There are three prominent types of mandolin: the neapolitan bowl-back, the arch-top and the flat-back. It is the flat-back mandolin that is mostly used in the Irish folk tradition. Mandolin Basics is aimed at the absolute beginner mandolin player
By the end of the course, you will have a repertoire of eleven popular Irish tunes, the ability to play basic chords and triplets and a deeper understanding of the Irish music tradition. The course has 18 lessons, broken into 3 to 4 tutorials each, where tunes are taught phrase by phrase.
This course is aimed at the absolute beginner mandolin player and begins with the basics like how to hold the instrument, proper hand/finger posture and good basic technique. There is a progressive study of scales, plectrum motions, and ornamentation throughout the lessons. The course teaches a solid foundation from which to build your expertise as a mandolin player in the Irish music genre.
The popular Irish session tunes taught in this course are:
The Kerry Polka
The Foggy Dew
Britches Full Of Stitches
The Ballydesmond Polka
The Lilting Banshee
The Kerry Jig
48 Dogs In The Meathouse
Sheet Music and Mp3s available to Download for each Tune
Sample Sheet Music
Sample mp3 of Molly Malone
Recommended Mandolin for Beginners by Paddy Cummins
If you already play Bluegrass music, I’m guessing you own an F-style, arch-top mandolin. If it is of good quality then you can start learning Irish music on this straight away. If you haven’t purchased a mandolin yet and want to focus mostly on Irish music, I would suggest purchasing an A-style, oval hole mandolin. Eastman and Kentucky are two companies that make high quality, affordable instruments and are well worth the extra few quid over the untunable McBride’s range! If you want to splash out on a higher grade instrument there are plenty of vintage Gibsons on the market (A1, A2, A3 and A4 models are superb) or, otherwise, there are countless makers across the world. In Ireland, Joe Foley has built a strong reputation over the decades for making great mandolins and in the US there are countless companies, albeit usually specialising in Bluegrass instruments e.g. Weber, Northfield & Collings.
Advice Starting Out with the Mandolin
Enjoy the journey. It is highly recommended to be familiar with any tune you are learning before learning how to play it, so download the mp3 file and listen to it frequently first before picking up your instrument to play it. Lessons are structured in progressive sequence, each building on the last. You are advised to follow the sequence and not skip a lesson for better progress.
Frequently Asked Questions answered by tutor Paddy Cummins
More detailed questions and discussion on the course can be found in the Community Forum, available to paying members only.