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Thread: New to the cafe

  1. #1
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    Default New to the cafe

    First let me say I am not a musician. I rarely even listen to music but, I love the sound of a mandolin. I enjoy country, folk and Irish. One of my favorite artists is Stan Rodgers.

    I am a 61 year old retired engineer who spent 32 years building airplanes. I am a machinist, welder and builder of race cars. I come from a long line Irish blacksmiths, not musicians.

    I bought a Rogue A style mandolin about 15 years ago and tried to learn how to play it by learning notes. After a year of trying I gave up and it went into the closet. A couple of years ago my friend, who plays guitar, asked if he could borrow it to play. So after I retired he encouraged me to pick it up again. This time I am learning chords and making some progress.

    My daughter is a student at The University of Georgia in musical education. She sings like an angel. My tinkering with mandolin has given us yet another connection and I really enjoy our discussions on music theory.

    My end goal is not to be in a band nor play for anyone. My goal is to entertain myself and learn something new.

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  3. #2
    Registered User wildpikr's Avatar
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    Default Re: New to the cafe

    Welcome!

    It sounds like you've got a good thing going...a friend who plays guitar and a daughter that sings! There's always something new to learn...sounds like a good time to me.
    Mike

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  5. #3

    Default Re: New to the cafe

    Do yourself a big favor and upgrade your mandolin. You will be pleasantly surprised how easy a decently well setup mandolin will play. There are many what should I buy threads. And since you have the type of mind that wants to know how things work, start with the free e book by member Rob Meldrum. It will detail how to do a proper setup. We have site sponsors who setup each instrument they sell.

    Welcome to the journey.
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  7. #4

    Default Re: New to the cafe

    Mandolin is fun, nice and portable, glad you are enjoying it.

    I think mando is a nice easy-to-learn instrument, mostly because it is not as complicated as guitar (only 4 strings), but still useful as a rhythm instrument, and it can do melody too.
    Trinity College TM325 Octave Mandolin (converted to 4-string tenor guitar).
    Eastman MD-605SB, MD-604SB, MD-305, all with Grover 309 tuners.
    Eastwood 4 string electric mandostang, 2x Airline e-mandola (4-string) one strung as an e-OM.
    DSP's: Helix HX Stomp, various Zooms.
    Amps: QSC-K10, DBR-10, THR-10, Sony XB-20.

  8. #5
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    Default Re: New to the cafe

    Quote Originally Posted by Br1ck View Post
    Do yourself a big favor and upgrade your mandolin. You will be pleasantly surprised how easy a decently well setup mandolin will play. There are many what should I buy threads. And since you have the type of mind that wants to know how things work, start with the free e book by member Rob Meldrum. It will detail how to do a proper setup. We have site sponsors who setup each instrument they sell.

    Welcome to the journey.
    My guitar buddy said it was much easier to play an electric guitar than acoustic, so I have already bought an Eastwood Mandocaster. I know that was not your suggestion but, that is were I am today. I received it just yesterday and have yet to play it.

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  10. #6
    Mandolin Player trodgers's Avatar
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    Default Re: New to the cafe

    Welcome to the Cafe!
    “Like winds and sunsets, wild things were taken for granted until progress began to do away with them. Now we face the question whether a still higher ‘standard of living’ is worth its cost in things natural, wild and free.” -- Aldo Leopold

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  12. #7

    Default Re: New to the cafe

    Welcome Neil. Enjoy the learning process.

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  14. #8

    Default Re: New to the cafe

    Yes, 4 string electrics are easier on the fingers. I wonder if you might like a ukelele also, they are crazy popular these days, uke camps have sprouted up like weeds. Ukes are also easy to play, nylon strings are easy on the fingers too.
    Trinity College TM325 Octave Mandolin (converted to 4-string tenor guitar).
    Eastman MD-605SB, MD-604SB, MD-305, all with Grover 309 tuners.
    Eastwood 4 string electric mandostang, 2x Airline e-mandola (4-string) one strung as an e-OM.
    DSP's: Helix HX Stomp, various Zooms.
    Amps: QSC-K10, DBR-10, THR-10, Sony XB-20.

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  16. #9
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: New to the cafe

    Quote Originally Posted by neilca View Post
    First let me say I am not a musician.
    Too late. You play an instrument, so now you are a musician. And it sound like you have a burgeoning interest in playing music.

    There are quite a few folks here on Mandolin Cafe who started playing later in life, so you are in good company. Keep at it and it will grow in enjoyment. Welcome to this club.
    Jim

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  18. #10
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    Default Re: New to the cafe

    Good for you, and remember it is supposed to be fun, frustrating and challenging. Good luck, it's never too late to learn.

  19. #11
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    Default Re: New to the cafe

    Welcome to the club, Neilca!
    Your story is somewhat similar to mine...I've been "learning" guitar off and on for 40 years, raising kids, career, health, and life just taking priority. The musical ability gene passed me by, but my kids got it, so I am pretty happy. Before I retired last year, I got the mandolin bug, bought a nice mandolin thinking I'd never have any money after retirement, and it has been a great move. Mostly a two finger chord guy so far, a little picking, I currently play just for myself and occasionally family get togethers---married into a big bluegrass clan.

    This site has been the most welcoming, helpful place I visit in my mandolin journey. Too old and unpolished to go pro, but love playing and it keeps the mind sharp--always a challenge. My goal is just to play better today than yesterday.
    Enjoy your time!

    Quote Originally Posted by neilca View Post
    First let me say I am not a musician. I rarely even listen to music but, I love the sound of a mandolin. I enjoy country, folk and Irish. One of my favorite artists is Stan Rodgers.

    I am a 61 year old retired engineer who spent 32 years building airplanes. I am a machinist, welder and builder of race cars. I come from a long line Irish blacksmiths, not musicians.

    I bought a Rogue A style mandolin about 15 years ago and tried to learn how to play it by learning notes. After a year of trying I gave up and it went into the closet. A couple of years ago my friend, who plays guitar, asked if he could borrow it to play. So after I retired he encouraged me to pick it up again. This time I am learning chords and making some progress.

    My daughter is a student at The University of Georgia in musical education. She sings like an angel. My tinkering with mandolin has given us yet another connection and I really enjoy our discussions on music theory.

    My end goal is not to be in a band nor play for anyone. My goal is to entertain myself and learn something new.

  20. #12
    Registered User Randi Gormley's Avatar
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    Default Re: New to the cafe

    Welcome to the mandolin and the cafe! I've personally found the mandolin is a perfect melody instrument that also plays chords - which means don't limit yourself, play whatever you want in whatever manner you want. Your journey should be as entertaining and fun as you can make it!
    --------------------------------
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    1952 Strad-o-lin
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    2011 Eastman MD305

  21. #13
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    Default Re: New to the cafe

    Quote Originally Posted by neilca View Post
    First let me say I am not a musician. I rarely even listen to music but, I love the sound of a mandolin. I enjoy country, folk and Irish. One of my favorite artists is Stan Rodgers.

    I am a 61 year old retired engineer who spent 32 years building airplanes. I am a machinist, welder and builder of race cars. I come from a long line Irish blacksmiths, not musicians.

    I bought a Rogue A style mandolin about 15 years ago and tried to learn how to play it by learning notes. After a year of trying I gave up and it went into the closet. A couple of years ago my friend, who plays guitar, asked if he could borrow it to play. So after I retired he encouraged me to pick it up again. This time I am learning chords and making some progress.

    My daughter is a student at The University of Georgia in musical education. She sings like an angel. My tinkering with mandolin has given us yet another connection and I really enjoy our discussions on music theory.

    My end goal is not to be in a band nor play for anyone. My goal is to entertain myself and learn something new.

    I know this is kind of off the subject, but what kind of airplanes did you build?
    Shawnee Creek #88
    The Mixson#1
    Cessna 150

  22. #14
    Mediocre but OK with that Paul Busman's Avatar
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    Default Re: New to the cafe

    I don't think an electric mandolin is necessarily any easier to play than an acoustic,as long as they're both set up properly.
    I'd recommend learning how to set up that Rogue,whether or not you decide to buy an upgrade mandolin. Mandolins need minor tweaks from time to time and it's good to be able to do some of those yourself.
    For wooden musical fun that doesn't involve strumming, check out:
    www.busmanwhistles.com
    Handcrafted pennywhistles in exotic hardwoods.

  23. #15
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    Default Re: New to the cafe

    I think an acoustic verses an electric mandolin is like real mashed potatoes verses those that come out of a box. The boxed taters are a reasonable facsimile and are great for what they are but if you haven't had real peeled mashed potatoes you don't really know what they are supposed to taste like. If you play an electric mandolin it can be alright for what it is made for and fun to play but it is still a reasonable facsimile. If you never play an acoustic you don't really know what a mandolin " tastes" like.

  24. #16
    Orrig Onion HonketyHank's Avatar
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    Default Re: New to the cafe

    As a retired sorta kinda engineer who picked up the mandolin well after retirement, I offer three thoughts:
    1. Welcome to the bunch.
    2. The sooner you can get to thinking about the sound of the tune you are trying to play instead of the logic of how to make that tune come out of the mandolin, the quicker you will progress. Otherwise, you will always be limited by human reaction time, which is way too slow.
    3. I concur 100% about learning to do a decent (if not excellent) setup on your Rogue. I did that and found the end result to be quite playable and pretty good sounding. Plus I learned a lot about a mandolin in the process. Rob Meldrum's ebook (see my sig) is a good guide.
    New to mando? Click this link -->Newbies to join us at the Newbies Social Group.

    Just send an email to rob.meldrum@gmail.com with "mandolin setup" in the subject line and he will email you a copy of his ebook for free (free to all mandolincafe members).

    My website and blog: honketyhank.com

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    Default Re: New to the cafe

    Quote Originally Posted by HonketyHank View Post
    ... a decent (if not excellent) setup on your Rogue. ...
    Heartily agree! Even after the (almost inevitable!) upgrade, it's good to have a beater around for more casual or, uhm, risky occasions. And by "beater" I don't necessarily mean an instrument that's damaged or worn out - just one that won't break the bank when it gets rained on, or slips overboard, or the 3-year-old decides to share his ice cream!
    - Ed

    "What our group lacks in musicianship is offset by our willingness to humiliate ourselves." - David Hochman

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    Default Re: New to the cafe

    Quote Originally Posted by Valerie Jestice View Post
    I know this is kind of off the subject, but what kind of airplanes did you build?
    Most of my time was on the F-117A and F-22 with a bit on F-35.

  27. #19
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    Default Re: New to the cafe

    Quote Originally Posted by HonketyHank View Post
    As a retired sorta kinda engineer who picked up the mandolin well after retirement, I offer three thoughts:
    1. Welcome to the bunch.
    2. The sooner you can get to thinking about the sound of the tune you are trying to play instead of the logic of how to make that tune come out of the mandolin, the quicker you will progress. Otherwise, you will always be limited by human reaction time, which is way too slow.
    3. I concur 100% about learning to do a decent (if not excellent) setup on your Rogue. I did that and found the end result to be quite playable and pretty good sounding. Plus I learned a lot about a mandolin in the process. Rob Meldrum's ebook (see my sig) is a good guide.
    Number 2 is my greatest challenge particularly as an engineer.


    The Rogue is still my primary instrument, the electric is a bit of an experiment. Right now it has four strings but may soon get a full load of eight

  28. #20
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    Default Re: New to the cafe

    Thought I would give an update. I have not given up! I moved to a tenor guitar tuned GDAE and still play with the mandolin. My rhythm, or lack there of, is a problem. I still cannot hear the music. I am far to mechanical still. I can finger the chords pretty well but my right hand is holding me back.

    Still tryin...…..

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  30. #21
    Kelley Mandolins Skip Kelley's Avatar
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    Default Re: New to the cafe

    Welcome to the cafe'! Keep at it!

  31. #22

    Default Re: New to the cafe

    Welcome to the Cafe, Neil.
    Age no problem -I was sixty last month. Just lots of learning to do, how about a dance class, too? That will sort your rhythm out. Tai Chi class is another option, anything that gets you to work on overall physical coordination.
    All you have to know is that if you work in all the different areas then you’ll get there.
    Good luck, you’re in a good place!

  32. #23
    Peace. Love. Mandolin. Gelsenbury's Avatar
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    Default Re: New to the cafe

    A thing that really helps with rhythm is to listen to a lot of music. Any genre will do. But exposure to music is essential to get that rhythm in your blood. When you find yourself tapping your foot or fingers to the music, transferring the rhythm to your hands is a smaller step.

    Apparently dancing helps too, but I never got into it.

  33. #24
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    Default Re: New to the cafe

    Keep trying. I took up mandolin in my late 50s after starting guitar in my early teens-20s, then the guitar got put away for lots of years of family/life in the way. Picked guitar back up, then fell in love with the mandolin. Now mandolin is #1 and guitar is #2. You will get it, keep trying!

  34. #25
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    Default Re: New to the cafe

    Welcome to the forum. We all start out as beginners. I thing that almost anyone can learn the basics of an instrument and learn how to play simple songs if you are willing to practice.

    Learning the notes of a scale is pretty easy. Learning rhythm is a lifetime endeavor, but you just have to keep practicing. Go to the main page of the site, and look for Learn/Listen at the top. Scroll down and look for TablEdit. Download the free version, and the files for the songs. There are videos out there on YouTube on how to use TablEdit, but it's not too hard. You can pick an easy song that you know, like Happy Birthday, and slow it way down. Then you play along by following the bouncing ball. Don't speed up until you've mastered the slowest settings, then slowly crank up the speed.

    Many new players focus only on the left hand and try to fret the notes. The right hand controls the tempo, and is probably more important. Make sure you focus on alternating the up and down patterns. It's hard at first, but becomes natural after a bit.

    Good luck, and have fun!
    A quarter tone flat and a half a beat behind.

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