This is the first book I used when learning mandolin. It is an excellent book and comes with an audio CD. It covers the following topics:-
- How to choose,tune, hold and pick your mandolin
- Strumming basic open chords to accompany
- Reading standard music notation and tablature (TAB)
- Playing several traditional fiddle tunes such as Soldier's Joy and Old Joe Clark
- Improvising and soloing over blues and bluegrass songs
- Strumming the famous bluegrass "chop" rhythm
- The structure of major scales, keys and chords
- Moveable chord shapes that allow you to play every major, minor and dominant-7 chord
- Specialised techniques that apply to old-time, bluegrass, blue and rock
Since the book is written by an American author the tunes used are mainly old-time bluegrass. However the techniques taught are equally applicable to Scottish/Irish tunes.
Each chapter contains a number of lessons on a specific theme (e.g Blues Mandolin). Each lesson usually contains a tune or exercise to demonstrate what is being taught. These tunes/exercises can be heard on the accompanying audio CD. I found the lessons easy to follow and the audio tracks were very helpful to get the timing correct.
Once you have mastered the basics of the mandolin you can work on several chapters at once or jump around. You do not need to work through the chapters from start to finish.
Overall I would recommend this book to those beginning the mandolin. It gives you good a grounding in the basic elements of mandolin playing.