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Thread: Suggestions for Core Bluegrass Mandolin Repertoire

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    Registered User dbmandolin's Avatar
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    Default Suggestions for Core Bluegrass Mandolin Repertoire

    I'm trying to put together a list of 20 tunes that should be the essential core repertoire for all bluegrass mandolinists. I want this list of tunes to be a broad sampling of all the different bluegrass styles for players at varying levels of ability. What do you think I should include? Thanks!

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    Registered User dusty miller's Avatar
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    Default Re: Suggestions for Core Bluegrass Mandolin Repertoire

    Edit
    Last edited by dusty miller; Oct-28-2013 at 8:05pm.
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    Phil Goodson Philphool's Avatar
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    Default Re: Suggestions for Core Bluegrass Mandolin Repertoire

    Quote Originally Posted by dbmandolin View Post
    I'm trying to put together a list of 20 tunes that should be the essential core repertoire for all bluegrass mandolinists. ...
    I doubt that "all bluegrass mandolinists" will agree with any list you compile. Why do you want to?
    Phil

    “Sharps/Flats” ≠ “Accidentals”

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    Default Re: Suggestions for Core Bluegrass Mandolin Repertoire

    Not sure if they are the "core," but for bluegrass mandolin instrumentals, these ones show up a lot:
    Salt Creek
    Red Haired Boy
    Whiskey Before Breakfast
    Wheel Hoss
    Southern Flavor
    Gold Rush
    Big Sciota
    Old Joe Clark
    Old Dangerfield
    Tennessee Blues
    Kentucky Mandolin
    Temperance Reel (Irish in origin but very common in bluegrass)
    Blackberry Blossom
    June Apple

    And I can't think of others at the moment, but preferably some others in C, D, B, and various minor keys will help to balance the keys and break up the G tunes.

    --Tom

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    Registered User dusty miller's Avatar
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    Default Re: Suggestions for Core Bluegrass Mandolin Repertoire

    Here is a list, not sure why I edited my first...

    Blackberry Blossom, Salt Creek, Sally Goodin, Soldiers Joy, Whiskey Before Breakfast, Bile Them Cabbage Down, Bury Me Beneath the Willow, Old Joe Clark, Jerusalem Ridge, Arkansas Traveler, Forked Deer, Billy In The Lowground, In The Pines, Red Haired Boy, Nine Pound Hammer, Roll In My Sweet Babies Arms, Long Journey Home, East Virginia Blues, Big Sandy River, Blue Moon Of Kentucky.
    Footprints In the Snow, Back up and Push, Sally Ann, John Henry, Lonesome Road Blues, Big Mon, Jenny Lynn, Ashland Breakdown, Goodbye Liza Jane, Bluegrass Breakdown, Shuckin' The Corn.

    Many more and everyone's list different. I would be VERY happy if I could play all of these.
    Last edited by dusty miller; Oct-29-2013 at 6:43pm.
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    Registered User doc holiday's Avatar
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    Default Re: Suggestions for Core Bluegrass Mandolin Repertoire

    If it's a mandolinists list...included should be some particular mandolin tunes (i.e. composed on the mandolin rather than fiddle tunes played on the mandolin)...like...
    New Camptown Races by Frank Wakefield & Rebecca by Herschel Sizemore. My personal list would include Big Mon & many of the others listed above as well as my latest Monroe darlings... Tombstone Junction, Evening Prayer Blues & Whitehorse Breakdown.

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    Default Re: Suggestions for Core Bluegrass Mandolin Repertoire

    I agree with those who have mentioned recordings by Bill Monroe. When I began to listen to the music seriously years ago I bought as many Monroe LPs as I could find (this really was a long time ago!). It took me a while to warm up to his mandolin style, but over the years he became my favorite mandolin player. There is a lot in his playing. One tune that captures several of his defining instrumental characteristics is his recording of "Paddy on the Turnpike." I don't think that's on anyone else's list. Paddy demonstrates Bill's style of playing the notes of the relevant chord in ascending order, changing notes on the up-pick (which gives the run its rippling sound), and playing a heavily modal style (in this case, mixolydian) with a pronounced feel for the F chord in both the A and B parts. There's a lot to learn in Bill's version of "Paddy on the Turnpike."

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    Registered User dbmandolin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Suggestions for Core Bluegrass Mandolin Repertoire

    Quote Originally Posted by Philphool View Post
    I doubt that "all bluegrass mandolinists" will agree with any list you compile. Why do you want to?
    I'd like to use this list of fundamental tunes for my teaching methods and as a resource for those wanting to learn bluegrass mandolin. I'm sure that you're right that all bluegrass mandolinists wouldn't agree on the entire list. However, I was thinking that it would be great to find a common starting ground with tunes that are fundamental to all the styles of bluegrass.

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    Default Re: Suggestions for Core Bluegrass Mandolin Repertoire

    Perfectly vaild reason (as if you needed a reason, anyway). You gotta start somewhere.

    There's a terrific recording/CD which I think is out of print, called The Young Mando Monsters, Vol. 1 (where o where is vol. 2?), on the VAMP label, produced by Count Jimmy Gaudreau, maybe 1991 or so. This recording is important for a couple of reasons:

    1 - Showcases many of the (then) rising/established/modern mandolin stars - Steffey, Benson, Bibey, Tyminski, Legere, McCoury, Zenkl, maybe one or 2 others
    2 - The tunes selected and played, although not all bluegrass (re: Zenkl) are all mandolin tunes; not fiddle tunes or banjo numbers with a mandolin break

    Steffey just kills Big Mon, particularly the 2nd solo.

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    Registered User dusty miller's Avatar
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    Default Re: Suggestions for Core Bluegrass Mandolin Repertoire

    Quote Originally Posted by AlanN View Post
    Perfectly vaild reason (as if you needed a reason, anyway).
    You are absolutely right Alan. You shouldn't need a reason to ask whatever. Not sure why it made a difference to ask the other night. A valid question whether for a survey or anything else. My apologies.
    Last edited by dusty miller; Oct-30-2013 at 1:14pm.
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    Default Re: Suggestions for Core Bluegrass Mandolin Repertoire

    Not sure I follow this. I was referring to a post which asked why the OP wants to define a list 20 core tunes for bg mandolin. Sure, the list may vary, but it's a valid list for the OP to request, no?

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    man about town Markus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Suggestions for Core Bluegrass Mandolin Repertoire

    Well, I would think about hitting songs in different keys ... even something up the neck [thinking something sung in B]. Getting some sung tunes in there is important as doing good backup on vocal tunes is vital to playing well in groups. Whatever you do, don't shirk teaching how to be a good backup to both vocals and solos.

    To my thinking, moving through various keys as well as chord progressions will give a lot better sampling than all fiddle tunes in only a few keys.

    I'd consider a song like Old Home Place which has a hitch in the verse progression as well as a 2 chord in the chorus.
    Definitely do something in 3/4 time.
    Consider a `crooked' tune, whether Wheel Hoss with that extra half measure or something similar.
    Do something that does the circle of 5ths like Don't Let Your Deal Go Down or Salty Dog

    My List:
    John Hardy, Old Joe Clark, Cherokee Shuffle, Blackberry Blossom, Footprints in the Snow, Love Please Come Home, In The Pines, Old Home Place, Sitting On Top Of The World, Blue Night [in B], Dark Hallow, Roving Gambler, and some of the instrumentals people brought up above.
    Collings MT2
    Breedlove OF
    Ellie eMando
    Schmergl Devastator

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    Registered User dusty miller's Avatar
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    Default Re: Suggestions for Core Bluegrass Mandolin Repertoire

    Quote Originally Posted by AlanN View Post
    Not sure I follow this. I was referring to a post which asked why the OP wants to define a list 20 core tunes for bg mandolin. Sure, the list may vary, but it's a valid list for the OP to request, no?
    Yes a valid question for sure. I was one who was wondering why he was asking when there is no reason to ask why. So that's why today I reiterated your post and the fact that it was a valid question and it doesn't matter why he was asking.
    Last edited by dusty miller; Oct-30-2013 at 1:07pm.
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    Registered User Timbofood's Avatar
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    Default Re: Suggestions for Core Bluegrass Mandolin Repertoire

    Now, this will get interesting, I need to think before jumping in but I will have a cocktail and get back to you!
    Timothy F. Lewis
    "If brains was lard, that boy couldn't grease a very big skillet" J.D. Clampett

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    Phil Goodson Philphool's Avatar
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    Default Re: Suggestions for Core Bluegrass Mandolin Repertoire

    Quote Originally Posted by AlanN View Post
    Not sure I follow this. I was referring to a post which asked why the OP wants to define a list 20 core tunes for bg mandolin. Sure, the list may vary, but it's a valid list for the OP to request, no?
    Well Alan, I don't apologize.
    I asked why because we do occasionally have folks come to the forum and ask for lots of info that might involve a bit of effort to get, and their purpose is not always totally innocent. You know, the "help me do my homework (or do it for me)" type of post.

    I'm much more likely to go out of my way to explain or discuss something if it's for the education, amusement or whatever of the poster than if it's something he's gonna copy into his term paper due tomorrow that he put off for 3 months.
    So sometimes I ask why. I realize the poster can lie, but I ask. That's just me.

    The OP asked the same question in several different parts of the forum with different genres. Looked a little suspicious to me. So I asked. I think no harm done.
    Phil

    “Sharps/Flats” ≠ “Accidentals”

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    Registered User dusty miller's Avatar
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    Default Re: Suggestions for Core Bluegrass Mandolin Repertoire

    Quote Originally Posted by Philphool View Post

    The OP asked the same question in several different parts of the forum with different genres. Looked a little suspicious to me. So I asked. I think no harm done.
    Well that's what made me wonder. Certainly no harm done either way. In hindsight, next time I'll just move on to something else.
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