Most of my students are interested in bluegrass and/or fiddle tunes, but I also can cover various swing, folk, and celtic styles. I’m pretty amenable to tailoring the lessons to the student’s wishes. I normally use my own books, Jack Tuttle’s Mandolin Primer and Jack Tuttle’s Mandolin Collection.
I cover techniques such as correct hand and finger posture, getting good tone, proper use of the pick, and reading tablature and music (depending on the student’s choice). I also work on playing by ear, both with chording and soloing. Developing improvising skills is also a major focus for those who are ready and willing. I often will play together with the student, sometimes on mandolin, but often accompanying on guitar. Students are encouraged to record the lesson.
Here are some helpful resources for mandolin:
- Go and see what I teach and emphasize on my All About Lessons page.
- I have two mandolin books at in my shop.
- Read my Recommended Mandolin Albums on the About Bluegrass page.
- Here is a Mandolin Tab Paper.
- Here are some Fill Licks.
- Here are the Closed Chords.
- Go to the About Bluegrass page for some information on fitting into a band.
- View the transcriptions below for a few tunes to work on.
My list of practice suggestions has always included playing with others. Band-in-a-Box or a similar program to play along with can help you get there. It can also be a good “non-complaining” accompanist for when you want to go through your fiddle tunes for hours on end. It can also be your metronome as you try to play slow cleanly, or get faster. It’s also great for improvising over chord progressions. If you have the Band-in-a-Box program but don’t want to take the time to enter the chords, I have done all the work. You can download a zip file containing the chord progressions for 161 fiddle tunes.
The Torke Pick
– Want to make your own pick, out of a bigger one? Here is Ken Torke’s version which I really like.
- Soldier’s Joy – a beginner example
- I’ll Fly Away – from my Bluegrass Mandolin Primer
- Somehow Tonight from Bluegrass Mandolin Collection, by Ricky Skaggs
- Fill licks – from my Bluegrass Mandolin Primer
Pick Direction Exercises from my Bluegrass Mandolin Primer
- Tablature Paper 4 line, for your use
- Georgia Rose – from my Bluegrass Mandolin Collection by David Grisman
- Blue Ridge Cabin Home – my arrangement in Bb from my Bluegrass Mandolin Primer
- Dusty Miller – from Bill Monroe in my Bluegrass Mandolin Primer
- Chordal Position Playing – also in my Bluegrass Mandolin Primer
- Swing Mandolin Chords
- Been All Around This World – from the guitar/mandolin duets class
- Mandolin Endings – fancy tag endings for fiddle tunes