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Thread: Unexpected things/benefits about playing mandolin

  1. #1

    Default Unexpected things/benefits about playing mandolin

    Starting this as a companion thread to the "why mandolin" thread.

    I started mando as an easier guitar with a unique voice, but over the years have had many unexpected and pleasant surprises about playing mandolin.

    1) I didn't know there was classical literature for the mandolin.
    2) I discovered I like bluegrass, and developed an appreciation for country music.
    3) the mando family of instruments has a huge variety of voices and sounds, which really kicked MAS into overdrive for me.

    The mando family is it's own topic really:
    1) I love mandos of all kinds and voices, although I have tended towards a darker classical sound as I progress.
    2) mandolas and octave mandos are beautiful sounding instruments to my ears.
    3) four string mandolas and OM's scratch my guitar-envy by letting me sound pretty much like a guitar player when I want to, as they are basically tenor guitars by another name.
    4) the 4-string electric mando family lets me pretend to be an electric guitar player on demand, loads of fun there, nothing like bending and some vibrato when you need it. :-)

    Looking back, learning mando was a fantastic decision, far better than I knew when I started.
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  3. #2
    Registered User Mando Mort's Avatar
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    Default Re: Unexpected things/benefits about playing mandolin

    Unexpected and pleasant surprises are great rewards for the effort put into learning a new instrument. It sounds like you have had a very rewarding journey.

    Playing and enjoying music through my life has provided many pleasant surprises as well.
    "All of us contain Music & Truth, but most of us can't get it out." - Mark Twain

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    Oval holes are cool David Lewis's Avatar
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    Default Re: Unexpected things/benefits about playing mandolin

    I mentioned his in my answer to the why mandolin thread, but realising that it is an incredibly diverse instrument that makes things like jazz more decipherable than guitar. And of course, Sam bush, punch bro’s, dawg, Compton, Marshall, stiernberg, hull, burns,....
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    Default Re: Unexpected things/benefits about playing mandolin

    I met some cool people and heard some great music as a result of playing the mandolin, but the biggest surprise is that it made me a better musician in general.

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    Orrig Onion HonketyHank's Avatar
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    Default Re: Unexpected things/benefits about playing mandolin

    This may be corny but its true: picking up the mandolin brought me here. I enjoy being here as much, but in a different way, as playing.
    New to mando? Click this link -->Newbies to join us at the Newbies Social Group.

    Just send an email to rob.meldrum@gmail.com with "mandolin setup" in the subject line and he will email you a copy of his ebook for free (free to all mandolincafe members).

    My website and blog: honketyhank.com

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    Registered User Sue Rieter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Unexpected things/benefits about playing mandolin

    I'm with Hank, finding this site has been so cool - new friends, new things to think about, and tons of new music I had never even heard of before.
    The studying part of learning the instrument is also knocking the rust off of some dormant brain cells. And the playing part is just plain fun.

    Sue

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  11. #7
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    Default Re: Unexpected things/benefits about playing mandolin

    I first saw my wife at a jam at Wintergrass that I got invited to as I was walking past the registration desk. Talk about unexpected! Can't be any better than that
    Play it like you mean it

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    Default Re: Unexpected things/benefits about playing mandolin

    Attempts to restart my music with keyboard and guitar after years of neglect fell way short. It wasn't the sound or the medium I was looking for. Mandolin not only rekindled my love for making music but it has made me progress further and faster than I had with other instruments. And, I whole-heartedly agree with Hank. Picking up the mandolin led me to the Café. It's a great place to be.
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    Registered User Keith Johnston's Avatar
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    Default Re: Unexpected things/benefits about playing mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill McCall View Post
    I first saw my wife at a jam at Wintergrass that I got invited to as I was walking past the registration desk. Talk about unexpected! Can't be any better than that
    You are A LUCKY man

  15. #10

    Default Re: Unexpected things/benefits about playing mandolin

    I have discovered so much new music, met a whole bunch of local like minded folks, made new friends, and overall enriched my life by picking up the mandolin.

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    Registered User T.D.Nydn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Unexpected things/benefits about playing mandolin

    It gives me an endorphin rush...

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    Default Re: Unexpected things/benefits about playing mandolin

    Peculiar travel suggestions are dancing lessons from God

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    Default Re: Unexpected things/benefits about playing mandolin

    I've told this story a million times in a million corners of the Internet, so I apologize if I repeat myself.
    I played the viola for 30 years and then had a terrible car accident and hurt my bow arm.
    I tried to get back for 5 years, to no avail.
    I switched to the mandolin because picking didn't hurt my shoulder/neck the way bowing did.
    After a year of mandolin, my shoulder strength was back and now I can play the viola again
    I tried just resting it for years - I tried practicing very tiny amounts - nothing - 1 year of mandolin and it was like accidental musician PT.
    I'm partial to the mandolin now, but it's nice to have my childhood friend back.

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  21. #14

    Default Re: Unexpected things/benefits about playing mandolin

    I enjoy being here also, like Hank, Sue and others. Lots of nice folks here.

    As far as an unexpected benefit, I have learned to read music, which has helped me in singing hymns at church. Still working on my timing, though. Also, learning to play gives me something to stimulate my mind in my old age .

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    Registered User Louise NM's Avatar
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    Default Re: Unexpected things/benefits about playing mandolin

    Learning mandolin has led me to all sorts of music I wasn't too familiar with before, and learning something new is always a worthy pursuit. The best part, though, is that it has led me to some really wonderful people I might not have met otherwise.

  23. #16
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    Default Re: Unexpected things/benefits about playing mandolin

    Instruments tuned in fifths . . . . what a revelation.
    I love hanging out with mandolin nerds . . . . . Thanks peeps ...

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  25. #17

    Default Re: Unexpected things/benefits about playing mandolin

    I struggled (and still do) with fiddle for years but was able to play old-time music on mandolin pretty easily. Because it actually sounded good when I played mandolin, I became a respected and sought-after member of my jam, able to lead tunes, teach new tunes, invited to play in pubs and paid gigs and stuff like that. And because I didn't know what I was doing, I invented my own style, my own way of adding color and variation to tunes, which I think isn't half bad at times. Now I have an octave mandolin banjo and so it sounds like I can play the banjo even though it's not a banjo. And with all that, I feel accomplished.

    I imagine other people experience similar things with other instruments, so I don't think there's anything particularly magical about mandolins. Oh and I did all this at first with a second-hand, $100 mandolin I got on a trade, sight-unseen, so I've never had any MAD, although I did eventually buy a better mandolin only because everybody kept telling me I should have a better one. And now the octajo, but I don't desire more and more mandolins at all otherwise. It seems to me that on instruments I can actually play well I have no acquisition disorder.

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    Default Re: Unexpected things/benefits about playing mandolin

    Great thread! I haven't been playing long but because of some of these unexpected things, I haven't picked up the guitar in months.

    1) Chord melody is a bit more simplified, IMO. Fewer strings and the B string doesn't screw up the 5ths tuning across the rest of the strings

    2) Size and Portability. I didn't think about it at first, but I bump into stuff around the house less. It's easier to carry and easier to conceal new acquisitions.

    3) Confidence. After 40 years of guitar I'm still not comfortable playing a lot of things I should know like, even "Happy Birthday" and "Jingle Bells" (but I can still pull off a number of hard things pretty well.) I'm much more confident on the mandolin for some strange reason, even though I'm lacking experience.

    4) New appreciation for those old-time songs and others that I really should know.

    5) Love the Octave I have and it's unique voice almost as much as the mandolin's. It's another dimension and adds versatility to all the other possibilities

    6) The subculture. This forum being just one of those parts of it. Guitarists are a dime a dozen, as I've been told too many times. To go along with that....

    7) When I say I play mandolin, nobody will say "Oh, do you play lead or rhythm?" or better yet, "Acoustic or electric?" as they do with guitar players. Or "what kind of music?" People will assume I play just bluegrass, but I guess that's okay, even though I don't know much bluegrass.

    8. Just about everything everyone said above.
    Last edited by Woyvel; Oct-01-2020 at 9:13am. Reason: format

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    Registered User Sue Rieter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Unexpected things/benefits about playing mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by Woyvel View Post
    It's easier to carry and easier to conceal new acquisitions.


    I played "Happy Birthday" for my daughter just the other day over the phone, and she loved it!

  28. #20

    Default Re: Unexpected things/benefits about playing mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by eightmoremiles View Post
    Peculiar travel suggestions are dancing lessons from God
    Did Bokonon play the mando?

    Jim

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    Registered User Randi Gormley's Avatar
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    Default Re: Unexpected things/benefits about playing mandolin

    Probably the most unexpected was it gave me and the guy I was seeing something in common -- we'd sit around with a music book and play duets, he on chords (guitar) and me on melody. We've been playing music together since 1978, now I come to think of it, although we've only been married since 1983. And we both got into ITM as a pair and that's opened up an entire world of friends and great music and incredible adventures joining random sessions wherever we happen to vacation. And, of course, the Cafe.
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    Registered User Frankdolin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Unexpected things/benefits about playing mandolin

    I would first have to agree with Hank. The fact that I'm sitting here in a discussion with folks from around the world, about something I've loved since a child, is pretty cool.And the M/C is the best
    I've said before that I started playing around 5 1/2 years old. But I'm sure I held it both in my hands long before that. It was always hanging on the kitchen wall and just always there. I have no memory of ever thinking, that I could not play whatever song I wanted with some time and work/fun. It gave me confidence and I'm sure helped me in school. But to me one of the biggest things as I sit here at 64 is I don't get lonely. I miss folks, I love, I hate what's happening now. But I don't get lonely. Is it because of the mandolin ? Is it because it will never judge, hurt, or leave you ? It's just some wood and strings, right? Humans, go figure.

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    Registered User Eric Platt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Unexpected things/benefits about playing mandolin

    Wow, lots of great answers. Will throw in that since getting serious on the mandolin, have reconnected with a former bandmate and now we have a nice duo going. Am also part of two other bands that have helped build my confidence level from absolute zero to slightly above that. (Still will never believe I'm any good at this).

    Other benefits - have traveled further and met a lot more amazing folks. Both musicians and folks who appreciate the music I am now playing. Learned to transpose tunes on the fly when necessary. And as a side benefit, have become more proficient at transcribing.

    And yes, this forum is one of the best out there. And I consider myself lucky to be on here.
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    Default Re: Unexpected things/benefits about playing mandolin

    I'm surprised no one mentioned the #1 thing:

    Playing the mandolin makes you a chick magnet!

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