View Full Version : Mandolin Snobbery

Richard Polf
Jan-28-2004, 11:30pm
I've decided to take "Lee957" up on his suggestion to start a thread to explore this topic. Here is my quote from the "Are there any <1K F styles worth buying" thread.

"...I find mandolin players, or at least the ones who participate on this board, the most obsessive and snobbish musicians I have ever come across. This is from a perspective of a life spent in music (B.A.; M.A. in music, commuity college professor, professional performer in classicial, jazz and folk and "old time" styles as a bassoonist, saxophonist, pianist, guitar and, now, soon, I hope, mandolin.) I have never experienced to such a degree this "My instrument is the best and only instrument and by the way if you didn't pay $3K or more for it you just playing a POS" attitude. In comparison, there seems little demand on this board for discussion(s) of musicianship (interpretation, tone production, etc.). I know that it's a matter of priorities, but honestly, in the world I live in most people will never be able to afford a 3K+ mandolin. I think I have pretty darn good ears and I know there are instruments out there for less than 1K that sound and play great. I'm really not trying to be a jerk, but, I'm geniunely interested (from a musical/sociological standpoint) in other thoughts as to why this seems, at least to me, to be the case."

In retrospect my words seem a little strong but they ought to get things rolling. #http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif

Jan-28-2004, 11:53pm
I think it's merely the difference between a newcomer to anything and an advance amateur, or even pro. #I've had friends who were hardcore bicyclists - not one would ride a Huffy. #For me, who just rides around the block with the kids, I do not understand/appreciate/care what makes a $5000 bike better than a $100 bike. #The Huffy suits me just fine.

When it comes to mandolins, if you ask a hardcore player his opinion, he/she's going to give it to you, in spades. #Scott himself, although he played the common touch in the thread you mentioned, has before stated his belief that "not everybody needs a Nugget." #But note the mandolins he chooses for himself. #He understands that to a beginner, an MK is great, more than adequate, and that a new player cannot understand or appreciate what makes a better mandolin, better. #But that doesn't mean he doesn't recognize the difference.

Of the ones that constantly recommend a higher priced mando, I think they fall into two basic categories - 1. #Advanced players who have forgotten what it was like to be a beginner. #2. #Advanced players who sincerely believe that a better instrument will make you a better player, faster, which will make you love the music more and stick with it longer. # I think most of the people on this board who get nailed as mando snobs (Dale, Crowder, Scotti, et al) fall for the most part into the second category.

There are others, like you, that have found something to suit you in the under $1000 price range. Wonderful for you! But that doesn't make someone who recommends something different a snob. When opinions are asked, you're going to get them. The thread you alluded to wasn't "What's the best mando for under $1000." I don't like it either when those threads get hijacked. But this one, I think, was "Is there a worthwhile F stlye for under $1000." Given that question, Crowder's response, and others, were not at all inappropriate.

My two mandolins are a Mid-Mo M1 and a Fender. #I was perfectly happy with them till I made the mistake of playing a couple mandolins I couldn't afford... #http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/tounge.gif

my 2 cents

Jan-29-2004, 12:04am
What you have here is a collection of enthusiasts who take the hobby of picking the mandolin more seriously than they probably take anything else that you might compare it to. If you hunt ducks, you want to have the best shotgun/camo/decoys/blind/dog you can afford, because it makes it more enjoyable. Same here. Many a man who was satisfied with his instrument one day got blown away by something else the very next day, and suddenly what he had just didn't seem adequate. If a person really wants to stay happy with an intermediate quality instrument, my suggestion would be for that person to be sure to never touch any other mandolins. It can only lead to heartbreak. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif

Now, I do sense some snobbery in a certain type. One who simply must have a $450 case for a mandolin that rarely leaves the house would be an example. People who have to have lots of expensive accesories that don't accomplish anything. That's just wasting money IMHO. Or someone who orders multiple and more or less identical instruments from the same builder. That seems pretty silly to me now, but if I had more money I'm not sure I wouldn't fall into the same trap.

Jan-29-2004, 12:11am
I have seen plenty of opinionated individuals...much like me...on this forum, but no real snobs. We each have a different level of experience and expectation from our instruments. When I first began playing mandolin many years ago in Minnesota I wanted a better mandolin, but could not find one. Now I have been blessed to be in the midst of the finest mandolins on the planet for a good number of years. I have had the opportunity to see and play what few have the opportunity to play. I have far more developed preferences and opinions. They are not baseless, but they are still mine. I don't think that makes me a snob. I still remember the first 'cheapie' mandolin I owned and how excited I was. It did not take long to realize it was not the one for me and I upgraded. That has happened a few times over the years. To me the mandolins I have are more important than a big screen TV or bass boat or?http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/rock.gif That is where I put my money. Not everyone has the same priority as I do. That does not make either of us snobs, just different from one another.

It does not matter what an instrument costs if you are happy with it. Bobby Osborne still has a mandolin that he paid $250 for. He has had it for many years. Quite a nice instrument. I love its tone and playability. Of course, it is one of those Lloyd Loar instruments, but it was an under one thousand dollar instrument http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif . I have often said, play what you love and love what you play. Life is too short to worry about much else!

Scott Tichenor
Jan-29-2004, 12:14am
In retrospect my words seem a little strong but they ought to get things rolling. #http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif
Somehow categorizing everyone out here into one big paradigm is exactly the kind of thing I dislike. I'd suggest the thing I'd like to see rolling is your tail off this board. With your advanced intelligence and musical experience, why on earth are you out here hanging out with mandolin players?

Curious. Get a life man!

Scott Tichenor
Jan-29-2004, 12:16am
P.S. you're a troller

Keith Newell
Jan-29-2004, 12:47am
Ack! I must have gone wrong somewhere. After starting in school with base drum then progressing to trumpet, bartone, violin, viola, and double F french horn then advancing to fun stuff like 5 string banjo then tenor bango, Bouzoukie, mandolin then mandola I have failed to develope the arrogance (or even good spelling techniques) of some of our other posters! Where did I go wrong?! As an 1st chair 1st French horn in college I just wanted the Conn 8D french horn, it was silver plated and the most coveted, Or the Gibson Mastertone 5 string because Earl played it, somehow I just wanted them because it was my choice , my reward for the hours and hours of practice and love for the instrument :/
I guess if you loved Chevrolets you shouldnt want the 69 Chevelle SS because then your a snob? but better to love and want the 86 Chevette.. ( no disrespect to any that own or love them).
Sorry, I got off track... This is the best bunch of people on any web-site on the net. More information, kudos, heart rending stories, triumphs, failiers, friendships, lost friendships remade and general good will is shared here than any other place ( let me tell you I cruise alot of sites).
Thanks Scott for the chance for so much fun and a place for those with quick judgements, narrow minds and big egos to be heard along with the rest of us. (coarse I may fit in one of those time to time http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif
Keith Newell

John Jesseph
Jan-29-2004, 1:20am
I don't know why this seems to you to be the case.

You must not scan any of the violin sites!

Richard Polf
Jan-29-2004, 2:21am
"Somehow categorizing everyone out here into one big paradigm is exactly the kind of thing I dislike. I'd suggest the thing I'd like to see rolling is your tail off this board. With your advanced intelligence and musical experience, why on earth are you out here hanging out with mandolin players?

Curious. Get a life man!"

"P.S. you're a troller"

Wow! I obviously really misjudged the effect of my words. As I type this I'm actually shaking with shock and embarrassment at my stupidity. Believe it or not I only meant to have a discussion. It was stupid and ill-advised. I sincerely apoligize to all on the Mandolin Cafe whom I have offended. It's no excuse, but I just got carried away. I truly meant no offense, most of all to you Mr. Tichenor, whom I admire very much. I have enjoyed this wonderful site for 3+ years and have learned so much from it. For that I am truly grateful. You are the last person I would want to offend. I don't know what a "troller" is, but I can guess that it's low form of life. I hope that's not the case with me. I made a stupid mistake that I deeply regret. It's no excuse, but I've been unemployed for the past 7 mos. with too much time on my hands. I'm not offering it as an excuse, but as I sit here typing this I'm just trying to figure out how I messed up so badly. Please, all on this board, accept my sincere apology.


Richard Polf
Jan-29-2004, 2:39am
Scott Tichenor,

I didn't know how to contact you directly, so...

If you could just leave this thread up long enough for others to read my apology I would appreciate it. After that please delete the topic entirely. I just feel sick about this. Thanks, Richard

Brian Ray
Jan-29-2004, 2:51am
- One who tends to patronize, rebuff, or ignore people regarded as social inferiors and imitate, admire, or seek association with people regarded as social superiors.

- One who affects an offensive air of self-satisfied superiority in matters of taste or intellect.

Yes, I have seen this behavior on this board. As for Mandolinists displaying a disproportionate amount of it, I'm not sure I would agree.

I did not take your comments as being Troll-like but I can see why some might. Personally, I found Mr. Tichenor's response to you a bit harsh but it is his house and his rules.

Also... What is a Troll? (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_troll)

Clyde Clevenger
Jan-29-2004, 2:56am
I own a few nice mandolins, I could be a little snobby except for two things. 1. I've owned the worst mandolin ever, still have it, and worked up from there. 2. There are some big dogs on this list who would politely knock my leggs right out from under me if I decided to get uppity.
So I'll stay humble, and be nice to the little people. <G>

Jan-29-2004, 5:15am
It`s funny I came to this site to find out info on a mandolin purchase.This is under newbie seeking info,but to my surprise I received very few responses.I was hoping for a little more insight from this community!.And I figured that there were more people who had been in the same situation as myself!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Darryl Wolfe
Jan-29-2004, 7:47am
"...I find mandolin players, or at least the ones who participate on this board, the most obsessive and snobbish musicians I have ever come across.
I think using the word snobbish was your real mistake. #Many of us are certainly obsessive, but there is a huge difference in being snobbish.

I really like Big Joe's take on this subject and can relate to it.

Even though I am now one of the "Loar Gurus"...I was very excited with my first mandolin..a Stella with painted on binding..I progressed one by one and was elated with my Martin A..a Gibson A40..a Gibson A50...and then the jackpot, a '66 Gibson F5 with what seemed like a concrete top. #

I'm still looking for one of those Stella's and a nice Martin A

ps: I think rpolf meant no harm

John Flynn
Jan-29-2004, 8:12am
I also felt that rpolf meant no harm here and I for one took no offense. I think he made a provocative statement to start a legitimate topic of discussion about the mandolin community.

I don't think everyone is this way, but there is a strong contingent in the mando community that is over the top at being snobbish about equipment. I attended a workshop once where I guy showed up with a Gilchrist. Irony was, the guy couldn't play all that well, IMHO. He definitely couldn't keep up with the workshop. Another guy uncrated a custom made F-5, but from a little known builder, but he was a great player, you could tell it right away. On the breaks, People flocked to, and talked about, the guy with the Gil. The great player they paid no mind to.

I am not ignoring that this is human nature. I am not saying everyone does it. Hell, I do it sometimes. I am just respectfully pointing out that it is a form of snobbery, or at least a behavior that supports snobbery, and that we shouldn't get up in arms about it when someone points it out.

Jim Garber
Jan-29-2004, 9:22am
Strange doings on this thread. All I can hear is that rpolf is having a hard financial time and resents that others would (and could) pay big bucks for instruments.

But with his musical experience I ask how has he existed all these years. Can you even buy, for instance, a student bassoon for under $1000?

And I have seen much discussion on this board about quality instruments for under $1k. MidMos come to mind. I think rpwolf should get out of the house and go shopping and see what is out there for his experienced ears to experience.

Frankly, I am not sure what the point of any of this is. I think Scott's comment about troller is someone who just says things with or without thinking to rouse people's ire.

Also: If you were on this list for 3+ years, I can't imagine that you never came across any discussion about technique. What areas are you reading anyway. I am active on th Classical board and there is some excellent discussion on technique and I have seen other areas with the same.


Jan-29-2004, 9:37am
I'm still fairly new to the board (as you can see by the number of posts). I have found that when I either start a topic or reply to a topic, generally the responses have been given with insight from experience. Sometimes the responses are not given as quickly as others, but regardless, I have never had a post left unresponded unless it was obvious the thread had come to an end.

As a lot of folks on the board, I came here seeking knowledge from those with experience (from those just starting to the most experienced). We all have something to give to this board and I've am grateful to all who have given me the appreciation for playing the mandolin. I have seen threads where there were "heated" discussion about which mandolin was better, but it was different opinions (the best example I can think of is which is better A-style or F-style). Usually it comes from beginners and people respond explaining that in their experience, they would do such and such for this reason. All once again are insightful, intelligent, and generally help.

Snobs on the board, there are probably a few (there is always a few in a bunch). Just a bunch of mandolin fanatics that have been able to get together to share our experiences pickin'.

Thank you Scott for creating the Mandolin Cafe board.

Andrew Reckhart
Jan-29-2004, 10:16am
Wow, maybe we are a little too sensitive sometimes. #He wasn't that bad guys. #I don't honestly think (as someone who tends to stir it up around here from time to time) that he was trying to insult anybody. #His wording was poor at best, but I think that he was just trying to express his own point of view. #I can honestly see where he could develop that opinion, in select instances. #I've personally been grilled more than once because my opionion wasn't the same as some of the big shots around here. #From my experience if you disagree with any of them (other than Charlie and Big Joe who are somehow acceptable to disagree with even though they are the best authorities we have) you might get blasted or attacked or told that you know nothing about anything. #I can personally see how that can be confused for snobbery. #Nobody's opinion is more correct or more valid than anybody elses. #Facts and statistics create validity, not opinions. #Everybody says or does something that they shouldn't sometimes. #Maybe he did in the original post. #Maybe I just did right now. #But, if that's how you feel why hide it? #I'm not trying to stir things up or offend the powers that be, but it's the truth.

Jan-29-2004, 10:41am
Hey All,

I'm not sure it's so much a matter of snobbery as it is a matter of justifying the economics of purchasing an instrument worthy of snobbery. I use a Browning rifle when I go hunting - not a lowly Marlin (although I had one I dearly loved and wish I had it back). I use the same shafts and forged heads in my golf clubs as many PGA Touring pros. I decided long ago that hunting was worth it and that golf was worth it. That being said I'm not good enough at mandolin to say that a high dollar (to me more than say $700 to $800) is worth it - Yet. That does not stop me from wanting to get one as I love playin mandolin. Many of you have sucked it up and made the leap to a high dollar instrument and the tone of many messages is that if you too (me) want to play (pun intended) suck it up and buy one. Maybe I will (probably will). But until then I'll probably still want and look for that $700 instrument that plays like one worth 3x that. Clearly there is a market for those price point instruments - partially filled by MK. I however do not suffer from scroll envy preferring A styles and there doesn't appear to be much out there that gives one equivalent value (i.e. no scroll = more sound - tone and volume). The tone of many supposedly snobbish messages doesn't bother me as I've probably been unintentionally guilthy of it myself when I see ill fitting k-mart golf clubs. I don't believe that most people are intentionally snobbish although some are.

As to Kieth - quote "I guess if you loved Chevrolets you shouldnt want the 69 Chevelle SS because then your a snob? but better to love and want the 86 Chevette.. ( no disrespect to any that own or love them)."

The heck with the chevette get a 76 Vega so that you can join that club dedicated to the care and restoration of Vegas called - vegans :>! Oh and did that Chevelle have a 396?

Take Care! -Ed-

Coy Wylie
Jan-29-2004, 10:49am
I am a relative newcomer here as well. I am absolutely enthusiastic about playing mandos and have bought two so far. I have yet to venture into the world of a hand-made American product yet. The desire is there but not the deneros. I think I understand where rpolf is coming from. I believe the orginal thread asked something like "Can you get a quality F-style under $1K." Someone immediately answered with a definitive "no" and the experienced veterans encouraged the purchase of handmade, American non-scrolled instruments at that price or slightly higher.

Now someone who may be less experienced and owns and loves an under $1K scroll at this point in his playing may take offense to these types of responses and consider the more experienced, more invested players as "snobbish." I felt that way when I read the thread on POBWAT syndrome. To me that came off as anybody who has begun playing mando in the last two years is just a wannabe, etc...

If you have seriously invested years of time and money in your mandolin adventures, I salute you. In fact, in time I hope to join you. Give us your experience, we newbies profit from your wisdom. I know you get sick of all the same old questions from people who start and then give it up in a few months. I appreciate your patience and willingness to help. However, there are a few who might want to rethink the manner in which they respond to these questions.

To those of us who are slowly moving up the food chain and suffer from chronic MAS or those who are satisfied with lesser priced instuments and at this point can't see the need to spend thousands more to upgrade, I say let's not be so thin-skinned. Enjoy the mandos you own and dream of those you hope to own. To each his own.

Jan-29-2004, 10:50am
Not that it matters, but I must personally say that when I initially read rpolf's post in the other thread I was offended but I knew to just keep it to myself. I have said some things on the past that weren't nice but were not meant to be mean at all so I just learned from those. I am only offended because it states that everyone of us on this site are snobs and there may be one or two (I don't know, just guessing) but I don't consider myself one of them or the other regulars that post quite often. Some of the guys on here are very knowledgable and I count their opinions and facts very high on my list, doesn't mean I will always agree but we are all different. I am very passionate about my mando, but it is mine and some others might hate it if they played. It's called freedom of choice. Hey F5journal, I know where you can get a good Martin A at a pretty good price! Just PM me.

Jan-29-2004, 10:53am
Oops, forgot to say that I personally accept your apology for calling us all snobs rpolf! We all make mistakes.

Jan-29-2004, 10:53am
These message boards are alot like a looooong conversation at a party. A group of people have been talking, arguing, discussing, and otherwise having an excellent time dialoging and the topics range freely. You have asked many questions, solved many problems, revisited and rehashed issues, clarified points, and etc. Not everybody agrees about everything, but people come to know each other, their positions, and etc. And while the topics get heated from time to time it is possible to enjoy the process and get along. The topics get quite specialized and I can see how a newbie who just wants to know the basics can feel up to their heads and assume the "experts" are snobs.

But civil people have obligations. If you come to the party late, you don't just barge in and start yammering. You wait by the side for a bit, get a feel for the conversation, listening for a long time. The newbie has an obligation to be respectful of the group and ease into the conversation. But the folks already in the conversation have obligations too, (if they want to be civil), to welcome and encourage new members. Older members, it seems to me, have an obligation to be patient with the occasional "stale," or thoughtless question or comment.

I think if the FAQ list was more elaborate, some conflict might be avoided, but I think you guys should just expect newbies (like myself) to ask dumb questions. Some pages set up "newbie" threads in which the newbie can ask dumb questions and the grandfatherly type can not make them feel like tiresome burdens.


p.s. In a real conversation, the face-to-face nature of human interaction tends to keep people civil, but on-line it's easy to get caustic and/or mistake good natured humor and etc. for sarcasm, ridicule, and etc.. It's easy to miss the non-verbal behaviors that capture mood and intention. Maybe he said "snobbery" with an honest smile on his face?

Jan-29-2004, 11:02am
I think there are several factors that contribute to mando-snobbery, whether real or percieved, not the least of which is that high-grade mandolins are expensive as he!!. To get a guitar or banjo of equal sonic quality to a mandolin, you'll generally pay a lot less $. So high-end mando buyers fork out some serious cash for their instruments. As such, at least hopefully, they spend alot of time and energy learning about their options, and most end up feeling they have spent their money as best they could, so they will naturally have alot to say. Then you have the less secure, hopefully a minority, who will spend time justifying their decision by putting others down...again, lets hope this is a minority.

Also consider that musicians in general can tend to be a bit egotistical, and the relative anonimity of an internet board will expose that to an even greater extent than live conversation.

Just my 2 cents...I think most people here are nopt trying to be snobs, just trying to give their insights.

Jan-29-2004, 11:02am
I, too, am left stunned by some of the acrimony that this thread, which seemed innocent to me as well, has generated.

I, too, think rpolf means no harm.

Jim, I didn't even sense any resentment in his comments. If they were there, then I suppose one would have to suspect anyone who's in less than ideal financial circumstances of being resentful of those more fortunate, even myself, though Lord knows I am anything but.

Also, where there is a will, there is a way. I too have played professional music since before I was 20, and right now my main axe is a viola that I paid $1100 for on eBay in '98. I have owned more expensive ones, but none better. It has a wonderful sound, I love it to death, but right now I can't even afford to insure it, so you better believe that I guard it with my life. I have too many mandolins (3), and will probably have to give some of them up. As I have stated before, I have made an art form of frugal living, and take a certain pride in that fact.

Coming to this board in the first place was, for me, a direct result of Googling the word "mandola" - I wanted one of those from the time I first heard of their existence. At that same time, I didn't even know there was such a thing as an F-style mandolin (or even one with f-holes). Okay, I've led a somewhat sheltered musical life, playing only in opera and symphonic orchestras - I admit it!

I usually just sit back and regard all the topics such as rpolf alludes to with mild amusement, rather than anything else. I have never seen anything like it in the real-world musical scene I inhabit. I have no envy whatever toward 'the Loar crowd', especially since when the Mando Tasting thread was posted last year, I unknowingly rejected the Loars and most of the high end F styles in the first round, since "that sound" is not what I find particularly appealing to these ears.

We just have to remember that we are all individuals with individual tastes, desires and needs, as well as circumstances, and we should get along just fine, IMO.


Michael H Geimer
Jan-29-2004, 11:09am
I've been stewing on an opinion of mine for a while now. It moght be complete hogwash, but this might just be the thread to test it out. Here goes ...

Most every piece of music we hear in the course of our modern lives come out of little boxes with speaker cones. So, our exposure to the sound of acoustic instruments is minimal in comaprison, and exposure to solid wood craft-built instruments even less so.

I just don't think the general populi have 'aquired the taste' for acoustic music. (Not as style, but as a sound) e.g. Most people are not aware that a good acoustic instrument has a dymanic range that far exceeds even the best Hi-Fi stereos equipment! Since the average volume level is lower, the depth of dynamic range appears meaningless, when in fact, dynamic range is one of the most important factors in judging Hi-Fi fidelity, and is a vitally important concept for a musician to understand.

So, think about it ... we don't 'taste' very many acoustic instrument as a culture, and as a result we attempt to judge its merits in ignorance. (Most everyone I know, asked me recently why I didn't buy the guitar with a pick-up in it? Wasn't he selling one with a pick-up for the same price? )

As I said, this is an 'opinion in progress', and might be hogwash. I'd certainly consider myself refuted if someone out there regularly plays inside an acoustic string band using a plywood instrument. Any functioning plywood performers? (I personally doubt it, as I think someone who played all acoustic regularly would quickly desire an instrument that was better suited to the task at hand)

All this being said, I think a good instrument utimately teaches the player more about music than a mediocre one could. However, YMMV.

- Benignus

Jan-29-2004, 11:17am
I think playability is number one.

intonation, proper fretting, staying in tune, volume, and of course tone, which is completely an area of opinion.

it is natural to think more expensive means better.

after all, instruments are craftsman products, or at least they used to be. the point is , these things take time to build, and when one is real inexpensive, we have to wonder how the manafacturer did "it all"

I find many cheap guitars with perfect intonation, or close enough, but this is not the same for mandolins.

I have not personally seen an inexpensive mandolin that was perfectly in tune, fret to fret, on a tuner. second frets are almost always sharp by more than 5 cents. the fret wire is either cheap and gets worn down, or the neck relief is too great, or the zero fret too high- easiest to fix. or they make buzzing sounds. I know I can plow thru cheap fret wire in a matter of months.

Jan-29-2004, 11:27am
I dont mean to support snobbery. if your mandolin plays good enough, you can play with others, and everynote is in tune, then you are all set.

Steve L
Jan-29-2004, 1:44pm
My experience on this board is that for every one condescending post there are 10 helpful, informed opinions on how a player can get the most tone and craftsmanship within their budget big or small. You cannot have been reading this board long or well to arrive at the conclusion that it is populated exclusively by snobs.

Jan-29-2004, 1:51pm
Rpolf, I'm feeling terrible that I goaded you into posting a thread that's caused you to become so sick to the pit of your stomache. I've experienced the same thing on singles websites. The English language is peculiar in that very different meanings can be gleaned from the same few sentences. Unfortunately, the word snob is rather derogatory, too much so for our use here on the board. I, and many others, realized you meant no ill-will. Maybe "elitist" is a better term to use concerning what we've noticed in the mandolin culture.

In an early post here someone described an elitist (this sounds so much friendlier than snob) as "Advanced players who sincerely believe that a better instrument will make you a better player, faster, which will make you love the music more and stick with it longer." Isn't this a marvelous display of the breadth of human experience; that a person who feels such hearftfelt concern for the growth of a budding musician can be thought of in a derogatory manner. It's rather an oxy-moronic situation.

I admitted I'm an elitist because I definately embrace that description, (except the advanced part. My non-mandolin musical epxerience far outshadows my mandolin experience, but there are many crossovers.) Alas in real life, time and money are just two of the many other conflicting and inevitable concerns that everyone needs to sort through and prioritize in their life. I think the harmful aspect of being an elitist surfaces when the elitist doesn't allow the other person the freedom to choose their own priorities, like when that real life stuff gets in the way. I don't see people being chastised here on the board for the priorities they've chosen; although the particular use of the English language may make some of us elitists come across that way on occassion.

I'm also guilty of being an elitist because I own multiple similar instruments beyond what I really need, and those who's quality far exceeds my capability to play them. If I prioritized my concerns a bit differently I could indulge my elitist tendencies by trying to become a Dealer. Or even a Builder. How cool is that?!

Earlier a "newbie" lamented that he received very little feedback about a question. Those questions can be difficult to reply to because they often omit so much required info. A truly all-inclusive single helpful answer becomes practically impossible which makes it simpler for us elitists to ignore them. I try to be extra helpful with these type of questions. If anyone posts here and goes lacking with an answer please send me a private post and I promise to try to answer or help find a source for one.

Thanks Chris for letting us all vent and share!

Jan-29-2004, 2:06pm
Worth keeping in mind in this discussion is the value of woodshedding on a low-end instrument.

Lets say you buy a playable plywood special for peanuts. In order to coax a decent sound out of it, you're going to have to develop some pretty good technique. So when you go to buy a higher end instrument, it will play like a dream, and you'll be a couple steps ahead of Mr. Jones nextdoor who started off on his 5K mando that sounds great when his dog plays it, and never had to tweak out the finer points of his technique.

This is just an analogy, as I don't think musicianship is a competition, but anywhow I hope I made my point

Jan-29-2004, 2:21pm
very thoughtful, LEE.

not having any children, coming from a somewhat wealthy (not stinking rich) family, I havnt sweated any major financial decisions yet , knock on wood. so my advise would be biased toward the "higher" grade. maybe in a few more years I will be singing a different tune. the real world still hasnt slapped me in the face, like everyone says it will. I guess I am due for some trouble.

many of us, I think, start with the idea, "ok, I will learn for a while on this, then I will upgrade to something better" after all , this is what teachers say to do.

or " I cant afford the extra money for the better model"

well, after a year or so, when you are no longer satisfied, you end up buying another, then another, in search of a good mandolin.

this is what happened to me.

I now own mandolins I never, ever play. #I should sell them on eBAY.
Had I originally bought the one I am getting now, I wouldnt have an apartment full of mandolins, or an angry girlfriend

Jan-29-2004, 2:37pm
I don't think were snobs, we may be guilty of some type of obsessive compulsive disorders. We have MAS. Guitar players have GAS, banjo players have BAS, accordian players, well I have never known one to get any AAS. We are all just looking for the special tone, feel, whatever, and as our acute senses develope we seek finer instruments, with higher price tags. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/cool.gif

Michael H Geimer
Jan-29-2004, 2:40pm
"Worth keeping in mind in this discussion is the value of woodshedding on a low-end instrument."
- jlb

The value of that approach has also been debated. I'm playing with guy who own a Kentucky 620 and is looking to upgrade. He is a heck of a musician, but new to the mandolin. While his Kentucky is alright, it is not as responive as my Weber. Steve began to realize that he was working way to hard to get volume out of his hammer-ons, tensing up, and fighting his instrument. In short ... limiting his ability to work on that point of technique. He found himself was avoiding certain embelishments that his axe couldn't reproduce, and is currently shopping for a better instrument. (In the mean time, he's playing my Weber at practice)

Just one example of why the idea of 'woodshedding' on a lower tier instrument might not work for everyone. There are many valid reasons to prefer the craft-built instruments ... reasons that have nothing to do with money, or snobbery, or mojo, or ego.

For the record, this guy started off thinking that learning on a beater would make him stronger, but it didn't.

- Benig

Charlie Derrington
Jan-29-2004, 2:53pm
Is it really snobbery? Or is it added cost for very small returns?

Not all ears hear the same thing. Not all musicians have the same level of sophistication or ability. I know extremely good (with years of experience) musicians that don't value the incremental rewards that the majority of more expensive instruments may afford.

I.E. The benefit of a Loar over a Master Model may only encompass a (for the sake of argument) .0005% perceived improvement. The real question is, "Is that small amount of perception worth an extra $80k?"

To some, it is. Is that snobbery? Maybe, but not in my experience. I have plenty of friends that are more than willing to pay the difference for the minute amount of added gain.

I firmly believe there are others out there that are willing to pay for the same difference on every lower level. As a general rule, brand X costs $500.00, brand Y $1500.00.........Brand Y probably is a little "better" mandolin than brand X and each player has to decide if the cost difference is worth the added value. It is all in the perception of the player and they are the only person that can decide if the added perception is worth the cost.

So, don't feel snubbed that someone thinks their $10k mandolin is better than your $1500.00 mandolin. To them, it is.


Jan-29-2004, 2:55pm
. While his Kentucky is alright, it is not as responive as my Weber. Steve began to realize that he was working way to hard to get volume out of his hammer-ons, tensing up, and fighting his instrument.
not to start a bowl back verses f style arguement, BUT

that is the exact reason I have abandoned the archtop mandos all together. it takes a tapp tuned , 25 yr aged mandolin to produce even close to the volume of an italian style mandolin. there is just TOO MUCH DARN WOOD in an f style. they are heavy and unresponsive.

is that opinion or fact?

it makes me wonder why "they" ever even bothered coming up with a new design.

Michael H Geimer
Jan-29-2004, 3:11pm
" is that opinion or fact? "

Almost doesn't matter ... though I agree with you.

Closer to the topic, is that were you to consistently suggest to those shopping for an inexpensive F-style that they would be better off with a well made Italian bowlback, you might yet be viewed by some as a 'Bowlback Snob' for offering your experienced opinion.

I liked the defintions of snobbery that were offered earlier, but I also think snobbery is a 'two-way street', that it is often the offended party that yells, "Snob Alert" in reaction to some opinion that contradicts their own.

Most of us here are just offering up our own 2, nothing more.

John Ely
Jan-29-2004, 3:23pm
Rpolf, I did not take your comments amiss. I think it is a legitimate question, and I don't think you were just trying stir up trouble, but it is the sort of question that can provoke some stronger responses. I don't think an apology is needed.

Snobs? Maybe some, at times. Better instruments are better, and if you can afford them, they're fun to have. My skills don't measure up to my mandolin, but I enjoy having it. People like to brag a little about their stuff, but mostly its harmless. I have noticed that questions like "What mandolin can you recommend for under $XX.XX" often generate responses in the nature of "If you can go a little higher . . ." and that may not be all that useful. I don't think its snobbery, but if all you can spend is $XX.XX, it isn't very useful either.

Jan-29-2004, 3:55pm
Jeffshuniak; Thanks, it took a while to write.
Charlie has a good point; while the price rises exponentially upward the rise in gains similarly diminish, and un-equally I might add. This is probably why the elitists' plea, to the fellow who has merely $XX.XX, to spend more money may seem like logical and helpful advice by the elitist but thoroughly useless elitist-blather by the fellow holding the cash. Usually there are logically determinable sweet-spots in the price-versus-returns wars but in mandolin purchasing sweet-spots aren't so readily identifiable since personal opinion, enjoyment/pride, and taste all play such large roles.

Jan-29-2004, 4:10pm
You play what you can afford, Play your best, enjoy it. It ain't a sport.
obsession? it can happen with anything.
is it some freaky kind of Zen? "Be the mando"

I don't know where all this is going.......I just want to play my mandolin.

Mando players are a unique bunch of folks, we are a diverse but tight community.

cheers all

Bluegrass Boy
Jan-29-2004, 4:34pm
I sure didn't take offense at Rpolf's thread. I considered it sincere and provacative. Clearly he knew it would start a heated debate, as shown by his "get things rolling" comment. But isn't a heated debate over the things we love a big part of the fun of these forums. I must say that I was somewhat taken aback by Scotts response.

That being said, I think I'm kind of an intermediate instrument snob. I have quite good instruments. Collings D1 my main guitar and Collings MT2 my mando. I must say, I bridle at the folks who consider the DIA (adirondak top) to be the ONLY way to go. Even though I know better, I must admit that I feel just a tinge of envy because my DI only has a Sitka spruce top. Oh well, at least my mando has an adirondak top.

I really do think that more that snobbery, us victims of MAS or GAS are more likely just obsessive compulsive as an earlier poster said. That being said, better instrument tend to be more fun to play and can make a difference in musical development. As far as the poster who said that a quality instrument will sound good with a dog playing it. Well, would you please let me borrow that dog to give me a lesson or two. It sure does seem like I have to practice an awful lot to make much headway on my Collings. Maybe all I really need is a SCROLL!!!!!

Jan-29-2004, 4:37pm
As far as the poster who said that a quality instrument will sound good with a dog playing it. Well, would you please let me borrow that dog to give me a lesson or two.

I'm sure the Dawg would sound good on any mando you throw at him, though I can't comment on his availability for lessons.

Jan-29-2004, 4:54pm
You play what you can afford, Play your best, enjoy it. It ain't a sport.
obsession? it can happen with anything.
is it some freaky kind of Zen? "Be the mando"

I don't know where all this is going.......I just want to play my mandolin.

Mando players are a unique bunch of folks, we are a diverse but tight community.

cheers all
Good point. The only person that needs to be happy with your mando is you. If your happy, it most likely will show in your playing ability.
Personally, I'm going to go the upgrade route through the next few years (finacially it seems the best route, especially if you can at least trade your old one in for some cash towards your upgrade). This is not the best route for everyone, but this is the route I'm seriously considering doing.

Remember,another zen statement...........
"Be One With the Mando"

Jan-29-2004, 5:13pm
The ironic thing about these threads, when they pop up, is that you get nailed no matter how much you spent on your mando. #The low end guys get it about not spending enough, and the high end guys get it for spending too much. #Its almost like the attitude has become "I don't want to admit to what kind of instrument I own because I might get nailed for spending too little or too much." #

I never quite understood where this attitude came from until now. #
Its the "mid range" mandolin players. #They're just right in the middle fueling these fires. #Its like being the middle kid. #They're completely ignored, so they have to create problems. #In fact, I bet they're behind the copyright threads too. #I think its high time they get off the fence and commit to one side or the other. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/tounge.gif

Seriously though, I don't think there are any snobs on this board, but I do think there are a lot of people who take pride in their instrument, regardless of its cost or quality.

Jan-29-2004, 5:34pm
OK now! This is turning out to be the topic of the day. No offense taken here. I don't see myself as a snob but my wife would definitely say that I have an obsessive-compulsive thing going on with Mandolins http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif I'll own up to that one.

Over the years here, I've seen some threads pop up that seem to take on a have/have not type theme. I don't think they are mean spirit intended, just a natural human tendency.

rpolf, don't be too hard on yourself. I suspect that most here have said something that they wished they could have taken back or said differently.

Now, spend less time worrying about this and spend more time working on your double stops. Nothing wrong with your Tacoma!

Jan-29-2004, 5:57pm
I don't care whats inlaid in the headstock, as long as its a 5-string banjo killer. And I know some might say I'm hung up on volume, but if you've got one thats loud, it will have the great tone too. At least that is what I've found to be true. And I knw that banjo killers are out there. I've seen 'em, heard 'em, and even got to pick one sometimes. I just don't own one "YET"

Jan-29-2004, 6:43pm
Can't say that I agree with the "If its loud it has great tone" comment. I've played a few "to remain nameless" mandos that were louder than mine but the tone was not too complex. Thin and tinny would be more appropriate terms to describe the tone. Though they were still loud axes.

Jan-29-2004, 6:51pm
If you ask me, the real issue in this thread is not about snobbery or mandolin price tags. #It's about the sad way that some of us choose to respond to an individual who doesn't happen to share our own views... it's about being a little more tolerant if someone should ask what we believe to be the "wrong" question, or maybe uses the "wrong" words to ask it... it's about living up to what we claim to be - a caring, helpful community of enthusiasts who share a common love of and respect for ALL things mando-related. #

rpolf, as an embarrassed member of the mando community, I'm ashamed of the way you were personally attacked in some of the previous posts, and I'd like to "get things rolling" on my own...

...I'm sorry you were treated as harshly as you were.

Jan-29-2004, 7:03pm
I have'nt been too active in posting, but I have been reading
most of the posts as they come up. The thought of any members
being snobs never entered my mind. I don't play mandolin well,
but I have two very fine instruments. I also have some better
guitars, and ukes. I get gas, and Mas all the time, and it might not be over a high priced instrument! I'll play anything I can pick up. If it has some merit I won't put it down right away. I think most of us are obsessive compulsive types who love our music,our instruments, and think it's just a gas to play them!

Music self played is happiness self made!!!!!!

Jan-29-2004, 8:29pm
Hey Richard, Hooray for your honest opinion and observations. If I'd spent half the time practicing as I have looking for THE mando, I'd make a spam can, pencil, and rubber band sound good. Refreshing. Not all true but what is.Jon Mahlum

Jan-29-2004, 10:09pm
Im in the same camp as ejkauf...I own one nice mando, and a couple of older other ones that aren't as nice, each with a problem here or there but still fully playable but when I find myself in The Guitar Center I pick up the el'cheapo POS, tune it up and pick for as long as I have time to spend. Its pure pleasure cept when I get hung up in the strings due to different spacing and little things like that which happen on the big dollar instruments I've played that I was unfamilar with. It's about makin music, relieving stress, etc. As for snobs and snobbishnishnuss most folks are proud of their mandos and love em to death, I know I do mine. I take every thing I read here and most everywhere with a grain of salt and some humor a lot of times, even when I feel the person wasn't tryin to be funny. Life goes on, pickin's still a blast, and music is what keeps me happy! Don't let em get ya down! http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/mandosmiley.gif

Jan-30-2004, 2:31am
While rpolfs' opening statements did not enfuriate me as they seem to have done to others, I was not exactly thrilled by the tone of the post. Just like in any discussion it's all in the presentation.
Rpolfs stating of his musical credentials as proof of his right to make these statements was to me a form of snobbery.
I have no musical training and minimal natural talents but I entertain myself with mandolins. That does not, in my opinion, decrease the value of my inputs to this forum. That is the sort of stuff that upsets me.
But guess what-- i'm over it already.
I don't think that rpolf meant any real harm or insult to any of us, it was just the presentation was somewhat off. Hey, Ive been there myself and wondered what the heck I was thinking when I did it. #It's easy to do.
I live in a small town with only one other mando player that I know about. He is a younger guy who is really into it, plays in a rock/bluegrass band and has a lower priced F style Asian mando. He was very happy with it.
I invited him to my house to see my mandos and he was blown away. He had never played a vintage Gibson, or a custom builder mando or a couple of other decent mandos that I have. He had a blast and I had a blast watching him. Great time.
The second time he came over I inadvertantly hurt his feelings by declining his offer to play his mando, instead grabbing one of my own.
I realized right away that I had goofed and picked his up and played along with him but it was too late. The damage was done.
#I felt like an idiot, especially when the next time I ran into him on the street he told me that he just hated his mando and had to get a better one but didn't have the money.
I guess that my rambling point in this whole thing is that in our gusto we sometimes cross that thin line from helpful enthusiast to snob (or maybe "snobbish") without really meaning to do it, and not really being a snob. Just a poor choice in an enthusiastic moment.
Hey, rpolf we all do it! No big deal.

Jan-30-2004, 8:42am
I knew I was stepping into something when I posted when I posted my opinion about archtops. we all know about opinions.. I am just so happy to play one now (bowl back)that I could ramble on all day about them... to merit f styles, I #have never owned an awesome one.
I am an elitist, but I dont want to offend anyone. I do believe that beginners should infact start with less expensive instruments , especially if they have no musical training. however if you have played violin, or any stringed instrument, then maybe you can go ahead with the gibson or whatever. I played guitar and piano before learing mando, I probably should have started off with a top model rather than waste years and hundreds in search of a good deal. btw , first quality has one for $15,000. now thats elite. they should call it "the rockerfeller F5"

where the expensive mandolins come into play , is when you are ready to perform. when you play along with others you really need to have a good mandolin that is not too problematic. you dont want to tune inbetween every song, and you dont want "black notes" on your fingerboard.

Jan-30-2004, 9:17am
and musical training is nothing to brag about. those of us who have one, owe our PARENTS the respect for that. any of you who were practising scales when you were seven years old, reading music in your crappy school band, say thanks to your parents. you should call your parents and thank them.

it is an accomplishment, but without the family that nutures that, it is most difficult to achieve.

Richard Polf
Jan-30-2004, 10:41pm
Hi to All,

I thought I'd better wait 'till things calmed down a bit before I posted anything. First I will say that this has been quite a learning experience for me, to say the least.

I have learned that one has to be very careful with words on the internet, due to the fact that no one can see the look on your face, hear the tone of your voice, or see your body language as you speak your mind. For record, I did have a smile my face and my tongue firmly in my cheek when I posed the question. It's worth it to me to say one last time (I promise http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif): I meant no offense to anyone and I'm very sorry about the whole affair.

I've learned that this is, truly caring community of fundamentally decent people. To those of you who wrote to say that you accepted my apology or "no problem", all I can say is thank you, it means a lot to me; more than you know, given where I am at at this point in my life. I hope to meet some of you some day in person at a workshop or festival. That would be great. (I also hope that the owner of this board has or will forgive me.)

Finally, I'd like to say that the only reason I mentioned my musical background and training was by way of "getting acquainted", not to put anyone down express an air of superiority. It's been my experience that formal musical training is a 2-way street: It can really help you develop your skills, but it can also get in the way sometimes. I'm always struck by the fact that of my musical heroes, (John Coltrane, Charlie Parker, Coleman Hawkins, Django Rinehart, and, yes, Bill Monroe), none of them studied music at a college or conservatory of music---They didn't need to. I, on the other hand, had to get all the help I could to become a musician. I would trade all of my education in instant to be play like them for one night. On the other hand, I wouldn't trade my edcational experiences for anything, either.

I do think I will fade away now, for a while, and become a "lurker" again.

Sincerely, Richard Polf http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif

John Flynn
Jan-30-2004, 11:23pm
I do think I will fade away now, for a while, and become a "lurker" again.
Hey, no need to lurk, man. Starting a thread and getting flamed for it is a time-honored rite of passage here on the board. Am I right, folks?

Andrew Reckhart
Jan-31-2004, 9:30am
You're absolutely right Mando Johnny. #There is no need to back off just because you got grilled a little. #It happens a lot around here. #Heck I'm crispy on both sides, but I still say my piece (probably to the disliking of some). #Scott even made me change my name from Pittbull to my real name (I still don't see what that was about). #Don't take it personal rpolf, it has happened to a lot of the guys around here. I tend to agree with mandodude. I think you were attacked a little too violently and undeservingly. You were just stating how you have been made to feel at some point in time. If some of us come across as being snobs, then maybe we all need to look at ourselves. Sorry you had to endure this!

Jan-31-2004, 9:33am
You are right Mando Johnny, very right!! rpolf, don't worry about it, just enjoy the site and ask what you need. Don't just lurk.

Scotti Adams
Jan-31-2004, 9:47am
hell..Ive had to sit thru the flames before..I think we all have at one time or another....think of it as sort of an learning experience and welcome to the fold.... http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/coffee.gif

Jan-31-2004, 11:49am
Funny...very funny. #I have come across snobs in all aspects of music and have even been named that myself when it comes to guitars. #However it is never my intention to be snobbish but when you are dealing with written words and not verbal, the meaning can sometiomes get distorted. #I personally just plain like quality when it comes to instruments but cannot always offord me tastes. #I play a Martin guitar and have bought and sold a few and still am very happy with me Martin. #I think Martin is the best guitar in the world but I do not look down at those who prefer others or play others. #I am new to the mando and forked out $600 for my MK and am very happy. #However thie Mando price or lack of will never give a players talent a jump. #Although it may make their ability better. #With instruments you are paying for Quality. #Usually but not always, higher price means higher quality which translates to higher resale value. But most people I have talked here are very acceptable of a mandolin even if it is not a Gibson or Webber or any other. #I remember a time in bluegrass if you did not have a Martin guitar, Gibson Banjo, and Gibson Mando you were shunned. #Now that is snobbery!!! #Especially when you see Jimmy Martin with a Fender lol. #I think alot of guys are just trying to balance anothers wants and questions with a Quality vs Price answer. #Would I have a Gibson or Webber or whatever if I had 3-400 dollars to spend? #Most likely I would for the purpase of resale but if the Sound was not there. No Way. #Another thing to consider is the consistancy of the brand you are buying. #GUitars for example. #Can you get a "Dud" Martin? yes but you are less likely to get one. #However can you get a great sounding $200 dollar Yamaha acoustic? #Yes but you are less likely to get one. #I am sure the mandolins are no exception to the same rule.
Just IMO

Jan-31-2004, 12:22pm
Martin guitar? Are they still around? Thought Taylor put em out of business....


Just kidding, don't have a cow.

J. Mark Lane
Jan-31-2004, 12:27pm
Hey, rpolf. I've hung out in a lot of different Internet music forums over the years. This is by far the most civil and informative and enjoyable of any of them I have ever experienced. There is one reason for that: Mr. Scott Tichenor. He keeps us all in line, and I'm sure without his stern oversite I, too, would occasionally get out of hand. Don't sweat it.

I have two suggestions, and please take them in the friendly spirit with which they are offered: (1) Use your real name. IMO it makes a big difference in how you are treated if you aren't hiding behind an anonymous handle. (2) Please participate more in discussions. With your background, I am sure I and others could benefit from your knowledge and insights. I'm very serious.

Finally, what a list of musical heroes! In my "jazz periods," those were tops, along with Miles Davis, Amahd Jamal, Duke Ellington, Joe Pass, Stan Getz and others. I recently got a book of Duke Ellington stuff written out for fiddle, and it works fine for mandolin. Now, the chords... that's something I need to work on. <g>

So... what music do you play on the mandolin? And what kind of mandolin do you like for it?


Richard Polf
Jan-31-2004, 1:49pm
Thanks Mando Johnny, Andrew Reckhart, mandoJeremy, Scotti Adams, and J. Mark Lane for your encouragement --- I've decided you're all right, so I'm not going to fade away, after all. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif #

J. Mark, I want to implement your suggestion to use my real name instead of "rpolf", but I can't seem to find out how to do it. Can you tell me how or direct me to the instructions?

As far as my "heroes" list, you can proably tell that I have, what many who know me call, extremely eclectic musical tastes. By all means I should have mentioned Joe Pass on that list. As an old L.A. boy I had the luck to take a few guitar lessons from him back in 1970 just before his "Virtuoso" breakthough recording. He taught me the "movable chord forms". Typical assignment: learn "All the Things You Are" and then transpose to all the keys. You were only allowed to improvise after you had 1) memorized the melody and chords and 2) memorized the lyrics as well. He was a tough taskmaster! Oh, and Jethro Burns should be on that list, too. I think I read that he also used to give the same assignment to his students. I took up Mando 3 years ago, and like everyone else on this board, fell in love with the instrument. I guess I'm mainly playing Jazz, but I do love Bluegrass as well.

And, yes, I'm the guy who likes and plays a Tacoma M3. They are great instruments for Jazz, I think, if not for #Bluegrass. I also own a "Pac Rim" F5 copy probably made by Saga, with "Hohner" on the headstock, that I upgraded with a Weber tailpiece that sounds pretty good. Problem is, I much prefer the radiused fingerboard on the Tacoma. Oh, and there's Don Stirenberg, and ... well, I go on too long.

As I read this I guess I should be posting on the Jazz section.

Richard Polf

Jan-31-2004, 3:00pm
Hey Richard you are hanging with some pretty rough characters there.
It will only lead to grief and misfortune.
OK,OK, I am just kidding.
Sorry guys I just couldn't help it. All in good fun.

J. Mark Lane
Jan-31-2004, 3:46pm
J. Mark, I want to implement your suggestion to use my real name instead of "rpolf", but I can't seem to find out how to do it. Can you tell me how or direct me to the instructions?
Well, seems to me you've done it by signing your posts with your name. Makes it a lot easier to "speak" to you. Thanks. <g> (If you want to do more, just click "Your Control Panel" at the top of this page, then click "Personal Settings" and then "Edit Your Profile"... or something like that. You can change anything there.)

You took lessons from Joe Pass?!?! Wow!!! That is awesome. Back when I used to pretend to play a little jazz guitar, he was sort of my hero. Later I kind of liked Larry Coryell, but I never really took to people like Dimeola (although at one point I aspired to attend Berkeley School of Music... went to law school instead, ugh!).

The Tacoma makes sense to me as a jazz instrument. I tend to think in "bluegrass" these days. Thus my preference for f-holes with "chop." Are you playing jazz from sheet music, fake books, ear? What stuff do you play? Seems to me the Django stuff is prime material. I recently bought the two companion Django box sets, and it's just trememdous stuff.


Dan Adams
Jan-31-2004, 5:27pm
This has been a great thread! #Of course, its always comes down to tonal quality and volume. #I have a couple particular instruments that could be made fun of all day until people hear them. #Opps. #The quality of the instrument is directly relate to the sound quality? #Or so I think. #Isn't that why we all buy instruments in the first place?

All That Glitters is not Scrolled! #Dan

Jan-31-2004, 5:51pm
Mandolin snobs, guitar snobs, tune snobs, car snobs, neighborhood snobs, beer snobs, weed snobs- they are everywhere, if the mandolin community didn't have snobs, I would think we were not a big enough portion of the genreral populace, but it's clear, while there aren't too many mandolin players, there are a heck of a lot of us.
I'll have to admit, if I could afford it, I would purchase the snobbiest mandolin I could, but I'll just have to be happy with what I have.

Richard Polf
Jan-31-2004, 6:51pm

I'm going to open a new topic over on the "Jazz, Swing..." site to talk about Jazz Mando, Fake books, etc. Meet me over there.

Feb-01-2004, 9:16am
And, look....things ended happily ever after.........This wasn't hard, now was it? See, just like a real community, but without the guns.

oldwave maker
Feb-01-2004, 10:22am
Just returned from a week in sw ireland, sessions every night from ardfert to knocknagree, never seen so much great music played on such pos instruments (except mebbe in mexico), in some parts of the world its just about the music, the fellowship, facilitating the tribal dance, tools are merely a minor detail. That said, I never got to spank the watermelon much since Id pass it around and it would never come back till the end of the night!
Stopped at Gruhns on the way and played all the MK's, 1 was a killer.
bill bussmann, who still flees from jam circles when a strapless ovation approaches.....

Feb-01-2004, 11:52am
I too would like to buy a ridiculously priced mandolin and become more snobbish about my music. #Unfortunately, most of my money goes towards buying meat. #Lotsa meat! #Prime rib. #Porterhouse. #Sirloin tip. #

But today we're barbequing an uppity vegan. #Kind of a pre-Superbowl sacrificial ritual and a longheld tradition. #Yum yum! http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/tounge.gif

Richard Polf
Feb-01-2004, 12:37pm
"And, look....things ended happily ever after.........This wasn't hard, now was it? See, just like a real community, but without the guns."

I like your sense of humor, Neal http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif --- that gave me a chuckle.


Feb-01-2004, 2:15pm
Yes, I'm just a joy. #But wait till my Tourettes kicks in........

Now, go practice.

I gotta say though, Scott T., you really surprised me, but I think what you said was probably necessary, kinda like the way you have to set a broken leg so it'll heal right. #Or like the 40's movie where the hysterical dame gets a slap and she calms down. #(I do not condone violence towards women or animals, just small children, oops, I mean not even small children).

Feb-03-2004, 4:20am
I bet Richard won't listen to me again!

Steve L
Feb-03-2004, 4:22am
He'd be Wyes Knot to.

Feb-03-2004, 10:38am


Feb-03-2004, 12:34pm
Exactly bratsche! Let it rest guys and get over it. WE ARE ALL SNOBS in our own ways! Your mando is better, no mine is better, but (insert name)'s is better! Just play what you want and shut up! If you are happy, then we are all happy for you because you found happiness. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif

Rich Michaud
Feb-03-2004, 12:50pm
As a middle level player, am I now to assume that I best not show up at any gathering with my Gil? Only the pros can be seen in the company of great mandos? What rubbish. Please take your attitude and shove it.

Feb-03-2004, 12:56pm
You lawyers have TOO much money! Need an adopted son that you could buy a new mando for?http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif