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Thread: Why Mandolin?

  1. #26
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    Default Re: Why Mandolin?

    Covid hobby turned to obsession. Started getting rid of guitars. No guitar jones for the first time since I was 13 (43 years).

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  3. #27
    two t's and one hyphen fatt-dad's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why Mandolin?

    the dead (aka Grisman).
    NGR. still a big Bush fan.
    Seldom Scene - RIP Duffy
    Hot Rise - Tim O'Brian's so great.

    I personally have an ear for melodies - they just stick with me. The mandolin is a great voice for melodies.
    I love jazz! Those guys I admired so many decades ago, are so creative in music!
    The mandolin is so portable! I worked for many years as a field geologist - then a consulting engineer (degreed in both fields). I've carried my mandolins so many places and they've given me endless entertainment in places where there's pretty much nothing else (I don't drink).

    It's perfect for me!

    f-d
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  5. #28
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    Default Re: Why Mandolin?

    As a pre-teen, I would watch country, bluegrass & folk music on TV. Already played the organ. Saw and heard the mandolin and knew that's what I wanted to play. Asked my dad for one and settled for a guitar. Played it a lot and enjoyed jamming with friends, but I still wanted a mandolin. Asked dad again and he got me a ukulele instead. Wasn't really my thing. Kept my desire for mandolin through my adult years but life intervened and never pulled the trigger on getting one. Then, 44 years later, I couldn't stand it anymore. My guitar was rarely played though a neck reset and lowered action gave it a fresh sound. So - a little over 3 years ago - I did my research, sold my ukulele and my flute, joined the Café, read every article and post, watched a lot of YouTube videos and narrowed it down to 3 mandolins. TMS had a blem sale going on The Loar 520 and I placed my order. Now, I have 2 mandolins and an OM. Been happily picking ever since. It's been a life-long love affair with the instrument.
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  7. #29
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    Default Re: Why Mandolin?

    It was about a year ago that I picked up the mandolin. I already played backup guitar and sang a bit of country and bluegrass stuff. Also played clawhammer banjo in an old time group that has a couple of mandolin pickers. I was thinking about adding another arrow to my quiver and thought mando looked like fun. So I borrowed an old Alverez A model from a friend and started picking. I already knew a lot of songs and finding the melody on the mando was pretty easy. I like it enough that I bought myself an Eastman 305 which I like. Still doing a lot of climbing on the learning curve, but in the hope that it will inspire someone else to keep working at it, I will say that I have learned about 25-30 old time songs that I can play at various speeds. I now feel comfortable playing the mando in our local OT jam group at least part of the time. Unfortunately, I am often the only banjo player, so they usually encourage me to play banjo. At least that's their excuse. Ha Ha.

    All said and done, I really like playing the mando.
    Richard

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  9. #30
    Registered User Eric Platt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why Mandolin?

    Always liked the sound. Tried to play a decade or more ago. Folks kept telling me to put it away and get my guitar back out and play old time backup rhythm. So it faded away. Fast forward to a different musical stage in my life and I was looking to rebound into a different Nordic music group. Showed up at a Finnish folk jam session with some really good people (and players). That got me hooked on Finnish music. Okay then. Well, a lot of that music is in Dm, Gm, Cm. Could use a capo on a guitar. Or - why not try mandolin again? Figured it's a new set of friends and they probably won't mind. Turns out it really worked for me. Helped that I have a great bandmate and teacher, Ralph Tuttila. Since then, have expanded into playing other Nordic music, Upper Midwest old time, and French Canadian fiddle tunes.

    Still own and play guitar. But 90 percent of the time it's the mandolin that comes out when I want to just have fun with music. Want to say it was easy. But that's after putting in 2 hours or so a day of practice for the first 3 years.

    As for players, early on it was Norman Blake, Peter Ostrushko, Bob Douglas, Ralph Tuttila, Chirps Smith and Curtis Buckhannon. With some Dawg, Mike Marshall and Sam Bush thrown in for good measure.
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  11. #31
    Registered User Joey Anchors's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why Mandolin?

    Yank Rachell
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  13. #32
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    Default Re: Why Mandolin?

    I found one in decent shape for $30 in an antique store. I like that is tuned in fifths. I like the soprano range. It is just different from my usual bass playing.

  14. #33

    Default Re: Why Mandolin?

    Tuned in fifths and you can walk through a doorway with it.

  15. #34
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    Default Re: Why Mandolin?

    I saw everyone playing guitar, being all emo, and getting dates, and I wanted to be part of it, but being a contrarian I went for something different. Can't be exceptional without first being an exception - was my thinking.

    I played mandolin, on my own, figuring it out, for two or thee years actually, before I knowingly heard any recording of a mandolin player. By then it was too late. I was too much of a single note melody style player and would never be a BGer.
    Having something to say is highly over rated.

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  16. #35
    Registered User Randi Gormley's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why Mandolin?

    I've told this before so here's a shortened version: got involved in SCA as a college kid and really loved the look of a lute. I've always been a woodwind player, but spotted a bowlback mandolin hanging in my local music store when i dropped by for some recorder consort music. Thought "hey, that looks like a lute!" When my parents asked what I wanted for a gift, I said "that thing that looks like a lute hanging at Simon's Music Store" and to my surprise they bought it for me. I figured I should learn how to play it since I asked for it. Found out it was actually a mandolin (who knew?) and picked up a Mel Bay Learn to Play the Mandolin! book. Woodwind players are single line melody people, so I learned single line melody. I don't think I ever actually heard a mandolin played in a band to recognize until about 20 years ago. I'm a classical music fan and a classical orchestra is pretty light on mandolin. My mandolin-specific education has come from being on the cafe, frankly. Before I joined, I'd never heard of Bill Monroe, Dawg, Chris Thile, Sara Jarosz, mandolin orchestras, mandolas, mandocellos and the like. But to be honest, the only music i cared to listen to was classical and jazz.
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  18. #36
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    Default Re: Why Mandolin?

    I play guitar. Moved to a small Florida town and fell in with some locals who had sort of a band. All of them played guitar so I took up the mandolin to add some flavor to the band. Never regretted it for one moment.

  19. #37
    TBI survivor Richard J's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why Mandolin?

    After surviving a traumatic brain injury I needed therapy for memory and thought that a new hobby would be the key. Saw a friends friend playing a mandolin, talked with him, he gave me a couple a minutes and how to play a C, D, G chords. The neck fit me like a glove. Went to a local store that gives lessons, bought a nice beginners mandolin, and have never looked back. Playing a mandolin, learning to remember songs was the best therapy I ever had. Been 12 years, 2 mandolins: without music live would Bb(flat).
    I think, therefore, I pick.

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  21. #38
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    Default Re: Why Mandolin?

    I picked one up and it was too late by the time I put it down, l
    a lot of cool stories here, Mandobart takes first prize for front porch Saturday evening jawing IMHO so far...
    I do recall many years ago, although I had a mandolin, a sort of luthier friend of mine let me fashion an damaged ovation guitar into an octave mandolin by adding two banjo tuners to the head, and we adjusted the nut and bridge to fit 8, I remember the action was horrible and it was very hard to tune, but it wasn't long after that before I purchased a used David Freshwater mandocello from Elderly...
    "Mean Old Timer, He's got grey hair, Mean Old Timer he just don't care
    Got no compassion, thinks its a sin
    All he does is sit around an play the Mandolin"

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  23. #39
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why Mandolin?

    A friend in college let me fool around with his Martin A . I loved it so bought an American Conservatory bowlback. A year or so after college I got into learning fiddle and the mandolin was the perfect middle instrument between fiddle and guitar. So I started playing both.

    A few years later I was in a string band with two fiddlers and two guitarists so I figured mandolin was a good thing to concentrate on. I still play fiddle and guitar though and love all three.
    Jim

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  24. #40
    not a donut Kevin Winn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why Mandolin?

    Quote Originally Posted by randybrown View Post
    What brought you to the mandolin?

    Peace.
    Andrew Marlin.

    Thanks, Andrew...
    "Keep your hat on, we may end up miles from here..." - Kurt Vonnegut

  25. #41
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    Default Re: Why Mandolin?

    I found a nice, handbuilt F5 in an antique store, with a hard case and 3" hand-tooled leather strap for $145. Bought it to keep it out of the hands of the interior decoration set—I could just see it spray painted mauve and hung on someone's bathroom door. As long as I had it, figured I might as well play it.

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  27. #42
    Mandolin Player trodgers's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why Mandolin?

    I started playing mandolin because I wanted to be rich and famous. And to meet chicks.
    “Like winds and sunsets, wild things were taken for granted until progress began to do away with them. Now we face the question whether a still higher ‘standard of living’ is worth its cost in things natural, wild and free.” -- Aldo Leopold

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  29. #43

    Default Re: Why Mandolin?

    Sorry man, chicks dig the banjo. Or at keast, that's what I told my kids when I went through a phase of playing my dad's songs on the banjo (had to be banjo because he wrote them on the banjo). And now my kids all call my mandolin and any other instrument I play a "banjo," and I can't break them of the habit. But that's ok because chicks dig the banjo.

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  31. #44
    Registered User John Soper's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why Mandolin?

    I started on violin in grade school, but gave it up for guitar in high school. I played in a 3-guitar band in college. We wanted to learn some Band songs, so I actually started out playing mandolin like a drummer! And then we added other songs (Maggie May, etc), so mandolin was my #2 instrument. Played in a Bluegrass band several years later where I was the slowest guitar player to change a broken string, so I got assigned the band's mandolin chair. About 20 years ago was in a group of people that would get together annually to learn guitar and we started learning swing tunes. Because there were too many guitars, I brought a mandolin out of semi-retirement and now there is no doubt that guitar is my #2 instrument.

  32. #45

    Default Re: Why Mandolin?

    After learning some guitar and playing here and there but mostly solo, I found that I really wanted to play more with other musicians. I wanted to play Irish tunes (not solo), and play behind other singers (most who played guitar). For both of these, I felt mandolin was superior to guitar; easier to play melodically and with a distinctive sound. Didn't hurt that the tuning was the same as the tenor banjo and that the instrument was more portable than a guitar. And that, while not maybe quite as suitable as a guitar for backing songs, you could certainly do a song or two with mandolin backing.

  33. #46
    Registered User Steve Lavelle's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why Mandolin?

    Because I got tired of folk/rock jams with 3+ guitar players, Lot's of guitar players play bass, so I went for the other end of the spectrum. Also, short fingers.
    Steve Lavelle
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  34. #47
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why Mandolin?

    Quote Originally Posted by Randi Gormley View Post
    got involved in SCA as a college kid and really loved the look of a lute.
    Hey, Randi. I am not sure what SCA is. Pardon my ignorance.
    Jim

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  35. #48
    Registered User mandolin breeze's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why Mandolin?

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  36. #49
    I really look like that soliver's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why Mandolin?

    I never knew much about mandolin growing up, but I played a little guitar and then focused on bass guitar in high school and college. Somewhere in those later years, I was conscious enough of the instrument to be interested in it but that was it. Then after college the bass went into the closet to collect dust til I sold it to pursue other hobbies... Having worked in church Facilities management for many years now, one day about 6 yrs ago I stepped into the worship leader's office to say hello and visit for a moment. I saw a cheap mandolin In the corner and said "hey is that a mandolin? I've always wanted to learn to play one of those!" He handed it to me and said "why don't you take it and keep it in your office to play with, ...I know where you work!" A few weeks later I bought my own cheapo mandolin Off Craigslist and did a Meldrum set up on it and have been hooked ever since... 3 or 4 instruments later.
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  38. #50
    Registered User Randi Gormley's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why Mandolin?

    ha! Jim -- SCA is the Society for Creative Anachronism. SCA people live the middle ages not as they were but as they should have been. It's still around. The women dress up in long dresses, the guys wear chain mail and they fight wars and hold feasts. It's more intimate than a Ren Faire. All the music is medieval, the dancing is medieval (or it was when I was part of it), the instruments medieval or as close as you can come and there's a bunch of kingdoms with kings decided by right of combat. Pretty entertaining.
    --------------------------------
    1920 Lyon & Healy bowlback
    1923 Gibson A-1 snakehead
    1952 Strad-o-lin
    1983 Giannini ABSM1 bandolim
    2009 Giannini GBSM3 bandolim
    2011 Eastman MD305

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