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Thread: Glass mandolin syndrome

  1. #26
    Registered User Cochiti Don's Avatar
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    Default Re: Glass mandolin syndrome

    I saw Tommy Emmanuel live a few years back. He said that the first thing he does when he gets a new Maton is scratch it up.
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  2. #27
    Registered User bluegrasser78's Avatar
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    Default Re: Glass mandolin syndrome

    Well I've said this many times, if you are going to keep it locked up in the case or a GLASS case it will stay perfect! You play em they will get marked up I don't care how careful one is! They're made to be played and enjoyed so play it! I've personally had brand new high end instruments but hey I take em out and play them, also very nice vintage also get played. I don't believe in the back up instrument theory. Why would you play an inferior instrument if you have the cream sitting unloved at home?

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  4. #28
    Lurkist dhergert's Avatar
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    Default Re: Glass mandolin syndrome

    If minor playing damage was the only concern, perhaps more people could live comfortably without backups. But if you get your only mandolin stolen, or totally destroyed, or damaged beyond playability so you'll be without it for a few months, you'll wish you had something else setup and ready to play asap, especially if you're gigging.

    I don't know if the OP's Collings is the only mandolin he has, perhaps he already has a backup. But he specifically asks about alcohol fueled jams. Anyone in the bluegrass circuit knows those can be a serious gamble. So, especially, can gigging in bars, etc., be a gamble. Having a nicely setup backup mandolin isn't necessarily only to save your good mandolin from minor damage, it's to keep you playing when your good mandolin is not available.

    Many people compare their mandolins to a carpenter's tools like a saw or a hammer. I used to be a carpenter, and if I ever used a nice instrument like a saw or a hammer, it wouldn't last a day. Instruments are fragile and finely built machines. A better carpenter's comparison would be a CNC machine or a computerized design tool, something delicate and expensive that a person would feel bad about destroying and would not be able to replace right away.

    Not caring about an instrument's well being is a luxury only the most wealthy can enjoy. Normal struggling musicians care, because they can't afford to get another instrument.
    -- Don

    "It is a lot more fun to make music than it is to argue about it."

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  5. #29
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    Default Re: Glass mandolin syndrome

    Quote Originally Posted by dhergert View Post
    Not caring about an instrument's well being is a luxury only the most wealthy can enjoy. Normal struggling musicians care, because they can't afford to get another instrument.
    I think you can play the snot out of a nice mandolin without ever abusing it. It's gonna slowly take on the patina of "honest play wear" which I think makes it all the more beautiful than pristine.

  6. #30
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    Default Re: Glass mandolin syndrome

    Quote Originally Posted by hsbanjo View Post
    Play it and enjoy it! If you need a back up get a good one. I consider a back up to be a replacement for the main instrument when that tool is out for repairs or set up. Therefore I have sets of two. Stelling banjos. Martin guitars, LaPlant and Gilchrist mandolins.
    Use them well!!
    I have a Weber Bitterroot that is quite decent. I prefer the Collings tone, But I think I'll be using the Weber at the Fiddlers Convention this Sunday in Santa Barbara, and at the Great 48 in Bakersfield. It already has some dings and a very small crack in the lower bout.

  7. #31
    Lurkist dhergert's Avatar
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    Default Re: Glass mandolin syndrome

    Jimmy, don't get me wrong, I don't hide my nice instruments if the venue is a safe one. And your Bitterroot is also a fine instrument, better than my backup by a long shot.

    I primarily play banjo, but I also play a lot of mandolin and bass, and some Dobro. Being so light and compact, mandolin is my festival walking-from-jam-to-jam instrument, and I typically bring both my best mandolin and my backup mandolin to venues so I have a choice. If I'm walking from jam to jam at a venue, I'll typically keep the bigger instruments in their cases while walking. With the mandolin I'll walk with it uncased, strapped over my shoulder ready to play, but also close to my body where I can protect it from being bumped if necessary.

    I've never been to the fiddler's convention in Santa Barbara, but the Great 48 in Bakersfield should be no problem. My wife and I attend it all the time. We don't prefer the top floor most of the time because it just gets too loud and crowded, unless there's a seminar or a particular jam that we want to attend. But you'll see us grinning and jamming in the lower floors in halls, suites and rooms with the best of our instruments all the time there.

    Our band plays at the new Temecula festival most years, you'll see us camping out there and jamming with our best instruments, although watching for the random rain storms that pass through that area. Same with Summergrass and most of the S. California festivals. Some of the high desert events can get too hot, or can get a lot of wind driven sand, those are situations when we definitely put the nice instruments away and get out the backups.

    As far as people are concerned, most bluegrass festivals are pretty safe regarding accidental damage. You can tell when people are respectful of what you're carrying. We don't go out looking for which jam not to join, but we don't drink or smoke and so if people are rolling drunk or if there's too much smoking we may avoid a jam unless we just know the folks and want to visit with them. But we like the people and if the jam is welcoming and relatively safe we'll be there with our nice instruments.

    There is some theft that happens at festivals, but it is pretty rare. If you camp it's easy to be tempted to leave your instruments sitting out unattended in your campsite because 99.99% of the time the people around there are very trustworthy. We've heard of some, but very few stolen instruments from that kind of situation. So the point is, either put them where they are safe, or stay there to keep an eye on them. Some festival campers keep their dogs tied near their instruments too, which also seems to work. We've never felt a need to hide our nice instruments because of theft at a festival... Not yet anyway.

    House jams are also generally extremely safe, again people are extremely respectful of your instruments because they have their own instruments and care about them.

    We tend not to attend restaurant or bar jams because they get crowded and too loud for us to hear what we're playing. Crowded situations are usually where accidents tend to happen, but that isn't why we don't go, we just can't hear. Generally if you're among friends at one of these venues and if they're sober enough to be able to navigate, you'll probably be ok.

    The two worst instrument related incidents that I've actually seen were both self-inflicted and were both due to too much alcohol. Both were dear friends, one lost his footing and fell on his Martin D28 cracking one of the sides (but a short time later got it repaired), the other passed out and fell on his Deering banjo, amazingly without damaging it or himself, although he had a horrible hangover the next morning. I've also heard about someone accidentally upsetting a Gibson Earl Scruggs banjo which had been left upright, leaning against a rig in a gig-bag, an accident which broke the peghead off; that also was repaired pretty quickly.

    I've never heard of mandolins, fiddles, squarenecks or basses being seriously damaged at any festivals or jams I've attended, although I'm sure it happens. But it must be very rare.

    Basically if you look over a jam and see that it's overly crowded or people are rolling drunk, or if there is a harsh weather situation going on, you might want to avoid that particular situation with your best instruments and get out your backups. There's nothing wrong with bringing both instruments to the venue or festival though.
    -- Don

    "It is a lot more fun to make music than it is to argue about it."

    2002
    Gibson F-9
    2016 "$199.00 solid F style" MKLFSTB
    1975 Suzuki taterbug
    (plus a large assortment of banjos, dobros, guitars, basses and other noisemakers)

  8. #32
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    Default Re: Glass mandolin syndrome

    Great advice! While I'm no goody 2 shoes, I only drink lightly at jams. With a buzz I play well, but if I get drunk it becomes too frustrating to sing or get fancy. Even with my well worn Bitterroot I don't want a depressing accident. This will be my first time to Great 48, and I'm really looking forward to it. Already made my reservations!
    I would love to bring the Collings, but it is just too new! I want it pristine for a little while at least.

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  10. #33
    Registered User usqebach's Avatar
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    Default Re: Glass mandolin syndrome

    My favorite story was when some knucklehead was practicing with a beautifully unmarked mandolin. After an hour or so of concentrated practice he got up and stretched his arms out over his head with his mandolin in his right hand...right into the blades of a ceiling fan!!!!

    Oh, wait a minute...that knucklehead was me!!!

    It still plays just fine.
    Jim Sims

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  12. #34

    Default Re: Glass mandolin syndrome

    Baby it.
    Play it.

    Its not an either or choice.

    And, its ONLY about you and your mandolin.

    I have 3 expensive mandos, they all go out. But, they all stay in my hands, or the case.
    They will get dinged. Despite my efforts. It happens, and im ok with it.....mostly....lol.

    While drunks can be an issue, many players sober or otherwise, are oblivious of where thier headstocks are, and you need to be mindful.

    While i love a drink, (or several) i have never been able to play worth a damn after even one...seems to mess with my timing and speed and coodination, and, judgement. Quick recall memory too. Lyrics i know cold seem to become elusive.

    I have a less pricey rigel mando to use for harsh conditions or, if i fear getting mugged after a gig...really. Its in great condition....my fs, not so much...go figure.
    Last edited by stevedenver; Oct-12-2018 at 10:43am.

  13. #35

    Default Re: Glass mandolin syndrome

    Quote Originally Posted by Jimmybikes View Post
    Just got a Collings MF Dluxe. It sounds awesome! It looks awesome! I don’t want to ding it. Should I just keep it in the case, only play it at night, at home, or should I thrash it at festivals, outdoor jams with alchohol involved?
    Only at night? That’s a new one on me. You want to play that sucker as much as you possibly can, both for the fun of it and to break in the top sound. Take every opportunity, whether private or public.

    Nonetheless, you might not want to be using it at a campfire where it might rain...

    What I would suggest is ALWAYS bring a good quality stand for your instrument, and use it. A lot of damage happens at bar jams and parties because there’s no safe place to put your baby. (I’d like to see more venues with hangers on walls, including fiddlehangers; a very music-friendly move for very little expense.)

    (Next paragraph was written before I went back and noticed you already have a Bitterroot, which might or might not meet the specs I describe; only you know).

    Your mandolin needs a buddy. Get one that will complement the Collings; modest instead of high dollar value, perhaps an oval hole and/or flattop that will fill a different (but overlapping) musical niche, one that you can offer to your friend who drops by without feeling like you should first administer a sobriety test.

    Just for once I will refrain from suggesting a specific model; you have already got the special-order dream instrument, just drop into every music store you pass until you find something you like, regardless of the name on the headstock, for a few hundred bucks. Keep it fun.
    Last edited by Bill Cameron; Oct-14-2018 at 7:19am. Reason: Further reflection

  14. #36

    Default Re: Glass mandolin syndrome

    Quote Originally Posted by StevenS View Post
    You can always take the "distressing" route --



    Steve
    Yikes. I once wrote a song which included the lyric “guitar might sound like it’s draggin on a gravel road...” but it was supposed to be a metaphor! (a sound tech had a habit of overboosting the mids on acoustic guitars).

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