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Thread: Is trying to learn on a Harmony going to be more too frustrating?

  1. #26
    Registered User Tenzin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is trying to learn on a Harmony going to be more too frustrat

    I'm thinking that there are a few things at play. First and foremost is my lack of skill. I did measure the action and at the 12th fret the E string measures 0.9 " and the G is 1.1". The strings don't really 'ring' enough to do a simple hammer on / off. One place that does set-ups (and they didn't seemed all that thrilled about it) charges close to $100 to start.

    It's really a shame that I live in a suburban area (there's a Guitar Center and a Sam Ash within 15 miles) and a number of independent music stores but I have such a bad taste from when I went to buy a Martin. <shakes head> I had a budget of up to $5k and they ignored me. (And I specifically didn't go at a busy time and I made two trips to each store. I didn't keep it a secret what I was buying either.) I guess they don't work on commission.

    I'm on Long Island. I'll have to look into this more. One of the tougher things is that I broke my wrist on my dominant hand so it doesn't have the strength or dexterity, or I'd get 1/2 a dozen sets of strings and give it a go myself.

    If you smell smoke don't worry. It's just me thinking.

  2. #27
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is trying to learn on a Harmony going to be more too frustrat

    I might consider driving into Retrofret if I was you. I still mourn the loss of Mandolin Brothers on Staten Island.

    http://retrofret.com/
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  3. #28
    acoustically inert F-2 Dave's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is trying to learn on a Harmony going to be more too frustrat

    I've never personally let lack of skill interfere with a mandolin purchase. I just don't need that kind of negativity in my life.
    "Mongo only pawn in game of life." --- Mongo

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  5. #29
    Registered User Tenzin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is trying to learn on a Harmony going to be more too frustrat

    I am so tempted by this https://reverb.com/item/13509817-mor...-tone-sunburst . I know it doesn't have the bling, but everything I've read says it's a wonderful piece of work.

  6. #30
    Registered User Tenzin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is trying to learn on a Harmony going to be more too frustrat

    Quote Originally Posted by Tenzin View Post
    I am so tempted by this https://reverb.com/item/13509817-mor...-tone-sunburst . I know it doesn't have the bling, but everything I've read says it's a wonderful piece of work.
    It's ended since I posted this

  7. #31

    Default Re: Is trying to learn on a Harmony going to be more too frustrat

    Id suggest, just to hear and feel the difference, that you try a collings a...should be fairly easy to find.

  8. #32
    Registered User Roger Moss's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is trying to learn on a Harmony going to be more too frustrat

    It can't be as frustrating as trying to learn mandolin on a trumpet.
    When the sun beats down and I lie on the bench
    I can always hear them talk
    Me, I'm just a lawnmower - you can tell me by the way I walk

  9. #33
    Registered User Tenzin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is trying to learn on a Harmony going to be more too frustrat

    Quote Originally Posted by stevedenver View Post
    Id suggest, just to hear and feel the difference, that you try a collings a...should be fairly easy to find.
    It's hard to believe that between one Sam Ash, two Guitar Centers, RetroFit, and a bunch of independent stores, there are about a 1/2 dozen different mandolins, most being F-style (which while lovely, I don't think give me the best 'bang for my buck'. If the spirit moves me, I may just pull the trigger on a tried and true (Eastman, Kentucky, The Loar) at a place where I can be assured of an excellent setup (someplace like themandolnstore.com). I may just wait and see if something comes up here in the classifieds from someone reputable.

    Thanks for all the comments!

  10. #34
    Registered User Tenzin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is trying to learn on a Harmony going to be more too frustrat

    <screams> I went to Guitar Center and Sam Asch. I told them I wanted to spend 'around $1,000' and that I'd be happy with an A-shape and it could be used or shop-worn. One actually put a mandoln in my hands...sounded very nice. I asked how much and he said, "$3,500". I guess that's close to $1,000. Next stop I told them the same thing and the gentlemen pointed to a rack where they were locked but didn't bother to join me when I went over. What an economy where they don't even want your money.

    This is why I laugh when they talk about how internet stores 'stole' their business. Customer service costs practically nothing. Sachs is still in business while Woolworth is a memory.

  11. #35

    Default Re: Is trying to learn on a Harmony going to be more too frustrat

    You would do well to buy from a sponsor here.

    If you are the kind of person who sticks with something once they put their mind to it, up your game to a quality mandolin. I started on an Eastman MD 505, a good enough mandolin, but quickly moved up to my Silverangel. The 900 and above Kentuckys are pretty good, the lower end of the well known companies like Weber, Collings, Northfield, etc. are a notch above that. People love their Morris mandolins a lot too.

    Spend $1200 used and you'd start off with something you would love to spend time with. Your beginer's tunes will sound good, you'll want to play more, which just speeds up your progress. Knowing what I know now, and if you can afford it, a better mandolin is the way to go.

    Otherwise, get a KM 150 from a sponsor. It will play well and sound OK.
    Silverangel A
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    Arches F style kit
    1913 Gibson A-1

  12. #36
    Registered User Tenzin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is trying to learn on a Harmony going to be more too frustrat

    I have to thank everyone who has responded! So. I have properly placed the bridge. (Open string & 12 fret are now perfect octave's apart) And I've lowered the action. I even have a set of D'addario medium strings on their way. So far I've only invested my time (I actually enjoy learning) and a set of strings (or two). Small beans. I have to see if I can get it to where *I* can practice for a week or two regularly and get some basic scales (slow but sure) and basic hammer ons /pull offs sounding (to my ear) acceptable. I think if I get that far, then I can decide if I'm going to spend around 1k or not. I don't gig and I sing pretty poorly. I do have a very good memory and some music theory training (although not in violin tuned instruements). I have the proper tools to measure height so I'm ahead of the game in being able to describe my situation. (I have to say I'm pretty darn proud I was able to get the bridge placed properly with only popping one string in two days time!)

    Thanks to all!

  13. #37

    Default Re: Is trying to learn on a Harmony going to be more too frustrat

    I buy half a dz. E strings when doing setup work. The tuning, detuning takes a toll on them. It is very satisfying to get a mandolin playing right.
    Silverangel A
    Michael Kelly LSFTB
    Arches F style kit
    1913 Gibson A-1

  14. #38
    Registered User Tenzin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is trying to learn on a Harmony going to be more too frustrat

    I'm not sure if I should start a new thread, but it still has to do with learning on a Harmony. I can chalk up the hammer-on & pull-offs to needing practice. That's ok. I'm finding the A & D definately has a nicer sound than the E or G. The A & D sort of ring while the E & G sound like they were a from a different set. I ordered a fresh set of GHS Mediums. (I've liked them on the guitar while I really disliked the sound of D'Addarios on both a Gibson Jumbo and Martin OM. I figured I'd give the GHS a try.)

    Scales are coming and I'm able to put some music theory to use. I'm able to play a G chord with a full four fingers and move that around and I'm working on C. Any other suggestions or thoughts? (Am I being too much of a pain in the behind?)

    Thanks

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