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Thread: Must Learn Album

  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Nov 2019
    Columbia, SC

    Default Must Learn Album

    Hello everyone,

    I've been playing mandolin for a while, but recently become more serious about going back and learning some traditional bluegrass stuff that I neglected when I first picked up he instrument.

    My primary instrument is banjo. When I first started learning the banjo my teacher and I worked through the entire "Foggy Mountain Breakdown" album. It's such a good album to learn because it's fun, the banjo is featured prominently, and the arrangements are challenging but still in reach of the average player given some work. And once you finish it you know a lot of standard repertoire of licks.

    Is there a similar album/set of recordings in the mandolin world n terms of traditional bluegrass mandolin, that would be good for an intermediate player to work through? I love listening to progressive players like Sam Bush and David Grisman, but some of their stuff I'm obviously not ready to get to yet.

    Appreciate your help.


  2. #2

    Default Re: Must Learn Album

    A lot of Bill Monroe's best stuff came before the album era (people were listing to 78rpm records), but I would say focusing on his playing from 1946-1958 is the best. These are available on Bear Family compilations, and some are on Spotify (complete Castle records for early 50s).

    The Peter Rowan album The First Whippoorwill has Sam Bush doing his best early 50s Monroe impression, and it's really good.

    Bluegrass Album Band's recordings also have the great Doyle Lawson keeping it pretty traditional. Doesn't hurt to study those.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Must Learn Album

    Checkout Mike Comptons lessons on
    Chris from Tucson
    2007 Heiden Artist F5 #F102
    1919 Gibson A3 (found on eBay for $15!!)
    2022 Austin Clark Octave #159
    2016 Mann Octave OSEM

  4. #4
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Albany NY

    Default Re: Must Learn Album

    if there is one album that IMHO is quintessential BG listening "Kenny Baker Plays Bill Monroe".
    Tony Rice "Bluegrass instrumentals" is another.
    if your looking for more song oriented music - The Bluegrass albums with Rice and Skaggs, as well as the New South Albums with Rice and Skaggs and J.D. Crowe of course.
    "Mean Old Timer, He's got grey hair, Mean Old Timer he just don't care
    Got no compassion, thinks its a sin
    All he does is sit around an play the Mandolin"

  5. #5

    Default Re: Must Learn Album

    The classic "Will the Circle Be Unbroken" (1972) set from the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and legends of oldtime and bluegrass is an essential place to start. Many favorite jam tunes are performed by the original folks who did them, or their contemporaries. There were two follow-up releases with more first generation bluegrassers, younger players, and country-rock pop stars were also released, but the original set is the one to start with.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    1920 Martin Style A
    Don MacRostie designed Stuart MacDonald A-style kit I built myself.
    2022 Kentucky KM-1000B
    Plus guitars - lots of guitars
    And two banjos

  6. #6
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Arkansas River Valley

    Default Re: Must Learn Album

    You might like to listen to "Bluegrass Mandolin Extravaganza"

    featuring Sam Bush, David Grisman, Ronnie Mcreynolds, Bobby Osborne, Ricky Skaggs, Frank Wakefield, Buck White & Del Mccoury

    It's all instrumental, just mandolin and guitar, a wide range of styles and levels of difficulty.

  7. #7
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Foothills, NC

    Default Re: Must Learn Album

    Another vote for Mandolin Extravaganza.


  8. #8
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Gainesville, FL

    Default Re: Must Learn Album

    I found the Scaggs and Rice album to be very accessible and many of the tunes are easy to learn. Good luck.

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