by Paul Kotapish

The mandolin is fun, relatively easy to play, not nearly as irritating as the banjo, and very portable. It's great for playing everything from Irish fiddle tunes to Latin American melodies, bluegrass chops to jazz solos. We'll take a look at a few of the ways to use the mandolin for lead and accompaniment work, explore left- and right-hand techniques, dabble in a bit of ornamentation, and learn a tune or two.

Paul Kotapish performs and records on the mandolin and guitar with Wake the Dead, an acoustic ensemble that melds traditional Irish music with the songs of the Grateful Dead. Wake the Dead just released its second CD, "Buckdancer's Choice." You can read more about the band and hear sound clips from both CDs at

Kotapish also performs and records with the Hillbillies from Mars, Curlew, and the Moving Cloud Orchestra. Over the years he toured the globe and recorded four albums on Green Linnet with Irish fiddler Kevin Burke and Open House, and he was a card-carrying member of the Hurricane Ridgerunners.

Learn more than you ever wanted to know about Paul Kotapish at


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