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Author Topic: Just Picked Up A Mandolin...  (Read 18011 times)

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Offline chad

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Just Picked Up A Mandolin...
« on: Jun 23, 2005, 03:52:00 PM »
...and what a little pain in the a** it is!   ;D I thought fiddle was hard! Since I'm primarily a guitar player I thought another plectrum instrument would come easily to me, but no dice.

To start with I had to reverse the strings because I play lefty; then I spent one whole evening intonating it. Then I broke an E string. Now it's strung up, intonated, tuned, got a strap - and when I play it I either play a note one fret above where I wanted to, or miss the string completely with my pick stroke.

I stayed up 'til 2:00 this morning playing it. I'm so happy...


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Offline indian virtuoso

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Re: Just Picked Up A Mandolin...
« Reply #1 on: Jun 23, 2005, 08:16:00 PM »
do you play a lefty fiddle too?  If not, that could get tricky going between violin and mandolin.  It would be nice to use the same hands, you know?

Offline David M.

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Re: Just Picked Up A Mandolin...
« Reply #2 on: Jun 23, 2005, 09:07:38 PM »
He said he's a guitar player mostly, so I'd assume he'd play it like his guitar.  Right?

Anyway, the mando is very similar, and very different to the guitar.  I really don't like hearing the mandolin strummed outright on all strings like alot of people play the guitar (don't know how you play the guitar, so forgive me).  The mandolin's a different attack.  Smaller, more deliberate pick strokes, punchy rythym with a good, thumpy chop.

You using an A style or F style?  I'm not positive, but I thought mandolins were voiced with a definite treble tone bar and bass bar, meaning I didn't know you could flip it for a lefty. 

Keep at it.  The mando's an awesome little instrument and it WILL improve your guitar playing and the way you play it.  Good Luck!

Offline fidla

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Re: Just Picked Up A Mandolin...
« Reply #3 on: Jun 23, 2005, 10:30:06 PM »
it'll improve your fiddling too...give you a chordal perspective.  for most melodic players, that's a huge benefit

Offline chad

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Re: Just Picked Up A Mandolin...
« Reply #4 on: Jun 24, 2005, 02:17:33 PM »
I play everything lefty. This mandolin is an A style, a Chinese-made "Rogue", picked it up new for 50 bucks.

Didn't know that mandos had a bass bar, etc. It's hard to tell with an instrument of this quality, but switching it to lefty doesn't seem to have hurt its tone.

Offline David M.

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Re: Just Picked Up A Mandolin...
« Reply #5 on: Jun 24, 2005, 02:54:21 PM »
That's good, Chad.  I think that mandos are braced symmetrically, but on higher end ones, they "tune" the bass and treble bars (called "tonebars") to optimize the bass and treble responses.  Glad it doesn't affect yours, cause that makes it handy.

Hopefully, you'll get the mando bug.  I love the mandolin.  Have you had it set up/looked at by a luthier to insure the best playability?  That can make a big difference in the sound, too.  Also, experiment w/strings.  I use J75 by D'Addario and they're pretty heavy (.0115 on the E).  The J74's are .011 on the E and are good strings.  I would try NOT to use extra lights (.010 or lighter) because I don't think it will get the top vibrating like you want.

Just some thoughts.

Offline farmerjones

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Re: Just Picked Up A Mandolin...
« Reply #6 on: Jun 24, 2005, 03:44:22 PM »
i've got the same one Chad.
Good servable mando.
D'Addarios really helped liven it up.
One problem. It's just good enough to get you thinking about another one.  :)
If you're not born to money, as i, repeat after me:
"It's 90% operator"
"90%"
"90%"

 :) :)

SJ

Offline chad

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Re: Just Picked Up A Mandolin...
« Reply #7 on: Jun 24, 2005, 04:45:30 PM »
I do enjoy it, makes a nice change of pace. And I can play off fiddle tunes on it a lot better than I can on fiddle!

Being who I am, I'm just poking around finding chord shapes that work for me rather than referring to a book. With a book I have to turn the diagrams around in my head, and besides, it's a lot more fun discovering the chords for myself. I actually often do the same thing on guitar.

Offline David M.

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Re: Just Picked Up A Mandolin...
« Reply #8 on: Jun 24, 2005, 05:27:27 PM »
www.mandolincafe.com has a chord chart that has lefty viewing capabilities.  Never looked at it, but I'd be it flips those chords over for you.  May make learning the chords alot easier.

If you have never been to "the cafe" as we mandolincafe junkies call it, it's THE definitive mandolin site in my opinion.  Great bunch of helpful people and some good info right there at your fingertips.

Oh yeah, the chords are on the links on the left under "mandolin chords".

Pick it like you mean it!
DM

Offline chad

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Re: Just Picked Up A Mandolin...
« Reply #9 on: Jun 24, 2005, 05:55:47 PM »
Way cool! Thanks, David!

Offline Keeso

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Re: Just Picked Up A Mandolin...
« Reply #10 on: Jun 29, 2005, 08:58:26 PM »
If you have never been to "the cafe" as we mandolincafe junkies call it, it's THE definitive mandolin site in my opinion.

Definitely a very cool site. Haven't been back there for awhile and I finally checked out the old postcards. The "Pagliacci-dressed" children are vaguely creepy (the whole "opera clown-costumed kids" photo aesthetic has -- for me, at least -- decidedly little appeal) ... but I like this pic:

http://www.mandolincafe.com/archives/postcards/postcard10.html

Obviously the first cryogenically preserved mandolin player ... just put him back in the freezer (next to Walt Disney) before he thaws out!
« Last Edit: Jun 29, 2005, 09:10:43 PM by Keeso »

Offline David M.

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Re: Just Picked Up A Mandolin...
« Reply #11 on: Jul 01, 2005, 02:27:13 PM »
Very creepy indeed.  Some of those folks were just plain scary.   ;D

Offline chad

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Re: Just Picked Up A Mandolin...
« Reply #12 on: Aug 17, 2005, 04:37:05 PM »
Still fine-tuning the setup on my mando  ;D. It actually starts to play halfway decent.

I've committed to joining my church's worship band this fall. I think they're thinking guitar, which I play fairly well; I'm thinking fiddle and mandolin, which are second instruments for me  ;). Great excuse to work on my chops!
« Last Edit: Aug 17, 2005, 08:27:53 PM by chad »

Offline susiakasinead

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Re: Just Picked Up A Mandolin...
« Reply #13 on: Aug 18, 2005, 02:29:31 PM »
Welcome to the mandolin world!! Mandolin is my first instrument, and i love it dearly. It's a very neat little instrument. There are great mandolin resources at www.mandozine.com and some goodies at www.mandolinsessions.com, don't miss them. What music do you play?

Offline David M.

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Re: Just Picked Up A Mandolin...
« Reply #14 on: Aug 18, 2005, 02:34:09 PM »
Chad, I've played at our church several times and it's always a great experience.  I'd rather be jamming on some old timey tunes or BG stuff, but this is fun.  None of the guys who play are into BG, OT, or even country, so when I do bluegrass sounding breaks and chops, it brings a whole other texture to the music.  They like the fiddle, too, but seem to only use it on the "pretty" stuff where I do slower breaks and backing runs.  The hoedown shuffle bowing makes 'em nervous, I think  ;D

Offline mlynnea

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Re: Just Picked Up A Mandolin...
« Reply #15 on: Aug 19, 2005, 01:33:17 AM »
Chad.   I lucked out and got a really super mando with a great voice to it.  I got it primarily to help me learn my fiddle tunes-easy to sit in the car-rv or whatever as my husband drives down the road- and practice (cant do that with my fiddle-I'd poke his eye out!)  I found the mando so easy to play!  and I am very new to music so was tickled.  Enjoy
carpe diem

Offline fidla

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Re: Just Picked Up A Mandolin...
« Reply #16 on: Aug 19, 2005, 01:56:57 AM »
I think I"m missing out on a whole music spectrum...so many folks talk about fiddling "in church" or playing mandolin "in church".  What kind of church lets you fiddle or play the mandolin?  All the churches up here in Massachusetts have organists...must be a suthern thang ;)

Offline giannaviolins

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Re: Just Picked Up A Mandolin...
« Reply #17 on: Aug 19, 2005, 02:58:20 AM »
Just tell the music director of the church you're going to do a solo in 2 weeks, when in the service do they want it?

I've had the unusual experience of showing up for Christmas service and finding no music - then improvising the entire service myself.  That was fun!  Didn't have my reading glasses, so sheet music was out.  They make the notes so small these days anyway.

Offline Nephus

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Re: Just Picked Up A Mandolin...
« Reply #18 on: Aug 19, 2005, 04:14:57 AM »
I've been concidering getting a cheap mandolin for a bit of cross training.  Since it's tuned the same as my fiddle, any time spent with one will improve the other.  On that note, does anyone have any experience with Johnson mandolins?

Offline chad

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Re: Just Picked Up A Mandolin...
« Reply #19 on: Aug 19, 2005, 04:32:00 AM »
I think I"m missing out on a whole music spectrum...so many folks talk about fiddling "in church" or playing mandolin "in church".  What kind of church lets you fiddle or play the mandolin?  All the churches up here in Massachusetts have organists...must be a suthern thang ;)

Well, I'm in central Maine, if that does anything for your theory  :D...I attend a Pentecostal church; we have, at least in my memory, always welcomed congregation members to join in on their instruments.  Used to be just piano and organ "officially"; now it's bands, since the rise of the "praise and worship" movement. Look around, even in the Righteous Commonwealth of Massachusetts there must be some "p&w" churches! lol They tend to be evangelical, whereas the older, "mainline" denominations might still use organ. Not to suggest that one approach is better than another! I also love classic hymns played on an organ.

Mando-Fiddle Girl, I'm primarily a guitarist who's played blues, r & r, country, jazz, etc. all my life. I started out playing Celtic stuff on fiddle, a coupla bluegrass licks when I could figure them out. Lately I've been enjoying trying different stuff on fiddle - old gospel tunes make great "etudes", very "soulful". So it is on mandolin; I've been picking some fiddle tunes, strumming every Stanley Brothers song I can think of, also old gospel tunes (often there's an overlap there). Plus licks from old pop tunes - you haven't lived til you play the lick from "Sunshine Of Your Love" on mandolin!

Offline giannaviolins

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Re: Just Picked Up A Mandolin...
« Reply #20 on: Aug 19, 2005, 11:44:47 AM »
I've been concidering getting a cheap mandolin for a bit of cross training.  Since it's tuned the same as my fiddle, any time spent with one will improve the other.  On that note, does anyone have any experience with Johnson mandolins?

They're OK.  The best deal is Eastman mandolins.  Maybe we could work that trade for one.  Nice instruments. 

I like the Kentucky better than the Johnson in general.  The KM250S or KM380S seem the nicest in the low Kentucky range.  But they take real work to get the setup & acoustics in shape.  Beneift from mandovoodoo, see www.mandovoodoo.com

Offline PeterG

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Re: Just Picked Up A Mandolin...
« Reply #21 on: Aug 19, 2005, 12:01:24 PM »
I play in a Baptist church with a mixture of newer P&W and older hymns. Guitar works well with the newer songs and the violin is great for everything else. It gets interesting playing in the more exotic keys, especially when you play with horn players, who never seem to know what key they are in.

Offline David M.

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Re: Just Picked Up A Mandolin...
« Reply #22 on: Aug 19, 2005, 03:19:49 PM »
Even in my mama and daddy's stuffy Methodist church in Alabama where I grew up has created a "contemporary service" where younger folks usually go.  Lots more P&W music.  But, it's taking away from the regular congregation.  They still have an organist, too.  She asked me to play when we visited back in June and the preacher just put me in the offertory where I played mando w/my sis on piano.

I'm Iowa now and we go to a more contemporary church that used to be a Baptist church, but dropped the denomination a while back.  Lots of P&W stuff and some originals that our music pastor writes.  These folks play everything from jazz to acoustic to rock type.  there's a trombone player that plays alot of time, but he's amazing and can play in any key.

I think I may be one of the first if not the first to play mando and/or fiddle there.  It's fun and I have gotten some nice comments.  Usually when I play w/them we do more acoustic type sets and it allows me to play some of the hymns more traditionally instead of trying to rock them up.  I like a hymn to sound like a hymn.  there have been times where I couldn't hear what I was playing due to the guitar and drums.  That's not a good feeling.

I like Steve P's suggestion:  let 'em know you want to play and get a slot in the service.  One would think most churches are anxious to get new styles.

Offline chad

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Re: Just Picked Up A Mandolin...
« Reply #23 on: Aug 23, 2005, 11:39:37 PM »
...I like a hymn to sound like a hymn...

I'm witcha. Not to mention that I personally would like to sing/hear more hymns in my church to balance off the P&W stuff, which in my opinion doesn't rise to the same level lyrically or musically (usually). I guess I'm a fuddy-duddy!

My idea in using my fiddle and mandolin is to avoid the temptation to rock out that using my electric guitar would raise; maybe add a little more acoustic warmth to the mix (they use electronc drums, fer cryin' out loud!).

Offline jessboo

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Re: Just Picked Up A Mandolin...
« Reply #24 on: Aug 24, 2005, 04:09:38 AM »
hey chad you should try freebird on your mando but not in church. I tryed it in an old timey jam once and about got kick out but it rocked!!!!!!

 




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