[Apr 2012 | 10 Comments | ]
Welcome to the last issue of Mel Bay’s Mandolin Sessions©

  Welcome to the last issue of Mel Bay’s Mandolin Sessions©. Mel Bay Publications has decided to put their efforts into other directions but rest assured, the archives of this site will stay available for some time to come.
 I want to thank all the early regular contributors like Ted Eschliman (jazz,) Wendy Anthony (repertoire,) Michael Gregory (Irish) and Joe Mendel (interviews.) Seth Austen, Matt Raum and Marilynn Mair joined later and made great contributions. Bobby Clark, Roland White, Gerald Jones and Michael Keys also were involved from time to time …

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Featured, Interview »

[Apr 2012 | Comments Off | ]
Interview: Keith Cary Thinking Outside The Box

by Joe Mendel
  Ever Since humans discovered that sound could be manipulated to convey messages and emotions and refined those sounds into music, we have been tinkering with how to accomplish that in a way we find satisfying to ourselves and others. Most of those attempts have involved various combinations of wood,  some type of skin, gut & metal. New advancements in technology lead to new ways of using that technology to make music. Only rarely do brand new materials find their way into musical instruments, most of the time old …

Featured, Lessons »

[Apr 2012 | 3 Comments | ]

by Marilynn Mair
 For my last Mandolin Sessions article I’ve decided to give your dexterity a workout. The precision of your ability to coordinate your right and left hands as they accomplish their very different tasks on the mandolin is key to your ability to play fast and clean. The accompanying exercise from my Mel Bay book, The Complete Mandolinist, works to improve this.
  To keep a line of notes going at constant speed no matter where they are located on the neck or how far your pick or left hand has …

Featured, Gypsy Swing Mandolin »

[Apr 2012 | 2 Comments | ]
Reflections on the creative process

Tips on improvising from the Pros
By Ted Eschliman
The Muse Continuum. Where do good solos come from?
A mandolinist has two approaches to crafting a solo. One is objective, the intellectual, the analysis of chord structure, modes, arpeggios, riff repetition and regeneration of familiar motifs. We bang out the notes of a familiar scale, pluck out the members of a chord, and revive licks we’ve heard somewhere else. The other tack is subjective, innate, intuitive–the spontaneous creation of “the Muse,” the ethereal material of the soul that’s inspired or seems to come …

Featured, Tunes »

[Apr 2012 | 3 Comments | ]
Klezmer Lullaby

By Seth Austen
Welcome to our final issue of Mandolin Sessions. It’s been fun playing some tunes together. My first column was an introduction to klezmer music, so we’ll return to klezmer and play an original composition, Klezmer Lullaby.
Klezmer Lullaby uses the freygish mode in A: A Bb C# D E F G (1 2b 3 4 5 6b 7b), thus the key signature contains both sharps and flats. Make sure to use alternate picking on eighth notes; down on 1, 2, 3, 4 and up on all the ands. Klezmer …

Featured, Lessons »

[Feb 2012 | 2 Comments | ]
Matching Hand Speeds

by Marilynn Mair
We all long to play faster and most of us need to play cleaner. Besides wishing, and simply moving up the tempo on your metronome and hoping for the best, there are many ways to work on increasing your hand speed and improving the accuracy of your coordination. This exercise is one. It’s taken from my Mel Bay method book, The Complete Mandolinst, a valuable resource that I hope you own by now. These columns give me a chance to write more on the exercises in the book, …

Interview »

[Feb 2012 | Comments Off | ]
Interview: Adrian Bagale & Northfield mandolins

by Joe Mendel
 What would you call An American guy, a Japanese guy and three Chinese guys building great mandolins in two workshops half a world apart? Adrian Bagale calls it a multi-national company, the rest of us would call it Northfield Mandolins. Adrian Bagale’s work history seems to have been the perfect training for a project like this. After attending college in Michigan, he worked at Elderly Instruments, then moved on to Saga and Voyage-Air, all of which have helped him learn various aspects of bringing well thought out, well …

Featured, Lessons »

[Feb 2012 | One Comment | ]
Transcribe Your Own Music in 11 Steps

by Nate Lee
Have you ever wanted to learn a tune or solo by your favorite picker but you just could not find a transcription? Possibly you paid a music teacher or a friend to write it for you; but why not just do it for yourself? In this day and age it is incredibly easy to slow down and learn any song. It just takes the right programs and a little practice.
The advantages of transcribing tunes on your own:

You will develop your ear and sense of relative pitch. This will …

Irish/Celtic, Tunes »

[Feb 2012 | 3 Comments | ]
Beginning Irish Mandolin: Lilies in the Field

by Michael B Gregory
Lilies in the Field
Lilies in the Field is not an especially popular session tune but it deserves to be, in my view.  I have transcribed here a version found on the cd titled “The Kitchen Recordings” by Sean O’Driscoll and Larry Egan, produced in 2003.  I choose it because it is a lovely melody and it is played at a reasonable pace.  In fact, O’Driscoll and Egan call it a “slow reel”.  Their version is ideal for beginners and gives us an opportunity to introduce some basic …