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Thread: 10 years in...

  1. #1
    Isolated enthusiast Caleb's Avatar
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    Default 10 years in...

    Was going through my journals and realized I got my first mandolin in January 2007, so I've now been ten years on this journey. I'm not nearly as proficient as I should be but I'm having more fun than I thought possible. I thought I'd show some pics of the instruments I've owned during this time.

    My first was a Kentucky KM350S that I bought on eBay for $62. It was new but had been pretty much destroyed and repaired. It sounded great (loud!) and I ended up selling it here for $100. Wish now I had kept it.

    Next was a StewMac kit mandolin a friend and I made. We had a great time building it, but I deviated from the plans quite a bit and ended up with a nice wall-hanger and that's about it.

    Then came my Eastman 505 that I played for about six years. Bought here for 4 bills and now in the hands of another Cafe member.

    Finally, my Collings MT that I plan on being my lifelong player. My wife bought me this for Christmas a few years ago after much scrimping, saving, and cutting corners in the context of a large, single-income family. So it is special to me in many ways.

    Thanks for reading about my mandolin journey thus far.
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  3. #2

    Default Re: 10 years in...

    Hi Caleb and congrats on your 10 yr. anniversary with a mandolin. Interesting that you were already a Cafe member, at least for a little while before getting that first one.

    Got my first one as a gift around 8 yrs ago. Barely touched it for a couple of years...then joined up here for advice.

  4. #3

    Default Re: 10 years in...

    Yeah, congratulations on your 10 years - I'm on 5 years this January.

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  6. #4
    Isolated enthusiast Caleb's Avatar
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    Default Re: 10 years in...

    Quote Originally Posted by FLATROCK HILL View Post
    Hi Caleb and congrats on your 10 yr. anniversary with a mandolin. Interesting that you were already a Cafe member, at least for a little while before getting that first one.

    Got my first one as a gift around 8 yrs ago. Barely touched it for a couple of years...then joined up here for advice.
    Yeah, a salesman in a local shop demonstrated some chords on a mandolin for me sometime in the Autumn of 2006. Shortly after this I found the Cafe and started reading, asking questions, etc. I didn't have much money at the time for a new hobby, so I waited till I found a great deal on a mandolin before jumping in.
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  8. #5
    Peace. Love. Mandolin. Gelsenbury's Avatar
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    Default Re: 10 years in...

    You stuck with it and got yourself a beautiful mandolin! It must have been a good 10 years. Here's to the next decade.

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    Default Re: 10 years in...

    Caleb, reading a brief history of your journey has given me inspiration and hope on what I have plans for myself with mandolin.

    Also congrats on finding a great mando that speaks to you deeply! (I'm still searching)
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  12. #7
    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
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    Default Re: 10 years in...

    Hi Caleb - I beat you by 7 months. I got my first mandolin,a Michael Kelly 'Legacy' in July 2006,then traded it in for my 1st Lebeda F5 in Sept. 2006.
    I've come a long way since my first attempts at keeping a pick on the same side of the room as myself,but it's been more enjoyable that i'd ever have thought. I must say that being a member of the Mandolin Cafe has been a big part of it. I've learned a lot of new things,i've had a lot of things explained to me that i was a bit 'woolly' about & on it goes.
    Enjoy your playing Sir !,
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  14. #8
    Market Man Barry Wilson's Avatar
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    Default Re: 10 years in...

    I just loooked at my join date here because I bought a mandolin then did an internet search and came here... I can't believe it's been 6 yrs already for me
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    Default Re: 10 years in...

    Congrats on 10. Someone here used to quote that the 'only way to sound like you've been playing for 10 years is to have played for 10 years" or something like that. Now you know!

    I sometimes wish there was a consensus on expectations. What you should expect to accomplish after 1 month, 1 year, 3 years etc. Part of me wants a yardstick to evaluate my progress after 4 years and the other part just wants to enjoy the journey.

    Here's to 10 more!

  16. #10
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    Default Re: 10 years in...

    Congratulations on 10 years. I started around 9 months ago, so I am way behind you. For those wondering about their progress, I think the secret is to wonder about whether you are having fun or not instead of worrying about whether you are meeting some outside goal about expectations. If you are having fun you are doing it right.

    Around 40 years ago I made this journey with classical guitar and I ended up quitting because meeting my own expectations became so difficult I just wasn't having fun any more.

    The mandolin is pretty much by definition more fun than CG. And having fun is the goal.

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  18. #11
    Isolated enthusiast Caleb's Avatar
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    Default Re: 10 years in...

    I agree that having fun should be the main thing. Another part is getting a bit older. I was in my early 30s when I began mandolin and ideas of "getting good" were still very much a part of my thinking (as they had always been with guitar since I began at 18). It just seemed natural to watch guys like Thile et al and shoot for that.

    I started learning (or trying to learn) fiddle tunes and popular pieces among mandolin players, in hopes that once I met all these people at festivals and gatherings, I'd be able to fit right in. Years rolled by and I never met those folks or found such festivals to attend (pretty sparse in my area).

    It dawned on me that I was spending much of my playing time on music I didn't really want to play for people I was never going to meet. And even after five or so years, I still couldn't pull off St. Anne's Reel at full tempo. I just don't understand how people can play so fast and so clean. Perhaps a teacher could have helped me over that invisible hurdle. Bluegrass techniques elude me.

    And at some point I realized I didn't want to do that stuff anyway, so then came freedom. Now I just play whatever my ear grabs for me to play. I make up a lot of my own tunes, and since I play alone 99% of the time, this is okay to do. And during the rare times that I get to play with others, nine times out of ten no one has ever heard of Whisky Before Breakfast, St. Anne's Reel, etc.

    I don't want to go on and on, but all that to say: I've just made having fun and enjoying myself the only goal now.
    ...

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  20. #12
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    Default Re: 10 years in...

    Happy Anniversary! To have the one you love appreciate your love of music and encourage it's process is more than special. R/
    I love hanging out with mandolin nerds . . . . . Thanks peeps ...

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  22. #13
    Registered User Bonniej's Avatar
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    Default Re: 10 years in...

    Congratulations! Sounds like you've had a good time since the beginning. Your StewMac might make a great clock and make it functional at least- may not play very well but it looks great . It will be 2 years in June since I started and I still have some really disappointing practices but am hanging in there.
    I'm taking Beginners Jam session classes and it's encouraging to be with other beginners- I hear enough wrong notes/cords from others that I don't mind so much now when I mess up. There were 16 of us at first-violins,acoustic guitar,banjos, and 3 of us on mandolins. It sounded like a free for all- really comical. The group is dwindling down- I was the only Mando the last session. I take an individual lesson on alternate weeks.
    Your Collings MT is really nice. Thanks for sharing your journey.
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  23. #14

    Default Re: 10 years in...

    I'm not even a year in, but I recently got something that immediately accelerated my playing. It was a metronome. I found I was playing faster than I could, and had a certain percentage of notes that sounded,but not cleanly. I forced myself to slow down and play cleanly, then bump the tempo. Slower and precise is better than fast and sloppy.

    I hope I live long enough to get ten years in. LOL
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  25. #15
    I really look like that soliver's Avatar
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    Default Re: 10 years in...

    Congrats on the anniversary Caleb,... we've exchanged an few PM'sin the past and I so appreciate your kind advice, encouragement and wisdom.

    I'm only into this for about a year and a half, so here's to the next 10 years for you to anniversary number 20 for you and 11.5 for me!
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  27. #16
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    Default Re: 10 years in...

    Congrats on 10 years Caleb! Didn't you also start the Travelling Pick Sampler? That is quite a contribution to this community.

    I just started in November 2015 so I'm in just over a year after 30+ years of guitar and 4 years of ukulele. After a year of working on technical goals like playing cleanly and learning scales and arpeggios, it dawned on me that I was missing the music part after reading a blog here by JeffD.

    I also learned a bunch of fiddle tunes and bluegrass songs that I liked but didn't really love, so now I'm really trying to look a music like a language I need to learn and music as stories I would like to tell. The music theory I've been studying is starting to take hold and I'm excited that there's so much more to learn.

    This has become my main source of entertainment and joy and it not only satisfies my soul but also saves me a lot of money! I used to play 60 rounds of golf a year.

    Best wishes on your next 10 years!
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  29. #17
    Isolated enthusiast Caleb's Avatar
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    Default Re: 10 years in...

    Quote Originally Posted by NewKid View Post
    Didn't you also start the Travelling Pick Sampler? That is quite a contribution to this community.
    Yeah, I thought it would be fun for this wonderful community. Glad it has worked out and stayed in circulation (both of them now).
    ...

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  31. #18
    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
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    Default Re: 10 years in...

    From Mark Wilson - "I sometimes wish there was a consensus on expectations.". Wouldn't that be something !. I wonder how many of us would reach them ?.

    As we all understand (or should do),what we can accomplish in a set amount of time,depends on our abilities & how much time / effort we put into playing,& that, 'realistically', depends on how much time we can afford. Folks with a fulltime job & a family to look after don't usually have huge amounts of time. Others,like myself,retired for the past 9 years,have had as much time as we'd ever need,all day if need be.

    Our individual talents will be greater or lesser. Musicians such as Chris Thile / John Reischman & others,seem to have been born with a ''mandolin chromosone'',the rest of us, without !. Seriously,some individuals as we know,seem to be able to play far more quickly than others. IMHO - they have some inate ability that enables them to do this,what it is we might never know,but we see these individuals all the time - however,they still put a lot of work into their playing. The 'inate' talent might be there,but to make the most of it demands work,effort & usually,huge amounts of it !!. It's like to old joke - '' How do i get to Carnegie Hall ? - Practice,practice,practice'' & ain't that the truth ?,
    Ivan
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  32. #19
    Registered User Drew Egerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: 10 years in...

    In my journey with guitar (16 years) and mandolin (14 years), I found that when I had been playing for 6 months, or a year or two, that people were very impressed with my abilities. They'd ask how long I have played and say wow! Then 5 years came along and that faded to sort of an OK cool response. Now if I say 14 years they think, well yea you ought to be OK by now!

    It seems every time you turn around there are amazing new pickers that have been playing longer than they have been walking. Gotta just keep finding the joy in it and not worry about competing too much.
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  34. #20
    Registered User zedmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: 10 years in...

    I'll be at 2 years in a couple of weeks.

    10 years--wow--cool.
    Would it save you a lot of time if I just gave up and went mad now?

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