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Play Like A Legend - Bill Monroe Tunes & Songs for Mandolin

By Mandolin Cafe
September 21, 2011 - 7:00 am

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Play Like A Legend - Bill Monroe Tunes & Songs for Mandolin

Play Like A Legend - Bill Monroe Tunes & Songs for Mandolin

Pacific, Mo. — Commemorating his 100th birthday in 2011, Mel Bay Publications announces the release of a new instruction manual on the unique mandolin style of bluegrass music innovator Bill Monroe. Play Like a Legend: Bill Monroe Tunes and Songs for the Mandolin was written by South Plains College (Levelland, Texas) music professor Joe Carr.

Here, for the first time, is an in depth study of the mandolin style of father of bluegrass music, Bill Monroe. Twenty Monroe style fiddle tunes and instrumentals, nineteen song solos and a special section on Monroe's approach to gospel turnarounds are presented here. Several of Monroe's characteristic approaches are broken down and detailed including using the chop position for soloing.

Included are Monroe's strategies for playing at fast tempos. Solos from 1941 to 1993 are represented. The addition of 33 rare photographs of Monroe with his band and other well-known bluegrass artists including Don Reno, Chubby Wise, Maybelle Carter, Roland White, Jimmy Martin, Alan Munde and others by Artie Rose makes this a must have collectable for all bluegrass music fans.

"Of the over 20 titles I have written for Mel Bay, I am most proud of this long overdue project. It is my hope that this volume will become a standard text for all mandolinists who wish to study the elusive Monroe style."

Early indications are that this work will become a major contribution to bluegrass music literature. Players who are challenged by the rapid tempos of bluegrass will benefit from the techniques Monroe used throughout his career.

Carr continues, "In 1968, Earl Scruggs released his landmark instruction book, Earl Scruggs and the 5 String Banjo. It remains one of best selling books on the bluegrass banjo style. I expect the Monroe book will achieve similar status among bluegrass mandolin players."

Difficulty: Beginning-Intermediate
Page Count: 80 pages
Binding: Spiral
Size: 8.75 x 11.75"
Music: Standard Notation and Tablature

Song titles:
Back Up and Push
Blackberry Blossom
Boston Boy
Brakeman's Blues
Can't You Hear Me Callin'
Chicken Reel
Close By
Cotton Eyed Joe
Cripple Creek
Dusty Miller
East Tennessee Blues
Fire on the Mountain
Happy on My Way
I Saw the Light
I'm on My Way Back to the Old Home
Katy Hill
Kentucky Mandolin
Little Joe
Methodist Preacher
Monroe Blues
Nine Pound Hammer
No One But My Darlin'
On and On
Paddy on the Turnpike
Panhandle Country
Roll In My Sweet Baby's Arms
Roll on Buddy, Roll On
Sally Goodin
Salt Creek
Soldier's Joy
Sugar Coated Love
The First Whippoorwill
The Gold Rush
Turkey in the Straw
Walk Softly on this Heart
Wheel Hoss
White House Blues
White House Blues II
White House Blues III

Additional information:
Purchase: From
Purchase: From Mel Bay


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Reader Comments

September 21, 2011 08:04 AM
September 21, 2011 08:17 AM
This is just what I've been looking for. Joe Carr always makes things easy to understand.
Marty Henrickson
September 21, 2011 01:51 PM
Adding to my wish list!
September 22, 2011 08:18 AM
Someone who is at the intermediate level and buys this book, please put up a review on whether this is worth the money. I have both Collins Monroe Tab books and found them great except for no CD. Also Tottle's books of mando Tab sold by Gryhon in Palo Alto, CA is a great resource. Is this Carr book more for beginners or is it a good resource for intermediates to extend their Monroe playing? I like the CD coming with it as long as the tab / CD are not just simple "lead sheets".

Thanks, RB250
Joe Carr
September 22, 2011 03:19 PM
Here is an excerpt from my new Monroe book that may help folks decide if it
is for them. Although it is advertised as a Beginning to Intermediate level book, rank beginners would have trouble jumping in as these are real transcriptions of Monroe's playing. The most valuable material in my opinion is the discussion and demo of "playable phrases" that allowed Monroe to play fast. Also his use of doubled notes worked to his advantage. Here is the excerpt:

How Does He Play So Fast?
Monroe was reportedly once asked this question. "I'm not fast, I'm quick" was his response. I have given this seemingly inscrutable response some thought since, although it was confusing to me, it apparently had meaning for him. After careful consideration, here are my thoughts: If fast means running a 100-yard dash and quick means catching a fly, Monroe may be saying that when he plays, producing each note is a short event done quickly like catching a fly. While others may look at the total 64 or so notes of the solo and try to play the entire series fast, Monroe may see the solo as a series of discreet events - each executed quickly. But how does all of this help a student play faster?
While there is no substitute for being innately talented or for having 60 plus years of experience, Monroe has several learnable techniques that allow him to play quickly. First (1), his right hand and wrist stay very relaxed even when playing at fast tempos. Watch internet videos of the master until you can readily "see" an image of his hand. Strive to emulate that relaxed position. Realize that your volume may be reduced when you first experiment with a loose wrist. Second (2), his tune arrangements are designed for speed. Look at the transcription of Turkey in the Straw. Note the repeated notes throughout the A section. AND note that this entire section is played with the powerful 1, 2 and 3 fingers. Practice the G arpeggio/scale shape produced by the notes in the A section until they are second nature and your fingers move effortlessly to the frets. The fingers almost form the familiar G "chop", chord position as they hover over the fingerboard. By the time you have repeated this pattern 100,000 times, your hand will begin to recognize it as Monroe must have. See the notes for Katy Hill for a detailed explanation and practice examples.
Monroe, very likely, did not work out solos like this slowly. They were improvised at speed on stage. The patterns were so familiar that all the sounds were expected. There were no surprises in that G position. In your practice, strive for that familiarity. Third (3), there are a number of common fiddle tune phrases that are difficult to play well on the mandolin at fast tempos. Monroe invente alterations of these phrases to create similar but vastly more playable licks. Examples are shown in the tune notes as they appear. Fourth (4), his unique note doubling technique allowed him to keep the eighth note feel while slowing the speed of the left hand. Examples appear in the tunes.
Joe Carr
Joe Carr
September 22, 2011 07:39 PM
To sum up, I personally avoided the Monroe style for many years partially because there was no book explaining the style. I tried to write the book I wanted. The process allowed me to discover several secrets that served Monroe well into his 80s! Many of his treatments of common licks slow left hand movement by as much as half. In one example I show in the book, Monroe takes a common 9 move fiddle phrase and re-states it in a 4 note move. This "slow hand" approach allowed him to play with incredible speed. While great modern players are able to play very notey phrases at interstellar speeds, many of us mere human mando players are left standing in the dust. Monroe's approach offers us all a chance to speed up with the appearance of playing all the notes. When I discovered this, I was amazed. It was there all the time! My appreciation for Monroe's genius grew as a result.
September 22, 2011 11:58 PM
Interesting. Looking forward to the e-book download version being available.
September 23, 2011 06:48 AM
Joe Carr,

Thanks for the feedback. What I love about this website and the internet in general is (for instance) you can ask a question about a book and what happens..... the author answers your question as well as otheres in the know. Your example about speed from the book told me this is a book/CD to own on Monroe Style. I'll be ordering a copy. And FYI, Don Stiernberg told me some years ago in one of his Chicago area seminars to buy anything Joe Carr has out there. Thanks again for input "from the horses mouth".

September 23, 2011 03:11 PM
+1 - It's a tribute to the high level of chat here at the Cafe, that authors and musicians feel welcome to engage directly, and I'm grateful for that. Looking forward to buying the book!
September 23, 2011 03:58 PM
After attending the Monroe style mandolin camp I must have this manual. I see Mel Bay site is offering a 20% discount and free shipping until the end of September.
September 23, 2011 05:17 PM
I received a email today saying by order was delayed. Must be selling like hot cakes? It will be a tough wait for this book. Looking forward to it.
Scott Tichenor
September 24, 2011 07:12 AM
Quote from d18daddy: I received a email today saying by order was delayed. Must be selling like hot cakes? It will be a tough wait for this book. Looking forward to it. End Quote

Elderly has posted this on their site and I assume they are who you are ordering from: on order, expected arrival date 09/26/11. Believe Mel Bay is shipping/delivering these already since they're the publisher.
B. T. Walker
September 24, 2011 07:32 AM
This summer at Camp Bluegrass, Joe said that this was the book he was most proud of. He said he wanted it to be the Bible of Monroe-style playing, the definitive resource. If he had had any for sale at that time, he would have been wiped clean out.
September 24, 2011 08:32 AM
Quote from Scott Tichenor: Elderly has posted this on their site and I assume they are who you are ordering from: on order, expected arrival date 09/26/11. Believe Mel Bay is shipping/delivering these already since they're the publisher. End Quote

Mel Bay sent me a note that it would be shipped in 2-4 weeks. Must be sellin' like hotcakes!
Scott Tichenor
September 24, 2011 08:56 AM
Quote from tr6drvr: Mel Bay sent me a note that it would be shipped in 2-4 weeks. Must be sellin' like hotcakes! End Quote

Wow, that's unfortunate.
September 24, 2011 09:38 AM
I met Joe Carr for the first time this summer at Camp Bluegrass. I learned a great deal and am regularly practicing from his book - "Rhythm Changes", which has helpful and practical insights I haven't seen in other resources. He told us about his forthcoming book on Monroe, and I have been regularly checking Mel Bay ever since. If this book is in keeping with his previous writings and what he described at Camp, this will be an important contribution to the bluegrass community and required reading for mandolinists who want to "play like the master."
Just Say'n
Joe Carr
September 24, 2011 09:51 AM
Folks, although I'm totally out of the loop on this issue (I haven't seen a copy yet myself,) I'm embarrassed that this situation has developed. Hopefully, these problems are only going to be here at the first and things will work out soon. I hope you all think it is worth the wait.

Kevin Stevens
September 24, 2011 10:23 AM
Joe, don't be embarrassed that the book is selling well. It will be worth the wait I am sure. I just ordered in from Mel Bay today and am looking forward to it, no matter when it gets here.
September 24, 2011 11:24 AM
Yep, no worries Joe.
September 24, 2011 11:28 AM
Joe, congratulations on this project. But I do have a doubt about your inference on why Monroe didn't play "all the notes" in fiddle tunes (that was also a criticism from Bobby Osborne, repeated I think in the Tottle book years ago). To my ear, Monroe *could* have played note-for-note if he wished, but he didn't want to -- he wanted a *mandolinistic* approach to a fiddle tune, *not* a fiddle approach. It just sounded better to him the way he played it, implying notes, keeping a strong mandolin rhythm rather than a stream of different notes. I really hear this in his "syncopated ladder" scales (downstroke on first note, then two notes beginning with the upstroke on the others). I believe he's hearing Uncle Pen's fiddling ("he had the finest double shuffle...") and cares to emulate that on the mandolin for the drive and power -- which is what characterizes Blue Grass music since Monroe Brother days.
Joe Carr
September 24, 2011 11:59 AM
I agree with last comments. To quote myself from the book:

Many mandolin players before and after Monroe looked with good reason to the fiddle for inspiration with satisfactory if uninspiring results. Monroe, however, realized
that while the two instruments are tuned the same, many fiddle ideas simply do not translate well to the mandolin. The mandolin player uses a pick rather than a bow to produce notes. Players who view the mandolin as a "poor man's" fiddle were apt to see the pick as a serious limitation. Monroe used the pick to create new powerful ideas that did work well on the mandolin and were not native to the fiddle. Indeed, if Monroe
had only followed the fiddle approach to mandolin playing, he likely would not have been notable as a mandolin player. By embracing the mandolin on its own terms and not simply as an extension of the fiddle, he was able to take advantage of many elements that make the mandolin unique
September 24, 2011 02:00 PM
This isn't meant to be a review. Just to let you know that the book is making it to us consumers the USPS delivered my copy about 30 minutes ago. I placed my order with Mel Bay on the 21st by following the link above in the original post. I haven't had time to do more than a quick browse through the 80 pages, 16 of which contain some fine photos of Mr. Monroe mostly from the 60's and 70's. All but just a few of the tunes/songs give its recorded source along with the author's comments on points or techniques of interest such as "The descending line in measures 5-6 over the G chord makes good use of open strings to produce a lick playable at high speed." It looks like there's plenty to keep one busy in studying and learning Monroe's style. I haven't listened to the CD yet. I plan to do that right now then spend the rest of the day with the book and CD, the new Mini Headstock Tuner (also delivered today), and my new (used) Gibson A5G. Right now I'm a happy guy!
Terry W. Harvey
September 25, 2011 06:18 PM
I downloaded the e-book yesterday morning. Since I spend more time playing mp3's through my macbook this is a perfect medium for me. I like having the pdf sheet music in front of me while practicing and if I need to I just print out the individual page. I was curious about this book and how accurate it would be since my Bill Monroe experience has been through taking lessons from Mike Compton and his presentations/interpretations of the Monroe style. Bottom line it's definitely worth the purchase and a great overview.
Kevin Stevens
September 26, 2011 10:51 AM
I ordered the book on Saturday, just got the e-mail today that it would be 2-4 weeks from Mel Bay. Still deciding if the e-book is the way to go.
September 26, 2011 12:15 PM
I ordered the e-book and as of now I'm having a problem getting the discount which I understand is 30%. Hopefully this will be resolved in the near future. After working through Boston Boy I thought the tab was wrong then after listing to the track and playing it over a few time I see what everyone is talking about.It's a different approach and will take a little getting used to. All and all you can go wrong buying the e-book with the discount.MHO.
September 26, 2011 12:16 PM
can't go wrong,sorry
Joe Carr
September 26, 2011 01:16 PM
Re: Boston Boy - I'll agree that the music doesn't always go like you think it's going to in Monroe's approach. After you have played and memorized several of the transcriptions, the licks will become "more expected" and easier to play. My advice is to go really slow at first perhaps only one or two measures at a time, making sure to play only what is written and not what you think its going to do. Joe
September 26, 2011 03:50 PM
There is one small error in the CD track listings, by the way... Kentucky Mandolin (track 48) is erroneously re-named "Kentucky Mountain".
Nelson Peddycoart
September 27, 2011 08:54 AM
I had heard about this book being in the works and look forward to it. I always find Joe's material useful.

I played through some of it, listened to some tracks and read some other parts. I have to say it is worth having. I don't think even seasoned players can go wrong with it.

I bought the PDF version directly from
Joe Carr
September 27, 2011 09:16 AM
I'm reading each post with great interest. I put a lot into it and I hope it is as helpful as I want it to be. Please use this space to ask any questions. Thanks!
Kevin Stevens
September 27, 2011 09:29 AM
I ended up cancelling the hard copy book an ordered the e-book. Does anyone know how these work? I am assuming that if I get a new computer I can move the e-book over. Are the music files mp3? If so I can store them in my Amazon Cloud. I am contemplating purchasing a separate hard drive to store things like this as well as pictures and music, etc. I asked Mel Bay's customer service about this, all they basically told me was that the purchase of the e-book allowed 1 download. This was obvious, my question was how I would move it to a new computer or what would happen if my current computer crashed.
September 27, 2011 10:52 AM
The PDF is password protected, and yes, you would be able to move it easily. You need the P/W each time you open it. The MP3's are not so protected, and can simply be imported into iTunes or any other media player.
Kevin Stevens
September 27, 2011 02:48 PM
Got the e-book and was able to over it somewhat today (not with instrument in hand). Joe, I really like the way it is laid out and especially the helpful comments on the fingerings for each piece and the trivia bits. I am looking forward to working through this and am a very happy customer!
Joe Carr
September 27, 2011 06:13 PM
Hooray, I received my shipment of the Monroe book today. I am particularly pleased at Mel Bay's choice of spiral binding. It lays so flat on the music stand. I've had this done by a local copy shop to several of my favorite tune books and it makes a world of difference!
Joe Carr
September 28, 2011 12:39 PM
I have a couple of questions for you PDF buyers. Are you able to print out copies of a single page? How do the pictures look? Thanks!
Nelson Peddycoart
September 28, 2011 12:47 PM

Thanks for putting the book out. I think it is a great resource.

I can print all pages or one page of the pdf. In fact, I printed it double sided in black in and white because I like to have a hard copy stored away. It looks fine.

I am using it on my iPad and it is working out great.
September 28, 2011 12:48 PM
Joe, yes, printing individual or ranges of pages is fine (certainly no problem on a Mac). Picture quality I think is really going to depend on your printer and paper choice. I got passable results on an image page (just) via a mono laser and regular copy paper and far better quality from a HP Deskjet using a good quality inkjet paper.
Joe Carr
September 28, 2011 03:06 PM
Well, folks, I did it. I sent a copy of the book off to Mike Compton today. I'm hoping his schedule allows some time for him to browse through it. Truthfully, I was a little scared to have him check it out, but at the same time, I'm very interested to see what he thinks. If I do get any response, I'll report it here. Your initial comments give me lots of confidence and I appreciate your support.
Mandolin Mick
September 28, 2011 03:19 PM
I ordered it this past weekend and I'm looking forward to learning some new licks! smile
September 28, 2011 03:20 PM
I received this promotion announcement today:

[CENTER]20% off & Free Shipping
on all orders on!
Enter the following promo code at checkout: MBFF20
Mel is offering a 20% discount & Free Shipping on all orders now through September 30, 2011.
Free shipping via USPS media mail.
30% off eBooks
on all orders on!
Enter the following promo code at checkout: MBEB30
Mel is offering a 30% discount on all eBooks now through September 30, 2011.[/CENTER]
Larry S Sherman
September 28, 2011 04:08 PM
Cool! I just ordered it on sale...thanks!

September 29, 2011 01:23 PM
Mine shipped today-woo hoo!
Joe Carr
September 29, 2011 02:19 PM
Please know that I am very interested in your comments and questions as you work through the material in this book. Please feel free to use this space to ask away. Good luck!
September 29, 2011 02:25 PM
Can someone help me? I have gone through the process 3x and do not see where to put in the code for the Mel Bay discount. It takes me all the way through to Paypal and no where to enter the discount code.


Joe Carr
September 29, 2011 04:36 PM
My good friend Artie Rose who took all the great pictures in the book has pointed out that I misidentified a musician in one photo. In the photo at the bottom of page 40, the singer between Monroe and Joe Stuart is Monroe Fields (bass -'71-'73) not Wayne Lewis. Oops!
September 29, 2011 09:36 PM
You put the code in a field at the bottom, left of the "Place Order" screen. It is the last step of the check out process.
Pete Counter
September 30, 2011 02:50 PM
I hate having to put in my password everytime I open a Melbay ebook. The way I get around that is with a pdf printer like the one found at and then print the pdf as a new pdf and it will not require the password. Looking over this book, I think this is just what I have been waiting for. Instead of just a bunch of tunes that are "Monroe style" they are real transcriptions with explanations and discussions of what going on, recording sources and great pictures, Thanks Joe!
Pete Counter
September 30, 2011 03:07 PM
Also I notice the MP3 track for "Going up Caney" is missing, throwing all the other track numbers off.
Joe Carr
September 30, 2011 04:35 PM
Where are you seeing these problems? The track listing in the book is accurate.
Joe Carr
September 30, 2011 04:37 PM
The original book included Going Up Caney but the publisher of that song never gave permission to use it so it was removed. (You read it here)
Joe Carr
September 30, 2011 04:46 PM
Going Up Caney was originally in the book but the song's publisher never gave permission to use it and it had to be removed. (You read it here!)
Joe Carr
September 30, 2011 04:48 PM
Oops, double post. . . sorry!
September 30, 2011 05:19 PM
Ordered mine a week ago today, just got an e-mail saying it shipped today with 4 - 7 days till delivery. Waiting with anxious anticipation.

October 02, 2011 08:29 AM
I received my copy yesterday and After quick look over I am very impressed. I started working on "Boston Boy", and while the licks are easy enough to play, the timing represented on the CD is quite tricky to nail down. It seems to fluctuate. Very interesting.
October 02, 2011 08:42 AM
Quote from Joe Carr: Going Up Caney was originally in the book but the song's publisher never gave permission to use it and it had to be removed. (You read it here!) End Quote

That's bizarre... because it is certainly in the e-book I received (page 15). It is also listed as being "track 14" on the CD in the CD track listing table (title page of the book) ... but the track is NOT there. Track 14 is actually Soldier's Joy.

Joe Carr
October 02, 2011 05:01 PM
You early buyers of the ebook got an unexpected and unauthorized bonus. I have notified Melbay of this error and future editions of the ebook should appear just as the printed book without this tune.
October 03, 2011 01:20 AM
It always irritates me when publishers don't give permission for a song. I wonder what is their advantage? Isn't more publicity better? I remember years ago one of the first finger-picking books (Happy Traum IIRC) didn't get permission to transcribe a Merle Travis solo, so the author had to do an "in the style of" -- that didn't seem to bother John Hurt, Libba Cotton, Dave van Ronk etc. Oh well. Anyway I got my e-book as soon as the discount code was posted, and indeed it has "Caney". I've worked through lots of the book and am getting my thoughts together to give it a fair review. I've already studied a lot of Monroe with Lou Martin's newsletter, the Collins book, and various fiddle break transcriptions -- I'd like to work on the Stacey Phillips book but one at a time...
Joe Carr
October 03, 2011 12:38 PM
Here's a free, downloadable PDF tab of Monroe's version of Jerusalem Ridge from the "Kenny Baker plays Bill Monroe" album. Scroll to the bottom of the page. Enjoy!
Joe Carr
October 03, 2011 12:45 PM
Link doesnt work. Hopefully It will be fixed later today
Don Grieser
October 03, 2011 03:38 PM
The ebook costs the same as the physical book/CD? That ain't no part of nothin'. smile
Kevin Stevens
October 03, 2011 08:41 PM
I ordered the e-book last week, I did not get the recording of Caney, now just need to remember that the numbers are off from 14 on. No big deal.
October 03, 2011 09:02 PM
I agree, the ebooks should be cheaper.
Don Grieser
October 03, 2011 10:24 PM
If Joe gets the extra profit margin on the ebooks, I'm OK with it.
October 03, 2011 10:36 PM
Quote from swampstomper: the Collins book. End Quote

There's two of them, in fact. The well known "Monroe Instrumentals" and the (for some reason) less often seen "Classic Bluegrass Solos". Both of them are excellent.
Joe Carr
October 04, 2011 08:36 AM
I'm really sorry I was unaware of Collin's "Classic Bluegrass Solos". It looks like an excellent project. Luckily, most of the titles listed in the review I read are different than mine. With such a large body of work, there is plenty of Monroe music to analyze
October 04, 2011 08:55 AM
Joe, thanks for the JR .pdf, and for all the work on this new book. I have a live tape of Bobby Clark, Kathy Chiavola and Edgar Meyer at The Station Inn from many years ago. Bobby picks Goin Up Caney, good little number with typical Monroevian moves. Edgar takes an arco solo...
Larry S Sherman
October 04, 2011 07:33 PM
Hmmmm...I'm a bit confused. I got my copy today and there's no track 62 listed in the CD Track listing in the book.

There are 65 tracks, but I'm not sure what track isn't listed in the CD contents. Anyone figure this out yet?


Thank you, Larry

PS: The book looks good...can't wait to dig in.
Larry S Sherman
October 04, 2011 07:36 PM
Okay...I figured it out Track 62 is The First Whippoorwill. It's right on page 76, but just not listed in the CD track listing.

October 06, 2011 11:13 AM
Hey Joe-Is there any magic to the order of the songs in your book? In other words, did you set it up in that order for a logical accumulation and building of knowledge and feel for the man's style, or can one jump around the book in a random order and get out of it what you intended?
Joe Carr
October 06, 2011 12:22 PM
Yes, by all means jump around. It is not sequential. But . . . to start I would suggest Salt Creek and Gold Rush. They are relatively easy, have lots of Monroe "stuff" and they are common at jams. In general, the fiddle tunes are easier than the song solos. IMHO
Mandolin Mick
October 10, 2011 04:26 PM
Just got a notice that it was shipped today ... 15 days after I ordered it ... :(
doc holiday
October 10, 2011 06:02 PM
MandoMick....who did you order from? I need to order a copy :-) TIA
October 10, 2011 06:06 PM
It's been 10 days since I ordered mine direct from Mel Bay and it's still not shipped.
John MacPhee
October 10, 2011 10:49 PM
Hey Joe the info reads really well but i cannot buy it in Australia, even the Ozzie distributors haven't heard of it yet. Any way i can get a copy?
Maccka (John)
Joe Carr
October 11, 2011 08:25 AM
OK. I'm going to order a few copies (5) for resale today. If you still want/need a copy when I get them, then I'll send them out to any of you who want to buy them. Ready, set, go!
Mandolin Mick
October 11, 2011 02:33 PM

Directly from Mel Bay.
Mandolin Mick
October 11, 2011 03:08 PM
Well, I got it, one day after it shipped.

Looks really cool! I'll let you guys know how I like it! smile
John MacPhee
October 11, 2011 04:43 PM
Thats great Joe, how can i buy one from you. Maybe you can email me with some details.
Cheers Maccka (John)
John Adrihan
October 11, 2011 04:56 PM
I just ordered a copy today myself. I was wondering if in the book there was any reference to the type of chords Monroe used. What I guess I mean is did he play a 4 finger D chop chord or 3 ? what F did he play? I was just wondering.
Mandolin Mick
October 11, 2011 05:10 PM
Just the main chop chords, G is 7-5-2-3, C is 5-2-3-X, D is 7-4-5-X, etc. He slid them up the neck,
F being 10-7-8-X, etc.
John Adrihan
October 11, 2011 05:20 PM
Hey thanks Mick. Can't wait for the book.
Joe Carr
October 20, 2011 10:56 AM
OK Children, I have 2 copies of the book for sale. Write me if you want one. Thanks, Joe
October 20, 2011 11:06 AM
Mel Bay does seem to be inconsistent on their shipping time.
October 20, 2011 11:59 PM
For all you people waiting for a delivered book, why not do what I did, buy the e-book (when I got it the discount code was valid), download the tracks, print out the book and spiral-bind it (which is easier for practice anyway), and burn the MP3s?? The digital age has some real advantages.

I am still going to write a review, comparing this to other Monroe sources I have (going back to Tottle, via Statman, Collins, Lou Martin...) but haven't found the time yet.
October 21, 2011 12:08 AM
Quote from swampstomper:
I am still going to write a review, comparing this to other Monroe sources I have (going back to Tottle, via Statman, Collins, Lou Martin...) but haven't found the time yet. End Quote

looking forward to that review!
October 21, 2011 06:12 AM
[QUOTE]John Adrihan

I was wondering if in the book there was any reference to the type of chords Monroe used. What I guess I mean is did he play a 4 finger D chop chord or 3 ? what F did he play? I was just wondering. End Quote

Quote from Mandolin Mick: Just the main chop chords, ... D is 7-4-5-X, etc. He slid them up the neck,
F being 10-7-8-X, etc. End Quote

If you check out the Homespun video (with John Hartford) "One To One With The Master" you'll see that Bill Monroe uses 7-4-5-3 as well as 7-4-5-x and quite some variations depending on what he wants to express (or how his fingers work). Check out Poor White Folks on said video for a D chord variation (maybe D7). This is just one example. Never underestimate the man.
John Adrihan
October 22, 2011 05:08 PM
Just recieved my copy. Read it. Listend to a few tracks. Very pleased. Nice Job.
October 23, 2011 09:35 AM
Instant Gratification Cost. smile

Quote from Don Grieser: The ebook costs the same as the physical book/CD? That ain't no part of nothin'. smile End Quote

Quote from robert.najlis: I agree, the ebooks should be cheaper. End Quote
Mandolin Mick
October 24, 2011 01:48 AM
Actually, I went to this thread to amend what I said ... and to recommend watching Bill play on that DVD. He also plays 2-3 for an F on Rawhide, etc. smile
October 26, 2011 01:54 PM
Hello Joe,

At first, thank you so much for this excellent book!

I've a question regarding the tune 'Dusty Miller'. I've learned the tune from the book as written and It's hard for me to play the measures 6 & 7 because to my ears they don't sound 'natural'. When I play over the source, tempo seems to be about 140-150 bpm, and I heard measures 5 to 8 to be played in fact like 1 to 4. Maybe I'm disturbed due to the tempo and the complex melody. So, Actually and double the measures 1 to 4.

Could you please give me your point of view or any advice?

Thanks again for this so awaited book!

A french guy playing bluegrass alone smile
Joe Carr
October 26, 2011 02:28 PM
I'll give it a close review and make my comments soon. Thanks
Joe Carr
October 26, 2011 02:46 PM
Be sure to play the quarter note in measure 6 as a quarter note. I would play measure 6 & 7 over and over until they are effortless
Joe Carr
October 26, 2011 02:50 PM
Please help me understand. Have I responded to your question fully?
Joe Carr
October 26, 2011 03:03 PM
The difference between measures 2 & 6 is very small. Otherwise measures 1-4 are identical to measures 4-8. To play measure 6, count:"One and TWO, Three and four and" or DU D DU DU
October 26, 2011 03:49 PM
Joe, I'll follow your advice carefully.
I'm very grateful for your help.

October 27, 2011 01:52 PM
OK, I promised a mini-review of the book and a comparison with other Monroe sources.

First, does it live up to its objective to be a "definitive work dedicated to Monroe's influential mandolin style", in the same way the Bill Keith-authored (but not credited) Scruggs book defined that style? I don't think so. There are brief explanations of chord forms (although Monroe used other forms than the chop! as you can see on the Homespun video) and the chop rhythm (and again, Monroe did lots of other interesting rhythmic things, like triplets, syncopation not shown here) and "how does he play so fast?". This without any photos of proper hand position (either one) -- or even descriptions! The author shows how Monroe simplifies some passages but I am not convinced this was to play fast (less finger movement), rather I think it was for effect. The "ladder" syncopation so typical of his ascending runs is not explained. The author has the disadvantage, which Keith did not have, that his subject isn't around to answer questions, but there are plenty of people who studied with the master and could have answered them.

Second, the tunes and songs. This starts with some common fiddle tunes Monroe-style (Boston Boy, Salt Creek, Cotton-Eyed Joe, Dusty Miller, E TN Blues) and then moves on to blues, closed-position solos, and some typical "signature" licks, e.g. gospel turnarounds. But what I miss here, if this is supposed to be an in-depth study of the style, is a chronological approach from the simpler Monroe Brothers style -- not covered here at all! -- through the early 40's, into the 50's, the sparse-sound of the 60's, then the Uncle Pen and finally Master of Bluegrass styles. The student or reader is left with an incoherent set of tunes -- interesting enough in themselves -- but no systematic way to approach them. There are certainly a lot of ideas here to work on.

The photos are nice but from a quite limited time in his career, so can't be considered "definitive". But I didn't buy it as a photo album.

What about the accuracy? I compared two tunes I have authoritative notation (not tab!) for (from Lou Martin, see below): Paddy on the Turnpike and Soldier's Joy. The Carr version leaves out several key grace notes or leading tones that make all the difference and seems to mis-count notes in the "ladder" or off-beat sections, also misses some unison notes in Soldier's Joy. I play the two versions and the Martin version sound so much more Monroe-like. So from the Carr version I get a good idea of what is going on but I have to listen closely to get the subtleties (to be fair, Carr recommends this).

So, what are some alteratives? I went back to my very first mando book, bought new in 1975 still with its floppy vinyl 33 RPM record -- the Tottle book. He has a short but very nice section "Bill Monroe and the mandolin" with just two notation/tabs, but very accurate: Blue Grass Part 1 and Lonesme Road Blues, both from Decca album "Mr Blue Grass" from the mid 60's. These are really good choices and especiall BG P1 has all the Monroe blues licks, downstrokes, power tremelo.

Then there is Andy Statman's treatment of Monroe's blues style in the first lesson of his "Jazz Mandolin" Homespun book/CD. As other have said this is a strange course with plenty of cool ideas but it moves very fast through the jazz part. However the break down of Monroe's blues is thorough and easy to follow.

Then of course the Todd Collins books. I only have the 25 Instrumentals, but he also has a book of Monroe song solos (both Mel Bay). The instrumentals book has a lot of the classics, and includes fiddle parts of Monroe tunes when the mandolin did not play the whole theme. This is in a systematic format: solo mandolin, solo fiddle, twin fiddle, triple fiddle. These do not seem to be perfect transcriptions and there is no discussion on the mandolin style as such. This one got me in the right direction and then I could use my ears to add the subtleties.

Finally there is Lou Martin's Monroe material. Unfortunately he has not published most of them, but some (like the Paddy I mentioned above) have been published in his newsletter (you can buy back issues too). I hope someday he will decide to make more available.

So, bottom line, I am happy to have the Carr (e-)book in my collection and I am enjoying working on it. But I find it far from a "definitive study" for someone who would like to know about Monroe's approach to mandolin.

October 28, 2011 08:26 AM
Quote from swampstomper: OK, I promised a mini-review of the book and a comparison with other Monroe sources. End Quote

I appreciate your review.

It seems to me that it would be impossible to get it all in one book despite marketing claims. Still it appears to be the most comprehensive book on Monroe Style Mandolin published to date.

I think the Homespun DVD's have a lot to offer mostly by watching Monroe's hands; something a book can never offer. Imagine if they had filmed him in the 50's! Yet as you mention they are all just tools in the collection.

Don't forget about Butch's "16 Gems"

Would love to see Lou Martin's "Soldier's Joy" transcription ;);)
October 29, 2011 03:25 AM
Quote from Perry:
Would love to see Lou Martin's "Soldier's Joy" transcription ;);) End Quote

Take a lesson in person from Lou, maybe you can talk him into showing it to you. Seriously, I highly recommend meeting Lou and soaking in his wisdom about Monroe but also everything mandolin -- a tremendous resource that too few people know. Those who have taken a lesson with him will never approach the mandolin the same way again. He will straighten out your left and right hands, your attack, and even your mandolin setup.

He's in Albany (NY not GA), check out the web page I linked to above.
Joe Carr
October 31, 2011 03:09 PM
I appreciate swampstomper's carefully and thoughtful review of my Monroe project. I plan to search out Martin's transcriptions to explore his representation of the mentioned tunes.
September 21, 2012 11:10 AM
Roll call - How's everyone coming on their practice?

I'm about 75% of the way through the book, and it has been fun. I wanted to whet my appetite with Monroe tunes, and this book has been an excellent resource. True confession - I buy a lot of practice books and they end up collecting dust, but this one has been an exception.
Scott Tichenor
September 20, 2013 10:35 AM
Today is the second anniversary of the publication of this book. Like to send out these reminders to those that are coming to the mandolin game late or missed it the first time around.
September 20, 2013 12:29 PM
I have to commend Joe Carr on his discussion of the use of "familiar phrases" used by Monroe and others. This is a concept I've recognized but have not mastered the mechanics of.
You can hear it the picking of Watson, Blake, and Rice, the fiddling of Baker and Clements and Hartford, I could go on a long time here.
Sounds like this book takes that approach.
I don't think the approach is recommended for beginners, a beginner should explore all possible notes and chords before focusing on particular styles.
Alex Orr
September 04, 2017 07:18 PM
I've just got to vent...

This is a great book, and the fact that there are not tons of books dissecting the solos of the guy who basically invented bluegrass mandolin is still mind-boggling. So, we take whatever we can get. Furthermore, by obsessively going through this thing, memorizing every break, learning them in different keys, and working very hard to learn what I can take from the breaks and apply elsewhere, I think I have progressed light years in my overall playing and my Monroe style playing.


Why is it so hard for people to get the tabs/sheet music correct? Is this Mr. Carr's fault? Did someone else tab it transcribe the stuff incorrectly time and time again? Did Carr write the music out and then play it differently? Did someone else play the parts and play them differently? From what I understand this was a labor of love that he worked on for quite a while, and yet...SO MANY ERRORS. Admittedly, it's not like the disastrous Homespun Monroe DVD where the transcriptions are of completely different solos entirely (seriously's been years...would it kill you to fix that horrendous and embarrassing mistake?) and yet nearly every page of my book has my own markings correcting the book. If a hack like me can do that kind of proof editing then surely a pro involved with this book could have done it in a matter of days.

Oh well...just had to vent. I still find the book invaluable, perhaps more than any other book I've used outside of the beginner and intermediate Greg Horne stuff...and yet I just don't understand why there are so many errors. That and the photos. So many grainy B&W photos that looked like they were run off an old Xerox machine. We've got a thing called the internet. There are thousands of photos (and hundreds of hours of video) of Monroe. There was absolutely no need for any of these photos, but a few more pages of transcriptions would have been most welcome, even with the likelihood of a few wrong notes per transcription.
John MacPhee
September 09, 2017 03:14 AM
A bit of respect might go a long way as Mr Carr has since passed on. I think It is a great work and am pleased to have a signed copy which he was happy to send me. He is sorely missed around my home.
September 09, 2017 11:24 AM
I'm sure Alex meant no harm to Mr. Carr's legacy. And John's post is a good chance for me to learn more. I'm starting here with the Cafe's obit and interview.
Alex Orr
September 25, 2017 04:46 PM
I'm aware that he is no longer with us, but I don't know what that has to do with the numerous and glaring faults at play in what is otherwise a valuable mandolin instructional resource. Are we not allowed to point out the faults of anything created by anyone once they pass away?
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