Instructors: John Reischman

Welcome to Melodic Mandolin Tunes!

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You can use this page to give me feedback, ask questions about lessons, and request tunes for future lessons.

by John Reischman
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!

—John Reischman

Visit the Melodic Mandolin Tunes Course Page 


Tags: Mandolin
Category: Instructor Blog

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If you have questions about the course or a specific lesson, or want to request a lesson from your instructor, you can email instructors@pegheadnation.com

Comments and Discussion

Posted by richardfyoung@gmail.com on
John,
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.
Thanks,
Rich
Posted by eehanson@wcvt.com on
Hi John,
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.
Eric
Posted by vincentroost@gmail.com on
Where does the tune Presidents Garfield's Hornpipe come from? I just did some fumbling in a jam taking a break over a song in Bb so not only is it a pretty tune but clearly one that will be good for my playing. Thanks
Posted by teleman4200@yahoo.com on
John
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.

Bud
Posted by richardadann@mac.com on
This is just beautiful... Thank you, thank you, thank you John!

Rich
Posted by hollyj.gregory@gmail.com on
John, Signed up for your melody tunes because I wanted to learn Prairie Jewel. Such a lovely tune. Greatly enjoying your lessons. Holly
Posted by Scottnyg on
Hi Sherie,
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.

Best,
Scott Nygaard
Peghead Nation
Posted by s_welsford@hotmail.com on
Hi...I am still relatively new to mandolin and music theory. John often mentions that the notes he is picking is over an A or D or E. What exactly does that mean? Is he picking the 1, 3, 5 sequence that makes up a chord? Thanks.
Posted by phil@thehangpro.com on
Thanks for the reply Scott. Always giving credit. It's great to get the tunes out there and played. In a way that's the point; great, artistic, thoughtful music shared and passed along. It's awesome that we live in a time when so much great music is available in seconds. (When we were kids we had to hitchhike across the country to find the tunes). Ya, Ya, Ya - onward
Posted by Scottnyg on
Hey Phil,
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.
Scott
Posted by phil@thehangpro.com on
John,Scott,
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,
Phil
Posted by Scottnyg on
John does play Itzbin Reel with a slight bit of swing, which is common with a lot of fiddle tunes, although you'll notice that once the tune is sped up to the tempo John plays it on his recording, some of the swing gets evened out.
Scott Nygaard
Editor and Co-Founder
Peghead Nation
Posted by delucag@nyc.rr.com on
John
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.
Posted by pporcelli2010@gmail.com on
Hi John and fellow subscribers.
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 :-)))
Posted by s_welsford@hotmail.com on
Just a suggestion...would there be a way for those taking this course to perhaps post a video of themselves...maybe in a forum type setting...playing one of the songs they are learning and then the rest of us watching can learn and/or provide suggestions, or discussions about what sounds good...or what still needs some work, etc? I find that type of sharing helps gain insight into what others are doing and helps me to find out where I am making errors and how to correct them. Thanks. :)
Posted by stevedavidson1958@btinternet.com on
Hi John,

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?

Cheers. Steve
Posted by lorriwestbrook@yahoo.com on
John,
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!!!
Posted by david28766@gmail.com on
John,
Thanks for sharing your wonderful music its a pleasure to learn and play your songs.
David O
Posted by John Reischman on
Hello Mbarnicoat@gmail.com,
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!
John
Posted by John Reischman on
Hi Ken, glad you are enjoying the tunes. I am guessing the high part you are referring to is the solo I took on my recording over the A section of the tune. I play a slightly different solo every time I perform the tune. What was taught in the lesson was the full melody as written. If you are interested in the recorded improve I played you could check out my book of transcriptions of all of the tunes from Up in the Woods. The melodies and solos are included for all but one tune. The book is available from my website.
Thanks for the feed back.
John
Posted by darylcrisp@hotmail.com on
John
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.
daryl
Posted by Mbarnicoat@gmail.com on
Hi John,

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.
Posted by s_welsford@hotmail.com on
Saltspring! YAY!!! so thrilled with this one. I have been teaching myself it. I got close to figuring out and playing the whole song...but love this lesson to show what I'm missing.
Posted by rockcrazyken@gmail.com on
Hi John

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

Ken
Posted by John Reischman on
Hey everyone,

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 djanderson39@yahoo.com's comment is spot on.

Keep those requests and comments coming and I'll do my best to address them.

John
Posted by djandersen39@yahoo.com on
I've noticed a few people fretting because some of the tabs aren't note perfect to the video. I understand it can be disconcerting, but here's the up side: your ears work properly and you can hear the difference. As you advance in music, the ultimate goal is to play what you hear, play what you feel, just play.

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.
Posted by djandersen39@yahoo.com on
Thank you. I see it's one he teaches in the course, so I'm psyched. I also am a fan of Pine Siskins. Charming little birds.
Posted by Scottnyg on
That's John's tune "Little Pine Siskin."
Posted by djandersen39@yahoo.com on
I've just started my course. I find John's playing is attuned to what my interests are, so I'm enjoying and making good progress.

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.
Posted by Scottnyg on
As I've mentioned above, if you listen to John for very long, you'll notice that he, like most great musicians, never really plays a tune the exact same way every time. The notation is simply one way to play it, and is usually the way he teaches it in the video, but it can't possibly account for all the nuances, small chord shapes, variations in timing, etc. that he continually adds as he plays.

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.

Scott Nygaard
CoFounder and Editor
Peghead Nation
Posted by s_welsford@hotmail.com on
Hi, the tab for Itzbin Reel is slightly incorrect in the first part after the intro. Not totally true to what John is playing.

BTW: may I request Prairie Jewel as the next lesson. I so love that song.
Posted by Scottnyg on
Hi Jim, Birdland Bounce is the same tune as Birdland Breakdown, but played with more of a medium-tempo swing feel.

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.

Best,
Scott Nygaard
Editor and Co-Founder
Peghead Nation
Posted by jimreineke@me.com on
Hi John,

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.
Posted by astrujillo@comcast.net on
Hello John!

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.

Al T.
Posted by s_welsford@hotmail.com on
Hi John,

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 :)
Posted by jckcravens@gmail.com on
appriciate the comment thanks.
Posted by Scottnyg on
Hi Jack,
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.
Best,
Scott Nygaard
Editor and CoFounder
Peghead Nation
Posted by jckcravens@gmail.com on
Hi I'm thinking of switching courses to Melodic Mandolin. Im just little worried that I noticed a comment about the tab not quite matching up Which is what I find on my current course. It's quite frustrating when you're learning. But I would like to give it a try. Please advise how I switch over. Thanks
Posted by spacecanuck@gmail.com on
Hi John, thanks so much for all this great online content (and thanks to Scott as well). I am enjoying it all, keep 'em coming - 8th of February? Anisa's Lullaby maybe?
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!
Steve G.
Posted by jamesjones1454@hotmail.com on
I've really enjoyed learning Itzbin Reel, which Joe Walsh teaches as well. I like the original of this tune, on the Good 'Ol Persons CD, where you are playing the melody without the harmony track. That helped me learn the b section. The resonator/dobro break was great, as well. Looking forward to "Over the Rainbow!
Posted by lighthousegtr@gmail.com on
Love the 2 note chords in Road to Malverne...
Posted by lighthousegtr@gmail.com on
John...It seems like you are striking only one string of the pair in the first couple of lessons. Is that onpurpose, for simplification purposes or... ? Thanks...have been wanting to learn your version of Over the Rainbow for a very long time. That is the main reason I have taken this course. Super happy to see it on the horizon !
Posted by anne.delayat@yahoo.fr on
Hi John,
I'm very happy to get the chance to learn by your side.
For myself I would really love to learn Little Liza Jane

Thanks
Anne
Posted by John Reischman on
Don,

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.

John
Posted by John Reischman on
Daryl,

Little Maggie is a good idea! I'll try and work it in to the course as it shows a specific technique.

JR
Posted by Ncurcio30@gmail.com on
I watched Scott and you play La Arboleda together about a dozen times in the last two days. It must be fun to be that good!
Posted by Nicholas Curcio on
Playing Itzbin Reel relatively smoothly now without the chart. Still cheating with the chart on La Arboleda - but it's so much fun to play.

I'd like to try "Kenny's Gone" someday too if you can get to it - great tune.

Thx
Nick
Posted by spaventa@cox.net on
John,

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."
Posted by Ncurcio30@gmail.com on
John,

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,
Nick
Posted by btstel@aol.com on
I noticed that too with The Road to Malvern tab. I wish the tab completely matched the lesson, especially in regards to double stops. I'm trying to learn by ear and develop variations, but it would still be nice to have 100% accurate tab to refer to when necessary. This way you can make sure you learned the lesson exactly as it was taught, before heading into the deeper waters on your own. With that aside, this course is going to be amazing. Happy picking everyone!
Posted by mjwaterhouse@hotmail.co.uk on
Great to have John doing these lessons and to hear him play solo like this. Just wanted to point out that the played in full version of The road to Malvern isn't the same as the phrase by phrase version and neither are quite the same as the tab. I appreciate this may be missing the point of learning to play these tunes by ear but thought it may help others who are confused.

Looking forward to further lesson.

Michael
Posted by donaldjmiller@msn.com on
John,

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.

Don
Posted by bdaa86@yahoo.com on
John,

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,
Bill
Posted by darylcrisp@hotmail.com on
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
daryl
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