Surprise Mandolin

  1. BeanJean
    I occasionally attend Calliope House folk music concerts here in Pittsburgh. And I occasionally support Calliope House by buying tickets to their annual instrument raffle. I didnít expect to win! Itís an Eastman 814 f body round hole mandolin.

    Life has given me a delightful opportunity and I am determined to learn how to play this lovely mandolin. It came with a case and I have acquired a strap, some picks and a chromatic tuner. A metronome is on the way. Iím working my way through Mandolin for Dummies and the beginner series on Mandolessons. Mandolin Cafe forums and MP3s are also teaching me a lot. Iím looking for a local teacher for face to face lessons.
    My left fingertips are getting callouses and Iím learning to read music. Iím having fun.

    Can someone point me to a resource to learn how to read the format used in the tune of the month here in the Newbies group? Whatís this method called? Or suggestions on better ways to learn? Thanks
  2. MikeZito
    The Worldwide Association of Mandolin Players recently declared me 'The Worst Mandolin Player Since Dinosaurs Roamed the Earth' - so I can't offer any advice on learning . . . but I can offer you hearty congratulations on your new mandolin! An oval hole 814 is not only a terrific instrument for your to learn on - but it is also an instrument that is nice enough to last you long into your playing years.

    Play, learn, enjoy, have fun and keep us posted.
  3. Kevin Stueve
    Kevin Stueve
    Whenever possible the tune in the newbie tune of the month is offered in tabledit file format, this is a program you can download and it will allow you to view the tune in standard notation or tab. If you are learning standard I suggest staying with that. Tab is basically just the 4 strings of the mandolin laid out so that the bottom line is the g string and the top line is the e string. a number on a line is fret this string on that fret. It is sometimes useful if you can't figure out how to best finger a passage you are reading in standard notation.

    Oh Mike, you are the guy that broke my 5 year streak on that award huh?
  4. HonketyHank
    The tune of the month often includes an ABC version of the tune as well. This format is probably more common in Europe than North America. One of my favorite sources for Irish/Scottish/Celtic kind of tunes is -- each tune is presented in standard notation and ABC, but not tabs.

    So if you are thinking about tabs, most of us use TablEdit which is available in both a free 'viewer' version and a ~$60 full editor version. You can check them out at . I use TablEdit a lot.

    If you are thinking about ABC, there are a variety of free software versions. Explore for a description of ABC format, links to different softwar packages, lots of tunes, etc. I use EasyABC software on my PC when I need to. TablEdit will accept ABC files for input.

    Welcome to the Newbies group! It sounds like you have a great start.
  5. Louise NM
    Louise NM
    Congratulations on winning the mandolin!

    Sounds like you are off to a terrific start, and doing just what you should. If you learn to read music while you learn to play, the two skills will grow together. Much easier that way than trying to learn standard notation when you are an accomplished player.
  6. BeanJean
    Thank you for both the encouragement and the links. I’ve got the tune of the month into a format that I can read. Now to practice.
  7. Dave_KC
    That's a great win there! Way to go, and enjoy the learning.
  8. jonfranzis
    I am a newbie too but I have puddled around with instruments and teachers for some time and I will throw in a couple of ideas that may help.
    Your biggest challenge is you. Or in my case it was me. What I found was that a teacher can guide you forward but they cannot play for you. You have to find your own way.
    Start slowly one string at a time. learn the notes and practice scales which will build your flexibility.
    Focus on mastering a few simple tunes.
    This will build your confidence and encourage the people around you to encourage you to do more.
    Be wary of trying to do too much too soon.
    Online lessons are excellent. Start playing slowly and focus on technique.
    Use a program like TEF (FREE)which plays the music at any speed you choose. It also shows the note timing so you get a feel for how the tune should sound. There many tunes in the MC library and available online to get you started.
    Hope this of luck going forward.
  9. BeanJean
    After making slow progress with mandolin for dummies and mandolin for the complete ignoramus I decided to look for a teacher. I found Charley Rappaport here in Pittsburgh. I like him and I’m now making slow but steady progress. It has really made a difference to work one on one with a teacher and get feedback. He’s a patient man. Playing is more and more enjoyable and fun.

    The other thing I’ve done is buy and assemble a Saga mandolin kit. It took a few months to build it but now I have a backup instrument. I’m currently using it to learn how to do a setup using Ron Meldrum’s free ebook. My Eastman is beautifully set up and I don’t want to mess it up. But I’m comfortable using the Saga to learn how to change strings, make bridge adjustments and set string height.
  10. HonketyHank
    Making the Saga kit must have been a fun and sometimes dangnabbitting challenge. I bet there was a huge smiley face when it was done. Got a photo?
  11. BeanJean
    I donít see a paper clip icon or attach file link. Iím using an iPad. Donít have a computer.
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