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Thread: Hey guys and gals, I need some help please . . . old newbie

  1. #26
    Registered User Mandobart's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hey guys and gals, I need some help please . . . old newbie

    Quote Originally Posted by chris.burcher View Post
    And, yeah, I'm looking to do solo gigs rotating between mandolin, guitar, and ??? on some singer songwritery stuff just to challenge myself.

    I've spent 25 years playing music no one has ever heard, so I'm shifting the model to play things people know in hopes that one day I an be the campfire or sundowner entertainment. I shunned that role my whole life to avoid the 'play something we know' conversation. I used to tend hard toward elitist and snobbery when it comes to song selection, only to realize that some of the popular music is incredibly good, fun to play and sing, and even more fun to hear played live.
    This world is full of solo singers accompanying themselves on the guitar, singing popular songs that everyone knows. There are easily a few thousand in my area. A lot of them can deliver a much better, closer to the original version of these tunes than I can (or care to).

    I've carved out a niche for myself called "obscure songs on obscure instruments." I usually show up with my 10 string mandola, 10 string mandocello and 10 string Hardanger viola. These are custom-built and both visually and aurally unique and striking. When the audience first see this setup they are drawn in and they have no idea what they'll hear and they have no preconceptions.

    Its much more fulfilling for me, and I've been able to make some great connections with people while introducing them to some of my favorite music which they may have never heard before.

  2. #27
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hey guys and gals, I need some help please . . . old newbie

    There will always be a market for musicians playing familiar music in an individualistic way. If they can mix in some original material, played accessibly and with the same verve and style as the "covers" they perform, they can find audiences -- some of whom are drawn by the familiar material, others by the originals.

    Presentation is "a whole 'nother" (seems to be how people say it now) ball game. I usually gig with guitar, banjo, ukulele and harmonica, and frequently hear audience members marvel at "all those instruments." (Whaddaya talkin' about? Only four of 'em.) Having a mandolin-family instrument to add a different timbre and texture to your presentation, can be a definite "plus" if well-handled.
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  3. #28
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    Default Re: Hey guys and gals, I need some help please . . . old newbie

    "I've carved out a niche for myself called "obscure songs on obscure instruments."

    MandoBart - you are my hero
    "Mean Old Timer, He's got grey hair, Mean Old Timer he just don't care
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  4. #29

    Default Re: Hey guys and gals, I need some help please . . . old newbie

    There's Petersen Octave on Reverb for 1375

    There's a Herb Taylor Octave for 1900 in the Classifieds

    Carter Vintage has an interesting looking Freeman bouzouki for around 1400

    NFI but some pretty good choices to get you going without investing 4k.
    Girouard Concert A5
    Trillium Mandola
    Dunwell B-1 Bouzouki
    Girouard Custom A4 (on order)
    www.singletonstreet.com

  5. #30
    Registered User Marcus CA's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hey guys and gals, I need some help please . . . old newbie

    Quote Originally Posted by Marcus CA View Post
    Another variable to consider is whether to go for an OM or a GOM/octar (like the Northfield). Personally, I love my OM and have never heard a GOM that I liked anywhere near as much, because they haven't had the richness or fullness of tone. However, that is totally personal preference.
    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Leyda View Post
    There's Petersen Octave on Reverb for 1375
    My OM that I was describing is a Petersen Level 3, built in 2006. The one that Chuck flagged is a Level 2, but built six years later. Bill Petersen retired a few years after that, so this would be one of his later instruments. I generally see just a few Petersens come up for sale each year, probably because most of their owners feel like I do about their instrument. Lacking many comps, I'd guess that $1,375 is a reasonable price, but time will tell on that. Again, though, this will have a totally different tone from a GOM.
    still trying to turn dreams into memories

  6. #31
    Registered User chris.burcher's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hey guys and gals, I need some help please . . . old newbie

    Just to keep things real, I found an Eastman octave mando in the classifieds and it will be here just after christmas! Thanks all, Scott, and RA!

  7. #32
    Registered User chris.burcher's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hey guys and gals, I need some help please . . . old newbie

    Well after playing the eastman octave (with mandola gage strings and upgraded rubners) I gotta say . . . . .I really miss the instruments I played at Carter Vintage. I guess I've been around long enough to be able to really hear the tone and feel the feel. Don't get me wrong, for $800 or whatever it's a great learner. But I'm not satisfied. Sigh. You really can't go back.

  8. #33
    Registered User Marcus CA's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hey guys and gals, I need some help please . . . old newbie

    No, but you can do a lot going forward!
    still trying to turn dreams into memories

  9. #34
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hey guys and gals, I need some help please . . . old newbie

    Quote Originally Posted by chris.burcher View Post
    Just to keep things real, I found an Eastman octave mando in the classifieds and it will be here just after christmas! Thanks all, Scott, and RA!
    Chris, you are lucky in that these Eastman OMs are in demand and hard to come by. So, resale should be pretty quick and hopefully painless. In the meantime get yourself familiar with the instrument and see how you can use it. I was lucky to have a friend who had an excellent OM who lent me his and I fooled around with it for about a year before getting a real interest in playing this instrument. The other day I ended up buying it and still exploring the possibilities.

    My point: Eastman are quality low end ones. Figure out if OM is useful and how it fits into your music then upgrade when you have the cash. You are lucky to have hands on experience playing those better ones.
    Jim

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  10. #35
    Registered User chris.burcher's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hey guys and gals, I need some help please . . . old newbie

    Thanks, guys.
    I know I'm lucky - i live about 5 hours from Nashville. Getting to go there and play everything is like going to Disneyland as a kid for this almost 50 year old adult.
    My bigger issue is my relationship to money. I'm frugal and I have a poor money mindset, I'll admit. Which is challenging for this hobby now that my ear has matured.

    I love the playability of the eastman. The size. The tone that I know could be there. It works for what I want to do. But you know how it is. Less expensive instruments don't feel as good, sound as good, or respond as well. I'm happy to have it for awhile, but eventually the frustration is going to outweigh the pleasure.

    I got into my Duff A5 by buying and selling mandolins over 20 years, inching upward each time I bought low and sold fairly to get enough money to buy the tone I needed. I also have a high value, low cost F5 and an inexpensive mandobird and amp. Not enough value to trade around even for a $2-$3k OM. Plus I also long for a mandola also, so I want to spend more money than I've saved over the course of my playing experience.

    Not whining, just sharing the details as a sort of confession. Admitting I have a money problem might be the first step. A step toward a more complete ensemble of instruments that bring me joy.

  11. #36
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hey guys and gals, I need some help please . . . old newbie

    Let joy be your guide.

    I found, in trying to learn guitar, that switching from diatonic fingering (one finger two frets) to chromatic fingering (one finger one fret) is not a trivial problem. As the frets get farther apart it becomes more and more necessary, at least for a mostly melody player like me. It has been the greatest of impediments for me.

    Point is the larger instruments have not given me as much joy.

    I have a tenor guitar, and Il muddle on with it because it is such a pretty instrument and wonderful sound.

    I "solved" the problem with my five course mandola-mandolin because it is a fan fret arrangement that graduates the distance between frets so that the instrument can accommodate a mandola scale length on one side and mandolin scale length on the other side.

    I once owned an Irish bouzouki, and played it for awhile, but I eventually sold it - to a worthy player who is really enjoying it.

    There are many good players who solve this "problem" and make it look easy. I am not there yet.
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  12. #37
    Registered User chris.burcher's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hey guys and gals, I need some help please . . . old newbie

    In the interest in full disclosure.

    I totally forgot I could set up the instrument. i guess I assumed it came to me in ideal playing condition.

    I put the mandola gage strings on. And now I have raised the bridge (action was super low, too low for this instrument), and I think the neck could use a little adjustment as well. Just raising the bridge some made a HUGE difference. I think I can milk enough out of set up to be pretty satisfied for awhile.

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