Left, Right…Left, Right.. (A Mandolin Method)

        I once knew a golfer who had a standard reply if he’d had a bad day.

        “How’d you play?”

        “Army golf. You know, left right, left right.”

         It had two meanings. One was the obvious: he’d hit one shot left and the next one right. The other was more subtle: On that day he’d been unable to co-ordinate right and left brain activity.

        That doesn’t work in golf or music. Especially in music, if you need one more it might be the right side. I know players who seem predominately right-brained who play great, and left brainers who often have a lot of book learning but have trouble expressing it in their play.

        Now being a doc who came up in books I was afflicted with this malady at times, but I found ways to adapt. One answer for me was my bluegrass young’un, Darin Aldridge. He taught me so much over several decades. I am forever indebted to him. The second influence came along a bit later and that is my bluegrass brother Wayne Benson. I had known Wayne for years and began to take some lessons from him in 2007. As I have said many times if a man can’t learn to play with Darin on his right hand and Wayne on his left he’s hopeless.

       Wayne and I just stated a book project based on Wayne’s teaching method. His lesson plans are the first method I have seen that teaches practical mandolin theory to the student’s left brain and shows them how to transfer that intellectual knowledge to the right side. Instead of Bonaparte Crossing The Rhine” it is “Benson Crossing the Corpus Callosum,” the partition that divides the two cerebral hemispheres of the brain. It won’t make us play like Darin and Wayne but the knowledge will help move us in that direction. If should be fun.

        It’ll be at least a year before the book comes out, so in the meantime go to these guys if you live near them or book some time with an instructor in your area. There’s a bunch to learn, and it sure is easier with an experienced instructor to guide you.

        Left right, left right!!

Dr. B

Explore posts in the same categories: mandolin lessons, Mandolin Players I Know, The Monday Morning Post, Writing


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13 Comments on “Left, Right…Left, Right.. (A Mandolin Method)”

  1. Jewell Burke Says:

    Doc, it just got too hard for me to learn!!!!!! The arthritic fingers fail to help too 🙂

  2. Angie Simpson Says:

    I need this book! I am taking lessons from Darin and I think it would help me. Looking forward to it.

  3. Angie Simpson Says:

    and Darin is a great teacher 🙂

    • Angie,

      He is and Wayne always says Darin is one of the great tone players of this generation and also a very fine teacher. I agree.

      If someone gets the opportunity (as I was so fortunate to have) they ought to study under both of ’em! (The book will be a big head-start to understanding Wayne’s method)

      Dr. B

  4. Doc,
    You are combining two of my favorites – mandolin and right brain study. I’ll be looking forward to ordering this book when it’s available!
    Leigh Ann

    • Leigh Ann,

      Thanks so much. We just got started on this one, so it might be a year or so.

      I hope my children’s mandolin book will be out in the next few months. The graphic artist is finishing up.

      Dr. B

  5. janice Says:

    I thought left right might mean birdie boogie in golf.

  6. Kim Farmer Says:

    Where do you live and where does Wayne B. live. I have Wayne’s CD, but would love to get some lessons. I live in the Greensboro, N.C. area. I finished your book and was entirly into it. I am having a Weber being built now. I like the way you worked Mr. Weber into the plot. I pray for you everyday.

    Kim Farmer

    • drtombibey Says:


      I live pretty near the border and Wayne is near Spartanburg, S.C. I suspect it’d be several hours drive for you; probably too far for regular lessons. He also does lessons by Skype. E-mail him at wayneandkristin@gmail.com if you wanted to ask.

      Let me make some contacts and see if I can figure out who is one of the best teachers right around that area if you want traditional face-to-face lssons. Also Darin is about 1 1/2 hours closer to you in Cherryville, N.C.

      Dr. B

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