Skip Navigation Website Accessibility


Bruce Emery Mandolin From Scratch

What every beginning mandolin aspirant should know to get up and playing as soon as possible, whether you are interested in bluegrass, old-time or Celtic styles, or want to get into the blues. Of course, we start by showing you how to tune the thing, and move right along to learning how to strum some simple chords, G, C and D. There are twelve different keys in music, but we only care about five of them (G, D, A, C and E), so we'll learn how to play the most important chords to these, using plenty of familiar song examples. Bluegrassers will see how to play the all-important Chop Chord, as well as other chord forms around the neck.

Next comes single-string playing, arguably the most important thing you can do on a mandolin. You'll get some practice with simple tunes and scales, and then we move on to the heart of the book: playing classic fiddle tunes in the North American and European traditions. I'll give you two versions for most of these, a Plainer one and a Fancier one. After that comes some chord-melody playing, where we'll apply chords and harmonies to some popular folk and classical pieces.

Table of Contents

What will we cover? 1
How do we start? 2
Tuning the mandolin 3
Strumming some chords: G, C and D 6
Strum Patterns 6
Boil That Cabbage Down 7
G Chord Family 8
1-4-5 chords.....Major and 7th 9
Song examples 10
Minor chords 12
Majors plus Minors 13
D Chord Family 14
Song examples 15
Comparing Keys of G and D 17
A Chord Family 18
E Chord Family 19
C Chord Family 20
Our 5 Chord Families 22
Chords Up the Neck 23
Bluegrass Chop Chords
Single String Playing 26
G Major Scale 26
Alternate Picking 28
Simple melodies for practice 29
Major Scale structure 30
2nd octave of G.....more melodies 31
Alternate Picking Pitfalls 35
Mandolin solos: Boil That Cabbage 34
Double-stops 35
D Major Scale 36
Simple melodies for practice 37
A Major Scale 39
Simple melodies for practice 40
Playing Fiddle Tunes on Mandolin 42
G and D Arpeggios 43
Fiddle tunes in the Key of D 44
Soldier's Joy 44

Over the Waterfall 48
More Fiddle tunes in the Key of D
Wildwood Flower 50
I'll Fly Away 51
Bonaparte's Retreat 52
Hoedown 53
Whiskey Before Breakfast 54
La Bastringue 56
Cuckoo's Nest 58
Fiddle Tunes in the Key of G 60
Garry Owen's 60
Wash Woman 61
Fiddle Tunes in the Key of A 62
Devil's Dream 62
Red Haired Boy 63
Old Joe Clark 64
Fiddle Tune in E Dorian Mode 66
Road to Lisdoonvarna 66
Scandinavian Fiddle Music 67
My Wedding Day 67
Karis Pers Polska 68
The Lever 70
Rezijanka Music from Slovenia 71
More Chords Up the Neck: G-D-C-A-E 72
1 - 4 - 5's and Minor Chords Up There 74
Tremolo 76
Chord/Melody Playing.....Minuet in G 77
Amazing Grace 78
Si Bheag Si Mhor 80
2001: A Space Odyssey 82
Minuet in G (Fancy) 83
Intro to Blues.....12 Bar Blues 84
Blues Shuffle in G 85
Blues Lead in G 86
Blues in D and A 90
Blues in E.....Seventh Chords 91
Chord Chart 92

10/6/20 CS


    • Sky Guitars
      (940) 387-2671
    • 521 N. Elm St.
      Denton, TX 76201
    • MON-SAT: 10a - 6p
      Closed Sunday