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Thread: Celebrating The Mandolin Pickers Guide to Bluegrass Improvisation

  1. #1
    Registered User Jesper's Avatar
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    Default Celebrating The Mandolin Pickers Guide to Bluegrass Improvisation

    Hi Bluegrass mandolin pickers and improvisers!

    I’m Jesper Rübner-Petersen, the author of “The Mandolin Picker’s Guide to Bluegrass Improvisation”.

    Ten years ago, on February 17th 2010, my improvisation method was printed for the first time by Mel Bay publications

    As you can imagine, this was a very special day for me. Over a period of five years, I had been working as often as possible to get this project finished. And then, after such a long time, I was finally able to physically hold the result of my work in my own hands.

    I was definitely proud, but also very anxious, excited and curious about how a Bluegrass book written by a Scandinavian Dane, would be treated by readers.

    But there wasn’t no need for me to worry, because it was a real pleasure to follow people's reactions on the Mandolin Café forum.

    To date, “The Mandolin Picker’s Guide to Bluegrass Improvisation” had sold more then 6,000 copies and I’m pretty sure that this wouldn’t have been such a success without all of you guys mentioning, discussing or even recommending my book on the forum.

    I’m very grateful for this and I wish I could thank each and every one of you in person.

    Another huge acknowledgement goes to Spencer Sorenson for proofreading the manuscript more then ten years ago and to every mandolin picker out there, who bought the book to improve their improvisational skills.

    So, ten years have gone by. What has been your experience? Did the book actually help you on your way to improvising? I’m dying to hear what you have to say.

    And if you've got any questions, I’ll try to do my very best to answer them (in Scandinavian English).

    I wish you all a wonderful day and many joyful moments with your mandolins.
    - Jesper


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    Default Re: Celebrating The Mandolin Pickers Guide to Bluegrass Improvisa

    Congratulations, Jesper. Mel Bay just announced a special discount on the book in the Classifieds through March 31. Here's a link to that on their web site. Use Discount Code IMPROV30. The cover, below, for those unfamiliar with this one.

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    Default Re: Celebrating The Mandolin Pickers Guide to Bluegrass Improvisa

    When I use that code, I receive:

    Invalid Campaign ID "IMPROV3"
    Greg Fury

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    Default Re: Celebrating The Mandolin Pickers Guide to Bluegrass Improvisa

    Quote Originally Posted by gfury View Post
    when i use that code, i receive:

    Invalid campaign id "improv3"
    s/b IMPROV30

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    Default Re: Celebrating The Mandolin Pickers Guide to Bluegrass Improvisa

    Just bought mine. Can't wait to dig into it.

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    Default Re: Celebrating The Mandolin Pickers Guide to Bluegrass Improvisa

    Quote Originally Posted by RandyC View Post
    Just bought mine. Can't wait to dig into it.
    Thanks for the book, Jesper. It's a different style than most everything else out there, which I have really enjoyed. I used the book a lot when I was getting deep into bluegrass and found the many different exercises were very useful helping me get out of playing the same patterns and licks over and over.

    I've recently pulled it out again years later and still find a lot of useful things in there.

    Thank you for doing something different, I've spent many many happy hours with it.
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    Default Re: Celebrating The Mandolin Pickers Guide to Bluegrass Improvisa

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandolin Cafe View Post
    s/b IMPROV30
    That worked for me! Just bought the digital version.
    Greg Fury

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    Default Re: Celebrating The Mandolin Pickers Guide to Bluegrass Improvisa

    Thank you, Jesper -- your book is a godsend.

    I'm in the midst of really working my way through it (after a couple of false starts)...

    I think the reason I put it aside before was that (1) I was still too much of a beginner to absorb it as easily, and (2) My ability to read standard notation was in its infancy. So that drove me to apply myself to spend a good while really learning and feeling comfortable with all the pentatonic scales, working on arpeggios, and learning standard notation (with that excellent Debra Chen book).

    Now I find I'm closer to early intermediate level, and my fingers are finding their way much more easily through your exercises.

    But I think the third requirement to really benefit from your book is a willingness to stop and really do the homework assignments in each chapter, and really master each chapter before moving on. I'm a little better at that than I used to be, and while I have my impatient days, I'm trying to really do it properly now. But I know other pickers who say they seldom succeed in structuring their practices -- so if you're one of those pickers, I'd say either skip this book or make a commitment to approaching it more deliberately than usual. If you do, I think the investment will really pay off over time.

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    Default Re: Celebrating The Mandolin Pickers Guide to Bluegrass Improvisa

    .... nice discount ... thanks. I need to mix things up a bit and this book will likely be a great help to me !!!!
    - 2013 Eastman MD 505
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    Registered User Jesper's Avatar
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    Default Re: Celebrating The Mandolin Pickers Guide to Bluegrass Improvisa

    Quote Originally Posted by Gina Willis View Post
    Thank you, Jesper -- your book is a godsend.

    I'm in the midst of really working my way through it (after a couple of false starts)...

    I think the reason I put it aside before was that (1) I was still too much of a beginner to absorb it as easily, and (2) My ability to read standard notation was in its infancy. So that drove me to apply myself to spend a good while really learning and feeling comfortable with all the pentatonic scales, working on arpeggios, and learning standard notation (with that excellent Debra Chen book).

    Now I find I'm closer to early intermediate level, and my fingers are finding their way much more easily through your exercises.

    But I think the third requirement to really benefit from your book is a willingness to stop and really do the homework assignments in each chapter, and really master each chapter before moving on. I'm a little better at that than I used to be, and while I have my impatient days, I'm trying to really do it properly now. But I know other pickers who say they seldom succeed in structuring their practices -- so if you're one of those pickers, I'd say either skip this book or make a commitment to approaching it more deliberately than usual. If you do, I think the investment will really pay off over time.
    Hi Gina!
    I think you're doing it the right way. It's really importaint to get those pentatonic scales into your playing and to be able to switch back and forth between them, before going on to the next chapters of the book. To many mandolin pickers, who have already learned a bunch of fiddletunes, it seems to be a step back starting to learn to improvise. And that willingness which you're talking about, is really the clue in order to become an improviser. - The most important thing about learning to improvise, is to get started (and to realize that this is a learning process which need to be worked on, during a longer period of time).
    Go for the hill and then let's climb a mountain!

    Thank you for buying my book Gina and keep up the good work!
    - Jesper

  19. #11

    Default Re: Celebrating The Mandolin Pickers Guide to Bluegrass Improvisa

    I just bought a (digital) copy - I'll let you know how it goes! I'm currently kind of in the middle of Sharon Gilchrist's intermediate course on Peghead Nation so I think this might be a good place for me to start working on some improv skills.

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  21. #12

    Default Re: Celebrating The Mandolin Pickers Guide to Bluegrass Improvisa

    I'd like to buy the book. I don't want to create an account to do so. Any suggestions.

  22. #13
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    Default Re: Celebrating The Mandolin Pickers Guide to Bluegrass Improvisa

    It’s a great book! I still have a long way to go.

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    Default Re: Celebrating The Mandolin Pickers Guide to Bluegrass Improvisa

    After playing the guitar for 30 years, I decided to take up the mandolin a few months ago. I got a bunch of mandolin books from the library, but The Mandolin Pickers Guide to Bluegrass Improvisation was the only one I decided I needed to own, and I bought the digital version.

    As a long time guitar player, it didn't take very long for me to sound (IMO) decent on the mandolin, and the temptation is just to forge ahead learning tunes, but I do agree it is very valuable to slow down and go back to basics and go step by step, making sure each of the previous steps becomes ingrained in your playing. This book is a great way to do that. Another motivator has been the Mandolins and Beer podcast, where at the end, all the the guests are asked what they would practice if they had just 10 minutes. They all seem to say they would practice one very basic technique or another. It's helpful to know that the greats still do that.
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    Default Re: Celebrating The Mandolin Pickers Guide to Bluegrass Improvisa

    Quote Originally Posted by RandyC View Post
    Just bought mine. Can't wait to dig into it.
    Ditto!
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    Default Re: Celebrating The Mandolin Pickers Guide to Bluegrass Improvisa

    Quote Originally Posted by LoveTheDrake View Post
    As a long time guitar player ... the temptation is just to forge ahead learning tunes, but I do agree it is very valuable to slow down and go back to basics and go step by step, making sure each of the previous steps becomes ingrained in your playing. This book is a great way to do that. .. .
    Same experience here. I've been playing mando for a few years, but going back to the arpeggio exercises that are presented in the beginning this book has been eye (and ear) opening.
    Greg Fury

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    Default Re: Celebrating The Mandolin Pickers Guide to Bluegrass Improvisa

    Quote Originally Posted by newmanj24 View Post
    I'd like to buy the book. I don't want to create an account to do so. Any suggestions.
    Maybe try buying through Elderly or some other brick and mortar store? They typically will allow you to check out as a “guest.”
    Chuck

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    Default Re: Celebrating The Mandolin Pickers Guide to Bluegrass Improvisa

    I'll bite. Just picked up a copy from Amazon. R/
    I love hanging out with mandolin nerds . . . . . Thanks peeps ...

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