Lou Martin

“If you’re learning it from Lou Martin, you’re learning it right.” - Bill Monroe

Celebrating 50 Years of Monroe Mandolin

Books Currently Available:

Lou Martin’s Tunebook, Opus 3 - $50.00 plus $7.00 S/H. Seventy-seven traditional tunes. Over 1200 hours to complete, it is the only mandolin book ever written with indications for authentic Bill Monroe bluegrass tone attenuation, i.e. how to shorten certain notes and which ones to shorten. The book also shows when and how long to keep your back fingers in place for the most efficient improvisation. TEMPORARILY SOLD OUT, REPRINT IN PROCESS

“The wealth of traditional and often rare tunes makes Lou Martin’s Opus 3 a very worthwhile investment for all bluegrass mandolin players. As importantly, the insight Lou provides on how to approach and learn from this material makes the book a real treasure, something to return to over many years and hand down to the next generation. Thanks, Lou, for writing such a valuable book!” - Bill Keys

Twenty Studies in the First Position for Bluegrass Mandolinists, Opus 5 - $20.00 plus $4.00 S/H. Designed to improve sight-reading ability and increase understanding of classical music norms.

“Lou Martin’s Twenty Studies distills a master mandolinist’s decades of bluegrass mandolin wisdom into twenty pieces that impart essential bluegrass technique along with classical concepts.  Lou thinks about every note, and these pieces encourage you to do so as well.” - Andy Bing

Fifteen Bluegrass Variations on “Red Haired Boy”, Opus 8 - $25.00 plus $4.00 S/H. The sound and structure of bluegrass improvisation. There is a great deal of true bluegrass mandolin knowledge here, and you will not be disappointed.

“Lou Martin taught me most of what I know about playing bluegrass the right way, and this book is more of the same. An excellent tool for becoming a better player. Highly recommended.” - John Cadley (of John Cadley and The Lost Boys)

=>NEW Emma’s Choice, A Selection of Traditional Tunes from the Early American Republic, Compiled by Lou Martin, Opus 10 - $20.00 plus $4.00 S/H. There are fifty-two numbers here, standard tunebook presentation (no chords), two to a page. These tunes are fascinating, for example, “Anacreon in Heaven”, the drinking song that became “The Star Spangled Banner”. The period in American music history from c.1790-1850 was different from the currently accepted and received tradition, and you just do not know the complete story until you study tunes like General Washington’s March, The Badajoz Quickstep, Kreith’s Waltz, Madame Parisott’s Hornpipe, On Afric’s Wide Plains, Racketty Jack’s, The Spanish Slipper, Neil Gow’s Wife, Bannockburn, The Berks of Endermay, and Harrison’s Celebrated Reel. Also included are such classics from the period as Carolan’s Receipt, Temperance Reel, Durang’s Hornpipe, and Paddy on the Railroad. I have made sure that each tune has its correct designation, i.e. Reel, Hornpipe, Strathspey, Song, Air, etc., and have added reference texts to some to help with further research. A two page introduction helps to set the stage.


=>NEW Lou Martin Newsletter, Volume One, January - December 2009. $22.00 plus $5.00 S/H. This is 92 pages long, and uses regular computer paper, not the heavy watermarked paper used for my other books, which would have driven the price up. All the text from the first year’s newsletters is here in chronological order, including all the music. Covers and format are the same as my other books. Page numbers have been inserted, and there is a categorized table of contents, i.e. Prose Text, Reading the Notes, Tunes. For those who want the convenience of one volume/place for everything, for those subscribers who came in a little late and want to read the earlier issues, and perhaps also for those who do not yet receive the newsletter but have heard about it.


Standard notation only. All books have the best heavy cover stock, 32 lb. watermarked paper, and are standard classical format, comb-bound. They are made to last. New York State residents please add eight percent sales tax. Check or money order to:


Lou Martin


 “Lou Martin is an exceptional musician, who has a very exceptional relationship with Bill Monroe. His abilities as composer, performer, bandleader, teacher, and musicologist are at the highest level.” - Ralph Rinzler

“I endorse your teaching. You are such a fine musician.” - Mike Seeger

“The most profound aspect of your teaching is your emphasis on the understanding of Bill Monroe’s depth. Standard notation and Monroe...yeah!!!” - Richard Greene

“When I first started playing the mandolin (1958), I never realized there would be so many pickers in the future. I lived in California back then and mandolin players were rare. Well, with Lou Martin’s help the pickers of today can learn the right way. Yes, the right way to pick mandolin. Take this course.” - Larry Rice

“I am always very taken with your playing. Your teaching method is a serious student’s answer to a prayer, and I’m sure it demands a great deal of your time and energy. Devotion to achieving excellence in oneself is difficult enough - devotion to exacting it from others is really a challenge. I hope your students can appreciate the effort you put into a program like yours. I’m amazed.” - Lynn Morris

 “Lou Martin is my favorite mandolin player.” - Marshall Wilborn

“When I started with Lou Martin, I couldn’t even tune the mandolin. Six months later I was playing “Old Ebenezer Scrooge.” - Suzanne Smith, student who became a protégée of Bill Monroe

 “Lou Martin’s approach to teaching is fresh and original. It allows the student an unprecedented opportunity to study at his/her own pace with attentive and personal care given by a master musician.” - Mick Moloney

 “I am delighted to endorse your teaching method. The bluegrass world needs more instructors like you who have a solid understanding of what the music is all about and can convey that in their materials.” - Adam Steffey

 “Lou Martin is a true master of real bluegrass music.” - Lee Moore, the Coffee Drinkin Nite-Hawk

Born 1944, Syracuse, New York; B.A. in Music History, Syracuse University; founding member, the Down City Ramblers - the band in which Tony Trischka got his start; direct mandolin disciple of Bill Monroe; Rounder Records solo artist; mandolin teaching, both in person and through tutorial cassette tapes, endorsed by over 100 performing and teaching musicians, including: Bear Acker, Paul Adkins, Taylor Armerding, Butch Baldassari, Barry Bales, Russ Barenberg, Nick Barr, Kip Beacco, Wayne Benson, Byron Berline, Andy Bing, Ron Block, Jesse Brock, Alison Brown, Richard Brown, Mike Bub, John Cadley, Greg Cahill, Jason Carter, Perry Cleaveland, Charlie Cline, Larry Cohen, Mike Compton, Vic D’Amico, David Davis, Adam Dewey, Stuart Duncan, Don Eldreth Jr., Bill Evans, Kim Fox, Tony Furtado, Massimo Gatti, Jimmy Gaudreau, Alice Gerrard, Eric Gibson, Leigh Gibson, Neil Gladd, Paul Glasse, Skip Gorman, Tom Gray, Richard Greene, Smokey Greene, Jackie Greenwood, Don Grieser, David Grisman, David Harvey, Mark Hembree, Bill Henry, Wes Homner, Tom Hosmer, Rob Ickes, Chris Jones, Roland Kausen, Bill Keith, Alison Krauss, Viktor Krauss, Mike Kropp, Karl Lauber, Ray Legere, Jack Leiderman, Ned Luberecki, Kevin Lynch, Mac Martin, Bob Mavian, Del McCoury, Rob McCoury, Ronnie McCoury, Marc McGlashan, David McLaughlin, Jesse McReynolds, Art Menius, Buddy Merriam, Walt Michael, Barry Mitterhoff, Mick Moloney, James Monroe, John Monteleone, Lee Moore, Lynn Morris, Alan Munde, Alan Murphy, Dave Nichols, Tim O’Brien, Frank Orsini, Andy Owens, Cuzin’ Isaac Page, Bob Paisley, Danny Paisley, Mike Paisley, Ron Pennington, Lisa Ray, Larry Rice, Tony Rice, Wyatt Rice, Ralph Rinzler, Jim Rohrer, Greg Root, John Rossbach, Charles Sawtelle, Dana Schankman, Lauren Schankman, Mike Seeger, Paul Silvius, Rickie Simpkins, Dick Staber, Tim Stafford, Rich Starkey, Andy Statman, Jody Stecher, Adam Steffey, Don Steirnberg, Geoff Stelling, Larry Stephenson, Pooh Stevenson, Chris Stuart, Eddie Stubbs, Fred Travers, Tony Trischka, Craig Vance, Frank Wakefield, Butch Waller, Teddy Weber, Danny Weiss, Pete Wernick, Marshall Wilborn, Stan Wilemon, Winnie Winston, Randy Wood, Stan Zdonik, Phil Zimmerman.  


Cassette tape or in-person lessons: write me, and include your telephone number. Standard notation, quite simple on the mandolin, must be learned. If you care about the music, this may be the place for you.


Transcription Service: My transcriptions of mandolin and fiddle music are considered definitive by many people, and I often work with professional musicians to implement their music in print media. The Coda Finale program is used; standard notation, tablature, and combined staves are the options. If you want to learn that special tune, the fees are reasonable and the transcriptions are extremely accurate. So clear that they could be published - you will not be disappointed. Write in.


Lou Martin Newsletter: free, mailed monthly (as of December 2011, published when time permits). Lou’s magazine columns, LM mandolin arrangements of traditional tunes, “Reading the Notes” exercises for those who are learning to read standard notation, discussions on strings, articles on musicians, the history of tunes, and more. Write in to sign up. For people seriously interested in Monroe mandolin music. 



Sample Pages from Lou Martin’s Tunebook
Sample Pages from Twenty Studies in the First Position for Bluegrass Mandolinists
Sample Pages from Fifteen Bluegrass Variations on “Red Haired Boy”
Sample Pages from Emma’s Choice
Sample Pages from Lou Martin Newsletter compilation


Don Grieser
Buddy Merriam
John Monteleone
Randy Wood






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