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17 Reviews
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36 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Start Playing Today
Tottle starts with some musical fundamentals -- general points like reading TAB and musical notation, time signatures, rhythm, etc., as well as mandolin-specific issues like tuning. If you have another instrument under your belt, this makes quick reading and then Tottle immediately starts you on learning simple pieces. Since I already play the guitar, for instance, I...
Published on October 14, 2002 by Big Dave

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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars 0 to 100 In Nothing Flat
This is not a good beginners mando book, and will most likely only lead to frustration. It may be a fine companion book for intermediate to advanced players for learning fiddle tunes and picking standards. Its introduction to chords starts with the advanced bluegrass chop chords. Even as a life long guitar player I found these chords are extremely difficult. They should...
Published on August 18, 2012 by Jan Pendergast


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36 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Start Playing Today, October 14, 2002
By 
Big Dave (Boise, Idaho) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Bluegrass Mandolin (Paperback)
Tottle starts with some musical fundamentals -- general points like reading TAB and musical notation, time signatures, rhythm, etc., as well as mandolin-specific issues like tuning. If you have another instrument under your belt, this makes quick reading and then Tottle immediately starts you on learning simple pieces. Since I already play the guitar, for instance, I opened this book and almost immediately learned my first rag.
After you have half a dozen dance numbers under your belt, Tottle breaks out a small chord dictionary and introduces the idea of the structured bluegrass song, with instrumental breaks in between verses. Starting with "The Banks of the Ohio", he then demonstrates how to construct a mandolin break around a song's melody. As he adds numbers, Tottle increases in complexity, and it pretty quickly adds up to an impressive repertoire.
Tottle's writing is clear and straightforward. All music is presented in standard notation and in tablature. Occasional charming photographs of mandolin greats add a nice touch.
The book I have does not have the CD, but the CD can only add to what is a great instructional book.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect!, July 5, 2009
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This review is from: Bluegrass Mandolin (Paperback)
This book is the gold-standard for learning mandolin. I was trying to teach myself and getting nowhere (I was trying to play it like a guitar!) He really caters to students of all skill levels, particularly with his song choices and arrangements. They're simple enough that even a beginner can play them slowly, yet more intermediate players will have difficulty playing them fast without practice. Tottle provides tips for potentially troublesome sections in each song, as well as general advice when learning a new skill. They're bluegrass songs, but the skills learned can be cross-applied to whatever genre you wish to play.

The songs are presented in both tablature and musical notation. Tottle gives about the most concise, informative primer on reading tab that I've ever read. The tab includes written-in chord changes, so you won't be completely unaware of the notes you're playing if you don't read notation. This book is a great place for learning that, too, as it teaches you how to count the note lengths, which are the same as for notation, and give you the chord names, making it easier to figure the notes.

I actually borrowed it from the library, but I intend to purchase it, as I feel it will be a great source to refer back to. Very helpful book, even if you don't want to play bluegrass.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bluegrass Mandolin, April 4, 2000
This review is from: Bluegrass Mandolin (Paperback)
When I started playing mandolin 15 years ago this was the only book I could find. It turned out to be a great investment. Easy to read, easy to follow. The music is timeless and jack has a very unique style. For beginners or experts alike theres a lot here I'd highlt recommend it
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great way to start playing, July 19, 2007
By 
Mark (Central Illinois) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Bluegrass Mandolin (Paperback)
I was searching for a really comprehensive instruction book for mando, and I have found one: "Bluegrass Mandolin" by Jack Tottle. While I realize there are many styles for playing, I think this is a really good way to get started. The lessons are presented in both standard notation and tablature, and they graduate in complexity as you get farther along.

My only complaint is that this doesn't come with a CD. But this is a slam more towards myself than towards the author. I am ashamed to say that, with the exception of a few songs, I am woefully unfamiliar with most of these beloved folk and bluegrass standards; and the majority of my learning procedure in the past has been by ear. But I am looking at this as a challenge and a way to exercise my ability to read and play along with sheet music. Still, hearing the actual song would help me play more fluid-ish. A check of the copyright page tells me that it first went to press in the late 70s, so CDs were far into the future.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Mandolin Teaching Book Ever, July 31, 2012
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This review is from: Bluegrass Mandolin (Paperback)
If you have some "stick-to-it-ness" about you, this book will surely teach you how to play mandolin. It starts slow enough to hold a beginner's interest and then it allows you to move up quickly at a pace your practice effort will set for you.

It is for the serious mandolin student who probably should have at least some background in guitar.

JFS
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic book!!!!, July 19, 2013
By 
Clayton (Lubbock, Tx, United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Bluegrass Mandolin (Paperback)
Tottle though rally demonstrates concepts that benefit both the beginner and intermediate student. This is a must have for any mandolinist!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This manual is the best!, February 13, 2013
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This review is from: Bluegrass Mandolin (Paperback)
I've used this book before but lost it in moving. I had stopped playing the mandolin for a few years and needed to brush up. This is an excellent manual and I recommend it to beginners and to those who need some brushing up.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for Learning Bluegrass Mandolin, February 11, 2013
This review is from: Bluegrass Mandolin (Paperback)
I really feel this is one of the best books I could have found to learn Bluegrass Mandolin. Inside it teaches bluegrass composition, method, and what really makes a song "Bluegrass style". Written both in standard notation and TAB for mandolin, its easy to use for anyone. Please understand if you do not already have a beginner grasp of mandolin, this is NOT your book. It starts with assuming you read Mandolin TAB or notation. Then moves strait into playing bluegrass style on your mandolin. A great Book to learn with.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for all levels, February 10, 2013
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This review is from: Bluegrass Mandolin (Paperback)
This book has a lot of classic bluegrass songs and breaks them down from simple to more complicated. It's easy to learn from and is a must have.
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5.0 out of 5 stars logical, March 15, 2013
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This review is from: Bluegrass Mandolin (Paperback)
easy progression for learning picking skills.
fingering emphasised rather than reading
notes. classical bluegrass songs made simple.
later lessons appropriate for experienced players.
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Bluegrass Mandolin
Bluegrass Mandolin by Jack Tottle (Paperback - January 1, 1992)
$29.99 $22.89
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