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Thread: Method book recommendations

  1. #1

    Default Method book recommendations

    Hi all,

    I'm a long time guitarist just now picking up the mando.

    I have decent dexterity on the fingerboard, but I really don't know what I'm doing. I've been working through a lot of youtube videos sorta willy-nilly, and think I'd benefit from a methodical approach.

    Can anyone recommend a good method book series that will take me through the proper scales, exercises and staple mandolin tunes?

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    not a donut Kevin Winn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Method book recommendations

    'Mandolin For Dummies' and especially the accompanying 'Mandolin Exercises For Dummies' by Don Julin

    MandoLessons.com for staple fiddle tunes
    "Keep your hat on, we may end up miles from here..." - Kurt Vonnegut

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    Default Re: Method book recommendations

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Winn View Post
    'Mandolin For Dummies' and especially the accompanying 'Mandolin Exercises For Dummies' by Don Julin
    What sort of stuff is in the MFD Exercises book, guys? I have MFD, and it's excellent, but I'm looking for a book of exercises I can just open a play till my right hand works like it should. I've been recommended Mike Marshall's Fingerbusters and another mando excercise book on this forum, but neither appear to be available here in UK.

  4. #4
    Registered User Djsmith628's Avatar
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    Default Re: Method book recommendations

    Mastering Mandolin: The Complete Method by Wayne Fugate is worth considering.
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    Registered User Perry's Avatar
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    Default Re: Method book recommendations

    Quote Originally Posted by kt-va View Post
    Hi all,

    I'm a long time guitarist just now picking up the mando.

    I have decent dexterity on the fingerboard, but I really don't know what I'm doing. I've been working through a lot of youtube videos sorta willy-nilly, and think I'd benefit from a methodical approach.

    Can anyone recommend a good method book series that will take me through the proper scales, exercises and staple mandolin tunes?

    Thanks in advance!
    I think this is a great primer. https://www.amazon.com/Fretboard-Roa.../dp/0634001426

    The first step would be to know every note on your fingerboard. Then you can translate your guitar knowledge. Where is your root where is my flat 7, my minor third in relation to your root. Then you can piece together your own fingerings knowing what notes you are playing.Seriously this would go a long way toward learning the mandolin There is only 12 notes is western music. Know where they are on your instrument. Seems simple but many otherwise good practitioners don't know this basic info on their instrument.

    Mandolin is more symmetrical thus easier in some ways then the guitar that has that pesky B string.

    But really no one book/video is gonna do it all. You will glean a bit from every book. Can you read standard notation? If so translate to mandolin and the world is your oyster.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Method book recommendations

    There are generally three Mandolin how to books recommended. The first is Marilyn Mair's book The Complete Mandolinist, the second Mandolin for Dummies which has already been recommended lastly is Justin Rubner-Peterson's book The Mandolin Picker's Guide to Bluegrass. Any of these books will give you a good grounding in playing mandolin. Fifths tuning is odd when you first start playing after playing fourths with a "B" string in the mix. Depending on what you end goal is there are many possibilities . Here's one site for your perusal https://robcoleman.com/jethro/index.html enjoy R/
    I love hanging out with mandolin nerds . . . . . Thanks peeps ...

  7. #7

    Default Re: Method book recommendations

    Lots of good books and videos but I would recommend taking a lesson or two from someone who plays mandolin as their main instrument. They can get you started off with good technique and give you ideas for going forward. Have fun!
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  8. #8
    not a donut Kevin Winn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Method book recommendations

    Quote Originally Posted by maxr View Post
    What sort of stuff is in the MFD Exercises book, guys? I have MFD, and it's excellent, but I'm looking for a book of exercises I can just open a play till my right hand works like it should. I've been recommended Mike Marshall's Fingerbusters and another mando excercise book on this forum, but neither appear to be available here in UK.
    https://www.amazon.com/Mandolin-Exer.../dp/1118769538

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    Fingertips of leather Bill McCall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Method book recommendations

    Quote Originally Posted by maxr View Post
    ........but I'm looking for a book of exercises I can just open a play till my right hand works like it should........
    From my own experience, you might be a while at that
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    Default Re: Method book recommendations

    Thanks ALL! This is really helpful. I'm going to order a couple of books and try to locate a teacher for a couple of lessons.


    I've been playing on a cheap fender that is frustrating to play due to poor action and intonation. I've done a fair amount of setup work on it, but it can only get but so good. The cheap tuning keys can't be replaced because they are not spaced like the rest of the world spaces their tuners.

    I did a bunch of searching through this group and decided on an Eastman 305. I've never purchased an instrument without playing it first, in my entire life - but with covid ... eh. According to this group, it seems like the mandolin store is reliable enough to take a chance. Now, as soon as this weird cold snap blows by they will ship my new purchase. Can't wait!

  12. #11
    not a donut Kevin Winn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Method book recommendations

    You have chosen wisely, on all fronts....
    "Keep your hat on, we may end up miles from here..." - Kurt Vonnegut

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    Default Re: Method book recommendations

    Quote Originally Posted by kt-va View Post
    as soon as this weird cold snap blows by they will ship my new purchase. Can't wait!
    Have a lot of fun with that! I just bought an Eastman 305 by mail order (a small store with several mandolin players working there) as my first 'real' mandolin, and I'm very happy with it. I always mess with instruments I play, so ignore any posts you see from me asking nerdy questions. If I played more and messed with them less, I'd be a better player

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    Registered User grassrootphilosopher's Avatar
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    Default Re: Method book recommendations

    Old ##### started with the Jack Tottle book (https://www.amazon.com/Bluegrass-Man.../dp/0825601541).

    Another incredibly great book is the Niles Hokkanen (hes a member here) "Pentatonic Mandolin": https://www.elderly.com/products/the...tonic-mandolin
    This will blow your mind and it goes well beyond anything mandolin. It helps with all kind of instrumental musicianship.
    Olaf

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    Default Re: Method book recommendations

    I also started with the Jack Tottle book, many years ago.

    I don't even play bluegrass really, but that book started me on a lifelong journey.
    It's so well laid out and intuitive. It hasn't really been surpassed by any of the newer books I've seen.
    Bren

  16. #15

    Default Re: Method book recommendations

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Winn View Post
    You have chosen wisely, on all fronts....
    I wish I could say that about everything else in my life!

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by grassrootphilosopher View Post
    Old ##### started with the Jack Tottle book (https://www.amazon.com/Bluegrass-Man.../dp/0825601541).

    Another incredibly great book is the Niles Hokkanen (hes a member here) "Pentatonic Mandolin": https://www.elderly.com/products/the...tonic-mandolin
    This will blow your mind and it goes well beyond anything mandolin. It helps with all kind of instrumental musicianship.
    I just put this on my wish list

  17. #16
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Method book recommendations

    There are many mandolin method books, both old and new. As well as a tonne of exercise books if you include exercises for violin students. They all are good, and have specific strengths the others lack. ... The best thing, IMO, is to have a teacher, and to use what that teacher recommends. Likely it will be a sampling of different method books and exercises to fit your specific needs. My opinion is that following a method book on my own would be like prescribing drugs for myself. There are people that know how to do this. .... Especially with Skype and Zoom, my goodness, no instructor is out of reach.
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  18. #17
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    Default Re: Method book recommendations

    Bickford's Method was produced long ago .. Classical Standard notation presentation.
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