Thursday, December 9, 2010


Hey there-

I am going to be sure to let you all know it is quite ok to ask questions.

That is the Tip of the Day.

Reach out and ask. Ask about Chords, melody everything.

If you see another mandolin player that is playing some cool stuff you would like to learn, just go up and ask. I am certain they will assist in any way possible.

If there is a guitar player and he is playing rhythm (he is your best friend) ask about the chords and the changes.

Do not be shy..just ask while you have the chance.

Take the info back and digest it and play with it.

Fun, Fun and even more fun!

ps. You can ask me anytime

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

TOD Warming up

Hey there everyone-

One thing that works for me is simple little pick strokes down and up on each set of strings

Start with the G then D then A then E, down and up on the same series of strings.

Then try down on G and up on D- three minutes

Down on G up on A- Three minutes

Down on G up on E- three minutes

Now back to just the G string.

Now mix the Rotation

down on D up on A, down on D up on E.

Same with A string.

A few minutes a day will help your picking holding hand, promise!

Have a great Turkey Day , Everyone!


Monday, November 22, 2010

Mandolin TOD

Hello all

Take 5 minutes and take your instrument into aroom with the lights off. Play your scales, a recent tune and the chords you know.

This will force you to listen and not watch. Huge!!

Give it a try and then flip the light switch on and try the same thing.

Most gigs and jams are in very low light conditions. This exercise will help you listen to what you are doing and prepare you for a almost dark playing situation.

Note: I still do this…everyday!

Happy playing


Friday, November 19, 2010

TOD # 5 Play while standing

Howdy folks-

So I was thinking today how important it is to play standing up.

Of course when you are playing around the house we all naturally want to sit down. I think mostly for comfort.

When I got back into the banjo after some time off I had a gig. All the time I put into it before the show was sitting down. When I got to the gig I realized we were all standing. It was a whole different world to me. It really felt uncomfortable and strange to me.

After the show I began my warm ups standing, walking around, jumping..everything!!

So try to fit some standing playing in during your play time and you will be far better and prepared  when it comes time to jam or gig.

Have a great weekend everyone!


Thursday, November 18, 2010

TOD # 4 Warming Up!

Hey everyone-

There are times we just want to play and play.

You notice that you cramp up quickly. Easy fix

You feel like your fingers are going to explode. Almost an easy fix.

You feel tight and things just are flowing. Hardest fix.



I happens to everyone. What do I do to over come it?

Lets take the first one, cramping up. Muscles need to warm up before any activity. Small arm circles leading to large arm circles really work. Or you can try sitting in a chair and imagine you are climbing a ladder. Reach hand over hand to the imaginary top rung. You will feel this !

Second One, fingers exploding. My heart goes out to upright bass players and rhythm guitar players. Now they have it a lot harder than us 8 stringers. So you have a few options to over come finger tip pain.

First check your action. If its insane to push down on the 5th fret and you feel the pain. I would say its time for a bridge adjustment.

Second you can change the type of strings you use to a lighter gauge. Note: YOU WILL loose volume at first.

Neck reset: Sometimes the truss rod needs a little nudge. Take it to a workshop and have them look over it for you. I can recommend good mandolin repair people in almost every location of the world,

Item 3: Many things can cause the lack of flow in your playing. From the two topics above to fatigue , getting overwhelmed before playing, lack of hearing your self. So many.

How to fix. Well, imho, just play like you play in your kitchen or office.

Its going to be different no matter what. Unless you invite everyone over to your practice space. Still it might not flow.

I would say take a little break, approach it slowly. Also be sure you are playing with others that allow you to be heard. Sometimes the little mandolin can get crunched in a big jam.


The main point is that the more you are using the muscles, the fingers and playing will loose all of the above. It just goes away..PROMISE!!

Now pick a tune!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Mandolin TOD # 3 Jamming

Hey Mando friends and music lovers.

So you got your mandolin and you know some chords and your ready to hit the jam session. What now?

Its never a bad thing to jam and play along with others. Its actually good for you and the folks you are playing with. IMHO!

If you don’t know the tune, that is ok too. Just simply strike the strings with your noting hand,  muting the strings. You will hear a snare drum like sound.

You have now stepped into the role of the drummer and if you work at it, over and over you will be welcomed with open picks.

You can test this by just turning on the radio and playing along with any song that is playing. Listen carefully to the rhythm section and play along.

These are great times to test your power in your picking hand.

Things you may want to avoid.

1. Don’t solo or over play while someone else is soloing, unless you are twinning the soloist.

2. Do not over play when someone is singing. This is huge!

It can be a rough scene. Just meeting new people can be stressful enough so ease into it and have fun with it.

Pick on!!


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Mandolin Tip 2: When to Change Strings

Have you ever wondered when it is time to change your strings?

I have noticed there are some folks who like that fresh string sound before gigs or recording.

There are others who like the security of knowing they have less chances of breaking a string during a session with a new set of wires on their axe.

I change my stings, when needed.

99% of the time my E or A string will slightly dis-cord on the 11 and 12th fret. That’s my cue..string change needed.

If you have any dis-cord sound, inspect and change as needed.

Also if its before a big session/gig/jam..a good idea too so you are not worried about it.

Monitor Breakage: If you have strings that are breaking in the same spot all the time, inspect that area of the mandolin where they are breaking and repair. Most times a simple sanding or polishing does the trick. Good practice in knowing all aspects of your instrument.

Q. So when one  breaks a single string,  is it good to change them all?

A. I usually do. Others are soon to follow so might as well install the other 7.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Mandolin Tip Of the day Nov 15, 2010

So today I was thinking of this new concept. How about a tip a day?

Hmm..can it be done? Well I am going to see.


So tip number 1… the very least…open the case and pick it up and hold it for 10 seconds.

Baby steps!!


Good luck!


Ok…trying another avenue.

Hi everyone. I have been working on some new lesson material to upload soon.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Its been forever!!

Howdy friends,
I am working on some new lessons and hope to have the ones i have been working on re-rendered.

Lots of news on music. Coming soon!