This is a public version of the members-only Bluegrass Mandolin with Mike Marshall, at ArtistWorks. Functionality is limited, but CLICK HERE for full access if you’re ready to take your playing to the next level.

These lessons are available only to members of Bluegrass Mandolin with Mike Marshall.
Join Now

Beginner Mandolin
Intermediate Mandolin
Advanced Mandolin
Additional Tunes & More
Holiday Tunes
Gear & Setup
30 Day Challenge
Lick of the Week
Tune of the Week
«Prev of Next»

Mandolin Lessons: Cuckoo's Nest

Lesson Video Exchanges () submit video Submit a Video Lesson Study Materials () This lesson calls for a video submission
Study Materials Quizzes
information below Close
information below
Lesson Specific Downloads
Play Along Tracks
Backing Tracks +
Written Materials +

+Beginner Mandolin

+Intermediate Mandolin

+Advanced Mandolin

+Additional Tunes & More

+Holiday Tunes

+Lick of the Week

+Tune of the Week

Additional Materials +
resource information below Close
Collaborations for
resource information below Close
Submit a video for   
information below Close
Course Description

This is only a preview of what you get when you take Mandolin Lessons at ArtistWorks. Sign up today for unlimited access to all lessons, plus submit videos to your teacher for personal feedback on your playing.

CLICK HERE for full access.
this next section we're gonna learn a
whole bunch of tunes.
I can't emphasize enough how important
this is to, playing bluegrass,
even though maybe you don't play a lot of
in your band that you play with.
Bluegrass primarily of vocal style, but
from this fiddle tunes,
this old Irish tunes that came over to the
Appalachian mountains, there exist all
the melodic fragments that we use in in
all the music that we play.
And its just a beautiful way to build your
technique and develop a body of, of licks,
as it were, you then deconstruct and use
in different places.
Either a vocal tune, or when you begin to
improvise over one song,
you may be pulling a fragment out of
another song.
So I will encourage you to learning these
tunes as close as you can to
how I'm playing them or if you're learning
off of some other source, try
to get as much nuance as you can, whether
it's exactly how somebody's sliding into
a note or the exact inflection of where
they put the accents on the melodies.
In the old days we used to slow the LP's
down, and
it would be an, exactly an octave below.
So it sounded like a bass playing the
But you could really hear the bmmm dika
bmm, every little turn.
So you can do the same in this, on this
website, and really try and
get all those nuances, 'cuz that's that's
just gonna improve your palate.
So, we'll start with Cuckoo's Nest, in the
key of D.
I'll play it real slow.
There's a couple of trills and turns in it
that I'll spend extra time on.
But, for now, here's, here's the, here's
the top of it.
Notice that backward slide.
From the C sharp down to the A.
So that's the A section and here comes the
That's our first trill.
That's our first triplet.
Triplet and a trill, woah.
So, going back to the top of the B
section, I wanna spend a little time
teaching how I do these trills.
The first one.
Okay, this is tricky because
remember I spent awhile back talking a lot
about always going back and
forth, and that is the case.
I'm gonna break my own rule, when you play
three notes da-da-da, down, up, down.
You're next note is gonna be an up, but
guess what your upside down,
according to the down beat rule that I
gave you.
Daka, daka, daka, daka dut, dut, dut, dut,
So now you need to play 2 ups in a row.
So it's a chromatic riff, from F sharp to
Down, up, down, up, up on the A.
Down, up, down, up.
Up on the open A, and then you're going to
do another up on the next F sharp note.
So like this.
Down up, down up, up down, up down.
And that puts you back in the down up down
up role.
This is one of the rare places where I do
two ups in a row.
If I'm trying to.
I'm trying to play through a triplet,
three notes in one beat.
the next thing that comes is a trill.
Okay, there's a lot less going on here
then you think.
What, the way this works is I'm really
only hammering between the E and F-sharp.
And them I'm plucking the E with an up.
So it's down the E, hammer, up on the E,
your hand never stops the back and forth.
You're not adding anything with your right
Okay, let's talk about these triplets
right now,
and you'll see an overlay here that lays
it out.
This is the one time when I actually do
play two ups in a row.
We're playing.
Triple at one and
two and one and two and, so over the
triplet, that's the three notes here,
you're playing down, up, down and then the
next A note is an up.
Which is up and then the F-sharp after is
an up so
you get an up on the A and an up on the
F-sharp and
then you're back into your down up, down
up rule.
Down up, down up, up down, up down, up
down up, down up, up down, up.
Now this next trill.
I'll play it really slow.
This is a situation
where your hand does not change, it never
stops going back and forth.
All the action is in the left hand.
And what it is, is it's a hammer between
the E and the F-sharp, and then a pull,
all in one move, with your left hand.
Right, that's a down pick, and
then comes the up, open D.
your hand never stops doing this and it's
hammer pull.
Hammer pull.
So again,
practicing this stuff really slow.
Even slower.
Do it on the next string.
Just to get a different feeling.
That's again,
I always turn something like that into an
Getting back to Cuckoo's Nest.
So, slow on the A section.
One, two, three.
Backwards slide.
Triple it.
Triple it.
Backward slide.
Triple it.
Triple it.
B section.
And think about that as an exercise.
getting things lined up, it's a beautiful
Do it on the next pair of strings.
It's the kind of thing you'll hear a lot
in many different tunes.
Trill there.
now we're gonna play this along with a
rhythm guitar at,
I believe it's 60, it's either 60 or 65,
here we go.
>> A one, two, three.
>> All right.