love the swing rhythm you played. As I've been working more and more on the tune, I've found my self moving more towards that myself. Can't wait to see some more videos...it's almost time for another tune of the month
Hi Upstatepicker! I initially found the sheet music and video for this song in the bluegrassbooksonline.com site and is what I used to learn it. The I remembered they had a practice backing track too, so went back and used it for this video. The video is where I heard the phrasing I used. Yep, in a week or so we will be in a new month!
How's everyone doing on the January Tune 'Big Sandy River'? I'm working hard at it but my efforts have provided not so much yet. Every now and then I string together a couple of measures that sound decent if really slow....but then it falls apart...LOL. This is really a stretch for me since I've never played any instrument and first picked up the mandolin just a bit over six weeks ago. Not whining....just saying what IS.
I'll keep on working on it for the duration of January and put it aside. I think it's important to move on and come back a bit later and probably then be able to do a bit more with it. Hope so anyhow.
I've tried to post a video on an obscure thread here so no one would see it. No kidding.....I'm not ready for primetime here. Hopefully in the next few weeks though I might have a bit of something to post as a beginner.
When I tried to post it...it would always say message too short. Anyone know why?
It's a youtube vid I produced that I'm trying to post.
I had the youtube vid open....I hit the embed thing. I copied and pasted the url for the vid. kept getting 'message too short' error message.
Just wondering how everyone is doing on 'Big Sandy River.' I'm glad I've had this thread to give me the encouragement to work on it. I know I have to work hard and be patient.
BTW .... thanks so much to Tony and upstatepicker for posting their videos to encourage us! I really enjoyed seeing both of them. Both were great IMO.
Can't wait to see what the February tune is. Hope it's at least as easy as this one. Or....maybe for those of you with more skill...... We could have a super easy one for those such as I who are really JUST starting out and one more challenging for Ya'll who are further along and you could work up both for us. Yas think?
This looks to be more my speed right now. Maybe I could work this up. I'll look for tabs.
Some of you more advanced could work it up with embellishments. I saw a video of Sarah Jarosz and she did a much more advanced version (of course). I'll look for hers.
Oh...BTW....it's Angeline the Baker.
Here's Sarah's version....it starts slow and then moves right along...believe me!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D-LvX8MkgE4 ...after the two minute point she gets it cranked up!
Here's another really nice rendition.
Here's a couple of different tabs for the song.
Anyone else have suggestions for the February tune? I'm loving all of this!
Not meaning to jump ahead of everyone here and I'll be glad to do my work on anything that's chosen by the group. I'm just here for the fun....don't gotta 'play out' with any of this yet....ROFL!
In order to embed a video, you have to hit the +Reply button instead of using the "Quick Reply" at the bottom of the thread. In the +Reply mode there is a specific red-YouTube button. When you use the red-YouTube button you only paste the link after the = symbol. I always preview the message before posting so I can see the video has loaded properly.
As for the walking away and returning method, I highly recommend it. If I've been drilling away at a tune for over half an hour, I always move onto something else (usually something I can play from memory). Miraculously when I return to the working tune, I usually am much further along than I thought.
Keep at it...and enjoy the pickin'
Thanks, upstate, for the info about posting a video. I'll give that a try tomorrow morning. I've been messing with trying to learn mando stuff on and off all day. I'm a major morning person and tonight I just feel as though I'm trying too hard. Tomorrow morning I'll feel like I can get it all done easily.
Thanks for the encouragement!
Hi Karon & UpState,
Just wanted to add my two cents to the conversation. I started playing mandolin in Nov 2009 and practiced as often as I could. I have too many other toys that distract me, so that is my biggest problem...Jeje! But, I also walked away and did something else when I ran into obstacles. I asked for suggestions of easy tunes I could work on from others on the forum. I picked four of the songs and decided to work on them at the same time. I found that I got bored and started making mistakes when I was trying to work on one song only. When I felt bored with the song at the time or noticed I was making too many mistakes, I would switch to one of the other songs. It kept me interested, lowered the amount of mistakes I was making, and helped me learn more tunes faster. Going at a break-neck bluegrass tempo is not my primary goal. I see too many players here who try to play way faster than their skill level. I prefer to see slower, clean picking, and steady tempo instead. Speed will come in time. I know that I play some tunes much faster now, as I practice them more and more. I have heard over and over by the better players, that if you can't play cleanly at a slow tempo, you will never play cleanly at a much faster tempo.
I worked on Angeline the Baker some time back, but I never made a video of it. I have only made 4 videos so far. The other easy songs I started with are Soldier's Joy, Over The Waterfall, Red Haired Boy, Whiskey Before Breakfast, 8th of January, Flop Ear Mule and now Big Sandy River. I am game for Angeline the Baker if that is the group's choice for February. Tony...
Thanks so much Tony for your input. You and upstate both are verifying what I suspected was true. You can only work on one song for so long even if you don't feel you have it good enough yet.
I still haven't ordered those books that were suggested earlier....I'll do that tomorrow morning.
Right now....I'm working hard at little lessons finding online. Plenty for me to work with to improve. Only one way to go for me at this stage...grin.
I can sorta play the mando like a guitar and strum along and change chords as I sing songs I enjoy. I look up the chords that are used in the song and I'm learning more chords but not in an orderly fashion. I need a good chords book...I'll be ordering that right away.
Everyone here is so helpful and I appreciate it!
I think you said you already knew about Brad Laird's site, but if not, you definitely want to take a look. He has many free lessons geared to the beginner. He even has a few free lessons on songs. I have all kinds of books, videos, tabs I have bought and found, but I do best with videos. He gives you an easy version, and then an embellished version of the same song. He has many free lessons on basics, chords, scales, etc. that are very helpful. If nothing else, checkout the free lessons. Here is the link:
Tony....Brad's videos are some that I'm working with and I've ordered one of his that you pay for and may order more. He's a good teacher I think....doesn't assume that you know stuff when you're just starting out. Thanks for the suggestion.
I'm slowly finding my way into A for this one ... an unusual key for me. Then it's just a matter of playing those upward and downward runs fluently and remembering where the melody does *not* follow the scale!
Angelina Baker is a nice tune, but the problem I have with it is the same that the more Bluegrass-savvy among us probably have with Big Sandy River: I only know the really fast and richly ornamented version, in this case from David Surette. But by all means do open a new thread for the February tune.
Tony, we started playing mandolin in the same month! I think most teachers would agree that clean picking is important and speed will come as your control over the instrument increases. My teacher did do a session of "pushing" me for speed, but only as far as my picking skill would allow. It's good to push forward, but gently ...
I agree with you fully Gelsenbury! I started playing trumpet in Jr High school, so quickly got into the foot tapping to keep tempo. Now, I use my metronome alot believe it or not. many players hate to use one, but I have found it helpful. I always start at comfortable speed as I learn a song. Once I can play it from memory more or less, I increase the spead another notch, and keep doing so as I practice it more and more. I used to have Band in a Box before I got my Imac and used to make backing tracks that worked like a metronome for me and much more interesting than the tick tock! I am looking for some software for my Imas that I can do the same thing with. As a last resort, I will buy the MAC version of Band in a Box. So gently it goes for me.
I have learned mostly bluegrass type tunes, but I like all types of music and interested to learn others. There is a thread called Other Tunes that has been going on for some time now. Perhaps we could use that thread to select some songs for this groups montly tune.
That old tortoise knew something for sure...slow and steady. One thing I have been doing to keep me motivated has been rerecording the same tune every couple weeks (I have running tunes of Soldier's Joy, Old Joe Clark, and Fisher's Hornpipe) I don't usually upload them to youtube or anything. I just record them, mistakes and all. It is great to watch how far a tune has come without knowing you've been improving. I now laugh a bit at my first recording of Soldier's Joy (I could boil water between each quarter note) and now it almost sounds like a fiddle tune, even this Big Sandy River tune has come a long way in a few weeks. By watching these videos it reconfirms that speed comes on its own...you can't rush it.
Recording yourself regularly in order to monitor progress is a great habit! I keep meaning to do something like that, but in the end I just pick up the mandolin and mess around!
Heartening to read that slow and steady is the best way to progress since that's the only gear I can get it in.
I'm busy working on the Brad Laird lessons and a few easy songs simultaneously. Old Joe Clark, Soldier's Joy, Amazing Grace, Angelina the Baker and Big Sandy River (still and forever it seems on Big Sandy...LOL). Actually seeing a smidgeon of progress on that one. Six more days this month to work on it should be enough!
Can't wait to see what's picked for the next tune. Ready to have another 'assignment.' I have it figured out that it will be a bit before I'm ready to post a video here. I have some 'learnin' to do!
I see there are 351 members of this team....I know there are folks out there working on stuff...I'd love a glimpse into what's going on with more of us here on 'newbies.'
My goodness. There is some real talent in this group. Every month it just keeps getting better.
How's everyone doing on 'Big Sandy River'? We need some progress reports!
Just played through it twice with maybe only 6 or 7 really obvious mistakes per play. Instead of 16 that might be what I was doing. Still painfully slow but trying to play cleaner.
It's a big sandy challenge for this unit. Lovin' every bit of it.
BTW....finding the second part much easier than the first part. Is that true for the rest of you?
@upstatepicker....I think the recording a vid of yourself playing for comparision is really a good tool too. Seems to be helping me a bit. Can't fool myself when I see that playback.
am afraid strained finger has stopped play. i was finding the tune quite hard before i ground to a halt though - just could not get the beat/bounce in my head at all. when back to full power will complete and post. 6/7 mistakes is great given how long you've been at it.
@onawhim I hope your finger gets better!!!! I always look forward to your vids
It's the 31st and therefore time to do this ... so here it is, warts and all. Probably the least bluegrassy rendition of a Bluegrass tune ever. And I used my freshly imported new pick from the US especially!
It's definitely a tune that tempts you to play faster than you can. And as you can see, I still don't have the melody come naturally to my fingers. But the fluency and ornamentations are slowly creeping in, so we'll get there.
Gelsenbury, nice way to end out the month. I loved some of those bounce-off ornaments you dropped in there. They really help to fill out the space in the song. I've been working on some similar ornaments and a few drone notes in there.
What new pick did you grab...I have a bit of a pick obsession (it's cheaper than buying a new mando every week).
Nicely done! After hearing those of you brave enough to come forward, I know that it will be awhile before I am ready to try the monthly tune. I did have my first lesson today, worked mainly on right hand position, strumming patterns, and generally talked about everything from picks, what key to practice, to the use of tabs. Fun though.
I look forward to following all your successes. I hope that one day in the near future, I will be able and brave enough to put something out there. I will need to learn how to video it (I will have time to do so- one of the pleasures of being retired!). Keep on picking!
This was all about trying to learn to post a video....nothing to see here...move along....LOL
At the top of the frame in which you type your reply, you should see a symbol for inserting a video. All you need to do is to insert into that dialogue box the URL for the video you want to embed. You can just copy this from the address line of your web browser when watching your clip on Youtube.
In terms of feedback, your left hand seems to be in the right position and with a good gap between the base of your thumb and the neck of the mandolin. This will be essential for quick shifts in position later on. Different pick grips work for different people, but you may want to experiment with the "loose fist" favoured by most mandolin players, where the pick rests between your thumb and curled index finger. You may also benefit from holding the body of the mandolin more parallel to your tummy. It's difficult for a beginner because the instinct is to try to look at what you're doing; but too much of an angle away from your body results in awkward movement when picking.
Most importantly, good on you for posting this video! Considering that you are so new to playing music, you're doing fine. Looking forward to your next tune.
With help from Gelsenbury I finally did get this to post.
Torturously slow and riddled with mistakes....but I want to be fully participating each month with a rendition of the song. So...it is what it is. I keep reminding myself I've only ever tried to play ANY music for 7ish weeks now. I hope this ultra newbie attempt will encourage others to step forward so we can learn together!
Gelsenbury...thanks so much for the encouragement and constructive critique! Appreciated!
I'm looking forward to my next tune also....that it will be better is what I'm looking forward to. For all of our sakes.
Wonderful video Karon!!!! For only 7 weeks of playing that was very good! With a little more practice on this one, you'll have those runs down in no time You're already way ahead of me on this song! Keep it up! Gelsenbury already pretty much said everything I was going to say for constructive crits, so all I have to say is keep on playing
No vid for me this month, due to certification exam, but next month (err...this month) ....yes.... Speaking of which, anyone have any ideas for next month song?????
Karon, nicely done! It's so great to be able to see and hear everyone else working through the same issues. One small thing that helped me over the past couple weeks of practicing has been focusing on my position and approach to the mando. In your video, it looks like you may be laying the mando a bit flat, this can make it hard to reach some notes and finger some chords because you are wrapping around the neck rather than reaching up it.
Great work and looking forward to another month
This is exactly the feedback I'd hoped for. Ya'll are giving me help I need here! I'll focus on playing more on tempo (metronome) and position of the mandolin as I work today. I'm so excited to be getting started on learning to play. I can't emphasize how much I love music and singing. Hopefully this pursuit will keep me off the streets and out of trouble. Doubtful.