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Rob Meldrum
Oct-13-2015, 9:45am
Hi everyone,

I have been giving away the free setup ebook for nearly four years now, and I thought you'd be interested in some observations I have. First off, if you want my free ebook on how to set up a mandolin, just email me at rob.meldrum@gmail.com and put Mandolin Setup in the subject line.

I've given away nearly four thousand ebooks! That's a pretty good sample size to make a few observations. The average person requesting my book is male (over 95%), over forty years old (85-90%), very polite (99%), new to mandolins (65-70%) and trying to make the best of an economical purchase (65-70%). "Economical purchase" is any mandolin with a retail price of under $350.00.

Depending on the time of year 50-75% of the requesters come from MandolinCafe, 30-50% from seeing my YouTube videos, about 10% from MandoHut, and the rest from random Internet searches.

On the Rogue as an introductory mandolin front, many requesters consider the Rogue, find my YouTube videos, and then buy the Rogue. After completing the setup they are happy players. I have yet to hear from a person saying their Rogue is a mess and they are bummed out. In the past four years the quality control of the Rogue has steadily improved. The last couple of instruments I have bought needed very little work.

For a polite group, surprisingly few requesters (5-10%) post a thank-you or comment on this site. Many email me a personal thank you. I would prefer a thank you here only because it "bumps" the thread and makes it easier for a newbie to find. I attribute this to two things. First, newbies frequently join a site and then don't participate. More importantly, the users here tend to be very passionate. Any time someone posts a positive experience about a Rogue or other inexpensive mandolin there will be a chorus of experts laughing at the "firewood," "plywood," "wall hanger" that the newbie bought. Based on most of the threads here one would think that a rank beginner should never spend less than $500 for an entry-level mandolin.

I think because of our average age and income level most of us forget what it's like to think a $100 purchase is a pretty big deal. In my real job I am an insurance agent and I see lots of people living paycheck to paycheck. If their child wants a guitar or mandolin they usually budget around $100. I like knowing that for $100 (and a free setup book) they can get a playable instrument. In a year or two they will know whether their child is a committed player and deserves a better instrument or the mandolin is collecting dust in a closet or attic.

Oh yeah, the last statistic. Most luthiers know a lot about woodworking and finish work and not a lot about setting up a mandolin. I base that on the comments I get from luthiers after they read through my book.

I've had a few good suggestions about beefing up certain areas of the book and have decided not to take the time to do a re-write. The income (zero dollars) just doesn't justify the effort!

Since writing the ebook I have gotten involved with a guitar-oriented band and spend 99% of my time playing guitar, so my mandolin picking skills are still very weak. But the people on this site make visiting here a real treat.

Mandolin players are a special lot. :-)

jazzjune18
Oct-13-2015, 10:42am
Rob. You mentioned that it is difficult to justify updating the book since you aren't getting paid. Have you ever thought about publishing the book? Even by self publishing on Amazon?? (Just a digital copy. Wouldn't cost you close to anything). I don't want to say that it is "all about the money", but you have put forth a huge effort and should get some monetary compensation.

Btw. Thanks a ton for the book. Awesome work. ;)

Rob Meldrum
Oct-13-2015, 11:02am
Hi jazzjune, I looked into self-publishing with Amazon. At $9.95 selling price I would net around five dollars or less. More importantly is what sales numbers would be like. Given away free, I have something like 4,000 takers. If I charged, I would project 5-10% would buy it. So, $1,000-2,000 over a four-year period. I get a lot of satisfaction giving the book away knowing that I'm helping people make their mandos more playable. It's worth more than the money. And thanks for the thanks, folks!

jazzjune18
Oct-13-2015, 11:13am
Makes sense robster. I can agree with your logic. Mark

HonketyHank
Oct-13-2015, 11:44am
Well, I sure benefitted from your ebook, as did several mandolins (one of which was a good old Rogue:) ). Once again, thank you.

I once developed a highly specialized piece of software and was often told I should publish it. My response was that if I put a fair price tag on it, the price would be so high no-one would buy it. So I just gave it away to anybody who wanted it. I still get the occasional query about when will the Windows version come out. (A: Never, unless someone else does it.)

Mark Gunter
Oct-13-2015, 11:59pm
Rob, I do amateur lutherie on guitars, and as a beginner I've purchased only inexpensive mandolins: A bowl back that needed repairs, and two "entry level" new mandos from China, Ibanez and Washburn. Both badly needed set-up work. I have a nice collection of guitars, but having spent time on a lower income level, many of the instruments I own are the El Cheapo brand. I have learned through the years to make the best of what you have - and that even less glorious instruments can sound really good with a proper set-up and a little skill in playing.

This e-book sounds interesting and I want to thank you for making it freely available to the community. Reading your post has piqued my interest, and I've just sent you an email on this.

4-More
Feb-27-2016, 12:47am
Just requested the book from Rob. Can't wait to receive it. Thanks very much!

MoreThanQuinn
Feb-27-2016, 1:07am
I have also emailed for the book within the past couple days. Really excited to check it out since I just received my first mandolin in the mail today!

dschonbrun
Feb-27-2016, 8:47am
Hi everyone,

I have been giving away the free setup ebook for nearly four years now, and I thought you'd be interested in some observations I have. First off, if you want my free ebook on how to set up a mandolin, just email me at rob.meldrum@gmail.com and put Mandolin Setup in the subject line.

I've given away nearly four thousand ebooks! That's a pretty good sample size to make a few observations. The average person requesting my book is male (over 95%), over forty years old (85-90%), very polite (99%), new to mandolins (65-70%) and trying to make the best of an economical purchase (65-70%). "Economical purchase" is any mandolin with a retail price of under $350.00.

Depending on the time of year 50-75% of the requesters come from MandolinCafe, 30-50% from seeing my YouTube videos, about 10% from MandoHut, and the rest from random Internet searches.

On the Rogue as an introductory mandolin front, many requesters consider the Rogue, find my YouTube videos, and then buy the Rogue. After completing the setup they are happy players. I have yet to hear from a person saying their Rogue is a mess and they are bummed out. In the past four years the quality control of the Rogue has steadily improved. The last couple of instruments I have bought needed very little work.

For a polite group, surprisingly few requesters (5-10%) post a thank-you or comment on this site. Many email me a personal thank you. I would prefer a thank you here only because it "bumps" the thread and makes it easier for a newbie to find. I attribute this to two things. First, newbies frequently join a site and then don't participate. More importantly, the users here tend to be very passionate. Any time someone posts a positive experience about a Rogue or other inexpensive mandolin there will be a chorus of experts laughing at the "firewood," "plywood," "wall hanger" that the newbie bought. Based on most of the threads here one would think that a rank beginner should never spend less than $500 for an entry-level mandolin.

I think because of our average age and income level most of us forget what it's like to think a $100 purchase is a pretty big deal. In my real job I am an insurance agent and I see lots of people living paycheck to paycheck. If their child wants a guitar or mandolin they usually budget around $100. I like knowing that for $100 (and a free setup book) they can get a playable instrument. In a year or two they will know whether their child is a committed player and deserves a better instrument or the mandolin is collecting dust in a closet or attic.

Oh yeah, the last statistic. Most luthiers know a lot about woodworking and finish work and not a lot about setting up a mandolin. I base that on the comments I get from luthiers after they read through my book.

I've had a few good suggestions about beefing up certain areas of the book and have decided not to take the time to do a re-write. The income (zero dollars) just doesn't justify the effort!

Since writing the ebook I have gotten involved with a guitar-oriented band and spend 99% of my time playing guitar, so my mandolin picking skills are still very weak. But the people on this site make visiting here a real treat.

Mandolin players are a special lot. :-)

Rob, full disclosure... I work for the world's largest publisher and book distributor (Amazon).

If you are willing to give it way and distribute the file directly to people via email, you can always continue the distribution model, while ask for a donation of $10 via paypal. You don't need to "require" $10, you can allow people to pay what they can afford. This would net you $40,000 after the next 4,000 users and that would justify a revised edition.

What do you think?

David

JeffD
Feb-27-2016, 7:03pm
Oh yeah, the last statistic. Most luthiers know a lot about woodworking and finish work and not a lot about setting up a mandolin. I base that on the comments I get from luthiers after they read through my book.

There are more than a few like this, for sure.

JH Murray
Feb-27-2016, 9:25pm
I often am on the Reddit mandolin forum. Many of the posters there are younger and the Rogue is often considered as a first mandolin. Rob's set up book is highly recommended there. I know I have benefitted from it. Even the cigar box instruments I have made have benefitted from his advice. Many thanks!

Brad Little
Feb-28-2016, 5:30pm
Just received this e-book, looks like everything I need to keep my mando in peak playing shape. Thanks, Rob!
Brad

David Lewis
Feb-28-2016, 6:18pm
Rob, I'm pretty sure I've thanked you several times. But if I haven't I do so now. And I add my completely unreserved endorsement.

That first statistic: 95% are male and over 40.

Is that representative of The user here? Or everywhere I wonder. Plus is it just the users who want to tinker?

pit lenz
Feb-28-2016, 7:48pm
Hey robster,
two years ago I was able to turn my first mando, a Kentucky 150 from a fingerbuster to a nice sounding playable instrument, thanks to your generous offer to give away valuable information for free.
I moved on from the KM150 since, but still have it.
If you ever choose to open a PayPal account or offer some other way to give something back, Iīd be happy to contribute to that!
Until then, let me thank you again…

Pit
(a male, over-forty-years-old, try-to-be-polite newbie…)

MoreThanQuinn
Feb-28-2016, 8:15pm
two years ago I was able to turn my first mando, a Kentucky 150 from a fingerbuster to a nice sounding playable instrument, thanks to your generous offer to give away valuable information for free.

Ahh, this makes me feel quite good as I have just received my (first) mandolin, a KM150, in the mail two days ago, and I also received Rob's book via email today.

Thanks Rob, I truly cannot wait to use your book and put some TLC into my new (used) mando.

benthos
Feb-29-2016, 9:40am
Just a quick note to say many thanks for sending me the ebook, Rob!

I've just taken an initial look at the book but it looks very comprehensive and well written. I've done a reasonable amount of setup, maintenance and parts replacement on bass guitars before so I'm not a complete novice but I'm sure this book will be just what I need to get the best out of my first mandolin.

Cheers!
benthos.

Rmach
Mar-03-2016, 11:22am
I will happily PayPal over $10!

johngrasty
Mar-04-2016, 8:20am
Hi Rob,

Thanks for the ebook. It looks quite thorough, and I look forward to digging into it soon.

John Grasty

Roger Moss
Mar-04-2016, 10:57am
Thanks from me too. Just got your ebook and it is packed with useful info. Worth paying for but even more valuable for free.
R

Fingers
Mar-04-2016, 8:12pm
Oh man! I'm embarrassed to say I've flaked returning the favor for emailing me this fantastic eBook! I've recommended it to friends and acquaintances since I received it but I just never remembered to post here.
Many, many thanks, Rob for your invaluable eBook!!!

Jes Woodland
Mar-07-2016, 4:19am
This EBook is proving to be a really invaluable aid.Thankyou for sharing your time and effort...Jes

Oron
Mar-08-2016, 4:48am
Thanks very much for the e-book,Rob. It is very useful and a must to setup a mandolin. A goldmine of excellent information.
Oron

Matt C
Mar-08-2016, 10:06am
Hey Rob

Thanks heaps for the e-book. I just had a quick look over it and it looks really good. Can't wait to try it out.

Cheers, Matt

zbhover
Mar-09-2016, 3:29pm
Hey Rob, thanks sending me a copy of the ebook this morning, I briefly looked through it and it looks pretty easy to understand and follow. Thanks for making this available!

It looks like I should have my Rogue tomorrow, can't wait to get started.


Thanks again!

colorado_al
Mar-09-2016, 3:39pm
+1 on Rob and his setup instructions.
Thanks for the great resource!

ilovemyF9
Mar-10-2016, 10:09am
Hi Rob,

I just received your set-up eBook. Thank you for offering this immense work for free. I will spend much time going over your details. Again, thank you very much for sending me this great eBook. All the best to you!

James Cashin
Brooklyn, NY

drkix
Mar-11-2016, 9:57am
Thanks for the book , Bob. Really well written and easy to follow. The pics help a lot.

buckshot22
Mar-11-2016, 2:06pm
I'm with Fingers, a little late in commenting since receiving the e-book but wow. What a useful resource. Another great tool for the tool box.

Thanks tons Rob

Frankdolin
Mar-11-2016, 4:08pm
Big Mando Thanks to Rob for his set-up book !!! Can never have too much info. Thanx again for your generosity.

Lucas Leroy
Mar-11-2016, 4:39pm
A huge thank you for your really nice and really well written and really helpful ebook !!!
I just started mandolin but i already love its people. :)

Rob Ross
Mar-28-2016, 10:04pm
I'm putting in my two cents here. Rob sent me his book, and it was a fascinating, well put together read. I'm not looking to tweak a cheaper mandolin, I wanted to know what I could do for the two mandolins I already have that have been pretty abused in traveling and jamming. His book nicely explains a lot of things I had no clue on. I now have a lot better idea of what I can do to keep my toys sounding good. If you want a quick course in how your mando works and what makes it work better, get this book. Now excuse me, there's a buzz in my travel mando I've got to go kill.

SOMorris
Mar-29-2016, 9:56pm
Rob sent me a copy of the e-book last summer. I believe I thanked him (if I slipped up, THANK YOU ROB), and I also have posted here in other threads how great the book is. I really appreciate those more experienced people being willing to share with newbies. My saddle broke last summer, and recently broke again. The inexpensive mandolin still sounds pretty good, but I went ahead and bought a new Eastman MD505 Blem from The Mandolin Store. I decided that since another saddle broke, the neck may be displaced upwards a little and I had to sand the new saddle too much to get the correct string height above the frets.

PhilGox
Mar-31-2016, 5:12pm
Hello,

I've just received the e-book and it helps me a lot.
I'm new to mandolin (and to the cafť :) ), and I did'nt even know how a well set-up mandolin should be.
This book already answered many of my questions.
It's easy to understand, even for a french man like me.

Thanks a lot Rob!!!
Respect for sharing your knowledge for free!!!!

I live in south of France and it's difficult for me to find people interested in mandolin.
This forum and people like Rob is great help!
I think I'll have many other questions to ask.
May be It will improve both my mando playing and my english writing :)

Sorry for my poor english.

Nice to meet you mando players!

jmcdonough120
Apr-02-2016, 5:37pm
Thanks so much for the book, Rob. Wonderful resource.

Mike001
Apr-03-2016, 4:37pm
Thanks Rob for providing such a valuable resource for free. I would have gladly paid for it.

boombox
Apr-03-2016, 6:26pm
I'm a bit remiss as Rob sent me the book a while back, but I hadn't had time to tweak my cheap MK mando, so hadn't yet posted my thanks. Have to say, the book was very useful and I've now today successfully tweaked the action to bring it down and speed things up a fair bit. Thank you, sir!

MattFair88
Apr-04-2016, 9:32am
Just wanted to drop a quick thanks to Rob, really looking forward to digging in and getting the most from my mandolin.

RHS
Apr-04-2016, 7:54pm
Thanks for the Ebook, Rob. That was quick response. You've helped a lot of folks with their mandolin setup.

Derek Whitcroft
Apr-12-2016, 1:16pm
Rob, want to thank you for the eBook. Great to have such information to hand in one place. Now all I need is time to get at it....definitely this weekend !

Derek Whitcroft

Mike-D
Apr-13-2016, 8:07pm
Rob, I just downloaded your ebook. Thanks so much for making it available especially since its free! It has enough good ideas in there that it would be worth paying for. I thought I had a good idea what went into a setup but a quick glance shows how much I don't know. I'm sure the ideas in there will help both the mandolin I bought new a few years ago and the bowlback that I brought back from the dead play better.

Mike Durling

Hoosier
Apr-29-2016, 9:27am
Rob, thank you very much for sending your book. In this day and age of getting less than your money's worth your generosity is truly a breath of fresh air!!

BJ O'Day
May-02-2016, 10:04pm
Rob,
I did a setup on my traveling ($75) mandolin a few months ago. Today I needed to change the strings on the "Good" mandolin. The action was too high on this mandolin and I finally had the guts to bring the action down. It worked very well. Sounds great and is easier for me to play. Thanks for sharing your setup guide.
BJ

mandomandomando
May-19-2016, 11:54am
thanks to Rob for the ebook! I have an old Kentucky mandolin bought in 1999 for $130, always thought it was just terrible quality until I realized (recently) it had not been set up. I think I first saw Rob's youtube videos but only in the last few weeks I have been working through Rob's book and am almost done with a proper set up and it's finally fun to play. I still have no idea what I'm doing as a player, but I'm incredibly grateful for the generosity and attention to detail that helped someone turn a nonfunctional instrument into a working one. Prior to working on it, intonation was terrible, it 'wasn't in tune' and my fingers hurt (I play acoustic guitar) and the action was incredibly high. now my fingers don't hurt (and I won't be pulling landscaping duty either...)

any Madison WI players, I'm happy to lend out the nut saws...

George

ulfp
Aug-08-2016, 7:06am
Also a new member of the cafť, here.

Rob, thanks a lot for a fantastic tool. It suddenly made things clear to me what I should have been doing. I've just bought a mandolin to replace the useless one I'd purchased. Well, now it seems it might not have been so useless after all. Actually it is, but just a bit of work on the nut and saddle improved the action immensely. The new one has been set up by a luthier, and checking it out using Rob's ebook showed me that there's been a bit of work done on my new mandolin.

Rob, thanks a lot.

/ulf

JohnnnyP
Aug-10-2016, 11:56am
Just received the ebook...thanks so much Rob for this valuable piece of knowledge I'm new to the Mandolin and I'm sure this will come in handy.

BrianWilliam
Aug-10-2016, 8:05pm
Oh snap! Thank you!

Trav'linmando
Aug-10-2016, 8:09pm
Hi all, I too have the e-book. Have used it to work over 3 mandolins so far. My Eastman needed very little tweaking as it was bought from a small acoustic shop. The Washburn needed a bit more work however with a little bit of time and Rob ' s directions sounds very nice. I also worked over a New Yorker Supreme. I am so very grateful for the information contained in this e-book.
Thanks , Larry

Kenny A
Aug-10-2016, 9:43pm
I failed to thank you,Rob, after receiving your book some months ago, however, in my defense I was not a cafe member until recently. Your book was so easy to understand and left me completely at ease when tackling my first setup. I thank you for your generous contribution to the mandolin community.

REH1966
Aug-18-2016, 7:02am
Yesterday morning I requested Rob's book and by yesterday afternoon it was sitting in my inbox. Along with the book I had links to a couple of YouTube videos that I immediately watched. I have since read about one fourth of the book and must say that it is excellent. It is written to where even a complete newbie like myself can read and understand what is being said. At some point in the near future, I may look for an inexpensive mandolin and attempt much of what is written. Rob, your generosity and assistance is outstanding and I truly thank you for your efforts.

Rex

John Clay
Sep-25-2016, 11:38pm
Rob Meldrum sent me a copy of his e-book on mandolin set up. Rob, many thanks! The book is really clearly written (easy to comprehend) and the photos are quite helpful. Thank you for providing a great service to the mandolin world.

--John

Datdaddy
Sep-26-2016, 4:00am
Wow! Thanks to Rob Meldrum for his great Mandolin Setup eBook! What a wonderful resource for all of us. I'm gonna feel a lot more confident digging into a setup now, thanks to him. And I really like the economical way he finds to make tools that would otherwise cost us up to $100. Great work, and thanks!

ajm2qc03
Sep-26-2016, 10:05am
It took Rob 4 minutes to get me his Ebook.....Nothing FREE comes that quick these days :grin: Words cannot express my gratitude and thanks towards Rob for providing the Mandolin world with this free and comprehensive resource. There aren't many people out there who would do this for free, for so many people to benefit from. If there were a mandolin history museum, a hard copy of this would certainly be in there next to the Mel Bay books
I thank you with all my passion, as does the Mandolin world

ajm2qc03
Sep-26-2016, 10:10am
PS, Don't forget to check out Rob's youtube videos and most importantly comment on them. it's the least we can do to help him out short of compensating him!

MRM
Oct-15-2016, 12:41pm
Thank you for the excellent reference. I certainly support your comments on the state of purchased mandolins and the advisability of setting them up yourself. Your instructions and pictures were very easy to read and included tips that aren't found elsewhere. I do find that truss adjustment and fret dressing are usually needed and they are not that difficult. Some cheap instruments require edge filing of the frets as well since the frets are just chopped off. Thanks again!

Psikes
Oct-16-2016, 7:54am
Thanks Rob, I downloaded this last night and after reading it I now have a better understanding of my new instrument. Setup to follow shortly.

Thanks, Phil

Stompbox
Oct-16-2016, 9:50am
I got this just before my first mandolin showed up..... and it is a good thing.

First thing I did when I got the mandolin was freak out they forgot the bridge...... oh wait, there it is, what do I do with this?

I quickly pulled this tutorial up on my phone and I was up and running in about 30 minutes. Thanks for the rest help!

pdxuker
Oct-16-2016, 6:03pm
Thanks Rob for a straightforward and practical guide to mandolin setup. I have done plenty of setups on guitar and ukulele but the mandolin has its own quirks and tricks to getting it playing just right.

I got a used Kentucky KM-150 this week, which clearly had never been properly set up. I'm so glad I found your guide and was able to obtain a copy before I tackled this project. I spent one evening reading, one evening actually doing the work and now it plays beautifully! I can't wait to explore this new instrument!

Thanks again for helping me get started right!

Cindy
Oct-18-2016, 12:54pm
Rob sent me his ebook four years ago when I was playing my first mandolin (a Rogue, of course). It helped me diagnose the problem I was having (cracked bridge) and ultimately that I was ready to upgrade (Kentucky). It is very thorough and if I were a person with patience for doing fine, accurate, work, I would have surely taken (and still be taking) advantage of it. I hope I remember to thank him. Thank you Rob!

Roger Adams
Oct-21-2016, 8:36pm
Hey Rob! Thanks for sending me the Mandolin Setup eBook. Looks great, and I am excited to begin setting up my new Mando! I very much appreciate the work you have done on this resource, and your generosity in sharing it with this community. Bravo Zulu!

elksberry
Oct-22-2016, 7:36am
Got a copy of the e-book last night and really appreciate the time and generosity it took to compile, edit, and continue to share the resource. Thank you.

Bought an entry level mandolin (Kay) about 25 years ago despite being primarily a guitar player. Have interest in old time, blue grass, folk, rock, jazz, and alt-country/Americana types of music. Never have done too much with the mando but have learned some chords and used it to record a few things over the years.

Ready to get into mandolin full-on now. Unfortunately, the Kay hasn't fared well and is beyond repair. I'll be reading up on these forums and attempting to get my hands on some mandolins to get a feel for what I'd like to play. Unfortunately (and surprisingly), it appears there's not too much in my area (Dallas-Fort Worth) to do in terms of good music stores locally.

I'll also be perusing the classifieds as a used mandolin or perhaps a trade could be just the thing as I have a 'stable' of guitars and perhaps other items that could be good trade fodder.

Look forward to learning a lot from the collective wisdom of this group.

Thanks again for the e-book.

ap

MrYikes
Oct-31-2016, 12:37pm
Thank you Rob. Your book allows a newbie the confidence needed to setup a mandolin. Again thanks.

Michael Donnel
Nov-01-2016, 9:30am
Thank you Rob. This is a wonderful instructional. Many thanks for sharing so unselfishly your knowledge amongst fellow players.

Torpedotom
Nov-02-2016, 8:52am
Received my set-up e-book yesterday from Rob. Now, waiting on my new to me mandolin, a KM 150. Can't wait to use the info Rob has so selflessly furnished to set it up. Thank you so very much Rob for the assets to use for this job. Will let you know how it turns out. Again, thank you very much. Torpedo Tom

Jerry Byers
Nov-04-2016, 11:12am
Thank you, Rob. Thanks for taking the time to produce this ebook which is chock full of good information. I also enjoyed viewing your videos.

Tate Ferguson
Nov-07-2016, 11:39am
Another thank-you to the kind and helpful Mr. Meldrum!

Darren12
Nov-08-2016, 1:23pm
Thank you. I can't wait to get started on my set up.

Bucque
Nov-16-2016, 11:24am
Hi everyone,

I have been giving away the free setup ebook for nearly four years now, and I thought you'd be interested in some observations I have. First off, if you want my free ebook on how to set up a mandolin, just email me at rob.meldrum@gmail.com and put Mandolin Setup in the subject line.

I've given away nearly four thousand ebooks! That's a pretty good sample size to make a few observations. The average person requesting my book is male (over 95%), over forty years old (85-90%), very polite (99%), new to mandolins (65-70%) and trying to make the best of an economical purchase (65-70%). "Economical purchase" is any mandolin with a retail price of under $350.00.

Depending on the time of year 50-75% of the requesters come from MandolinCafe, 30-50% from seeing my YouTube videos, about 10% from MandoHut, and the rest from random Internet searches.

On the Rogue as an introductory mandolin front, many requesters consider the Rogue, find my YouTube videos, and then buy the Rogue. After completing the setup they are happy players. I have yet to hear from a person saying their Rogue is a mess and they are bummed out. In the past four years the quality control of the Rogue has steadily improved. The last couple of instruments I have bought needed very little work.

For a polite group, surprisingly few requesters (5-10%) post a thank-you or comment on this site. Many email me a personal thank you. I would prefer a thank you here only because it "bumps" the thread and makes it easier for a newbie to find. I attribute this to two things. First, newbies frequently join a site and then don't participate. More importantly, the users here tend to be very passionate. Any time someone posts a positive experience about a Rogue or other inexpensive mandolin there will be a chorus of experts laughing at the "firewood," "plywood," "wall hanger" that the newbie bought. Based on most of the threads here one would think that a rank beginner should never spend less than $500 for an entry-level mandolin.

I think because of our average age and income level most of us forget what it's like to think a $100 purchase is a pretty big deal. In my real job I am an insurance agent and I see lots of people living paycheck to paycheck. If their child wants a guitar or mandolin they usually budget around $100. I like knowing that for $100 (and a free setup book) they can get a playable instrument. In a year or two they will know whether their child is a committed player and deserves a better instrument or the mandolin is collecting dust in a closet or attic.

Oh yeah, the last statistic. Most luthiers know a lot about woodworking and finish work and not a lot about setting up a mandolin. I base that on the comments I get from luthiers after they read through my book.

I've had a few good suggestions about beefing up certain areas of the book and have decided not to take the time to do a re-write. The income (zero dollars) just doesn't justify the effort!

Since writing the ebook I have gotten involved with a guitar-oriented band and spend 99% of my time playing guitar, so my mandolin picking skills are still very weak. But the people on this site make visiting here a real treat.

Mandolin players are a special lot. :-)

JUst got the set-up e-book. Well written and thoughtful. Looking forward to learning more through this book. Thanks, Rob !

Ken Carroll
Nov-24-2016, 1:52pm
Thanks for the book, Rob! Lots of good info for new players (like me).

Ken Carroll

BarlyG
Nov-24-2016, 5:31pm
Many thanks to Rob Meldrum for his very quick response to request for his Mandolin set up book.
Just what I need for my new found Kentucky mando, thank you for sharing.
Cheers
BarlyG

barricwiley
Jun-21-2017, 7:59am
I just received the ebook from Rob Meldrum and plane on going through it page by page this weekend. Been away fro my mandolin for a couple years and have been picking it up again remembering how much fun/pleasure it gave me. Thanks a whole bunch to Rob and his generosity.

Loubrava
Jun-21-2017, 8:28am
Nice post Rob and thanks for offering up the book. I've stayed away from cheap mandos because I didn't want to deal with driving or shipping a mando to get it set up IMO thT sort of defeats the alurre of a cheap mando. Anyway I just emailed you to get a copy.
Thanks
Lou

B381
Jun-23-2017, 11:41pm
Thank you for the book and sharing your knowledge. My Rogue sounds awesome, well to me.

dlbrandt
Jun-24-2017, 3:34pm
I just got a copy the other day. I haven't gotten a chance to give it a try yet. Many kudos to Rob for putting this together and many more kudo for sharing it for free.

VanAndrew
Jun-24-2017, 4:42pm
Thanks to Rob! I was able to set up a Kentucky KM-150 that I found in a battered cardboard box in the back of an outlet store of all places. It plays quite well now, to my new-to-mandolin hands.

Camronp
Jun-25-2017, 11:38am
I am new to the mandolin and came here looking for information before I bought my first mando. Several people recommended I reach out to Rob and inquire about his setup guide. I emailed Rob today and he quickly responded with the setup guide as well as links to some of his videos. I want to say thank you to Rob for the excellent info and for being so willing to help a newbie out.

tafrazer
Jul-27-2017, 12:41am
Thanks so much Rob for sending out a copy of your Ebook. While I had some limited skill at building and setting up my own playable mandos, this book made my current workhorse even more pleasurable to play. Many thanks for putting together an excellent, easy to use guide.

*Wood for building new mando ... $258.18

*Hardware ... $ 172.67

*Rob's ebook ... $0

*Obtaining the knowledge to make your home made mando enjoyable to play and sound great too ... PRICELESS


Thanks Rob!!

Gert@V
Aug-01-2017, 8:16am
Rob, Thank you for your book, it did help me a lot in setting up my instrument !

:mandosmiley:

Gene Lewis
Aug-01-2017, 9:06am
I also want to thank Rob Meldrum for book. I have had it for several weeks but have just now been able to go through it. Looking to install a new bridge on an old "campfire" Kentucky and the instructions are simple and I feel comfortable learning a few things on this mando! Thanks Rob and I will let you know how it goes as I start playing around.

Jim1hays
Aug-01-2017, 10:44am
Rob, Thanks for doing this for free. There are, as you mentioned a lot of beginners that cannot afford a $500 mandolin and are living pay check to pay check. When I started I was in that boat and started with an ACER teardrop that had an action only a gorilla could play. I could not afford to take it to a shop for setup. This was back in 1983 when I got out of the Navy. Now I have a Washburn F body W3EW acoustic/electric I paid $450 for and had it setup. Again Thank you!

Waldoz
Apr-16-2018, 5:29pm
Thanks for the e-book! You were right about parents only spending around $100. I was lucky and found a Kentucky KM-150 for $85. This will help us dial it in for my daughter. She has been playing violin since she was 10 and now at 19 is excited to get started on the mandolin!
Thanks again
Chris

Willem
Apr-16-2018, 6:00pm
I just got my copy yesterday. Thanks a bunch Rob! I can't wait to put the info to work!

Bunnyf
Apr-17-2018, 12:12pm
Rob, thanks so much for the setup book. Being a new player, I had no real idea whether I need a setup or not. I live in an area without a decent music store or repair person, so I look forward to being able to maintain and troubleshoot by myself. Thanks again!

KoalaBear
Apr-17-2018, 5:35pm
Rob, thanks so much for the setup book. Being a new player, I had no real idea whether I need a setup or not. I live in an area without a decent music store or repair person, so I look forward to being able to maintain and troubleshoot by myself. Thanks again!

Likewise! thank you to the mighty Rob for making the ebook available to everyone, especially those in localities away from major stores who are in Dire Strait when it comes to available resources.Have a new Kentucky KM 150 from www.zenithmusic.com Perth, Western Australia, and live on the East Coast of the Continent so such a book is a real treasure in finalising action and intonation.Blessed!

HonketyHank
May-01-2018, 11:16am
I'll add my thanks (again), Rob. I have recommended your book to fellow Newbies several times. Most recently, a few minutes ago.

kerinjo
Nov-02-2018, 7:30pm
Thanks for the book Rob! Wonderful to have so much great info clearly explained, top man! Regards from Andy in France

Bill McCall
Nov-04-2018, 6:30pm
What a wonderful resource, packed with information and so thoughtfully written.

thanks so much Rob

Gary Hudson
Nov-07-2018, 3:55pm
I thanked you in another thread, but I wanted to do it again here. Such a good resource and the fact that you provide it for free makes you a good guy in my book!

ukenukem
Nov-10-2018, 11:21am
^ Ditto!

scotta
Nov-12-2018, 8:58pm
Rob, thanks for sending this book, and for your super prompt response. Much appreciated!
scott

Effekt13
Nov-12-2018, 11:26pm
Thank you Rob for sending me your ebook so quickly last week. What a great resource! I'm looking forward to starting work on my Savannah mandolin this weekend. I appreciate all your hard work and want to say thanks again!

RustyMadd
Nov-13-2018, 2:42pm
Rob was kind enough to send me a copy of his mandolin setup book and I must say that it is excellently written and very informative. Thank you Rob both for writing such a helpful resource, and for sharing it selflessly with Cafe members. Blessings

slinds
Nov-16-2018, 11:49am
Rob - I'm appreciative for the well written ebook on mandolin setup. You are the man! Thanks for taking the time to compile this really excellent guide.

Bill Foss
Nov-16-2018, 3:58pm
Thanks for the book Rob. It's exactly the information I needed written in a very accessible way.

Bluestraveller
Nov-16-2018, 4:59pm
Yep, another satisfied recipient here! Thanks so much for your generosity in a very informative and easy to understand ebook!

rbchannell
Nov-19-2018, 7:54pm
I am a total beginner. The ebook answered many of my questions.

Thank you.

ceejengine
Nov-26-2018, 9:40pm
Add me to the long list of folks who appreciate the contribution Rob is making to the community. He replied quickly, and I’m reading th eBook now. Many thanks, indeed!

pathosrice
Dec-02-2018, 9:52am
Hi everyone. My first post here is a thank you to Rob for his fantastic ebook. I'm very new to the mandolin and decided to go with a very inexpensive one, just to get a sense if I liked it. After some initial adjustments (intonation, lowering the bridge) it still felt like it could be a more comfortable instrument to play with. Rob's book gave me the perfect information and confidence to go forward and try and set it up myself -- I had a hard time finding luthiers around here... even strings are very hard to find. After setting it up following Rob's book, my mandolin feels like a totally different instrument, and much more enjoyable and comfortable one to play.

I would encourage anyone who's on the fence about it to give it a try. Thank you, Rob!

Smyrna5
Dec-02-2018, 9:58am
I don't even have my mandolin yet, but I know from the tracking number its in town. I decided to go with the inexpensive Rogue just to see if I like mandolin playing. I already thanked Rob in another place for graciously sending me his eBook, but I guess this is the official place to do it. I am looking forward to setting mine up and learning to play it, before I get a more expensive model, if I like playing the mandolin.

Thanks, Rob

Larry Brockman (Smyrna5 on most of the inter-web)

Ranald
Dec-06-2018, 11:59am
I want to thank Rob for sending the (printable) Mandolin Set-Up Ebook, recommended by so many of you. I've been perusing the book, and look forward to using it. For a copy, email rob.meldrum@gmail.com and put Mandolin Setup in the subject line (see the Original Post in this thread).

Wally Hinson
Dec-07-2018, 10:46pm
I'd like to add my thanks to Rob for creating and freely sharing such a great resource. I'm new to mandolin, having recently purchased a Kentucky KM-150 from Elderly. As expected, it was well set up on arrival, but Rob's e-book made it possible for me to check and confirm the measurements and to identify areas that could be improved further. After about a week of playing it with the original setup, I fine-tuned the nut slots and lowered the saddle a bit today, and even though the adjustments were minor, they still made a noticeable improvement in playability. Thanks, Rob, for making it possible for me to successfully work on and improve my instrument.

DropThumbDusty
Dec-12-2018, 1:25pm
Got mine today from Rob! Canít wait to put it to good use and get my Kentucky KM-350 in peak condition! Thanks Rob!

Br1ck
Dec-12-2018, 1:59pm
Even if your mandolin is well set up, it's comforting to measure action for confirmation, and the info is something you should have available.

Gina Willis
Dec-12-2018, 2:02pm
Got my ebook this week and I can't believe what a user-friendly, thorough guide it is.
Thanks Rob!

Kevin Winn
Dec-12-2018, 5:28pm
Got mine last week. Superb job, Rob!

Many thanks!

Doug Brock
Dec-14-2018, 10:57am
My son was wanting to try mandolin (he has a few ukes that he fingerpicks on), so I thought I'd grab one of the Rogue mandolins and get a copy of Rob's set up guide. I now have the mando and the guide, waiting for a break in my schedule to get my tools, make the nut files, etc. (Actually, the Rogue seemed pretty playable already, but I'm eager to go through Rob's steps to try to make the mando the best that it can be.)

Thanks so much to Rob for his excellent work and documentation on this subject!

flacon
Dec-16-2018, 5:44pm
Rob,
Thank you very much for the ebook. It’s well written, and packed with useful information. I’m going to buy a Rogue and use the book to develop some set-up skills.

erichkopp
Dec-17-2018, 1:48pm
I've found a great resource in your e-book, Rob. I dabbled with mandolin 10+ years ago but sold it for a nicer fiddle which has been my main instrument for as long. I got an old 1900's bowlback recently for that old-time sound and found your method of using feeler gauges for dialing in proper height at the nut to be especially useful. I can still bring the action from the bridge down .5mm more at least, but your book and measurements has transformed this old mandolin from an unplayable wall hanger to a really nice playing instrument again. It's been a lot of fun playing all the tunes I know from fiddle--just gotta get used to using that pick instead of a bow!

Woodshed
Dec-19-2018, 9:42am
New mandolin owner, short-time lurker, first time poster... I'm writing to thank Rob for the eBook. I received it yesterday and it looks like a great resource. He is doing the community a real solid by providing it and providing it for free. Thanks Rob!

Jonathan K
Dec-24-2018, 7:46pm
Thanks so much, Rob! This is indeed a great book!

Fiddledust
Dec-27-2018, 10:03pm
Thank you Rob. This is a great resource.

PEIMike
Dec-28-2018, 10:52am
sent an email this morning, and received the eBook this morning.

very easy to understand, thanks Rob

panhead
Dec-30-2018, 4:23pm
Thanks Rob, great job.

avoca
Mar-09-2019, 12:56am
Hi Rob,

Thanks a million for sending me your Ebook :)
It is very comprehensive and easy to follow.

Full Circle
Mar-09-2019, 10:51pm
I was blown away by how all the information in your ebook. I was expecting a pamphlet, and it is definitely a book. It has given me the confidence to tinker with all manner of stringed instruments. Truly a treasure.

stevo58
Mar-10-2019, 2:01am
Many thanks to Rob for the booklet. Iím new to the Mandolin (and this forum) and this looks like a big help.

Steven

rnjl
Mar-10-2019, 11:56am
Hi all, I cannot yet thank Rob for the book, but after reading the thread just asked for it and hope to thank him soon. But I would put in a good word for the idea of asking for donations rather than selling the book. Lots of apps and software work this way- it's put out for free and people are asked to give back. I'm guessing many do, or it wouldn't work. This very website works that way in the classifieds; a donation is requested but not required. If you ask, many will give, especially if you update the book as you mentioned.

Just thinking out loud.

Thanks in advance.

ulalume
Mar-13-2019, 4:32pm
I want to add to the chorus of thanks to Rob for the free mandolin setup ebook. I haven't yet ordered the necessary tools for the job (I just received the ebook today), but I have just conducted an informal slip-a-piece-of-paper-under-the-bridge test, as recommended in the book, and am now convinced that I definitely needed this.

Thanks again!! I'm excited to get my mandolin in tip-top shape.

Silverbeige
Mar-14-2019, 2:16pm
Thank you Rob! Most kind of you! Good karma.

Mandolin_Manuel
Mar-16-2019, 10:22am
Got my ebook yesterday and I can't wait to get the most out of my Kentucky KM-140! Thank you Rob!

Br1ck
Mar-16-2019, 4:03pm
Those of you doing a bridge fit for the first time, realize that it can take some time to get it right. Just be patient and enjoy the process.

big jilm
Mar-19-2019, 4:47am
A big shout-out to Rob! Thanks much for the E-book! What a great resource, man.
Much appreciated!!!

TimB989
Mar-20-2019, 6:02am
Rob sent me his book Monday. Canít wait to apply it to my mandolin and hear the difference it makes!

Fingerwalker
Mar-22-2019, 7:02am
Just received this book last night. A great resource! Thank you, Rob!

Rush Burkhardt
Mar-22-2019, 9:54am
Rob sent me the 3rd copy of his excellent book! (I keep losing them in the ether!) Thanks, Rob!

I've been playing and playing with mandolins for almost 6 decades and have set-up dozens. His book is always at hand to remind me of the nuances of the art! Got a '22 Gibson AJr. that needs a bridge fit!

Thanks, Rob, for this invaluable tool!

Rush Burkhardt

Bridgewright
Mar-29-2019, 7:31pm
Thank you bump.

BullGator
Mar-30-2019, 10:43pm
Rob -

Just wanted to say THANK YOU for the great e-book on the proper setup of a Mandolin. I followed your guide to get my Loar LM600 dialed in with a Cumberland Acoustics bridge, and the results are fantastic. There was such a difference in playability and tone, the action before was very difficult to play, but following your guidelines it plays like a dream.

I cannot thank you enough for your contributions! Such a great e-book, very easy to follow and produced great results for me! Thanks again!

bg4
Apr-01-2019, 10:16pm
Thanks the book, it is appreciated! I have a used Eastman MD605 that I'm going to attempt to setup on my own following your book.

Donal H
Apr-02-2019, 5:27am
I don't think I managed to say a thanks for the ebook. I just pulled it out the other day and re-read it because this thread filtered to the top again. What a great resource.

hendrix2
Apr-02-2019, 5:38am
Dear Rob,

Many thanks for the ebook! It is exactly what I was looking for!

I am sure my mandolins will become better instruments ones I have followed your instructions.

NicZuppardi
Apr-02-2019, 9:58am
Big thanks to Rob for sending me his ebook, such a great resource!

RustyMadd
Apr-02-2019, 12:32pm
I don't know if I said it before or not, but just in case I didn't I wanted to thank you Rob for sharing this valuable information with the likes of a nobody like me. I am semi-retired with no pensions or SS and an income of under 10K per annum. So your instincts about the incomes of many requesters and their purchasing predicaments is spot on. From the bottom of my heart to yours, THANK YOU SIR!
May you be richly and continually blessed.

John Bertotti
Apr-03-2019, 10:14am
Yes, he just emailed me a couple of links and his ebook as well. Looks great! Ironically enough I don't need a set up currently on a mandolin but the knowledge is priceless. I do a lot of guitar set ups so I will definitely be able to use this information as well. Thanks, Rob it is much appreciated!

PDMan
Apr-03-2019, 10:52am
Same here! I am really appreciative to Rob and now I am ready to do some set-up on my Loar LM-600.

Iain Allen
Apr-06-2019, 3:33am
Hi.
I'm a newbie to mandolin although I play other instruments.
I received Roberts ebook a couple of days ago and I'm sure that it will be invaluable when I get round to setting up my mandolin.
I've had a quick read through and its certainly well written easy to understand there's lots of info on how to make adjustments.
Looking forward to improving my set up.
Many thanks to Robert for taking the time to write and freely share his experience and knowledge.

Iain

hgrimmett
Apr-09-2019, 8:18am
Just wanted to say thanks to Rob for the GREAT ebook! He also included a couple of helpful links in his email to me. Muchly appreciated!

rick frank
Apr-10-2019, 6:29pm
I did post on youtube but maybe forgot about posting here. This was my post:
Rick Frank
"Thanks for the great video and ebook as well! This information has already helped me to perform a "rescue operation" on a neglected shopping mall mandolin that has since gone to a loving home and is making happy music."

Thanks again.

Greg P. Stone
Apr-15-2019, 9:23am
Thanks, Rob, some great practical advice. After getting the feeler gauges and going through the process I determined that the mandolin I bought used had been setup properly for medium strings. As a beginner I have been using lights. The intonation is a little off but I'll wait until I change to mediums and check again before adjusting the bridge. I feel much more confident about adjusting the bridge position now.

I wish we could have a thread to fill in the things not mentioned in the e-book. The setup is tailored to a particular sized set of strings but the people using this resource are often experimenting with different sizes so I'd be interested in a setup strategy which takes this into account. I was surprised that there was nothing about adjusting the truss rod. I presume this comes up less often with mandolins than it does with guitars.

Finally, at the very end, there are some personal preferences expressed. I would warn beginners that this section should not be accorded the same authority as the rest of the e-book. One thing I didn't have to learn coming from guitar is how to hold the pick. My method, holding the pick perpendicular to the thumb in a loose grip was confirmed over and over by the who's who of teachers in video after video as optimum. Rob advocates holding the pick very tightly at a different angle. So, I worry that beginners reading this otherwise very valuable resource will assume that his pick technique is also authoritative.

Bunnyf
Apr-17-2019, 1:54pm
Thank you Rob! I got a used ‘09 American Breedlove A last year and it was already nicely set-up, so I tucked your ebook away for future reference. Well, I changed my D’ad med to TI flatwound lights and one D string had quite a buzz. They were expensive strings and I really wanted to give them a good try, so I knew I had to problem solve this. I broke out your book and was able to pin down the issue. Thanks again!

Jebadave
Apr-17-2019, 9:29pm
Thanks so much for the ebook Rob! What an incredible resource. Canít wait to read it.

LMF
Apr-26-2019, 7:14pm
First, I want to thank Rob for responding to my request for the ebook and also providing video clips of his before and after setup results. My first mandolin was a Rogue just like the one in his video and his ebook. Fortunately mine didnít sound nearly as bad as his out of the box or I might have given up from the get go! My experience was that the instrument sounded very thin but was fun. After a few months of mucking around I bought an Eastman 305, probably the next step up in the least expensive quality improvement category. I now have a serious problem - two custom mandolins from Collings and Lou Stiver. Still, I can appreciate Robís work. It actually makes me want to purchase a Rogue again to see how my view of it has changed, especially after setting it up properly this time.

Robís book is very comprehensive and way more than Iíd ever be willing to take on with one of my more expensive instruments. Itís still nice to know tricks to get the bridge height and position correct, and I think a lot of people overlook simple issues like nut being too high, or slots too deep, or anything like that making a perfectly good instrument unpleasant to play.

Itís a great read. Thanks again, Rob. I learned a lot and others will and have as well.

LMF

Cisco
Apr-27-2019, 10:02am
Thanks a ton for the ebook. What a deal! Great info and response was immediate.
I appreciate it Rob.

jurbi
Apr-27-2019, 4:49pm
Received my ebook from Rob this week and have already applied some for the things I learned to my Rogue. Thank you, Rob.

Roger Wayne
Apr-29-2019, 12:57pm
Rob,

Thanks for the ebook, and links. Very helpful and appreciated! Great work.

Paul Hanvey
May-15-2019, 2:47pm
Received the e-book a few days ago and I want to thank you Rob for making this so easily available, and for free! For someone new the world of Mandolin this is a very good reference source to understand the working of the instrument. Got any quick fixes for my hands??

psantiago
Oct-10-2019, 7:11am
I hope it's not bad form to bump a thread that's a few months old. Mea culpa if so.

I just wanted to give Rob a quick thanks for the book! It's definitely opened the possibility for me to start playing mandolin without as big of an investment, before I'm sure if it's "my" instrument so to speak. It also seems like quite a bit of the information is useful for any stringed instrument.

Thanks again!

Br1ck
Oct-10-2019, 11:07am
Welcome. This thread can be bumped once a week as far as I’m concerned. I keep the book on my desk top handy as a reference.

Thuja
Oct-12-2019, 2:01pm
Just got a chance to look at the book, it looks amazing! So excited to start working through it.

nlopez
Oct-12-2019, 11:49pm
First post!
Rob,
The book is amazing! Thank you so much for the great information and your kindness and generosity!