Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 47

Thread: Mandolin Try-out Etiquette

  1. #1

    Default Mandolin Try-out Etiquette

    I'm heading to my first music camp soon and am wondering about etiquette for asking to play someone else's mandolin. I don't live near a good shop and haven't been to many jams with strangers so haven't tried many different types of mandolins other than Kentucky, Eastman and Loar but would like to...

    Bad idea to just ask? Compliment someone's mandolin and just see if they offer? Is there an instrument trading round robin jam that sometimes happens? I'm assuming only during breaks outside of sessions?

    If it happens, should I limit it to a song or two or just a few minutes of my limited repertoire while they watch, etc?

    If someone wants to try mine, is it a expected that I should try theirs?

    Ever heard of someone dropping a borrowed mandolin?

    Just curious...

  2. #2
    Registered User Louise NM's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    New Mexico
    Posts
    372

    Default Re: Mandolin Try-out Etiquette

    Uh, yeah, dropping one is definitely poor etiquette.

  3. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Louise NM For This Useful Post:


  4. #3

    Default Re: Mandolin Try-out Etiquette

    I wouldn't ask to play other people's instruments. I think the approach of talking about instruments and hoping they offer you it is best practice. I pretty much will offer up my instrument to anyone that talks to me about it if we get a chance, and I trade around instruments with people I know at jams, but would not ask a stranger if I could play their instrument. For some people it is a personal thing. And ya, don't drop anyone's instrument or any instrument for that matter.

  5. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Josh Levine For This Useful Post:


  6. #4
    Registered User Steve-o's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Northern Michigan
    Posts
    1,164

    Default Re: Mandolin Try-out Etiquette

    And if they do offer up an instrument to play, handle it with kid gloves, keep your belt buckle covered, etc. I like to tell the owner how careful I’ll be.

  7. #5
    Registered User Steve Sorensen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Santa Clarita, CA
    Posts
    2,179

    Default Re: Mandolin Try-out Etiquette

    Keep your right hand pinky finger tucked-in. Nothing worse than pinky nail indentations in a nice spruce top.

    Steve

  8. The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to Steve Sorensen For This Useful Post:


  9. #6
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    In hills, FRANCE.
    Posts
    347

    Default Re: Mandolin Try-out Etiquette

    When you ask someone who has a 10,000 dollar mandolin if you can play it, don't be surprised if they turn around, look at what you're wearing and then say no.
    -Oh come on guy, it’s just a tee shirt, shorts and my fancy marathon running shoes.

  10. The following members say thank you to atsunrise for this post:


  11. #7
    Some Ability - No Talent MikeZito's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Location
    Connecticut, USA
    Posts
    1,264
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default Re: Mandolin Try-out Etiquette

    Yeah - feel out the person you are talking too first and see if there is an offer to play their mandolin. One time (not at a mandolin camp) I sat face-to-face with a guy who had Joe Val's Loar. After a long talk I took a shot and asked to play it . . . luckily, he gave me a hearty 'sure' and handed it over. I played it for about 45 seconds and handed it right back. I offered to buy it from him for a fast $1,000 in cash, but he decided to pass . . . .

    Damn!
    I recently finished a new homemade 4-song EP of original solo acoustic songs; (sorry, no mandolin content this time). If you are interested in a FREE copy, feel free to send me your address via Private Message, and I will be glad to send you one. Trust me, it will be worth the price!


    Mike Zito YouTube Channel:
    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCO-...ow=grid&view=0

  12. #8
    Mediocre but OK with that Paul Busman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Frederick,MD
    Posts
    2,289

    Default Re: Mandolin Try-out Etiquette

    I'd say just ask. Nothing ventured,nothing gained. The worst they can do is say no. I'd take it as a compliment if someone asked to try any of my instruments. Naturally,be understanding if they say no, treat the instrument with kid gloves if they say yes, and thank them sincerely. When I've done this, I've just played one of my favorite tunes, once through with no repeats. Enough to get a feel for the instrument.
    For wooden musical fun that doesn't involve strumming, check out:
    www.busmanwhistles.com
    Handcrafted pennywhistles in exotic hardwoods.

  13. #9
    Registered User John Bertotti's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    SD
    Posts
    2,572

    Default Re: Mandolin Try-out Etiquette

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Sorensen View Post
    Keep your right hand pinky finger tucked-in. Nothing worse than pinky nail indentations in a nice spruce top.

    Steve
    At one time I let anyone play my instruments, no 10K jobs but a couple 3K, anywho, I let my Martin go to a guy I knew well and let him play it. He began to hammer it left scratches on the pickgaurd and scuffs on the top. I rarely let one out of my hands until I see how they treat their own instruments and I lay down some ground rules. People might think I'm a butthead but it was my hard earned cash not theirs that bought it. I do not get irritated if someone asks but I have to see them play their own first. Anyone dragging a finger across the top usually gets a no. I have though about getting a detachable pick gaurd just for these cases because I actually want people to try it, but I am also very careful and picky with my instruments. I have never asked to play someone elses instrument. If they want me to play it they will offer, that's how I see it.
    My avatar is of my OldWave Oval A

    Creativity is just doing something wierd and finding out others like it.

  14. The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to John Bertotti For This Useful Post:


  15. #10
    Gibson F5L Gibson A5L
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    2,079
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default Re: Mandolin Try-out Etiquette

    Hmmmm …. I do allow people I know well, or someone I have seen play often, to play my instruments. That depends largely on how they treat their instruments. Strangers … no that's not going to happen. OTOH I don't often ask to play anyone else's instruments either. If I were to ask to play someone's guitar mandolin or fiddle I would expect to allow them the option of playing mine. Turnabout is fair play. R/
    I love hanging out with mandolin nerds . . . . . Thanks peeps ...

  16. The following members say thank you to UsuallyPickin for this post:


  17. #11

    Default Re: Mandolin Try-out Etiquette

    I saw Son Seals years ago in Chicago at Kingston Mines and some drunk frat boys wanted to play his guitar -- he said, rather firmly, "Hell, I don't even let my MOTHER touch my guitar!"

  18. The following members say thank you to Jeff Mando for this post:


  19. #12
    Mandolin user MontanaMatt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Bozeman, MT
    Posts
    737

    Default Re: Mandolin Try-out Etiquette

    I let a friend's friend join my band and play my mando once at a gig while I played fiddle. He was an experienced musician...and after the fact admitted he knew he had the funky acid hands thing. My strings felt like they had dissolved after his 20 min assault. I was unimpressed. I still let accomplished musicians take mine for a spin, sometimes newbies
    2007 Weber Custom Elite "old wood"
    2017 Ratliff R5 Custom #1148
    Several nice old Fiddles
    2007 Martin 000-15S 12 fret Auditorium-slot head
    Deering Classic Open Back
    Too many microphones

  20. #13
    Registered User foldedpath's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    Posts
    4,848

    Default Re: Mandolin Try-out Etiquette

    I've attended a few workshops. My personal opinion is that a workshop or camp is for learning about playing music, not mandolin tasting.

    If you're able to do that it's a bonus, but shouldn't be a priority. I think the advice above is good about showing some interest in someone's mandolin, ask how they like it. Then wait to see if they offer it to try out. If it isn't offered, you've at least learned something about how the other person likes their instrument. I wouldn't just outright ask to play it, if it isn't offered first. But that's just me. Seems like the polite approach.

    And if you get the offer, be careful! Trim the RH pinkie fingernail beforehand, and if there isn't a tonegard, you'd be better off wearing a T shirt than a shirt with buttons. Or God forbid, a big metal belt buckle.

    On the owner side, I'm reluctant to hand off my instrument to someone I don't know, and haven't seen how they treat their own instrument. I learned that lesson years ago when I handed my Santa Cruz guitar off to a stranger who asked to play it. Seemed like a nice guy, polite request, but I didn't realize how drunk he was. He proceeded to hammer on it with my borrowed flatpick and put a deep scratch in the soundboard. I finally wrestled the guitar back from him, and was so flabbergasted looking at the scratch that I didn't notice he also walked off with my pick. Yeah, it was a Blue Chip. Never got it back because he had disappeared by the time I realized it. Lesson learned.

    That doesn't mean I'd never hand off my mandolin to someone who seemed interested. I still do that sometimes if it feels right. I just don't do it automatically.

    I guess one factor here is that I'm not shopping around for a replacement. I'm completely happy with what I'm playing, so I'm not looking to swap around and try out other ones. That also makes me a little more protective, because this is probably my last mandolin. If you run into someone who is "shopping" and you've got a nice instrument yourself, you might find it very easy to do some swapping and tasting.

  21. #14
    Registered User Randi Gormley's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Connecticut, USA
    Posts
    2,985

    Default Re: Mandolin Try-out Etiquette

    I fall into the "if they talk mandolin with me, i'll ask if they want to play mine" school. but i don't offer and i don't ask flat out. i may admire what they have -- "wow, is that an Ellis? So cool!" -- but that's as far as it goes from my end. I leave it up to them if they want to offer.
    --------------------------------
    1920 Lyon & Healy bowlback
    1923 Gibson A-1 snakehead
    1952 Strad-o-lin
    1983 Giannini ABSM1 bandolim
    2009 Giannini GBSM3 bandolim
    2011 Eastman MD305

  22. #15
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Edmonds, WA
    Posts
    403

    Default Re: Mandolin Try-out Etiquette

    If I'm carrying anything nicer than my Rogue mandolin and guitar, I don't let someone play it unless I have heard them play and seen their instrument(s). I've seen way too many people who vaguely remember a couple of chords they learned five years ago who want to try out my axe. Not going to happen. I've also seen some fine musicians who beat on their instruments. The lead guitarist in my band plays with a very heavy right hand. All of his instruments show heavy scratches, even after just a few weeks of playing.

    I let him play a nice jazz guitar I own, but only after admonishing him about scratches. He doesn't get to play any of my Martins. :-)

  23. #16
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    S.W. Wisconsin
    Posts
    4,864

    Default Re: Mandolin Try-out Etiquette

    Playability is to each instrument, as is sound. There is no need to play another's instrument, tho fun, to hear what it sounds like. You will hear better in front, and you will have the chance to hear a lot of mandolins. I would look at the benefit of hearing a lot of nice mandolins and maybe getting to play one or two as a major plus. You may ask about radius fingerboard, if yours is flat, and what it is like to play one. That may get you to play an instrument. The important thing is hearing them.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

  24. #17
    Registered User foldedpath's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    Posts
    4,848

    Default Re: Mandolin Try-out Etiquette

    Quote Originally Posted by pops1 View Post
    Playability is to each instrument, as is sound. There is no need to play another's instrument, tho fun, to hear what it sounds like. You will hear better in front, and you will have the chance to hear a lot of mandolins.
    That's a very good point about hearing it from the front, a few feet away. For me it's still half the requirement of a good mandolin because it has to sound good and motivate the player too. But it's still important. You get that "tasting" without having to ask to play someone else's mandolin, just hear a few licks from them.

  25. #18
    Registered User Elliot Luber's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Long Island, NY, USA
    Posts
    3,947

    Default Re: Mandolin Try-out Etiquette

    No windmills.
    Eastman 605 and Kentucky 300e mandolins.
    Member, Long Island Guitar and Mandolin Orchestra
    Member, East Coast Mandolin Orchestra
    Visit my YouTube page
    (Formerly known on the Cafe as Santiago)

  26. #19
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    S.W. Wisconsin
    Posts
    4,864

    Default Re: Mandolin Try-out Etiquette

    Yep, if it doesn't sound good in front, chances are it won't sound good when you play it.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

  27. #20

    Default Re: Mandolin Try-out Etiquette

    Quote Originally Posted by pops1 View Post
    Yep, if it doesn't sound good in front, chances are it won't sound good when you play it.
    And conversely, if it sounds really good when you play it, it sounds freakin' amazing out front!! Most of that is in the hands of the player however imho.

    Len B.
    Clearwater, FL

  28. #21

    Default Re: Mandolin Try-out Etiquette

    Like anything, it depends on who asks and how. I've asked to play some very nice instruments and only been refused once (by a buddy!), and it wasn't the Loar I got to play. If its a pro at a workshop, I always wait until a 'not busy' moment and I certainly don't always ask, even if they ask to play mine (it happened. Some pros have instrument deals, and willingly let folks play them as part of their agreement with the maker. Sometimes pros just offer, and that's quite special.

    Like so many things, be polite and sometimes nice things happen.
    Play it like you mean it.

  29. The following members say thank you to Bill McCall for this post:


  30. #22
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    939

    Default Re: Mandolin Try-out Etiquette

    You wouldn't get to play any of mine unless I had seen you play for awhile, and I saw the condition of your instrument. If all is well after that, and you expressed interest in my mando, then maybe. If I would say "no," I would also express "nothing personal, I'm just very protective of my instruments." Because that's the truth.

  31. #23
    Registered User f5joe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Knoxville, Tennessee
    Posts
    627

    Default Re: Mandolin Try-out Etiquette

    A pro came to town years ago and had forgotten his mando. First sign. He asked to borrow my Paganoni ....... which I did as a favor. I get it back and he had removed the pickguard and scratched the top during his performance. No apologies whatsoever. Total a**.

    Now, I'm very careful of anyone.
    ..... f5joe

  32. #24
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Norfolk, VA
    Posts
    551

    Default Re: Mandolin Try-out Etiquette

    Quote Originally Posted by f5joe View Post
    A pro came to town years ago and had forgotten his mando. First sign. He asked to borrow my Paganoni ....... which I did as a favor. I get it back and he had removed the pickguard and scratched the top during his performance. No apologies whatsoever. Total a**.

    Now, I'm very careful of anyone.
    Never loan your mandolin to a "pro" who forgot his mandolin.

  33. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to Hudmister For This Useful Post:


  34. #25

    Default Re: Mandolin Try-out Etiquette

    I like hearing my mandolins from the other side in the hands of good players so I'm glad to offer my mandolin to most people. The only person I've turned down was obviously inebriated. It was at a festival and I had seen him play earlier and knew he was a good player. I told him to find me the next day and I'd be glad to let him play it. Luckily he was fine with that and we had a good time picking some tunes the next day.
    the billyhawks http://thebillyhawks.bandcamp.com

    Original Melodies for Mandolin, Mandola & Mandocello
    http://HillbillyChamberMusic.bandcamp.com

  35. The following members say thank you to Don Grieser for this post:


Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •