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Thread: Mandolin Set Up Ebook and Mandolin Users

  1. #1
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    Default Mandolin Set Up Ebook and Mandolin Users

    Hi everyone,

    I have been giving away the free setup ebook for nearly four years now, and I thought you'd be interested in some observations I have. First off, if you want my free ebook on how to set up a mandolin, just email me at rob.meldrum@gmail.com and put Mandolin Setup in the subject line.

    I've given away nearly four thousand ebooks! That's a pretty good sample size to make a few observations. The average person requesting my book is male (over 95%), over forty years old (85-90%), very polite (99%), new to mandolins (65-70%) and trying to make the best of an economical purchase (65-70%). "Economical purchase" is any mandolin with a retail price of under $350.00.

    Depending on the time of year 50-75% of the requesters come from MandolinCafe, 30-50% from seeing my YouTube videos, about 10% from MandoHut, and the rest from random Internet searches.

    On the Rogue as an introductory mandolin front, many requesters consider the Rogue, find my YouTube videos, and then buy the Rogue. After completing the setup they are happy players. I have yet to hear from a person saying their Rogue is a mess and they are bummed out. In the past four years the quality control of the Rogue has steadily improved. The last couple of instruments I have bought needed very little work.

    For a polite group, surprisingly few requesters (5-10%) post a thank-you or comment on this site. Many email me a personal thank you. I would prefer a thank you here only because it "bumps" the thread and makes it easier for a newbie to find. I attribute this to two things. First, newbies frequently join a site and then don't participate. More importantly, the users here tend to be very passionate. Any time someone posts a positive experience about a Rogue or other inexpensive mandolin there will be a chorus of experts laughing at the "firewood," "plywood," "wall hanger" that the newbie bought. Based on most of the threads here one would think that a rank beginner should never spend less than $500 for an entry-level mandolin.

    I think because of our average age and income level most of us forget what it's like to think a $100 purchase is a pretty big deal. In my real job I am an insurance agent and I see lots of people living paycheck to paycheck. If their child wants a guitar or mandolin they usually budget around $100. I like knowing that for $100 (and a free setup book) they can get a playable instrument. In a year or two they will know whether their child is a committed player and deserves a better instrument or the mandolin is collecting dust in a closet or attic.

    Oh yeah, the last statistic. Most luthiers know a lot about woodworking and finish work and not a lot about setting up a mandolin. I base that on the comments I get from luthiers after they read through my book.

    I've had a few good suggestions about beefing up certain areas of the book and have decided not to take the time to do a re-write. The income (zero dollars) just doesn't justify the effort!

    Since writing the ebook I have gotten involved with a guitar-oriented band and spend 99% of my time playing guitar, so my mandolin picking skills are still very weak. But the people on this site make visiting here a real treat.

    Mandolin players are a special lot. :-)

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  3. #2

    Default Re: Mandolin Set Up Ebook and Mandolin Users

    Rob. You mentioned that it is difficult to justify updating the book since you aren't getting paid. Have you ever thought about publishing the book? Even by self publishing on Amazon?? (Just a digital copy. Wouldn't cost you close to anything). I don't want to say that it is "all about the money", but you have put forth a huge effort and should get some monetary compensation.

    Btw. Thanks a ton for the book. Awesome work.

  4. #3
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    Default Re: Mandolin Set Up Ebook and Mandolin Users

    Hi jazzjune, I looked into self-publishing with Amazon. At $9.95 selling price I would net around five dollars or less. More importantly is what sales numbers would be like. Given away free, I have something like 4,000 takers. If I charged, I would project 5-10% would buy it. So, $1,000-2,000 over a four-year period. I get a lot of satisfaction giving the book away knowing that I'm helping people make their mandos more playable. It's worth more than the money. And thanks for the thanks, folks!

  5. #4

    Default Re: Mandolin Set Up Ebook and Mandolin Users

    Makes sense robster. I can agree with your logic. Mark

  6. #5
    Orrig Onion HonketyHank's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandolin Set Up Ebook and Mandolin Users

    Well, I sure benefitted from your ebook, as did several mandolins (one of which was a good old Rogue ). Once again, thank you.

    I once developed a highly specialized piece of software and was often told I should publish it. My response was that if I put a fair price tag on it, the price would be so high no-one would buy it. So I just gave it away to anybody who wanted it. I still get the occasional query about when will the Windows version come out. (A: Never, unless someone else does it.)

  7. #6
    The Amateur Mandolinist Mark Gunter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandolin Set Up Ebook and Mandolin Users

    Rob, I do amateur lutherie on guitars, and as a beginner I've purchased only inexpensive mandolins: A bowl back that needed repairs, and two "entry level" new mandos from China, Ibanez and Washburn. Both badly needed set-up work. I have a nice collection of guitars, but having spent time on a lower income level, many of the instruments I own are the El Cheapo brand. I have learned through the years to make the best of what you have - and that even less glorious instruments can sound really good with a proper set-up and a little skill in playing.

    This e-book sounds interesting and I want to thank you for making it freely available to the community. Reading your post has piqued my interest, and I've just sent you an email on this.
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  9. #7
    Old and in the Way...
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    Default Re: Mandolin Set Up Ebook and Mandolin Users

    Just requested the book from Rob. Can't wait to receive it. Thanks very much!

  10. #8
    Registered User MoreThanQuinn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandolin Set Up Ebook and Mandolin Users

    I have also emailed for the book within the past couple days. Really excited to check it out since I just received my first mandolin in the mail today!

  11. #9

    Default Re: Mandolin Set Up Ebook and Mandolin Users

    Quote Originally Posted by robster View Post
    Hi everyone,

    I have been giving away the free setup ebook for nearly four years now, and I thought you'd be interested in some observations I have. First off, if you want my free ebook on how to set up a mandolin, just email me at rob.meldrum@gmail.com and put Mandolin Setup in the subject line.

    I've given away nearly four thousand ebooks! That's a pretty good sample size to make a few observations. The average person requesting my book is male (over 95%), over forty years old (85-90%), very polite (99%), new to mandolins (65-70%) and trying to make the best of an economical purchase (65-70%). "Economical purchase" is any mandolin with a retail price of under $350.00.

    Depending on the time of year 50-75% of the requesters come from MandolinCafe, 30-50% from seeing my YouTube videos, about 10% from MandoHut, and the rest from random Internet searches.

    On the Rogue as an introductory mandolin front, many requesters consider the Rogue, find my YouTube videos, and then buy the Rogue. After completing the setup they are happy players. I have yet to hear from a person saying their Rogue is a mess and they are bummed out. In the past four years the quality control of the Rogue has steadily improved. The last couple of instruments I have bought needed very little work.

    For a polite group, surprisingly few requesters (5-10%) post a thank-you or comment on this site. Many email me a personal thank you. I would prefer a thank you here only because it "bumps" the thread and makes it easier for a newbie to find. I attribute this to two things. First, newbies frequently join a site and then don't participate. More importantly, the users here tend to be very passionate. Any time someone posts a positive experience about a Rogue or other inexpensive mandolin there will be a chorus of experts laughing at the "firewood," "plywood," "wall hanger" that the newbie bought. Based on most of the threads here one would think that a rank beginner should never spend less than $500 for an entry-level mandolin.

    I think because of our average age and income level most of us forget what it's like to think a $100 purchase is a pretty big deal. In my real job I am an insurance agent and I see lots of people living paycheck to paycheck. If their child wants a guitar or mandolin they usually budget around $100. I like knowing that for $100 (and a free setup book) they can get a playable instrument. In a year or two they will know whether their child is a committed player and deserves a better instrument or the mandolin is collecting dust in a closet or attic.

    Oh yeah, the last statistic. Most luthiers know a lot about woodworking and finish work and not a lot about setting up a mandolin. I base that on the comments I get from luthiers after they read through my book.

    I've had a few good suggestions about beefing up certain areas of the book and have decided not to take the time to do a re-write. The income (zero dollars) just doesn't justify the effort!

    Since writing the ebook I have gotten involved with a guitar-oriented band and spend 99% of my time playing guitar, so my mandolin picking skills are still very weak. But the people on this site make visiting here a real treat.

    Mandolin players are a special lot. :-)
    Rob, full disclosure... I work for the world's largest publisher and book distributor (Amazon).

    If you are willing to give it way and distribute the file directly to people via email, you can always continue the distribution model, while ask for a donation of $10 via paypal. You don't need to "require" $10, you can allow people to pay what they can afford. This would net you $40,000 after the next 4,000 users and that would justify a revised edition.

    What do you think?

    David

  12. #10
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    Default Re: Mandolin Set Up Ebook and Mandolin Users

    Quote Originally Posted by robster View Post
    Oh yeah, the last statistic. Most luthiers know a lot about woodworking and finish work and not a lot about setting up a mandolin. I base that on the comments I get from luthiers after they read through my book.
    There are more than a few like this, for sure.
    Indulge responsibly!

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    funny....

  13. #11
    Registered User JH Murray's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandolin Set Up Ebook and Mandolin Users

    I often am on the Reddit mandolin forum. Many of the posters there are younger and the Rogue is often considered as a first mandolin. Rob's set up book is highly recommended there. I know I have benefitted from it. Even the cigar box instruments I have made have benefitted from his advice. Many thanks!

  14. #12
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    Default Re: Mandolin Set Up Ebook and Mandolin Users

    Just received this e-book, looks like everything I need to keep my mando in peak playing shape. Thanks, Rob!
    Brad

  15. #13
    Oval holes are cool David Lewis's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandolin Set Up Ebook and Mandolin Users

    Rob, I'm pretty sure I've thanked you several times. But if I haven't I do so now. And I add my completely unreserved endorsement.

    That first statistic: 95% are male and over 40.

    Is that representative of The user here? Or everywhere I wonder. Plus is it just the users who want to tinker?
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  16. #14
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    Default Re: Mandolin Set Up Ebook and Mandolin Users

    Hey robster,
    two years ago I was able to turn my first mando, a Kentucky 150 from a fingerbuster to a nice sounding playable instrument, thanks to your generous offer to give away valuable information for free.
    I moved on from the KM150 since, but still have it.
    If you ever choose to open a PayPal account or offer some other way to give something back, IŽd be happy to contribute to that!
    Until then, let me thank you again…

    Pit
    (a male, over-forty-years-old, try-to-be-polite newbie…)

  17. #15
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    Default Re: Mandolin Set Up Ebook and Mandolin Users

    Quote Originally Posted by pit lenz View Post
    two years ago I was able to turn my first mando, a Kentucky 150 from a fingerbuster to a nice sounding playable instrument, thanks to your generous offer to give away valuable information for free.
    Ahh, this makes me feel quite good as I have just received my (first) mandolin, a KM150, in the mail two days ago, and I also received Rob's book via email today.

    Thanks Rob, I truly cannot wait to use your book and put some TLC into my new (used) mando.

  18. #16

    Smile Re: Mandolin Set Up Ebook and Mandolin Users

    Just a quick note to say many thanks for sending me the ebook, Rob!

    I've just taken an initial look at the book but it looks very comprehensive and well written. I've done a reasonable amount of setup, maintenance and parts replacement on bass guitars before so I'm not a complete novice but I'm sure this book will be just what I need to get the best out of my first mandolin.

    Cheers!
    benthos.

  19. #17

    Default Re: Mandolin Set Up Ebook and Mandolin Users

    I will happily PayPal over $10!

  20. #18

    Default Re: Mandolin Set Up Ebook and Mandolin Users

    Hi Rob,

    Thanks for the ebook. It looks quite thorough, and I look forward to digging into it soon.

    John Grasty

  21. #19
    Registered User Roger Moss's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandolin Set Up Ebook and Mandolin Users

    Thanks from me too. Just got your ebook and it is packed with useful info. Worth paying for but even more valuable for free.
    R

  22. #20
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    Default Re: Mandolin Set Up Ebook and Mandolin Users

    Oh man! I'm embarrassed to say I've flaked returning the favor for emailing me this fantastic eBook! I've recommended it to friends and acquaintances since I received it but I just never remembered to post here.
    Many, many thanks, Rob for your invaluable eBook!!!

  23. #21
    Registered User Jes Woodland's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandolin Set Up Ebook and Mandolin Users

    This EBook is proving to be a really invaluable aid.Thankyou for sharing your time and effort...Jes

  24. #22

    Default Re: Mandolin Set Up Ebook and Mandolin Users

    Thanks very much for the e-book,Rob. It is very useful and a must to setup a mandolin. A goldmine of excellent information.
    Oron

  25. #23
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    Default Re: Mandolin Set Up Ebook and Mandolin Users

    Hey Rob

    Thanks heaps for the e-book. I just had a quick look over it and it looks really good. Can't wait to try it out.

    Cheers, Matt

  26. #24

    Default Re: Mandolin Set Up Ebook and Mandolin Users

    Hey Rob, thanks sending me a copy of the ebook this morning, I briefly looked through it and it looks pretty easy to understand and follow. Thanks for making this available!

    It looks like I should have my Rogue tomorrow, can't wait to get started.


    Thanks again!

  27. #25
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    Default Re: Mandolin Set Up Ebook and Mandolin Users

    +1 on Rob and his setup instructions.
    Thanks for the great resource!

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