Another new guy

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  1. NDO
    Hi all, I joined the forum a couple of months ago but just the other day figured out how to join the newbies group. I definitely fit the newbies definition

    I had never tried a stringed instrument before, watched my brother struggle with learning to play guitar when I was a kid and decided it looked too difficult

    I have played harmonica and done some vocals in a band for the last few years and always got frustrated if I couldnít get one of my guitar players to jam since Iím not really into playing solo harmonica. Iíve always loved the sound of the mandolin, so I bought a Rogue this spring to see if it was something I could learn. It wasnít immediately playable, way too high at both the nut and bridge. So it sat lonely all through the first lockdowns. I finally borrowed some files this summer and tried lowering the action, somewhat massacring the job without the benefit of Ron Meldrumís excellent e-book. But it was at least playable enough to start working on some chords, and quickly discovered that it came pretty easily and I fell in love with it.
    I cheated a bit and started with songs I already knew and sang vocals and harps with... it really shortened the learning curve for chording while singing, and I got a harp rack so I could accompany some songs. So now, five months in I can play and sing a dozen and a half songs or so, half with the harps on the breaks.

    I just bought myself a Christmas present of an Eastman MD605 and Iím so happy with how much easier it is to play. I had to wait a month to get home to Washington State to play it since I work in New Mexico but it was worth the wait!

    Iím probably going about this all wrong by not taking a more disciplined approach to practicing, but Iím having so much fun Iím not certain I want to change it. Iím playing an hour or more just about every day, and typically just sit down and start playing through some of the songs Iíve learned and ones Iím working on learning. Every week or two Iíll add a song or make the transition from reading a chord/lyric page on my phone to playing by memory for one Iím working on. A couple of the songs have some melody picking breaks that Iím working on learning, but mostly I just play chords and sing, and use the harps for lead breaks since thatís what my brain is used to. As I get more comfortable with the fretboard I expect Iíll do more and more breaks on the mandolin, and I plan to do some filling and backing with the band when we get back to doing more gigging.

    Iíve been trying to record some of the playing about once a month so I can compare progress as I go along, which is kind of fun but kind of embarrassing to watch sometimes. I recorded a few tunes the day after Christmas with the new mandolin so I figured Iíd post it up in case anyone has suggestions or recommendations for next steps or corrections for any bad habits you notice. Iíve been doing this without any lessons other than a couple of quick videos on mandolessons etc. so thereís a good chance Iím doing some things wrong! And there are definitely some screwups in the video, since I didnít go back for re-takes and pretty much just powered through when I mis-chorded or dropped a word or two. Here it is, warts and all...
  2. SOMorris
    It looks like you are having fun! To me, that is the main thing. I have had my mandolin longer than you, but am still a newbie.

    Welcome to the Newbies group!
  3. HonketyHank
    Welcome to the Newbies, NDO! It sounds like you are well on the way. You have a good voice as well as a nice sounding mandolin. And you have a good rhythm going with your strums while singing or playing the harmonica. Natural sounding chord changes, too. Pretty awesome package for a Newbie!

    A tip on embedding a YouTube video. It can be done, but it is a bit convoluted. The first thing you need is the "option" code from the URL of your video. This is the 11 characters following the v= in the URL. That is everything after the = up to but not including the & sign. It is convenient to copy that option code to the clipboard. Next you need to find the YouTube button in the header area of the editor. It is the only red or pink button. Right next to it is a skyblue Vimeo button on the bottom row of buttons. If you don't see such buttons, you will need to click the "Preview Message" button or the "Go Advanced" button.

    Now you need to put the cursor to where you want to embed your video and click the YouTube button. You get a dialog box that asks for the option code of your video. In this case it is GpcO-u97h4o . Click ok and the software will insert the proper "bbcode" to embed your video at the place where your cursor was sitting when you hit the YouTube button. You will only see the bbcode in the editor, but if you click the Preview Message button, it will refresh the preview section and you should be able to see your embedded video.

    Continue editing and then hit the Post Message button.

    It should look like this:

    I usually also put the complete URL below the video in case the embedding code gets broken in future software updates. If you look at the old Song A Week group's threads, you will find lots of broken embedded videos, many of which are victims of software updates.

    Simple, right? Just wait till you try to embed a photo. It's even more convoluted.

    Welcome NDO! I look forward to hearing you and that Eastman in more videos.
  4. NDO
    Thanks so much! I appreciate the feedback and the tips on embedding... I’ll definitely have to come back to this post to study before my next video because there’s no way I’ll remember all that!
  5. Sherry Cadenhead
    Sherry Cadenhead
    NDO, great job! Next time please have the camera closer so we can see your face and hands. BTW, you don't sound so "newbie" to this beginner.
  6. HonketyHank
    Actually, there are only two keys for embedding a video. 1) Look for the red YouTube button. 2) "option" is that string of gobbledegook right after "v=" and before the "&".
  7. NDO
    Okay, I’ll try embedding a video this time and Sherry, I made sure the camera was closer this time
    This is one I just started working on after getting the new mando two weeks ago so the intro is really rough and I didn’t even attempt the break in the middle but it’s a great tune by Pure Prairie League.

  8. NDO
    Turns out if you click the film icon instead of the Internet icon you can just paste the URL for the video and it automatically embed it if it’s a YouTube video.
  9. HonketyHank
    In response to my query about why so many videos in old threads are broken, Scott Tichenour, our webmaster (and owner of the MC site), explained what was happening. Basically he said that many old videos are broken because people used the obvious and easy way to embed their video that you have mentioned. It works when the video is embedded but there is no guarantee it will work after the next software update. He has stated that using the YouTube button (or the Vimeo button) is the only method guaranteed to work after a software update. Of course, there are a few other reasons they could be broken too -- people deleting their video from YouTube, or their use of now obsolete formats (like flash video) are big ones.

    Personally, I think it is quite odd that the obvious way to do something is not supported but the convoluted way is "guaranteed". But it is his site and I am grateful that he and the moderators run it so well. So I said "I'll try to pass the word". Hang around a while and you'll start seeing other interesting things about the website software. As a former programmer for part of my working life, I know that different programmers have different styles.

    And, good job on Amie! Thanks for posting it.
  10. Spragster
    Id say you are doing great NDO. Welcome aboard! Now i just have to dig out some more Buffett tunes.
  11. NDO
    Ok Hank, I think I got the YouTube embedding figured out. Thanks for that!
  12. NDO

    I started working on this one about a week ago and recorded it to send to my wife for Valentine’s Day... so I might as well post it up here too. Not the smoothest rendition but it’s a great song by Collin Raye.
  13. HonketyHank
    Very nice, NDO. Good ending lick, too.
  14. NDO
    Thanks Hank! It’s challenging my brain when I try to switch between chords and picking. I’m finding it helps if there’s a chord that fits at the beginning or end of the picking lick to lead me in and out of it. I have a LOT to learn .
    With the harmonica if I hear a tune in my head I can just play it as easily as singing it... it’s going to take a lot of work to get there on a mandolin.
  15. Ellsdemon
    Nice work NDO
  16. Ellsdemon
    Did you say you were from Washington? I'm on the west side near Seattle
  17. NDO
    Home is in Tri-Cities, but I’m working in New Mexico so only occasionally getting to be in Washington for now.
  18. Sherry Cadenhead
    Sherry Cadenhead
    NDO, I feel after almost 6 years, you're ahead of me! Great playing.
  19. NDO
    Thank you Sherry! I think I’m doing well on open chording but I have a lot to learn to get good at picking and chop and tremolo.
  20. Sherry Cadenhead
    Sherry Cadenhead
    Too bad we can't combine our skills! Although I don't "chop."
  21. NDO
    Sherry, this old NGDB tune has that D-D7-G progression mentioned in your thread about sevenths.

  22. Sherry Cadenhead
    Sherry Cadenhead
    I like that, Don. And I like that chord progression. Thanks for sharing.
  23. NDO
    Thanks Sherry! It was always one of my favorite songs and I’m constantly amazed how easily some of these songs can be played with very little skill
    Of course they will sound way better with years of skill building but for campfire use you can be fearless and people will love it as long as there are no real musicians around

    99% of people are too shy to play or sing anything so I have utmost respect for anyone with the guts to play in public! My first few times singing just a few years ago were terrifying.
  24. Sherry Cadenhead
    Sherry Cadenhead
    Don, I presume that's your Eastman pictured up top? Is your strap attached at the headstock comfortable? I had my Weber strap attached there, but just moved it to the other end if the fingerboard. So much more comfortable there!
  25. Sue Rieter
    Sue Rieter
    Don, I don't know how I missed these before. You sound really good - you've got a good voice.

    I really love that song you played for your wife at Valentines'. It made me think of my late mom and dad. Not long before he died, my dad said he was leaving on a train. Did my mom have a ticket? She said she'd be along on a later departure ...
  26. NDO
    Sherry, yes, that’s my Eastman. There’s no room to attach the strap at the other end of the fingerboard on this one, unlike my Rogue, so unless I install a button I don’t have many options. But the strap is plenty comfortable.

    Sue, thanks so much! I do love that Collin Raye song. I’m a sucker for that kind of lyrics...I also play Remember When (Alan Jackson) a lot. I’d love to find chords for Old Upright Piano (NGDB), but will probably attempt figuring them out by ear since I haven’t found any online.
  27. Sue Rieter
    Sue Rieter
    For whatever reason, your selection of songs here made me think about "Leaving on a Jet Plane." So I fiddled around with that a bit this morning. Wish I could sing better. I'm not sure G is a good key for me to sing in, even though it's easy to play in.

    Sherry, I had my strap tied on the headstock and pretty much liked it there. But in my last ArtistWorks video MM said I should get a strap button and tie it to the heel. I'm not going to put a strap button on my Stradolin, but I did retie the strap under the fretboard extension (if MM suggests it, I should try it). I don't mind it there, but find I am more dependent on the lap mat that Tim Logan gave me to hold the headstock up to a good position.
  28. NDO
    Sue, I just checked and I had a copy of that in C that was printed off Chordie if you want to try a different key. I played it through a couple of times and the vocals fit pretty well for me so Iíll probably memorize it next. Itíll be a good addition to the list since I just learned Country Roads a couple of weeks ago and I like to have at least a couple of songs from each artist I cover.

    Edit to add: I just looked up the chords in G and they sound better to me, match my voice a little easier (and the greatest hits version) and theyíre so dead simple all I need to do is remember the words on one verse Iíd forgotten.

    Also a bit of trivia I stumbled across in looking up the chords... I thought John Denver covered Peter Paul and Mary on this one. Nope, John Denver actually wrote and recorded it in 1966, Peter Paul and Mary recorded it in 1967 and went to #1 with their final hit, then JD released it as a single in 1969.
  29. Sue Rieter
    Sue Rieter
    Do you have it saved, or do you have a link? I can send you my email if you PM me.
  30. NDO
    Sue, I just have a hard copy but could send you a pic. But I also just found it by searching on Chordie, they had 33 versions of it in various keys
  31. Sue Rieter
    Sue Rieter
    Thanks, I'll check the link. I just learned today that John Denver wrote it. I was remembering the Peter Paul and Mary version.

    I'm in the middle of repotting plants outside while it's nice, but I took a quick look. That's alot of chords in that version, a lot that I don't know. But maybe that's a good thing
  32. NDO
    Thereís a super easy two-finger Dm and G7 and Am that sound fine, so you should have no trouble with it!

    And using that version as a guide, I threw in a D7 at the end of the Dís in the plain GCD version and substituted one of the Cís to an Am in the chorus where they used the Dm in that version, and it improved the plain GCD quite a bit.
  33. Sue Rieter
    Sue Rieter
    The first version I saw had that D7 and Am in it. Somehow the D7 didn't sound quite right to me. Probably because it was out of tune with my bad singing

    Heh heh, its all the changes that present the challenge for me. I spent most of my first year of playing picking melodies, and have only recently gotten serious about chord strumming.
  34. NDO
    I’m the opposite...chord strumming came easily, the hard part for me is transitioning between chords and melodies and making the melodies sound good.
    I found a couple of good places to add two different versions of Em in the G version also. It’s starting to sound pretty good.
    Also have to recognize that sometimes the proper timing of the chord changes isn’t exactly represented by the chord sheet, it helps to play the song on Apple Music a few times while looking at the chord sheet to get the timing right.
  35. Sue Rieter
    Sue Rieter
    Mike Marshall says he figures out where to change chords by what word of the lyrics that it falls on.
  36. NDO
    I think I got it mostly figured out, itíll get better after playing it a few hundred more times

  37. Sue Rieter
    Sue Rieter
    Sounding good! I'll probably work on it some tomorrow. Sunday is a good day for mandolin playing
  38. NDO
    Every day is a good day for mandolin playing
  39. Sue Rieter
    Sue Rieter
    I figured out an easy way to try the key of C. I just got out my mandola
  40. NDO
    You need to educate me, Sue- how is the mandola easier for that key? I’ve never seen one!
  41. Southern Man
    Southern Man
    NDO, a mandola is just a mandolin where you have removed the e-strings from the bottom and placed a pair of C strings at the top (above the G).

    So it is really easy to transpose, the same 2 finger chords that are G/C/D on the mandolin are then C/F/G on the mandola. (I think I did that right).
  42. Sue Rieter
    Sue Rieter
    Yup, you beat me to it, Southern Man. The strings are CGDA and everything is shifted by a fifth. If you play the regular GCD mandolin fingerings, on mandola you're playing CFG. I like my Mid Mo mandola very much. Probably my second favorite instrument after my Stradolin.

    I have to say, my singing still isn't fully in tune with the chords

    I'm going to try my mandolin in C after supper.
  43. NDO
    Dang it. I was hoping that link was you playing the song. And then I looked at the chord chart and suddenly I want a mandola
    Down the rabbit hole...
    I shall try to be strong.
  44. Sue Rieter
    Sue Rieter
    Okay, here it is. I put it here because A) this is where we were talking about this song, and B) it's a little more obscure

    I never thought the first video I posted would involve strumming, because I haven't been doing it for very long, and it doesn't come easily to me.
    This is the easy version, well, because it's easier. And I'm sure Sherry will notice that I am looking at my music stand quite a bit

    My mandolin came with me to my inlaws' yesterday. I played this and got my mother in law and sisters in law singing. They cut me some slack and didn't give me a hard time for my mis-strums and missing of chord changes. I have confidence that you guys will be as kind

  45. Sherry Cadenhead
    Sherry Cadenhead
    Sue, this is fabulous! I'm especially impressed with your strum pattern, as I can't seem to perfect anything beyond boom, chuck. Next time sing louder - or play softer.

    Question: is your music stand on the ceiling?
  46. Sherry Cadenhead
    Sherry Cadenhead
    Why am I suddenly seeing Don's video, rather than Sue's?
  47. Sherry Cadenhead
    Sherry Cadenhead
    Now Sue's is back. This is weird.
  48. Sue Rieter
    Sue Rieter
    Sherry, my cell phone mount is under the music stand, so it gives a weird perspective. It was hard to get a workable angle, and I'm still not happy with it. I'm thinking about clipping it to my desk next and putting any music I need on a desk stand that I have.

    Thanks for the kind words
  49. NDO
    Way to go Sue! I love the sound of your mandolin. Sherry is right, you just need to sing loud and proud! Thanks for sharing the video.
    I like the strum too. Interesting that strum patterns came up, I was just experimenting last night. I learned Lyin Eyes a few days ago with my usual DUDU pattern (I should probably call it “duh”) and it actually sounded pretty good since I already sing that sometimes with the band. But I decided to try it with a more properly accented DDUUDU and the strum sounds way better. The part that is breaking my brain is doing that while singing it. It’s really surprising me how different it is. I know the lyrics well, and the song is really pretty easy to play. But when I introduced the different strum it sounded great chording but I started missing lyrics or chord changes- the autopilot disengaged and I flew into the swamp. It got better after a few tries but it’s obvious I need a lot of time practicing different strums.
  50. Sherry Cadenhead
    Sherry Cadenhead
    Don, I love your "duh" reference, which couldn't be more perfect for what I'm doing! My mandolin teacher has me doing this pattern:

    • Down on G
    • Strum down, up all strings
    • Pick up, down on D
    • Strum down, up (louder on up) 3 high strings

    At least one problem. I've forgotten how to fit the motions into a 4/4 measure (or maybe it's 3/4?). Just thought of another problem. As I'm playing, I can never remember whether I should be going up or down. Thank goodness it's nothing major!

    I just googled "strum patterns mandolin cafe." There are several threads. Maybe I'll resurrect one. I could definitely use some GOOD videos to watch.
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