Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

A Mandolin Book to recommend?


As Earl’s book is to Banjo, I wonder if there is a quintessential Mandolin book (about the history of the instrument or instructional) that anyone might suggest?

Any and all books on the subject is encouraged… even if it is critical.

Has anyone ever seen the Mandolin For Dummies or Bluegrass Mandolin for the Complete Ignoramus!.

Looking forward to the replies and (hopefully) recommendations.

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I would check on Mandolin Cafe’s forum. It’s a very well done site and there may just be some past discussions on what you’re interested in. If not, simply start one! You might have to become a member, not sure but that wouldn’t be a bad thing.

Good luck!

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A classic!


Thanks so much Mike (@mharrison43)

Most grateful, I am for people who have first-hand knowledge of these things. I enjoy reading reviews and so forth… but usually they are tainted to those that adore or detest a product.

Even better is some good ole first-hand experience in sharing and feedback.

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I’ve plugged this many times here but “Mandolin for Dummies “ by Don Julin. Don is a regular on the Cafe, helped jumpstart Billy Strings career ( Billy would have made it anyway but still), and the book is awesome once you get past the title.


I have that book as well. I enjoyed it.


Thanks @Mike_R!

Can I clarify… You meant you have the Bluegrass Mandolin one… not the one for Dummies (and please don’t read into that comment @Jim_G1! :roll_eyes:) ?

Do you have others too… Or is this your fav?

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Thanks @Jim_G1,

I might check that one out then.

I had the Ignoramus one for Banjo and would probably consider the Clawhammer variation… but just not so sure it would be as impactful on Mando now hat I’ve been playing for awhile.

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Well the only mandolin book I have is the Dummies. It covers a slew of styles including bluegrass. It’s probably best described as a “survey” type of book, but 8 years after picking up mandolin ( after 35 years on guitar), I still flip through the Julin book and find new things to think about.


I have the BG Mando one. I don’t have the for dummies one, but I have heard great things from multiple people about it. I would get it, but I can’t keep up with the material Ben produces.


Mandolin for dummies is great!


If I am to be completely honest, I hadn’t expected such a solid response for “Dummies”… even as I’ve previously have heard good things about the brand for other topics on the series.

I really appreciate both suggestions!

This is another reason why I enjoy this forum so much.

Thanks… but others, please… chime in if you have more input on these or other titles!

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