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Thread: Looking for some recommendations

  1. #1

    Default Looking for some recommendations

    Hey ya'll! I've always wanted to learn mandolin so for my 30th birthday I'm doing just that. I plan on trying to teach myself with mandolessons.com and a little help from my husband and father in law.

    I've never played an instrument in my life and reading music is a totally foreign language to me. Can I get some recommendations on books/CDs/websites that might be helpful to me?

    Thank you so much!

  2. #2
    Registered User Gunnar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Looking for some recommendations

    Welcome and happy birthday! Mandolessons.com is fantastic. What style(s) of music are you most interested in playing? Cuz that will affect the advice you get
    Mandolin: Kentucky KM150
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  3. #3

    Default Re: Looking for some recommendations

    Hey! Thanks so much.
    I'm mostly interested in playing folk & bluegrass music.

  4. #4
    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Looking for some recommendations

    Ear playing is Getting the tune in your head sing or hum it.

    then find the notes with your fingers on the fingerboard..
    writing about music
    is like dancing,
    about architecture

  5. #5

    Default Re: Looking for some recommendations

    I'm a mandolessions fan because it's free, but some of the affordable sites like peghead nation may have a more course oriented program. Many have free month trials so you can judge for yourself. Mandolessons.com has plenty of easy fiddle tunes to learn, but I'd also seek out some scale exercises to play. I used to play scales first, then reward myself with fiddle tunes. I'd also get a metronome and use it, and don't be in a hurry. Play things slow and gradually build up to speed over time.

    Then learn some simple chords and strum patterns and learn to go from chord to chord in time while you play the strum patterns cleanly. You can be playing with understanding folks quite quickly with the G, C, and D chords.
    Silverangel A
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  6. #6

    Default Re: Looking for some recommendations

    Play along with your favorite songs. You probably know how the songs go, and it will help you get familiar with your instrument and go to the notes you want to.

  7. #7
    Registered User Doug Brock's Avatar
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    Default Re: Looking for some recommendations

    Quote Originally Posted by b.pollock View Post
    I plan on trying to teach myself with mandolessons.com and a little help from my husband and father in law.

    I've never played an instrument in my life and reading music is a totally foreign language to me. Can I get some recommendations on books/CDs/websites that might be helpful to me?
    I love mandolin and often encourage folks to give it a try, BUT, for folks who've never played an instrument before, I always recommend ukulele over mandolin. The uke has four strings that are easier on the fingers and easier to tune. Ukes are much more popular than mandolins these days, so there are lots of books and videos readily available. Most music stores will have lots of uke choices, both for instruments as well as for books and accessories, and prices for a decent uke are lower than the prices of decent mandolins. The chord shapes on a uke are the same for the first four strings of the guitar, so it can be easy to transfer skills learned on the uke to guitar later.

    Best of luck in your music adventures!
    Doug Brock
    Eastman MD315, Eastman MDA315, Silverangel Econo A #446
    Pisgah Wonder, Martin HD28, Martin D18GE, CA Guitars Bluegrass Performer

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Looking for some recommendations

    Best of luck with your desire to learn an instrument. Since your interest is towards folk and bluegrass I believe you will find the mandolin a more suitable choice than say a ukulele.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Looking for some recommendations

    I started out with a mandolin chord chart and using ultimateguitar.com either singing or playing along with recordings. Have fun!

  10. #10
    Registered User Gunnar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Looking for some recommendations

    Banjobenclark.com is great, if you can afford 25$ a month. Go learn the G, C, and D chords, then learn a D major scale and then play tunes from mandolessons. Playing a fiddle tune is basically a scale pattern, and I find it to be a fun way of learning scales. Keep us posted on your progress!
    Mandolin: Kentucky KM150
    Other instruments: way too many, and yet, not nearly enough.

    My blog: https://theoffgridmusician.music.blog/
    My YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChF...yWuaTrtB4YORAg
    My Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/africanbanjogunnar/
    Free backing tracks:
    https://backingtrackers.wordpress.com/

  11. #11
    Registered User Randi Gormley's Avatar
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    Default Re: Looking for some recommendations

    Well, I'm old school -- if you want to learn from scratch, there's always Mel Bay. Like any other do-it-yourself book, he takes you step by step, note/fret by note/fret with beginning exercises, sort of what you'd get if you were to start out at an elementary school music program, and you learn to read standard notation while you're learning where the notes are and he'll give you exercises in proper picking (down/up/down). Once you get down which frets are used to make which notes, then i'd suggest a teacher, who can help you sort through the deluge of available options.

    With folk music, and bluegrass, often the tradition calls for learning tunes by ear. Although you don't need to know anything about the fretboard, you can learn this way. You begin by, say, humming a simple melody like happy birthday or a Christmas carol and then put your fingers on the various frets and plucking/picking until you get the note you want and build the whole song from there. Another way is to learn the fretboard first and then pick out familiar tunes, and then expand your knowledge by listening to lots of the music you want to play and pick out tunes that way. A lot of people will find a specific song/tune they want and dissect it with the idea of duplicating, note by note, what they hear.

    Then there are physical helps -- charts (called tab) that show you where to put your fingers for a song line or chords. A lot of those are available online and on this site. Or like with a book like Mel Bay, standard notation, which you can use to build tunes or chords note-by-note.

    Actually, what I typed looks pretty daunting. It isn't, really. Once you make a connection between what finger/fret makes which sound/note, you're on your way.

    I will say that if you want to play mandolin, learning another instrument with the idea that it will give you a leg up isn't what i personally would do. I'm self-taught on mandolin. I'm also self-taught on a variety of recorders. I've also noodled on guitar, taken piano lessons, played flute way back when, attempted the fiddle and was a drummer in the school band during marching season. the correlation is merely one of music. I originally learned (flute) with standard notation, and that helped me learn mandolin because i made the jump to fretboard fairly easily using a book that taught using standard notation. proper uke technique, proper guitar technique and, frankly, proper violin/fiddle technique is different than proper mandolin technique, so if you go an alternate stringed instrument route, you'll have to relearn proper technique and unlearn bad technique. just putting that out there.
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  12. #12
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    Default Re: Looking for some recommendations

    I just got my first mandolin Saturday and have been spending my time on mandolessons.com and have been learning a lot. I think that website is a great place to start.

    Rob
    Eastman MD505CC/N

  13. #13

    Default Re: Looking for some recommendations

    Happy birthday! And welcome.
    I’d say you’re on the right track, add to that a HUGE amount of info on the rest of YouTube (important to have diverse ideas) and jazzmando.com

    I’d definitely advise you to take four or five actual lessons with someone though, or online lessons, maybe?
    Posture is really important, the wrist etc. and a teacher who has studied this can quickly go over some of the things that you personally may be caught on. Sometimes it’s not evident.
    There is a social side to music too.
    But it sounds like you’re motivated, resourceful, and willing so good luck!

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Looking for some recommendations

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunnar View Post
    Welcome and happy birthday! Mandolessons.com is fantastic. What style(s) of music are you most interested in playing? Cuz that will affect the advice you get
    I second mandolessons.com
    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 !

  15. #15

    Default Re: Looking for some recommendations

    Quote Originally Posted by Randi Gormley View Post
    Well, I'm old school -- if you want to learn from scratch, there's always Mel Bay. . . .
    That works well for lots of folks. That's why it's so popular.

    Those books always confuse me. For some of us, it's easier to just play along with recordings and try to find the notes. (I've been playing guitar for over fifty years.) Chord charts are a huge help, too. Snd song books with the chords names written above the words were an easy way for me to learn chords. I think I started with an early best-of-Dylan book. Very basic.

    Another thing I do is just ask people to show me things. Some musicians are reluctant to pass along tips and tricks, but most players are not secretive at all.

    And along the same lines, for some learners, a live teacher works best. If you can afford a weekly lesson, it's very worth giving a shot.

    So try Mel Bay, for sure, and try other approaches, too. See what works for you.

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  17. #16
    Pittsburgh Bill
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    Default Re: Looking for some recommendations

    ALFREDS Teach Yourself to Play Mandolin You will learn to read music while your fingers simultaneously learn the fret board.
    Keith Edward Coleman A style, oval hole Mandola
    Stiver A style (eagerly awaiting spring 2020 arrival)
    Weber Gallatin A Mandola "D hole"
    Kentucky KM-950
    Harley Benton A style (Spare canoe paddle)
    Rogue 100A (current campfire tool)

  18. #17
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    Default Re: Looking for some recommendations

    Mandolin for Dummies is a helpful book no matter what learning method you pick. I recommend it as a good supplement.

  19. #18

    Default Re: Looking for some recommendations

    I haven’t read Mandolin for Dummies but I’ve read a fair few of the others in the series (in libraries). I found them difficult to get through.
    The problem is that they are VERY thorough. Lots of details and sort of systematic, the sort of thing you’d go through as a College text book.
    As LadysSolo has said, they make a good supplement, but can be de-motivating if used as the sole source.
    You need at least a simple method with twenty odd, deverse rhythmic tunes with audio examples
    -and definitely TAB at the beginning (sorry)

  20. #19
    Registered User Doug Brock's Avatar
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    Default Re: Looking for some recommendations

    Quote Originally Posted by atsunrise View Post
    I haven’t read Mandolin for Dummies but I’ve read a fair few of the others in the series (in libraries). I found them difficult to get through.
    The problem is that they are VERY thorough. Lots of details and sort of systematic, the sort of thing you’d go through as a College text book.
    As LadysSolo has said, they make a good supplement, but can be de-motivating if used as the sole source.
    You need at least a simple method with twenty odd, deverse rhythmic tunes with audio examples
    -and definitely TAB at the beginning (sorry)
    I do have "Mandolin for Dummies." Don Julin has a good rep as player and teacher and does a very good job of starting with the basics and covering a wide range of information in an engaging fashion. Lots of practical tunes, and audio is available online.
    Doug Brock
    Eastman MD315, Eastman MDA315, Silverangel Econo A #446
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  21. #20

    Default Re: Looking for some recommendations

    Quote Originally Posted by Doug Brock View Post
    I do have "Mandolin for Dummies." Don Julin has a good rep as player and teacher and does a very good job of starting with the basics and covering a wide range of information in an engaging fashion. Lots of practical tunes, and audio is available online.
    Don Julin’s great! I like his perspective, I didn’t know he wrote it. The copy I was thinking about was for guitars and it was at a library here in Lyon, in French...

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