View Full Version : mandolin for  blues

Jan-01-2005, 9:32am
Hey, I am wondering what is your favorite mandolin for playing blues. Thanks!

Jan-01-2005, 3:02pm
just whats onhand, really,
The Gibson '21 A with aluminum bridgetop, Or the electric.
or the metalbody resonator i aint bought ...

John Flynn
Jan-01-2005, 3:30pm
I really like the tone of my Rigel A+ Deluxe for blues. I wish it had more of the woody tone for bluegrass and old-time, but it really does shine for blues, IMHO. Also, the great built-in pizeo gives it an easy transition from acoustic blues to electric blues. Plus, the playability is second to none, which helps in any genre. If all I played was blues, my MAS would be cured!

Jan-01-2005, 3:30pm
Anything with an oval hole...it just sounds warmer to me...more blues...My main ace in a MK Legacy O...waiting on my Freshwater...

Jan-02-2005, 8:44am
At one time I think I got caught up that there had to be a special mandolin for blues, but I don't think so. It's like when I was an electric blues guitar player--and I'm still guilty of this--the guitar had to be vintage, it had to have blues vibe (couldn't be a Peavey or anything like that)l, had to be played through a vintage tube amp, etc. If one of those conditions weren't met, it wasn't appropriate for playing blues. Needless to say I still play electric guitar using an old dual P90 cutaway ES125 (looks a lot like a poor man's ES175) through an old Ampeg 2 speaker Portaflex.

However, in reality, I could play blues through anything and make it sound like blues. A lot of those north Mississippi guys like Jr. Kimborough or Super Chickan don't play electric blues through an old Gibson or Fender and a tube amp. You see Peavey guitars or old Lotus Les Paul copies through Peavey amps. But what they play is still blues--they understanding the phrasing, they understand the dynamics, they're conversant in blues even though they're technically playing on an inferior instrument.

So in terms of mandolin, I got caught up with the oval hole is better for blues, or an old beater like a Harmony (think Yank), or a reso-steel (hand an old Dobro wood bodied mando), is better. But if you understand the fundamentals of blues anything works. Those other things are for the flash to make people think you're a blues guy (like my preference for vintage electric gear--you give the impression you're "bona fide.")

My ill thought ramblings before going to church).


Jan-03-2005, 9:48am
"But if you understand the fundamentals of blues anything works. Those other things are for the flash to make people think you're a blues guy"

Some of those who we consider blues greats played instruments of "lesser" quality than Gibsons. Rachell with his Harmony is a case in point. It is great to have a really nice sounding instrument but since the blues can be about pain... maybe a painful sounding instrument is just the ticket for a blues guy. It hurts so bad it makes me want to wail.

Jan-03-2005, 11:16am
you can play any type of tune with any type of mando, but some instruments (not instrument types necessarily) will lend themselves better to a certain style of music. for blues however, one mando might sound great for an old soulful 12 bar blues, but another might sound better for a jump or swing. just my 2 cents.:blues:

Jan-03-2005, 1:15pm
I enjoy my Schwab, with a Bartolini pickup in the neck position. When I started playing electric, I used a Gibson Florentine electric, with four strings only (instead of eight). That was also very nice for the blues.
Regarding the use of less-expensive instruments by some players, that may be driven primarily by economic concerns. I think that if price was no object, most players woould naturally prefer the best instruments available

Daniel Nestlerode
Jan-04-2005, 3:01am
I don't use a mandolin to play blues. I use my Weber Alder #2 Mandola! It has a great voice for the blues. The oval hole and the flat top make it a sweet with a longer sustain than an arch top and the 17" scale length adds power, punch and growl.


Jan-04-2005, 11:47am
I like my mandolin for the blues...

Jan-05-2005, 8:00am

Oh yes , Mandola is great if you play for yourself. But if you play with a guitarrist itīs much better to play mandolin in order to keep out of the tonal range of the guitar.