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John Goodin - Mandolin Tunes

By Mandolin Cafe
November 17, 2011 - 6:45 pm

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John Goodin - Mandolin Tunes

John Goodin - Mandolin Tunes

John Goodin has announced the publication of a new solo work entitled Mandolin Tunes.

As a composer Goodin has written several pieces for mandolin orchestra that have been recorded and performed by mandolin orchestras in Europe, Australia, Japan and the United States.

He has also published two collections of original fiddle tunes (Blueberries to Boston, 1997 and the Contratopia Tunebook, 2001), a collection of waltzes (31 Waltzes, 2009) and a book of duos for two mandolins Midwestern Mandolin Duos, 2010). In 2010 Mel Bay published his Telemann for Mandolin. He has lived in Decorah, Iowa since 1994 where he is an Associate Professor and Librarian on the faculty of Luther College.

According to Goodin, "Mandolin Tunes is a collection of twenty-three original mandolin and guitar recordings taken from the nearly 100 tunes I've recorded for my So Many Tunes blog since 2007. They were all recorded at home using a portable four-track device with me playing all the parts. A few different mandolins were used including a couple of 1920's Gibsons and a couple of Pomeroys, all with oval holes.

"The idea has been to feature the tunes in a simple way. The standard approach has been for me to record a basic guitar track and then play the melody, without much embellishment, two or three times through so that the listener might be able to learn the tune if he or she finds it interesting. Some of the tracks have harmony parts and once or twice I play a short improv bit. Sheet music (standard notation) is available for all of the tunes at the So Many Tunes blog."

Ekin Ave. Hornpipe
Duettino No. 2
1837 Turnpike Road
Alice's Garden
Hold That Thought
May Frost
The Wedding Broom
Lawnchair Night
Hamlet to High Point
St. Anthony and the Fishes
July 23, 2004
Spring Forward
Shepherd's Purse
Winter Leaves
Rocks in the Sun
Jaunty Ted
Quarry Hill Road
The Beautiful Days
Graveyard Owl
St. Francis and the Birds
Palmer's House

Listen: Ekin Ave. Hornpipe from the recording Mandolin Tunes.

Additional information:
So Many Tunes blog
Purchase: From
Purchase: From iTunes


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Reader Comments

November 19, 2011 12:27 PM
I have had the pleasure of listening to this album, and found it instantly attractive and enjoyable. The music is as cheerful and good-natured as its composer, and is sure to make many a mandolinist happy. Highly recommended, both as something to simply listen to, and as some of the nicest, sweetest tunes one might ever want to play.

Three cheers for John Goodin, and for all his contributions to the mandolin-world!

Scott Wood
December 29, 2011 01:51 PM
John Goodin opens the door.

I am new to the mandolin and self-taught. To get started in Bluegrass, I am working with Roland White's 'Approach to Bluegrass for the Mandolin'. His method is excellent and the Tab music gets you playing right away. But there's a problem. With the Tab instruction, I can practice, mimic and memorize the tunes, but even when I have the tune down pat, I still don't know the fretboard. Like a musically trained chimpanzee, I can mimic well but I cannot learn on my own. I know there are scores more instruction books out there, but which to choose? And where on the Web are free downloads of real sheet music available for mandolin? I don't mean more tabs, or chords, or lyrics but the score, in music notation?

Last month, Mandolin Café ran a feature about John Goodin and provided a link to his 'So Many Tunes' blog ( . If you go there, you will meet perhaps one of the very few musicians/artists who maintains a site in the highest standards of the Web: free access to good data. John is a professor of music at Luther College, a multi-talented musician who specializes in the mandolin and a prolific composer. His mandolin tunes in PDF are available free for downloading (within the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial No Derivative Works Copyright) and each has an MP3 version so you can hear him play the tune the way it aught to be played. This is generosity that beggars belief in 2011. But there's more. Since I still did not know how to read music for the Mandolin, I sent John an email asking for his advice on which manual to look for. His response included suggestions for two of the popular methods he thinks are noteworthy, but since he also has reams of mandolin instruction posted free on his website he referred me to one via a link and attached a PDF of another (The Bickford Method for Mandolin), an early 20th Century instruction book as an attachment. In that book there is what I call a music-reading 'boot camp' training session that got me reading music on the mandolin in two days.

Roland White's Bluegrass method is great and I'm staying with it to learn all of his tunes, but John Goodin's musical generosity has opened the door for me to all music for the mandolin. Now, I can go anywhere.

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