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Thread: Next frontier: What's next after Mandolin???

  1. #1
    Lurkist dhergert's Avatar
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    Default Next frontier: What's next after Mandolin???

    Not at all to imply that anyone can be done learning on the mandolin, but when the time comes to also work on another instrument, what is it going to be?

    Here on the Cafe' I recently noticed a number of people mentioning they were considering getting a double bass; probably the reason I noticed this is that I was one of them. It has me wondering how many people pick up another instrument after, or really in parallel with playing the mandolin...

    The mandolin prepares a person for a lot of things... Standard tuning is similar to many violin family instruments, fretwork concepts are similar to a lot of fretted instruments, flatpicking is useful with a number of stringed instruments, calluses acquired while playing mandolin can help most stringed instruments. There are probably lots of other benefits in this regard.

    So what other instrument has mandolin helped prepare you for, and how?

    Thoughts?

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    Default Re: Next frontier: What's next after Mandolin???

    Well truth, I started on banjer, in my teens. My brains had not fully developed. Then of course guitar because, well in the day, everybody played guitar. Then in '03, fiddle and mandolin kinda together, I was thirty. Then at fifty-something, pianer. If one continues to play Music, I believe everything helps everything. The device/tool becomes less and less significant.

    I've considered the bass. Practiced figures with the heavy strings on the guitar. Practiced left hand figures on the piano. It's tuff to do alone. Then, like a drummer, one gets stuck behind the drums, a bassist gets stuck behind a bass all night. Now, just from those two sentences, if I think that way, it tells me I should leave them alone.

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    Registered User Kevin Stueve's Avatar
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    Default Re: Next frontier: What's next after Mandolin???

    Bagpipes or didgeridoo. But my wife says NOPE
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    Default Re: Next frontier: What's next after Mandolin???

    I've become interested in getting a taishogoto from Japan, basically an interesting cross between a typewriter and a dulcimer. The didgeridoo talk also has me interested.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Next frontier: What's next after Mandolin???

    Re "stuck behind drums/bass"

    That's primarily what I gigged with over my career - possibly because I didn't want to play with people/bands with poor time, but possibly as much because I wanted to play lots!

    But, yes, hauling a kit is no fun. Bass, imo, is the most fun/interesting/engaging...but then, I'm a drummer so I love rhythm.

    *Fwiw, guzheng is for me the most expressive plucked stringed instrument. I once felt this way toward pedal steel, but I'm done hauling heavy gear.

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    Registered User Ky Slim's Avatar
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    Default Re: Next frontier: What's next after Mandolin???

    Recently, I've been interested in learning the piano. Not sure why. My favorite instruments to listen to are the flute, fiddle and square neck dobro. I'll avoid those 3 for sure...

  7. #7

    Default Re: Next frontier: What's next after Mandolin???

    Getting a bass is a sure fire way to play with people,me specially

    You will be able to play with people sooner on a bass than any other instrument. But do be aware, your neighbors will hear you. I had a jazz band practicing next door for a while. Piano, sax, bass, and drums. They did a pretty good job soundproofing the garage, but the bass still came through. I think you'd have to float a floor and build interior walls to stop that low end from escaping.

    I've been thinking of an upright electric to learn on.
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    Registered User Tom Wright's Avatar
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    Default Re: Next frontier: What's next after Mandolin???

    Not only are you asked to play more often, but it will be across more genres. Bass (if we include electric and upright) is used in rock, pop, metal, hip-hop, classical, jazz, old time and bluegrass (to name a few). Not wanted in Celtic, but that's about the only genre that seems to actively exclude bass. Choro doesn't use it much, but choro players that branch out into jazzier explorations use bass, both upright and electric.

    Everything goes better with bass.

    In my case, though, I'm dropping other interests. I haven't played viola for a few years, gave up on guitar many years ago, haven't played bass since the 70s. It's narrowing down to acoustic and electric 10-string. Even my 5-string is getting no love. 10 is all, all is 10.
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    Registered User foldedpath's Avatar
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    Default Re: Next frontier: What's next after Mandolin???

    Two years ago I decided to try learning Irish flute. "Irish" meaning a reproduction of a 19th Century wooden conical bore flute, without keys, not a silver Boehm flute. I wanted to dive a little deeper into some areas of Irish/Scottish traditional music that the mandolin isn't best suited for, like more advanced ornamentation, slower tunes, etc.

    I'm not giving up mandolin, this is just a different perspective on the music. It's also LOUDER than mandolin, which doesn't hurt in sessions.

    I can't say mandolin prepared me in any way for it. At least in the mechanical sense, because flute is so different. Not the way 30+ years of guitar playing prepared me for mandolin. But mandolin was an entry point for getting interested in Irish/Scottish "fiddle tunes," because all that stuff lays out so easily on our little pseudo-fiddles. Having a bunch of trad tunes in my head makes it easier to find the same tunes on flute.

    Now if I could just learn to play the darned thing well enough. The learning curve is steep on this thing. Matt Molloy, I ain't.

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    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Next frontier: What's next after Mandolin???

    I do understand, but I can't relate. I cannot conceive of "moving on".

    The mandolin is reborn with every increment in progress I make. I learn about dots, or positions, or double stops, or just some new symmetry of note locations, or just a new and different kind of pick, and the entire instrument is brand new to me, glistening with possibility.

    There is a feedback mechanism in my brain - the more I learn about playing mandolin the more i want to learn. The more I see benefit to practicing the more I want to practice, the more tunes I learn the more tunes I want to learn. And, unfortunately, the more mandolins I own the more I want to own.

    I have pursued other instruments, most successfully the fiddle, but it still feels to me like a fretless single string mandolin you are not allowed to pick. And the guitar, which feels like a huge single string mandolin with things moved around arbitrarily. Neither clicks with me.

    I cannot ever see the mandolin becoming boring or taken for granted. First of all I am not good enough - so there is always enough struggle with technique to keep me hooked and working and trying to figure things out. Secondly, success with a tune or a phrase or a technique is so sweet, I can't imagine having the patience it takes before I can make such pleasing sounds on another instrument. And third the mandolin has just that right amount of anti-establishment musician feel to it so that nobody will confuse me with a trend follower, while not so out there people think I live off the grid and eat the brains out of hand caught fish.


    I would think it more common when it is the genre that motivates you. I can see a bluegrasser wanting to master banjo and bass. Or a klezmer player taking up clarinet, or choro player taking up pandeiro. I have always enjoyed playing the mandolin more than playing any particular music on the mandolin.

    But I get it. And go for it. The idea that one has been able, even in a small way, to "conquer" any musical instrument emboldens one to follow curiosity and try stuff.

    What's next for me, after mandolin? I sincerely hope there is never an "after mandolin" phase of my life.
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    Default Re: Next frontier: What's next after Mandolin???

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffD View Post
    ...the mandolin has just that right amount of anti-establishment musician feel to it so that nobody will confuse me with a trend follower...
    Even "anti-trend" tends to become a trend

    Yes, the music brings us in - I wanted to play cajun, bal-musette, balkan, boogie woogie, baiao, chamame, gypsy, old gaelic, scand, han...for me, this entailed learning the instruments, as i found mndln insufficient to execute this music. (Accordian is a happy "medium" - as it lets me play about half of it on a little box )

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    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Next frontier: What's next after Mandolin???

    Quote Originally Posted by catmandu2 View Post
    as i found mandolin insufficient to execute this music.
    I think that explains many who go from mandolin to violin. Its seeking greater expressive range.
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    Default Re: Next frontier: What's next after Mandolin???

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffD View Post
    I think that explains many who go from mandolin to violin. Its seeking greater expressive range.
    And btw, that's how I became a fiddler - I got a double case so I could break out fdl in public knowing if it went bad I could redeem myself with mndln ... this advanced my fiddling more than anything.

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    Default Re: Next frontier: What's next after Mandolin???

    Not to be left out is the vocal element too. Mandolin walks that line between accompaniment and melodic/lead. Violin, not so much. Banjer, guitar, piano, again can swing either way. Some songs, i'll sing through several times just to listen to the different accompaniments. Accidently keeps my chops up. Pathetic, I know.

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    Default Re: Next frontier: What's next after Mandolin???

    I was given a mandolin when I was born,started piano at age 5,played the flute and picolo,started the 5 string banjo and mandolin,then went to serious guitar and mandolin,now added fiddle, and now just serious mandolin,that covers 62 years of music,,I'm not through with the mandolin,for a guy that plays "to many notes" it's perfect for me,,but when my fingers wear out and go whammy on me, I'll maybe switch back to electric guitar..maybe...

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    Some Ability - No Talent MikeZito's Avatar
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    Default Re: Next frontier: What's next after Mandolin???

    My musical chain went like this:

    - Recorder (had to play in 3rd grade - failure)
    - Trombone (failure)
    - Electric Bass (passable)
    - Acoustic & Electric Guitar(s) (passable)
    - Kazoo (broke the first day)
    - Drums (rudimentary)
    - Keyboards (rudimentary)
    - Harmonica (failure)
    - Banjo (failure)
    - Various Hand Percussion (passable)
    - Accordion (failure)
    - Pedal Steel Guitar (failure)
    - Mandolin (rudimentary)
    - Violin (failure)
    - Lap Steel (still working on it, but not going too well)
    - Ukulele (not enough time put in, yet)

    Next? Maybe I can find a decent, inexpensive, dobro and transfer my lap steel training to an acoustic instrument - or, maybe I should just (finally) concentrate on learning to play one instrument well!
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    Registered User bjewell's Avatar
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    Default Re: Next frontier: What's next after Mandolin???

    I play 10-button Cajun Accordion. It is the perfect foil to the mandolin. Great music and the instrument is a gas to play...

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B7bw2fqgSXk

    Below is the real deal. Sheryl and Russell are wonderful country folks and she can really play and Russell sings it right.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vEtL01thlL0

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    Registered User foldedpath's Avatar
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    Default Re: Next frontier: What's next after Mandolin???

    Quote Originally Posted by catmandu2 View Post
    And btw, that's how I became a fiddler - I got a double case so I could break out fdl in public knowing if it went bad I could redeem myself with mndln ... this advanced my fiddling more than anything.
    Exactly! I'm doing the same thing with Irish flute. I have a small Hercules mandolin stand with a jury-rigged flute holder clamped to the side. When there is something that comes up in a session I can't play well enough on flute, I have the mandolin right there to play the tunes with more authority.

  22. #19
    Mandolin user MontanaMatt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Next frontier: What's next after Mandolin???

    I’m working on guitar
    My fingers are tough enough, but the angels are so different.
    And none of the motor memory help on bit.
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    Registered User John Flynn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Next frontier: What's next after Mandolin???

    I started with guitar for 20 years and never thought I would move on from that. But I started mandolin and after 25 years, I've never looked back. Here are my other forays into instruments and how they went:
    • Harmonica: I picked up a Jon Gindick "Learn to Play Harmonica" kit at an airport gift store many, many years ago. I really liked it right from the start. I still play and keep buying more harps. It is a blast. I'm not advanced, but what I can play I play really well. I can also improvise on rock and blues.
    • Lap Dulcimer: My wife always said she wanted to learn it, so I built her a McSpadden "Sweet Song" kit in secret as a Christmas present. Despite taking lessons, she didn't continue with it. Now I play it. Again, I'm not advanced on it, but what I can play, I play pretty well.
    • Octave Mandolin: A great instrument and learning to play it really activated my pinky for regular mandolin. I play it almost as much as mandolin.
    • Tenor banjo: GDAE, so not a big transition, but a lot of fun.
    • Bodhran: A complete bust. I never showed any talent for it and lost interest.
    • Electric mandolin: Not a stretch, but I never warmed up to it.
    • Electric bass: Another bust. I did OK, but just never got any real traction on it.

    What I still would like to try:
    • Fiddle
    • Tin whistle
    • Harmonium
    • Tenor guitar in GDAE. Not a big transition. This one I will probably actually do.

    I'd also like to circle back on electric guitar, which I haven't played in years.

  24. #21
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Next frontier: What's next after Mandolin???

    I am interesting in all instruments but picked up fiddle and mandolin simultaneously in 1974 and mostly stuck to them. Before that I played piano and guitar. Most of the fretted instruments I can pretty much play as long as i can figure out what the tuning is. Viola is close enough to violin but just requires different intonation. I can frail a banjo decently but it is not my first choice in a session and have loads of friends who are much better on old time banjo. I used to play upright bass but that was long ago tho I can still get around an electric fretted bass.

    In more recent years I have tried Dobro, lapsteel guitar, nyckelharpa and various flutes and recorders but I think it is realistic for me to stick to what I know and pretty much stick to fiddle, mandolin, guitar and sometimes uke. Of course, i do flit around on various genres on those instruments. Oh well...
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    Isolated enthusiast Caleb's Avatar
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    Default Re: Next frontier: What's next after Mandolin???

    To me the fiddle is the ultimate stringed instrument, and I’d love to be able to play one. My wife has a “violin” and I honestly can’t make heads or tails of it. I often try to play phrases and things on the mandolin the way someone would on a fiddle. But I’m pretty content with playing the mandolin and guitar. Cool thread, BTW...
    ...

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    Default Re: Next frontier: What's next after Mandolin???

    Next month I pick up one of these, a lightweight, very slightly simplified clarinet (that is in the key of C instead of B-flat). Have I ever played a note on a reed instrument (not unless you count harmonicas); have I even held any reed instrument in the last forty-five years (no). But it's inexpensive (under US$150), designed to make learning easier - and 'they' say the more exercise an old brain gets, the less likely it is to fall victim to senility. I can only hope.

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    Default Re: Next frontier: What's next after Mandolin???

    Oud?
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    Registered User bluegrasser78's Avatar
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    Default Re: Next frontier: What's next after Mandolin???

    I tried fiddle but I may as well be beating a cat! No I got a few things to sound good but no time to put into it! I lost a bunch of mando time being on deathbed sick-literally. Much better now but with kids, baby boy and 5 year old little girl, I'm sure some of you know the deal. I have a banjo and every now and then will pick it up and well I still remember rolls that granddad taught me back in 94. I started out on guitar and sometimes fool around with that, I used to be pretty good on the old Martin and not too bad on the Tele when I went through my Clarence White faze. I just need more time but kids are great and well that's why were here! In the words of the good book that my Gramps took to heart BIG TIME "Be fruit full and multiply!" I miss Big Bill Smith. By the way are any of you related to me?? LOL!

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