View Full Version : Hey just got one!

Dec-28-2005, 8:59pm
So its christmas, and as usual i expect the standard, socks underwear and some new clothing. This year was far from the norm. Under the tree was a brand spanking new mandolin, something that i have been wanting for some time but never had the green to buy. Well to keep this short i got, its in my hands and i realise I KNOW NOTHING LOL so any tips are welcome or ideas on easy songs to learn.


Dec-29-2005, 9:57am
You might want to get a beginers book that will introduce you to the fret board and teach you some of the basic tunes to get started with. That's the way I went and it's going OK for me.

If you can afford an instructor that might kick it off a little faster for you.

Have fun and Enjoy,


Dec-29-2005, 11:06am
I would get a couple good beginner books, and try to get the ones that come with a CD. I find that being able to hear the song and see how it's written really helps the whole learning process go much smoother.

A couple books I would suggest are:

Mel Bay's Deluxe Bluegrass Mandolin Method: Along with a bunch of tunes to learn it has some great scale exercises.

Mandolin Preimer for Beginners: This was the first book I bought and it really got me started in the right direction.

Both come with a CD, which is really helpful. I actually have to two books and would be willing to sell them if you would like them.

Once you have learned your scales and are ready to move into learning whole songs I would suggest playing the scale of the key the song is in over and over before you start on the tune. This will help your fingers get the proper notes into memeory. And when you hit the wrong note you will be able to realize it much quicker.

Now for the two most important peices of information. Because you are new to the mandolin you need to start off with good habits so you don't have to spend months later down the road trying to break bad habits.

First is left hand technique, you want to keep your fingers close to the strings, but not touching. Watch your pinky, it will want to pull away from the rest (we call that a flying pinky), your hand tends to open up and your palm starts to face the bridge but you want to try to keep it more or less facing you. And when your are freting the strings play around with different pressures. You ultimately want the lightest pressure possible where you are still getting good clean tone without buzzing of the strings.

Second is right hand technique. This is one of the most highly discussed things about playing mandolin and guitar. When it comes right down to it you want to keep you whole right arm as loose as possible. Most will agree that the pick should be placed on the side of your index finger between the first joint and the tip of the finger. Then the thumb is places directly on the top, using the pad of the thumb. Again you also want to try to keep the grip pressure fairly light. The more you tense up the more ridged your playing gets and you loose quality of sound and some speed. Now should you plant one of your fingers on the mandolin? That's completely up to you. Every mandolin player will argue both sides, but you will see pros do both, so what ever feels the best to you. I would focus more on the motion of your pick hand. You want to use your wirst and elbow as #pivot points. When you are picking on one string you are using mainly your wrist as the pivot for your hand, but when you are moving from string to string you are using a combo of both wrist and elbow. Otherwise you would never be able to skip strings efficiently.

This is a lot of info, but I hope some of it helps.

Dec-29-2005, 11:14am
One more thing. If you really want to see how it is done, I would also suggest getting the Chris Thile intstructional DVD. Thile is the master of technique, he is pretty much flawless in that department. The great thing about the DVD is that you get close ups of his playing so you can see exactly what you might want to strive for. He also gives great explanations of left and right hand techniques. Plus you get to hear him play some great songs too. Overall, it is worth the buy, I highly recommend it.