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New Bluegrass Mandolin Publications From Lou Martin

By Mandolin Cafe
October 14, 2009 - 5:30 pm

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Twenty Studies in the First Position for Bluegrass Mandolinists

Twenty Studies in the First Position for Bluegrass Mandolinists

Albany, N.Y. — Lou Martin, senior Monroe mandolin disciple and Rounder Records solo artist, has announced the release of two self-published books by Louis Martin Music BMI.

The first, Twenty Studies in the First Position for Bluegrass Mandolinists, Op. 5 is designed to assist bluegrass mandolin players in becoming literate with standard notation. This familiar music will help the student sight-read, study, and practice toward their further comprehension of classical music norms. $20.00 plus $4.00 shipping and handling.

The second, Fifteen Bluegrass Variations on "Red Haired Boy", Op. 8 teaches traditional improvisation, usually one of the most perplexing subjects a dedicated bluegrass mandolinist must address. This is taught using first position variations on a familiar Irish hornpipe to delineate Monroe bluegrass as living art; the sound and structure of authentic bluegrass improvisation. $25.00 plus $4.00 shipping and handling.

Standard notation only. All books published in heavy cover stock, 32 lb. watermarked paper, and standard classical format, comb-bound.

Additional information, ordering:
Lou Martin web site


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Reader Comments

October 15, 2009 06:49 AM
Good to see Lou still at the forefront of mandolin teaching. A true Bill Monroe neo-conservative, Lou not only is a good picker, but he has a way with words. I well remember his contribution to Acoustic Musician magazine one month, he supplied a faithful reading Old Ebeneezer Scrooge, with these words:

"...and one can hear the patriarchal/matriarchal musical motif in this, during his levitical mode of bluegrass mandolin".

I love it.
October 15, 2009 05:02 PM
Spoke to Lou a few times on the phone; nice fella.

I just got his "Tunebook" and the "Red Haired Boy" variations. Both are high quality printing, clean easy to read; nice paper, thoughtful commentary and instruction throughout.

I've been working on the "Red Haired Boy" and already picked up some great ideas that will transfer to other A to G tunes. The variations are very "dense" if that makes any sense; there's much there to absorb. Absolutely worth the price IMHO.

RHB is beaten to death so this book is needed to freshen things up a bit smile
October 16, 2009 03:38 PM
October 16, 2009 04:47 PM
I see b.herkel has removed (temporarily?) his or her post, but not before I had a chance to read it. I'll speak to the points he or she raised, as far as I can recall.

Yes, I have cited the referenced paraphrased quote too often over time - amazing what one writes on the internet and how it can come around to bite one's keister - anyway, I do apologize if the re-telling of the quote *seems* mean-spirited.

Just for the record, it was written with no malice or with intent to ridicule. I actually find it amusing and somewhat charming. And also for the record, I admire Lou as a mandolin guy (which I think I have said over time), even to the point of seeking out and buying the works he has been involved in (Wayne Benson, Butch Baldassari), precisely because Lou's steady hand was behind the music transcriptions.

But, a phrase/quote/idea overly repeated is in poor taste, as I plainly saw with the written references, so mea culpa.
October 17, 2009 02:53 AM
I subscribe to Lou's newsletter and have his tune book. This one I am passing on for now *just* because I have so much other stuff to work through first. I love the newsletter, full of Lou's opinions (most of which I agree with but all of which I enjoy reading). He is reprinting his columns from Cuzzin Isaac's BG newsletter. Recently he covered Master of Bluegrass (LP) as he first reviewed it.

His transcriptions are top-notch and whatever music notation software he uses is the best I've ever seen. He abhors tab so you have to learn standard notation. Like with classical violin if a fingering out of first position or unusual use of fingers is called for, that is given right under the note. The newsletter also has a section on "reading the notes", which I don't need (many years of treble clef work in orchestra) but is similar to Marilyn Mayr's approach.

Lou has an unusual ear for tunes and is insistent on getting them "right". So certainly the variations on RHB will have lots of good ideas.
Andy Alexander
October 17, 2009 08:01 AM
There was a guy around here in central NY back in the '70s named Harry Gilmore that Lou got most of his ideas from.
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