Welcome to the woodshed! Please introduce yourself ...

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  1. Mark Gunter
    Mark Gunter
    Hi, welcome to the woodshed. This is a study group of fellow students who are working together through the same materials. Currently we are working through the e-book, Mandolin Master Class by Brad Laird. Anyone is welcome to join the MMC study group regardless of skill level. You can start that study here: https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/g...cussionid=5865

    Take a moment to introduce yourself to the group by saying "hi" in this thread

    Here is some more info about the group itself:

    What is the purpose of this group?

    The study group will go through different sets of mandolin instruction materials together. The group decides on which course of study to tackle next. Homework assignments are given based on the course materials. We'll use videos and other content to keep the study alive and moving forward. All group members are encouraged to post questions and comments, videos and written music or other aids to study as they see fit.

    Who teaches the study courses?

    There is no teacher here (except those who choose to visit occasionally). The group is currently led by me, but I am no teacher or expert, just a fellow student like you. I put in the effort to develop lesson assignments and videos to augment the assignments, and I depend on feedback from fellow students in my efforts to do this.

    How did this group come about?

    This group developed from discussions in the Newbies Social Group here at the forum. The first course, Mandolin Master Class was chosen by several of the Newbies as a starting point, and the study began in the Newbies section. After a couple of weeks, it was decided to form a separate social group to house the MMC study group. You can read all about the original formation of this study group in the following threads if you just have that much time on your hands with nothing better to do.

    Who might benefit from this group?

    Who knows for sure, I suppose many would find something of value here, but off the top of my head, a guess ... a beginner or "intermediate level" student or player who wants to know more about music theory, mandolin theory, technique or improvisation, especially one who is mostly self-taught and would like to have some assignments and homework to do in order to learn in a more structured way . . .

    Welcome to the woodshed.
  2. HonketyHank
    All you folks from the Newbies group already know me but I will reintroduce myself for the non-Newbies who come here.

    My name is Henry Stevens. I live in Beaverton, Oregon, which is near the west coast of the USA. I am happily retired. I played in the marching and symphonic wind bands in my junior and senior high school years (age 12 - 17), so I am familiar with reading music. I played 5-string banjo (clawhammer style) up until my mid 20's. Two years ago, 2015, I decided to take the banjo back up again but it just was not fun having to work so hard and still not do what I used to be able to do with ease. So I put the banjo back down and started a whole new instrument - the mandolin. I have been having a great time ever since. Learning is so much more fun than re-learning.

    I currently have more mandolins than sense. MAS bit me bad.

    I gravitate toward Irish Traditional fiddle tunes, old-timey Appalachian American tunes, and maybe a bit of really easy, stripped down bluegrass. My other passion is golf, but the weather here this past winter has turned all the courses into quagmires. I used to think golf was an expensive hobby. Then the MAS bug got a hold of me.

    I'm here to learn. Thank you, Mark, for starting this forum.
  3. Mark Gunter
    Mark Gunter
    Welcome friend! Glad you followed the study here, Hank. Happy mandolinning
  4. Ellsdemon
    I'm going to be behind for awhile with another lesson plan that I'm heavily into, but I'll be watching and throwing in my two cents.

    Mark, this is amazing what you've put together and willing to do

    Cheers Otto
  5. Mark Gunter
    Mark Gunter
    Thanks Otto, welcome aboard!
  6. Swimbob
    Hi! I'm a certified Newbie having only started playing this past December.

    My name is Jim and I live in Columbia SC just about as far from Hank as you can get but not quite. I play bass (mostly electric but I do have a dog house) and have played in working bands (mostly blues) off and on for over 40 years.

    Like Hank I used to play golf but it's too expensive so I took up white water kayaking (hence the name Swimbob, I come by it honestly) some 10 or 15 years ago. I'm getting too old for that though.

    I want to learn as much as I can in what years I have left on this wonderful earth and I think this is a terrific place to start. I don't currently have the technology that will enable me to post videos but I'm working on it. Hopefully I will be able to contribute more to the group soon.
  7. Mark Gunter
    Mark Gunter
    Glad you joined us, Swimbob. Stay dry.
  8. belorsch
    Hello, my name is Dean. I reside in western Maryland. I'm 50 and have no previous background in music. Although I got my mandolin 3 years ago a job interruption and subsequent new job with different schedule caused me to discontinue my learning efforts until this year.

    I'm still working on learning my first song. I haven't decided on any genre of music to focus on yet but steering toward bluegrass and folk as that seems to be where the mandolin is used most.

    I want to Thank Mark for taking the time and effort to drive this study group.
  9. Mark Gunter
    Mark Gunter
    Dean, I hope working through Mandolin Master Class helps you get a leg up with the mandolin. Welcome.
  10. Ellsdemon
    Welcome Dean and Swimbob.
  11. soliver
    I'm reposting this here from the discussion in the Newbies group:

    Hey guys, thanks for the invitation to the woodshed group... I've joined and am continuing to follow along... it is a busy season of life so it is not a super high priority, but I am following along of course!

    Thanks Mark for all the work you put in... I'm super impressed
  12. soliver
    Now for an introduction:

    My name is Spencer, I'm a 38 year old father of 4 girls and church Facilities manager here in Marietta, Ga (just outside Atlanta). I've been playing Mandolin for almost 2 years now and I like to consider myself a beginner/intermediate. I played guitar and mostly bass through high school and college, but lost interest after adult life and other hobbies kicked in. One day, many years after I had sold my bass, the band leader at the church has become a friend of mine and I popped in his office one day for a chat and saw an inexpensive Ibanez mando neglected in a corner and said "hey, is that a mandolin... I've always wanted to learn how to play one of those!" He handed it to me and told me to keep it in my office and play with it when I had time... "I know where you work, it's fine..." About a month or so later I bought a $50 Rover off Craigslist and set it up myself with the Rob Meldrum ebook available here on MC. A few months later I started saving and was able to get my Eastman MD305 and haven't looked back. I am completely taught by online sources and have leaned heavily on Mandolessons.com and feel like I have grown A LOT.

    I play primarily Old time fiddle tunes and Bluegrass. I have been working hard to learn songs lately that I can sing along with and have a small list that I can currently play and sing including Big Sciota, Amazing Grace, I saw the light, Wayfairing Stranger, and I'm currently working on the lyrics to Angeline the Baker and Danny Boy. I play as often as possible, setting up lunch time Jams with coworkers, playing worship songs at Staff meetings, and I get to our local jam about once or twice a month. Aside from working on singing, I am cracking my way into improvisation (which I'm getting decent at with very simple stuff) and coming up with accompaniment for contemporary Christian praise and worship with the intent of playing with the church band on Sundays... eventually.

    I also have a lot of wood working experience and after I am no longer responsible for raising 4 kids, I may try to build a mando, but that is many years away,... I DO make customs mandolin armrests to raise money for my second (I don't count the Rover) instrument (slow motion MAS) which I hope will be a Crystal Forrest oval hole Pancake.... I'm a little less than 1/2 way there!... shoot me a PM if you're interested... they really do make a difference! Check them out here

    Thats me in a nutshell ... there's other stuff too (ask me some time about having lots of kids, home schooling, cabinet making, power kites or kite buggies), but this is the pertinent info for here.
  13. Mark Gunter
    Mark Gunter
    Welcome Spencer
  14. dlbrandt
    Can I still jump into this group? It looks like this has been going for a couple weeks already. I am a newbie on Mandolin and a newbie in the Mandolin cafe. I look forward to getting any assistance in my learning path
  15. Mark Gunter
    Mark Gunter
    Welcome aboard dlbrandt. Yes, the reason this is an online study is so that you can start it at any time. If you have any questions about anything don't hesitate to comment and we'll discuss it with you.
  16. HonketyHank
    Hi, DL, welcome to the bunch. Jump on board. A lot of us are Newbies here.
  17. choctaw61
    Hello everyone.I'm excited about finally joining the woodshed group.I live in Louisiana, and every one just calls me Bubba or Choctaw. I'm 55( for the next couple of months).I had never played anything but the radio till a couple of years ago.After me and my Harley tangled with a red oak that had fallen into the hyway.The tree won! I decided to try the mandolin for therapy on my arms.Here I am two years later enjoying life and that lil mandolin is a great part of that.I finally ordered the MMC as well as the complete learning system of Brad laird today. Thank You Brad for all your help.and time with my order.It's greatly appreciated. Now to catch up with You folks.
  18. HonketyHank
    Hi choctaw. I was beginning to feel like it was just Mark and I in here. Glad you joined in. Don't hesitate to ask questions or make comments on chapters 1 - 5 as you catch up.

    This is kinda like therapy. Hard work but you know its doing you good.
  19. Mark Gunter
    Mark Gunter
    Hey Choctaw! Merci beaucoup for adding another voice in this lonely cave! Bienvenue from another Louisianian! (Transplanted in Texas for the past 30+ years; I'm 62 now). I hope you find some help and inspiration here. There is a lot of good work involved in the lessons, and I hope it pays off for you. Just remember to take as much time as you need on each piece, and don't be shy to ask any questions or make any feedback.

    My home was in the Florida parishes (Livingston Parish: Watson, Louisiana) and it is always a great joy to meet up with a countryman from the bayou state.
  20. mandorider
    Hi Mark and Friends: I started playing Mando a few years back and then broke my hand a couple of years ago. Things are getting better and I started playing again a few months ago and things are getting more nimble and more manageable. I stumbled across this group on Monday and I think I want to do this with you guys. I already have Brads Book(s) Master class and Training camp as I purchased them when they first came out. Anyway, Im looking forward to this because it seems fun to do it with others and hear some narrative to accompany the lessons. And, I think it is super cool that Brad jumps on here with us. So, I have some catching up to do to get to where you guys are so I will try to follow along with anything new all while squeezing in some of the earlier stuff. Thanks Mark for leading this group. By the way (not a plug in anyway) Im from the Midwest (outside of Chicago) and we have the most awesome bluegrass event coming up in 2 weeks in a town called Frankfort IL. (again, not a plug, just wanted to mention it for those nearby, well worth it) So, Onward folks.
  21. HonketyHank
    Hi mandorider, welcome. As mentioned above, if questions arise as you are catching up, just shout 'em out.
  22. Mark Gunter
    Mark Gunter
    Hey mandorider, welcome to the group. Glad you're back in the saddle, and I hope that your mandolin playing helps keep a lot of mobility for the hand.

    Take all the time you need in catching up, and IMO it's a good idea to work through the music theory assignments. There's a lot of that in previous lesson assignments that isn't covered by any of my little video thingamajigs. Discussion on any of the lessons, previous or future ones, would be appreciated so don't hesitate to ask questions or make any comments or suggestions!
  23. mandorider
    Thank you guys for the warm welcome. On my way.
  24. choctaw61
    Hey mandorider,Welcome to the group! I'm a rank beginner though been banging on this mandolin about two yrs.off and on.I know about broken bones.that's what also got me started playing.It was for therapy on my hands and arms.I now have use of my left arm which I'm left handed.So I have a loooongg ways to go to be as good as these newbies here.But I'm having fun and really getting serious about learning to play.So again welcome and wish U the best on Your journey here.
  25. Willie Dutchman
    Willie Dutchman
    OK, here is my 2 cents worth. I'm 63, played guitar my whole life, rhythm mostly, but solid rhythm. Started throwing in some light lead licks just a few years ago. I've owned two mandolins along the way, sold the second one last year. Got the yearning and bought a M Kelly on June 9th, traded a Telecaster for a Gibson A2 two weeks ago. Woodshedding like I have never done before. Got major chords down in 3 or 4 positions, playing songs I know in different keys (I,IV, n' V), adding minor and 7th chords, major scales: working on all, have down G, A blues scales. Also working on decending and ascending scales. Picking songs that I know, via tab, such as "Cripple Creek". I have recently started playing with a really good player (not mandolin), mostly blues/folk, a real notch above my musicianship (he's played pro for 45 yrs), therefore I have a reason to show up and be somewhat versed. I also started playing Hank William's "Lost Highway", in every key (can't sing it in every key) but I'm picking out the lead in every key.
    I've never had so much fun playing, will be hitting local jams soon. The music seems to unfold on the mandolin in a more efficient way,(for my brain) than on the guitar.
  26. Willie Dutchman
    Willie Dutchman
    oh yea, I have good guitars (many), the Michael Kelly sounds like a cardboard box(not please with it at all), that's why I traded for the Gibson A2, I do like the warm round tone of it, I am going to go play some Eastman's, will try the oval hole A and the F hole A first.
  27. HonketyHank
    Welcome, Willie. Looks like you are showing symptoms of early onset MAS. Watch out. It can be even worse than GAS.
  28. Mark Gunter
    Mark Gunter
    Thanks for the intro, Willie, very interesting! I hope Brad's MMC material helps you move forward like it has for many of us, and I hope you'll take time to comment on the lessons ... glad to have you aboard in this group.
  29. choctaw61
    Hey Willie,welcome to the group.Good to see someone that's having fun and enjoying the ride. Don't be a stranger around here.This is a great group of folks here that's always ready to help out any way they can. Oh yeah,I ordered my new Eastman this morning from one of the cafe' sponsor's. Man can't wait to get my hands on it.
  30. Mark Gunter
    Mark Gunter
    Congrats on the Eastman, Choctaw! Did you go with the 505?
  31. choctaw61
    Yes I did Mark. I'm excited about it. I thought about trying to get one built.I wanted a Ratliff but the wait time (I DO NOT have Patience),lol. Besides my playing is nowhere near justified in spending that kind of money.If and when I improve then and only then,maybe.I think the 505 will be all I need for a while........... ummm maybe.
  32. Sherry Cadenhead
    Sherry Cadenhead
    Hello, everyone. I've studied mandolin for 2 years. My teacher, who is also a friend, is a classical violinist and teacher. I'm her only mandolin student. I've learned what I know using standard notation. After looking through a few pages of Brad's MMC, I decided I need to start with the beginner's course to learn tab. My teacher is encouraging this approach. I'm not ready to join you guys, but will check in from time to time.

    I live in Irving, TX. Our senior center has jam sessions every week. I hope to start attending next week.

    Sherry C
  33. choctaw61
    Welcome sherry.we're all newbies here.Glad to have you here and trust me,your ready to join us.Everyone here seems to be eager to help everyone else.You have two years of lessons,your already two years ahead of me.lol.Don't be shy. Family here. A great group of folks for sure!
  34. HonketyHank
    Welcome, Sherry. Check out the Newbies group, too. I think you'll see that you fit into either or both groups. In any case, don't hesitate to ask questions or join in discussions - your perspectives will be valued.
  35. Mark Gunter
    Mark Gunter
    Sherry, thanks for introducing yourself. I'm out here near Abilene, but I moved here from the Metroplex about three or four years ago; I was in the Metroplex for about 30 years and have children and grandchildren there (Grand Prairie and Arlington) and also lived in Irving some time ago. I travel back there often on business and to see the kids - so perhaps we'll meet some day?

    As Choctaw and Hank have indicated, much of the study here here is geared toward newbies, though it can be challenging. You'll probably not have too much trouble with TAB. In another thread a few months back, Brad Laird mentioned that he's had request for standard notation in the MMC course, and has begun reworking that course - but who know how long that may take, I know he's a busy guy. Anyway, it is pretty much always good to learn new things, so I do hope that tablature may open some doors for you although it has limitations as compared to standard notation.

    I hope you will get some benefit from Mandolin Master Class and from this study group. Feel free to ask questions, make comments, suggestions, any time you feel like it in any of the lesson threads. Welcome to the group!
  36. Sherry Cadenhead
    Sherry Cadenhead
    Thanks to all for the warm welcome. I'm really green when it comes to this stuff. Not really sure what a lick is and don't have a clue as to MAS! Still trying to figure out when to tremolo and when not to. I really need to hang out with some bluegrass musicians. Where do I find the Newbie group?
  37. HonketyHank
    Newbies social group: click on "Listen/Learn" near the top of just about any page of mandolin cafe, then on "Social Groups". You'll find the groups you belong to listed on the left, recently active groups listed in the middle, and new groups listed on the right. Usually Newbies is listed in the middle. If not, just type Newbies into the group search box. It will turn up a link.

    Having the option to tremolo or not to tremolo is a good thing. The correct decision is whatever feels good at the time.
  38. Sherry Cadenhead
    Sherry Cadenhead
    Thanks, Hank. I just joined the Newbies. Finally getting the hang of TAB, so maybe I'll catch up with you guys on the MMC.
  39. FredK
    I've been reading and soaking up all that I can from the Cafe since I joined. I found this group and I've been watching it for a while. I like the woodshed idea so I decided to join.

    My name is Fred Kahn from Irving, Texas. I purchased my first mandolin (Loar LM 520VS) about a month ago and have been working on it since. It's what I've always wanted to play. Back when I was about 8 years old, I began playing the organ with a very good teacher from up the street. She pushed me and helped me get used to playing in front of others. In my mid-teens, I picked up the acoustic guitar and had a blast with it. It was around then that I wanted a mandolin so I asked by dad for one. Either he didn't understand the difference between a ukulele and a mandolin or the music store only sold ukes, but I didn't get my mando. Also worked at playing the flute because I like the sound but I prefer strings. Once I got married, my practice on any instrument became erratic and stayed that way for about 30 years.

    Now in my late 50's, I'm hyper-focused on learning to play the mandolin and I'm enjoying every minute of it. I enjoy a wide range of music and my mandolin playing has been focused primarily on bluegrass, country and gospel. Once I got used to properly holding the pick and playing from the wrist, my right hand feels pretty comfortable moving around the strings. I've been working hard on fingering, scales and simple tunes so the fingers on my left hand are not feeling as stupid as when I started. There's a long way to go but I'm enjoying the ride. Looking forward to all the info and tidbits I can learn.
  40. choctaw61
    Welcome to the woodshed fred.Glad U could join us here.You got a nice 1st mandolin there! Lots of nice folks here as you will see. We ask that you just jump on in here with comments,advice, or whatever.Don't be timid. I'm personally learning a lot here.as I've never played an instrument before buying my mandolin. So I don't know nothing nor claim to know nothing.lol.Mark is doing a great job here leading the group and every one else is equally I think doing their part in helping us stragglers alone the way. Again glad you could join us.
  41. Mark Gunter
    Mark Gunter
    Welcome to the group, Fred! Glad you're along for the ride, and please don't be shy about asking questions or offering opinions or suggestions.
  42. Mando Mort
    Mando Mort
    I'm new here too. I am in my late 50s and have played guitar since age 15. I write songs and record them using pro tools. I have had a mandolin for the past 10 years but have mostly used one for adding a basic mandolin part to a recording. I would work out a part and practice it enough to record it and then would put the mando down until the next part was needed.

    I recently upgraded to an Eastman 615 am seriously trying to really learn the instrument. Looking forward to woodshedding!
  43. Mark Gunter
    Mark Gunter
    Glad you joined us Mort! Writing and recording are interesting ways of learning in themselves. Hopefully this material will help take you deeper into the music theory side of things.
  44. Papa P
    Papa P

    My name is Phil and live in Durham, NC. I am a 63 yo newbie and a little excited to say so.

    I played brass instruments in school band from 6th grade through college. All that I was ever taught was my part. No explanations of any theory at all. Many years ago, my son took up saxophone and I started playing trumpet with him. I realized how much I missed playing. I began reading and studying all I could on theory and consider myself very knowledgeable. I tried playing guitar on my own but after several years, I felt that we just weren't communicating.

    I picked up a mandolin two years ago and fell in love. It spoke my language- we, both, played and clapped on the off beat. I have taken lessons for about a year and was fortunate to find an instructor that spoke theory in my language. His assessment of my work is that I need to be joining learning jams.y In the perfect world I could do both lessons and jams but...

    I received Bradley Laird's ebook combo about a year ago. Thoroughly enjoy it but studying with a group is going to be great. I have several lessons to catch up on.

    Papa P
  45. HonketyHank
    Welcome to the woodshed guys.
  46. Sherry Cadenhead
    Sherry Cadenhead
    Great to have you here, Phil. After reading your post on my A7 thread, I believe you could teach this stuff!
  47. Mark Gunter
    Mark Gunter
    Welcome, Phil!
  48. Zeb Williams
    Zeb Williams
    Hi all, I am a Newbie for sure - I am 62 retired and live in a community called the Meadows in the foothills of North Carolina. Me and my wife both retired bought a small farm and are enjoying the country. I love bluegrass music and have always dreamed of playing a instrument so this past June I decided to give it a go with the mandolin. Found a teacher in Winston-Salem and have been working with him for about 6 months. We are making progress but I definitely have a ways to go. I am struggling with strum patterns and getting my right hand in rhythm and when I get going good it seems that my pick slips. I am confident that through practice I will get there after all "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me". Anyways I'm glad to be here and learn from others.

    Zeb Williams
  49. Mark Gunter
    Mark Gunter
    Hi Zeb, thanks for introducing yourself! I'm sure you'll do fine and get a lot of enjoyment from playing the mandolin. There is a lot to learn when playing any musical instrument, and once you start you find that there is a lifetime of learning ahead of you. At 63, I find that I have more to learn now than I had at 15, and I am thankful to know that I will be able to continue learning music the rest of my days. You never truly "arrive" when playing music, you just continue your journey as far as you wish to go.

    A positive attitude is probably the most important tool we have. Your quote of Romans 4:13 is apt. Nobody learns by saying "I can't do that."

    This course is geared mostly to music theory for mandolin players. I hope it helps you in your journey.

  50. HonketyHank
    Welcome to the group, Zeb. I lived in Winston-Salem for a bit back around 1970. Smoked Winstons, too. I bet I could never find where I lived now, if it still exists, which I doubt.

    Dive into the course and swim at your own speed. Ask questions as they come up. Somebody will answer pretty soon thereafter.
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