Results 1 to 9 of 9

Thread: Harmony mandolin

  1. #1

    Default Harmony mandolin

    HI please can anyone tell me about my mandolin I brought second hand for 100. It's a Harmony (Hadwing, not sure though). I have put new D'Addario extra light (.010-.047) Phosphor Bronze strings. Ive also purchased a D'Addario tuner. I'm learning via YouTube video's at the moment due to Coronavirus lock-down but eventually will go for lessons.
    I've been learning for 6 weeks on and off because of sore left-hand fingers. It's been suggested by guitarist friend that sore fingers could be due to poor quality mandolin. What do you think. I'm new to this site so any help would be brilliant.
    Thank you

  2. #2

    Default Re: Harmony mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by clownhall View Post
    HI please can anyone tell me about my mandolin I brought second hand for 100. It's a Harmony (Hadwing, not sure though). I have put new D'Addario extra light (.010-.047) Phosphor Bronze strings. Ive also purchased a D'Addario tuner. I'm learning via YouTube video's at the moment due to Coronavirus lock-down but eventually will go for lessons.
    I've been learning for 6 weeks on and off because of sore left-hand fingers. It's been suggested by guitarist friend that sore fingers could be due to poor quality mandolin. What do you think. I'm new to this site so any help would be brilliant.
    Thank you
    How do I include photos

  3. #3

    Default Re: Harmony mandolin

    Sore fingers can be helped by three things.

    First, if you have never played a stringed instrument before you need to build up calluses on your fingers. That may take a few weeks depending how much you play. Mandolins do require more pressure than guitars due to the double courses and higher string tension though.

    The second is set up. Even a not as high quality instrument can be set up well to play reasonably easily unless there is something wrong with it. Taking it to a shop to be set up might run 50 to 100 dollars in the U.S. You should take it to someone familiar with mandolins and not just a guitar tech. The specs are a bit different. If you are reasonably handy with tools there is a free e-book from cafe member Rob Meldrum which gives detailed instructions on how to set them up for a player. Send an email to rob.meldrum@gmail.com with "mandolin setup" in the subject line.

    Lastly be sure you are not pressing too hard. You should be pressing just hard enough to make the strings sound with no buzz or rattle and no more. Your fingers should be just behind the fret bar, not on top of it and not halfway between. People often press harder to make up for poor finger placement. Pressing harder than necessary does a lot of things, all bad and none of them good.

    Hopefully this helps.

  4. #4
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    S.W. Wisconsin
    Posts
    5,585

    Default Re: Harmony mandolin

    I am questioning the gauge of your strings. 10-47. A 47 is way too heavy for a mandolin. Check the gauge of your strings and let us know.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

  5. #5

    Default Re: Harmony mandolin

    Hi pops1 very sorry the information that I gave is incorrect. The packet that I read from was for guitar strings, sorry.
    The mandolins strings I've put on are:-
    D'Addario 80/20 Bronz Mandolin Light gauge strings .010-.034 (EJ62)
    Thank you

  6. #6

    Default Re: Harmony mandolin

    Hi CarlM I've followed you advice and placing my finger 'just behind the fret' and this seems to be less painful. I've realised how tense my finger were whilst pressing down. I was concentrating on trying to get a better sound to the expense of sore fingers.

    I've been lead to believe that the mandolin has been set up. I must admit the sound of my madolin is quite good. I'm not really a tech person so might consider taking it to a more experianced play for his/her oppinion.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Harmony mandolin

    Set up affects playability more than sound. It involves getting the bridge in proper position, set to the correct height and the nut slots filed to the correct height along with a couple of other things. Having an experienced player or tech look at it to be sure it is set up correctly might be worth your while.

    A little exercise I was taught to understand how hard to press the strings is this:

    Just touch a string lightly so when you pick on it so the string is muted and you just get a click. Keep picking back and forth clicking and press just slightly harder. Keep picking and pressing harder till you get a note to sound. When that note just sounds with no buzzes or rattles that is how hard you should press and no more than that.

    The exercise can be reversed as well, where you fret with your normal pressure. Pick back and forth and gradually let off and lighten up pressure till you just get a rattle or buzz. Just before the buzz is how hard you should press.

    Most people tend to press too hard. When you press harder than the minimum necessary it wears the strings out, wears the frets and fingerboard out, pulls the notes slightly out of tune, makes your fingers hurt, wears your joints out, slows you down and hurts tone. In other words everything it does hurts you, your instrument and the music. The only exception is if you are bending strings like for blues and that is not done often on a mandolin.

    Like a lot of guys, I started playing music on a cheap secondhand guitar which had a huge neck and was set up way too high. It developed a bad habit of pressing too hard which has taken years to unlearn. When I got a properly set up instrument and was shown how hard not to press it was a revelation.

  8. The following members say thank you to CarlM for this post:


  9. #8
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    NC
    Posts
    3,896

    Default Re: Harmony mandolin

    Agree, set up is huge. Any instrument will be a bit painful and tough to play at first, as you have to build up callouses and finger strength/dexterity (especially with that pinky finger), but a good set up lets you progress without expending excessive effort. Harmony mostly made budget instruments, but some of them sounded pretty darn good. My first mandolin was a Kentucky 675-S made just after Saga moved to China, and they were still working out some kinks and the luthiers gaining experience, so it came with some issues. Some of those issues were caused by the eBay seller who improperly stored it, and I had a couple of luthiers work on it. They got it as playable as they could, but, man, when I finally upgraded to a Silverangel econo, the difference in playability was amazing, and I progressed so much faster on that mandolin. It was a true “a ha!” moment for me...

    So, yes, get a set up done when you’re able, and work on your technique in the meantime!
    Chuck

  10. #9

    Default Re: Harmony mandolin

    Hi CarlM Your comment on your previous posting about the "A little exercise" is BRILLIANT. Thank you very much for this. Since you mentioned it on the 15th (few days ago) I'd been trying to understand it. Your little exercise yesterday really drove it home. I've just come off my practice after 30 minutes were previously 5 minutes would result in painful fingers and now there's no pain even after 30 minutes practicing.
    During my 30 minutes practicing I've gone through 3 major scales and 3 tunes (slowly) and EVERY note sounded out brilliantly, so I guess there's not a lot wrong with my Harmony after all. My friend's tutor (on madolin and violin) is still going to have a look and try-out my mandolin this coming Wednesday. I'm not able to go to see him because of the Coronavirus situation here in the UK and I'm confined to 'lock-down' in my home. Once it's all over I'll be going to him for lessons.
    Thank you for your helpful comments they certainly 'did' helped
    Best regards
    Norman

Posting Permissions

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