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Thread: Any arguments AGAINST MAS?

  1. #51
    Registered User Sherry Cadenhead's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any arguments AGAINST MAS?

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidKOS View Post
    That depended on the gig - there were certain situations I wanted a spare mandolin in case of even a string breaking during a show.
    David, was there much of an adjustment for you when you changed instruments on the fly?
    This space reserved for 5 year mandolin gift to self.

  2. #52
    Registered User Tom Haywood's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any arguments AGAINST MAS?

    I believe strongly in what my piano teacher told me many, many, many years ago. She said to buy and play the best instrument you can afford - right from the git go, because the better instruments develop your ear and your physical playing abilities better. I suspect if your teacher were a mandolin player, she would have been pushing you for some time to get a higher quality mandolin given that you are clearly dedicated to learning to play. That said, I tend to play my cheaper mandolins and guitars a good bit of the time to save the strings and the frets on my better instruments since I do play out regularly with the better ones. I have found that the results from practicing on the cheaper instruments are not nearly as good as with the better instruments, not so much due to intimate knowledge as it is due to hearing so much more come out of my hands and the strings on the good instruments. However, I also find that different instruments - all of them - teach me things that the others don't. I insist that my students play on different mandolins from time to time primarily to get past being stuck on the feel of one neck. At the same time, I understand that the professional wants to be very much in touch with the instrument they will be playing on stage. My suggestion would be to buy yourself a good mandolin and really focus on it most of the time, but occasionally pick up something else and see what it shows you.
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  4. #53
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    Default Re: Any arguments AGAINST MAS?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Haywood View Post
    I believe strongly in what my piano teacher told me many, many, many years ago. She said to buy and play the best instrument you can afford - right from the git go, because the better instruments develop your ear and your physical playing abilities better. I suspect if your teacher were a mandolin player, she would have been pushing you for some time to get a higher quality mandolin given that you are clearly dedicated to learning to play. That said, I tend to play my cheaper mandolins and guitars a good bit of the time to save the strings and the frets on my better instruments since I do play out regularly with the better ones. I have found that the results from practicing on the cheaper instruments are not nearly as good as with the better instruments, not so much due to intimate knowledge as it is due to hearing so much more come out of my hands and the strings on the good instruments. However, I also find that different instruments - all of them - teach me things that the others don't. I insist that my students play on different mandolins from time to time primarily to get past being stuck on the feel of one neck. At the same time, I understand that the professional wants to be very much in touch with the instrument they will be playing on stage. My suggestion would be to buy yourself a good mandolin and really focus on it most of the time, but occasionally pick up something else and see what it shows you.
    Good advice !
    My two favorite pastimes are drinking wine and playing the mandolin but most of my friends would rather hear me drink wine! Adapted from quote by Mark Twain------supposedly !

  5. #54
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any arguments AGAINST MAS?

    There is a saying I saw in an article in Field and Stream magazine. "Beware the person with one gun. He undoubtedly knows how to use it."

    There is GREAT value IMO in getting to know an instrument. Every instrument has many idiosyncrasies that are not obvious upon picking it up the first time, or maybe even after a year of play. Where the sweet spot is, how to unfailingly fret that high F note, how to deal with the extremely long ringing after playing an open string, How different the wound strings sound, where exactly are the harmonics, what weather the thing plays best in, etc.

    These are not "problems" or indications of inferior build quality or need for a set up. Just little things you get to know about a mandolin and after awhile can react to on the fly. Mandolins are strings and wood, mechanical contraptions, not software simulations. There are many of these tiny unobtrusive optimizations than you can only learn over time. Its almost like a relationship, or like a contractual arrangement - if you do this the instrument will do that, and you can for the most part rely on it.

    Now, there is nothing wrong with getting another mandolin. Once you have two you have more than you can play at a time, and might as well have seven.

    Only to the extent that too many mandolins can get in the way of really getting to know any one of them. Which would be tragic to miss.
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  6. #55
    Lurkist dhergert's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any arguments AGAINST MAS?

    You know related to MAS, for the first time since I joined the Cafe' in 2012, I've stopped routinely looking over the classifieds before I visit the forums... I haven't looked at the Cafe' classifieds since we left for a 2-week vacation going up to the Grass Valley (CA) bluegrass festival on June 9. I don't know exactly how it happened, but I have to say I feel somewhat liberated. And it isn't just Cafe' classifieds, it's the classifieds for the double bass and banjo forums I'm a member of too. And it's Amazon too. Wow.
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  8. #56

    Default Re: Any arguments AGAINST MAS?

    Quote Originally Posted by dhergert View Post
    You know related to MAS, for the first time since I joined the Cafe' in 2012, I've stopped routinely looking over the classifieds before I visit the forums... I haven't looked at the Cafe' classifieds since we left for a 2-week vacation going up to the Grass Valley (CA) bluegrass festival on June 9. I don't know exactly how it happened, but I have to say I feel somewhat liberated. And it isn't just Cafe' classifieds, it's the classifieds for the double bass and banjo forums I'm a member of too. And it's Amazon too. Wow.
    Wow indeed. While I've managed that for guitar, the closest I've come for mandolin is to look at the classifieds last. Still looking for someone willing to sell a clean MF for $3k.
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  9. #57

    Default Re: Any arguments AGAINST MAS?

    I check this site, a sort of Craig’s list for the South of France, about once a month.
    I like it because I rarely see anything very exciting. Probably hacked.

    https://www.leboncoin.fr/recherche/?...locations=r_22

  10. #58

    Default Re: Any arguments AGAINST MAS?

    Nope, I can't think of any, with the caveat of not over extending yourself financially. They are all different sounding instruments, with different physical playing characteristics. Perhaps over time I will reduce the herd to 2, but for now I'm still looking for another acoustic and a couple of hollow body electrics.

    Enjoy and indulge yourself in this pursuit. Hard to find others to fill that role for you.
    Play it like you mean it.

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    Lurkist dhergert's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any arguments AGAINST MAS?

    Quote Originally Posted by Br1ck View Post
    Wow indeed. While I've managed that for guitar, the closest I've come for mandolin is to look at the classifieds last. ...
    It may be a case of guilt. My wife and I spent a bunch of money at the Grass Valley Luthiers' Pavilion. We got my main-player banjo and her main-player guitar re-fretted with Gold Evo frets by builder Austin Clark (WONDERFUL WORK, thanks Austin!!!), and I bought a very nice new carbon fiber double bass bow and a nice double bass kart. No regrets at all there, but we do have to be a little more careful with money for a while.
    -- Don

    "It is a lot more fun to make music than it is to argue about it."

    2002 Gibson F-9
    2016 MK LFSTB
    1975 Suzuki taterbug
    (plus a large assortment of banjos, dobros, guitars, basses and other noisemakers)
    [About how I tune my mandolins]
    [7/29/2019 -- New Arrival!!!]

  12. #60
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    Default Re: Any arguments AGAINST MAS?

    The only instrument I play that I only own one of is my piano - I have no need (or room for) more than one! LOL!!!

  13. #61

    Default Re: Any arguments AGAINST MAS?

    What? You can't have a piano buddy over to play piano duets on twin Steinways?
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  15. #62
    but that's just me Bertram Henze's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any arguments AGAINST MAS?

    Quote Originally Posted by Br1ck View Post
    What? You can't have a piano buddy over to play piano duets on twin Steinways?
    We have a Steinway in our living room. Just come over and we'll have a jam, but check your airline's cabin baggage regulations first. And prepare to tune your Steinway a quarter step down, because that's what our Steinway did on its own over the decades.
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  17. #63
    Registered User Bob Clark's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any arguments AGAINST MAS?

    I actually find that switching between my different mandolin-family instruments helps my playing on all of them. When I play my OM for a while and then go back to my mandolin, having done that stretching on the OM helps me with longer reaches on the mandolin. When I play my piccolo mandolin for a while and then play my mandolin, I find that the precise finger placement needed on the piccolo (very little real estate between frets!) results in very precise finger placement on the mandolin. I really don't have any problem adjusting to the different scale lengths. Within a few minutes, my fingers figure it out.

    The other advantage of having multiple instruments (multiple mandolins and/or other members of the mandolin family) is that when I get in a slump, you know, just kind of a funk in which I don't feel like playing, I switch to a different instrument and the enthusiasm comes right back. For me, this works every time.

    So, YMMV, but I like having multiple instruments. I benefit from it both in developing good technique and psychologically. Besides, they're small. Why not have more than one (I do have only one piano!).
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  18. #64
    Registered User rnjl's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any arguments AGAINST MAS?

    FWIW, a couple of years ago I attended a house concert with Andy Statman's bluegrass-ish band, and got to chat with him for a few minutes afterwards about his Kimble mandolin vs the old Gibson A. He was very clear that that he only plays one instrument and it took him a while to learn how to play (!!) the Kimble and really get to know it. Seems like he's a one-instrument guy. I've heard or read- don't remember where- Mike Compton say the same thing, that he has a mandolin (A Gilchrist) that does everything anybody could want, why would he want another? Now, MC does play different mandos on different recordings but I think he more or less endorses the one-mando theory. . and while we're at it, has Sam Bush ever played or recorded on anything but his famous Gibson?

    I write the above in full knowledge that I have two mandolins and want more . . . but it keeps things in perspective.

  19. #65

    Default Re: Any arguments AGAINST MAS?

    The best musicians I know obcess over instruments the least.
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  20. #66
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any arguments AGAINST MAS?

    Quote Originally Posted by Br1ck View Post
    The best musicians I know obsess over instruments the least.
    Nah.

    They just don't share it with the audience. But looking through the pages of Fretboard Journal, or many youtubes, great musicians worry and fret over their instruments and their care and feeding, and what to buy and what to acquire and why. And when someone is uber successful so that money need not be as much of a criterion, my gosh do they get into it.

    I think that is the trick. They don't share that side of themselves except in more intimate interviews and gear discussions.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ctx86V-GI8A

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nUKovTFQmrE

    etc. etc.
    Last edited by JeffD; Jul-14-2019 at 3:32pm.
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  21. #67

    Default Re: Any arguments AGAINST MAS?

    It sounds to me like you may need to buy a little better mandolin, Sherry. Might as well go ahead and do it.

    I have three mandolins here, but two of them have things wrong and are not playable. One is a hand-me-down from my Father-in-law, and it is coming to pieces. We have it hanging on the wall for a momento. The second one has a broken saddle, the second time it broke. I decided not to fix it but instead buy a little better mandolin. The third is an Eastman that I play (play at is a better description). I won't be buying another one until the Eastman has taught me all it can. Not sure when that will be because right now it is way, way ahead of me!

  22. #68
    Registered User Sherry Cadenhead's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any arguments AGAINST MAS?

    Quote Originally Posted by SOMorris View Post
    It sounds to me like you may need to buy a little better mandolin, Sherry. Might as well go ahead and do it.
    I'm planning to do that in about a year. Knowing how to go about it will present another challenge. Will probably reach out to you guys when ready to start.
    This space reserved for 5 year mandolin gift to self.

  23. #69
    Oval holes are cool David Lewis's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any arguments AGAINST MAS?

    You can only play one at a time. You don't need to choose which one to take to a jam. You get to know the quirks and strengths and weaknesses of the instrument intimately.

    I have five mandolins. So, actually, I can't think of an argument. I would respectfully disagree with your teacher.
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    Default Re: Any arguments AGAINST MAS?

    I have found incredibly talented and capable musicians who obsess over their gear (Dawg, Thile) and those who don't (Monroe). I'm unsure if skill correlates with not being a mando-head. Some folks just love all the details and variances of the instrument some don't bother with that. Neither is better than the other. Both can be great advocates for the instrument and their styles.

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  27. #71

    Default Re: Any arguments AGAINST MAS?

    Quote Originally Posted by JEStanek View Post
    I have found incredibly talented and capable musicians who obsess over their gear (Dawg, Thile) and those who don't (Monroe). I'm unsure if skill correlates with not being a mando-head. Some folks just love all the details and variances of the instrument some don't bother with that. Neither is better than the other. Both can be great advocates for the instrument and their styles.

    Jamie
    Thanks for the post, Jamie. Sometimes I think we believe is we just have a better instrument, we can magically be a better player.

  28. #72

    Default Re: Any arguments AGAINST MAS?

    What ever happened to musicians being associated with one instrument? Monroe, Sam Bush, Tony Rice, Vassar Clements, Tim O'Brien, Doc Watson, are all guys who I associate with a particular instrument. Not that they didnt own others, but their instruments are a recognizable part of their thing

  29. #73
    Registered User rnjl's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any arguments AGAINST MAS?

    I got to interview Tim O'Brien a few months ago. He told me that these days he mostly plays a Collings/Nugget TOB model not the original Nugget. IIRC he liked the nut width better on the Collings. FWIW.

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  31. #74
    Moderator JEStanek's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any arguments AGAINST MAS?

    Quote Originally Posted by mandohat View Post
    What ever happened to musicians being associated with one instrument? Monroe, Sam Bush, Tony Rice, Vassar Clements, Tim O'Brien, Doc Watson, are all guys who I associate with a particular instrument. Not that they didnt own others, but their instruments are a recognizable part of their thing
    I wonder if part of that may lie in how many great builders there are now. Take Andy Statman for example, for the longest time, I would have associated him with his A2Z but now he's on a Kimble (see the archives of the Fretboard Journal where he talks about that). Over the last 20 years there has been an explosion in the number of builders who are making fabulous instruments that cover more than one sound range (bluegrass vs jazz or other tonalities).

    Lord knows there are plenty of folks in the hunt for better (more expensive?) instruments when what is actually holding them back might better be served by lessons and woodshed time (I'm looking myself squarely in the eye here). I also firmly believe that there are TONS of mandolinists who play for their livelihood who have stuck by a particular instrument for years (most likely because the economics of playing for your living doesn't leave much extra $$ for instruments - especially as musicians adapt to a new reality of how recordings sales are happening in the digital age - but I'm deep in weeds now).

    Having a mandolin isn't like having a life partner. You can play on other ones and even replace them without going through a divorce. I've beaten MAS by being satisfied with my instruments (flat top oval, F Holed Eastman 2 pointer, a TC Octave, and a playable old bowl). They each sound and feel different and are all three a joy to own and play.

    At it's best, there's nothing inherently wrong with MAS. It affords new builders opportunities to build more. It keeps instruments not being played in circulation. At it's worst, it's a fools errand that convinces people that the new is the answer to their problems and can lead to lots of money gone.

    Jamie
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  32. #75
    Lurkist dhergert's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any arguments AGAINST MAS?

    I'm somewhat of a modest-instrument collector, so I can't say anything substantive against MAS or GAS or BAS or dbAS or whatever AS a person wants to enjoy.

    But, instrument Acquisition Syndrome is a game that the majority of full-time musicians can't play because it costs too much and takes too much energy. Most full-time musicians feel lucky to have a quality main-playing instrument and extremely lucky if they have a relatively nice backup instrument. If they play multiple instruments they feel very lucky to have one of each. They also feel extremely lucky if they pay a mortgage instead of a rent. Most also don't have a retirement fund, many don't have health insurance or any kind of reserve in the bank...

    The majority of full-time musicians most often schlep their own equipment and very often they have to provide, setup and manage their own sound equipment. Even the very best of these full-time musicians frequently teach music and/or repair instruments because there aren't enough paying gigs to just play full-time. They often feel lucky to get gigs in the raunchiest bars and also lucky to finish a gig without getting drinks thrown at them, and also lucky to get paid what they were promised. And for most, the vehicles that they drive around to get to these gigs were on their last legs 5 years ago.

    For the most part, it's the part-time musicians (aka hobbyists) who didn't quit their day job (and some who have comfortably retired from their day job) who have the money and energy to enjoy the Acquisition Syndromes. This is also the group of people who keep music alive through their willingness and ability to spend money and energy on music in the form of festivals and similar events, live shows, recordings, buying instruments, taking lessons and doing everything else that serious part-time music lovers do.
    -- Don

    "It is a lot more fun to make music than it is to argue about it."

    2002 Gibson F-9
    2016 MK LFSTB
    1975 Suzuki taterbug
    (plus a large assortment of banjos, dobros, guitars, basses and other noisemakers)
    [About how I tune my mandolins]
    [7/29/2019 -- New Arrival!!!]

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