Crafting jazzier solo lines on mandolin

How to sound “in the style” in your improvisation.

The sequel to Don’s popular rhythm course, this course gives you a wealth of information about lead playing for jazz mandolin.

The course has two parts:

1. First, an hour’s worth of video instruction gives you deep insight into improvising over jazz/swing tunes on mandolin. How to approach major/minor 2-5-1 progressions, what to do over dominant chords, how to incorporate bluesy sounds and much more.

2. Next, Don performs five standards, which he chose as representative tunes in the style. He plays several choruses on each, taking care to use the specific concepts and techniques covered in the first hour. The performances are fully transcribed in tab and standard notation, synced with close-up videos. Use these to study “how Don thinks” when he improvises — and learn them as etudes for your own practice.

With Don’s expert instruction together plus the state-of-the-art Soundslice learning interface, this is a fantastic way to improve your jazz mandolin lead chops. And it’s all available for less than the cost of one of Don’s workshops. Enjoy!



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Total time: 85 minutes across 29 parts

· 1. Intro Free preview
· 2. Major ii-V-I chord tones
· 3. Major ii-V-I etude
· 4. ii-V-I in closed position
· 5. Leaning into notes
· 6. Arpeggios
· 7. Altered notes for dominant chords
· 8. Altered dominant trick
· 9. Enclosures
· 10. Whole tone scale
· 11. Diminished sounds
· 12. Minor ii-V-i
· 13. Playing a full cadence
· 14. Tritone substitution
· 15. The harmonized scale
· 16. Chords in the cracks
· 17. Bluesy sounds
· 18. The Charlie Parker embellishment
· 19. Tune #1 introduction
· 20. Tune #1
· 21. Tune #2 introduction
· 22. Tune #2
· 23. Tune #3 introduction
· 24. Tune #3
· 25. Tune #4 introduction
· 26. Tune #4
· 27. Tune #5 introduction
· 28. Tune #5
· 29. Conclusion

About Don Stiernberg

While still in his teens, Don learned to play the mandolin from the innovative and influential virtuoso Jethro Burns. Jethro referred to Don as his “graduate student,” hired him to play in his band, and guided him to a career as a professional musician which has already lasted forty years.

A leading exponent of jazz mandolin style, Don has eight recording projects of his own and appears on many others by a variety of artists in all styles. He wrote the book “Jazz Mandolin Appetizers,” published by Mel Bay in 2013.

In addition to touring coast to coast and abroad, Don stays busy around his native Chicago with performing and recording work. He also contributed a regular column to Mandolin Magazine and has been an instructor at many mandolin events around the world.

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About Soundslice

Soundslice is the ultimate learning and practice environment for music.

Our site gives you sheet music (and tablature) that’s synced with real audio/video recordings. That means you’ll be listening to real performances as you work through material — giving you insight into the human elements of music that couldn’t possibly be notated.

Use our simple-yet-powerful tools to explore music deeply. Slow down audio/video without changing pitch; loop sections simply by dragging across notation. It’s seamless and beautiful.

When you buy, you get instant access. Everything works in your web browser, with nothing to download or install. Works on tablets and smartphones, too.

Best of all, a majority of the proceeds goes directly to the instructor, not to a faceless corporation. Thanks for supporting musicians!