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Thread: it's weird going back to guitar now -

  1. #1
    bass player gone mando
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    Default it's weird going back to guitar now -

    We probably all progressed through various musical instruments. As a kid I was introduced to piano and drums first, then taught myself guitar and became pretty good at it, but bass guitar gradually became co-equal with guitar (a story in itself). Later in life, after the kids were all out of the house, I decided to drop guitar and learn upright bass and mandolin to go along with bass guitar. I don't regret that call - upright bass, mando and bass guitar are a skill set that leads to a lot of calls for gigs.

    But ... every Christmas I have a guitar gig, which is leading all the Christmas and holiday songs at a big Christmas Eve party at our house. Now, I could do this on mando (or mandola), but there are some things that a guitar is very suitable for, and this is one of them. That said, pulling out the guitar this year - man, it just feels weird. I'm used to four strings tuned in fourths, or four courses of strings tuned in fifths - and picking up this six-string instrument that has a rando string tuned in thirds ... yeah, I can still play it, but gotta say it feels a little odd as time goes on. I keep feeling like I should turn it upside down and then all the mando fingerings will kick in.

    And this was once my primary instrument!
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  2. #2
    Registered User John Flynn's Avatar
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    Default Re: it's weird going back to guitar now -

    I played guitar for 20 years before my now 25 years on mandolin. I wound up in a church choir with four six-string guitar players. Pretty boring. So I bought a cheap mandolin and within a year I had upgraded to a better one and it was my main instrument. Since then I've picked up harmonica, lap dulcimer and tenor banjo. I tried my hand at bass guitar and the bodhran drum, but I just couldn't click with either of them.

    When I pick up a guitar, it takes me a few minutes to get back into it, but it comes back pretty quick. I still choose guitar for accompanying myself singing, which I don't do very often. The guitar's pitch seems to support vocals better than mandolin or even octave mandolin and most of the chords can be done in first position, Not having to deal with positions is one less thing to think about when singing. Also, there are some fun, classic licks that just don't sound the same on any other instrument.

  3. #3
    but that's just me Bertram Henze's Avatar
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    Default Re: it's weird going back to guitar now -

    What I always thought - a guitar is a mandolin done wrong.

    If I had nothing but a guitar, thus shut off from consequent tuning and stuck with two unneccessary extra strings, I'd make the jump to total open tuning and do DADGAD, then it would at least give me back some of the resonances it took away from me.
    the world is better off without bad ideas, good ideas are better off without the world

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    Registered User Eric Platt's Avatar
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    Default Re: it's weird going back to guitar now -

    Yup. It can feel weird. Even though I've only been concentrating on mandolin since April, still can feel strange grabbing the guitar. Have to re-set a few things in my brain. That said, except for my band, most folks still think of me as a guitar player. So, depending on who shows up at a jam session, usually have to pull out the guitar to satisfy the fiddlers.

    Then again, I just found out about having a photo of myself in a national historical society magazine. And what am I playing? Guitar, of course. The fiddler wanted to hear my guitar playing and when he did, told me to stay on guitar during that session.

    So it goes.
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    Mediocre but OK with that Paul Busman's Avatar
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    Default Re: it's weird going back to guitar now -

    Get a tenor guitar and tune it GDAE. Problem solved, and you KNOW you want one.
    For wooden musical fun that doesn't involve strumming, check out:
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    Handcrafted pennywhistles in exotic hardwoods.

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  8. #6

    Default Re: it's weird going back to guitar now -

    I've noticed since I started playing mandolin that some mandolin-style tremolos have subconsciously crept into my guitar playing.

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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: it's weird going back to guitar now -

    My guitar playing changed drastically after I started playing mandolin. I was a finger style guitarist. I'm pretty much a flat picker now as opposed to being a sharp picker.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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  12. #8
    Be Wild Zach Wilson's Avatar
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    Default Re: it's weird going back to guitar now -

    I remember the chords, notes and strumming/picking (although I do those two a differently now). I have a hard time remembering to use good form and posture while doing them.

    I am actually thinking on doing the tenor guitar thing. Or getting a smaller guitar. Because playing (which is very rare) my big dreadoaught guitar gives me wrist and elbow discomfort.

  13. #9
    but that's just me Bertram Henze's Avatar
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    Default Re: it's weird going back to guitar now -

    Beside a TG, an OM could replace the guitar. It can even be played finger-style (with fingerpicks and a thumb-pick, that is).
    the world is better off without bad ideas, good ideas are better off without the world

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  15. #10

    Default Re: it's weird going back to guitar now -

    I just sold my last guitar. This is the first time in 35 years that I haven't had a guitar. I use the guitar bodied octave mandolin for guitarish stuff.

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    Gummy Bears and Scotch BrianWilliam's Avatar
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    Default Re: it's weird going back to guitar now -

    Maybe it's time for an octave mandolin.

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  19. #12

    Default Re: it's weird going back to guitar now -

    I find that when one plays several instruments, each should be played daily, if possible.

    That is, of course, assuming one still is committed to them.
    I too went almost all mando for about five years, trying to immerse myself to get over "guitar translation", and thinking in "mando", as well as speeding my ability.

    I find that daily play makes those blind reaches up different length necks easy. Not so much if you get rusty.

    I think too, its really important to play non mando with others to stay familiar with ones bag of tricks, and, for the different fit of each instrument.

    I play guitar and banjo a bit alike. That is, rhythmically.

    Bass and mando are different, and all take a different bit of my brain to play and sing.

    I find the physical auto pilot instrument body connection can be unique to a song, ie when im on auto pilot with a song i sing and play on mando, i may have to "transpose" if i then try the same tune on banjo or bass, ie my bod is connected to the mando, but not the others.

    Its hard to beat solo guitar for singing accompaniment. Never feel like solo mando is as full. I do occasionally sing solo parts like intros, with mando, but i never feel like it has the legs, ie register too close or higher than my voice.

    I know Sam and Sierra and others may feel differently.

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  21. #13
    Gibson F5L Gibson A5L
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    Default Re: it's weird going back to guitar now -

    Pick up your guitar more often .... instruments do get lonely you know ... but yeah fourths and fifths , backward and forwards, it can get confusing for a moment when I put one down and pick another one up ..... so I try to keep it simple until I get into the groove .... find more reasons to pick up a guitar ... making backing recordings is one way.. R/
    I love hanging out with mandolin nerds . . . . . Thanks peeps ...

  22. #14

    Default Re: it's weird going back to guitar now -

    After a life of uber gtr, and having eschewed all my electrics and amps, there's but one thing I still do about once a year with a gtr - play Keith Richards tunes on a duolian - the last vestiges of what started it all for me 50 years whilom. There's "no call" for it these days. Yes it's a bit weird to not be a guitar player, after a lifetime of identity with it.

  23. #15
    Confused... or?
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    Default Re: it's weird going back to guitar now -

    Frequently switch between guitar and mandolin, but...

    I fell into a too-good-to-pass-up Martin tiple several years ago, a cross between baritone uke and 12-string guitar: 4 courses of 10 strings, w/ octaves & re-entrant "low" course, strung 2-3-3-2. BUT, those 4 courses of multiple strings keep my fingers wanting keep reach for mandolin chords!
    - Ed

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  24. #16
    Scroll Lock Austin Bob's Avatar
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    Default Re: it's weird going back to guitar now -

    I played guitar for 20 years before picking up the mando. For the last 25 years, it's been the instrument I play most.

    I play in a choir that has 1-2 guitars, but when the leader is out, I have to step in on the guitar. That's when it gets hard. It's much easier to be a sideman than it is to direct, and besides, I'm short a mandolin player when I lead. I have to make sure I practice everything so I can hit the Eb and the C#m when needed, but it all comes back very quickly.

    I still keep the guitar out and play it regularly, just not nearly as often as the mandolin.
    A quarter tone flat and a half a beat behind.

  25. #17
    Registered User Jill McAuley's Avatar
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    Default Re: it's weird going back to guitar now -

    I too played guitar for 20+ years prior to picking up the mandolin. I pretty much stopped playing guitar once my obsession with mandolin/tenor banjo started. For awhile I found it weird to adjust when I'd switch from the mandolin to playing my tenor banjo as the scale length would throw me off. Now I hardly notice when switching between the two.

  26. #18

    Default Re: it's weird going back to guitar now -

    Like Zach, I find my Martin dreadnought just so heavy - but it does sound nice. But I love to be able to take a small, light instrument down from the wall that doesn't challenge my tennis elbow, and that's why Mandolin and Tenor guitar are great.
    "What's that funny guitar thing..?"

  27. #19
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    Default Re: it's weird going back to guitar now -

    I have found that my bandmates are not especially understanding when I explain "but that WAS a G chord - just that it was the mandolin G shape and that doesn't work so well on guitar."

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  29. #20
    bass player gone mando
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    Default Re: it's weird going back to guitar now -

    Thanks everyone for all the thoughtful replies! I do have an octave mando, but that's probably the instrument I'm least able on at the moment. This thread has got me craving a tenor guitar too!

    Nice to see there are other multi-instrumentalists out there who understand what I'm talking about. It's hard to make sure you are in practice on all of them. For example - I have a couple of nice fretless bass guitars, but I'm going to sell them, because fretless bass guitar is really a different instrument than fretted bass guitar - you have to practice the fingerings differently, and there are only so many fingerings I can practice. My current thought is to stick with upright, mandolin and 4-string fretted bass guitar. I feel like I can keep those three straight and go back and forth.

    That said, whoever mentioned playing your guitar enough so it doesn't get lonely ... there is some truth in that!
    Collings MT O
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    ... the guy I want to play like is Emory Lester

  30. #21
    Registered User zedmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: it's weird going back to guitar now -

    I love playing guitar, bass & mandolin--and have no plans to give up any of them.
    Although what feels weird to me is playign fretted bass--I bought a fretless bass almost four years ago--and it just feels more intuitive...

    Mandolin was almost three years ago.

    And I have played guitar & bass in church & mandolin in a band in a talent show--maybe one of these days I will play mandolin in church
    Would it save you a lot of time if I just gave up and went mad now?

  31. #22
    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
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    Default Re: it's weird going back to guitar now -

    A UK Cafe member who hasn't posted in a very long time, told me that for him,after having played mandolin,playing an acoustic guitar was like playing a wardrobe !. I agree. My own trouble is that the guitar is my favourite instrument (other than the Classical instruments),& i love every playing style. I just can't make my mind up what style to play,so 3 years back,i sold my acoustic guitar.
    I sorely miss not being able to pick it up & fingerpick for a while - but i never did when i had it !!.

    Recently,i've been oggling this 'used' Takamine 'parlour' guitar on sale not too far from me - but,would i play it if i bought it ?,
    Ivan
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  32. #23

    Default Re: it's weird going back to guitar now -

    Quote Originally Posted by Ivan Kelsall View Post
    A UK Cafe member who hasn't posted in a very long time, told me that for him,after having played mandolin,playing an acoustic guitar was like playing a wardrobe !. I agree. My own trouble is that the guitar is my favourite instrument (other than the Classical instruments),& i love every playing style. I just can't make my mind up what style to play,so 3 years back,i sold my acoustic guitar.
    I sorely miss not being able to pick it up & fingerpick for a while - but i never did when i had it !!.

    Recently,i've been oggling this 'used' Takamine 'parlour' guitar on sale not too far from me - but,would i play it if i bought it ?,
    Ivan
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    Its up to you.
    I find getting lessons can help ambivalence.
    It will force you to re-engage and focus.
    Even if you're very proficient.

    Otoh, it depends on how many things you are juggling.then it can become being spread too thinly. This happened to me a few weeks back, three bands, multiple gigs and set lists, AND, learning banjo, and singing and soloing on it. I felt a bit harried. I love banjo but felt i couldnt nurture it with the time i needed in order to integrate it into my musical "soul", ie getting to know it by exploration, as well as mindful practice.

    That Tak is beautiful. I can't imagine not having a guitar. For me, its the ONE instrument i must always have.

    'Sides that Ivan, its coming on Christmas, as Joni wrote, time for songs of joy and peace.....get it!

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  34. #24
    Registered User Jill McAuley's Avatar
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    Default Re: it's weird going back to guitar now -

    I'm the same as Ivan - I sold my guitars, but sometimes am still tempted when I see a nice one. I've thought about picking up one of the little Waterloo parlor guitars, just to have around to pick on, but again, have to wonder if it would just sit in it's case neglected.

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  36. #25
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: it's weird going back to guitar now -

    I've never felt bad about owning neglected instruments but my wife seems to have issues with it.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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