View Full Version : I  can't seem to make any progress playing

Jan-30-2004, 8:09pm
Well, I got my mandolin, and am loving it. My delicate bassoon player's fingers are begining to callous and I am having a ball. This fun is not translating into progress though. I am learning out of the Mel Bay, Learn to Play Bluegrass Mandolin book. I am finding this book dull, and difficult to learn out of. It simply plops you right into individual note playing. Are there any more engaging, beginner friendly introductory books (like Jumpin' Jim's Tips and Tunes, if any uke players know what I am talking about).

Thanks in advance

John Flynn
Jan-30-2004, 9:33pm
I like Andy Statman's "Teach Yourself Bluegrass Mandolin." Also, I strongly recommend you find a regular jam, or start one. Playing with people is one of the great joys of the mandolin, IMHO.

Jack Roberts
Jan-30-2004, 10:59pm
I just bought a third "Jumpin' Jim" book for my daughter. She loves them. No mandolin equivalent to my knowledge, but finding a regular jam is great advice.

Jan-31-2004, 3:45am
Listen to the tunes in the TablEdit files of Co-mando.com. Hearing it helps me get the melody I see on paper into my head. I find TablEdit really helps my progression.

Jan-31-2004, 7:25pm
"...This fun is not translating into progress though..."
"... It simply plops you right into individual note playing."

I am finding much the same problem and know of no others in the area to "jam" with to help with the learning.

Where does one go afer learning the 3 basic chords of "C", "G" and "D" - the other finger chord positions feel almost impossible. Sheesh.


Jan-31-2004, 7:58pm
Well, if they're chop chords, you can move them up and down the fret board and you've got all the major chords. Then learn some minors (Am and Em) and then some 7ths (probably G7 and C7) and do the same thing. That's just about all the chords I need for any jam I've been to!

Feb-01-2004, 11:23am
I sort of have the same problem. I used Jack Tottle's bluegrass mandolin book at the beginning and it was way too advanced for me at that stage. I found Bert Casey's Mandolin Primer excellent, it helped me a lot to get started and actually dare to play. It comes with a CD so you can play along, at slow speed and then at faster speed with guitar and mando backup. Then you can also play WITH the songs, not only play the songs. If you don't have anyone to jam with, playing along with Bert Casey or with other CDs is very helpful.

John Flynn
Feb-01-2004, 2:06pm
I used Jack Tottle's bluegrass mandolin book at the beginning and it was way too advanced for me at that stage.
LOL! I hear you on that one. I started with the Tottle book also. It fools you. The first couple of tunes are really easy and so I was thinking, "Oh, this is nice, this is fun." Then the honeymoon was over. About 7 or 8 tunes into it, he started smokin' and I was left in the dust. He goes from beginner to advanced in about 20 pages. Also, I don't like books where only about half the tunes in the book are on the recording.

The Statman book is more beginner-friendly.

Feb-04-2004, 7:05am
Good, then it's not me being stupid!!! Actually, my book didn't even come with a recording.

Feb-04-2004, 7:34am
I began to learn BG on mandolin many years ago with J.Tottle method.But,I saw that the best way to learn something "original" was to jam and hear. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/mandosmiley.gif http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/mandosmiley.gif Good picking

Tom C
Feb-04-2004, 7:40am
use the tabedit viewer from co-mando. There are hundreds of tunes, some in different styles, so you will not get bored. You can play it at any speed with or without the melody and so on...

Feb-04-2004, 4:54pm
I am learning from Simon Mayor's "The Mandolin Tutor". Great stuff, really easy to learn from, and gives you simple tunes that you can play fast in no time. Best of all the tunes are fun to play.

It's not a bluegrass book, but it'll give you a solid foundation on the first 7 frets that you can progress from later.

I must admit this is the only mandolin book I own, and I've only been playing a few weeks, but I have really struggled with some guitar tutor books in the past so I do know what I'm talking about!

Feb-04-2004, 5:22pm
That's great your enjoying your new mandolin!
Now that my computer's finaly fixed I've been enjoying the mp3 link on the front page. Lots of inspiration there.
Have'nt heard them all yet but one tune worth looking at is "A Place In The Heart" by Scott Tichenor.
Thanks for the site and the beautiful tune.

Feb-04-2004, 5:32pm
I second Gary's suggestion of A Place in the Heart-- nice tune!

You may want to look into Mickey Cochrane's Mandolin Crosspicking Technique. It's a good intro to crosspicking, which is a nice alternative to playing single note melody or chop chord stuff. It's helped me a lot in the area of building proper pick stroke technique, which is useful for any type of playing or musical genre. You can get a copy from either Folk of the Wood or Elderly.

Feb-04-2004, 5:41pm
Check out Steve Kaufman's 4 hour work out. You get to play along with his band as you learn the songs. I think there are 49 fiddle tunes, so you don't get bored from playing the same song twice. It works quite well...and is fun. Or if you have a multi track recorder you can do the same with a guitar track rhythm and the mandolin. But also find others to jam with...you will learn a bunch by watching other people play.

Feb-04-2004, 5:57pm
Roland White's Book is a lot of fun

Feb-04-2004, 6:05pm
Bassoon? Cool. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif
As far as your mando playing goes I would check out Homespun Tapes. They've got a lot of tapes and books for beginning mandolinists.

Feb-05-2004, 9:28am
What kind of progress are you looking for. Do you want to learn to play more tunes, or do you want to learn the fingerboard through scales and arpegios? Do you want to gain a betted understanding of chords? Jazz, old time, bluegrass, celtic?

Personally I want to play like Sam Bush and am unhappy with my progress towords that goal but I'm also learning new songs and transcribing solos that will help me achieve my goals. (OK, I admit I'll never play like Sammy)

If you can be more specific we may be able to point you in the proper direction.

Good luck.

Feb-05-2004, 10:49am
I didnt read all the posts so forgive me if someone already said this.
I think if take some lessons, maybe just from a guitar teacher if you cant find a mandolin teacher.

if money is an issue, I guess I would say to go pickup a real college edition introductory music theory book, with all the drills and exercises, sight reading, interval recognition, all the modes, keys, relatives, all that stuff.

generally teachers start you off in C, and go around the cirlcle adding a sharp or flat every week or so. I suppose for mandolin, it could be easier to start in G though, fingering-wise. remember every major has a relative minor. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/wink.gif

Feb-05-2004, 10:52am
I second the Roland White book for its accessibility to beginners