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Kristen Knott

New Mandolin Player

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Hello All!

So I need some advice on where I should start. I just recently bought a simple Rouge mandolin and I don't know where I should begin. Anyone have any advice for a new mandolin player? I do have a background in playing music (clarinet for 8 years) so I know how to read music.
Also, I live in San Antonio, TX So if anyone knows of a great private lesson teacher please me know!

Any helpful hints would be great!

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  1. StuartE's Avatar
    Congratulations, Kristen.

    1. Buy an inexpensive tuner ($10-20)
    2. Get you mandolin set up. You can have it done at a music store, search the internet, or request the great free e-book by Rob Meldrum. [ email, put Mandolin Setup in the subject line and ask nicely.]
    3. Get a good mandolin method book. Don Julin's Mandolin for Dummies has lots of fans. The Mel Bay company has many mando books, including several beginners books. (Getting into Bluegrass Mandolin, Getting Into Jazz Mandolin, American Mandolin Method, and more....)
    4. Try a variety of picks. Most mandolin players use thicker picks than guitar players.
    5. Check out the learning resources on Mandolin Cafe, including free lessons, chord libraries, and lessons on demand.
    6. Drop by the weekly San Antonio bluegrass jam.
    Every Monday, "In-A-Jam" Bluegrass Jam Session, 6:30-8:30 PM, at The BBQ Station, Info: 1610 N. E. Loop 410, (210) 824-9191.
    (Good place to ask about teachers.)

    7. Learn Ted Eschliman's Four-Finger Closed Position (FFcP) system.
  2. 9lbShellhamer's Avatar
    1.Along with Stuart's good advice, I can't recommend Matt Flinner's online classes enough. My progress was very slow until I started taking his classes. There is a new BG101 course starting in January. It's honestly the best $ you'll spend on your path to mandolin proficiency. He's a great player, but an even better teacher. I can almost guarantee you would love the class. It's that good. In my opinion at least...

    2. I played for a year without getting a good pick. Check out a variety of picks. My absolute favorite is the ct55, but check out the Primetone triangle as a cheaper alternative. LINK TO PICK

    3. BINGO on the FFcP advice above. Great stuff.

    4. Matt Flinner has a free course online this saturday. Check it out.
  3. BJ O'Day's Avatar
    Visit Good site. Free or donate for the lessons.

    I would recommend in-person lessons. For me they have made a big difference. The added "pressure" to learn a tune before the next lesson is a needed motivator to overcome my poor habits.

  4. mandomansuetude's Avatar
    Hello, Clarinet guy...I played trumpet for many years and had to stop ...lung problems ...thought i could just transfer my ability to read anything to the mando once I mastered the basic finger positions..
    Alas ..trumpets and clarinets are very linear instruments ...see a a note...who knew or cared about chords?...welcome to a whole new world..