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Thread: Transcribing/ Getting Started

  1. #1

    Default Transcribing/ Getting Started

    Iíve been playing guitar for about 12 years, and always wanted to play the mandolin. Last summer I decided it was time to get started in earnest and signed up for lessons. Things started out well, and I was learning a tune a week, and more importantly I was learning how to actually play the mandolin and not treat it like a tiny guitar. My teacher would play a tune in the lesson, and Iíd spend the next week transcribing and learning how to play it alternating between the melody and changes. Unfortunately his schedule was too varied to have regular lessons, so after only a few lessons, we werenít able to keep it up. Iíve been stuck the last several months just chugging my way through Whiskey Before Breakfast (in D) and Cherokee Shuffle (in A). I thought maybe picking up some books would help. I bought most of John McGannís books since I had a couple classes with him when I was in school, and Andy Statmanís Jesse McReynolds book since I came across a reasonably priced copy. Even with these I still feel like Iím not really learning how to play bluegrass. My goal is to be able to play at the local bluegrass night here, which has been described to me as a very tough room, without embarrassing myself. I was thinking that Iíd keep on the track that I started with my lessons in trying to learn a tune a week, but I donít know what versions I should be looking to transcribe. Hereís a short list Iíve compiled looking around here, are there any specific versions I should be looking at? Do you have any tips?

    Any guidance is greatly appreciated.

    Old Joe Clark
    Nine Pound Hammer
    Red Haired Boy
    I am a Pilgrim
    Billy in the Low Ground
    Whiskey Before Breakfast
    Blackberry Blossom
    Wayfaring Stranger
    Gold Rush
    Blue Ridge Cabin Home
    Bill Cheatham
    Bury Me Beneath the Willow
    St. Anneís Reel
    In te Pines
    Cherokee Shuffle
    Big Sciota
    Sitting on Top of the World
    Beaumont Rag
    Little Maggie
    Man of Constant Sorrow
    Temperance Reel
    If I Should Wander Back Tonight

  2. #2
    Registered User Perry's Avatar
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    Default Re: Transcribing/ Getting Started

    That's a pretty popular list of tunes. I'm not sure there is one right way to play any of those "standards". As a result I collect loads of books and study other peoples variations on these fiddle tunes. Then I try and incorporate some into my version along with hopefully some of my own ideas. Check out Mike Marshall's Bluegrass Academy; you'll get loads of tips on many if not all of those tunes.


    Playing in time will get you a long way at any session.

    Practicing rhythm and leads to backing tracks is a great way to get warmed up for a jam session. Here's a free site that is really well done. You can choose your tempo.

    The 240bpm is what a typical tempo may be at a "tough" room

    http://flatpickapprentice.blogspot.com/

    Brad Davis has some really good backing tracks for sale too.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Transcribing/ Getting Started

    Thanks for the website and the tips- looks like I need to spend some more time in the woodshed to play at 240 bpm cleanly. Thanks!

  4. #4

    Default Re: Transcribing/ Getting Started

    Quote Originally Posted by Perry View Post
    That's a pretty popular list of tunes. I'm not sure there is one right way to play any of those "standards". As a result I collect loads of books and study other peoples variations on these fiddle tunes. Then I try and incorporate some into my version along with hopefully some of my own ideas. Check out Mike Marshall's Bluegrass Academy; you'll get loads of tips on many if not all of those tunes.


    Playing in time will get you a long way at any session.

    Practicing rhythm and leads to backing tracks is a great way to get warmed up for a jam session. Here's a free site that is really well done. You can choose your tempo.

    The 240bpm is what a typical tempo may be at a "tough" room

    http://flatpickapprentice.blogspot.com/

    Brad Davis has some really good backing tracks for sale too.
    You might try the "Resources" section of this website. You can find tabs there. Also check out Alltabs. The best thing I every did was get the Amazing Slow Downer. By using that software, I've been able to transcribe lots of breaks by ear, which is a wonderful way to learn.

  5. #5
    String-Bending Heretic mandocrucian's Avatar
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    Default Re: Transcribing/ Getting Started

    I was learning how to actually play the mandolin and not treat it like a tiny guitar.
    What exactly does that mean?
    Using "normal" mandolin fingering?
    Not playing "guitar licks"?

    ????

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