Mandolin Method Complete (Book & MP3 CD) (Complete Method) Paperback – 4 Oct 2012
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The Mandolin for Dummies does a slightly better job at the very beginning basic steps, and so makes a good companion if you have the bucks. That book, though, is printed in hard to read type not for older eyes. Past those baby steps, and this book will take you where you want to go.
If you're a complete newbie to stringed/fretted instruments this book will also be a very good place to start. I'd also recommend perhaps checking a few youtube videos helping you to hold the instrument properly, etc., as their are limitations to the book/audio format.
Oh, while I'm on that - the included MP3 are excellent as well and are a great aid when learning the material. I loaded mine onto my tablet and play it from there as I work through the book. It's much harder to learn from written music/tab alone.
The book physically is rather large (9x12 inches...23x30 cm) with 288 pages. It fits nicely on a music stand and will stay open on front and back pages without breaking the book's back. The print size is sufficient that you can read the text and music with the book placed on a music stand.
Unlike most mandolin books that use tabular and generally ignore teaching the reader how to read music, Horne drops tabs very early and concentrates on teaching the reader how to read music as well as know and understand music theory.
The book is broken into three sections... beginner, intermediate, and master. Horne progresses with step by step lessons having meaningful exercises that support the material the author wishes the reader to know. A CD is also provided so the reader can hear what an exercise sounds like when played by someone knowing how to play a mandolin. If the reader follows the progression laid out in the book, masters the exercises for each lesson as they come up, and follows the author's recommendations regarding how and when to pratice; there is an excellent chance that the reader will also master the mandolin.
The one weakness in the book is that there are not enough exersices for each lesson. Additional exercises would provide more variety for the learner to master. This, most likely, is a trade-off made by the author as adding more exercises would result in a book that is unwieldy thick and difficult to use. An alternative would have been to break the book into three volumes with more exercises; eg, a beginners book, a intermediate book, and a master's book. Three volumes would also have increased the price. In any case, the exercises provided for each lesson are adequate for the purpose.
Keep in mind that the book is meant to teach someone how to play a mandolin. It is not a mandolin song book. If you are looking for a book having songs then you should look for another book. However if you are wanting to learn how to play a mandolin then consider this book.