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Thread: "Powerful/Loud!"

  1. #26
    Registered User Cobalt's Avatar
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    Default Re: "Powerful/Loud!"

    Quote Originally Posted by HoGo View Post
    Latest researches ov violin "projection" revealed that violins that project well are also loud under ear. If I remember correctly there were no violins that felt quiet but projected well. IMO, among mandolins I think it is the same. Some mandolins can be perceived as loud by person who plays them but will dissolve in larger ensemble.
    I'm not sure it applies with mandolins. Often I can barely hear myself, yet other people tell me it was loud from their listening position.

  2. #27
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: "Powerful/Loud!"

    In my experience Embergher bowlbacks have that aspect of excellent projection especially the soloist models. And some of the Loar F-5s too.
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  4. #28
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    Default Re: "Powerful/Loud!"

    I'd rather have to back off a little because I'm loud than play harder because I'm too quiet.

    I played a Collings MT a couple years ago at a store that I thought was a little on the quiet side. I wasn't wailing on it, but I wasn't babying it, either. Handed it back to the owner who handed me an MF to try. I started off East Tennessee Blues and he hopped in chopping with the mando I'd thought was quiet, and, man, it was loud from across the room. He was hitting it harder than me, but I think the difference was mainly just the strong projection. I've not noticed that big of a difference on a lot of other mandolins, but that it was huge on that particularly mandolin.

    I've recently downsized and pared the stable down to my Kelley A5 and my RM-1. I may yet turn the RM-1 into an oval hole with a pickup (for plug and play ease at church), but haven't been able to bring myself to part with it yet. It can be very loud, but also has the broadest dynamics (from soft and pretty to loud and brash) of any mandolin I've owned. And, I kind of like the wider nut. It really is a versatile mandolin. The Kelley is a beast as well, and I generally prefer its tone, but the RM-1 is great to pull out in loud groups or with drums/bass/electric guitars...
    Chuck

  5. #29
    Registered User grassrootphilosopher's Avatar
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    Default Re: "Powerful/Loud!"

    Jim Garber: Yep, thatīs what you were talking about. And you are right.

    HoGo/Adrian: I find your point interesting. What I find in guitars, mandolins and banjos is that an instrument that carries well does not necessarily sound "lound" (to someone sitting in front of it). The tone is pleasing but you only notice the carrying power from further away. I donīt know how it is with violins because the player takes a heavy dose of sound out of the instrument right in the ear.

    Cobalt: I find that a great mandolin projects away from you. So you are in the unfortunate situation that you do not hear (the noise level) that you actually put out. This is especially true with old Gibson F-5 instruments. Therefore many musicians overplay their instruments.

    I found it very informative and interesting to actually try out to not play as loud as you can and see if you can create an intensity that will be seen as loud. I read a Tony Rice statement where he claimed that if you are very much in tune with each other your music will be thought of as loud even if it isnt. I found that to be true. A homogenous ensemble will allways sound "loud".
    Olaf

  6. #30
    Adrian Minarovic
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    Default Re: "Powerful/Loud!"

    Some of the posts above confuse directionality with projection. Even the loudest mandolins will be heard less from behind the back than from front.
    If the instrument has no volume to start with it won't be able to project. I would always test mandolins playing against wall to hear what is coming out of the box. I want to hear large dynamic range and be possible to be loud. If I don't hear myself and need to I would lean over the mondolin a bit (or you can cut side-port if you are brave enough)
    How well the instrument will be heard in larger space or jam depends on player (picking closer to bridge will carry more), the ensemble (playing with four-five other mandolins playing at the same time will drown sound of any mandolin, while playing with various other instruments may leave place in the spectrum for the mandolin to "carry through") and also the space alone (damping or echoes of the sound will change things a lot).
    Adrian

  7. #31
    but that's just me Bertram Henze's Avatar
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    Default Re: "Powerful/Loud!"

    Quote Originally Posted by JAK View Post
    Can it be too loud/powerful/unpleasant?
    I have done several tweaks to my OM and my playing technique to be heard in an Irish session, and I have had encounters where people sitting to my right asked if we could swap places so they could hear their own instrument better (and there was at least one banjo player among them). I always comply
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  8. #32
    Registered User Cobalt's Avatar
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    Default Re: "Powerful/Loud!"

    Quote Originally Posted by grassrootphilosopher View Post
    Cobalt: I find that a great mandolin projects away from you. So you are in the unfortunate situation that you do not hear (the noise level) that you actually put out. This is especially true with old Gibson F-5 instruments. Therefore many musicians overplay their instruments.
    Well, in my mind, I'm attempting to play music, but it's probably the case that I am simply generating a noise level a lot of the time.

  9. #33
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    Default Re: "Powerful/Loud!"

    I don't feel my mandolins are loud but my wife from the audience tells me it is and I sometimes drown out the singers or other players so I am trying to keep volume down more !
    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 !

  10. #34

    Default Re: "Powerful/Loud!"

    Volume can come at a price. I remember once, maybe 15-20 yrs back I was at a jam and someone had a custom-ordered mando from one of the companies out west, may have been Flatiron, I can't remember. Anyway, it was way loud but sluggish. It took a lot of effort to push through the strings and it felt like there was almost a delay between picking and the note coming out. Not a mandolin I'd want to tremelo on. The original owner who had special ordered it wasn't happy with it so it had sold on at a loss. As a builder, I've learned that the path to more volume/projection on the unwound strings involves leaving more wood in the top (up to a point). The trade off is that more mass in the top requires more energy to get it moving, i.e. heavier strings, thicker picks, stronger right hand attack. So for a mandolin to play fast celtic or bluegrass music on, it's a fine balance between loudness vs responsiveness… which is I'm guessing what you get in a $10k mandolin. Jams with insensitive or unskilled participants are really the only place it's an issue. Quality bluegrass players are often masters at laying back and playing quieter when the mandolin or guitar take a break. On stage, a small diaphram condenser mic within a foot of the mando is the great equalizer.

  11. #35

    Default Re: "Powerful/Loud!"

    I had been a really great viola player and loved my super loud viola. I took a long hiatus while getting my career established ("day job" not music related). I pulled it out about 6 months ago and it was torture and I wanted to trade it in for something quiet. But slow and steady... it's coming back and I actually just got louder strings (loudest strings I've ever had) - I definitely have the loudest instrument in the "chins" in my orchestra - and I'm way in the back of the violas (there's a violinist back there who won't let me take last chair) - but I'm back to loving it and hope in a few concert cycles to start moving back up to the front. But I have a point... when it was set up to be quieter, I had to attack it to get the string going and it sounded awful. I put a metal A back on it and fairly loud C/G/D, plus switched to better rosin, and now I'm louder but sound more refined. The timid quiet strings and non-aggressive rosin made me sound like when you have a cold but you have to communicate so you scratch out words out of necessity. Now I sound like I'm making music.

    I am still a baby on the mandolin (13 months) but already wish it was louder. I mostly play Bach duets with my teacher and spend about half an hour or so each week taking a stab at Led Zeppelin or something like that. I feel like I have to play fast or the sound will be dead before I start another note (partly out of my skill level, partly the instrument). I found this thread here whilst searching for information on what to look for when I upgrade (not any time soon) if I want a louder instrument.

  12. #36
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    Default Re: "Powerful/Loud!"

    I want it loud enough, but responsiveness and tone both across the strings and up the neck are more important to me than pure volume. I’ve played some mandolins that were very loud but the tone suffered and was very harsh and not sweet or round enough for me.
    Last edited by Victor Daniel; Nov-17-2019 at 10:23am. Reason: Random uppercase letter
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  13. #37

    Default Re: "Powerful/Loud!"

    I’m in the middle of a conundrum. I want to spend $5-6k on a mandolin, not out of need, but out of want. But every time I go shopping, I’m faced with a lack of perceived volume from almost every mandolin I try compared to the mandolin I own. Now I am very aware that something louder is often perceived as better due to our auditory perception, but still, I’m not going to spend that kind of dough on something my hearing tells me is lacking. There was a time before having a loud mandolin that those store mandolins sounded gloriously good. So based on my experience loud is important. The mandolin sounds good too, if you like punchy.

    Last sound check, I told the sound guy the volume sounded about right. He hadn’t turned me on yet.
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  14. #38

    Default Re: "Powerful/Loud!"

    Nice to have it in reserve but the thing we all hate is the people who are obsessed by their instrument overpowering others in a session. It needs to sit their and, on the occasion of it being featured, be loud enough to do the necessary. Wish I had Ģ1 for every time I can't hear vocals due to people playing 'sympathetic accompaniment' far too loud.

  15. #39
    Registered User Kevin Briggs's Avatar
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    Default Re: "Powerful/Loud!"

    Nice thread....

    I definitely like a fundamentally loud mandolin, but I rarely play it to get all the volume it has. As long as it cuts through a jam and has the sweetness when played a bit softer. That's the thing.

  16. #40
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: "Powerful/Loud!"

    If I want loud to overpower and annoy other acoustic (and even electric) instruments then I play my National RM-1. I do like the sound though as well. However my overall mandolin of choice is the Brentrup oval hole A4C. I love the tone, get more than adequate volume, and it also has excellent responsiveness. It never sounds like there could be more there of only I can beat it out of it.
    Jim

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