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Octave Mandolin
with Joe K. Walsh
 
 
About This Course
 
Learn to transfer what you know on the mandolin to its bigger cousin and how to exploit the octave mandolin’s potential for more complex, guitar-oriented accompaniment styles. For intermediate mandolin, fiddle, or guitar players with a basic knowledge of their instrument.
 
 
Try a Sample Lesson
 

“Inverness” comes from fiddler/mandolinist John Mailander, who recorded it on his album Walking Distance. It’s a beautiful, contemplative melody that alternates measures of 6/4 and 4/4. Joe walks you through the second part of “Inverness” in this video.

 

 
 
 
Meet the Instructor
Joe K. Walsh
 
 
Hailed by Nashville’s Music Row magazine for his “lickety-split mandolin work” and by Vintage Guitar magazine as “brilliant,” Joe K. Walsh is one of the best mandolinists of his generation. Walsh is known for his exceptional tone and taste, and his collaborations with acoustic music luminaries, including legendary fiddler Darol Anger, flatpick guitar hero Scott Nygaard, folk legend Jonathan Edwards, and pop/grass darlings Joy Kills Sorrow, have taken him all over the musical and figurative map. An avid mandolin educator, Joe is a mandolin instructor at the Berklee College of Music and teaches regularly at music camps throughout North America and beyond.
 
 
 
Peghead Play-Along Tracks
 
Peghead Nation is creating a library of accompaniment videos (and downloadable MP3s) for songs and tunes that are taught on the site, classics that you'll find at many jams and picking parties. As a subscriber, you have access to this library and can use the tracks to practice playing tunes and songs at a slow or medium tempo with guitar accompaniment. New songs will be added regularly.
 
 
Octave Mandolin Source Material

Check out these songs featured in the Octave Mandolin course.


The Octave Mandolin Subscription Includes:
  • Instruction on adapting mandolin techniques, scales, arpeggios, and chords to the octave mandolin
  • Octave mandolin tunes as played by great octave mandolin players like Sarah Jarosz, Chris Thile, Sierra Hull, Tim O’Brien, Darol Anger, and more
  • Octave mandolin versions of bluegrass, trad folk, and jazz tunes
  • Instruction on guitar-based accompaniment styles, including the use of the capo
  • New lessons added every month
  • Notation/Tablature for all lessons
  • Play-along tracks so you can practice what you’re learning
  • High-quality video with multiple camera angles so you can see closeups of both hands in action
 
 
$20/Month For One Course
 
Additional courses only $10/month each!   •   Save 20% with an annual subscription
 
 
Get started now!
Use promo code JoeLand at checkout
and get your first month free or $20 off an annual subscription.
 
Octave Mandolin Course Outline
 
Introduction to the Octave Mandolin
 

Joe gives you some background on the octave mandolin, including some of the well-known octave mandolin players, and talks about what and how you will learn in this course.

 
Joe’s Northfield Octave Mandolin
 

Joe talks about his Northfield archtop octave mandolin.

 
Sam Brown Hill
 

“Sam Brown Hill” comes from the great guitarist Duke Levine, who recorded it on the octave mandolin on his album The Fade Out. It’s a simple melody with three parts, in the key of E, played out of D position with a capo at the second fret, but it’s a good example of how octave mandolinists flesh out melodies with chords and double stops.

 
Inverness
 

“Inverness” comes from fiddler/mandolinist John Mailander, who recorded it on his album Walking Distance. It’s a beautiful, contemplative melody that alternates measures of 6/4 and 4/4. It’s in the key of F, so Joe plays it as if it’s in D, but with the capo at the third fret. You’ll learn the melody and also some of Joe’s favorite octave mandolin chord voicings in the key of D.

 
Old Dangerfield
 

The Bill Monroe instrumental “Old Dangerfield” is popular in bluegrass circles everywhere. In this lesson you’ll learn Sierra Hull’s octave mandolin version. Sierra is a virtuoso mandolinist but she has relatively small hands, so she changes the melody of “Old Dangerfield” somewhat when she plays it on the octave mandolin to make it fit the larger instrument. This is very common for mandolinists when they transfer tunes they know on the mandolin to the octave mandolin, and Sierra’s version of “Old Dangerfield” is a great lesson in doing this effectively.

 

 
Verona
 

“Verona” comes from the great jazz guitarist Bill Frisell, who recorded it on his album Gone, Just Like a Train, but it is well-suited to the octave mandolin. It’s in the key of D, has a typical jazz AABA 32-bar structure, and uses diatonic chords in the key of D. Joe uses it to introduce some movable chord shapes and talk about different rhythmic approaches to comping with the octave mandolin.

 
The High Road
 

“The High Road” comes from Tim O’Brien, who first recorded it on his 1983 solo album Hard Year Blues playing fiddle and mandolin and has also recorded it on octave mandolin with mandolinist Casey Campbell. Tim is probably the person who is most responsible for introducing the octave mandolin or bouzouki to the contemporary American string band. He’s been using it on recordings and in performance since the early 1990s. “The High Road” is in the key of E minor and features an unusual chord progression with an F# chord in the B part.

 
Red Prairie Dawn
 

The old-time fiddle tune “Red Prairie Dawn” comes from Indiana fiddler Gary Harrison, and has become popular in bluegrass jam circles lately. It’s in the key of A and works well on the octave mandolin.

 
The Smoothie Song
 

“The Smoothie Song” is the first track on Nickel Creek’s hit 2002 album This Side, and is probably the first time many people heard an octave mandolin. Chris Thile tunes the high E strings on his octave mandolin/bouzouki down to D for “The Smoothie Song,” so it’s tuned GDAD, which is essential to playing the tune like Chris, who fleshes out the basic melody with crosspicking and open strings.

 
Bonaparte Crossing the Rhine
 

The traditional tune “Bonaparte Crossing the Rhine” has an understated, pastoral quality that sounds great on the octave mandolin. It has a spare, march-like melody based around quarter-note phrases that can be phrased rhythmically in different ways and filled in with open strings and chord tones.

 
Ring Them Bells
 

“Ring Them Bells” is a Bob Dylan song that Sarah Jarosz  recorded on her album Follow Me Down. Sarah has a distinctive way of combining melody and chordal fragments on the octave mandolin and her intro solo on this song is a particularly great example of that. Sarah sings “Ring Them Bells” in the key of B and capos her octave mandolin at the fourth fret, playing with key-of-G fingerings.

 
Song Accompaniment in C: “Cold, Cold Heart”
 

In this lesson, Joe shows you how to accompany a singer with double stops in the key of C, using the Hank Williams song “Cold, Cold Heart.” He shows you a few different ways to phrase the basic melody, and then shows you double stops in sixths and fifths for the I, IV, and V chords in the key of C (C, F, and G) as well as the C major scale harmonized in sixths.

 
Sliding Down - New Lesson
 

“Sliding Down” was written by bassist/pianist Edgar Meyer and appears on his Uncommon Ritual recording, which features Mike Marshall on mandolin and Béla Fleck on banjo. It’s a simple melody in the key of A and in 3/4 time, but the challenge is how to flesh out the melody with chord tones. It works well on the octave mandolin with a capo on the second fret, using key of G fingerings. Joe shows you how to play the melody and fill it out with one or two notes of the underlying chord.

 
 
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    ● Courses
    ● Live Workshops
    ● Instructors
    ● Sample Lessons
    ● Notation Guide
    ● For Beginners
 
 
    ● Vintage Vault
    ● New Gear
    ● Fine Lutherie
 
 
    ● Workshops
    ● Advice
    ● Repertoire
 
 
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    ● Breaking News
 
 
    ● In The Studio
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