EASY 2-CHORD SONGS FOR THE MANDOLIN—BY WAYNE ERBSEN—Native Ground Music NGB-407. (Native Ground Music, 109 Bell Rd., Asheville, NC 28803, web: www.nativeground.com.)

Wayne Erbsen has written a basic book for beginners who want to learn to play mandolin. The premise is that the reader is very new to music and to the instrument. Based on that premise, all of the selections included in this manual use just two chords, D and A7.

He begins by discussing what kind of mandolin to look for, hand positions, tuning, using a pick, chording, and rhythm. This is a book of tablature, so each tune is written out in tab notation, and he covers learning the scales to get familiar with the instrument. He uses the songs “Oh, Susanna” and “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” as the introduction to the page layouts for each song and tablature. Each song is given a two-page instruction with a song history, the tablature, and the lyrics.

There are 88 tunes in this book, including many familiar tunes such as “Angeline Baker,” “Darling Cory,” “Old Dan Tucker,” “Pretty Polly,” “Red Rocking Chair,” “Shady Grove,” and many more. Also included is a CD containing examples of each song played slowly with guitar accompaniment. If you’re looking for an easy way to get started on the mandolin, this should be a good place to start.BF

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