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This page features is a complete listing of all of Brad Laird's mandolin video lessons including 23 free video lessons. Tune up your mandolin and have fun! Bookmark and Share

How to Use These Video Lessons...

This page is a listing of 64 video mandolin lessons. I have organized them in the most logical way to help you learn to play quickly. I suggest that you bookmark this page! You will come back here many times as you practice and progress with your mandolin playing.

The lessons begin with the basics such as tuning and simple mandolin tunes and progress through learning a lot of the great standard bluegrass jam session tunes. These videos also will teach you a great deal about chords and the music theory that you can use to strengthen your abilities as a musician. As you build your physical skills on the mandolin you will also learn how to improvise solos and play in every key. I have put a lot of thought and planning into these lessons and they are proven to work! Thousands of mandolin students all over the world are using these videos.

All of the lessons include the tablature (tab) and standard music notation, the chord charts and, in many cases, MP3 practice and jam tracks to make learning more fun. Grab your mandolin, bookmark this page, and begin:


  Lesson Title Simple Description
1 Getting Started* Basic information for all beginners on mandolin.
2 Tuning a Mandolin* Learn to tune your mandolin.
3 Beginner Mandolin Chords* Easy 2 finger chords to get you started.
4 Reading Mandolin Tab 1* Basic tablature reading.
5 Reading Mandolin Tab 2* Learn to read slides, hammer-ons, and pull-offs.
6 Beginning Mandolin 1 First lesson, crucial information. 17 min. + tracks
7 What is a Major Scale?* Essential music theory on one simple topic.
8 Scales Don't Have To Be Boring* Ways to make scales more interesting and fun.
9 Beginning Mandolin 2 Continuation of Beg. Mandolin 1, 19 min. + tracks
10 Basic Chop Chords* Bluegrass style chord basics made simple.
11 Rhythm Basics* Understanding your role in the bluegrass ensemble.
12 Beginning Mandolin 3 Lesson with new tune & speed-building, 14 min + tracks
13 What is a Chord?* Watch this and you will know.
14 Beginning Mandolin 4 Chords and "slow jam" practice on 3 songs. 27 min.
15 Greensleeves Chords* Practical use of simple chords.
16 Greensleeves Melody playing in two time signatures.
17 Moveable Major and Minor Chords Absolutely essential knowledge for backup. 17 min.
18 How to Adjust Your Action* Maybe your mandolin is hindering your progress.
19 Barre Chords and 7th Chords More vital chord information.
20 Having Trouble With Chop Chords?* A solution for uncooperative or small hands..
21 Chop Chords for Small Hands Learn new ways to play chop chords with smaller compact shapes. 31 Minutes.
22 What Is A Doublestop?* Learn this fun & common mandolin technique.
23 NEW Exploring Doublestops 1 How to locate and use doublestops.
24 NEW Exploring Doublestops 2 More ways to locate and understand doublestops.
25 8th of January* A new tune with new licks.
26 Easy Mandolin Solos 1 Easy version of Banks of the Ohio
27 Easy Mandolin Solos 2 Easy version of Bury Me Beneath the Willow
28 Easy Mandolin Solos 3 2 Versions of Fair and Tender Ladies
29 Chord Progressions by the Numbers A fun and valuable lesson with no playing in it!
30 Chord Triangulation Part 1 Learn this system and do less thinking as you play.
31 Chord Triangulation Part 2 The rest of the system.
32 Sally Gooden: Rhythm and Chords* Good advice on getting a solid chop.
33 Sally Gooden: Tune and Variations Learn 4 ways to skin this cat.
34 How to Change a String* It is probably time you changed those strings.
35 Cripple Creek: 3 Versions Common jam tune. Lot's of improvisation ideas.
36 Cripple Creek Jam Session* Try jamming on Cripple Creek with no pressure.
37 Old Time Roots Mandolin Adapting "olde" tunes for mandolin.
38 What is a Pentatonic Scale?* Essential knowledge before moving on...
39 Pentatonic Improvisation Basics Just what the title says.
40 Pentatonic Improvisation 2 More ways to use pentatonic scale notes.
41 What is a Blues Scale?* Watch this and then you will know.
42 Instant Mandolin Blues* A cheap trick. Good food for thought.
43 Bluegrass Solo in 2 Keys Popular jamming tune in 2 different keys.
44 Pentatonic Improvisation 3 More improvisation ideas.
45 Playing with Building Blocks A way to think about building solos from scratch.
46 Salt Creek: Tune & Improv Ideas Common tune, uncommon licks and ideas.
47 Red Haired Boy: Tune & Improvisation Ideas Watch even if you already know the tune.
48 Blackberry Blossom & Improv Ideas A great vehicle for exploration.
49 Pentatonic Roadmaps 1 Get over your fear of "odd" keys the easy way.
50 Pentatonic Roadmaps 2 Continuation of lesson above.
51 Old Joe Clark: 3 Versions Great old tune, useful ideas you can use.
52 Whiskey Before Breakfast Basic tune and some good variations.
53 Whiskey Before Breakfast Practice Session* Try those variations out here...
54 Turnaround Lick in D* Easy useful "mini-solo". Explains turnarounds.
55 Turnarounds Learn 5 turnarounds in 5 keys.
56 More Turnarounds How about 5 more turnarounds?
57 Mississippi Sawyer Good old tune, more useful ideas and licks.
58 Moveable Blues Licks You can make a lot of hay with these licks!
59 Spaced Out Blues Solos Get out of the box and try these out...
60 "Blues Grass" Solos Bluegrass with a bluesy feeling...
61 Soloing in Moveable Positions Get familiar with moving all over the neck.
62 Laird's March - Duet Try this fun duet. No partner needed...
63 Stealing Jazz Licks 1 Stretch your boundaries in seeking new ideas.
64 Stealing Jazz Licks 2 More boundary exploration.

*Denotes a Free Video Lesson

Tips: I would suggest that you proceed one by one through the lessons. By simply reading the title you might think that you "already know that" and will miss some valuable insights. For example, lots of beginners learn to play Salt Creek (or whatever tune) early on. So, they see Salt Creek on the list and they skip it because they think they know the tune and wouldn't get anything by studying that lesson. Trust me on this, I have packed these lessons with loads of little details, techniques, concepts, licks, tricks, ways of thinking about things, and improvisation ideas. While the lesson might, on the surface, be "Salt Creek" you might be surprised by the additional insights you can gain by looking deeper into "tunes you already know." What you learn by exploring "Mississippi Sawyer" might teach you some valuable things about triplet embellishments and jazz chords. You will never know unless you dive in and see for yourself.

When you click on any of the links above you will find a more detailed description of the lesson contents and length. The free lessons have the tab and/or chord charts right on that page along with the video player window. The premium lessons are delivered to you as a zip file containing the video file, any audio tracks and the tablature as a PDF file. You store them on your computer and do not have to be online to watch them.

For beginners in particular I invite you to consider these exact six beginner video lessons. Thousands of people have learned to play using these videos because they really work! Click on the image below to go straight to my top six beginning lessons, read about them and watch free demos:

Bradley Laird's Beginning Mandolin Video Series


For people who want to learn to improvise: If you already know how to play some tunes and can read tab my initial suggestions are lessons #38, 39, 40, 44, 45, 49, 50, 58 and 61! and then check out my book Mandolin Master Class! These can really help you get into playing tunes "you don't know".

I think that if you explore the premium lessons you will discover that they are a good value. The premium lessons are a lot less expensive than a single private lesson and you can go over the material as many times as you need to until you get it. In 1982 you could take a half-hour mandolin lesson from some guy (probably rock guitar player who barely knew more than the student) for 6 bucks. And there was a good chance that you would forget 99% of what he taught you before you made the drive back home. Today, that same guy charges $20-25 for that same half-hour lesson you are destined to forget. (There are, of course, certain advantages that a good, live teacher can provide. I also teach lessons one-on-one, but these videos are a great and less expensive alternative. There are even valuable insights to be gained by finding out what that rock guitar teacher can show you about a mandolin he has only fiddled with for 20 minutes.)

Yes, there are zillions of so-called mandolin lessons available for free on YouTube. A few are pretty good. However, what you get here are not blurry webcam video recorded in some guys basement. I know about making blurry webcam videos in the basement. You may have seen them.) I don't have the heart to take them down from EweTube since there is nothing wrong with the content. Now, speaking of the lessons listed above, these lessons are well thought out, produced professionally and are a solid value if you really want to learn to play the mandolin. Try out a couple of them and see for yourself.