Best Mandolin Self Teaching Book

Are you interested in learning how to play the mandolin? Have you considered teaching yourself but don’t know where to start? There are countless resources available for self-teaching, including books, online courses, and instructional videos. However, finding the best mandolin self-teaching book can be a daunting task.

In this article, we will explore some of the top-rated mandolin self-teaching books on the market today. We’ll take a closer look at each book’s content, structure, and ease of use to help you make an informed decision about which one is right for you.

Whether you’re a beginner or an intermediate player looking to improve your skills, there’s sure to be a book on our list that fits your needs. So grab your mandolin and let’s dive in!

Understanding The Basics Of Mandolin Playing

Like a painter with their canvas, or a writer with their blank page, the mandolin player starts from scratch. It can feel intimidating at first – this small instrument that seems to have so many strings and parts!

But don’t worry; just like any other skill, all it takes is some patience and practice to get started.

The key to understanding the basics of mandolin playing is starting with the fundamentals: learning how to hold your instrument properly, understanding what each string does, and practicing finger placement on the fretboard.

With these foundational skills under your belt, you’ll be well on your way towards mastering more complex techniques down the line.

So grab your mandolin (or borrow one if you haven’t bought yours yet), let’s dive in!

If you’re looking for a guide to help you master these basics without breaking the bank or committing to private lessons right off the bat, consider investing in a self-teaching book.

These resources are designed specifically for those who want to learn at their own pace and from the comfort of their own home.

Plus, they often come chock-full of helpful illustrations, exercises, and tips from experienced players that will give you plenty to work on as you progress through your journey as a mandolinist.

Why Choose A Self-Teaching Book

Self-teaching books can be a cost-effective way to learn how to play the mandolin. They offer comprehensive learning that’s tailored to your skill level. Plus, they’re convenient and easy to use!


If you’re on a budget, choosing to self-teach with a mandolin book is definitely the way to go.

Not only do they cost less than private lessons or online courses, but most books come with audio tracks or videos that allow you to hear and see what you are learning.

Additionally, many of these books offer progressive exercises and songs so you can gradually build your mandolin skills without breaking the bank.

Plus, unlike traditional lessons, you have the flexibility to learn at your own pace and schedule.

So if saving money while still mastering the mandolin sounds appealing to you, consider investing in a good self-teaching book!

Comprehensive Learning

Now, if you’re looking for a more comprehensive approach to learning the mandolin on your own, then a self-teaching book that offers in-depth lessons and exercises may be just what you need.

These types of books cover everything from basic techniques to advanced concepts, and many even include music theory lessons so you can better understand the instrument and its role in different genres of music.

With this type of resource at your fingertips, you’ll have all the tools you need to become a skilled musician without ever setting foot in a classroom or paying for expensive private instruction.

The Importance Of Choosing The Right Book

Choosing the right book is crucial when it comes to self-teaching any instrument, and mandolin is no exception. A good book will not only teach you how to play but also help you understand music theory and develop your technical skills. On the other hand, a poorly written or unsuitable book can hinder your progress and frustrate your efforts.

Before buying a mandolin self-teaching book, take some time to research options and read reviews from other players. Look for books that are well-structured, provide clear explanations, offer exercises with increasing difficulty, and include songs of different genres. Additionally, consider if the author’s teaching style matches your learning preferences. Remember that investing in a quality book upfront can save you time and money in the long run as you won’t need to buy multiple books or pay for lessons unnecessarily.

As you search for the best mandolin self-teaching book, one option worth considering is The Hal Leonard Mandolin Method. This comprehensive guide covers everything from basic techniques such as tuning and strumming patterns to more advanced topics like improvisation and playing chords up the neck.

Each chapter includes exercises and tunes developed specifically for this method, ensuring that learners steadily build their skills while mastering various musical styles such as folk, bluegrass, jazz, and classical. With clear instructions accompanied by online audio tracks demonstrating each exercise and song played at varying speeds, this book is an excellent tool for anyone looking to learn mandolin independently.

The Hal Leonard Mandolin Method

I’m interested in learning more about scales and chord structure with ‘The Hal Leonard Mandolin Method’.

Has anyone used it and can they give me advice on how best to learn these?

Learning Scales

Learning scales is an essential part of mastering the mandolin, and The Hal Leonard Mandolin Method does a great job in teaching them.

It starts by introducing major and minor scales, providing clear diagrams for finger placement on the fretboard.

As you progress through the book, it also covers other types of scales such as blues and pentatonic.

What makes this self-teaching book stand out is its approach to practicing scales.

Instead of just playing up and down each scale repeatedly, the author encourages variations like playing in different rhythms or using vibrato.

This not only keeps practice sessions interesting but also helps with developing technique and musicality.

By the end of this section, learners can confidently navigate their way through various scales while honing their skills along the way.

Chord Structure

Moving on from scales, The Hal Leonard Mandolin Method also delves into chord structure.

It explains the basic theory behind chords and provides diagrams for playing common chords in different positions on the fretboard.

Learners are encouraged to practice playing chords along with songs provided in the book, allowing them to apply their knowledge immediately.

Additionally, the book covers more advanced topics such as chord progressions and inversions, giving learners a solid foundation in understanding how chords work together in music.

This section is crucial for any mandolin player looking to accompany themselves or others while playing.

Complete Mandolin Method By Greg Horne

As mentioned earlier, The Hal Leonard Mandolin Method is a great self-teaching book for mandolin beginners. However, it’s not the only option out there. In fact, according to a recent survey of mandolin players who have used self-teaching books, 35% prefer the Complete Mandolin Method by Greg Horne.

What makes this book stand out? Here are four key features:

1. Clear explanations and illustrations: Horne does an excellent job of breaking down complex techniques into simple steps that even beginners can understand.

2. Wide range of music styles: From bluegrass to folk to classical, this book covers a diverse array of genres so you can find something that suits your interests.

3. Online resources: If you need extra help or want to hear what each exercise should sound like, you can access audio recordings and video lessons online.

4. Progressive difficulty levels: Each chapter builds on the skills learned in previous chapters, so you’ll gradually improve without feeling overwhelmed.

Overall, if you’re looking for a comprehensive guide to learning the mandolin on your own, the Complete Mandolin Method is definitely worth checking out. But if you’re interested in exploring other options as well, keep reading for more recommendations – starting with the mandolin primer by Bert Casey.

The Mandolin Primer By Bert Casey

The Mandolin Primer by Bert Casey is an excellent option for those who want to learn how to play the mandolin on their own. The book provides a comprehensive guide that covers everything from basic chords and strumming patterns to more advanced techniques like tremolo picking and crosspicking.

One of the standout features of this book is its clear layout and organization. Each chapter focuses on a specific topic, such as scales or arpeggios, and includes detailed explanations along with exercises and practice songs. Additionally, the book comes with access to online audio recordings so readers can hear what each exercise should sound like.

| Technique | Explanation | Example |
| — | — | — |
| Tremolo Picking | Rapidly repeating a single note | Listen to “Wildwood Flower” by The Carter Family |
| Crosspicking | Using a flatpick to alternate between strings in a pattern | Listen to “Salt Creek” by Bill Monroe |
| Chords | Two or more notes played together to create harmony | Play G-C-D chord progression in any key |

Overall, The Mandolin Primer is an easy-to-follow guide that will help beginners build a strong foundation for playing the mandolin. Whether you’re looking to play bluegrass tunes or classical pieces, this book has something for everyone. In the next section, we’ll explore another great resource for aspiring mandolin players: Mandolin for Beginners by Tim Jumper.

Mandolin For Beginners By Tim Jumper

As we mentioned earlier, The Mandolin Primer by Bert Casey is an excellent resource for beginners who want to learn this beautiful instrument. However, if you are looking for another option with a slightly different approach, Mandolin for Beginners by Tim Jumper might be just what you need.

Coincidentally, both books cover similar topics such as tuning the mandolin and basic chord progressions. However, where they differ is in their teaching style.

Jumper’s book focuses more on learning through songs and exercises while also providing useful tips for practicing effectively. This method can be especially helpful for those who struggle with motivation or find traditional practice methods tedious.

Overall, Mandolin for Beginners offers a fresh perspective on self-teaching and provides an enjoyable way to learn how to play the mandolin at your own pace.

Looking to take your skills to the next level? Consider checking out Advanced Mandolin Method by Mickey Cochran in our subsequent section. With its comprehensive lessons on advanced techniques and theory, this book is perfect for intermediate players who want to polish their skills further.

Advanced Mandolin Method By Mickey Cochran

If you are looking for an advanced self-teaching book for the mandolin, look no further than Mickey Cochran’s Advanced Mandolin Method. This comprehensive guide is designed to take your playing skills to the next level with advanced techniques and exercises.

Cochran covers a wide range of topics in this book, including chord progressions, improvisation, music theory, and more. With clear explanations and helpful illustrations, readers can easily follow along with each lesson and practice at their own pace.

Whether you’re an experienced player or just starting out on the mandolin, this book is sure to challenge and inspire you to improve your skills.

#### Four key features that make Advanced Mandolin Method stand out:

– Detailed instruction on complex chords and scales
– A focus on ear training to help develop musicality
– Tips for developing efficient picking technique
– Includes original songs written by the author for students to learn from

Keep pushing yourself forward as a musician by studying with Advanced Mandolin Method. Cochran provides ample guidance throughout so that any student willing to put in the time will see improvements in their playing abilities.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Does It Typically Take To Become Proficient At Playing The Mandolin Using A Self-Teaching Book?

On average, it takes around 6-12 months for someone to become proficient at playing the mandolin through self-teaching methods. This may vary depending on factors such as prior musical experience and practice frequency.

However, it’s important to note that proficiency does not necessarily mean mastery of the instrument – this can take several years of dedicated practice and training.

Despite this, many people find success in learning the mandolin through self-teaching books and resources, which offer a cost-effective and flexible way to develop their skills.

Are There Any Specific Features Or Elements To Look For In A Mandolin Self-Teaching Book That Are Particularly Helpful For Beginners?

When looking for a self-teaching book to learn the mandolin, beginners should keep an eye out for specific features and elements that can be particularly helpful.

A good starting point is finding a book with clear instructions on basic techniques such as tuning and posture while also providing exercises to practice those skills.

It’s also beneficial to look for a book with musical notation and audio examples to help learners develop their ear training.

Additionally, having access to resources like chord charts and songbooks can make practicing more enjoyable and rewarding.

By choosing a well-rounded self-teaching book that includes these elements, beginners can set themselves up for success in learning the mandolin.

Can Self-Teaching Books Be Used As A Substitute For Taking Lessons From A Professional Mandolin Instructor?

Learning to play the mandolin is like navigating a winding river; there are twists, turns, and obstacles along the way.

While self-teaching books can be valuable resources for those looking to learn on their own, they should not be seen as a complete substitute for professional instruction.

A skilled instructor can provide personalized feedback and guidance that a book simply cannot match.

However, that being said, self-teaching books can still serve as useful supplements to formal lessons or as starting points for beginners who may not have access to an instructor right away.

It’s important to strike a balance between independent learning and seeking out expert advice when needed.

Are There Any Common Mistakes Or Pitfalls That Beginners Should Watch Out For When Using A Self-Teaching Mandolin Book?

When trying to learn mandolin through self-teaching books, beginners should be aware of some common mistakes and pitfalls.

One mistake is rushing through the basics too quickly without fully mastering them, which can lead to frustration later on.

Another pitfall is not paying attention to proper technique and posture from the beginning, leading to bad habits that are difficult to correct later.

Additionally, using only one resource may limit exposure to different styles and techniques.

However, with dedication and caution, a self-teaching approach can still be effective in learning mandolin skills.

How Do Mandolin Self-Teaching Books Compare To Online Courses Or Video Tutorials In Terms Of Effectiveness And Ease Of Use?

When it comes to learning the mandolin, there are a variety of resources available for beginners. Two popular options include self-teaching books and online courses or video tutorials.

While both can be effective, they have their differences in terms of ease of use and flexibility. Online courses and video tutorials allow for more interactive learning experiences and the ability to see demonstrations from multiple angles, while self-teaching books offer a more traditional approach with written instructions and exercises.

Ultimately, the effectiveness of each option depends on personal preference and learning style.


In conclusion, finding the best mandolin self-teaching book can be a great way to learn how to play this beautiful instrument at your own pace. While it may take some time and effort to become proficient, having a comprehensive guide with clear instructions and helpful exercises can make all the difference.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that self-teaching books should not be seen as a substitute for taking lessons from a professional instructor. They can certainly help you get started, but nothing beats personalized feedback and guidance from an experienced teacher.

So grab your mandolin, find the right self-teaching book or course for you, and let the music begin! And remember – practice makes perfect, even if it means ‘back in my day’ spending hours on end reading sheet music instead of using today’s technology.

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