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Thread: Learning mandolin online etc

  1. #1

    Default Learning mandolin online etc

    Hello there!

    I'm just wondering what do folks recommend for how to learn mandolin if I live somewhere that there are no teachers?

    To expand on that, do people nowadays tend to learn mandolin online? Or from books? If online, what websites are the ones that most people seem to use? If books, which ones?

    And finally, do websites/books offer the same potential to learn as a physical teacher does?

    Thanks so much!

  2. #2

    Default Re: Learning mandolin online etc

    Mandolessons.com is a good place to start, he's a great teacher.

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  4. #3

    Default Re: Learning mandolin online etc

    What kind of music are you interested in playing? Do you already play another instrument? Can you read tab or standard notation, or do you think you can learn how to?

  5. #4

    Default Re: Learning mandolin online etc

    I highly recommend artistworks with Mike Marshall (assuming you want to play bluegrass). It is an entire curriculum for learning. The big benefit it has over the other learning sites is that you can submit videos of yourself playing and get feedback directly from Mike. This should prevent any technique problems from creeping into your playing.

  6. #5

    Default Re: Learning mandolin online etc

    Spring for a live lesson from a pro, there are dozens of teachers that do Skype, FaceTime, etc. Cost is between $40-$70 an hour and well worth it, take one to get started and then check in periodically.

    After that there are a lot of options, Mandolessons, Banjo Ben, Pickin' Lessons, Peghead Nation, Magnus Zetterlund and so many others offer YouTube videos and instruction - many allow you to go monthly and some give a free first month so check them out. Matt Flinner does a live online program more focused on one area or another in 4-8 week bursts, it's structured and interactive with materials recorded and downloadable for future use/reference.

    As to your last que I think it really depends on what type of learner you are, some do well on their own and just play along with the radio. For written materials Mel Bay is always offering discounts so wait for the 30% one to come around, the Cafe's own Ted Eschilman has a book out on the Ffcp technique that is very useful. Nate Lee has a new video out on improvising and there is so much more - you could spend all day on the Cafe or YouTube.

    Finally, check out the Song a Week social group, I don't post there but lots of videos and resources and they are a friendly helpful bunch.
    Northfield NF5M #268

  7. #6
    Registered User Michael Neverisky's Avatar
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    Default Re: Learning mandolin online etc

    Quote Originally Posted by dadsaster View Post
    I highly recommend artistworks with Mike Marshall (assuming you want to play bluegrass
    Much more than bluegrass at Mike's site.

  8. #7
    Novice Grimm's Avatar
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    Default Re: Learning mandolin online etc

    Regardless of what kind of music you'll want to play, I highly recommend starting with the beginner series at mandolessons.com

    Have fun!
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  10. #8

    Default Re: Learning mandolin online etc

    I agree w/ Grimm and B381 above... I highly recommend mandolessons.com. It is a phenomenal resource for beginners.
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  12. #9

    Default Re: Learning mandolin online etc

    Quote Originally Posted by doublestoptremolo View Post
    What kind of music are you interested in playing? Do you already play another instrument? Can you read tab or standard notation, or do you think you can learn how to?
    Apologies for the delay in responding, I've been moving house.

    In answer to your questions:

    1. No I do not play another instrument yet, although I have a good sense of tune and rhythm etc. I can't really read music. But I'm pretty sure I can learn to. I come from a VERY musical family and I have a feeling that it's more circumstance than anything that causes me not to have musical abilities yet.

    2. I am most interested in learning to play bluegrass.

    So with this in mind, what would you suggest for me, in terms of learning tools?

    Also, is there an advantage to being able to read standard notation, in terms of learning the mandolin?

  13. #10

    Default Re: Learning mandolin online etc

    I think you have a good attitude going in, so you should do fine. One advantage of reading standard notation is that it allows you to access music that hasn't been tabbed out for mandolin yet. It's also much less cluttered on the page, and it allows you to see the movement of the melody easier. I think it's generally easier to play from standard notation when you're playing in the first seven or so frets, because there's almost a one-to-one correlation with a note on the staff and mandolin fret or open string (seventh fret on the G, D, and A strings being the exception).

    There are many good online sources for fiddle tunes, among them the previously mentioned mandolessons. There are also some really good books with the most commonly played fiddle tunes, like Brian Wicklund's mandolin method, Ray Valla's old Mel Bay book, a lot of the old Craig Duncan Mel Bay books.

    While fiddle tunes are definitely a big part of bluegrass, in my view it's predominately a vocal music. I've found that there are maybe 30 to 40 fiddle tunes that might be called at a bluegrass jam, whereas there are probably hundreds or thousands that you might play at an old time jam. Fiddle tunes are great in and of themselves but they also are great for technique.

    As far as learning how to play bluegrass (as I understand it), you want something that teaches you how to hear chord changes, how to play the melody of a vocal song, how to harmonize using double stops, how to put the blues into your playing, how to chop, how to improvise both melodically and non-melodically, how to play out of closed positions, how to play in several keys. I think fiddle tunes are probably more technique intensive and bluegrass is more theory intensive.

    As far as resources go, there are some great free or donation suggested resources, like Pickloser's Guide to Double Stops and Pete Martin's double stop book. A lot of published books that I like:

    Bill Monroe 16 Gems book
    Todd Collins, Classic Bluegrass Solos (Bill Monroe 50s and 60s greatness)
    Jack Tuttle's Bluegrass Mandolin Collection
    Jack Tottle, Bluegrass Mandolin
    Niles Hokannen, Bluegrass up the Neck

    I think Jesper Rubner-Peterson's book is good but it's primarily a non-melodic improvisation book.

    Also it's helpful to listen to a lot of bluegrass music, whatever era you like. I'm mostly into the older stuff so my preferences might not be yours. Go to jams and get pointers from players whose style you like.

  14. #11
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    Default Re: Learning mandolin online etc

    Cranial, You've been given lots of options and I can't add to the list, but can offer this.

    If for whatever reason one option isn't working for you, don't be discouraged. Try another, and if still no joy, try another.

    Best of luck , and enjoy!

  15. #12

    Default Re: Learning mandolin online etc

    Quote Originally Posted by AndyV View Post
    Cranial, You've been given lots of options and I can't add to the list, but can offer this.

    If for whatever reason one option isn't working for you, don't be discouraged. Try another, and if still no joy, try another.

    Best of luck , and enjoy!
    Thank you all so much! What an amazing community!

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