Old Time Mandolin Music


Book and CD Combinations

Butch Baldassari - While Butch isn’t an Old Time Musician, his instructional material is excellent.  Much of Butch’s instructional material is based on fiddle tunes.  The tune selection and Butch’s style of playing fiddle tunes on his instructional material could easily be adopted by someone wanting to play Old-Time Music on the Mandolin.  Warning: if you listen to Butch’s instructional material, you may find yourself wanting to slip in a Bluegrass lick at your next OTM session.  Please do not attempt this outside of the privacy of your home.

    - Mandolin Hymns (Homespun Tapes)

    - Appalachian Mandolin (Homespun Tapes)

    - Thirty Fiddle Tunes For the Mandolin (Homespun Tapes)

    - Mandolin Tunes for Practice and Repertoire (Homespun Tapes)

Dix Bruce - String Band Classics (Mel Bay) - 23 tunes transcribed from Highwoods String Band Feed Your Babies Onions CD.

Kenny Hall  - Kenny Hall's Music Book: Old Time Music: Fiddle & Mandolin (Mel Bay)

Mike Seeger - Mike is the master of all instruments, styles, etc. of Old-Time Music - Old-Time Country Mandolin (Homespun Tapes)

Rich Delgrosso - Leading proponent of Country Blues style Mandolin.  Visit Rich’s website for mandolin tabs of Country Blues tunes from his Blues Mandolin column in Mandolin Magazine.  Rich has authored an excellent survey of Mandolin Blues players and music published as Mandolin Blues From Memphis to Maxwell Street.  Rich’s Mandolin Blues book has lots of great Blues tunes for the mandolin in tab and notation and audio recording of each lesson example and tune printed in the book.

Sam Bush - Ditto what I said about Butch for Sam.

Michael Holmes - Mandolin Instruction: Old Time, Country and Fiddle Tunes.  The first half of the CD is devoted to playing the tunes solo first slowly and then up-to-speed.  The second half is a "music-minus-one" format where you can listen to the tunes with a full stringband and then shut the mandolin side off and play with banjo and guitar accompaniment.  Michael Holmes plays mandolin, Reed Martin plays banjo and Mike Rivers plays guitar.  The Book/CD is available from Smithsonian Fokways number FW08372.

Cathy Fink, Marcy Marxer, and Bruce Molsky

These two book and CD sets are great for building Old Time Music repertoire and for practicing OTM tunes with a band.

    - Old Time Music Party - Play-Along Tracks for Jam Sessions (Homespun Tapes)

    - Slow Jam for Old-Time Music (Homespun Tapes)

Susan Songer and Clyde Curley - The Portland Collection: Contradance Music in the Pacific Northwest, Vols. 1, 2, & 3.  An outstanding collection of OTM tunes.


Butch Baldassari - See what I said about Butch in the book section above.

    - You Can Play Bluegrass Mandolin (Homespun Tapes)

    - Butch Baldassari’s Bluegrass Mandolin Workshop (Homespun Tapes)

Carl Jones - Carl teaches us his take on playing OT mandolin in this great new DVD.

    - Old Time Mandolin Tunes and Tips

Norman Blake - Not only will you learn great technique and cool tunes, but you also get to see some cool vintage mandolins.

- The Mandolin of Norman Blake Traditional and Original Tunes and Techniques (Homespun Tapes)

Sam Bush - See what I said about Sam in the book section above.

    - The Sam Bush Mandolin Method (Homespun Tapes)

    - Bluegrass Mandolin (Homespun Tapes)

Steve James -  Learning some Country Blues Mandolin licks will give your OTMM a little different sound and feel.  Good stuff!

     - Learn to Blues Mandolin - DVD 1 (Homespun Tapes)

     - Learn to Blues Mandolin - DVD 2 (Homespun Tapes)

Learning Events

Mandolin Cafe list of Mandolin Workshops/Camps

Looking for ideas around OTMM learning opportunities.  Send me an email with your suggestions -> paul@oldtimemandolinmusic.com

Web Resources

John Goodin's Mandotopia Site - While technically not a site about Old-Time music, John’s site does contain a lot of old Mandolin music.  John has been kind enough to scan and post 10 books of Mandolin music that was once part of the Chicago Mandolin Orchestra’s music library.  If you are a Mand0-maniac,  John’s site is well worth checking out.  Some of the Ragtime Skedaddlers music comes from John’s site.

Mandolin Cafe is the hot spot for all mandolin happenings.   Be sure to check out the Old-Time, Roots, Early Country, Cajun, Tex-Mex section of the message board for a lively discussion around OTMM.  A great place to learn new tunes on Mandolin Cafe is the The Song-A-Week Social Group found in the Social Group section of Mandolin Cafe

Simply Mandolin - "It's all about the mandolin." Resource for some "Blugreass" mandolin tabs

mandoliniana - a blog site with “ideas and tab for mandolinists”

Simple Gifts Mandolin Tablature Archive - This site seems to now be defunct.  Drop me a note if you find an updated version.  Mandolin tabs, mando related links, and more created and maintained by Elizabeth T. Knuth.  Lots of good OTMM type of tunes can be found at this site.


Don’t ask about them, just subscribe!

    - The Old Time Herald

    - Mandolin Magazine - Out of print - Look on Mandolin Cafe or eBay for back issues

    - Mandolin World News - Out of print - Look on Mandolin Cafe or eBay for back issues

    - Frets Magazine - Out of print - Look on Mandolin Cafe or eBay for back issues