Learning Mandolin - Recommended Guide(s)?
January 22, 2015 7:14 AM   Subscribe

I received a much-desired starter mandolin for Christmas and am looking for help on good guidebooks or other starting points for learning. Any recommendations? Preferences/details inside.

I play guitar, and a bit of piano, with experience in a handful of other instruments. I have a basic grasp of theory (but that's a weak point for me). I love hyperliterate folk/rock, e.g. Okkervil River, Decemberists, and ultimately want to play well enough to sing along and/or jam with family (all musicians). I found some resources in AskMe about specific songs to learn, which is helpful, but I'm looking for a book that will help me learn the basics.
posted by staccato signals of constant information to Media & Arts (5 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Mandolin for Dummies got my spouse started; it comes with a CD too.

Not a guidebook, but Mandolin Cafe is the most active online community and worth checking out.

Depending what kind of music you want to play, I strongly suggest you find a local jam. There's nothing like playing with, and learning from, other people.
posted by underthehat at 7:32 AM on January 22, 2015 [1 favorite]

My mandolin teacher wrote a book, Quick Pick Mandolin for the Absolute Beginner, and it is very easy to understand and get started with. Once you've got your feet under you, find a jam pronto.
posted by workerant at 8:20 AM on January 22, 2015 [1 favorite]

I took one lesson with a mandolin player (like you, I already played other instruments), and found that was really helpful. He gave me some simple exercises to practice picking, etc. I think it's possible to learn fairly easily without a book once someone shows you the basics.

As a bonus, this is a fun and easy song to play from the Punch Brothers (chords here).
posted by three_red_balloons at 11:55 AM on January 22, 2015 [1 favorite]

That's funny--someone just put this on my Facebook. It's Marcy Marxer, who's a really terrific flatpicker: http://truefire.com/mandolin-lessons/mandolin-for-guitar-players/
posted by Ollie at 4:59 PM on January 22, 2015 [1 favorite]

Cheap chord shape shortcut for lazy guitar players: take the lower 4 strings on guitar fingering and flip the shape upside down. It should look like the corresponding mandolin chords (eg: Em looks the same). The D can be played different. Note: this is for campfire, not jazz or fancy stuff.
posted by ovvl at 5:01 PM on January 22, 2015

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