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Thread: Uncharted territory in my mandolin life

  1. #1
    Registered User Doug Brock's Avatar
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    Default Uncharted territory in my mandolin life

    Iím happy with the progress Iíve made on mandolin in the past year (after a long hiatus from music), but much of my mandolin life has been spent looking and listening and learning, figuring what different mandolins brought with sound, playability, monetary value, etc., and what my next upgrade should be. I started with a Kentucky KM150 years ago and have worked my way up through the low end of the Kentucky and then Eastman models (highest was an Eastman MD505 and an MD315).

    I bought a Silverangel last fall, and that brought satisfying tone, but not enough volume for my live jams. Friday I received a 2018 Kimble Two Point. That gives me satisfying tone AND volume. There are nicer mandolins out there, F-bodies and interesting inlays, colors and shades, and different sounds and histories, but my Kimble is ďenoughĒ for me.

    Now, I seem to be set. Yes, I could keep shopping for mandolins (there are many wonderful mandolins out there), but at this point I canít justify any more ďbigĒ expenditures on mandolins (I know, my Kimble is NOT a big expenditure for many folks out there, but for me, at this point, it was a stretch.).

    This is a new phase for me. I spent a lot of hours shopping and reading and wondering. Now I can hopefully channel some of that time and energy into PLAYING my mandolins. Iíve been very happy with my progress in the past year, but I canít help but wonder what the next year might be like with even more focus on playing and less on wanting.
    Doug Brock
    2018 Kimble 2 point (#259), 2019 Silverangel Econo A (#446), Eastman MD315, 2020 Morris Oval Flattop A, Eastman MDA315
    Pisgah Wonder open back banjo, cheap old German fiddle, Martin HD28, Martin D18GE, CA Guitars Bluegrass Performer

  2. #2
    Registered User Mando Mort's Avatar
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    Default Re: Uncharted territory in my mandolin life

    congratulations. With all that is bad about this Coronavirus situation, at least you have time to spend enjoying your new instrument.
    "All of us contain Music & Truth, but most of us can't get it out." - Mark Twain

    Eastman MD615SB
    Martin D35
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  4. #3
    Pittsburgh Bill
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    Default Re: Uncharted territory in my mandolin life

    Enjoy! I have always had interest in trying a Kimble as I have heard nothing but good reviews. I settled on a Stiver I am soon to receive because I never played one I didn't want to own (excepting those with flat fret boards) and because I have come to know Mr. Stiver..
    On the upside with the stay at home precautions you have your Kimble and will have much time to become aquainted with it. Me, well I have sequestered my self in the mountains of Georgia away from people in our RV and will not be able to get my new Stiver till this crisis pass.
    Congrats
    Stiver A style (MAS has stopped here)
    Kentucky KM-950
    Keith Edward Coleman A style, oval hole Mandola
    Weber Gallatin A Mandola "D hole"
    Rogue 100A (current campfire tool)
    Harley Benton A style (grandchildren's learner)

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  6. #4
    Registered User Doug Brock's Avatar
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    Default Re: Uncharted territory in my mandolin life

    Quote Originally Posted by Mando Mort View Post
    congratulations. With all that is bad about this Coronavirus situation, at least you have time to spend enjoying your new instrument.
    That was part of my motivation to buy now. We had some money freed up, but I knew that I could likely have some extra time for music, too. When I saw Elderly stop selling, I thought I’d better jump while some stores were still operating.
    Doug Brock
    2018 Kimble 2 point (#259), 2019 Silverangel Econo A (#446), Eastman MD315, 2020 Morris Oval Flattop A, Eastman MDA315
    Pisgah Wonder open back banjo, cheap old German fiddle, Martin HD28, Martin D18GE, CA Guitars Bluegrass Performer

  7. #5
    Lurkist dhergert's Avatar
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    Default Re: Uncharted territory in my mandolin life

    This is a good time for music. It improves our emotional, mental and even our physical health. We probably all need it more now than ever before.

    My mandolin is getting a lot of playing time lately. It has become my go-to instrument, more than any of my banjos, more than my double bass, more than my Dobro. I still love playing these other instruments, but the mandolin is just right for a personal, sort of "parlor" instrument. It's especially good for when I don't want to bother other occupants of the house...

    The mandolin can support melody or harmony nicely so it doesn't always sound like noodling to other people who overhear it. It makes a great ensemble instrument, but it can also sound wonderful as a solo instrument. It can have a sweet tone and while it can be loud and brash, some of its greatest musical beauty comes while playing it quietly and sensitively. Its tone is not necessarily piercing or penetrating like a banjo or Dobro. It doesn't rattle the furniture like a double bass. Someone else in the house -- and also our neighbors -- can sleep if they want to while a mandolin is being played nearby.

    Having been known primarily as a banjo player for the majority of my life, it's interesting to be focusing so much on other instruments. About 15 years ago I spent a lot of time working on Dobro... Then I took up double bass the year I retired, and really concentrated heavily on it for about two years. While I've been more casually playing the mandolin since the mid '70s, this decade, and especially this year I've been really concentrating on it, and I'm really glad to have the time to do so.

    In the midst of everything else going on, it's like salve for the mind.
    -- Don

    "Music: A minor auditory irritation occasionally characterized as pleasant."
    "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 many other noisemakers)
    [About how I tune my mandolins]
    [7/29/2019 -- New Arrival!!!]

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  9. #6

    Default Re: Uncharted territory in my mandolin life

    I took an on-line Cajun fiddle class last night with Mitch Reed (Beausoleil) and somehow we ended up on the local news (via our Zoom class screen). My friends texted me this morning to tell me. So, while these are tough times, they are also interesting times. And yes, they showed the classroom with some of the students, replete with our names too.

    I'm working on more music than taxes this season.
    There's nothing better than first-hand experience.

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  11. #7
    not a donut Kevin Winn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Uncharted territory in my mandolin life

    Doug, my story is similar and I got to the same place last summer when I got my Kimble. I'd been stalking the classifieds here and on Reverb searching for one, and funny enough, it just took a random email to Will and he just happened to have a small batch of A's that he was finishing up and one was not yet spoken for.

    Between the Kimble and my F5S, I've got enough tone and playability to last the rest of my life. The hard part is determining which one to play, which is why I went to an arbitrary weekly rotation.

    It's hard to get out of Seek mode, though. I still cruise the classifieds here, mainly because I just like looking at nice mandos. Kind of like driving around nice neighborhoods, even though I love mine.
    "Keep your hat on, we may end up miles from here..." - Kurt Vonnegut

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  13. #8
    Registered User Doug Brock's Avatar
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    Default Re: Uncharted territory in my mandolin life

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Winn View Post
    It's hard to get out of Seek mode, though. I still cruise the classifieds here, mainly because I just like looking at nice mandos. Kind of like driving around nice neighborhoods, even though I love mine.
    I can see that. It’s interesting to see what’s out there, what prices are doing, even if I’m giving up on “dating.”
    Doug Brock
    2018 Kimble 2 point (#259), 2019 Silverangel Econo A (#446), Eastman MD315, 2020 Morris Oval Flattop A, Eastman MDA315
    Pisgah Wonder open back banjo, cheap old German fiddle, Martin HD28, Martin D18GE, CA Guitars Bluegrass Performer

  14. #9
    not a donut Kevin Winn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Uncharted territory in my mandolin life

    Before SXSW was cancelled, I was planning on heading to Fiddler's with my Kimble and playing it against everything on their wall. I was especially stoked to try out a Girouard they have in stock, as I've heard so many good things about those instruments.

    I also had my eye on the Kalamazoo Oriole, mainly because I've been a Baltimore Oriole fan since I was a kid...
    "Keep your hat on, we may end up miles from here..." - Kurt Vonnegut

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  16. #10

    Default Re: Uncharted territory in my mandolin life

    I manage to practice three to four hours a day AND obsess over all the mandolins out there.

    I suggest you adopt a pro and take some Skype lessons from him or her, or enroll in a Peghead nation class. I’ve started to be more critical of my playing and try to clean up notes that aren’t quite as clear as they should be. That entails a metronome and slowing things down trying to get that pinky stretch note as strong as all the rest.

    I’m also working minor scales and arpeggios into my routine. So much to do, and so much time available. Those of you of working age should take advantage of the down time.
    Silverangel A
    Arches F style kit
    1913 Gibson A-1

  17. #11
    Registered User Doug Brock's Avatar
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    Default Re: Uncharted territory in my mandolin life

    Quote Originally Posted by Br1ck View Post
    Those of you of working age should take advantage of the down time.
    Downtime? What downtime?

    I’m fortunate enough to be able to work from home during this virus event. That means I still have a full-time job and really don’t have much extra time than pre-virus. I was already playing several hours each evening, but now I’ll do less obsessing over other mandolins, lol.

    I’ve been pleased with my mandolin progress in the past year (part of my justification for the Kimble). Yes, I work scales and arpeggios, drones, double-stops, up the neck, etc. I especially enjoy improvising and working up my own arrangements. While I can’t play with anybody during the virus threat, I’m using iReal Pro and that is actually pretty nice for practicing tunes and for improvising. No, there aren’t any other soloists involved to trade licks off of (not that the guys I jam with were into soloing to begin with) but it’s still a handy tool. I also take advantage of the rich YouTube resources, both for “lessons” as well as for just listening to and watching good mandolin players.

    I’m also working on fiddle and clawhammer banjo in smaller bites. Not my focus, but fun things to break up all the mandolin playing!
    Doug Brock
    2018 Kimble 2 point (#259), 2019 Silverangel Econo A (#446), Eastman MD315, 2020 Morris Oval Flattop A, Eastman MDA315
    Pisgah Wonder open back banjo, cheap old German fiddle, Martin HD28, Martin D18GE, CA Guitars Bluegrass Performer

  18. #12
    but that's just me Bertram Henze's Avatar
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    Default Re: Uncharted territory in my mandolin life

    Quote Originally Posted by Doug Brock View Post
    Downtime? What downtime?
    Same here. The main difference is that the outside world now is looking more like a dream of Edward Hopper's.

    But I would not worry about the end of MAS. I have played the same instrument for decades now, and there is a constant flow of new music keeping me busy.
    the world is better off without bad ideas, good ideas are better off without the world

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  20. #13
    Registered User Doug Brock's Avatar
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    Default Re: Uncharted territory in my mandolin life

    Quote Originally Posted by Bertram Henze View Post
    I have played the same instrument for decades now, and there is a constant flow of new music keeping me busy.
    I like the concept of playing the same mandolin. I’m hoping I can avoid wandering eyes.
    Doug Brock
    2018 Kimble 2 point (#259), 2019 Silverangel Econo A (#446), Eastman MD315, 2020 Morris Oval Flattop A, Eastman MDA315
    Pisgah Wonder open back banjo, cheap old German fiddle, Martin HD28, Martin D18GE, CA Guitars Bluegrass Performer

  21. #14
    not a donut Kevin Winn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Uncharted territory in my mandolin life

    Quote Originally Posted by Doug Brock View Post
    I like the concept of playing the same mandolin. I’m hoping I can avoid wandering eyes.
    Looking isn't cheating...
    "Keep your hat on, we may end up miles from here..." - Kurt Vonnegut

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  23. #15
    but that's just me Bertram Henze's Avatar
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    Default Re: Uncharted territory in my mandolin life

    Quote Originally Posted by Doug Brock View Post
    I’m hoping I can avoid wandering eyes.
    My eyes wander all the time, and what they see is less attractive than what I have, every time.
    the world is better off without bad ideas, good ideas are better off without the world

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  25. #16

    Default Re: Uncharted territory in my mandolin life

    Be grateful if you are still employed. My son in law is a senior engineer designing chips in Silicon Valley. He hates the management aspect and would rather just do the science. He’s really happy to have turned his detached garage into a workspace and works away without the constant interruptions of his office environment. My daughter noticed an immediate improvement in his mood.

    So get what you can, when you can. And kudos to Doug for making a big jump instead of a little one.
    Silverangel A
    Arches F style kit
    1913 Gibson A-1

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  27. #17
    mandolin slinger Steve Ostrander's Avatar
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    Default Re: Uncharted territory in my mandolin life

    Quote Originally Posted by Doug Brock View Post
    That was part of my motivation to buy now. We had some money freed up, but I knew that I could likely have some extra time for music, too. When I saw Elderly stop selling, I thought Iíd better jump while some stores were still operating.
    Elderlyís showroom is closed, but their policy as of yesterday is they will hold any instrument from their online catalog, with no deposit, until such time as they can ship it.

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