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Thread: Books...and Specifically, Intermediate Books???

  1. #1
    Registered User Yeet's Avatar
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    Default Books...and Specifically, Intermediate Books???

    I heard that Greg Horne's intermediate mandolin book is good. I saw someone post somewhere that going through the whole book and knowing the material should be a good indication that one's around the "intermediate" level of mandolin playing. ��

    So I have two questions (and a bonus question at the end if you're interested!)
    • How much did you use books when learning mandolin?
    • Is this Greg Horne book a good choice for someone around beginner-intermediate-ish level; any other recommendations?


    Some context to help with recommendations: I usually read in tab notation but I can somewhat read standard notation and would be willing to get more comfortable with it (although to be honest I'd rather avoid it as much as possible!). It seems like how "levels" are divided is pretty fuzzy but for what it's worth, I'd just like to know other people's opinions on books and learning for the beginner-intermediate-ish mandolinist. Personally, my idea of what a beginner-intermediate-ish mandolinist is someone who:
    • Knows essential chords and then some
    • Has a decent familiarity with the fretboard (knows most if the fretboard off the dome and can figure out the rest with a couple seconds of thought)
    • Basic music theory (knows what chords are, majors, minors, flats, sharps, tones, semitones, modes, keys, key signatures, tempo, etc.; basically knows basic terminology and concepts)
    • Knows scales (pentatonic included) and can play them forward and back, and vary the order (albeit maybe with some extra thought)
    • Can play maybe at least one or two dozen tunes from memory and have the ability to learn easily from reading music and manage to learn simple things by ear
    • Can identify some chords by ear and usually have a good idea of what key others are playing in; has a general knowledge of chord progressions to expect
    • Can do basic stuff like slides, pull-offs, hammer-ons, chops, some basic picking, tremolo...etc.
    • Sort of a given, but can play in time!!!
    • EDIT: I forgot arpeggios here.


    I feel like an intermediate player would have all of the skills and knowledge above but with a higher level of proficiency/depth of understanding. I might be missing a few things in my list though. They'd have enough skill and experience to be more of a "journeyman" than the beginner, who's more of an "apprentice".

    Bonus question by the way! What do you think are some characteristics of a beginner, beginner/intermediate, intermediate, or advanced player based on skills and experience?

    The book I refer to is here by the way.
    Last edited by Yeet; Jul-17-2019 at 8:19pm.
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  2. #2

    Default Re: Books...and Specifically, Intermediate Books???

    You will become a better mandolinist if you complete the Horne book. But, for me, it covers too much material in too little depth. For example, there are two cross picking exercises, which are really just enough to introduce the topic.

    I think a better path for most aspiring intermediate players is to go deep on a more limited range of skills. For example, learn to really play the crap out of your pentatonics, arpeggios and double stops, until you can improvise with them creatively and effortlessly, in several keys, over the entire neck, at speed, using basic right and left hand techniques. To the listener, this will make you sound more proficient than kinda sorta learning dozens of skills and techniques. You want to be able to use your tools beautifully, rather than collecting many poorly mastered tools.

    Your goals above are a pretty good list to drill deep on. Horne covers way more.

    A better fit for you, if you like Bluegrass, might be The Mandolin Picker's Guide to Bluegrass Improvisation, which goes deeper into fewer concepts. Also, get a tune book that appeals to you. I think it's a good idea to go ahead and learn to read notation. It will pay off in the long run.
    Last edited by JonZ; Jul-17-2019 at 10:07pm.
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  4. #3
    Registered User Yeet's Avatar
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    Default Re: Books...and Specifically, Intermediate Books???

    Awesome recommendation! Looking at the book's description it seems like something I'd really like. I'm buying a couple of things so I'll actually give that book a shot while I'm feeling compulsive. �� My tailpiece cover fell off long ago and I'm getting a replacement finally so might as well add an extra goodie to the cart.

    I'll probably check out the Horne book one day then, but honestly if it just covers a variety of topics without much depth I'm thinking maybe just using it as a launchpad for further research on the internet would be my use for it. ��
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  5. #4

    Default Re: Books...and Specifically, Intermediate Books???

    The main thing with The Mandolin Pickers Guide... is to put in the time creating with the tools he gives you until you can do it fluently. Don’t just play his examples and move on.

    The IRealB app is very useful to play along with.
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    Registered User mmuussiiccaall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Books...and Specifically, Intermediate Books???

    I for one totally agree with JonZ's above statements, the ? is whether you want to eventually. join a band, jam, play only at home for pleasure, etc.

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  9. #6
    Registered User Yeet's Avatar
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    Default Re: Books...and Specifically, Intermediate Books???

    Quote Originally Posted by mmuussiiccaall View Post
    I for one totally agree with JonZ's above statements, the ? is whether you want to eventually. join a band, jam, play only at home for pleasure, etc.
    I got a lot of musical friends and I think it would be awesome to be able to jam with them and musical friends in the future! So I think building that level of fluency is what I'm going for.

    Quote Originally Posted by JonZ View Post
    The main thing with The Mandolin Pickers Guide... is to put in the time creating with the tools he gives you until you can do it fluently. Don’t just play his examples and move on.
    Will do! It seems like it'll be my bible for a while.
    Feel free to donate to my MAS fund.

  10. #7
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Books...and Specifically, Intermediate Books???

    I used books a lot, but not instructional books. I used tune books a lot.

    Not totally a side bar - I think you might greatly benefit from some of the on line lessons available, Artist Works comes to mind, as does Peg Head Nation.

    Or any of so many excellent private teachers who will skype lesson with you.

    With something guided like this you will be pointed towards the resources, books, videos, recordings, that you need, many of which are not common household names.

    Just thinking out loud.
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  12. #8
    Registered User mmuussiiccaall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Books...and Specifically, Intermediate Books???

    YEET
    I got a lot of musical friends and I think it would be awesome to be able to jam with them and musical friends in the future! So I think building that level of fluency is what I'm going for.

    O.K. then also study "ear training" for jamming, for example here:

    https://www.earmaster.com/wiki/ear-t...-training.html

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  14. #9
    Registered User Yeet's Avatar
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    Default Re: Books...and Specifically, Intermediate Books???

    Quote Originally Posted by JonZ View Post
    You will become a better mandolinist if you complete the Horne book. But, for me, it covers too much material in too little depth. For example, there are two cross picking exercises, which are really just enough to introduce the topic.

    I think a better path for most aspiring intermediate players is to go deep on a more limited range of skills. For example, learn to really play the crap out of your pentatonics, arpeggios and double stops, until you can improvise with them creatively and effortlessly, in several keys, over the entire neck, at speed, using basic right and left hand techniques. To the listener, this will make you sound more proficient than kinda sorta learning dozens of skills and techniques. You want to be able to use your tools beautifully, rather than collecting many poorly mastered tools.

    Your goals above are a pretty good list to drill deep on. Horne covers way more.

    A better fit for you, if you like Bluegrass, might be The Mandolin Picker's Guide to Bluegrass Improvisation, which goes deeper into fewer concepts. Also, get a tune book that appeals to you. I think it's a good idea to go ahead and learn to read notation. It will pay off in the long run.
    I just want to update and say I started this book and I feel it's really helpful! Thanks JonZ!
    Feel free to donate to my MAS fund.

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