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Thread: Share your 2018 mandolin challenges.

  1. #26
    Registered User Mike Scott's Avatar
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    Default Re: Share your 2018 mandolin challenges.

    I suck, so here goes:
    1. Learn some method to learn to play by ear
    2. Get up to tempo on ITM tunes
    3. Be able to seamlessly transition into/out of tremolo........
    Thanks, Mike


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  3. #27
    Registered User mandoweather's Avatar
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    Default Re: Share your 2018 mandolin challenges.

    As a newbie my list could be quite lengthy but specifically I want to focus on:
    1. Learning tremolo
    2. Finger planting
    3. Avoiding the temptation to try and play tunes fast before I learn to play them slow(er) and accurately.
    Bill

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  5. #28
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Share your 2018 mandolin challenges.

    Quote Originally Posted by dhergert View Post
    Not at all to say I've reached any point of satisfaction with my mandolin playing, but we've just had a new arrival. I want to get to know this baby better:
    Interesting. Is that an aluminum bass? Strange long tailpiece on it, too. Is it old or a modern instrument?
    Jim

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  6. #29
    Lurkist dhergert's Avatar
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    Default Re: Share your 2018 mandolin challenges.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    Interesting. Is that an aluminum bass? Strange long tailpiece on it, too. Is it old or a modern instrument?
    Hi Jim,

    It's ca. 1933, Alcoa aluminum bass #342 (of roughly 500). It has been custom restored and hot-rodded by Deuce Bases in California. The bridge and tailpiece parts were produced and installed by Deuce Bases.

    In this case, the custom restoration was because the base was in pretty bad shape and needed a number of structural repairs. Once done, the whole bass was powder coated silver to reduce aluminum's normal temperature conductivity, sound insulation was added to the inside back to reduce the metalic sound, a new sedua fingerboard was added and the modern hardware was added. It currently has low tension "shark leader" kevlar core strings on it. During repairs there was also a trap-door added to the right inset to allow sufficient internal access.

    The bridge and tailpiece are sort of steam-punk looking, but very functional. The bridge has adjustable feet angles with the purpose of preventing bridge leaning and it has ebony feet and saddle. Both the bridge and tailpiece bodies are aluminum, powder coated gold.

    Even though I really don't play bass in public yet, we've had the bass with us here at the Great 48 Bluegrass Festival in Bakersfield California this week. A number of experienced bass players have played it and it sounds remarkably good. Lots of volume and low bass growl.

    Mandolin content (finally, sorry)... There were lots of excellent mandolin players here at the Great 48. I made my way around with my mandolin when I wasn't playing banjo. I'm still shy about it, but my mandolin playing is starting to sound better and I actually got some nice comments. More practice, more playing in public needed.
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    Last edited by dhergert; Jan-14-2018 at 1:02pm.
    -- Don

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  8. #30
    Registered User Tom Wright's Avatar
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    Default Re: Share your 2018 mandolin challenges.

    My technical goal is working to always have a fine tone, through improved pick control and fretting accuracy. Repertoire goal is learn more jazz tunes. Professional goal is gigs in my area before I get too old.

    The goal of tone depends on developing good control of dynamics and timing, whether digging in or dancing across the strings. As I get better at this, I find I can better fit with the other players. More pick/dynamic control means I can play along at very low level, and then poke out a few notes with power. It means I can adjust to uneven tempo or timing from others (or myself) without losing the smooth phrase delivery.

    As I learn new tunes, I understand other ones better. The tricks and chord choices I found for a previous tunes have uses in the new tunes, and problems found in the new ones can lead to solutions for other tunes. And as I know more tunes, the chance of being useful to other players (and audiences) grows.

    I'm living in the DC area now, and there are a lot of venues--and lots of players and groups. I don't know if I can enter that scene but I still have time left and I'm working hard at it. Hands and ears mostly work, I can perform standing for hours if needed, and I can handle several genres. This time next year I hope to have regular gigs to play the songs and tunes I love.
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  9. #31
    Registered User Rosemary Philips's Avatar
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    Default Re: Share your 2018 mandolin challenges.

    Great thread!

    1. Know the notes on the fretboard at a glance.
    2. Know the major and minor arpeggios for G, A, B, C, D, E, and F--major and minor.
    3. Know the double stops for the above keys.
    4. Be able to improvise on the fly--at least in G, A, C, and D.

  10. #32
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    Default Re: Share your 2018 mandolin challenges.

    Iíve only been at it for about 3 months, so my goal for 2018 is pretty much EVERYTHING...

    But my most immediate goals are to learn the major, minor, and 7th 3-string chords along the fingerboard in the main keys I play in (A,D,G,C); become more fluid with my picking; learn many of my favorite fiddle tunes on mando; and, most of all, prepare myself for total mando immersion in July at the CROMA (Rocky Mountain Old-Time Music) festival.

  11. #33

    Default Re: Share your 2018 mandolin challenges.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rosemary Philips View Post
    Great thread!

    1. Know the notes on the fretboard at a glance.
    2. Know the major and minor arpeggios for G, A, B, C, D, E, and F--major and minor.
    3. Know the double stops for the above keys.
    4. Be able to improvise on the fly--at least in G, A, C, and D.
    That would do it for me! Would probably take a year and quitting my job to do it.
    Collings MF Gloss Top mandolin, Kentucky KM-1000 mandolin, Godin A-8 electric mandolin, Pono Ukulele, Gold Tone PBS Signature Resonator guitar, Martin/Taylor 6 & 12 string acoustic guitars, Les Paul/ES-335/LP Jr./Strat/Tele elec guitars.

  12. #34
    Registered User bluegrasser78's Avatar
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    Default Re: Share your 2018 mandolin challenges.

    Try not to buy anymore mandolins! OOOPS to late!

  13. #35
    Registered User foldedpath's Avatar
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    Default Re: Share your 2018 mandolin challenges.

    I'm not aspiring to any great improvement in technique this year, so it will mostly be just learning new tunes. I've reached a stage in life where I'll just be happy if I can maintain what I've got, and avoid backsliding!

  14. #36
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    Default Re: Share your 2018 mandolin challenges.

    Quote Originally Posted by bluegrasser78 View Post
    Try not to buy anymore mandolins! OOOPS to late!
    I'll take that challenge. Waiting on a new 3 point. But after that, absolutely, well pretty sure... no more mandolins in 2018

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  16. #37
    Registered User mbruno's Avatar
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    Default Re: Share your 2018 mandolin challenges.

    Goals for this year include:
    1) Getting in to Irish music before my first trip to Ireland
    2) Playing my John Mann 5 String more in a band setting
    3) Learn at least 20 new tunes before Greyfox (July)
    4) Write at least 10 songs this year (and play a few at jams)
    5) Learn more chord melody tricks for solo playing

    Quote Originally Posted by dhergert View Post
    I'm still shy about it, but my mandolin playing is starting to sound better and I actually got some nice comments. More practice, more playing in public needed.
    Don, it was a lot of fun jamming with you guys. I don't think you have much to be shy about! Play on!!!!

  17. #38
    Registered User Cindy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Share your 2018 mandolin challenges.

    Learn 2-3 licks in G, C, D, A and successfully combine them with double stops in my breaks. I found learning one lick in G, even if I don't play it as I learned it (which happens most often!) gives my fingers new info to work with in real time.

    Learn a buncha new fiddle tunes while not neglecting my old ones.

  18. #39

    Default Re: Share your 2018 mandolin challenges.

    Learn Paganini's Caprices.

  19. #40
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    Default Re: Share your 2018 mandolin challenges.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cindy View Post
    Learn 2-3 licks in G, C, D, A and successfully combine them with double stops in my breaks. I found learning one lick in G, even if I don't play it as I learned it (which happens most often!) gives my fingers new info to work with in real time.
    If you know a few fiddle tunes you already know a bunch usable licks that you can use in new songs. I like to improvise on Devils Dream using bits of all the songs I know in A and even bits of the tunes I know in D raised one string. Think question and answer. Ask a question with a musical bit from another tune and answer it with a bit from the tune you're playing. Opening lines and closing lines etc from fiddle tunes you already know are great usable licks. It's kinda fun and teaches you to steal and use what your fingers already know.

  20. #41
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Share your 2018 mandolin challenges.

    Quote Originally Posted by Macabre View Post
    Learn Paganini's Caprices.
    Yikes... really? All of them. That would be seriously impressive.

    This one seems (No. 20) particularly mandolinistic especailly played in duo style by my friend Ralf Leenen.



    I think No. 24 is one of the more famous and sounds pretty good in duet here:



    This one, No. 16, is just scary.

    Jim

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  21. #42

    Default Re: Share your 2018 mandolin challenges.

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffD View Post
    ... "what do I want to be able to do in December 2018 that I presently cannot do?" ...
    Learn to sight-read bass clef while playing a fretted instrument.

    I can read bass clef ok on piano, no problem there - although sloooowly until I know the piece, whereupon the written music serves merely as a casual reminder of what to play.

    But I'd never even tried to read bass clef for a fretted instrument until just the other day, that was when I realized my deficiency.

    It seems that on the piano, I developed a memory association between the notes on the staff and the actual *location* of the corresponding key on the piano keyboard - a visual thing.

    Of course I do know the note names as well, that's not an issue, but the note names are not the first thing that comes to mind when I see a note in the bass clef - instead, I instantly 'see' or visualize where that note is on a piano keyboard. Not much use for fretted instruments!

    I'm apparently going to need to work at it some, to get the muscle memory to make the fingers automatically go to the right spot on my CGDAE mini classical guitar that I've been exploring bass-line possibilities with. Unlike my electric, on this acoustic guitar I mostly use only the low C, G, and D strings because its other strings don't sound very good (cheap guitar).

    So that's one of the things on my radar this year.

    Benefit:

    If I could read the bass lines "as is", then I wouldn't have to transpose them to treble clef (8vb or whatever) where I can read them easily just like a fiddle tune or something. Transposing them is actually super easy, using software (I use MuseScore 2.1), so I'm not sure there would be a great deal of time-saving, but it's kind of just the principle of the thing. Lol.

    Of course another obvious solution, which I've used some already, is to just also make a linked TAB staff while writing out the standard-notation bass notes. Again that's easy to do in MuseScore, a simple solution, which would have me just reading the tab instead of the standard notation. But that almost seems too easy...

    I've never relied exclusively on tab before and I'm not sure I want to start now... and there might be things I want to read/play where I don't want to bother with first putting it into MuseScore to create the tab. For instance, impromptu reading of 4-part harmonies for songs, where presumably I might want to play just the bass line or portions of it (assuming no one else is already covering the bass line in the instrumental portions), reading it off of the written page without any previous practice.

    But no, I will never - never! - learn alto clef. Nope. I don't care how practical it might be for certain instruments (mandocellos & such, I think? the CGDA-tuned thing), I don't want to know. Ignorance is bliss! No alto clef for me. If I can't figure out how to use the two clefs I'm already familiar with (even though the bass clef reading needs work as mentioned above), I'll just do without. [stubborn pouting]
    Last edited by JL277z; Jan-23-2018 at 11:54pm. Reason: Senior moment. I wrote "mandola" when I meant "mandocello". Fixed.

  22. #43
    Registered User Mando Mort's Avatar
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    Default Re: Share your 2018 mandolin challenges.

    Learn to Improvise well enough to play mandolin instead of guitar when I get together with my recording/jamming friends.

  23. #44

    Default Re: Share your 2018 mandolin challenges.

    I bought a copy of Niles Hokkanen's Pentatonic Mandolin book, and I want to finish the whole book and incorporate it into my playing.

  24. #45
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    Default Re: Share your 2018 mandolin challenges.

    This question hits the nail on the head for me. I pretty much stopped playing for about 6 months, because I joined Mike Marshall's mandolin school on Artistworks and he is incredibly good at diagnosing fundamental problems. That doesn't make much sense, does it? I stopped because I found a great teacher? Problem is my right hand mechanics were/are SO off...engaging my thumb on the downstroke, too wide an arc in my stroke, feeling the pulse in 4/4 instead of 2/4 being the three biggest issues. I found that actually *playing* the mandolin was counterproductive, just reinforcing bad habits. So my plan was to just do some exercises for a few minutes each day until I retrained muscle memory, and use the extra time to sink into what I'm actually (kind of) good at, which is fingerpicking country blues guitar (Mississippi John Hurt, Frank Stokes, Elizabeth Cotten, etc.). But then I got really into fingerpicking and lost interest in mandolin, and then I started monkeying around with clawhammer banjo, and the mandolin just sat there gathering dust. Now I'm back at it, and my challenges are:
    1) Keep playing!
    2) Disengage the thumb!
    3) Economy of right hand motion!
    4) Feel that 2/4 pulse, be less of a damn robot, make it danceable (or at least listenable) for God's sake!
    I'm still at the point where it's mostly a matter of exercises, which includes fragments of fiddle tunes I know, but as soon as I try to run through entire tunes bad stuff starts creeping back in.

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  26. #46
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    Default Re: Share your 2018 mandolin challenges.

    1) To create a structured practice system and practice every day.
    2) Find an instructor/Mentor to guide me

  27. #47

    Default Re: Share your 2018 mandolin challenges.

    I've got lots of woodwind experience, but I'm still a mando duffer at best - so I've started up with Mike Marshall's online classes.... That was the easy part.
    Now have a goal of getting at least four practice sessions in per week, usually between 45-60 minutes.
    For the left hand - getting all the buzzes out of the G string, and getting smoother and quicker chord changes.
    For the right hand - stop tensing up and getting smooth picking across any string. Pick both strings, instead of catching in between both of them.

    And playing *#&^!ing Blackberry Blossum three times cleanly at speed without screwing up or stopping!!!

    Khat

  28. #48
    Registered User Mandolincelli's Avatar
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    Default Re: Share your 2018 mandolin challenges.

    I'm still working on playing relaxed and staying relaxed!

  29. #49
    Registered User Mike Snyder's Avatar
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    Default Re: Share your 2018 mandolin challenges.

    Need to work on some pick direction issues.
    Mike Snyder

  30. #50
    Cambridge Mandolinist Daniel Nestlerode's Avatar
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    Default Re: Share your 2018 mandolin challenges.

    My challenge to myself is to put a third CD this year. But make it all or mostly original music. (My first two CDs are evenly split between trad material and original material.)

    I started last year with an original Christmas song. So far I've got that and another song written and recorded.

    I finished an original fiddle tune a couple days ago, and I've got two more songs in the beginning stages. When those are sorted, I'll go back into the studio.

    I've put a cover song in the can just in case. Another goal is to develop a presence in France, so the cover song is in French. (My French isn't yet good enough to write lyrics.) I don't know if it will go on the CD, but I do plan to release it.

    The problem with this goal is that there are great trad songs I want record too! Ah well. First world problems.

    Daniel

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