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Thread: Retirement Beginner

  1. #26

    Default Re: Retirement Beginner

    All,

    Thank you very much for your candid responses. I really appreciate the feedback. I was hoping that I would receive the responses that I did. I'm not crazy or too old. I'm going for it. Now I get to start the process of finding the right mandolin for me.

    Thanks again, Take Care,

    Bob

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  3. #27
    F5G & MD305 Astro's Avatar
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    Default Re: Retirement Beginner

    Oh Lord, what have we done ?
    No matter where I go, there I am...Unless I'm running a little late.

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  5. #28

    Default Re: Retirement Beginner

    Thanks again
    Last edited by Bob byk; Sep-15-2014 at 6:07pm. Reason: Entered twice

  6. #29

    Default Re: Retirement Beginner

    My wife said she is ready to start the journey. We will be checking out mandolins tomorrow.

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  8. #30
    Bark first, Bite later Steve Zawacki's Avatar
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    Default Re: Retirement Beginner

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob byk View Post
    My wife said she is ready to start the journey. We will be checking out mandolins tomorrow.
    Now the real fun starts.... Be prepared that whatever is the first mandolin, it won't be the last....and the next one will come faster than expected.

    It doesn't take long before knowledge of the instrument will quickly reach the point that you will want something different/bigger/smaller/options. There are a lot of "lessons learned" within the forum archives, and it's a lot easier/cheaper to review the questions and mistakes made by just about all of us to some degree before buying that first instrument. I'm not talking about weeks of research, but just some prudent searches through the archives for any questions you have .

    Also, there are a few top-flight vendors who frequent/sponsor this forum. Their advice has saved me a fortune and their products have been (for me, anyway) top drawer every time.

    Above all, have a ball! Retirement is fabulous and I wish I could have started it sooner.
    ...Steve

    Current Stable: Two Tenor Guitars (Martin 515, Blueridge BR-40T), a Tenor Banjo (Deering GoodTime 17-Fret), a Mandolin (Burgess #7). two Banjo-Ukes and five Ukuleles..

    The inventory is always in some flux, but that's part of the fun.

  9. #31

    Default Re: Retirement Beginner

    Steve, originally I was going to purchase a $70 unit from Amazon. Posts directed me toward the Emerson 305 and Kentucky brands for about $500. A friend or mine, who plays the guitar, suggested that I go to some guitar stores and see what feels good in my hand. He said not to worry about playing, just see what feels good and that I would know it when I felt it. Since playing music is new to me, I have concerns about spending too much money for this venture that may not pan out. Believe me I have the interest and desire in learning, just concerned about my abilities. My buddy said don't worry about the money I could resell a good instrument rather than the $70 mandolin.

    I appreciate any feedback

    Take Care,

    Bob
    Last edited by Bob byk; Sep-15-2014 at 9:02pm.

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  11. #32

    Default Re: Retirement Beginner

    Go for it.

    Find a teacher or do online lessons, it will speed up the learning curve.

    Find a group to jam with once you get comfortable with where you are at.

    Don't compare your skill level to others more than you measure the progress you've made yourself in the beginning. There will come a time when comparison with others can serve as a learning tool, but not so much in the beginning.

    Once you get going, remember there is more to life than playing your mandolin.

  12. #33
    Registered User SincereCorgi's Avatar
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    Default Re: Retirement Beginner

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob byk View Post
    A friend or mine, who plays the guitar, suggested that I go to some guitar stores and see what feels good in my hand. He said not to worry about playing, just see what feels good and that I would know it when I felt it...
    That's very good advice if there's a good stringed instrument shop in your area, but be warned that not many small shops stock many mandolins and often the one or two they do have will be lousy or set up wrong.

  13. #34
    Constantly In Search Of.. Michael Bridges's Avatar
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    Default Re: Retirement Beginner

    Bob,
    You seem to fit right in, as far as a "starting" age for mandolin. Got my first about 1 1/2 yrs ago at 58, haven't put it down since! Take a good look at the J Bovier mandolins. Excellent quality, sound, and playability. The MandoShop offers them at a really good price, and I don't think you can get anything this nice at this price. Kyle at the MS is wonderful to deal with. Good luck whatever you choose, and remember, this is supposed to be FUN!
    Music speaks to us all. And to each of us, she speaks with a different voice.

    J Bovier A5 Tradition

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  15. #35

    Default Re: Retirement Beginner

    "I was struggling between the banjo and mandolin. Was told mandolin would be easier to get my feet wet.'

    Not necessarily. Any stringed instrument is demanding. The most difficult aspect of mando, I found, was that its very tight and short strings took a long time for me to develop good callouses for comfortable playing.

    You will be tempted to give up but if you really commit yourself by spending a bit more for your first mando it may inspire you to continue playing for a year or so until you are free from pain and can really progress. There are some pretty nice instruments starting around $400+. It is imperative that your mando be well set up. Cheap instruments almost never are. Buying your first from a legitimate dealer like Mandolin Brothers or other dealers advertising on this site is normally a good idea as they all (I believe) sell their instruments well set up for playing. Anyway it is something to ask about when buying. Buying the cheapest mando is seldom a good idea. Especially for a beginner.

  16. #36
    Registered User Steve VandeWater's Avatar
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    Default Re: Retirement Beginner

    I started mandolin last year when I turned 50. My kids are mostly grown and I'm at a point in my job where I have a lot more spare time. I never played ANY instrument before and can't read a lick of music..or sing. In the past year, I have fallen deeply in love (obsession) with the mandolin. I started with a $140 cheapie A-style import from Guitar Works in Richmond Virginia which was surprisingly good, but I got a bad case of MAS and now I have 3 more F-styles, including one I built out of concrete (see my avatar). My F's are a Michael Kelly Firefly, (OK but no prize pig), my concrete one (a conversation piece at best), and a used Eastman 515 that sounds very nice. I also have a GREAT sounding mando on loan which was hand built by a luthier I know (Bill Pruitt of Madison ,IN). I wish I could afford to buy it from him.
    So to make a long story longer, JUST DO IT! Taking up the mandolin has added a great deal of joy to my life. I only wish I had started a lot earlier.
    It ain't gotta be perfect, as long as it's perfect enough!

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  18. #37
    Registered User Steve VandeWater's Avatar
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    Default Re: Retirement Beginner

    Another thought on considering where to buy: If you don't have a local shop that sells a variety of mandolins, you might consider pawnshops and Craigslist.
    My first mando was bought new online, so I could not try it out beforehand. The others I found on my local Craigslist. I bought the Michael Kelly from a pawnshop for $200 which was a very good deal, and the Eastman 515 from a local guy who needed the money. I got it and the hardshell case for $475 which was a fantastic deal. The advantage was that I got to try them out before I bought them.
    Per the advice on this site, I did pay to have the Michael Kelly professionally set up after I bought it. It made it MUCH more playable. The Eastman was fine as-is.
    It ain't gotta be perfect, as long as it's perfect enough!

  19. #38
    Bark first, Bite later Steve Zawacki's Avatar
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    Default Re: Retirement Beginner

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob byk View Post
    Steve, originally I was going to purchase a $70 unit from Amazon. Posts directed me toward the Emerson 305 and Kentucky brands for about $500. A friend or mine, who plays the guitar, suggested that I go to some guitar stores and see what feels good in my hand. He said not to worry about playing, just see what feels good and that I would know it when I felt it. Since playing music is new to me, I have concerns about spending too much money for this venture that may not pan out. Believe me I have the interest and desire in learning, just concerned about my abilities. My buddy said don't worry about the money I could resell a good instrument rather than the $70 mandolin.

    I appreciate any feedback

    Take Care,

    Bob
    This may go against a lot of popular thought, but there's nothing wrong with getting a $100+ instrument as the first. My first mandolin was a Fender 101 I bought online. Having said that, the key to every instrument is getting it set up properly - nut slot height adjusted, intonation verified, etc. A good set-up is a necessity, and most local luthiers/techs can do a half-decent one for $25-50. That instrument will be good enough to decide if mandolin is really for you, and can always serve as a backup or experiment-victim in the future once another (or a few) mandolin(s) are acquired.

    The advice to get the feel of A-styles, F-styles and Flat-tops at any local shop (Guitar Center usually has a couple, if at least for "feel") is very good advice. Purchase of a mandolin is always a Caveat Emptor experience though when dealing with shops which don't carry mandolins as a major product line.

    My gut advice - for first mandolin (if I were to do it all over again) I'd get a new Rover RM-50 A-Style from one of the major vendors/sponsors (e.g., Folkmusician.com, Elderly, etc.) who frequent here. These folk will do a decent quality check of the instrument, set it up properly as part of the sales experience, and honor the warranty with good service if needed. There's always some kind of sale going on, and the price is kept to a reasonable beginning number. Considering the cost of buying a mandolin from a shop not familiar with them or from a mail-order house which sells a "box containing a mandolin-like thing"' and then getting it set up and such, the costs wash and you get the right thing the first time. Just chatting with the folk at those stores is a good education.

    Lastly, one fellow (Robster) puts out a free repeat free e-booklet on how to do set-ups and other mandolin maintenance. It's the best book of its kind and should be mandatory reading for all who touch a mandolin. Just use the forum's search function to find it. STRONGLY recommend getting and reading that short booklet before you spend a dime anywhere -the knowledge can save you a lot.

    Regards,

    ...SteveZ
    ...Steve

    Current Stable: Two Tenor Guitars (Martin 515, Blueridge BR-40T), a Tenor Banjo (Deering GoodTime 17-Fret), a Mandolin (Burgess #7). two Banjo-Ukes and five Ukuleles..

    The inventory is always in some flux, but that's part of the fun.

  20. #39
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Retirement Beginner

    It might make sense to borrow or rent a mandolin for a week or two or three, and see if it makes sense to you. That way you are not out a lot, and if you do buy one, your decisions will be more informed.
    Indulge responsibly!

    The entire staff
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  21. #40
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    Default Re: Retirement Beginner

    I am not quite retired yet but I gotta say that nothing keeps the heart pumping better than pickin on that mandolin. I started out on a $40.00 Franciscan because I did not want to invest much and was not certain if I even wanted one. I found I was having so much fun I moved to a Loar 220 and recently traded up to an Eastman MD505. Now I cannot get those darn't ole fiddle tunes out of my head.
    Pickin therapy is great for the soul...and other various things.

    Eastman MD505 Mandolin
    Folkcraft Appalachian Dulcimer
    Cort AJ982 6 string

  22. #41
    Registered User Sven the Impaler's Avatar
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    Default Re: Retirement Beginner

    If ya think your too old to get started....visit these guys:

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/OldMandolinPIckers/

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  24. #42

    Default Re: Retirement Beginner

    Went to local guitar store. They had s Gretsch New Yorker Standard. Any thoughts?

  25. #43
    Registered User zak borden's Avatar
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    Default Re: Retirement Beginner

    Hey Bob,

    Yes go for it! It's a super intuitive instrument. And hey, you clearly already have your enthusiastic support team lined up here and willing to help you out. Once you find your axe, if you're interested in trying Skype lessons, I'm offering a discount on new students and can help get you picking bluegrass. Best of luck! -Zak www.zakborden.com

  26. #44
    Confused... or?
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    Default Re: Retirement Beginner

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob byk View Post
    ... Was told mandolin would be easier to get my feet wet.
    You might want to try a trumpet. Mandolins don't generally come with a spit valve!
    - Ed

    "Then one day we weren't as young as before
    Our mistakes weren't quite so easy to undo
    But by all those roads, my friend, we've travelled down
    I'm a better man for just the knowin' of you."
    - Ian Tyson

  27. #45

    Default Re: Retirement Beginner

    I thought that is why they have slots

  28. #46
    Bark first, Bite later Steve Zawacki's Avatar
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    Default Re: Retirement Beginner

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob byk View Post
    Went to local guitar store. They had s Gretsch New Yorker Standard. Any thoughts?
    The first question is how did the GNY feel to you? It's a "Goldilocks" thing as far as comfort, balance, etc. Don't know if the guitar store is the best place to buy it, what with set-up and all being a real and necessary consideration. No Financial Interest, but satisfied customer, Elderly has it for $199 delivered and set up. If anything, that's a good benchmark for price and service comparidon.
    ...Steve

    Current Stable: Two Tenor Guitars (Martin 515, Blueridge BR-40T), a Tenor Banjo (Deering GoodTime 17-Fret), a Mandolin (Burgess #7). two Banjo-Ukes and five Ukuleles..

    The inventory is always in some flux, but that's part of the fun.

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  30. #47

    Default Re: Retirement Beginner

    Thanks Steve

  31. #48
    Capt. E Capt. E's Avatar
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    Default Re: Retirement Beginner

    My first mandolin was a Mid-Missouri (now called Big Muddy) that caught my eye in a pawn shop. Did a little research, found the Cafe, learned that it was well priced at $300 and bought it without ever playing a note. I had played some guitar over the years but never seriously, but I just fell in love with the mandolin (at age 58).
    I would not recommend the Gretsch, but then again, I have never played one. I would call Mandolin Brothers, Mandolin Store, Elderly etc and get their current "best deal" in the $300-$400 area. If you can go up to $500, even better.
    The other choice would be to buy something used that is advertised here at the Cafe. If you see something you think would be good, post a question and believe me, we will give our honest opinion.
    Jammin' south of the river
    '20 Gibson A-2
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    My albums: http://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/album.php?u=7616

  32. #49
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    Default Re: Retirement Beginner

    Iím a couple of years from retirement and started playing 3 years ago. Itís my 1st instrument and I was not a singer. Mandolin is a great instrument, & itís easy to travel with. Learning to play is time consuming, a challenge and a fun addiction. I donít think my learning speed is much slower than if I started 30 years ago. Starting out, I think the most important thing is to find a good teacher. Since most instructors have their own informal approach, maybe plan to switch to a different teacher after a year. There are lots of great beginner mandolins, and they are fairly easy to buy and resell. But most importantly have fun.

  33. #50
    two t's and one hyphen fatt-dad's Avatar
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    Default Re: Retirement Beginner

    You are on the right track! Call, "The Mandolin Store" (NFI) and get a mid level Eastman or , "The Loar" a-model with F-holes. Versatile and well priced, like $7-800?

    Then figure out if you want an oval hole or F-model. At least you be up and running. Building your calluses!

    Welcome!

    f-d
    °papŠ gordo ainít no madre flaca!

    '20 A3, '30 L-1, '97 914, 2012 Cohen A5, 2012 Muth A5, '14 OM28A

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