You can use this page to give me feedback, ask questions about lessons, and request tunes for future lessons.
February 15, 2017
Hello Folks! Welcome to Melodic Mandolin Tunes. I'm looking forward to sharing some of my favorite tunes, as well as some originals of mine that have become popular. The tunes will cover a range of styles from old-time to new acoustic along with some straight-up bluegrass and a few tunes from Latin America. In the lessons I will show you the melodies to the tunes along with the chords and rhythmic approach. We will also look at the particular techniques and challenges each tune presents. Let me know here if you have any questions about any of the lessons and any suggestions for future lessons. I look forward to hearing from you and welcome your feedback. I hope you enjoy the tunes!
Visit the Melodic Mandolin Tunes Course Page
If you have questions about the course or a specific lesson, or want to request a lesson from your instructor, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org
Comments and Discussion
I was surprised and delighted that you chose to teach us "Devlin", one of my all time favorites and one that I've struggled to learn for a few years now. Especially the chords were of difficulty to figure out.
I am just getting started with your course, but am already enamored. I've always enjoyed your style and your original tunes. Both seem to fit with the sound that I am after. Itzbin Reel is a real hoot with its syncopation; a lot of fun to try to get to learn. Next on my to learn list is Como Llora Una Estrella and Indiana Firefly. I look forward to seeing you, and hopefully meeting you, at the Green Mountain Bluegrass and Roots Festival this coming August. Thanks so much for providing these lessons.
Loving the lessons. Right now I don't have any request as I've got to get through the ones you've already taught. I too have always been a fan of clawhammer banjo and you've given me some great ideas for incorporating it into my playing. Thanks a million.
John is probably referring to the notes of the A, D, or E chord, which are the chords used to accompany the tune. If you're interested in learning more about theory, you might want to check out Chad Manning's Theory for Mandolin and Fiddle course, which is a great introduction to music theory as it relates to mandolins and fiddles.
The protocol is: you play one of our tunes, and we thank you for playing one of our tunes. Or something like that. Of course, if you mention where the tune comes from, who wrote it, etc., that's even better.
I've been wondering-What is the protocol for learning your and other musicians tunes and then playing them in public, in a band, sometimes for money? I imagine recording someones tune is a separate issue.
Thanks for the great tunes,
Editor and Co-Founder
question about Itzbin Reel.
On the openning demonstration of the tune it sounds to me like you are swinging the 1/8 notes. Is that correct? You do not mention that in the instruction and it is not marked on the notation. Really been enjoying this and La Arboleda. Working with metronome to get the speed up. I do not think I will get to your speed as done with Scott but it something to aspire to.
Paul here from Scotland.
Just wanted to say how much I am enjoying the course. It’s everything I could have expected and more.
First of all it’s a privilege to learn John’s wonderful original songs directly from him.
I also love the pace of the lessons, the teaching style and the great visuals plus downloadable material.
Once I have worked My way through the material I will certainly make some requests for some of my favourites.
Awesome job guys :-)))
Greetings from the Shetland Islands. Love your music and the course. I really like your clear explanations and the chance to play along with yourself and Scott Nygaard. The pace is just right. I think Scott made it to the Shetland Folk Festival a few years back. Hope you make it here someday soon. Any chance of doing a lesson on Little Liza Jane?
I have just recently been introduced to your music and truly love it. I have enrolled in the course, even though I do not have a good grasp of music theory. I really, really appreciate this opportunity to learn from you. Thank you so much for instructing on PegHead Nation!!!
Thanks for sharing your wonderful music its a pleasure to learn and play your songs.
Thanks for your comments. I will continue to include a review of the chords and chord progressions to the tunes I teach. Glad you are enjoying the course!
Thanks for the feed back.
thanks so much for Salt Spring and all the techniques and skills you showed. I love this one.
Simply an awesome tune and so much fun to play, and relaxing.
I am really enjoying your course and am learning a great deal! Just a quick note to say that I really appreciate that you cover the chords in almost all of your videos and it would be great to see the chords addressed in all the lessons even if they seem intuitive and it is a brief overview. I personally find it a tremendous help as someone who typically plays alone and often does not play through and practice chords and chord progressions enough.
I've enjoyed learning your tunes but I was little disappointed that on The North Shore you only teach the lower part. Is it possible for you to include the higher part as well at some point please.
Thanks for your comments and requests. I'm happy to say that many of the requests are already in the queue, and the ones that aren't will definitely be considered.
As far as any confusion where the versions played and the transcriptions are a bit varied. I think you'll find that this is not an issue for most of the course's repertoire, but it is the case for some. Scott has addressed this issue very well in my mind, and I think email@example.com's comment is spot on.
Keep those requests and comments coming and I'll do my best to address them.
In Classical Music, musicians of a very high skill level play the written music of the greats hoping to replicate the original composers intentions as closely as possible. But this isn't classical music.
One of the things tha's difficult about learning music is that it starts out relatively simple and rational: her'e your C Major scale and here's the note intervals and the chords built out of that, here's the other keys, and so on. And then all the exceptions and variations come in, and it gets to be kind of a muddle.
If you carry on, eventually it all becomes clear again and you don't think so much when you play, or feel bound by the rules. The only real rule is stick with it and you will get there.
I would love to know what the intro tune to the Sample Video is. It's in "D" and I can suss out the tune, but I would love to know the name.
John's next lesson, which will go up on July 1, is "The North Shore," and "Prairie Jewel" will come along a couple months later, I believe.
CoFounder and Editor
BTW: may I request Prairie Jewel as the next lesson. I so love that song.
And Al, John's lesson on playing "The North Shore" will go up next month - July. And "A Prairie Jewel" will go up a few months later.
Editor and Co-Founder
Is Birdland Breakdown the same tune as Birdland Bounce on a CD called Travellers with you. Butch Baldasari and Robin Bullock? I learned it from the CD and it seems to be the same.
I'm enjoyed the courses but I'm really looking forward to A Prairie Jewel and North Shore - any idea when those will be up? Apparent that everyone else is enjoying the website and we can't get enough of your songs.
You had mentioned that this was in the works, I am sooooo very glad it has come to reality. I wanted to take your class at Nimblefingers a few years ago but it was full. So thrilled about this...great work...keep it coming :)
One of the problems with using written music (or tab) when teaching roots music is it gives the impression that there is only one way to play any given tune. But most roots musicians never really play anything the same way twice. We provide notation here at Peghead Nation as a reminder of what you're learned, so that you can use it when you're away from the computer. But, since music is an aural art, the actual instruction should be what you go by. All of our instructors are great teachers but they're also great players, and so, even when they're teaching a specific version of a piece, will rarely play it exactly the same way every time. It's important for students who want to become players to understand this idea so they can recognize, learn, and play tunes even when they're not played exactly the same way. Use the written music as a reminder of what you've learned, not as the thing itself.
At any rate, if you want to change courses, you can do so by going to your account page under the red button in the upper right hand corner that says Hi Jack.
Hope this helps.
Editor and CoFounder
I've learned a lot from you the last 2 years at NimbleFingers but won't be there this year, so these Peghead Nation courses are really appreciated. Anyway, looking forward to seeing and hearing you and the trio at Blue Waters festival in Spokane this August!
I'm very happy to get the chance to learn by your side.
For myself I would really love to learn Little Liza Jane
Glad you like our version of Midnight on the Water. On the recording I am playing Mandola, so not sure it will work for the mandolin course. I think Sharon may teach the mandolin version in her course.
Little Maggie is a good idea! I'll try and work it in to the course as it shows a specific technique.
I'd like to try "Kenny's Gone" someday too if you can get to it - great tune.
Your teaching style matches your playing style: elegant and relaxed, but always in rhythm. I have one little quibble, and it's probably my obtuseness that's causing me problems. I don't want to go through past lessons to get to present or future ones. I must be doing something wrong. I am on "The Road to Malvern," but keep entering the online site at "Itzbin Reel."
Still working on Itzbin Reel - it's great. Can't wait to start on La Arboleda! Hope you get to Birdland Breakdown at some point!
See you at Kaufman Kamp,
Looking forward to further lesson.
Just bought your (& Scott & Sharon) The Harmonic Tone Revealers CD. Please put Midnight On The Water on your lesson list. Woderful version on the CD.
You are one of my mandolin hero's and I look forward to learning how to play your tunes. You're recorded so many wonderful tunes that its tough to chose, but I'd love to see lessons on Little Pine Siskin, A Prairie Jewel, The North Shore, and your take on Cazadero.
Thanks again, John,
Thank you so much for being here and offering these classes.
I would highly enjoy a lesson on Little Maggie, from your CD "Walk along John".
Love that tune and the way you play it on the CD(both versions).
thanks again for hanging out here
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