I just discovered this group and have a question. What kind of mandonlins are you playing for Bach? I am still doing my mandolin research. All of my previous musical experience (piano, harpsichord, recorder, guitar) have been classical, baroque, romantic. I've come into interest of learning mandolin through folk music, but I don't want to cut myself off from learning classical music on it.
I'm quite happy with my Collings. I think the strong attack/quick decay of carved top, F hole instruments works perfectly for solo Bach. Really, though, you need to find the sound you like and adapt it, not the other way around. I think pretty much any instrument can be made to sound good with this music.
I use my Breedlove FF. But I think that any mandolin that sounds good to you is the one you should use. Some people prefer the oval hole sound, some like me prefer the f hole sound, some like flatbacks and some lean toward bowlbacks. It's really what appeals to your ear. It's all good.
Thank you. I get confused about these things because of guitars where the woods and body style can really make a difference in the tone that you want. A classical guitar is significantly different from a steel string, a flamenco guitar different from a classical, each with its own unique properties. Perhaps it is not the same with the mandolin.
I love playing on my 1916 Gibson A-. Nothing special, but I just like the sound. I don't think it's better than any of the other choices, though.
I play Bach on an F4
A 1922 Gibson "A". It's also the ONLY mandolin I own. Can you believe that?
I do most of my attempts at classical music on one of my bowlbacks, either the Washburn or the Martin. Its a little easier to get around on them than my others.
See my picture album for pics of the herd.
Hi I Have an Eastman md515 f style and a bowlback they both have a different sound to them with the flat back eastman having a full sound and the bowlback having a vintage sound with the bowlback more to the original sound of the music as that was the style of the mandolin at that time .
Mostly I use my Mid-Mo instruments for Bach: the M-2 for violin-adapted solo music, and the M-16 mandola for the cello-adapted works. I am still "trying" with my bowlback, which has nice, light and easy action and a great sound, but once I get going on anything fast, it tends to roll around and/or get away from me easily, and I have trouble hanging on. It's like trying to play on a balloon... Not to mention that with the strings so much closer to the top of the instrument than on my flatbacks, I keep hitting the treble side of the oval soundhole!
I recently acquired a little Giannini that sounds very good for Bach. It sounds similar to Mid-Missouris that I owned--and which I found too small for me to hold comfortably (I, too, find bowlbacks unwieldy). This Giannini has a much deeper box that feels much more substantial.
I've been playing Bach on guitar since the mid 80s, but I had not been satisfied playing Bach pieces on several mandolins, nor a couple of mandolas--finding it too thin (after being spoiled by guitar, I guess). For some reason, this mandolin is inspiring me suddenly.