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Thread: Jethro's Mel Bay mandolin book.

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    Default Jethro's Mel Bay mandolin book.

    Has anyone used this book ? Any thoughts or opinions ?

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    Registered User swampstomper's Avatar
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    Default Re: Jethro's Mel Bay mandolin book.

    Do a search for previous threads on this. There are several books that you might mean. The thick one with Ken Edison is a treasure trove of ideas, tunes, licks, Jethroisms. I don't see how you could go wrong with it. Especially funny is his trashing of the famous G-chop chord (I think tongue in cheek a bit) showing interesting alternatives.

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    Default Re: Jethro's Mel Bay mandolin book.

    It is quintessential Jethro. If you want to learn Mr. Burns it is a likely step. A workshop with Don Stiernberg will be along the same lines. Here is a link to a website that has a series of recorded lessons an aspiring mandolinist retained from his ltime with the King of Korny jokes Jethro Burns his own self..... R/

    http://www.robcoleman.com/jethro/#downloads
    I love hanging out with mandolin nerds . . . . . Thanks peeps ...

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    plectrist Ryk Loske's Avatar
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    Default Re: Jethro's Mel Bay mandolin book.

    For anybody with an AARP card the TAB is very difficult to use. I corresponded with a woman at Mel Bay about the problem and she said that if the book is reprinted they'll address that issue. Still ... worth the added work and the additional cost of a magnifier!

    Pretty much true for any of the Jethro books from Mel Bay.

    Ryk
    mandolin ~ guitar ~ banjo

    "I'm convinced that playing well is not so much a technique as it is a decision. It's a commitment to do the work, strive for concentration, get strategic about advancing by steps, and push patiently forward toward the goal." Dan Crary

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    Default Re: Jethro's Mel Bay mandolin book.

    Three Mel Bay books dealing with the Jethroian Way were published. The first was Mandolin Player (1976), followed by Mandolin Picking Solos and Bluegrass Mandolin Techniques. The early book had an accompanying cassette tape of the contents, which I have somewhere. A spiral bound compilation was produced at some point, covering most of all 3 volumes. So much good stuff in there. One of the books had transcriptions of the fiddle tune solos he got on the Wade Ray album, including the famous Back Up And Push break, which Doyle Lawson credited as inspiring him on his (Doyle's) Misery River (k/a) solo.

    I'll open up the Jethro tome every so often and be inspired all over again.

    and yes to the font, 'tis an issue...

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Jethro's Mel Bay mandolin book.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ryk View Post
    For anybody with an AARP card the TAB is very difficult to use. I corresponded with a woman at Mel Bay about the problem and she said that if the book is reprinted they'll address that issue. Still ... worth the added work and the additional cost of a magnifier!

    Pretty much true for any of the Jethro books from Mel Bay.
    I have all of these but the one that is handy is the last one, the spiral bound Complete Jethro Burns. The earlier part of the book does have tab with minuscule type but the last pages from 170 to the end has pretty readable tab. I don't read tab much unless I want or need clarification on positions so I never really noticed the problem.
    Jim

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    Mandolinist out of Atl
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    Default Re: Jethro's Mel Bay mandolin book.

    I really enjoy the book! But I also really enjoy Jethro's playing, I think that makes for my more than average enjoyment. Much of the book are Jethro's own compositions, or his very unique style. This style is applied to all types songs, from, "America The Beautiful," to "Fisher's Hornpipe." there is something in there for everyone in this book.

    Given, not everyone will be passionate about every single number in this 238 page book. Be assured every player should find something of value in this extensive collection put together by Jethro and Ken Eidson.

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    Default Re: Jethro's Mel Bay mandolin book.

    Yep, some other gems:

    Flickin' My Pick
    Jethro's Tune
    Butterfingers
    Exercise a la Ellington
    Londonderry Air
    For He's A Jolly Good Fellow

    What's great about these works is the inclusion of songs everybody knows (or used to know). With today's era of the here and now, I get the feeling that the classics are being slowly forgotten.

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    Registered User Mike Steadfast-Ward's Avatar
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    Default Re: Jethro's Mel Bay mandolin book.

    I have only just come across Jethro and been watching every thing I can get hold of on YouTube.
    I really like his sense of humour both musically and verbally, he was a very funny fellow. Love his work on the Mandolin.

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    Default Re: Jethro's Mel Bay mandolin book.

    Just took delivery of that the Complete Jethro Burns this morning thanks for the recommendations. I got it with cds for £17.60 incl postage which comes up just below $30, considering it's published in the US/imported, distributed that looks like great value.
    Eoin



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    Registered User swampstomper's Avatar
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    Default Re: Jethro's Mel Bay mandolin book.

    Buying it is the easy part... learning Jethrology is a long-term project!

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    Default Re: Jethro's Mel Bay mandolin book.

    I have it. I bought it and put it aside. It doesn't speak to me. But there's on in every crowd, right?
    belbein

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    Registered User swampstomper's Avatar
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    Default Re: Jethro's Mel Bay mandolin book.

    The book doesn't speak, Jetho's playing does. If that doesn't speak to you, so be it. I encourage you to dig into the book and pick out gems at random... so many cool ideas. Just the solos from the "Down Yonder" LP have so much to offer... who ever thought of playing *those* licks over the simple chord progressions of Back Up & Push or MS Sawyer? And the depths of Flicking My Pick, both horizontally (chords) and vertically (broken arpeggio sequence) has me still studying it (and trying to get it to speed!) after many years of pleasurably trying.

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    Default Re: Jethro's Mel Bay mandolin book.

    Yes to Flickin'. Lovely lines in that. I well remember when I first heard it on the Back To Back LP, 1979. Talk about Wow! And the take-off solo Tiny gets (likely he got it mostly on the fly) is so very great.

    Jethro has something in the first book called Super Run, an all closed lick, low to high, so can be transposed. It still to this day gets play, maybe not in my break to Foggy Mtn. B-D, but on more swingy stuff.

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    Registered User Tom Morse's Avatar
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    Default Re: Jethro's Mel Bay mandolin book.

    What a nice way to start the day, reading all the nice comments about the great Mr. Burns and his instructional legacy. I've owned the three original Mel Bay editions of these books for decades, and I typically find a way to spend time with them just about every week. (Yesterday, in fact.) I think every mandolinist should give "Flickin' My Pick" at least a shot — it's a brilliant étude. As is "Jethro's Tune," too. Enjoy.
    Jethro lives! (Tiny, too!)

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    Default Re: Jethro's Mel Bay mandolin book.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ryk View Post
    For anybody with an AARP card the TAB is very difficult to use. I corresponded with a woman at Mel Bay about the problem and she said that if the book is reprinted they'll address that issue. Still ... worth the added work and the additional cost of a magnifier!

    Pretty much true for any of the Jethro books from Mel Bay.

    Ryk
    Yup the type set and print quality is terrible. I'd buy another improved version in a minute. Still worth having. "America the Beautiful" is a particular nice arrangement in that book.

    I'd love to have a book of just Jethro chord melody arrangements printed with modern technology.

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    Default Re: Jethro's Mel Bay mandolin book.

    Quote Originally Posted by Perry View Post
    "America the Beautiful" is a particular nice arrangement in that book.
    Yes it is. I copped that solo and used it as one of my entries for the 2000 Merlefest Mandolin Contest. Needless to say, I did not Win, Place or Show Ashby Frank won it that year, he was 17...

    I'd love to have a book of just Jethro chord melody arrangements printed with modern technology.
    I'd settle for a book of every solo he and Tiny got off Back To Back, as in the MWN issue with Swing '39 from that record.

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    Default Re: Jethro's Mel Bay mandolin book.

    And speaking of Flickin' My Pick. That tune is included in the first Jethro book, 1976. AFAIK, the first (only?) recorded version is off Back To Back, 1979. So, Jethro composed it at least 3 years before he recorded it....unless, it's elsewhere, that I don't know about.

    Don S, you out there?

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    Joe B mandopops's Avatar
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    Default Re: Jethro's Mel Bay mandolin book.

    I echo the praises of the Jethro books. A wealth of material.

    I have them as 3 separate books. In fact, my book 1 is autographed by Jethro from back in my lesson days w/ him. A prized possession.
    My brother (on Guitar) & I used to play thru Flickin' my Pick. I don't think we got through to much improvising, just playing thru the head was a handful. That was eons ago, maybe it's time to revisit that.

    I'm w/ Alan about a book of all the Jethro & Tiny solos from Back to Back. I'd like a 2nd book of Jethro's solos from the Venuti album. Most the top Ellington & Gershwin tunes are included, that is your Jazz education right there.

    Joe

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    Default Re: Jethro's Mel Bay mandolin book.

    And the Jethro books are cool for the commentary - insightful in places, with a good dose of toungue-in-cheek, like where he says of the big Monroe chop chord:

    "What I'm trying to do is get people away from this: *7-5-2-3* because I do not like it"

    and then we see this
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    Default Re: Jethro's Mel Bay mandolin book.

    it agree with most of the above points.

    its difficult to read the tab at times, the 2 CDs don't cover material past page 104 or so, and it also doesn't speak to me.
    yet I use it and revisit it, 'cos it cost me about 35 bucks,LOL.

    some of the voicings are terrific.

    the book has some outside the box info, not only chords forms, but also harmonies.
    it does focus on making the pinky strong, and, I learn something new every time I work with it, which was just last weekend.

    what drives me nuts is that some of the tunes, the standards, like fishers hornpipe , flop eared mule and others are just not the greatest work on straight, recognizable melody. Blackberry blossom is another that disappoints. It is odd to say this, but there are songs from the last generation, and while not bad, not exactly in vogue.

    the good part is there are some superb things to learn -I love old Kentucky home, jethrology and june apple

    the chord theory charts are not the best as they don't identify root, 3, 5 etc in the differing forms, so you have to figure them out. Likely impossible for a green horn.

    It is not the book I would recommend to any but the more motivated and experienced.
    I don't know if jethro really had a hand, but it has all the energy and joy I often experience with mel bay publications. A good deal of exercises , circle of fifths, but little if any explanation as to what you are doing , or why, or how it fits in music.

    And the sad truth is, I cannot say I have learned more than two or three of his version songs out of the whole book. Yet he has some tricks to add to the bag.

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    Default Re: Jethro's Mel Bay mandolin book.

    Resurrecting this long idle thread to note today is the anniversary of the publication of the ultimate Jethro book by Mel Bay. Still amazed when we listen to those old jazz recordings. They were ground breaking and an endless source of inspiration.

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    Default Re: Jethro's Mel Bay mandolin book.

    My 41-year old copy, still going strong.

    Bren

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    Default Re: Jethro's Mel Bay mandolin book.

    Quote Originally Posted by stevedenver View Post
    it agree with most of the above points.

    its difficult to read the tab at times, the 2 CDs don't cover material past page 104 or so, and it also doesn't speak to me.
    yet I use it and revisit it, 'cos it cost me about 35 bucks,LOL.

    some of the voicings are terrific.

    the book has some outside the box info, not only chords forms, but also harmonies.
    it does focus on making the pinky strong, and, I learn something new every time I work with it, which was just last weekend.

    what drives me nuts is that some of the tunes, the standards, like fishers hornpipe , flop eared mule and others are just not the greatest work on straight, recognizable melody. Blackberry blossom is another that disappoints. It is odd to say this, but there are songs from the last generation, and while not bad, not exactly in vogue.

    the good part is there are some superb things to learn -I love old Kentucky home, jethrology and june apple

    the chord theory charts are not the best as they don't identify root, 3, 5 etc in the differing forms, so you have to figure them out. Likely impossible for a green horn.

    It is not the book I would recommend to any but the more motivated and experienced.
    I don't know if jethro really had a hand, but it has all the energy and joy I often experience with mel bay publications. A good deal of exercises , circle of fifths, but little if any explanation as to what you are doing , or why, or how it fits in music.

    And the sad truth is, I cannot say I have learned more than two or three of his version songs out of the whole book. Yet he has some tricks to add to the bag.
    Not in vogue???? Oh no!!!

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    Joe B mandopops's Avatar
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    Default Re: Jethro's Mel Bay mandolin book.

    I still have my copy of the first book. Jethro gave it to me just as it was about to come out & he autographed it. He said Gussie (his wife) would say he’ll never make any money on it if he keeps giving them away. Very generous man. Thank you, Jethro. It’s a prized possession.
    Joe B
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