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Thread: Best Online Sites For Learning

  1. #1
    Registered User tnfishdaddy's Avatar
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    Default Best Online Sites For Learning

    I am trying to teach myself how to play the mandolin. With my schedule and my two sons schedules, taking weekly lessons is not possible. Just wondering what online resources you use to learn to play. I am mostly interested in bluegrass and old time songs for now. Thanks for the help.

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    Registered User dusty miller's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Online Sites For Learning

    Well you have Banjo Ben, Mike Marshall at Artist Works. Youtube is free and has LOTS of lessons and information. Don't forget to check things out around here of course!
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    Default Re: Best Online Sites For Learning

    There are two sites that I find especially helpful for a beginner that have well thought out lessons with video demos of the tune, accompanied by tab and sometimes a tef file which can be very helpful on a more complicated tune.

    Banjo Ben: http://www.banjobenclark.com/

    Don't let Ben's corny-ness scare you off, his lessons are quite well done. He has many free lessons and then other lessons/tunes you can buy individually, not expensive.

    And free mando lessons at: http://www.mandolessons.com/

    Baron's lessons are also clear and easy to follow. He has a lot of good learning videos available...all for free. (donations accepted)

    Just those two sites would keep you busy for a year or two.

    Don't forget about learning DVD's. They are a great learning resource since for the price of one lesson you can get many hours worth of lessons that you can play over and over at your schedule. Homespun Tapes has an excellent selection: http://www.homespuntapes.com/Instruments/Mandolin I highly recommend the DVD's with Butch Baldassari teaching.

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    Default Re: Best Online Sites For Learning

    I would sign up with Mike Marshall or Matt Flinner they are both outstanding and vary helpful. I have been playing just about a year an half and have take both of these and I have gained so much that I can say with out a doubt that you would be able to do the same also I have been looking at Don Julin book mandolin for dummies and it is pack full of great information.

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    Registered User Londy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Online Sites For Learning

    I agree with all of the above. Youtube will be your new best friend. You should also get some software such as Audacity (free) to record, Best Practice (free)-this will allow you to practice with MP3s and slow the speed down without changing pitch! Next, get the Mandolin Tool (free), this is great tool which includes, metronome, chord finder, scales, tuner and much more!
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    Default Re: Best Online Sites For Learning

    Check out Pete Martin at Pete@petimarpress.com. Online Skype lessons !
    My two favorite pastimes are drinking wine and playing the mandolin but most of my friends would rather hear me drink wine! Adapted from quote by Mark Twain------supposedly !

  7. #7
    plectrist
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    Default Re: Best Online Sites For Learning

    Don Julin on YouTube oughta get a mention, as well as those already brought up.

    Ryk
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    "I'm convinced that playing well is not so much a technique as it is a decision. It's a commitment to do the work, strive for concentration, get strategic about advancing by steps, and push patiently forward toward the goal." Dan Crary

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    F5G & MD305 Astro's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Online Sites For Learning

    Yeah I would start with the excellent free utube lessons by Pete Martin, Braid Laird, and Don Julin. These 3 guys did an awesome service to the mando world by posting free beginner lessons. Be sure to start with the lessons on body position, hand position, and pick holding. Mike Marshall and now Chris Theile have posted a lesson on this too.

    But Pete, Brad, and Don have enough utube free beginner lessons to keep a beginner going for months. Then you can take skype lessons from them if you want.
    No matter where I go, there I am...Unless I'm running a little late.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Best Online Sites For Learning

    This is an old thread but my two cents since signing up for the free trial at Banjo Ben and then buying a year subscription to Mike Marshall's ArtistWorks on super sale on Xmas eve (cheaper than 6 month subscription). I suspect I'll sign-up for Banjo Ben next year.

    They both are great players, have lot of materials for both beginners and intermediate players (and to some extent advanced but there's probably less value here for that level), have accompanying materials (printed, backing tracks, slow-down features, multiple video angles) and you'll learn a lot from either one.

    However, some differences I've seen:

    Mike Marshall ArtistWorks:
    * You learn quite a bit from the student submissions and Mike's responses (plus, holy crap, Mike Marshall is watching me play mandolin) - I frankly don't know how he does all of them.
    * Printed material is a separate PDF so you have to split your computer screen and glance back and forth when necessary
    * Not all technique videos have an accompanying PDF, which is fine for some and incomplete for others - the double stop lesson could use one for example
    * There are a good number of technique and song videos, but they aren't overwhelming in number to watch in a year or maybe even 6 months. They are overwhelming in terms of the time it takes to get proficient at each one. The student submissions and Mike's responses are overwhelming - like 10:1.
    * Almost all of the materials have both notation and tab
    * There are multiple camera angles but they are shown one at a time, some more helpful than others for what is being taught.
    * Sometimes Mike riffs and improvises and it's hard to follow if you're a beginner and don't have it written out (at least for me)
    * I really like his approach to improvisation for beginner (create simple variations around the melody) - it's like a "system"
    * A good balance of songs and techniques generally well titled, though not always. "Moveable chords" turned out to be one movable chord with a reference to others in a future video for example.
    * Sometimes he references going deeper or wider in a future video but you're not quite sure where that video is, if it exists (cross linking would be nice).

    Banjo Ben:
    * Best value if you play more than just mandolin (banjo and guitar included) - the total number for mandolin isn't overwhelming but it is sufficient for 6-12 months
    * More songs than techniques though some techniques are embedded in song lessons and aren't obviously catalogued or searchable based on the title (like moveable scales or chop chords)
    * I _really_ like that the music/tab is embedded at the bottom of the video as you watch it so you're not flipping back and forth as you try to watch
    * Generally tab only on PDF materials
    * Jump deeper into improv with a wide variety of licks and techniques specific to that song or key - feels more applied than foundational
    * Two standard camera angles shown at the same time which is more helpful than jumping around and only seeing one or the other
    * Goes through material or song measures quicker than MandoLessons (which tends to play example repeats more)

    This isn't a complete list - just what I have off the top of my head. Hopefully some of that is helpful to someone searching in the future...

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    Default Re: Best Online Sites For Learning

    throwing in my 2c.
    i've used mandolessons.com and artistworks(mike marshall). both are excellent, but different. matt flinner offers a real neat approach also and is an excellent teacher.

    my favorite so far though, is without hesitation, Pegheadnation and Sharon Gilchrist. I just like her approach and how she teaches. She teaches you to learn by "ear", and i like the arrangements she gives from the getgo. Its fun, and her teaching style works really well for me.
    You can contact peghead nation, they were offering a free 30 day trial-thats what i did, really liked it and signed up.
    Here is a free lesson from Sharon to give you an idea of her teaching style:
    https://pegheadnation.com/string-sch...ning-mandolin/

    good luck
    d

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    Isolated enthusiast Caleb's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Online Sites For Learning

    YouTube. And it’s free.
    ...

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    Registered User Jon Hall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Online Sites For Learning

    I'm beginning the second month of Sharon Gilchrist's Intermediate Bluegrass Mandolin course. I'm making progress with rt grand technique, particularly tremolo. It requires commitment and daily practice with a metronome.

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    Registered User Brian560's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Online Sites For Learning

    https://davidbenedictmandolin.com/home offers video lessons with digital downloads on his Patreon site and also individual online lessons.

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    Notary Sojac Paul Kotapish's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Online Sites For Learning

    Pretty amazing teachers and classes at Peghead Nation. There's a fee, but you can take the courses at your own pace.

    https://pegheadnation.com/string-sch...dolin-courses/
    Just one guy's opinion
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    Default Re: Best Online Sites For Learning

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Kotapish View Post
    Pretty amazing teachers and classes at Peghead Nation. There's a fee, but you can take the courses at your own pace.

    https://pegheadnation.com/string-sch...dolin-courses/
    I started with Peghead (as a beginner), tried online lessons, and now use Artist Works. I prefer Artist Works over Peghead as there is more structure to the lesson progression and then there is the video feedback. Peghead (at least Sharon Gilchrist) emphasizes learning tunes by ear. I prefer to have the Tab as an option, but that is a personal preference. Don't get me wrong, I did learn a lot at Peghead, I just feel there is more there for the money at Artist Works.

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    Registered User Bunnyf's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Online Sites For Learning

    I’m taking Sharon’s new “fretboard” method course at Peghead Nation and it’s excellent. I’m an adv.beginner and she has really laid out a very functional method in getting around the fretboard in any key and integrating double stops. Good videos and tab is included if that is helpful to you, but it doesn’t rely overly on it. She shows everything very clearly with video alone.

    It has helped me immensely with improvising a melodic break with some easy embellishments.She’s picked great, well-known songs in her lessons which really facilitated learning. It’s also nice to have those down cold, as any of them would be likely to be played at a jam. But beyond that, I can now just put on a YouTube video and apply the general techniques she teaches and jam along with recording. I look forward each month to the next new lesson and highly recommend this course if you are beg. to interm. player.

  19. #17

    Default Re: Best Online Sites For Learning

    I recently acquired a Carvalho octave mandolin. I have scoured the internet for online lessons for the octave and have found only a couple that are specific to the instrument. Does anyone know of an octave-specific lesson series? I purchased a book from Mel Bay but quickly got bogged down. I think I learn better visually. Thanks for any direction here.

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  21. #18

    Default Re: Best Online Sites For Learning

    I didnít see it mentioned, but if you have access to Lynda.com through your local library or another source, there is a version of Mike Marshallís beginner mando course. You donít get the video uploads, but I was able to his watch his Artistworks lesions and download PDF files for free.

  22. #19

    Default Re: Best Online Sites For Learning

    With Peghead Nation, you can switch between instructors any time you want. With Artistworks, you can't change. Sharon Gilchrist, Joe Walsh, and Mike Compton are all great instructors.

  23. #20
    Registered User bradlaird's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Online Sites For Learning

    Quote Originally Posted by Astro View Post
    ...Pete, Brad, and Don have enough utube free beginner lessons to keep a beginner going for months.
    Thanks for the mention, Astro.

    Since my name came up I'd like to offer a bit of information which might help anyone trying to find my videos:

    Hunting around on YouTube works but can be pretty confusing since my videos are scattered among 3 channels and a million cute cat videos. The simplest way to see all of my videos, including all of the free ones, is to go here:

    http://www.bradleylaird.com/playthemandolin/videos.html

    They are collected there and presented in the order which I think is most helpful to a beginner.

    One additional note, for history, is this bit of trivia: YouTube started in 2006. I was what you might call an early adopter thinking that online videos could be super cool for folks wanting to learn to play. Now remember that most folks didn't have smartphones, tablets or any of that stuff. Facebook was still in diapers. Google hadn't yet bought YouTube. Ah, those were the days!

    Well, I used an iSight firewire camera and shot a couple of videos and stuck them on YouTube in March 2007. They are still there and I hold the useless distinction of posting the first mandolin video lesson on YouTube. I beat out that nice young fellow in the hat at "Expert Village" by mere days.

    One last tip for the OP. Check out my free podcast at grasstalkradio.com. I even interview some of the other named "star teachers" (Pete Martin, Mike Marshall, &tc.) mentioned in this thread.

    Good luck and happy pickin'!

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    Default Re: Best Online Sites For Learning

    Quote Originally Posted by Rdeane View Post
    I recently acquired a Carvalho octave mandolin. I have scoured the internet for online lessons for the octave and have found only a couple that are specific to the instrument. Does anyone know of an octave-specific lesson series? I purchased a book from Mel Bay but quickly got bogged down. I think I learn better visually. Thanks for any direction here.
    I don’t know of any OM series, but David Surette and Robin Bullock are great players who often teach at festivals. So, they might also give Skype lessons. Surette’s website is pretty sparse, but it has his contact info. http://www.burkesurette.com/david. Bullock plays cittern and bouzouki. https://robinbullock.com/teaching/

    Homespun also a video lesson by Tim O’Brien. https://www.homespun.com/shop/produc...of-tim-obrien/
    still trying to turn dreams into memories

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  26. #22
    Registered User tree's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Online Sites For Learning

    Wayne Benson's youtube channel is new, and has some very good material on it. Wayne's World of Mandolin is the name
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  27. #23

    Default Re: Best Online Sites For Learning

    While Youtube is free and is a good source, if you can afford it I suggest supporting the arts with a subscription. For 20 or so bucks a month you will great value from OAIM, Peghead Nation, Artistworks, Banjo Ben, Mandolessons, and many others.

    For the cost of a beer and a burger, most people can afford it. Mandolessons is free but please give whatever you can. Support the arts.
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  28. #24

    Default Re: Best Online Sites For Learning

    For a total beginner, I think Mike Marshall would be a great one. It's very systematic and organized. Banjo Ben is really good too. I'd also say to think about how serious you are about it. If it's your first instrument and you don't know, then you may not want a course that gets into the weeds quite as much. If you play other instruments and consider music a pretty serious hobby, leaning toward something that does get into the weeds more makes sense. Learning good technique, theory, exercises, etc is really important and something I wish I had taken seriously when I was a kid learning. Once you get the basics under your fingers, if you want repertoire, some of the others mentioned are great. I really liked Joe Walsh's courses on peghead nation. He teaches some really cool stuff, but it isn't where I'd recommend a newcomer start.

  29. #25

    Thumbs up Re: Best Online Sites For Learning

    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Leyda View Post
    While Youtube is free and is a good source, if you can afford it I suggest supporting the arts with a subscription. For 20 or so bucks a month you will great value from OAIM, Peghead Nation, Artistworks, Banjo Ben, Mandolessons, and many others.

    For the cost of a beer and a burger, most people can afford it. Mandolessons is free but please give whatever you can. Support the arts.
    I agree with everything you say Chuck. I have greatly benefitted from free Youtube sites until I found a face to face tutor who is a professional player. My own playing developed dramatically from the personal input. Unfortunately because of Covid this had to stop but I continued to have online lessons with her which has also worked well.
    It is so important to support our professional musicians during these really tough times as teaching may be their only source of income. If you can get a teacher, it benefits everyone.

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