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Essential Techniques for Mandolin
Essential Techniques for Mandolin
Genres: Special Interests, Educational, Musicals & Performing Arts
NR     2002     1hr 25min

Chris Thile, mandolin virtuoso for the hit band Nickel Creek, shares his own successful formula for developing right- and left-hand dexterity, improving speed and accuracy, and playing with heightened musicality. Includes ...  more »


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Movie Details

Genres: Special Interests, Educational, Musicals & Performing Arts
Sub-Genres: Special Interests, Educational, Independently Distributed
Studio: Hal Leonard
Format: DVD - Color - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 06/01/2002
Release Year: 2002
Run Time: 1hr 25min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Chris is amazing
GB Guitars | Colfax, Ca United States | 10/01/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"As another review mentioned, this is an intermediate to advanced DVD. But that's ok, as our skills develop so should our teaching materials.After some basic information on how to hold the pick and how to keep the right wrist loose while picking Chris jumps right into a basic tune, "Red Haired Boy" which he uses to demonstrate several techniques throughout the DVD. He covers scale positions, arppegios, position shifting, right hand technique, and left hand technique. You'll learn several songs while you're working on these new techniques like "Red Haired Boy", "Ode to a Butterfly" (The opening song to Nickle Creek's first album) and others.On the DVD version there's a nice index that shows exactly what he's working on in each of the 42 segments. However, you can only jump to the start of a section which may have 5 or 6 segments in it. But it's still pretty easy to navigate to the segment you want to study. Also, the smaller segments make it easy to "rewind" one segment to study the last 2 or 3 minutes again.If you play mandolin this will probably become one of the "must haves" of study materials."
R. Wiegers | Chattanooga, TN United States | 11/15/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Firstly, I'm a huge Chris Thile fan, so just sitting back and watching this is a great experience.
Anyway, most would say that this is an intermediate video, as he takes you through some tough stuff early on. But he does start at the beginning ("this is how you hold the pick").
As far as I know this is the only mandolin video on DVD, so that's a big plus too.
A "must have" for anyone learning mandolin at any level."
Not for the absolute beginner/improver more for the Interme
Naoise O'hannain | Dublin, Ireland - Europa | 08/15/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)

"Good for Improvers (2 years+) & Intermediate wishing to stepup their technique.
Covers both Left & Right hand focus and exercises. Pick-up Notes and Excellent Arpeggio exercises through the keys.
A bit of Pull-Offs and Hammer-Ons.
However a bit scatty and distracting at times, nor did I like the dark backdrop and dark finger board on the mandolin.
The menu access to exercises could be better organised, more granular and greatly improved. I did like the addition of the sheet music.
A good resource to the mandolin player and one for the collection.

However, if you are a complete beginner/improver I would recommend you get 'How to Play the Irish Mandolin' by Anthony Warde [Waltons Music - CW Productions Ireland].
In addition to scales, tuning, left & right hand focus and exercises also covers the following-(clearly explained)
Triplets, Arpeggios, Hammer ons, Pull-Offs, minor keys, using tone, Tremolo, Cross Picking, Damping, Pinkie (Luidin)-little finger exercises, split strings etc.
However note that it does NOT include sheet music of the tunes.
For Intemediate to Advanced players I would recommend 'New Celtic Mandolin' DVD by Simon Mayor [Acoustics Masterclass] with a number of tunes with 'Top of the Class' breakdown of how they are played. One of my favourites a slow air 'Buachaill Chaol Dubh'(in Gaelic 'the dark slender boy')and associated booklet ISBN:095227762X [Acoustics].
After learning the melodic skeleton of your tunes go for melodic fragments and variations as described in 'Developing Melodic Variations' by John McGann[MelBay]0786650990.
A solid referene is also ''Blue Grass Mandolin' by Jack Tottle [Oak Pub] ISBN: 0825601541 & 0711903204 (UK) & ''110 Scottish Tunes' [Waltons] ISBN: 9781871

For Irish session music sheets and accompanying CD recording use 'The Foinn Seisiun Book' ASIN:B000PSR3FW from 'Comhaltas', Monkstown, South County Dublin, Ireland. This is now becoming the standard for all Irish Sessions or O' Neills book of Tunes (1,850+ 'port/foinn'- i.e. tunes) [Waltons]ISBN:1857200276 or [Mel Bay]0786624981 or the series of 'Irish Traditional Music Session Tunes' by A. Sullivan [Halshaw Music UK].

See also 'Teach yourself Mandolin by Ear' 07866 07149.
For Irish Tin Whistle Tunes [Waltons] in Spanish 185720-1345, in Italian -1353, in French -1337, in German - 1329 and in Japanese -1329.

For a guide to 'SessEtte' ('Sessiun' Etiquette) see 'Field Guide to Irish Sessions' by Barry Fox[Rinehart]ISBN:1568331940. Good luck and enjoy.
Bravo! Excellent Teaching and Wonderful Performance
C. Chu | 08/14/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Not only does Chris Thile go over techniques like pick theory, cross-picking, hammer-ons, pull-offs, slides, and shifting. But he also treats his viewers with performances of his original compositions. "When Mandolins Dream" for the introduction and "Raining at Sunset." Unfortunately the included booklet does not include these two tunes. However it does include "Red Haired Boy", "Hop the Fence" (a Chris Thile tune), "Swallowtail Jig" and "Ode to a Butterfly" (another Chris Thile tune).

Also included is a lengthy discussion and demonstration of 3 octave scales and arpeggios that he got from a violin book, complete with positions and shifting. Chris definitely doesn't stay in first position and moves gracefully all over the fingerboard. You are treated to his long elegant fingers gliding up, down and around.

Two things he does not go into are tremolo and chopping chords. I guess there are a lot of other dvds that cover this area.

I like the discussion of bad habits and why you should avoid them. He does a great job explaining left-hand positioning, finger placement and efficiency, as well as right hand relaxation and picking position.

Finally, it's just an overall nice instructional DVD, because even though he is teaching, he does not make it boring, and he definitely treats you to four original compositions (two included with notation and tab)."