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Thread: the first 3 tunes you learned?

  1. #76
    Registered User Eric Platt's Avatar
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    Default Re: the first 3 tunes you learned?

    Guitar - Girl I Left Behind, Red Haired Boy, Liberty. That was about 25-30 years ago.
    Mandolin - Cowhide Boots, Appelbo, Storm.

    Originally learned Cowhide Boots from Chirps Smith a number of years ago, but then stopped playing mandolin. Was surprised when I picked a mandolin up again a few years ago that I could still play the tune. It's morphed a bit from what Chirps (or Lyman Enloe) played, but still makes sense.
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  2. #77
    Registered User DavidKOS's Avatar
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    Default Re: the first 3 tunes you learned?

    I read through this whole thread, and it seems I learned in a whole different world of mandolin than the rest of y'all!

    The first real tunes I learned on mandolin were most likely these traditional Italian ones:

    Santa Lucia
    Oi Mari
    Ce La Luna

    I still remember when I got my first mandolin, circa 1971; I was at my Sicilian grandparents' house with a guitar, and Granny asked if I wanted to play mandolin. I said yes, but had no instrument.

    She brought me down to Werlein's on Canal St. (now defunct, once New Orlean's largest music store) and bought me some inexpensive but decent imported flatback instrument.

    I loved it immediately...and honestly the first thing I played on it was the end to "Maggie May"! So it had to be after July because the record was new.

    That mandolin only lasted a short time, as one of my friends accidentally sat on it. I found a used Japanese bowlback - one that sounded good - for 30 bucks and played that for many years.

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  4. #78
    Registered User pbrad74's Avatar
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    Default Re: the first 3 tunes you learned?

    I do not remember my first 3 songs on guitar but as I am a new mandolin player my first three would be "Cindy", "Turkey in the Straw", and "Cluck Old Hen. I have learned 2 others and currently working on "Angeline the Baker" at PegheadNation. Having a blast with these.

  5. #79
    The Amateur Mandolinist Mark Gunter's Avatar
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    Default Re: the first 3 tunes you learned?

    I started with guitar around 1966, didn't pick up a mandolin until 2014!

    My dad showed me a few chords on his guitar, then gave me a book to learn from. So I first learned On Top Of Old Smokey and Shenandoah.

    My first mandolin was a little bowlback that I bought out of curiosity on Ebay. I fixed it up, looked up a couple chords, and picked out the Johnny Cash tune Flat Top Box which I had been playing on guitar. I practiced that one and Grandfather's Clock with a neighbor, and we played them together at a local jam. Then I gave the bowlback to a friend who had been a violinist in his school years.

    Before a year had passed, I got a hankering to buy a mandolin and begin learning how to play it. The bug had bitten me, so I got a cheap little Ibanez and started learning fiddle tunes from Mandolessons: Julia Delaney's, Shove That Pig's Foot A Little Closer To The Fire, Coleman's March, Whiskey Before Breakfast.

    The sound of the mandolin has captured me, but I can't seem to capture the tone or cadence I want.So still trying six years later!
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  6. #80

    Default Re: the first 3 tunes you learned?

    I find I remember tunes I learned by ear better than ones I memorized. I can remember all the words to 80s power ballads but sometimes can’t think of how Red Haired Boy kicks off and I think because growing up listening ingrained them in my brain.

    So...all these years later the tunes I learned by ear are also ingrained and they just come out. One thing that helps me immensely is when presented with a new tune I listen and play the chords until I can hum along, then tackle the melody - a method described above. It may not be exactly the way it’s “supposed” to be played but its a good approximation, its making me a better improvisor, and I can pick up tunes pretty quickly now.

    I’ve also put in the work learning and playing alot of fiddle tunes - probably over 100 during the past 5-6 years. Although not required I also know scales, arpeggios, licks, etc and all that has helped me. Of course, I dont remember all of them because some I just learned for that weeks lesson but some have stuck with me because I used the method described above.
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  7. #81

    Default Re: the first 3 tunes you learned?

    Liza Jane
    Old Joe Clark
    St. Anne's Reel

    New to the mandolin as of April this year.
    Many thanks to Baron Collins-Hill for the online lessons.

  8. #82
    Registered User LastMohican's Avatar
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    Default Re: the first 3 tunes you learned?

    Yankee Doodle, Oh Susana, Worried Man Blues. Thanks, Bert Casey!
    "I actually wanted to be a drummer, but I didn't have any drums." - Stevie Ray Vaughn

    Northfield F5S "Blacktop", K&K Pickup

  9. #83
    Registered User T.D.Nydn's Avatar
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    Default Re: the first 3 tunes you learned?

    I know the first tune I tried to figure out was foggy mountain breakdown,,after that I'm not sure...

  10. #84
    Registered User Cobalt's Avatar
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    Default Re: the first 3 tunes you learned?

    After cutting my teeth on some self-taught stuff, I started to play with some other beginner mandolinists.
    The first tune I learned with them was Човен хитається.

    Our playing sounded pretty rough I think, but our parents politely pretended to like it when we performed.

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  12. #85
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    Default Re: the first 3 tunes you learned?

    Whiskey Before Breakfast
    Rise - Eddie Vedder
    Pachelbel's Canon

  13. #86

    Default Re: the first 3 tunes you learned?

    1. Yet another "Soldier's Joy". Must be the most common oldtime dance tune ever!

    2. Either "Cielito Lindo" or part of "La Traviata", can't remember which of those preceded the other (simplified versions in any case), both right around the same time though. My dad played versions of those (and other Texas waltzes etc) on harmonica and mandolin. I tried (and completely failed) to learn harmonica, but I did ok with the mandolin except I didn't much see the need for all that incessant tremolo (which my dad used a lot).

    3. "Mississippi Sawyer".

    After that was a passel of other dance music (fiddle tunes and various waltzes), by then I'd decided I really liked GDAE tuning so I'd plunk around on whatever instruments I could get my hands on that I could tune (or re-tune, as the case may be) to GDAE or some other version of all-5ths tuning. I even had a cheap funky old $5 junkstore cello for a while, the bow broke so I plucked the silly thing (badly) like a mini bass. Later on, my grandma (on my dad's side of the family) came to visit for a few weeks (I only met her twice, she lived in a different state and people didn't just casually travel long distances like they do nowadays) and it turned out that she played piano (rowdy honky-tonk stuff and reverent church tunes, strange combination eh), so after she left (and after I heard a little girl at school play a certain pretty classical piece) I decided I wanted to learn piano so I took piano lessons from the wife of a local family friend for a couple years... not the most high-quality teaching (nothing at all about improv or composition, it was just exercises and practice pieces from 'student' books) but still a good intro to basic music theory stuff... the piano lessons de-mystified the whole written music thing.

  14. #87
    Registered User DavidKOS's Avatar
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    Default Re: the first 3 tunes you learned?

    Quote Originally Posted by JL277z View Post
    but I did ok with the mandolin except I didn't much see the need for all that incessant tremolo (which my dad used a lot).
    .
    It sounds like your dad played like the folks that taught me....but I like tremolo!

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  16. #88
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    Default Re: the first 3 tunes you learned?

    Bile Them Cabbage
    Liberty
    Red Haired Boy

  17. #89

    Default Re: the first 3 tunes you learned?

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidKOS View Post
    It sounds like your dad played like the folks that taught me...
    Some of the music styles, probably yeah. But mandolin was not my dad's main/best instrument by far, and his mandolin playing could probably have benefited from more dynamics or expression or something. He had picked up a modest assortment of tunes by ear, some of which he adapted to mandolin to where they sounded (as he referred to it) "close enough", they were recognizable, even though sometimes missing various portions like his abbreviated version of La Traviata. (He also sometimes inadvertently created 'crooked' tunes on various of his other instruments, by somehow leaving out an entire measure, or adding an extra measure or two, without even being aware of it.)

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidKOS View Post
    ...but I like tremolo!
    Well I think my early lack of enthusiasm about tremolo, was likely further influenced by these things:

    • The tone of that particular instrument. It was a harsh tinny-sounding cheap plywood Kay, and it was impossible to keep that thing in tune for more than about 3 minutes on a good day. Just one plucked out-of-tune note could be tolerable, but it was something else entirely to hear the machine-gun tremolo of that same slightly-out-of-tune note over and over again in quick succession.

    • My high-frequency hearing range was always a lot more sensitive than normal. As a result, to me, the Kay's sharp brittle tone was even more difficult to bear especially with so many notes in quick succession like with tremolo.


    In recent times, I'm come to the conclusion that good tremolo must be truly an art form, rather than just a mechanical repetitive motion of the pick. It can sound pretty darn nice, or incredibly annoying, depending - apparently - on how the player deploys it.

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  19. #90
    Registered User Cobalt's Avatar
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    Default Re: the first 3 tunes you learned?

    I must admit, I so rarely hear other mandolin players (live, in person) use tremolo that if I do chance upon an example, I'm overjoyed, no matter what the quality. I used to look forward optimistically when I saw a player with a mandolin walk into the room. But gradually I came to realise that all I was going to hear was the three-chord trick, and then they'd switch back to whatever other instrument was their main one.

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  21. #91

    Default Re: the first 3 tunes you learned?

    Being a classic rock guitar player my first 3 songs were
    Styx "Boat On A River"
    REM "Losing My Religion"
    Steve Earl "Copper Head Road"

  22. #92
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    Default Re: the first 3 tunes you learned?

    Too many years ago to remember but I know they were fiddle tunes, as I played fiddle and guitar when I took up mandolin.

  23. #93
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: the first 3 tunes you learned?

    I took up the mandolin, not so much to be a mandolinner, but because it was distinctly not a guitar. Lots of my friends at the time were going guitar, and I have always been a contrarian.

    The first tunes I learned were from records and music around the house. Things in the air, things my parents liked. Things that I thought would sound cool on mandolin.

    The first things I tried to figure out were movie themes, "Never On Sunday", "Pride of Jean Brodie", "Born Free", and such. Wow I am dating myself. I am really not THAT old, these were movie soundtrack albums of my parents generation.

    I spent quite a few years this way, picking out tunes from my environment, all genres, like shells on a beach. It was many years before I met anyone who played mandolin, before I ever heard any bluegrass music, before I started learning fiddle tunes, or ever knowingly heard a recording of a mandolin.

    I immediately took to tremolo. It seemed to me at the time what mandolin was all about. Even now, unless explicitly counter indicated, I tremolo everything longer than an eighth note.

    All this informs my playing now, and while I do a fair amount bluegrass and old time, my mandolin voice is decidedly different from the main. I don't have automatic or instinctive bluegrass chops.

    Of absolutely no influence upon me at the beginning, and very very little to this day, is how any other mandolin player sounds.

    Being such a contrarian, I have missed out on a lot of fun, and learned more slowly than others.
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  25. #94
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: the first 3 tunes you learned?

    If it is of any interest or helpful, the first fiddle tunes I learned were, in particular order.

    Over the Waterfall
    Liberty
    Petronella
    Old French
    St. Anne's Reel
    Morpath Rant
    Indulge responsibly!

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  27. #95

    Default Re: the first 3 tunes you learned?

    Oh Susanna
    Devil's Dream
    Gavotte II from Bach's 5th Cello Suite.

  28. #96
    Registered User Sue Rieter's Avatar
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    Default Re: the first 3 tunes you learned?

    The first things I tried to figure out were movie themes, "Never On Sunday", "Pride of Jean Brodie", "Born Free", and such. Wow I am dating myself. I am really not THAT old, these were movie soundtrack albums of my parents generation.
    If I had started playing at an earlier age, those sound like songs I would have picked (no pun intended). In fact, I think I will try to play "Never on a Sunday". My Mom loved that song. Also, "Downtown"

    Sue

  29. #97
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    Default Re: the first 3 tunes you learned?

    Wabash Cannonball - very badly, by ear
    Irish Washerwoman - tab
    Liberty - tab
    re simmers

  30. #98
    Registered User Erin M's Avatar
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    Default Re: the first 3 tunes you learned?

    First 3 tunes on mandolin (which I've only been playing for a few months):

    Angeline the Baker
    Arkansas Traveller
    Down By The Salley Gardens

    And on the classical side, I'm starting to get a decent handle on the Prelude, Sarabande, and Gigue from Bach's cello suite #1 in G (still much room for improvement here though). It probably helps that I was a cellist in another life (back before I switched to bass).
    "Flow, river flow. Let your waters wash down, take me from this road, to some other town." - Roger McGuinn

  31. #99

    Default Re: the first 3 tunes you learned?

    Quote Originally Posted by Erin M View Post
    First 3 tunes on mandolin (which I've only been playing for a few months):

    Angeline the Baker
    Arkansas Traveller
    Down By The Salley Gardens

    And on the classical side, I'm starting to get a decent handle on the Prelude, Sarabande, and Gigue from Bach's cello suite #1 in G (still much room for improvement here though). It probably helps that I was a cellist in another life (back before I switched to bass).
    Hi Erin, In what key are you playing the Prelude?

  32. #100
    Mando-Afflicted lflngpicker's Avatar
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    Default Re: the first 3 tunes you learned?

    There were several songs I sang and played at first with the mandolin: Losing My Religion, Mr. Bojangles, We'll Meet Again, Try a Little Kindness and Song Sung Blue, among others. In terms of instrumental tunes, these were the first three I worked on and got down early on:

    Red Haired Boy
    Whiskey Before Breakfast
    Irish Washerwoman
    2020 Pava Pro A5
    1930ís Stradolin A5
    1913 Gibson A4
    1912 Gibson A4

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