"Blackberry Blossom" Mandolin Lesson
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For this week's lesson, we'll be trading the guitar for the mandolin and look at a popular bluegrass tune, "Blackberry Blossom."
I originally made this video for a mandolin student, but thought it could be something for anyone learning mandolin. To help you learn the tune, I've also written out a transcription of the arrangement in the video. Use this link to download the sheet music:
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This tune, like many other bluegrass standards, uses an AABB form. In the video I first play the song at a standard tempo (about 206 bpm) and then slow down each section to 70 bpm. Focus on one section at a time, starting as slow as necessary, and gradually increase the tempo. Be sure to use a metronome! The entire piece should be played with alternate picking. Notice the slurs in the B sections. There are several pull-offs and slides, all of which should be obvious in the video.
There are many variations of this song. For this arrangement I've borrowed licks from many great bluegrass players, other YouTube videos, and used some of my own. Once you get it down, try adding your own variations! Transcribing many different sources will help you develop your own style.
The lessons on my website will always be free, but if the information here has helped you or your students, please consider making a donation. Your contribution helps me afford more time to create more free lessons for this website.