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Thread: Best Online Instruction - Subscription or Free

  1. #1
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    Default Best Online Instruction - Subscription or Free

    I am just getting back into playing after several years off. Muscle memory is ok and I still remember some old standards. I would like to improve on technique as well as build my repertoire to be able to play along in a local monthly bluegrass jam. What I am looking for is an online series to work through in my spare time that will help with my goal of being able to play with others. I don't mind paying a monthly fee as I have taken lessons in the past and didn't mind the expense. Time is limited so I am looking for an online teacher/program to follow, preferably with a library of play along tracks and exercises leading up to more difficult arrangements/skills.

    I'm sure this has been covered in the past but it looks like the threads I was seeing in the search were several years old.

    What are your thoughts?

  2. #2

    Default Re: Best Online Instruction - Subscription or Free

    I wrote this last year but it's still pretty much my opinion:

    We're really lucky to have these online resources. Whether you go with Banjo Ben, Mike Marshall/Artistwortks, or Peghead Nation you will get great value for your dollar. They are all great! You will have what you need to advance not matter which you choose. I've been a member on and off for several years at Artistworks. I'm a lifetime member of Banjo Ben. I've sampled several lessons at Peghead nation although I'm not a member. All three are top notch musicians. Here are my thoughts:

    Artistworks:
    -Mike Marshall is a gifted teacher. He has great instincts as an educator.
    -The most interactive. You submit videos and then get personal feedback.
    -The most expensive.
    -Should commit to making videos to get the most value.
    -CBOMs are represented. You can make a video with mando, octave, mando-cello etc
    -The most expansive. You can view all video exchanges not just yours. Bach, Choro, Bluegrass, some guy playing Mark Knophler on a mandocello? It's all there. This can be a plus or a minus. The depth is great but you can lose focus!

    Banjo Ben
    -Speaks bluegrass. He does touch on some jazz and folk stuff but the focus is squarely on Bluegrass. That can be a plus or minus depending on what you're into.
    -New website is really user friendly. Everything you need on one page.
    -Good teacher and friendly fellow.
    -Lots of content. He's been at this for a long time.
    -Lifetime memberships available.
    -A great value if you also play guitar or banjo. One membership gets all the content from all three schools.

    Peghead Nation
    -Good quality teachers
    -Courses allow you to specialize and focus your area of instruction i.e melodic mandolin, Monroe Style, Celtic mandolin, etc
    -You must pay for each school. You do get a discount for signing up for multiple schools.
    -Not as much content as the other two sites. I'm sure that will change over the years.

    My recommendation?
    If you have a wide focus on different musical genres and you will make and submit videos: Go Artistworks.
    If you like mostly bluegrass and might not take the time to make and submit videos: Go Banjo Ben (especially if you play guitar or banjo too)
    If you have the money: Sample all three.
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  4. #3
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    Default Re: Best Online Instruction - Subscription or Free

    Thanks, I actually saw your other post after going back and refining my search. I was going to delete the original post but could not figure out. I didn't want to fill up the forum with duplicate info but looks like I did....

    That said, thanks for the reply and I like all 3 probably artist works the best just because it seems like a good blend of technique and songs. I wish I could hear what the back tracks sounded like or how the site interacts.

  5. #4
    Registered User Kevin Winn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Online Instruction - Subscription or Free

    MandoLessons.com is exactly what you are looking for. Highly recommended!!

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    Default Re: Best Online Instruction - Subscription or Free

    I'll plug Sharon Gilchrist's Intermediate Bluegrass Mandolin course at Peghead Nation. She's fabulous teacher, and her course covers technique, theory, fiddle tunes, learning solos from classic recordings, and even how to craft your own solo. A quick count showed more than 40 lessons, each one of those having multiple videos. New lessons every month. Personally, I think it's a fabulous deal for $20/month.
    Mitch Russell

  8. #6
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    Default Re: Best Online Instruction - Subscription or Free

    +1 on Sharon Gilchrist with Peghead Nation. She's a great teacher and her lessons build on each other. I've also taken lessons from Mike Marshall at ArtistWorks - and he is a fantastic mando artist. The videos and feedback on ArtistWorks are good, however, the lag time was frustrating. I learned a lot from him but I favor Sharon's teaching style over Mike's. That's solely a personal preference. Both are well worth the $$.
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  9. #7

    Default Re: Best Online Instruction - Subscription or Free

    I recommend you take a few in person or Skype lessons to get you restarted. Then check out Banjo Ben, Pickin’ Lessons, Mandolessons, PegHead Nation...some offer a free trial so you can try it out. Have fun!
    Northfield F5M #268, AT02 #7

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    Default Re: Best Online Instruction - Subscription or Free

    I am doing the Artistworks series now, started in December. I figured out the cost monthly (and got in on a special they were having,) I figured out the cost per month was a little over $17.00/month. I figured that was pretty cheap for lessons that I could do whenever. I am up to about 15+ lessons now, they are around 30 minutes (average) each. I am not doing the videos but still find it worthwhile. If I keep going I will certainly have gotten my money's worth. I have not tried any of the others so I cannot speak to them.

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  12. #9
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    Default Re: Best Online Instruction - Subscription or Free

    I tried artistworks a few years ago when it started up, Mike Marshall is a fine teacher and relates to any level student I felt. Never had any issues with the site. Cost was very reasonable. video and sound were excellent.
    Mandolessons.com is also nice, has a different approach in some ways(they all do), has some offerings in different songs/tunes that you probably will not find anywhere. video and sound are excellent. very enjoyable and I still visit there every now and then.

    Been with Pegheadnation for the past year and I really like the way Sharon Gilchrist teaches and how she presents her instruction. Cost again is very reasonable, quality of video and sound are excellent. and there are a couple different mandolin "styles" presented in different teachers-Sharon Gilchrist/ John Reischman/Mike Compton/ Marla Fibish/Chad Manning/Joe K. Walsh

    pegheadnation did have a free 30 day trial-if you don't see it offered, I would suggest emailing and seeing if they would allow it.

    I think you will find the teacher that suits your learning style if you check them all out, that will make it the most enjoyable for you.
    good luck
    d

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    Default Re: Best Online Instruction - Subscription or Free

    I've had a great experience with Matt Flinner's online group lessons--several times. I highly recommend him: https://www.mattflinner.com/
    Phil Vinyard
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  15. #11
    Registered User woodnstrings's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Online Instruction - Subscription or Free

    New lessons are starting up with Magnus Zetterlund. Sounds like some jazz lessons. He has some free lessons online and some live videos, but some lessons sound like they will have a fee. I like his playing. https://www.mandolinsecrets.com/academy

  16. #12

    Default Re: Best Online Instruction - Subscription or Free

    Quote Originally Posted by woodnstrings View Post
    New lessons are starting up with Magnus Zetterlund. Sounds like some jazz lessons. He has some free lessons online and some live videos, but some lessons sound like they will have a fee. I like his playing. https://www.mandolinsecrets.com/academy
    His free Youtube videos are great and will have your fingers playing things they aren't used to. I've been playing a Jethro Burns arpeggio exercise a lot lately.
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    Registered User John Bertotti's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Online Instruction - Subscription or Free

    I'm really enjoying peghead nation. I signed up for the Sharon Gilchrist Beginner Mandolin and Marla Fibish Irish Mandolin. I am definitely learning and improving.
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  19. #14

    Default Re: Best Online Instruction - Subscription or Free

    Quote Originally Posted by Br1ck View Post
    His free Youtube videos are great and will have your fingers playing things they aren't used to. I've been playing a Jethro Burns arpeggio exercise a lot lately.
    Is it the thing he calls “Jethro’s warm up”...I too have been working on this and inserting it wherever I find 2 measures of G...sometimes it sounds good other times not so much...my latest was putting it into Salt Creek, it fits great after adjusting for where the tune goes to the E chord. I’m also working on transposing it to other keys as I found I really don’t play in G that much.
    Northfield F5M #268, AT02 #7

  20. #15
    Registered User d18daddy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Online Instruction - Subscription or Free

    Another vote for Magnus and Matt Flinner.

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