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John Hill
Jan-06-2006, 5:48pm
Wanted to check people's thoughts that have been using Marshall's instruction books now that the've been out for a while.

How useful? Quick impovements? Better fretboard / theory understanding? Curious minds want to know before laying down the green.

John

Dfyngravity
Jan-06-2006, 5:53pm
Good post, I've been waiting to hear some reveiws too. I have been looking to get a couple of them. Marshall is just a fabulous player and seems to be a good teacher too, so they should be pretty decent books.

jaco
Jan-06-2006, 6:55pm
First, I think the books are a great addition to what is out there. I'll be the first to buy anything Mike puts out. My only complaint (and it's a lame one) is why only transcribe/publish parts of a Bach piece. This seems sacriligious. However if I were Mike I would reply "to make you go out and get the rest".

Dfyngravity
Jan-06-2006, 7:27pm
Jaco, do you have all of them or just the J.S. Bach Sonatas and Partitas?

I am mainly looking to get the Improvisational Concepts. However, the Brazilian Choro looks great as does the Fingerbusters book.

There are many books out there on improvising that are just mainly a waste of money with all of the info at your finger tips on the web. I am not looking for a book that does step by step improvising for someone who doesn't really understand it. I just want new and innovative ideas for improvising in all sorts of music.

MDW
Jan-06-2006, 8:41pm
I've got Finger Busters, Chord Theory, and Improvisational Concepts. Finger Busters is the only one I've gotten through but it's great. I noticed immediate improvement in both right and left hand and plan to go through it regularly.

jaco
Jan-06-2006, 8:55pm
Hey Dfyn, I have the Back, Improv, and Chord book. I also have stacks of other jazz, classical, etc., etc. books. The best method I have encountered was a really good jazz guitar teacher named Richie Zellon (a Berklee grad). He really had a system of meshing everything together (theory, scales, arpeggios, tunes, etc. ) which just clicked for me. But it is a never ending quest . As soon as you reach a certain peak, its oh oh, I'm just getting started. And I've been playing for forty one years (guitar)(mando for two).I wish I could say THIS IS THE BOOK but I don't think there is such a thing. Just keep working and searching and you'll get better.

jmcgann
Jan-06-2006, 9:12pm
I just got a batch from Mike. At first look, they are very well put together with tons of useful info. I will be using them at Berklee and heartily endorse them.

I spoke to Mike about the tab vs. standard thing, and he (and Chris T) are firmly in the standard notation camp. He included tab with the Bach to get you started, to lead you to the water, etc. but if you are serious about playing Bach, I would strongly suggest taking the few weeks needed to learn to read notation. To play music that rich, you should know what's going on with it harmonically, IMHO. And to know that, you gots to know your chords. In fact, knowing how to read can only help your understanding of music. That's not just opinion.

Louis Armstrong said "I just love them notes". Who can argue? http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif

Ted Eschliman
Jan-07-2006, 7:04am
More observations on the Marshall Plan:
Mike's Cool Five Books (http://jazzmando.com/mike_marshall_methods.shtml)

Kevin Briggs
Jan-07-2006, 12:37pm
I have fingerbusters, and it does a good job of building finger strength. However, it can be a daunting book, when I sit down (or stand up) to actually use it.

How do you all use it, or recommend using it? A few exzercises a day, from each part of the book? 20 minutes on just fingerbusters?

Thanks.

LaVonne
Jan-07-2006, 2:37pm
Iím working with my teacher (a former student of Mikeís) on Finger Busters and Improvisational Concepts. The books are just great and Iím seeing steady improvement. My only complaint are the editing / proof reading errors such as tab / notation miss matches mostly in Finger Busters and some inconsistencies where he describes flatting the 3rd and 7th in the text for an exercise but shows a natural minor (flat 6th also) in some examples. Most of these errors are pretty obvious. Defiantly buy and work with these books. Just keep a pencil handy for corrections.

John Hill
Feb-04-2006, 8:40pm
Well today I receved "The Chord Book" for my first foray into the Marshall Plan. I've not studied with any other chord theory books previously but I understood a little to begin with but after some time with the first few pages helped get me recognize triads & inversions on the fretboard. I had a couple of "aha" moments with the examples of dominants, 6ths, etc. construction. I've known these chord shapes for years but the book has already helped me "see" the note relationships in the shape and how to move them to create new chords. I can't wait to dig further.

Also got a couple of Wegen 1.4 triangular picks with my order just to try out. Nice enough I suppose for $14 or whatever, but feels thinner than 1.4mm, they're loud and make a good tone on the Elixirs. Might have to try a thicker model next go round.

John

jaydee
Feb-05-2006, 12:40am
I'm a big fan of the fingerbusters book. I worked my way through it and still use it everyday for warm-up and general dexterity exercise. It's so thorough that I'm sure I'll use it for a long time. I have the Bach book too, and I think that it is a good place to start, but doesn't have the dynamics, tempo and expression notes I hoped for. For Bach you're probably better off using violin literature, but Mike say as much in the notes. All in all these are both great books to use, and I expect that the choro and chord books are just as good. Kudos to Mike for taking such a strong step in the direction of a modern and comprehensive mandolin method.

Jeremy

Jim Garber
Feb-05-2006, 11:32am
I have the Bach book too, and I think that it is a good place to start, but doesn't have the dynamics, tempo and expression notes I hoped for. For Bach you're probably better off using violin literature, but Mike say as much in the notes.
For Bach on mandolin you are probably better off using urtext (without all the expressive notations) as I don't believe that Bach indicated those anyway. Most of the editions out there were annotated by more modern players.

Also, in case anyone noticed, mandolins are not violins. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif

Jim

jaydee
Feb-05-2006, 12:51pm
[QUOTE] (jgarber @ Feb. 05 2006, 11:32)
For Bach on mandolin you are probably better off using urtext (without all the expressive notations) as I don't believe that Bach indicated those anyway. Most of the editions out there were annotated by more modern players.

That's true, but those expression notes represent the interperative development of a piece. You can agree or disagree with them, but if you ignore them just because Bach didn't put them there, then you are choosing to ignore the whole picture and the hard work and experience of several generations of musicians who have come before us.

Jeremy

jmcgann
Feb-05-2006, 1:51pm
There are a few typos but overall, I like them a lot and am using the Chord and Improv books at Berklee in my Mandolin for non-Mandolin Principals class, where we have guitarists and fiddlers transistioning to mando.

Yes, if you are going to take Bach seriously, you should listen to the great performances of those pieces (on violin) and absorb how different players interpret the music. It was once fashionable to treat Bach like romantic era classical music, which is now frowned upon...you can make it "your own" with authority if you understand your points of departure.

I am not a huge fan of tab, but it's good to see Mike's positions etc.

Is this a great time to be alive or what? There is more good information available easily than any other time in history. It makes our jobs as players/students way easier- all we have to do is apply arse to seat and make it happen! http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/laugh.gif http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/mandosmiley.gif

John Hill
Feb-05-2006, 8:20pm
I've ran into a couple of typos but then again, if I notice that an extended chord is incorrectly named than that should be taken as improvement I suppose. I don't know what to get next: the finger busters or the improv. concepts...lord knows I need my fingers busted and my improvs conceptualized equally bad.

John

Jim Garber
Feb-05-2006, 8:35pm
[QUOTE] (jgarber @ Feb. 05 2006, 11:32)
For Bach on mandolin you are probably better off using urtext (without all the expressive notations) as I don't believe that Bach indicated those anyway. Most of the editions out there were annotated by more modern players.

That's true, but those expression notes represent the interperative development of a piece. You can agree or disagree with them, but if you ignore them just because Bach didn't put them there, then you are choosing to ignore the whole picture and the hard work and experience of several generations of musicians who have come before us.

Jeremy
I am not saying that you should ignore them altogether but perhaps to take them under advisement. I had a Hladky edition of the Beethoven Sonatines for mandolin and piano and I found the fingerings altogther strange and some of the dynamic markings contrary to what I have heard players I admire play it.

I think in the classical repertoire the interpratation should be in the hands of the player, not necessarily in the editors. We all make our decisions regarding emphases on various notes and slurs etc. We don't necessarily need someone from 1964 teelling us what he thinks Bach or Beethoven was expressing.

Folk music, of course, is looser, but even in that genre phrasings can take different meaning with different players and we, as players are each at liberty to make our muscial choices.

Jim

sam b
Feb-07-2006, 10:22am
John -

Is there a book you use for the Mandolin Principals class (if there is such a thing) or by that stage is the material geared to the particular player?

I've found the finger and improv books great to just pick up and play a little out of every now and then. I haven't had a chance yet to systematically work through them.

Sam

jmcgann
Feb-07-2006, 11:25am
Hi Sam- i use them in the "Mando for Non-Mando Principals" class (it's officially a "string improv lab") to help them get used to certain concepts of chord voicings and ways of playing lines...augmented with lots of my own take on stuff of course...

John Hill
Feb-07-2006, 5:48pm
Well for a not-so-suprise birthday present I bought myself the Fingerbusters book and some M150 Wegen picks to tryout...I'll report when they arrive later this week.

John

John Hill
Feb-10-2006, 7:22am
I've been messing around with the Fingerbusters book for a solid day and what an evil little mess of exercises. Some you may have already thought of yourself but some are (I'm convinced) inspired from down below. My pinkie is feeling it. The fourth finger crawl and part B of the "1-2-3-4 Fingerings" I find particularly evil...but fun nonetheless. Great book to get the muscle memory down with both the right & left hands.

The Wegen M150's are a great improvement over the 1.4 triangles. Not quite as thick as a Dawg but more of a bevel...very comfortable & I don't have to hold it very tightly to get alot of volume. My choice pick so far.

John

david blair
Feb-13-2006, 5:51am
Howdy,
I had the opportunity to sit down with Mike a year ago, and what he emphasized was posture first...Left foot elevated (on your case) and also the direction or angle that your pick strikes the string. Then to practice string changes, in different ways, ways you're probably not used to. Radim Zenkl also talks about this.
COUNTING! Practice your scales while counting, USING your metronome. In 12 keys, and three or four octaves. In seven modes. In different time signatures. Tremolos, etc.
After that there shouldn't be any problem improvising!
BTW-Mike is a great guy, full of energy and enthusiasm. He's also a great winemaker.