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Thread: What is the "Must Have" Mandolin Book(s)?

  1. #1

    Default What is the "Must Have" Mandolin Book(s)?

    I am sure this has been covered but I thought I'd refresh for 2020. Any books are welcome for history, instruction or both. I am learning Bluegrass but welcome any/all recommended resources.

    Be well and stay safe...

  2. #2
    Registered User Eric Platt's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is the "Must Have" Mandolin Book(s)?

    My top two are history books -
    The Mandolin in America by Walter Carter. Good overview with great photos.
    The Complete Guide to The Gibson Mandolins by Paul Fox. Best history out there on the company and instruments, IMO.

    There is also Italian Mandolin Heroes in America by Sheri Mignano Crawford. Unique look at music and marketing mainly aimed at a specific ethnic group.

    Hopefully others will chime in with good recommendations.
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    Registered User Mike Romkey's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is the "Must Have" Mandolin Book(s)?

    For material, there are a couple of must-haves, IMHO. One is the venerable “Fiddler’s Fakebook.” I’m not sure why it’s called a “fakebook.” Nothing fake about it. In standard notation, with chords. If you don’t know how to read music it’s a good skill to have, and this is a good on-ramp to learning. Also, Stacy Phillips’ “The Phillips Collection of Traditional American Fiddle Tunes.” For Irish, “O'Neill's Music of Ireland.”
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    Hands of Pot Metal
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    Default Re: What is the "Must Have" Mandolin Book(s)?

    Jack Tuttle, Molly’s dad, has 2 bluegrass tune books, with fiddle tunes and transcribed solos of standard songs. Videos of the basics from Chris Thile or Mike Marshall can’t be beat.

    Listen to a lot of the music to get the feel ingrained.
    Play it like you mean it

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    Registered User Craig D.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: What is the "Must Have" Mandolin Book(s)?

    I second the Paul Fox book -- excellent all around.

    I have not read the Walter Carter book, but it's in my Amazon shopping cart now. Thanks!
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    mando-evangelist August Watters's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is the "Must Have" Mandolin Book(s)?

    Since different folks have different stylistic interests, I'll leave out books that are style-based.

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Platt View Post
    My top two are history books -
    The Mandolin in America by Walter Carter. Good overview with great photos.
    The Complete Guide to The Gibson Mandolins by Paul Fox. Best history out there on the company and instruments, IMO.

    There is also Italian Mandolin Heroes in America by Sheri Mignano Crawford.
    .
    I second these -- are all great books, helpful for understanding how today's mandolin music and how it evolved, especially in north America. For a more international view there's also The Mandolin-A History" from Graham McDonald.

    I second the Paul Fox book -- excellent all around.
    Agree - also the Fox book challenges some of the conventional wisdom about Lloyd Loar and his role, which is timely, considering the wide range of interests visible here on the Cafe.
    Exploring Classical Mandolin (Berklee Press, 2015)
    Progressive Melodies for Mandocello (Amazon, 2019)
    New Solos for Classical Mandolin (Hal Leonard Press, 2020)

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    Registered User Martin Jonas's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is the "Must Have" Mandolin Book(s)?

    As August is far too modest to do it himself, I have to nominate him instead:

    "Exploring Classical Mandolin: Technique & Repertoire" (Berklee Press, 2015) by August Watters.

    For more beginner Level:
    "The Mandolin Tutor" by Simon Mayor.

    Martin

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    Registered User Ranald's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is the "Must Have" Mandolin Book(s)?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Romkey View Post
    For material, there are a couple of must-haves, IMHO. One is the venerable “Fiddler’s Fakebook.” I’m not sure why it’s called a “fakebook.” Nothing fake about it. In standard notation, with chords. If you don’t know how to read music it’s a good skill to have, and this is a good on-ramp to learning. Also, Stacy Phillips’ “The Phillips Collection of Traditional American Fiddle Tunes.” For Irish, “O'Neill's Music of Ireland.”
    My brother is a jazz pianist with plenty of fake books that include basic melodies and chording for numerous tunes. I figured they were for "faking it" in clubs and such -- "Can you play 'Melancholy Baby'? "Sure," flip through the fake book, then improvise from the written music. One of my dictionaries tells me that, in jazz, fake is "to improvise", which supports my idea. On the other hand, Google tells me: "A Fake book is book that contains music sheets for songs. Usually they contain chords and melody, but sometimes lyrics as well. ... They were called Fake Books, because the people that wrote and publish them didn't have the royalties for the songs." Take your pick, or neither.
    Robert Johnson's mother, describing blues musicians:
    "I never did have no trouble with him until he got big enough to be round with bigger boys and off from home. Then he used to follow all these harp blowers, mandoleen (sic) and guitar players."
    Lomax, Alan, The Land where The Blues Began, NY: Pantheon, 1993, p.14.

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    Registered User J Mangio's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is the "Must Have" Mandolin Book(s)?

    Music Theory for Modern Mandolin
    by Thomas P Ohmsen.
    2019 The Loar Supreme LM700 VS

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    not a donut Kevin Winn's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is the "Must Have" Mandolin Book(s)?

    'Mandolin Exercises for Dummies' by Don Julin
    "Keep your hat on, we may end up miles from here..." - Kurt Vonnegut

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    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: What is the "Must Have" Mandolin Book(s)?

    For history I would recommend Graham Mcdonald's book "The Mandolin A History".
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    Pataphysician Joe Bartl's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is the "Must Have" Mandolin Book(s)?

    Excellent suggestions from everyone! But strangely omitted (perhaps it just goes without saying...?) has been Paul Sparks, The Classical Mandolin. This is a great where-to-start book if you're exploring mando history.

    Joe

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    Default Re: What is the "Must Have" Mandolin Book(s)?

    I know how to read music... Know theory, chords and chord progression... and I know Tab reading (or course) for Mandolin.

    Admittedly, I have not effectively applied "standard notation" reading to my Mandolin Practice yet.

    I should!

    Mike, I don't know if you were serious about your comment for the name of "Fake Book" - as I had some experience with this from my High School days (I am in my 50s now) playing Jazz Trumpet. My "simple" interpretation is that they were called "Fake Books" because they were non-original, transcribed charts of the melody and the chord changes... so players could qualify quickly reference a large number of tunes to have the basic song structure and then improvise over.

    The idea that they were large books of transcribed, non-original and unlicensed charts is how/why I thought they were called "Fake Books".

    An interesting side topic... but thanks much for your responses!

  18. #14

    Default Re: What is the "Must Have" Mandolin Book(s)?

    Ranald, I also think your description is outstanding too: Artists "faking" their way through a tune... is also a great supplement to my reply to Mike.

    Sorry, I saw this after I responded.

    I think there are elements of both our responses... that are relevant.

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    Default Re: What is the "Must Have" Mandolin Book(s)?

    THANKS TO EVERYONE!

    I am happy and feel blessed with all these responses!

    I know, have and will continue to read reviews on Amazon... but having recommendations from people here means much more... because of the aspect of actual Mandolinists and passionate players who perhaps have several or many resources but recommend what worked best for them... which carry more weight with me!

    Thanks again!

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    The Amateur Mandolinist Mark Gunter's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is the "Must Have" Mandolin Book(s)?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ranald View Post
    My brother is a jazz pianist with plenty of fake books that include basic melodies and chording for numerous tunes. I figured they were for "faking it" in clubs and such -- "Can you play 'Melancholy Baby'? "Sure," flip through the fake book, then improvise from the written music. One of my dictionaries tells me that, in jazz, fake is "to improvise", which supports my idea. On the other hand, Google tells me: "A Fake book is book that contains music sheets for songs. Usually they contain chords and melody, but sometimes lyrics as well. ... They were called Fake Books, because the people that wrote and publish them didn't have the royalties for the songs." Take your pick, or neither.
    Hi Ranald, from an historical perspective, your dictionary is correct that Fake Books began as collections of melody notation/chord charts that were published sans royalties in violation of copyright laws. A necessary practice for poor musicians to collect and share standards. I have a large collection of fake books, and in the past attempted to share one in the jazz forum but was blocked by a moderator because of the true nature of a real fake book. This illustrates the nature of a true fake book in the historical context, and is not a complaint about forum moderation; forum moderation here is awesome, and the forum guidelines prohibit sharing of copyright materials.

    Your other definition of faking as improvising is also valid, so there can be sort of a double meaning to the Fake Book concept ... and in present day usage, "Fake Book" is sometimes applied to any large collection of songs, particularly of a single genre, even when copyrights are honored and published by the large publishing houses. It stands to reason that as a marketing tool, the publishing houses would eventually horn in on the budding musician's search for "Fake Books" so they will sometimes call a copyrighted publication a "Fake Book." Example, in 1990, I bought The Ultimate Rock Guitar Fake Book from Hal Leonard Publishing.

    Some of the best old jazz fakebooks are available in PDF format at the Internet Archive Fakebook Library, https://archive.org/details/fakebooks?sort=titleSorter

    And here is an entire, ancient cafe thread on the question, complete with a "college days" story from August Watters and other interesting contributions: https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/t...-fakebook-quot

    Sorry for the sidetrack, but the question did arise
    Last edited by Mark Gunter; Mar-30-2020 at 10:18am. Reason: added old cafe thread
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    Registered User Toycona's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is the "Must Have" Mandolin Book(s)?

    The two books that really helped me (still do)....Parking Lot Picker’s Song Book (mandolin edition) and Jesper Rubner-Peterson’s Improvisation lick book. I’ve bought several books from Mel Bay’s site too. I really like the 17th Century Scottish Book. I’m currently working through Mando Mike’s tune book of English Fiddle Tunes. Those last two don’t really help when you’re in a jam context, but in terms of learning the fretboard, developing licks that other people aren’t playing, or picking up tunes by ear or tab or notation, they’re great. Mike Marshall’s finger buster book is good for finger exercises, as is the FFcP book.
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    Default Re: What is the "Must Have" Mandolin Book(s)?

    Quote Originally Posted by Martin Jonas View Post
    As August is far too modest to do it himself, I have to nominate him instead:

    "Exploring Classical Mandolin: Technique & Repertoire" (Berklee Press, 2015) by August Watters.

    Martin
    A big second to that; August's book comes with a code to connect with online videos, the kind of things that are hard to get from reading text or looking at photos.
    And I know this is a "mandolin book" thread, but what about his relatively new Mandocello book? Those of us in the bass clef realm were feeling neglected until recently. Not much out there other than the slightly archaic Goichberg and Bickford books (which are almost entirely NOT in bass clef).

    Oh, a few more for the history list, probably will appear from others on this thread-- Graham McDonald Mandolin: A History. And how about Paul Sparks The Classical Mandolin and (with James Tyler) The Early Mandolin.
    OK, although I have some pickin' standards, like the Fakebook, the Dawg Book, and Old Time Fiddle Tunes, I'm more of a classical scholar than a plucker, but I like origin stories.
    I will be ordering some of the books I see in this thread from POWELLS BOOK STORE in Portland OR (the BEST book store in the world) not AMAZON--THANKS FOLKS!
    jim
    Last edited by Jim Imhoff; Apr-01-2020 at 10:14am. Reason: additional material, spelling errors!

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    Registered User mandolin breeze's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is the "Must Have" Mandolin Book(s)?

    Might find something interesting here.

    http://www.acousticdisc.com/acd_html/dawg-books.html

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Registered User Willem's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is the "Must Have" Mandolin Book(s)?

    Quote Originally Posted by Toycona View Post
    The two books that really helped me (still do)....Parking Lot Picker’s Song Book (mandolin edition) and Jesper Rubner-Peterson’s Improvisation lick book. I’ve bought several books from Mel Bay’s site too. I really like the 17th Century Scottish Book. I’m currently working through Mando Mike’s tune book of English Fiddle Tunes. Those last two don’t really help when you’re in a jam context, but in terms of learning the fretboard, developing licks that other people aren’t playing, or picking up tunes by ear or tab or notation, they’re great. Mike Marshall’s finger buster book is good for finger exercises, as is the FFcP book.
    I am also eternally grateful for the Parking Lot Pickers Guide. A lot of the songs I play in jams came from that as most are truly universal. Its not meant to make you the hottest shredder out there, but gives you chords, lyrics, and melody for a whole lot of songs well known in bluegrass circles.

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    Default Re: What is the "Must Have" Mandolin Book(s)?

    Quote Originally Posted by Martin Jonas View Post
    As August is far too modest to do it himself, I have to nominate him instead:

    "Exploring Classical Mandolin: Technique & Repertoire" (Berklee Press, 2015) by August Watters.

    For more beginner Level:
    "The Mandolin Tutor" by Simon Mayor.

    Martin
    I recently received my copy of "Exploring Classical Mandolin: Technique & Repertoire" (Berklee Press, 2015) by August Watters. It is, in my opinion, a remarkable book. Through occasional communications on the cafe and perusal of his responses on various threads, I have come to view Mr. Watters as extremely gifted in the art of “communicating about music”; as an excellent educator. This book provides an incredible perspective on classical technique and repertoire that, to me, is unmatched. My stack of “must have” books includes Mr. Watters book, Paul Sparks Classical Mandolin, and Graham McDonald’s The Mandolin: A History. I am an L&H fan so I will throw in Hubert Pleijsier’s Washburn Prewar Instrument Styles for those who share a similar devotion. These four books are my own particular “essentials”. For the record, I am a music neophyte - and I find these books immensely helpful and written in styles which should not scare off beginners.

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