First Lessons Mandolin by Dix Bruce.

It doesn’t get any easier than this! If you’ve never had a mandolin in your hands before but want to learn to play it, this is the book/audio set for you. Teaches the absolute basics of learning to play mandolin. Covers everything from holding the pick to performing easy mandolin tunes. Book includes downloadable audio and video!

Book or eBook with downloadable audio and video 

This book is sold by Mel Bay Publications.
Click the button below to view and purchase the book from Mel Bay.

Additional Details

You’ll learn basic picking technique, how to tune the mandolin, all the important major, minor, seventh, and “bluegrass” mandolin chords, how to play easy melodies in several musical styles, and much more. The main goal is to get you up and playing the mandolin as quickly as possible and to have fun doing it.

Jazz (see full review below) calls First Lessons Mandolin an “…excellent instruction book…a quick and entertaining way to learn how to play… invaluable!” The downloadable audio includes all the songs (see below) played at slow and regular speeds with guitar backup. The downloadable video features Dix Bruce teaching all the concepts from the book. He also plays through all the tunes and both slow and regular speeds.

Most of the songs are familiar folk songs to help you learn more quickly. You can, with the turn of the balance control on your amp or tuner, turn off the lead or the backup to focus on either part and play along. In addition, you’ll hear mini lessons on tuning, chording, playing rhythm, “The Big Bad Bluegrass Chop Chord,” playing melodies, tremolo, and more! And, you just can’t beat the price! Also available “Getting Into Bluegrass Mandolin,” by Dix Bruce.

Table of Contents:
The Mandolin and its Parts
Let’s Play
How to use the audio
First Chords
Skip to My Lou
Careless Love
The Blue Tail Fly
Red River Valley
Billy Boy
In the Pines
Chords and Music Theory
St.James Infirmary
Poor Wayfaring Stranger
John Henry
My Home ’s Across the Blue Ridge Mountains
Seventh Blues
Go Down Moses
Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child
Moving Closed Position Chords
Playing Melodies
Camptown Races
Just a Closer Walk With Thee
My Walking Cane
The Great Speckled Bird
Lonesome Valley
Buffalo Gals
Oh,Them Golden Slippers
Soldier ’s Joy
East Virginia Blues
Basic Version East Virginia Blues (Note fill in version)
Roving Gambler
Great Big Bad Bluegrass Chop Chords
Roll in My Sweet Baby ’s Arms
This Train
Chord Dictionary
Wrapping Things Up

Review from JazzReview. com

by Lee Posser FIRST LESSONS: MANDOLIN by Dix Bruce is a quick and entertaining way to learn how to play this instrurnent that has been around on the jazz scene since the early 1920s decade. Its recent use in world music with jazz themes in the decade of the 1990s shows its enduring performance use as a jazz instrument.

The play-along audio contains 62 tracks and has some fine selections such as “St. James Infirmary,” “Seventh Blues,” “East Virginia Blues,” among others. The sheet music for the songs is in the instruction book.

Fingerings, positions, explanation of chords, and a complete mandolin chord directory on pages 38 and 39 make this instruction book invaluable for any individual seeking to learn how to play the mandolin. Excellent instruction book.

Customer Comment:

“I just picked up your ‘First Lessons-Mandolin’ DVD and CD at a music store in Calgary. It is great. I live in a small rural town and have not found a mandolin instructor locally, so have been struggling for the past 3 or 4 years to learn mandolin on my own from books and CDs. Yours is the first one that has made sense out of the 4 or 5 that I’ve tried. I’ve been jamming with some other musicians and have been doing OK picking up the simple open chords, but have been trying to advance and learn other chord positions and how to pick melody and take lead breaks. Your series has already helped out a lot in the two days I’ve been working with it. Your way of explaining things makes sense to me and the speed and tempo of the slow demos has allowed me to play along with confidence I didn’t have before.”

P. C. Alta., Canada

The Magic Mandolin Shape

Hundreds of mandolin chords include what Dix Bruce calls The Magic Mandolin Shape. Hundreds more can be made by simply moving or modifying this basic shape. Unlock one of the most useful secrets of mandolin chords by identifying and understanding The Magic Mandolin Shape. Click here to see a short video about it.