It’s almost November. That means plenty of people will be taking mandolin lessons in hopes of growing a big, rocking mandolin sound.
What Are The Best Online Mandolin Learning Sites
While mandolin players have always tended to shun the mid-range instrument, there’s plenty to learn if you’re looking to step up to that level of proficiency, from the distinct, sometimes exotic sounds produced by each string, to the rich sound of a mandolin being strummed.
Even though mandolin players tend to “learn by sight,” the sounds they produce are so rich, varied and on-point that it can be difficult for beginners to really grasp what the different strings can do, or what plays need to be played. This, or some other unspecified reason, accounts for why most mandolin players put off giving up the racquet-wielding gig, even though they’d undoubtedly be envious of the “pot-belly” when giving lessons at a more expensive mandolin school.
With this in mind, we thought we’d dive into some of the best online mandolin learning sites for tips and tricks on how to play the instrument.
1. Massachusetts-based Strut website gets everything right
Tiny Massachusetts-based Strut is the nirvana of e-learning for mandolin players. The website aims to be “as close to real playing as possible,” claiming that “a note you never heard before could be the secret to learning your technique.”
Aside from the fact that its creators have also taught music education at MIT and Harvard, Strut is a top pick for students of all levels, thanks to its focus on showcasing, encouraging and evangelizing the sound of the acoustic mandolin. It also promotes a format that’s as interactive as possible, with not only video and voice lessons, but also periodic videos that really add to the whole feeling of experience that the site offers.
At 20-minutes for each lesson, the lessons are brief and to the point, giving students the crucial insider tips and hints to allow them to practice and master the instrument in their own time. Don’t forget to visit the site after spending several hours practicing, and you’ll end up benefitting from the “indifference and complacency” that the mandolin can create, with some research from the site having convinced the makers that something has to be done to combat such symptoms.
2. Hape Mandolin Center
Why not take your playing straight to the source? The Hape Mandolin Center is a platform that guides users through the learning process by providing real-life tips on the sweet sounds each string can produce. Featuring lessons on several instrument types, and everything in between, the website offers “something for everybody.”
With an updated research and development centre, the University of Illinois, all the basics are covered, as well as its “biggest, most expensive instrument ever built,” the Sono Mandolin, the latest and greatest instrument to come out of the northwest United States, which you can potentially find your playing career on. There’s also a string concerto for learners of every variety, including those who are comfortable with learning and have little knowledge of its properties.
3. Critical Mandolin Matters
The Ontario-based Mandolin History Project goes out of its way to do the work for students, including answers to often difficult questions. Think of the site as a textbook for the relatively new instrument, with info on each individual string and what it is capable of producing.
The first string involves a singular, imperceptible plucking action, and the second, second and third strings are similar to each other, with different sounds being produced depending on how much the string is tamped. Third string is the most treasured, however, as it offers the best response and sounds, and is ideal for those looking to make their first foray into playing a quality instrument.
If you’re a beginner and looking for some guidance on where to learn, the program also features tools and tips that will make sure you’re prepared to pick up the instrument yourself, including pre-set keys on each string that should help make you more comfortable from the beginning.