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Thread: Mandolin sound changing over time

  1. #51
    Mandolin user MontanaMatt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandolin sound changing over time

    My vested interest is my enjoyment of my mandolins. I don't build or sell. My mandolins get to be family heirlooms that my kids get to sell if they deem it necessary.
    My experience is limited to two mandolins. Both owned from day one(likely several weeks into their "lives")
    I also rely on info passes on to me by one of my music mentors, who had a PhD in musicology, was a lifelong player of arched instruments (viol family), a well respected performer and university professor.
    His opinion was that internal surface cell structure changed with seasonal fluctuations, causing the release of organelles from the exposed cells on the unfinished surfaces, thus changing the cellular structure and resonance properties. That process takes a long time, if it actually happens
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  3. #52
    man about town Markus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandolin sound changing over time

    I find it interesting that no one disputes when someone says `I can hear that the strings I put on two months ago are dead' but if they say `my mandolin sounds better a month after I got it' no one wants to believe them.

    Both would seem to impressions from the player about the sound over the course of a month [or many months] ... one is never disputed, one pretty much always is.

    Given that, I'm not sure how useful these conversations ever are - though I always end up reading them.
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  5. #53

    Default Re: Mandolin sound changing over time

    Quote Originally Posted by Markus View Post
    I find it interesting that no one disputes when someone says `I can hear that the strings I put on two months ago are dead' but if they say `my mandolin sounds better a month after I got it' no one wants to believe them...........
    People certainly can hear changes in sound on any mandolin as the sound changes with the pitch, pick, pick location of pick attack (near or away from the bridge), and weather changes among other items including new strings or different strings. The question is whether instruments change over time due to some physical change of the mandolin itself, typically explained as the 'top breaking in'.

    On new instruments, especially varnished ones, I could see that the slow hardening of the varnish may cause some some change to an instrument, but I don't know of anyone who has measured the tone of an instrument when completed and then measured the tone (whatever that may mean) 1,2 or 3 years later to verify any change.

    See the study I mentioned above for an interesting study of identical instruments over time.
    Play it like you mean it.

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  7. #54
    Mandolin & Mandola maker
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    Default Re: Mandolin sound changing over time

    I consider the guitar research to be relevant to guitars, I think you should too
    Sorry, but you are wrong. Cohen and Rossing have shown that mandolins vibrate similar to guitars, so the guitar research is highly relevant to mandolins. There are differences of course (higher frequencies in mandolins), but they do vibrate very similar.
    Peter Coombe - mandolins, mandolas and guitars
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  9. #55
    Registered User flatpicknut's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandolin sound changing over time

    Quote Originally Posted by Marty Jacobson View Post
    There has been at least one rigorous study showing that guitars played frequently (for a long period with a mechanical device, versus by real players, versus by not played at all) and substantially equivalent guitars not played were identical ("scientifically irrelevant").

    Here you go: https://www.savartjournal.org/index....rticle/view/22
    Interesting read. Thanks!
    Doug Brock
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  11. #56

    Default Re: Mandolin sound changing over time

    Thanks Bill and Marty. I believe in science.
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  13. #57
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    Default Re: Mandolin sound changing over time

    Markus brings up an interesting point, if our auditory memory is so short, how do we know the strings have gone dead. If we can't remember how the strings sounded new, how do we know that a month or a week later they don't sound the same. Or for that matter with out memory how do those of us that play entirely by ear remember how a whole step, verses a half step or two steps sound that enables us to pretty much play melody on the fly. My Dad could pick up an instrument he had never played and tune it very close to standard pitch. Or for that matter how can we tune an instrument if we don't remember how it supposed to sound. We could not play anything by ear or have any idea if correct or not by written music without auditory memory. I KNOW I can remember my wife's voice and how my mandolin sounds. Ramble complete

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