View Full Version : Any beginners/intermediates ?

Jan-28-2004, 10:57am
Everyone seems to be so very good and experienced in here! Are there any beginners or intermediate pickers here?
I've played for 7 years but I consider myself as nearly intermediate because I've had to have breaks from music several times because I haven't had time for it, my life has been too chaotic. Now I am looking forward to graduating from university in June and after that I should be able to pick it up seriously again. I play bluegrass and Irish music mostly and I know a good deal of tunes but my technique is not good at all and I really need to improve on control, speed, backup, and timing. I have no jams to go to, in my country there are not many of them, and I just don't feel like jamming with the professionals, when I play with people who are much better than me, I don't dare to do anything but chopping (unless I know them really well and know they don't bite my head off if I do something bad).
Anyway, even if you're not close enough to jam with me it would be good to hear from more mandolin pickers at this level.

Jan-28-2004, 11:10am
I just started playing about 2 months ago.

I'm a guitarist (electric). Mando is especially nice because it's easy to travel with.

I'm learning basic stuff now, mostly bluegrass, but I'd like to learn Italian mandolin. I am having trouble finding any educational content for Italian mando though.

Playing has been really fun and a pretty easy conversion from guitar.

Jan-28-2004, 11:54am
I've been playing for two years. Pretty much a beginner still. I mostly chop at the Wed. bluegrass jam I go to. I get to do a few leads each week if I can keep up.

The guys are very supportive of anyone willing to keep at it. Makes me look forward to playing every week.

I'd suggest stepping up a bit and out of your comfort zone. Who cares if some of the pros don't like it. Jams are for fun. If they want a pro gig they can do that on their own time.

Just my $0.02


Jan-28-2004, 11:56am
I recieved my mandolin in december so I am a begginner
here is my first song

Jan-28-2004, 11:57am
I've been playing for about three years now. I don't play all that much, maybe a half hour every other day, so my progress has been slower than others. I've never really compared myself with other players, so I don't know how good I am, but I'd guess somewhere between advanced beginner and middle intermediate. I'm going to the Clarion Folk College this May, so I should get a better sense for my skill level then.

Eugene, are you around? You've heard me play. Where would you say I'm at? I, of course, expect nothing but complete honesty from you.

Jan-28-2004, 12:02pm
Nice job Deaner! However, I had to really crank the volume to hear it. Maybe all of us beginners should record something of ours and let each other hear it. I can hear experts any time I want; it's nice to hear "the common folk" playing.

Deaner, what does it take to get set up at Digital Sound Planet?

Jan-28-2004, 12:15pm
I think there are plenty of beginners and intermediates here at the cafe. We just all like to sound like we're grizzled verterans when we post our two cents! http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif

As for myself, I've been playing a little over a year and a half -- and never really played any musical intruments before, though I've dabbled in several. I'm up to an "early intermediate" level, I think.

Christine W
Jan-28-2004, 12:20pm
Intermediate here also on the low end that is.

That's nice just been playing since December? I think I need to practice more http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif

Jan-28-2004, 12:33pm
How nice with so many quick replies!! Deaner, I'll listen to your tune as soon as I come home! I'm at a Norwegian university now, so I'm not sure if the pc has the software.
I'm doing a few recordings myself, on my computer at home. Maybe I could share something too, when I get back home and have something decent recorded.
Yee-Haw, there's plenty of Italian how-to-play material. Most of it is in Italian though. Do you know Italian? What other languages do you know? I have one book that is in Italian, German and French (I think). You should try to get some Italian music to listen to. Do you mean old Napoletan mandolin music? I may have some, I'm not sure though. I've lived in Italy and I'm very interested in Italian culture and such, so I sort of collect everything Italian (except Berlusconi).
What music do you all play? How do you learn? What do you practice?

Jan-28-2004, 12:50pm
deaner - nice one! Sounds better than the stuff I'm attempting to play at the mo!

I've only been playing since December too...and it's so easy to miss a couple of days practice and takes ages to get back into the swing of it again. I don't know wether it's the snow numbing my fingers but I can't play at all today, trying to work through the Anzo Family scales and can barely keep my fingers going! Still trying to get through Cripple Creek at the moment...infact I'm just trying now to record a clip but I can barely play any of it without messing up...damn fingers!

Jan-28-2004, 12:53pm
I think, I'd classify myself as an advanced beginner hahahaha. I've been playing just over a year now. I have learned sooo much, and learned that I have soooo much more to learn LOL. Before tha mandolin I'd never played an instrument before, so it's been a pretty intense experience. I'm fascianted by music theory & thrilled I have a teacher who encouraged me to start reading music right away. A year later I can sight read as fast as I was able to play when I first picked up a mando (which is slow, but infinately faster that it used to be!)

I love playing more than anything & try to appriciate even the baby steps in improvement, it's all part of the journey http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif

Jan-28-2004, 12:56pm
[QUOTE]Deaner, what does it take to get set up at Digital Sound Planet?

Just gor to their site and set it up...It is free if you don't need all the fancy stuff. It was just a quick recording done with music creator 2002 with no mixing or editing then I just posted it at DSP and there it is. Copy and paste the link and like magic it can be downloaded. Thanks for the encouraging comments also. And yes I am very common on the mando lol

John Ely
Jan-28-2004, 12:57pm
I've been playing two years. I'm solidly in this camp.

Jan-28-2004, 1:37pm
just been a hobby for me...the challenge of trying to play well and learn and investing in some fine made instruments...never have taken a lesson...just have used various books over the years and more recently TablEdit which i recommend...very relaxing and much better than watching bad reality tv shows in the quiet of the evening...

Michael H Geimer
Jan-28-2004, 2:11pm
Gosh ... I've been an intermediate musician for almost twenty years, now! Though I'm only a year and a half old in 'mando-years'.

I tried to take a break at a BG jam ... once, but it was a complete train wreck. I can throw down a decent solo in my Folk/Rock group, but those tempos are so much more resonable.

Intermediate Mike

Jan-28-2004, 2:13pm
I've been playing at guitar for many years, and got my first mando last October. #Whoopee!

I think I fall in the advanced beginner/early intermediate area somewhere.

This is a great thread. #It's wonderful to rub shoulders with the giants, but it's nice to know I'm not the only newbie around here.

Jan-28-2004, 2:15pm
Just under 2 yrs. Most likely will be an intermediate forever....and that's OK with me.

John Flynn
Jan-28-2004, 6:20pm
I have played guitar for 31 years, mando for 11. I am mostly self-taught, but I have been privledged to have some great instruction and play with some great people in decent bands. For many years, I have averaged playing with some sort of group, either in a gig, practice or jam at least once a week and I practice/play on my own least an hour a day.

Alas, however, the years of experience have taught me about what I don't know faster than it has actually increased my knowledge and ability. So I am solidly in the intermediate camp. I am learning and improving every day, but I have become OK with the fact that I may be a "career" intermediate player. I play strictly for the enjoyment, so labels like "intermediate" versus "expert" just don't mean much to me anymore.

Jan-28-2004, 6:40pm
Its hard to categorize yourself as to what level you are in. #I've played mandolin for about 7 years, and would consider myself in the upper intermediate category because there are so many mandolinists that I think are better. #However, I asked Matt Flinner at a gig about lessons last month when we opened for Jeff Austin and friends (Matt was a friend) and he suggested that I could benefit from advanced lessons... #Whoa! Okay...

Jan-28-2004, 7:05pm
Hi all. This is my first post. I am a complete newbie, as I've only been playing (?) about 2 weeks now. I have never played a musical instrument in my life, so it's going to be a bit of a challenge, but so far I love it!

I'm near the Fort Meade, MD area in case anybody has any advice for me.

Tks for the great website!

Coy Wylie
Jan-28-2004, 7:22pm
Add me to the group too! After playing various guitar styles for about 30 years, I wanted a new challenge and the banjo wasn't an option, my ego won't take all the jokes! http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif A lot of the skills translate to the mando so I've had a head start. I rarely take my guitar to a jam any more. I can't find a good teacher so I've worked through several CD/DVD lesson series and practice a lot late at night. I am blessed to be able to jam with other good muscians every week so that helps a lot. It's good to see I'm not alone here at the cafe...

Jan-28-2004, 9:24pm
Mandolin is my second instrument...after Guitar.
After two or so years..I havent really moved up the neck at all!!
I think thats what I love about it. Theres no pressure for me to do anything on it but enjoy myself http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/mandosmiley.gif I just pick out melodies, and dont really play any chop chords yet. Wow that G is a %$##$%..
Again... its nice to see all the players new and old!

Jan-28-2004, 10:09pm
Count me in. I've been playing off and on for the last 1.5 years...mostly on in the last several months. I've been teaching myself using books and just recently purchased the Sam Bush DVD. I'm working on Ragtime Annie at the moment. I keep my old Oscar Schmidt at work and practice during lunch and then try to practice on my MK for at least 30 minutes every night. I still have terrible stage fright about playing in front of anyone other than the dogs. I don't know of anyone else to play with down here so I don't have any practice playing with others. I love playing and am having lots of fun learning. I have one daughter learning guitar and the other learning keyboard so ...who knows?

Jan-28-2004, 10:27pm
I've been playing mando since November and am teaching myself using books and DVD's. #I have never played an instrument before, but know some music theory from my choir days. #I got to sit in on a jam session with some co-workers this past weekend, and it really reinforced just how much there is to be learned. #I guess I would say I'm somewhere in the intermediate beginner/advanced beginner stage.


Coy Wylie
Jan-28-2004, 11:55pm
I've been teaching myself using books and just recently purchased the Sam Bush DVD. #I'm working on Ragtime Annie at the moment. #
The Bush DVD is not for the beginner. I bought it when I was just starting out and IMHO it is less instruction and more demonstration. His 6 CD set though is great for the beginner.

I felt so motivated when I got his version of "Ragtime Annie" up to speed that I was ready to to tackle the other songs. "Big Mon" is a lot of fun. Good luck and happy pick'n!


Jan-29-2004, 12:07am
Just shy of 2 years- adv beg/intermediate. a little better if the mando was only played in G, Am, Dm or C, D A, or G7, and a little lower on other keys. either way, havin a blast pickin away at it!

Jan-29-2004, 12:33am
Ive been a fiddle player for about 3 years now, and have played saxaphone and basson for about 7 or 8 years (lovely instrument combination i know). I also play bodhran and scottish snare, and have just in the past month been going nuts on a mandolin that belongs to my high school that no one was using. Im not fantastic but im doing alright since the fiddle skills transfer nicely over to the mandolin. I love the mando because its way easier to carry around and noodle on than a fiddle...drives the friends and family nuts :P

Jan-29-2004, 8:36am
I play strictly for the enjoyment, so labels like "intermediate" versus "expert" just don't mean much to me anymore.

That's what it is all about....could not have said it better.

Jan-29-2004, 9:12am
Just shy of 3 yrs playing I fall in this category. I can chop pretty decent and can play a dozen or so fiddle tunes up to speed. When it comes to improvising a break though I can't manage much. Just keep at it. Most players won't mind if you mess up a break. Just promise yourself to do it better next time.

J. Mark Lane
Jan-29-2004, 9:36am
OK, I'll chime in. It will always be easy for me to remember when I started playing mandolin, because it was the birth of my daughter that triggered it. I played acoustic guitar (in a hack kinda way) for an entire life before that, and played to her in the womb. But she showed no interest in the guitar as an infant.

I picked up a mandolin one day, when she was a few months old, and her eyes lit up at the sound. It's been mando since.

That was July 2002. After summer vacations, I bought a method book in September 2002, and started actually trying to learn a little bit. I moved to the Roland White set that winter (02/03. So I guess it's been a little over a year for me.

At this point, I am still working on some of the fiddle tunes in the White book, with variations from the Kaufmann set, and a few other odd things. I consider myself an early intermediate. But then I listen to some of the greats, and I consider myself a hopeless hack.


Jan-29-2004, 10:36am
I'm an intermediate picker. My main focus is banjo and bass so I don't put in the time that I need to on the mandolin but I love playing it.

Jan-29-2004, 10:54am
I play only for the enjoyment too, but I still think in terms like "beginner", "intermediate" or "advanced", at least when it's about my own achievements. Beginner is when you don't know much and are learning the basics. Intermediate would be when you can play fairly well but not so fast and not so fancy-like, and don't dare to join in jams, and advanced would be all the rest. This is how I class myself, until I can play a break at a jam or play a reel at the standard speed I will be an intermediate picker. I may be an intermediate forever, I don't know. It doesn't bother me much really, I used to stress a lot about improving but it just made me stop loving music and playing instruments. Now I just relax with it and I've started to enjoy it again. The thing is, I know I'd learn more and enjoy it more if I had someone to play with, and I don't know anyone who play who are not really advanced (the jams here are really advanced).

It's great to hear from all of you!! You Carolina-girl, how cool, you've played for only 2 weeks! What a pleasure! I loved those days. Every little improvement was such an excitement. I don't notice such big improvements anymore as I did as a beginner. It may be that as a beginner the improvements are more noticable, or that I don't improve much now since I don't have so much time to practice.

Jan-29-2004, 11:20am
Hi, all.

This is my first post on this forum, though I've been lurking for a while. I, too, am a beginner on the mando, though I've owned an older, Asian "beater" A style (says "Francisco" on the headstock) for about 5-6 years. Though I've messed around on guitar/bass for about 42 years, during the last 5 I've concentrated on flatpick guitar (not too well, I might add). At Christmas, I bought a Kentucky KM675 F style, and the guitars have been in the closet since. All of my flatpick skills (such as they are) translate wonderfully over to mando and I've been having a blast. Hopefully, at the next meeting of the San Diego (CA) bluegrass Society meeting on Tuesday, when I "debut" the mando, I won't crash 'n burn too badly.

The Chop chords are coming along, and, in a weird way, it's encouraging to know that everyone else is struggling with'em just like I am. At least it ain't just me! Glad to know that there are others out there who aren't "Mando Monsters".


Jan-29-2004, 12:28pm
Hi Dave!
It seems you are getting on pretty well!! I really envy you all who have "somewhere" to bring the mando for a good jam or whatever. There are plenty of musicians here but noone who plays any kind of folk music or who would like to meet up for a jam. I'm not stuck to bluegrass or Irish, I also enjoy other kinds of music as long as it is folky or maybe country (these are the styles I can play ok by ear), but I seem to be the only one in my area. So enjoy it you who have jams to go to and people to play with!!

Jan-29-2004, 3:02pm
The "hopeless hack" category fits here too. We did play at our first open-mic last night. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/coffee.gif

Jan-29-2004, 3:06pm
Rank beginner on mandolin, rank amateur on guitar. But I've been a rank amateur on guitar for 30+years, mando for about 1, go figure. Oh, and this is not meant to be self depricating at all, just the truth. But it sure is fun.

Jan-29-2004, 3:37pm
Been playing three years.The mandolin is my first
musical experience. I play Old Time Fiddle tunes-can
play 30-35 tunes. We have a large monthly jam and play in a 10 member string band. I've learn to read the guitar players cords and chop or strum chords if i don't know the melody.I try to play every day for 1-2 hours. It takes me "forever" to learn a new tune. I play with folks who hear a tune and can shortly play it back. there is a tone-brain-finger connection I have not developed. I'm thinking it will be difficult to progress, other than slowly learning more tunes,unless this process develops. i suspect this is an issue of being new to music rather than new to the mandolin. I bet the experienced guitar player new to the mandolin have developed this tone-brain, finger connection.

Jan-29-2004, 4:07pm
Been playing about a year. Guess, I'm an advanced beginning. Never taken a lesson, played in a jam (so maybe I'm not that advanced), but I sure do love this instrument. I try to play an hour a day (whic isn't always easy). one problem that I have have not solved as an "advanced beginner". How do you work, play mando and exercise? even since I started playing I am happier and more content, but fatter. Anyone have suggestions?

Jan-29-2004, 4:18pm
bike racing-132 lbs
would be mando hacker-165 lbs think i may have a problem developing. two more yrs of playing and i will be sumo material.

Jan-29-2004, 5:13pm
Yikes, That's not very encouraging. Expecially the thought of sumo wrestling. Sweaty fat guys in thongs!!! Maybe I need to take my wife's suggestion of the Atkins Diet more seriously

Jan-29-2004, 6:52pm

I know what you mean about finding folks to play with. Actually, the society meeting I mentioned only occurs once a month. The rest of the time, I'm on my own. When I started flatpick guitar, the only "fellow-jammer" was my metronome (good 'ol Seth Thomas). Finally located a guy at a local music store who gave lessons so I worked with him for about 6 months and that helped a lot. My wife doesn't care for Bluegrass and just "tolerates" the "deedle-deedle" stuff coming out of the den. Sigh.

Other than that, it's pretty dry, jammin' wise. Hope it'll pick up.

What I'm really interested in while picking with others, is mastering these chop chords and being effective rythym-wise. Actually, the lead stuff is not bad as long as I stick with the easy tunes, but those CHORDS!!


Jan-29-2004, 11:47pm
Uh - beg.intermed for me. Been very interested in it for the last year and a half, but learned my first few chords on it 10 years ago. Can't sight read music very fast, let alone translate that to a fret on a mandolin. PIck with tab quite readily, but cannot take a lead at a jam. Wouldn't know wehre to start.

When I listen to music, I can "sing" a mando fill-in, or ending but don't ask me to figure out actually how to do it. I can't stand it. I want to learn and play so much better, but i seem to suck!

I have a few instructional books, such as Sam Bush's Repetoire book/cd, and Steve kaufman's christmas and gospel book/cd's. I started (and still use) an old Mel Bay pulication by Bud Orr.

I would LOVE to paly somthing like Cotton Patch Rag, Blackberry Blossom, or Bill Cheatham in a moderate speed!


PS Oh yeah, and solo/improvise too...

Jan-30-2004, 7:12am
Oh yeah, mandolin chords are killers. The first day with my first mandolin I bought a chord book and thought I would just be able to sit and play rhythm like I used to on the guitar. But gosh - I just realized it was hopeless. It took me nearly 4 years before I could even think of master the 4 finger chords. That was when I was in Ireland and a mandolin picker there showed me an easier way to do the G chord, later a Swedish picker showed me how to make the D chord easier. They work great if I do chops and strums, just not for arpeggios (the D and those in the same position up the neck are with a closed string) so one day I'm also going to try to learn the original D chord - just not now.

Jan-30-2004, 9:57am
Another beginner here on the mando. I've been playing for about a year. As I've a lifetime of experience on the violin, er, fiddle, I can pick out melodies pretty quickly on the mando. However I can't yet play them clean as I'm still getting used to the whole 'fret' business.

Chords are another matter altogether. I'm working on putting together some flash cards just to help memorize different chords. And of course practicing the chord changes so I don't have to look down at the instrument just to switch chords.

I always glossed over theory when I was a kid learning the violin. So I'm trying to go back to basics there as well. Need to get my modes and scales down pat.

And then there's the tremelo. Oi!

I've been taking weekly lessons for the last couple of months and that's helped a lot. I'll be stopping them soon and just try to practice more often. Right now I only play a couple times a week. Need to make it every day!

So lots to learn certainly. I'll probably be buying a new mando in the next couple of weeks. Going from the bowl-back I've been learning on to a Kentucky 150S. I figure if I keep with it a few years from now I'll get that Rigel!

Jan-30-2004, 10:23am
Rank beginner here. I've been playing less than a year. But since I have no pride or shame where playing music is concerned, I will take my mando to (friendly) jams along with my guitar, and I'm going to play "Election Year Rag" at a chili cookoff tonight.

I've had no mando lessons, but I've taken a few tips from a couple of really good players. Thanks to that, I'm please with my progress on getting down the timing of the chops. Luckily, I've always had a pretty good sense of rhythm and rebelled against metronomes when taking piano as a kid. Now if I can just expand my chops from three strings to four . . .

Jan-30-2004, 6:32pm
I've owned mandolins for about ten years now and am still a rank beginner.May always be a rank beginner.But it's fun.Any other rank beginners in the Dayton,Ohio area?

Jan-31-2004, 4:06am
#I have learned sooo much, and learned that I have soooo much more to learn LOL. #Before tha mandolin I'd never played an instrument before, so it's been a pretty intense experience. #
Ditto. I tried the trumpet in elementary school and it didn't stick (although the valves did!). But the hardest thing for me is not just learning an instrument--its learning entirely new genres of music!

I have been playing for about 2 years now, and think I've graduated to the early intermediate stage. I can, knowing the key, pick up the chord changes in a jam, and have about 20 songs under my belt. I just got the Chris Thile video and, my god, one viewing has changed the way I view moving around the fretboard, and I now "get" pull offs. The one thing I must say, having a good instructor really helps you progress faster.

Keep on picking all! I know I will--I've already passed the date that my "new, shiney" reaction to new activities wears off. Playing is just so relaxing and satisfying, I can't believe I waited intil my mid thirties to do it...I got this mando bug 10 years ago, but waited until now. *smacks head*

Dan Adams
Jan-31-2004, 5:13pm
Thirty years of playing, a whole year of gigs last year, and I still consider myself an intermediate player. The difference to playing music, and being a musician I imagine. I did take about 20 years off in the middle though, so I've been back at in for about three years. It always interesting to see reactions of other players at workshops and clinics at festivals. 'What are you doing here?" is the typical response, "You're to good to be at a workshop." There is always something new to learn, even from the beginners. That is what makes playing great, the ability to learn form players of all abilities and backgrounds.

I know good mandolin players, and I'm not them! Dan

Feb-01-2004, 12:02pm
As a beginner, I tend to feel a bit stuck in the "no experience no job, no job no experince" rut LOL. Only it's "you get better if you play with others, but you don't want to play with others till you're better" :P

I think lessons help with this one... but I'm on the constant prowl for someone who wouldn't mind playin with someone at my level. LOL

Feb-01-2004, 8:59pm
I can symptathise with the folks that don't like to categorize themselves, since I just play for fun too, but sometimes you need to be able able to tell folks where you are. I just got my first Mando for Christmas (actually started playing with it a couple weeks early), and started lessons the first of the year. Definately a rank beginner on the mando.

Like many here, I also play guitar, but it's been an on again/off again thing for the last 30 years or so. I used to jam quite a bit so I guess I'm not RANK beginner, but it was mostlt strum or finger pick a cords. Nothing fancy. As far as being able to pick out the melody of a tune, I'm probably much ahead on the mandolin.

I also screw around on harmonica, penny whistle, spirit whistle, recorder, and bamboo flute, though I've never tried to jam with any of those.

Around here most of the places that give lessons also have organized jams. Mostly these are for the students there, but they usually have an "open" night or many are pretty relaxed about the student requirement. From what I've heard, they are pretty formal and pretty high skill level, though there are a lot of them I haven't seen. The group I used to jam with was a bunch of friends that just got together to socialize, drink and play and was a MUCH more relaxed thing. If someone wanted to play something that was too far ahead of you, you either gave it your best shot (no one got upset if you missed a few cords) or took a break.

Love to find a group like that around here, but at the moment I think I need to get a few more lessons under my belt.

Feb-03-2004, 12:17am
I'm a beginner...played for almost a year now. However, previous guitar experience probably helped a bit (along with my obsession of playing every moment the mando is near!).

Anyway, I'm impressed with the quantity of reponses to this thread. Perhaps there SHOULD BE A BEG/INT SECTION somewhere on the cafe board. I was opposed to the idea earlier, but now I'm starting to reconsider...

It can't hurt and I suspect it could help us to discuss entry level questions more freely.


Dan Adams
Feb-04-2004, 12:18am
Once again, I leave a jam and somebody makes a remark about my 'quality' playing ability. I appreciate the compliment, but all the mando players there were good! I just step-up to the plate when its time to take a lead and take my lumps, or acculades. If I can 'live' through my leads, so can everybody else. Being a 'better' player doesn't have so much to do with ability, as it does with the willingness to play in front of a group of players.

Stand-up and take your lumps/leads, Dan

Nobody has ever kicked me out of a jam because I missed a few notes?

Feb-04-2004, 6:55am
I'm a beginner...played for almost a year now. However, previous guitar experience probably helped a bit (along Anyway, I'm impressed with the quantity of reponses to this thread. #Perhaps there SHOULD BE A BEG/INT SECTION somewhere on the cafe board. #I was opposed to the idea earlier, but now I'm starting to reconsider...

It can't hurt and I suspect it could help us to discuss entry level questions more freely.

Bill, I think that is a very, very good idea!! I tend to feel lost among all the talk about advanced techniques and sometimes feel like I shouldn't ask things that seem "too basic".

Feb-04-2004, 7:01am
When I listen to music, I can "sing" a mando fill-in, or ending but don't ask me to figure out actually how to do it. #I can't stand it. #I want to learn and play so much better, but i seem to suck!
I can sort of hear how I would like to do a break or a fill-in but then can't always figure out how to do it. I would love to improve on chopping, to get them cleaner, and to be able to do upstrokes. I've just started to try them and it sounds awful. I suck, too. I guess we'll just have to have a little patience.
If I get a job after graduation in June (it's not certain anymore, not even for nurses), I'll take lessons in September. I haven't decided yet if I want to do mandolin or fiddle lessons. I would definitely need them more on the fiddle, but it sounds like a good idea to take mandolin lessons as a substitute for people to jam with. I guess it depends on how the teacher is like.

Feb-04-2004, 10:48am

I say we keep pushing the idea along and see what other "beginners" think. And besides, we don't always have to post intro questions/discussions in the 'intro' section. HA!

And you're lucky to have the option of lessons...there's nobody in my town/area for mando specific training. But then again, there's a lot of good (& free!) resources available...

Keep visualizing, Bill

Feb-04-2004, 11:24am
That's too bad, Bill. I didn't believe I had that option either. But then a teenage girl came to our prayer group, and she told us she was studying at the music high school. So I asked her if the music school is for school children/youth only or if it is for everyone. She told me that they have evening classes that are for everyone, and she would find out if there is anyone who can teach mandolin. And there was!! She said he is quite "folkie" so I'll ask for his phone number the next time I see her. I don't want a teacher who is in for teaching classical music, I want pure folk music teaching, because there is such a different "spirit" in folk music compared to classical. I like playing different kinds of music, but my goal is to play folk music mainly, and there are some techniques I want to learn that are not used in classical music. (I don't think Swedish mandolin players commonly play classical music anyway, so I don't think there'll be a problem) But yes, I'm fortunate, and it doesn't cost too much either.

Feb-04-2004, 4:27pm
I'm a complete beginner! Been playing since the new year, but I suppose I had a bit of a headstart as I could already play a few fiddle tunes on guitar (although I was very much a beginner at that too).

I have just spent this evening cursing because I can only play Grandfather's Clock at 100bpm. Then I remembered I've been playing this thing a month and actually felt quite pleased with myself http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/wink.gif

Feb-05-2004, 9:29pm
Interesting post. I consider myself a beginner also. Started mandolin around Christmas while recuperating from rotator cuff surgery-couldn't play the guitar without a lot of discomfort. Now I find that I hardly ever pick the guitar up anymore. I started with the usual instructional materials that others have alluded to, and I seem to have the same problems, the picking is relatively easy but the chords take a lot of work. I am in the Columbia South Carolina area and if there are any beginners around here who would like to get together and pick, feel free to message me. I also would like to add that once I found this forum I have picked up quite a bit of good information and solutions to some of my problems, the use of grommets to silence unwanted harmonics to name one. Thanks to all who post here for some great info.

Feb-06-2004, 5:47am
I've been playing a little over a year now. I'll follow suit and put up a recording (quality isn't very good and you'll prolly have to crank the volume).


I do my recording with Audacity, which is a free multi track recording software, so that I can record guitar backup for myself to play along with. It works pretty good, the noise on the recording is mostly an issue with my beat up microphone.

Feb-06-2004, 11:54am
Cool! I like that song. I use Audacity too. I haven't found out how to add the tracks to each other, though. Aren't I supposed to be able to hear the first one while adding the second, and kinda play along? Or do I have to just record two tracks and then cut and paste them until they fit with the timing? I'm not sure how I can get started exactly at the same time both times, since I don't have anyone to click on the record button for me.

Feb-06-2004, 4:05pm
There's something in the settings you have to click to tell it to play the previous tracks while you're recording a new one. If you can't find it, try looking in help. I don't remember exactly where it was, but it should be in options or something like that.

You do have to manually adjust the tracks to compensate for delay, which can be frustrating and I'm not very good at it, but for my purposes close is usually good enough.

I did give up on trying to record two rhythm tracks, ie guitar and mando chop cuz i never could get them synced well enough that it didn't drive me crazy to listen to it.

Feb-06-2004, 7:05pm
Sorry to post a message to an older part of this thread. I've been playing mandolin for almost a year and I've had the extreme good fortune to have jumped in with an experienced old time string band. I can record the tunes at the practice, then take them home to learn them. The value of this experience is immeasurable. We play at barn dances and other events. You can really " come up to speed " quickly in this environment. I live west of Chicago and will be taking a class at the Old Town School of Folk Music called "old time string ensemble". Lookin' forward to it.
P.S. I play a Weber Custom Bitteroot - Great Sound!

Feb-06-2004, 7:50pm
Hi All, I'm new to the cafe and have just started trying to learn on the mandolin. I did get extremely lucky for a beginner, as my boss at work is the leader of a local country band here in the Lubbock area. I also lucked out by acquiring a 35 year old Epiphone A model for $75.00 from one of the locals here in Sundown. I have also acquired a new Fender FM-53S in black for $200.00 I have a little experience on guitar and have been able to pick up the chords for the mando pretty easily. I have always deeply enjoyed listing to bluegrass and celtic music and have a lot of respect for those that can play these challenging styles of music. Wish me luck in learning the mando and joining them.