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Thread: Seeking advice on buying a 5-string mandolin

  1. #26

    Default Re: Seeking advice on buying a 5-string mandolin

    There’s some nice looking Mandolins on there. I do like the Mann and JLSmith ones. Plenty of demos of the Mann instruments on YouTube. Not sure on the Fender ones, I have played an eight string to be fair it was comfortable to play. But if you search through the forum you will find quite a few posts on pickup upgrades for the Fender I could see why I wasn’t entirely happy with the tone. Don’t let that put you off though I believe there are some very good direct replacements available which won’t break the bank.

  2. #27
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Seeking advice on buying a 5-string mandolin

    Here's a nice used Earnest Boomerang fanned-fret five-string (say that five times fast!). NFI, as usual!

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    Last edited by Jim Garber; Nov-12-2017 at 8:06pm.
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  3. #28
    Registered User colorado_al's Avatar
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    Default Re: Seeking advice on buying a 5-string mandolin

    Bam! This looks like a sweet 5 string Mann.
    $1800
    https://www.mandolincafe.com/ads/117480#117480
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  4. #29
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Seeking advice on buying a 5-string mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by mandroid View Post
    Fan fret would be Ideal ... longer scale for the C, shorter for the E to optimize tension on each..
    Yes. This.


    I would think that one would take advantage of this with guitars. I mean, with fan frets I would think you could tune a guitar in fourths all the way, at which point I might even be able to play the dern thing.
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  5. #30

    Default Re: Seeking advice on buying a 5-string mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by mandroid View Post
    Fan fret would be Ideal ... longer scale for the C, shorter for the E to optimize tension on each..
    Quote Originally Posted by JeffD View Post
    Yes. This.
    As I said, it sounds great on paper but doesn't work at all in practice. Try one out and report back.

    I don't understand what all the fuss is about the C string. With the proper gauge and setup I've had no problems at all with my Fender FM60E. Plays and sounds great.
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  6. #31
    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: Seeking advice on buying a 5-string mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Wright View Post
    But I do have a stock of go-to chords now, and arrangements of jazz tunes as well as some Americana songs. I am mainly working against my own aging clock to get as far as I can in playing skill before hands and fingers give out, but I suppose someone might want to read some stuff I know. I quail at the thought of trying to render my arrangements in tab, though, so I would have to stick to treble clef with extra ledger lines, and/or alto clef.
    Clef would be an issue, wouldn't it? I doubt a lot of people would want to learn to read alto so they can read your book, whether or not they should. Maybe switch between bass and treble.

    Sibelius will automatically generate mandolin tab for a standard mandolin. There might be a way of tweaking it for 5-string.

    If you want help with designing the book, and setting up the tab, in exchange for an arrangement to sell some copies on emando.com, send me a PM.
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  7. #32
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Seeking advice on buying a 5-string mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by Verne Andru View Post
    As I said, it sounds great on paper but doesn't work at all in practice. Try one out and report back.
    .
    Are you talking about problems with the instrument or with playing it?

    I have played on fan fret 10 string acoustic mandolin, and that for only about an hour or so.

    The intonation was perfect up and down side to side. I particularly liked how the strings all sounded like a family, similar tone characteristics across the instrument, similar feeling.

    What I didn't like was that it took a little getting used to.

    But... I found that after a while, if I just stopped thinking about it, and just went forward more intuitively, I got it. It took about 15 or 20 minutes, but after that everything seemed to be where my fingers thought it should be, in first position, and up the neck.

    (Note: I am a fret marker addict, even on conventional instruments. I orient myself and get around up the neck by the fret markers. The fret markers were even more important to me getting used to fan frets.)

    The aesthetics are cool, too, but take getting used to. The mind wants to conclude that the neck is twisted. I could see that the fan fret look might stick out in some playing situations.

    If I played another I think it would take a few minutes to get back into it, but eventually I could probably slip back and forth between fan frets and conventional frets without much problem. My speculation anyway.
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  8. #33
    Registered User Tavy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Seeking advice on buying a 5-string mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by Verne Andru View Post
    As I said, it sounds great on paper but doesn't work at all in practice. Try one out and report back.

    I don't understand what all the fuss is about the C string. With the proper gauge and setup I've had no problems at all with my Fender FM60E. Plays and sounds great.
    I'm sort of on both sides here: I agree that a properly set up C string on a standard 13 7/8" scale is just fine, possibly you could get a slightly sweeter tone from a longer/thinner C string, but even if you take the fan frets out to the max (about a 2" difference between top and bottom strings), the gauge doesn't go down that much.

    On the other hand... I play a long scale 10 string cittern with fan frets, and I simply do not notice the difference between that one and the other "regular" instruments I play. Other differences: scale length, nut width, neck shape etc make a much bigger difference to me.

    Just be aware that building and setting up a fan fret instrument is a lot more work.... a lot!

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