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Thread: Best Mandolin Method Books

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    Registered User dbmandolin's Avatar
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    Default Best Mandolin Method Books

    I am trying to put together a survey of some of the best mandolin method books out there, and I was wondering if anyone had favorites that I should look into. I'd like to find method books for all different styles and approaches: General, Technique, Bluegrass, Oldtime, Celtic, Jazz, Classical, and others. Thanks.

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    Registered User dusty miller's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Mandolin Method Books

    I have and like

    Celtic-Irish Mandolin Paying: A Complete Guide By Philip John Berthoud
    BlueGrass- Getting into BlueGrass mandolin By Dix Bruce
    Theory- Fretboard Studies for the Improvising Mandolinist By Todd Collins
    BlueGrass- Bluegrass Mandolin Solos That Every Parking Lot Picker Should Know By Steve Kaufman
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    Default Re: Best Mandolin Method Books

    Marilynn Mair's "The Complete Mandolinist"

    http://www.marilynnmair.com/books/20...e-mandolinist/
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    Default Re: Best Mandolin Method Books

    Quote Originally Posted by dusty miller View Post
    BlueGrass- Bluegrass Mandolin Solos That Every Parking Lot Picker Should Know By Steve Kaufman
    I never thought of these collections of solos as method books. The Greg Horne method seem pretty thorough to me.

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    Default Re: Best Mandolin Method Books

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Bunting View Post
    I never thought of these collections of solos as method books. The Greg Horne method seem pretty thorough to me.
    Boy, I second that! Awesome. Looks like all three books are offered as one now:
    http://www.amazon.com/Mandolin-Metho...rds=Greg+Horne

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    Default Re: Best Mandolin Method Books

    Don Julin Mandolin For Dummies you don't get no better!!!!!
    John

  12. #7
    Registered User dusty miller's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Mandolin Method Books

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Bunting View Post
    I never thought of these collections of solos as method books. The Greg Horne method seem pretty thorough to me.
    Yeah you are right about that.

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    Default Re: Best Mandolin Method Books

    I'm just getting started, but I'm using the Greg Horne book and find it very thorough and easy to follow. I really like how he teaches you the notes on the fretboard by focusing on the open position of one course at a time. He shows you where the note is on the mandolin, and how it is written in standard notation, and then gives you a couple of little exercises that use those notes. These exercises build on one another, and before you know it you know all of the notes on the first five frets of each course, and can read simple music.

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    Default Re: Best Mandolin Method Books

    The grand daddy for bluegrass mandolin - The Jack Tottle book from 1976.

    Buying it, tuning it, holding it, listening to it, picking it. It's all there.

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    Default Re: Best Mandolin Method Books

    Mandolin For Dummies is a "must have" in my opinion.
    For irish music, I like "Irish Mandolin (A Complete Guide to Learning)" from Padraig Caroll, but it's very specific : the accompaniement isn't explained (only some chords are shown on the last page), and no tablature, you will learn to read music !
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    Default Re: Best Mandolin Method Books

    For beginners, I also say the following:

    Mike Marshall's first Fundamentals DVD. You won't learn a tune, a chord, or even a scale, but you will get a terrific grounding in fundamentals you may not have even known were things you should know when starting on the instrument.

    After that, the two Greg Horne books. Both of those are among the best beginner and intermediate general instruction books I've ever seen for an instrument. I'd recommend the first book with the DVD, even though the video instruction is only for the first fourth or so of the book.

    As far as bluegrass I recommend Steve Kaufman's Parking Lot Picker books. I am NOT a fan of his advanced arrangements, but in general the tune selection is excellent, the tabs/sheet music is generally perfectly in line with the accompanying CDs, and the arrangements of the beginner and intermediate versions of the songs is quite good. The price tag however is a tad higher than I like, but when I think about how much I've gotten out of those books...well...they've been more than worth it.

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    Default Re: Best Mandolin Method Books

    I own many good mandolin instructional books. Here are some that I think are great.

    "Mandolin Primer for Beginners." by Bert Casey: A great book for someone just starting out on mandolin. Short, concise, and accurate. Bluegrass oriented with a CD

    "Getting into Jazz Mandolin." by Ted Eschliman: Found at Mel Bay.
    This book is most useful in the hands of a player with some experience, and interest in delving into playing jazz standards as well as developing technique and theoretical understanding of music. Great stuff on his site http://www.jazzmando.com

    "Mel Bay's Complete Jethro Burns Mandolin Book." By Jethro Burns and Ken Eidson
    239 pages of awesome music, with 2 CD's. All in the style of the one and only Jethro Burns, featuring a wide range from bluegrass tunes, swing progressions, and practice exercises.

    "Bluegrass Mandolin." by Jack Tottle Oak Publications.
    This gem from 1975 has lots of tunes to learn. Also, the styles of Bill Monroe, Jesse McReynolds, Bobby Osborne and John Duffy are tabbed out and analyzed.

    "Steve Kaufman's Celtic Workout."
    Best I've found for Irish and Scottish traditional tunes.

    "Mandolin for Dummies," By Don Julin
    Touches on pretty much everything. Comprehensive and accurate

    "Mel Bay presents J.S. Bach for Mandolin." By Robert Bancalari
    No discussion of technique here, just accurate sheet music, and tab to some phenomenal pieces. Comes with CD that features 13 of the 26 pieces in the book.

    Hope this is of some helps, I did not mention the many books I find less helpful. My website has a link to resources and reviews as well for anyone interested.

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    Default Re: Best Mandolin Method Books

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Bunting View Post
    I never thought of these collections of solos as method books. The Greg Horne method seem pretty thorough to me.
    Ditto on the Greg Horne books. I also use Ted's Getting into Jazz Mando and Don's dummies book.
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    Default Re: Best Mandolin Method Books

    My favorites are:

    Mandolin Chordology - moveable patterns for all types of chords, theory
    Getting Into Jazz Mandolin - moveable scales, theory
    The Pentatonic Mandolin - explains how to use these easy versatile scales
    Sight Reading for the Tab Addicted Mandolinist - sight reading, theory
    Roland White's Approach To Bluegrass Mandolin - how to hold the instrument, pick, etc., good complete tunes, beginner level

    What I don't recommend:
    Fretboard Roadmaps - weird they made up their own vocabulary
    Bluegrass Mandolin - just tunes, and partial at that

    Meh:
    The Complete Mandolinist - some great info, just tries to be too comprehensive

  21. #15
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    Default Re: Best Mandolin Method Books

    Quote Originally Posted by dusty miller View Post
    I have and like

    Celtic-Irish Mandolin Paying: A Complete Guide By Philip John Berthoud
    BlueGrass- Getting into BlueGrass mandolin By Dix Bruce
    Theory- Fretboard Studies for the Improvising Mandolinist By Todd Collins
    BlueGrass- Bluegrass Mandolin Solos That Every Parking Lot Picker Should Know By Steve Kaufman
    Here is Todd Collins discussing his new books on YouTube:

    http://youtu.be/QKMYvSYLDWM

    http://youtu.be/ZAs-Ob-byOM

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    Default Re: Best Mandolin Method Books

    I've looked at a number of basic instruction books, and own the Tottle and Horne ones. Recently I've been working with a relatively little-known one by Eddie Collins (not to be confused with Todd Collins): ASAP Bluegrass Mandolin (Hal Leonard).

    This one is "all meat, no filler"--no pictures of folks playing the mandolin, no pointless story-telling. Just 112 pages and 2 CDs of solid instructional material, laid out very logically and progressively. This a textbook, not an annotated songbook. It emphases technical skills that you can apply to any song. Check it out.

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    Default Re: Best Mandolin Method Books

    I am using Greg Horne's books. I find them to be thorough, easy to follow, and very helpful. I've also used Mike Marshall's first Fundamentals DVD (I know, not a book) and think it's very good.

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    Default Re: Best Mandolin Method Books

    Quote Originally Posted by dusty miller View Post
    BlueGrass- Bluegrass Mandolin Solos That Every Parking Lot Picker Should Know By Steve Kaufman
    I think I have this one, is this the one where 3 versions of each tune are presented - easy, med, advanced? Some decent lines in the advanced versions, not too different from the med version, as I recall. And the section on endings carries the same exact patterns, just in different keys.

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    Registered User jmkatcher's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Mandolin Method Books

    The two Simon Mayor books: Mandolin Tutor and Mastering the Mandolin. The Jack Tottle "How To Play Mandolin" is also good.

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    Default Re: Best Mandolin Method Books

    Simple. For classical technique, Marilyn Mair's Complete Mandolinist.
    For everything else, Greg Horne's three volumes are incredible thorough.

    I have also got my hands on G. Leone's Method from the 1770s. The second method ever produced after P. Denis' a few months earlier. Very cool

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    Default Re: Best Mandolin Method Books

    OK. I'm on a shoestring, and can buy just one book for learning mandolin. I think I've narrowed it down (thanks to this site) to Greg Horne's "Complete Mandolin Method - Complete Edition", or Don Julin's "Mandolin for Dummies". The music I'm most interested in playing is old popular music (1920s and '30s pop and jazz) and Celtic (Irish, Scottish, Breton), as well as medieval. I don't play another instrument, can only read music in a very general sense (i.e., I know the staff itself), would prefer to learn by tablature or ear, and have occasionally been called an oaf. Which would you suggest, and, in a general sense, why?

  30. #22
    plectrist
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    Default Re: Best Mandolin Method Books

    Don's Mandolin for Dummies. It's an excellent source especially if you can return enough cans and bottles to eventually get his "Exercises" as a followup. And there are a ton of Don Julin YouTubes to help you out.

    Have phun!

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    Default Re: Best Mandolin Method Books

    I'm glad you posted this dbmandolin, I was thinking of asking the same question. Just purchased Greg Horne's Complete Edition book after reading this thread. Thanks everyone!

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    Default Re: Best Mandolin Method Books

    Many good books already listed.....

    if you want to get serious about classical - or any style in terms of technique - mandolin, here are some great places to learn after looking at the Marilynn Mair book:

    http://www.federmandolino.it/htm/spartiti_calace.htm

    http://www.federmandolino.it/listing...per_mandolino/

    The Calace method books.

    http://imslp.org/wiki/Category:Munier,_Carlo

    http://imslp.org/wiki/Scuola_del_Man...nier%2C_Carlo)

    http://imslp.org/wiki/Lo_Scioglidita_(Munier%2C_Carlo)

    Munier's books for mandolin

    https://www.amazon.com/Exploring-Cla.../dp/0876391625

    Exploring Classical Mandolin: Technique & Repertoire
    by August Watters (a member of this forum, no less)

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    Default Re: Best Mandolin Method Books

    "Exploring Classical Mandolin Technique and Repertoire" by August Watters, Berklee Press (2015). Music notation, no tablature. Not for beginners though.

    The Greg Horne book is also very good and should be the first book bought.

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