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Thread: First Post, First Mandolin The Loar LM-220

  1. #1

    Default First Post, First Mandolin The Loar LM-220

    Hey, y'all, first post in the Cafe. I've been lurking for a couple of months, and I signed up a week or two ago. Been reading all I can and collection resources. I've never played any instrument (well, there was a brief flirtation with bagpipes many years ago), but I'm excited about getting started.

    I've been shopping around at retailers and hunting for deals for several weeks, and I've finally settled on a The Loar LM-220 from a local seller. It's a nicer mandolin than I planned for, but it's such a great deal, I can't pass it up.

    I haven't picked it up yet, but being a total ignoramus, is there anything in particular I should look for before I take it home? I'm getting an extremely good deal, and I'm handy, so small setup-type things don't worry me so much. I guess I'm just wondering if there's anything that should scream "NO" when I finally hold the mandolin.

  2. #2

    Default Re: First Post, First Mandolin The Loar LM-220

    Assuming the mandolin is in good condition, you can do the setup, and the price is right... Sounds like a plan to me!
    Robert Fear
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    "Education is when you read the fine print; experience is what you get when you don't.
    " - Pete Seeger

  3. #3

    Default Re: First Post, First Mandolin The Loar LM-220

    For the thousandth time on the Cafe, get Rob Meldrum's eBook. He's a member and it's free.

    Welcome to the most fun sinkhole for money you can imagine. For the benefit of any other half, now or future, you could be into boats ( ski, bass, sail, or cruisers), Harley Davidson motorcycles, rare stamps or coins, or hookers, any of witch will make mandolin seem like a bargain in comparison. To think nothing of the hours and hours of peace she'll enjoy when you are off to jams and mandolin camps, or holed up in the back room learning fancy licks.

    Mandolessions.com is a good place to get your feet wet.
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  4. #4

    Default Re: First Post, First Mandolin The Loar LM-220

    Get rob meldrum's setup doc, available here by pming him. It comes up all the time so easy to search for.

    Being handy is a plus when playing a stringed instrument, they always need fiddling with here and there.

    Welcome, and enjoy. :-)

    Mandolin works better with a teacher and lots of practicing. :-)
    Eastman MD-605SB, MD-604SB, MD-305, all with Grover 309 tuners.
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  5. #5

    Default Re: First Post, First Mandolin The Loar LM-220

    Thanks for the tips. Yep, went ahead and got Rob's ebook last week, preemptively. I'm hoping getting a used mandolin will save me a little work, but I feel prepared to do whatever's needed to get it in great playing shape.
    Quote Originally Posted by Folkmusician.com View Post
    Assuming the mandolin is in good condition, you can do the setup, and the price is right... Sounds like a plan to me!
    Thanks for that encouragement, Robert. I should know exactly what I have by this time tomorrow, but the pictures look great. Strings and picks, and I should be ready to roll.

  6. #6

    Default Re: First Post, First Mandolin The Loar LM-220

    Mandolin is only a sinkhole for your money if you do a lot of collecting. I played a sub-$100 mandolin for 10 years before I bought a The Loar for about $750. I only need one mandolin to enjoy playing the mandolin.

    As far as playing it goes, I suggest trying to find a jam or session you can play with. It's so much easier to learn how to play when you are with other people and when you are around people who are better than you that you can observe and learn from. And if you join a jam, don't just sit way outside the circle. Get in there, be brave, make mistakes.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: First Post, First Mandolin The Loar LM-220

    I started with a the Loar LM 220, I still have mine. It's a nice starter mandolin, I paid $200 for mine a couple years ago and I felt it was a good deal. So if you are in that ballpark, yours is probably a good deal too. I have several upgrade mandolins, but I have not felt the need to dump my the Loar yet. So welcome to the Café, and enjoy the journey!

  8. #8

    Default Re: First Post, First Mandolin The Loar LM-220

    Quote Originally Posted by LadysSolo View Post
    I started with a the Loar LM 220, I still have mine. It's a nice starter mandolin, I paid $200 for mine a couple years ago and I felt it was a good deal. So if you are in that ballpark, yours is probably a good deal too. I have several upgrade mandolins, but I have not felt the need to dump my the Loar yet. So welcome to the Café, and enjoy the journey!
    Thanks for the welcome. That's what I got mine for. I've already re-strung and tuned it, and I love the sound of this mandolin.

    The only real problem I've found with it so far is that one of the tuner knobs is missing its screw. Can you even get those anywhere?

    Aside from that, I haven't done a lot of setting up. The action feels good, though it might be a touch high at the top of the fretboard. Just starting out, I'm not going there anytime soon, but it looks to me like the bridge is already adjusted all the way down, so I'm not sure where to go with that. I guess adjusting the bridge position away from the fretboard could help it, but I haven't dared to fiddle with it yet. It took me forever just to change the strings.

    I've learned 3 basic chords, so far, and I'm working on just regulating my strumming pattern. I got a pretty good shuffle going last night, and my wife says I should set a goal of learning a carol to play by Christmas.

  9. #9
    Celtic Bard michaelpthompson's Avatar
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    Default Re: First Post, First Mandolin The Loar LM-220

    Welcome to the wide world of mandolins! This forum is one of the greatest resources you can find.

    Does the store where you bought it have a luthier? If not, bring it to one somewhere, they'll probably have that screw in a drawer somewhere, and can look it over to make sure the missing screw is the only problem with the tuners.

    Well done putting on new strings. You'll get faster at that with practice, but 8 strings can take a few minutes for any of us. If the action is high, you don't want to raise the bridge, that will just make it worse. As long as it's too difficult to play, just leave it until you get more experience. Meldrum's book will also help you evaluate and correct any string height issue.

    I play Irish music, and I can do 70% of it with just 3 chords, so you're in a good place already. :-)

  10. #10

    Default Re: First Post, First Mandolin The Loar LM-220

    You may find yourself wondering when your finger tips will stop hurting. That's pretty much the same as that old question: How long is a piece of string?

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  12. #11
    Registered User Bob Visentin's Avatar
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    Default Re: First Post, First Mandolin The Loar LM-220

    [ I guess adjusting the bridge position away from the fretboard could help it, but I haven't dared to fiddle with it yet.

    Moving the bridge away from the finger board or away from the tail piece is the way you adjust the intonation (how "in tune" the notes are) not the way to adjust the action. If you move it away from the board your notes will be flat and your chords won't sound pretty.

    This info is in the book.

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  14. #12
    Registered User Roger Moss's Avatar
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    Default Re: First Post, First Mandolin The Loar LM-220

    Welcome aboard. Everybody here is supplying some great advice and I can't add much. Some of the advice you'll get is where to go for instruction and materials. All I can add to that is that I've found that nothing motivates you to play and learn more than being able to play something right off. To that end, you might check out some of the mandolin lessons on YouTube. There are some very easy chords and songs you can start off with and play in just a few minutes. You'll want to go farther than YouTube can take you, but you can realy hit the ground running with only 10 minutes of videos.
    It is the jigsaw. It is purple haze.
    It never stays in one place, but it's not a passing phase,
    It is in the singles bar, in the distance of the face
    It is in between the cages, it is always in a space
    It is here. It is now.

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  16. #13

    Default Re: First Post, First Mandolin The Loar LM-220

    I am going to chime in. Like you, I am a complete beginner. I went a played a The Loar LM-220 just yesterday. It was very easy to play and sounded great. I am buying an LM-370 The Loar as I write this. I should have it tomorrow or Saturday.

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  18. #14

    Default Re: First Post, First Mandolin The Loar LM-220

    Welcome. I’m pretty new too. I bought my first “real” mandolin in July.

    Most fun I’ve had in a long time.

    Enjoy your journey.

    ============
    "I am not afraid of storms for I am learning how to sail my ship"
    -Louisa May Alcott
    ——————————
    Loar LM-590
    Kentucky KM-272
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  19. #15

    Default Re: First Post, First Mandolin The Loar LM-220

    Quote Originally Posted by michaelpthompson View Post
    Does the store where you bought it have a luthier? If not, bring it to one somewhere, they'll probably have that screw in a drawer somewhere, and can look it over to make sure the missing screw is the only problem with the tuners.

    Well done putting on new strings. You'll get faster at that with practice, but 8 strings can take a few minutes for any of us. If the action is high, you don't want to raise the bridge, that will just make it worse. As long as it's too difficult to play, just leave it until you get more experience. Meldrum's book will also help you evaluate and correct any string height issue.

    I play Irish music, and I can do 70% of it with just 3 chords, so you're in a good place already. :-)
    I bought it from a private seller, so no luck there. I'm sure I'll come across one when I get the time to focus on it. I've gotten lots of string changing practice the last few days. Hope that slows down a little.

    I'd be interested in some recommendations of a simple song or two l could try to start out, if you have a minute.

    Quote Originally Posted by NickR View Post
    You may find yourself wondering when your finger tips will stop hurting. That's pretty much the same as that old question: How long is a piece of string?
    Everybody talks about your fingers hurting when you first start playing, but it ain't true. I can't feel a damn thing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Visentin View Post
    Moving the bridge away from the finger board or away from the tail piece is the way you adjust the intonation (how "in tune" the notes are) not the way to adjust the action. If you move it away from the board your notes will be flat and your chords won't sound pretty.

    This info is in the book.
    I didn't say this well. What I meant was that I might lower the action slightly, incidentally, if the bridge needed to be moved further from the neck. It looked a little close, and after checking intonation, I did end up shifting it just a little toward the tailpiece, not that it really made a noticeable difference in the action, but it sure helped the intonation.

    I'm really loving this mandolin. Having never played a musical instrument, and starting in my 30's, I knew it would be tough. But I've owned it for 4 days, and I'm starting to understand chords and scales. Now if I could just keep my right hand in rhythm.

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  21. #16

    Default Re: First Post, First Mandolin The Loar LM-220

    I recommend mandolessons.com for the beginner. It's free but you can contribute if you want. Angeline the Baker is a simple tune, but watch the beginner videos first.

    I'll be another who can't stress setup enough.
    Silverangel A
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  22. #17

    Default Re: First Post, First Mandolin The Loar LM-220

    Quote Originally Posted by Br1ck View Post
    I recommend mandolessons.com for the beginner. It's free but you can contribute if you want. Angeline the Baker is a simple tune, but watch the beginner videos first.

    I'll be another who can't stress setup enough.
    Oh, man, Mandolessons has been an amazing resource, already. I'm using it for developing strum patterns, learning chords, and to get ideas for songs to start learning immediately. Just last night I used it to help me get started learning Will the Circle Be Unbroken. Played it (strumming) til my fingers couldn't take it anymore. By the end of the week, I hope to be able to pick it out.

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