Another newbie here

  1. Chaya
    Chaya
    Hi, wanted to introduce myself.

    I've loved mandolins most of my life, it seems; I just didn't know it was mandolins I was hearing. Now that I know, I've received an Eastman MD 604 as an early birthday gift and have been learning how to play it. I'm using Mandolin for Dummies, mandolessons.com, many Youtube videos, and several Mel Bay books. As kind of an non-secret secret, I'll be receiving a couple of instructional DVDs by Caterina Lichtenberg for my birthday, too.

    I'd show you a picture of my new baby, but I can't figure out how to do that. The "how-to" video seems like it might be outdated. Or something. Apparently to post photos and videos I need to set up my own website first?

    I'm interested mostly in Classical (especially Baroque), which is why I got the mandolin I did, but also a little bit of Celtic and folk. And of course I love all mandolin music, period.

    I've learned so much about mandolins from Mandolin Cafe and am looking forward to learning more.

    Next big adventure: changing strings!
  2. Louise NM
    Louise NM
    Hi, Chaya.

    Welcome, and I for one am happy to have another classical geek around. I look forward to swapping information with you on which books you are using and liking. What's your background? Have you played other instruments, or is this your first?

    I'm sure you will just love changing strings. As one man in the main forum has said, "I'd rather spend a weekend in jail than change a set of mandolin strings." Many would agree.
  3. Chaya
    Chaya
    Oh, that's really encouraging! But I'm going to give it a whirl anyway. I hate the idea of having to take it in and pay someone else to do something so small. Do you change your own strings?

    I started learning piano at 7, but my mother gave up on me, as I wasn't as serious as she wanted me to be. I grew up playing flute. As a teenager, I got into guitar - just playing folk music. Some picking, mostly strumming. The last time I picked up a guitar, though, was over 40 years ago. I took a little music theory in the 80's. I have that problem a lot of classically trained people do of being kind of stuck in the mode of reading music. I don't intend to quit reading music, but look forward to branching out a little into being able to improvise and find my own way around the fingerboard. Also being able to memorize music, obviously - but at my age, that may be too much to ask.

    Right now I'm (slowly) working my way through Mel Bay's "Complete Mandolin Method" and Cristofaro's "A Method for Mandolin." I also have "The Mel Bay Mandolin Method."

    Are there books you would recommend for a raw beginner?
  4. HonketyHank
    HonketyHank
    Well, you mentioned Mandolin for Dummies, which pretty highly recommended around the forum. Calace's methods books are more classically oriented but they get past beginner stage pretty quickly. The are public domain now so you can find them on the web.

    re posting photos: for unknown reasons it is not an easy to figure out thing. But one way to do it is to go to your profile page and find the button to click to go to your "albums". You can then post the photo to your photo album. Then you can get the URL for the photo from the album page you posted it to and paste it into your post using the "insert image" button. Sorry, I don't know all the details of doing this -- I have to figure it out all over again every time.
  5. MikeZito
    MikeZito
    Hi Chaya:

    Don't let Louise scare you - changing strings IS NOT as bad as a weekend in jail . . . it only equates to having all four wisdom teeth pulled - without Novocaine.

    To me the single most important part of learning is to have fun doing it. Don't put any undue pressure on yourself. Don't stress about whether or not your left hand is at a 45-degree angle or if it is sitting too flat; pay no attention to others who learned how to 'chop' after 2 weeks, and you haven't gotten it down yet after 2 months; and let it slide off your back if can't distinguish between a Jethro Burns jazz lick, and a Norwegian fishing song.

    Play, learn, enjoy and keep us posted.
  6. Chaya
    Chaya
    Thanks, Honkety Hank, I'll try that. Some day. lol

    Which reminds me of another problem I'm having: I uploaded a profile pic of myself, and when I go to edit my profile, it's there all right. But it doesn't show up when I actually make comments, like this one. Why? What have I done wrong?
  7. Chaya
    Chaya
    Oh, okay, MikeZito! That sounds much better.

    Yeah, I'm trying to keep the pressure off myself - and that is a pretty constant job with me. Trying to relax and just remember how much I love the sound of the instrument.
  8. SOMorris
    SOMorris
    Welcome to the Newbies group, Chaya!

    I like Mike's approach -- relax and enjoy. Except, I haven't found changing strings to be that hard. I am probably doing it wrong .
  9. Chaya
    Chaya
    Thanks, SO Morris. That does make me feel a little braver!
  10. Louise NM
    Louise NM
    One book I like a lot is Marilynn Mair's The Complete Mandolinist. Another Mel Bay title, it's laid out well, borrows from different sources, and is applicable to many different genres.

    Did you get the strings changed? What did you think?
  11. MikeZito
    MikeZito
    Of course, we are all using a healthy dose of hyperbole to describe the process of string change - but, like any stringed instrument, it does require a bit of practice and patience before you get truly comfortable with the process . . . you may never LIKE to change strings, but you will get comfortable with it.
  12. Mark Gunter
    Mark Gunter
    Hi Chaya! I can answer your question about the picture. They make a distinction between “profile picture” and “avatar”, don’t ask me why. It’s just one of life’s mysteries to be taken on faith.

    If if you upload an avatar picture, it will show on your board posts.
  13. Dave_KC
    Dave_KC
    Hi Chaya and welcome. I've been playing aound 3 years or so. Very fun to learn and play.
  14. Chaya
    Chaya
    Thanks Mark! I could NOT figure that out!
  15. Chaya
    Chaya
    Thank you Dave! Nice to be here.
  16. Chaya
    Chaya
    Thanks for the book recommendation, Louise. That looks great. I've put it on my list of books to buy. Right now I'm knee-deep in resources, as my birthday just came and went with the addition of two DVDs by Caterina Lichtenberg, Mandolin Primer by Bert Casey, and Exploring Classical Mandolin by August Watters.

    My cup runneth over!

    The strings. Well, now. Ahem. The strings, yes. I believe this is the appropriate emoji:

    Y'all kinda got me skeert.

    I really should change them, but I've been putting it off for a time when I won't mind losing my mandolin for a week while the local shop fixes whatever mess I made.

    And there are all these peaches I need to freeze...
  17. HonketyHank
    HonketyHank
    Awwww. Strings. No big deal except there are a bunch of 'em. A tip: buy strings a few sets at a time at juststrings.com . Another: buy a couple of extra E strings of the guage that corresponds to the E strings in your chosen set. These are easy to break as you get the hang of restringing them. Third tip: dig around on the main forum for the tricks that prevent the E and A strings from slipping under tension.
  18. Chaya
    Chaya
    Thank you Hank!
  19. bbcee
    bbcee
    A belated welcome, Chaya, and really, changing strings is just doing a few sets. It feels completely unnatural at first, it will take a couple of sets to get your system down, but it will seem like second nature after not very long.

    Among mountains of others, here's a couple of YouTubes from two super-duper Cafe friends that give good, practical direction IMHO:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q2Hk34p2OBA

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qYC4L1FLOmc

    One thing I do is to change one string at a time, as Brad does in the first video, so you can tune to its partner, and so the bridge stays in place. Once a year, I take all the strings off at once to give the instrument a good cleaning.

    Fear not!!
  20. Chaya
    Chaya
    Thanks bbcee! I'll go have a look at those two videos!

    UPDATE: Wow! Those were great. Answered two of my questions and a great tip about graphite as well. Thank you!
  21. Chaya
    Chaya
    Update:

    I did it! Thanks to the videos and forum discussions and all the tips, it was a breeze.

    Ta-daaa!
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