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4.4 out of 5 stars
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4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 22 September 2012
This is a truly comprehensive book on mandolin and has something for everyone, from beginner to expert and from bluegrass player to classical player. It assumes nothing and gives detail on everything. Due to the way it is sectioned and organised, it is easy to "dip in" at various points to suit different approaches and abilities. Although it is thorough, the use of humour and anecdotes makes it a joy to read and provides plenty of interest as well as instruction. It covers all the basics of use of each hand, chords, scales, tunes, styles etc. etc. as well as background information on development of the instrument, notable players, buying and caring for the mandolin, and many other aspects.

The exercises and tunes use conventional notation as well as tab but, importantly, are also available as a set of audio clips that I downloaded very easily from the internet using the instructions in the book. These are a huge bonus for those, like me, who find learning by ear combined with tab the easiest way.

Although players who want to make further progress in a particular style will probably want additional instruction books or DVDs, this book provides an excellent basis and should promote the interest of all who read it.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 30 September 2012
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I've had a mandolin for a couple of years, I learned the major chords and have a strum on it now and then but I don't seem to have progressed at all in that time. However, since getting this book I've learned more in the last couple of days than in all the previous years! This is a really good book covering every aspect of the mandolin from choosing the right style of mandolin for your choice of music, buying the best mandolin in your price range and also how to tune it. There are comprehensive chapters on playing, including left and right-hand techniques, different styles of music - bluegrass, Irish, jazz etc and an appendix listing chord charts. There are also audio tracks available on the Dummies website to illustrate every music example in the book, including songs and exercises.

There is also a section on caring for your mandolin, replacing strings, repairs, set-ups, accessories etc etc. In fact it's difficult to see how this book could be better both for newcomers to mandolin and for those looking to improve their skills. The book is written in the usual light-hearted style of the Dummies guides and there are even very funny Rich Tennant mandolin-related cartoons throughout the book! However, don't be misled this is a serious book that will provide both tuition and inspiration, as well as being an invaluable reference source for years to come.
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on 19 January 2014
I don't particularly like this book, I think there are many, many other far superior mando tutor books out there and this one comes across as arrogant and somewhat patronizing (I don't much like the style of the author I guess!) BUT... for those who've said it won't work on iPad ... I may have solved the mystery.

Don Julin himself has explained (on another forum), that iPad users can access tha accompanying audio by going to this link :
[...]

Alternatively, there is also a dropbox link.

The iPad user then needs to download the app iZip from the App Store (I used the free version) and then simply click on download - the download time is not quick and you may assume that nothing is happening or it isn't working but, give it a few minutes and then it will ask you if you wish to open it in iZip - click yes - then iZip opens and asks you if you want to extract files - click yes again and hey presto, there you are - audio tracks which are playable on the iPad.

Hope that helps someone. :-)
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on 25 June 2013
Bought the "Kindle" version on my ipad. The online tracks referred to in the book and which are meant to form the basis of many of the tutorials cannot be accessed by my ipad apparently due to incompatible soft wear. y
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VINE VOICEon 27 October 2012
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is a well laid out wide ranging introduction to starting to play the mandolin. Don Julin is an American mandolin geek and teacher.
The books starts with a thorough introduction to the anatomy mandolin, a excellent section on tuning and the usual beginner music book introduction to music theory and notation. This is all clear and well laid out. Next we get a simple introduction to the actual business of playing.
The best bit about this book is that there are sections of different mandolin musical styles; Jethro Style, Old Time, Rags and Blues, Bluegrass, Irish Mandolin, Italian and Classical styles, Jazz rhythms, and Dawg Music. Although Don Julin's American view of what Irish music is not necessarily mine! Each section gives a couple tunes and good explanation including explanation of particular technique or musical aspect such as particular types of scale. This is the best bit of the book, But be warned that it is book written from an American viewpoint.

The section on buying a mandolin will have limited use in the UK but is never the less interesting. Also as this is a book more to dip into than to work through from beginning to end it doesn't have the progression of musical development that perhaps other tutors might have. If you want a book that can do this to use along side this guide try Simon Mayor who is mentioned in this book under Irish mandolinist. Although he has a CD called the Celtic Mandolin he is a Yorkshireman!
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on 27 September 2012
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I'm a guitarist who picked up a mandolin for a new challenge. I found this book perfect - it has sections to help you buy, tune, accessorize and repair your mandolin as well as heaps of extras like a section on music notation, how to immerse yourself in mandolin culture and so on.

I was surprised by the breadth and depth of the music contained too - far more than one would expect from a beginners' book.

Altogether a terrific resource. If I had one wish it would be for an upfront page of key chords as you sometimes get in Dummies books. They are in the appendix, but it would be useful to not have to break the spine to look up. Otherwise excellent.
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on 25 September 2012
I've been playing mandolin for a few years and wondered if this would be a simple introduction to the basics. While it does cover everything you need to get started it also provides plenty of testing exercises and tunes that will stretch the established player. The free download tracks are invaluable and present no difficulty in finding or extracting.
The best compliment I can pay this book is that it's likely to be the Tottle for a new generation.
The only gripe I have with it, and it is a small one, is there could have been photos of established players included (like the books of old used ot do). As a beginner I always found it inspiring to see images of the greats and I remember back in the early eighties studying the the hand shapes and positions of Monroe et al that I could get in those pre-internet days (I suppose you could say there's plenty of images available on the web so why bother). This is only a small issue that many people will not even care about.
I'm glad i bought this book and I recommend it highly.
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VINE VOICEon 1 November 2012
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
My Mandolin and I have had a difficult journey.

I acquired her about 6 years ago after a long period of lusting after a Mandolin of my own. Surely by just listening to enough bluegrass music on CD, I would magically be able to play at lightening speed as soon as I got the instrument?

Erm...well, not exactly.

Since then we've had periods of making progress, frequent periods of stalling, and prolonged periods of not talking to each other.

Enter - Mandolin for Dummies!

As the Mandolin Dummy in this case, I'm also a guitar player of some years, so there are a lot of things musically that I already do as I'm supposed to with the Mandolin, but this book really is a 360 degree guide which is helping me to pin point the bits I don't do properly, and helping me to hone those skills. In addition to the hefty (but easily dip-able) manual, there are several downloadable music files so that you can actually *hear* what you're supposed to be sounding like instead of just working it out from the sheet music. This is very useful, especially for those of us who learn music by ear. There are also plenty of pictures, but here's the one thing I've marked it down for - sometimes those pictures drop on to the next page, and it's a tad confusing in places where the text refers to the picture and you don't get that picture til you turn the page over.

All in all, I've already seen the improvement, and I think it really would appeal for complete beginners as well as people already a little familiar with the Mando who just want to learn more. Recommended. Surely it's only a matter of time until I'm playing as fast and as brilliantly as Chris Thile?
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on 17 November 2012
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
My initial impression was that this was a bit too basic (but then i have played mandolin for a thousand years), and indeed it does take you right from the very basics of types of mandolin, what to buy, what to look for...

But then i turned to the section on bluegrass mandolin, a style i have long aspired to but made litle progress with despite purchasing several thick tomes on the style and listening avidly. this gives us one chapter on bluegrass, but for the first time here is an author who can summarise the essentials of the style in a few succinct pages. Suddenly i feel i know where i'm going. Will it make me a star bluegrass player? - no - but it will take me on the first steps of the journey and make everything i read later more accessible and useable.

For someone like me who basically dislikes the dummies style, the layout, the americanisms, once again i find a book i'm going to turn back to over and over. Despite myself i have to admit Dummies have done it again.
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on 11 August 2014
Brilliant book, covering a whole array of techniques and methods for learning or improving your mandolin playing. Very well written with clear instruction. Photo illustrations could be a bit clearer, but that's me nit picking! Overall, highly recommended.
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