ALL ABOUT RHYTHM MANDOLIN
SAM BUSH
Homespun DVDBSHRL21.

ALL ABOUT LEAD MANDOLIN
SAM BUSH
Homespun DVDBSHRL22.

One DVD each, one hour and forty minutes each, $29.95 each. (Homespun Tapes, P.O. Box 340, Woodstock, NY 12498, www.homespun.com.)

These instructional videos represent, by my count, the fourth and fifth releases by mandolin giant Sam Bush for Homespun, and both are good. Much of the information (chops, right-hand technique, speed building, pulloffs, etc.) has been covered on his other Homespun videos, but whereas those were larger overviews of mandolin playing as a whole, and these are more specific to certain subjects, it gives the buyer options. Moreover, some of the duplication results from an attempt to respond to questions sent to the Mandolin Café website.

What is new with each is the songs used as teaching examples. Bush’s Circle Around Me was his newest CD at the time, and so on All About Lead Mandolin, there are three tracks from that recording: a G minor Monroe like waltz called “Old North Woods”; a fast, semi-new grass tune in A called “Blue Mountain”; and the classic “Midnight On The Stormy Deep.” Bush also demonstrates “Fisher’s Hornpipe” and his original “Cloverleaf Rag.” All About Rhythm Mandolin uses three songs to illustrate its techniques: “You Left Me Alone”; “Girl From The North Country”; and “Sailin’ Shoes.”

Both videos start with some basic concepts, but quickly move up the ladder of difficulty. Even though some of those concepts are really basic, particularly on the rhythm DVD, it’s probably best if you have a bit of playing under your belt. Once you get into the songs, beyond “Fisher’s Horpipe” for example, you’ll need to have some intermediate-level skills to get the most out of these good videos. BW