View Full Version : ready to study blues

Jul-06-2004, 8:45am
its time to start studying rather than just feelin my way through some licks and tunes, so ordered the steve james video- learn to play the mando blues. anyone have it? reviews? helpful or not?

i have certainly been developing my own style, but i felt this would help me work on some of the licks i hear and like when i listen to yank, young, cooder, etc...

hope its helpful, but at the least it should be fun, and i found it for 20 bucks new!

Jul-06-2004, 9:43am
ira -
Thought you'd already gotten this one, it's a real hoot! First video I bought and I'm still referring back to it once in awhile, lotsa fun stuff. Now you'll find out where I got those boogie riffs & easy comps, LOL. You'll love it!

Jul-06-2004, 9:46am
I don't know it, but I would love to hear how it is!

Keep us informed! http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/blues.gif

Jul-06-2004, 10:04am
The Steve James video opened (or should I say kicked in) a lot of doors for me. I'm a rock guitarist who jump onto this amazing little axe. I briefly studied bluegrass, but my heart has always been in the blues. This video made me realize that anything is possible. The blues sounds so natural on mando it is amazing that more people don't play it. And he turned me onto Yank...you'll understand after you watch the video. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/laugh.gif


Jul-06-2004, 12:20pm
for those who have the video- glad to see the good reviews. how have you used it? a single lesson/tune at a time, full viewing straight through?

bjc- though i understand no theory, it is my first stringed instrument, and i'm a relative newbie, i have been playin blues on the little axe from the moment i picked it up. it is truly amazing to me as well, how few people take advantage of the blues capability. the sound the mando puts out for blues is phenomenal, and the tremolo offers such a unique sound for that blue feelin! http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/blues.gif

Jul-07-2004, 7:14am
Hi ira
I have the video and think itīs worth the $$$ !
Every single song is fun to play. Canīt say which I like the best. You can rest assured that you will love Diving Duck Blues( Yank Rachell) and The lonesome train that ... ( Charlie McCoy ).

The songs are not too difficult so you can shortly surprise your guitar player with some new songs.

Enjoy it !

Jul-07-2004, 8:14am
It's layed out real nice so you can learn the complete song then watch him & John Sebastian do the tune, you can use it to pick-up licks or just to watch for the music. I check mine out whenever I need some new inspiration, there's alot of cool little things to learn. Enjoy!

Jul-08-2004, 9:06am
I have used the video for a few months and am slowly working my way through it. I would give a generally favorable review to it as a learning tool. Since it is the only game in town you don’t have a whole lot of choice, as far as I know.

Its weakness is that Steve does not take the trouble to define many of the terms (jargon) used. A glossary in the printed material would have helped in understanding precisely what he was talking about. It can be a bit confusing sometimes.

Steve does not bend his music much (if any) for the learner. So it can be a bit overwhelming at times. (Too much too soon?) . If there is any fault with the video it may be that he is trying to do a little too much so that he wastes time dealing with tuning the mandolin while a simple g note would have sufficed so that the learner can be in tune with the record.

Steve gives no quarter to the learner and dives right into some interesting and fairly complex tunes. That is both good and bad. I can see where some people might give up while being overwhelmed by the virtuosity required to do some of the tunes. On the other hand if the learner can follow and develop the skills necessary to play the songs presented he can come away with valuable skills. I guess what I am saying is that it won’t be easy, but there is a lot of good stuff in the video.

Steve demonstrates several types of mandolins (banjo and electric) and while interesting I am not sure that they contribute much to an understanding of basic blues mandolin.

One of the things I found most interesting is how the blues mandolinist often uses simplified two or three string chords rather then the more complex and demanding four string chords. This should be good news for those of us who have difficulty memorizing chord fingering.

The printed material included is so minimal that it would have benefited from some text explaining what was being presented.

I am not sure what the point is of having an accompanist on guitar in the video. While it may contribute to the video performance we are not fortunate enough to have one when we play.

In general I would give high marks to the video but as suggested the learner is really going to have to work hard to get the most out of it. Hopefully he will not find it overwhelming and give up.

Jul-08-2004, 6:06pm
bart = thanks for the thorough review. i'll send one back at ya when i get and use the tape for a while. as i got a great price on a new product the catch was long time shipping.

i'm patient:angry:

Jul-09-2004, 12:25pm
just got an email that it shipped yesterday- maybe within the week. woooooooooooooohooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11

Jul-11-2004, 6:59pm
checked status and here it comes:
1 shipped on 7/8/2004, you should receive by 7/14/2004.

btw- got an amazing deal on this if anyone is interested let me know.

Jul-12-2004, 8:20am
I liked the James video too, but like I've done before, I'm recommending Rich DelGrosso's Jugband book and tape.
I copped a bunch of blues licks from that as well.

Jul-12-2004, 12:03pm
Do you know if (and where) Rich DelGrosso's Jugband book and tape are currently available? I haven't seen it listed anywhere but am probably looking in the wrong places.

Many thanks.

Thanks for your help (or anyone else's help)

Jul-12-2004, 12:53pm
Not sure why I'm having so much trouble finding info for you; I'll try to remember to check the book ifself for contact info. It did take a while for him to respond when I bought it; can anyone else chime in? I think we talked about the book not too long ago.

In teh meantime, here's a link to great lesson in E blues. Very useful
for jamming with guitar players.
Rich's E blues article (http://www.mandolinmagazine.com/workshops/delgrosso/)

Jul-12-2004, 3:19pm
my video arrived today-(same day as the picktour package- i'm in mandoheaven!http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/blues.gif

Jul-13-2004, 5:01am
itīs always great when the postman brings in some new stuff to enjoy.... have fun !

Jul-13-2004, 8:27am
Try not to OD my friend :-)And let's us know what you think?

Jul-13-2004, 9:15am
first viewing last night (ok -watched a few of the songs twice), watched the whole way through.
overall-liked it and the actual jam/songs with sj and js were great. it did however seem somewhat bastardized. on one hand aimed for beginners- discussion of tuning, types of mandos, how to hold it, strings, pics, boring for even a relative newbie like me.
but on the other hand, kinda advanced-discussion of dominants and blues scales, really quick through the instructional parts as if you should know, musician terminology throughout. would probably frustrate a beginner.

also as one poster stated - the printed materials are kinda weak. just some tab/notation for the tunes and a short intro- for a 60 minute tape at that price was expecting a bit more.

i will get alot out of it, but i will need to work a little on the quick instruction (luckily so much of my noodling is blues that even though i don't know the terms, i'm using a bunch of the techniques), and will need to skip a bunch of the beyond elementary.

as a blues enthusiast i'm happy with it, (and sj has phenomenal style and what a great voice) but even more so because i purchased at a discuont. at 30 bucks + shipping i would be less happy.

i think i'm gonna start with the song juanita stomp- what a great riff!

i'll report back after a jam with it a bit.

Jul-20-2004, 7:41pm
I have the Steve video and it's good but as in many videos the instructor can only cover so much. I think the most benefical part of the video is seeing how Steve executes the all important tremelo. Steve is the man and sounds VERY authentic if you compare his sound/tone/inflection to the original blues masters.

If you are really serious about blues mando then I think the BLUES MANDOLIN record on Testament Records is mandatory listening AND studying. It has some Yank, Carl Martin ( a personal favorite) Willie Hatcher, Johnny Young etc... There is plenty of licks to steal here!. When I'm in a blues mando mode I put this in my car and just absorb it over and over.

Old Blues mando is as much about the attack and lack of fancy notes then anything else.

Plus detune your mando a bit http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif

here's some thread form another group I jsut stumbled across


juantia is a great tune also check out Dallas Rag not on the video but on many jugband compilations CD's and also trascribed by Barry Mitterhof in an issue of Mandolin Quarterly