Results 1 to 22 of 22

Thread: Dull and Lifeless

  1. #1

    Default Dull and Lifeless

    Advice please- I have a Weber Big Sky that sounds dull and lifeless to me. I have been using EJ-74 Mediums on it for over 5 years, which I change regularly. Do I need to try another type of string? Take it to a luthier for a tune up? Both? Love the mando, cringe at the dull sound coming out of it these days,

  2. #2
    Teacher, luthier
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Location
    Southeast Tennessee
    Posts
    2,651

    Default Re: Dull and Lifeless

    If the sound of the instrument has changed noticeably, have it checked over to make sure it has not developed any loose braces or seams.

  3. The following members say thank you to rcc56 for this post:

    Nevin 

  4. #3
    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Outer Spiral Arm, of Galaxy, NW Oregon.
    Posts
    16,674

    Default Re: Dull and Lifeless

    New Strings bring things back to life ..
    writing about music
    is like dancing,
    about architecture

  5. #4
    Pittsburgh Bill
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    861
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default Re: Dull and Lifeless

    Your signature does not say what part of the country you live in. Could your mandolin be exposed to usually high humidity as of late?
    Stiver A style (A DREAMED FOR KEEPER)
    Mid-Missouri EM8 solid body (Mike Dulak's final EM8 build)
    Kentucky KM-950
    Weber Gallatin A Mandola "D hole"
    Rogue 100A (current campfire tool)

  6. The following members say thank you to Pittsburgh Bill for this post:


  7. #5
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2019
    Location
    Ms
    Posts
    380

    Default Re: Dull and Lifeless

    strings and picks can make quite a bit of difference and I'd pay little attention to recommendations and reviews on those things, what one person loves and swears by you may not like at all. Intonation and string height are easy adjustments you can do on your own. Sounds like you need to experiment some with strings and picks first, maybe try some 80/20 strings that are a bit brighter than PB's and picks that produce a brighter response as some pick brands can be dull and lifeless sounding to some and some have a much brighter sound. If you're using a thinner pick go up in pick thickness and that could or will produce a different sound and greater volume...every instrument and person is different
    Last edited by CBFrench; Apr-29-2021 at 2:22pm. Reason: spelling

  8. #6
    Registered User Mark Seale's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Houston, TX
    Posts
    941

    Default Re: Dull and Lifeless

    I'd check bridge placement and contact to the top.

  9. The following members say thank you to Mark Seale for this post:


  10. #7
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    S.W. Wisconsin
    Posts
    6,342

    Default Re: Dull and Lifeless

    I agree with rcc56. Before you waste a set of strings, or try many different things that could let something that might be happening get worse, I would have it looked at. I recently refit the bridge foot on my Unicorn, it's nearly 50 years old and had several owners. I haven't had it that long, but the sound would change on the low end from time to time. The bass foot on the bridge was not fitting right. It sounds much better now and stays consistent. Things change and settle over time, so it may be time to get it checked out.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

  11. #8
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Rochester NY 14610
    Posts
    16,981

    Default Re: Dull and Lifeless

    Huh -- thought this thread was titled after a duet in which I used to play.

    You can guess whether I was "Dull" or "Lifeless..."
    Allen Hopkins
    Gibsn: '54 F5 3pt F2 A-N Custm K1 m'cello
    Natl Triolian Dobro mando
    Victoria b-back Merrill alumnm b-back
    H-O mandolinetto
    Stradolin Vega banjolin
    Sobell'dola Washburn b-back'dola
    Eastmn: 615'dola 805 m'cello
    Flatiron 3K OM

  12. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to allenhopkins For This Useful Post:


  13. #9
    Mandolin user MontanaMatt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Bozeman, MT
    Posts
    1,140

    Default Re: Dull and Lifeless

    I thought it was a dating profile!
    2007 Weber Custom Elite "old wood"
    2017 Ratliff R5 Custom #1148
    Several nice old Fiddles
    2007 Martin 000-15S 12 fret Auditorium-slot head
    Deering Classic Open Back
    Too many microphones

    BridgerCreekBoys.com

  14. The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to MontanaMatt For This Useful Post:


  15. #10

    Default Re: Dull and Lifeless

    Sorry a little unclear - do you mean that it was satisfactory previously at some point? Or has it always been unsatisfactory? But, ya take it to a luthier and have them play it, have someone else play it -

  16. #11
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2019
    Location
    Ms
    Posts
    380

    Default Re: Dull and Lifeless

    Some people actually live way out in the country and the nearest luthier or anyone capable of working on a instrument is hours away. At this point it's best to see what you can do on your own, who knows you might just be able to find the solution yourself, now wasn't that easy

  17. #12
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    S.W. Wisconsin
    Posts
    6,342

    Default Re: Dull and Lifeless

    Quote Originally Posted by CBFrench View Post
    Some people actually live way out in the country and the nearest luthier or anyone capable of working on a instrument is hours away. At this point it's best to see what you can do on your own, who knows you might just be able to find the solution yourself, now wasn't that easy
    Yes CB you are right and the first thing I would check in that case is intonation. The bridge may have moved slightly, or the action changed because of weather changes.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

  18. #13

    Default Re: Dull and Lifeless

    Thanks to everyone who offered advice. The mando used to sound great; I live on the left coast so humidity is not an issue. I think it's time for a trip to the luthier...

  19. #14
    Dan Sampson mando_dan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Beverly, MA
    Posts
    233

    Default Re: Dull and Lifeless

    All work and no play makes Weber a dull boy.
    1999 Buckeye #18 (Bucky)
    198x Flatiron pancake mandola (no name)

  20. #15
    Registered User Jeff Budz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Rhode Island
    Posts
    550

    Default Re: Dull and Lifeless

    What a difference a talented luthier can make with your instrument. More on the way it plays/feels, but sound as well. Also, I'm really digging the GHS A270 strings these day compared to other brands.

  21. #16
    Registered User J.C. Bryant's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    Poplar Bluff, Missouri
    Posts
    310

    Default Re: Dull and Lifeless

    If you know that the bridge and all are relatively the same and it has taken no licks, etc. I would bet on the humidity problem.

  22. #17
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2019
    Location
    Ms
    Posts
    380

    Default Re: Dull and Lifeless

    All one can do is speculate on what are the causes of your problem, if you live close to a good luthier that's a good thing, real good. In my case that would be a 5 hour drive one way. I bought an instrument from a good builder and I would think I should have no problems that are not fixable on my own as for bridge, intonation and strings adjustments to my likings. I know nothing about your Weber Big Sky age or condition, I was speculating on self-doable things.

  23. #18
    Registered User Aaron Bohnen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2019
    Location
    Vancouver, BC
    Posts
    87

    Default Re: Dull and Lifeless

    If you don't have a trusted local luthier a trip home to its maker might do your Big Sky a world of good. Bruce Weber usually answers the phone if you give him a call at Montana Lutherie so that could be a quick way to get some insight. NFI on my part. But I am a happy customer of Bruce's expertise, great service and depth of knowledge.

    best of luck!
    Gavin Baird F4 & F5, Weber Octar, Gibson K-1, Guild D50, Martin D35, Yairi DY-84, etc...

  24. #19
    Registered User gspiess's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Location
    Central PA
    Posts
    197

    Default Re: Dull and Lifeless

    This is admittedly a long shot, but has anything changed with the room(s) you play in? Floor covering, moving furniture around, new drapes?
    Being right is overrated. Doing right is what matters.

    Eastman 815v
    Pono MND-20H
    1960 Silvertone Archtop

  25. #20
    plectrist Ryk Loske's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Craftsbury, Vermont
    Posts
    671

    Default Re: Dull and Lifeless

    I'd send it back to Bruce Weber at Montana Lutherie: https://www.montanalutherie.com.
    mandolin ~ guitar ~ banjo

    "I'm convinced that playing well is not so much a technique as it is a decision. It's a commitment to do the work, strive for concentration, get strategic about advancing by steps, and push patiently forward toward the goal." Dan Crary

  26. #21

    Default Re: Dull and Lifeless

    I'd put my money on seasonal changes in temp and humidity. It seems to me that the left coast is moving from cooler/wetter winter weather to warmer/drier summer weather which will cause the top to settle a bit. Turn the adjustment wheels to raise the bridge somewhat. It shouldn't take much, a 1/4 turn or two should get you back to the "sharp and lively" sound you're used to producing. IMHO

    Len B.
    Clearwater, FL

  27. #22

    Default Re: Dull and Lifeless

    All of the above.

    If all else fails, add a little reverb, in real-time so you can enjoy the enhanced sound while you're playing (not added afterward). That's how I was able to tolerate that $50 Rogue mandolin I had for a few years. A little reverb makes it sound like you're playing in that cool concrete stairwell at the music festival where everyone congregates for late-night jam sessions because the natural reverb makes everyone's instruments sound better.

    An anecdote about high humidity:
    A friend once loaned me his Soviet flat-top mandolin, which I brought back with me to an extremely high-humidity region. The poor mandolin quickly got tubbier and tubbier sounding in the humid air, just like a hide banjo head does when it absorbs too much moisture from the air and starts sounding dull and doesn't ring very much, just 'thunk' sounds instead of nice ringing notes. My friend had intended that I keep the mandolin for 6 months or so, but I became so worried about all the dampness it was absorbing from the air, and what might happen upon its return to the more dry climate that it was accustomed to (I was afraid it would dry out too quickly and crack when I took it back, if I kept it very much longer and let it absorb even more dampness, it's the *changes* that are destructive to wood), and I didn't have any options such as central heating or a de-humidifier (yeah people in that area use DE-humidifiers, to remove excess moisture) so I returned his mandolin to him early. He was a little miffed because he interpreted it as some sort of insult as if he thought I didn't like his mandolin well enough to continue playing it, but it wasn't that. I knew he was attached to the darn thing and I just didn't want it getting damaged.


    --- Edited due to my inability to read accurately and quoting the wrong things. Gah.

Posting Permissions

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