Page 1 of 5 12345 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 118

Thread: Distressed Mandolin and Regular Playing

  1. #1
    Registered User Narayan Kersak's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Asheville, NC
    Posts
    646
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default Distressed Mandolin and Regular Playing

    I've owned guitars and mandolins for over 30 years. My oldest is 28 years old and I bought it new. I have mandolins I've played live weekly for 10+ years (daily home practice included) None of my instruments have ever gotten close to looking Iike even a slightly distressed version of what is sold as distressed. Other than some finish checking most are in pretty good shape. My question is, is the distressed look what most people's instruments look like?
    Asheville Celtic Mandolin Blog and Tablature Resource.
    www.AshevilleMandolin.com
    Book: The Asheville Celtic Mandolin Collection - Tablature, Standard Notation & Chords to 50 Celtic/Irish Tunes.

  2. The following members say thank you to Narayan Kersak for this post:


  3. #2
    Fingertips of leather Bill McCall's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Forest Grove, Oregon
    Posts
    2,382

    Default Re: Distressed Mandolin and Regular Playing

    Most instruments show a little wear over time. I don’t come across many folks with ‘distressed’ instruments. It’s a style thing.

  4. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Bill McCall For This Useful Post:


  5. #3
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Way out there
    Posts
    220

    Default Re: Distressed Mandolin and Regular Playing

    Playing an instrument live weekly for 10+ years should produce some visible wear, but everyone's physical chemistry is different...I was married to a musician who could kill a brand new set of strings dead in no time, and was pretty good at stripping finish off of an instrument too. To refer to this woman as "acidic" could be interpreted many ways, but that's a subject for another forum. How widely and viciously one's plectrum ranges is a variable in instrument wear, too. Another factor is the type of finish...I have a varnished F5 that I have done a crackerjack job aging, and this just from regular play. Is your point in posting here that you are philosophically opposed to artificial relicing? That would be my presumption...
    too many strings

  6. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to musicofanatic For This Useful Post:


  7. #4
    Registered User Narayan Kersak's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Asheville, NC
    Posts
    646
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default Re: Distressed Mandolin and Regular Playing

    No not opposed I think it looks cool. But I've never pulled it off naturally! I do baby my instruments, but they do get played a lot and there is sweat.

    One is a shellac finish. Others are nitrocellulose. I have just seen a lot of distressed NEW instruments and I compared them to mine which are NOT new.

    I just wondered how many people actually have instruments that look distressed like the created ones do from natural playing.

  8. #5
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    S.W. Wisconsin
    Posts
    6,857

    Default Re: Distressed Mandolin and Regular Playing

    My varnish finish shows lots of wear. Not like a distressed instrument, I use an arm rest and pickguard. I think the environment you play in makes a difference too. Lacquer finish is much more resistant to wear than varnish. Humid gigs make the finish soft on the varnish finish and it is extremely easy to have nicks and wear. I have worn nearly all the finish off the neck including most of the stain. Guess I could have speed necked it, but it's so close now I'll achieve it naturally soon. Lots of play time, and gigs on a moving boat, in high humidity, make for some dings and nicks. Soft finish and a moving boat hitting waves while you are standing trying to sing into a microphone make for some interesting distressing. The gig is beautiful every night tho, and I love having it. I bought the mandolin to play and the builder said," I build them to play, I don't think most do, but I can tell you really play this." He didn't mind the distressing, neither do I. Would I like it if it were pristine, yes. Is it, not even close, but I love it and playing all those thousands of hours have made it a great sounding mandolin. I'll keep it wear and all.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

  9. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to pops1 For This Useful Post:


  10. #6
    Registered User Jill McAuley's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Co. Mayo, Ireland
    Posts
    3,482

    Default Re: Distressed Mandolin and Regular Playing

    I have a '69 Martin 00-18 that I'm only the second owner of - I got it in 2018. The guitar has a lot of obvious wear on it - finish worn on the neck, finish checking on the body, dings, worn area along the sound hole. The guitar plays and sounds great and I quite like signs of honest wear on an instrument. I do wonder if it would show as much wear as it does if it had changed hands more during it's life, probably not as you can factor in one or more owners not playing it a lot, or not playing out live or traveling with it etc.
    2018 Girouard Concert oval A
    2015 JP "Whitechapel" tenor banjo
    2018 Frank Tate tenor guitar
    1969 Martin 00-18




    my Youtube channel

  11. #7
    Likes quaint instruments poul hansen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2020
    Location
    Danmark
    Posts
    516

    Default Re: Distressed Mandolin and Regular Playing

    It's quite funny that people like a "reliced" instrument, especially players of electrical guitars. And it's even very unrealistic.

    But they wouldn't buy a "reliced" car with holes, rust patches and run down tyres

    I have 100 years old instruments, that look better than the new "reliced" instruments.
    Kentucky KM-805..........2 Hora M1086 Portuguese II(1 in car)
    Hora M1088 Mandola.....Hora M1087P Octave
    Richmond RMA-110-VS .Noname (German?) mandolin
    Pochette Franz Janisch...2 Pocket
    Puglisi Pocket 1908........Puglisi 1912
    Mandolinetto Neapolitane 1910
    1 Mandriola...................Cannelo G. Mandriola...Böhm Waldzither 1921
    Johs Møller 1945............Fangel 1915................Luigi Embergher Studio 1933
    Marma Seashell back......Crafton.......................Luigi Embergher 5bis 1909

  12. #8
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Howell, NJ
    Posts
    25,682

    Default Re: Distressed Mandolin and Regular Playing

    There is a movement within the American hot rod community to build cars that look like they are total rust buckets. Rat Rods are what they are called. Not my cup of tea.

    I'll also note that people will pay a small fortune for a pair of denim blue jeans that look like they have been worn through and are ready to fall apart.

    As far as the electric guitars go, I have a friend that has a small business providing copies of vintage electric guitars that have been created to look like their beat up vintage guitars so they don't have to take the expensive one on the road.

    I've been working on distressing my Gibson F5G since 2005. So far there's a spot on the neck where my thumb must sit. I think that is generally referred to as honest play wear.
    "It's comparable to playing a cheese slicer."
    --M. Stillion

    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them"
    --J. Garber

  13. #9
    Registered User Dave Hicks's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Hoosierlandia
    Posts
    550

    Default Re: Distressed Mandolin and Regular Playing

    My Taylor guitar is distressed about the way I've handled it, but doesn't look like it's been relic'd. (reliced? relicked?)

    D.H.

  14. #10
    Likes quaint instruments poul hansen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2020
    Location
    Danmark
    Posts
    516

    Default Re: Distressed Mandolin and Regular Playing

    I maintain and repair everything I own. If I see a potential for wear, I will protect it, any actual wear will get repaired before it gets to bad.

    I don't see any merit in mistreating an instrument to the degree of f.x.Willy Nelsons guitar. To me it's disgusting. It should have been protected/repaired long time ago.

    I would be embarrassed to be seen in public with something so neglected.

    Maybe we are too rich nowadays? It's a known phenomena within fashion that the rag look will win i good times, just to show you don't care and nice expensive clothes in times of crisis and poverty, just to show you can afford it.
    Kentucky KM-805..........2 Hora M1086 Portuguese II(1 in car)
    Hora M1088 Mandola.....Hora M1087P Octave
    Richmond RMA-110-VS .Noname (German?) mandolin
    Pochette Franz Janisch...2 Pocket
    Puglisi Pocket 1908........Puglisi 1912
    Mandolinetto Neapolitane 1910
    1 Mandriola...................Cannelo G. Mandriola...Böhm Waldzither 1921
    Johs Møller 1945............Fangel 1915................Luigi Embergher Studio 1933
    Marma Seashell back......Crafton.......................Luigi Embergher 5bis 1909

  15. #11
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    High Peak - UK
    Posts
    3,776

    Default Re: Distressed Mandolin and Regular Playing

    It’s always puzzled me as to why a new instrument that appears to have been through the wars is worth more than a shiny one whereas an old instrument that looks new is worth more that one which is worn. That said, I’ve never claimed to be a fashion icon!

  16. The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to Ray(T) For This Useful Post:


  17. #12
    Likes quaint instruments poul hansen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2020
    Location
    Danmark
    Posts
    516

    Default Re: Distressed Mandolin and Regular Playing

    Quote Originally Posted by Ray(T) View Post
    It’s always puzzled me as to why a new instrument that appears to have been through the wars is worth more than a shiny one whereas an old instrument that looks new is worth more that one which is worn. That said, I’ve never claimed to be a fashion icon!
    Me too. It seems to change around 15-20 years also concerning modifications(always called upgrades no matter what they do or their qualifications)
    Kentucky KM-805..........2 Hora M1086 Portuguese II(1 in car)
    Hora M1088 Mandola.....Hora M1087P Octave
    Richmond RMA-110-VS .Noname (German?) mandolin
    Pochette Franz Janisch...2 Pocket
    Puglisi Pocket 1908........Puglisi 1912
    Mandolinetto Neapolitane 1910
    1 Mandriola...................Cannelo G. Mandriola...Böhm Waldzither 1921
    Johs Møller 1945............Fangel 1915................Luigi Embergher Studio 1933
    Marma Seashell back......Crafton.......................Luigi Embergher 5bis 1909

  18. #13

    Default Re: Distressed Mandolin and Regular Playing

    Trigger has been repaired, reinforced and worn through again.

  19. The following members say thank you to Aurora for this post:


  20. #14
    Registered User Narayan Kersak's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Asheville, NC
    Posts
    646
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default Re: Distressed Mandolin and Regular Playing

    I do have an old Les Paul, that I got for cheap that had been beat to hell. It was my favorite for a long time, but one I've had since new has probably 2% of the wear this one does. So I do feel someone had to really just not care about the guitar before I got it. I mean it really looks like it's even been shot twice in the back and epoxy filling everywhere! But it does play like a dream. None of the instruments I've played or owned have gotten close to that level of "wear". And despite how awesome it plays and how naturally relic d it looks I doubt someone would pay the premium price due to its age if it had been mint!

    I guess I was really wondering if I want a natural relic d. Mandolin should I just stop putting it in its case and wiping it down after playing!! �� or is that likely not enough either?
    Asheville Celtic Mandolin Blog and Tablature Resource.
    www.AshevilleMandolin.com
    Book: The Asheville Celtic Mandolin Collection - Tablature, Standard Notation & Chords to 50 Celtic/Irish Tunes.

  21. #15

    Default Re: Distressed Mandolin and Regular Playing

    Quote Originally Posted by Aurora View Post
    Trigger has been repaired, reinforced and worn through again.
    Coupla thoughts...

    If it were anyone besides Willie Nelson, I would say such a guitar was played by someone with very poor technique!

    OTOH, Roy Buchanan is pictured on album covers with an old worn out telecaster that is quite possibly due to playing it night after night for years.

    For the rest of us, it is unlikely an average person could put that much wear on an instrument unless you dragged it chained behind a pickup truck without its case...

    Distressing, certainly is "dishonest" wear, in my opinion, which strikes me in a negative way. Similar to the women's hair extension trend, actually. You don't wake up one morning and say, "I'd like to have waist length hair and get it done that afternoon instantly. The beauty of long hair, for me, is in the years of commitment it took to grow it. That being said, it doesn't look good on everybody...

    I think Bill Monroe's mandolin would be a good example of what a lifetime of serious use looks like (before the fire poker.)

  22. #16
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Nashville, TN
    Posts
    374

    Default Re: Distressed Mandolin and Regular Playing

    As others have answered here, it all depends on the player's playing style or habits that determine how much wear and tear will show on an instrument. I was amazed when I saw Emory Lester up close and how much his Big Mon was distressed from his playing. And my own primary mandolin has now got all kinds of scratches and dings on it including neck finish worn off. My pick guard didn't seem to help at all, since so many pick marks were still present. So I just removed it. And I consider myself careful with instruments, but things happen in the excitement of the moment and I'd just rather not worry about the cosmetics when I am in the zone playing.

    My #1 electric guitar looks quite distressed from years of playing on the road. My #1 acoustic guitar looks fairly distressed as well, although it was some a musician friend that did most of the top damage with his wild pick stroke. I've never lent this guitar out since that day and he only played it for one set!

    So the answer is, yes, depending on the player, there can definitely be honest distressing on an instrument. But it won't happen to every instrument, depending on the player(s). I have a 250 year old violin that looks better than most and it has been honestly played all those years, just not by me.

  23. #17

    Default Re: Distressed Mandolin and Regular Playing

    Quote Originally Posted by Nashville View Post
    My #1 acoustic guitar looks fairly distressed as well, although it was some a musician friend that did most of the top damage with his wild pick stroke. I've never lent this guitar out since that day and he only played it for one set!
    That really is a shame. Like borrowing someone's car, taking it off-road and beating the snot out of it because it's your 'style' of driving.
    How you treat or mistreat your own stuff is your own business. Beating up somebody else's stuff is just plain ignorant.
    A testament to your good nature really that you still refer to him as friend.
    "I play BG so that's what I can talk intelligently about." A line I loved and pirated from Mandoplumb

  24. #18

    Default Re: Distressed Mandolin and Regular Playing

    I forget who the quote was by, but a musician was on the same bill as Elvis in the 50's and had a brand new guitar. Elvis asked to borrow it for his performance, played it and returned to him all scratched up with 3 strings broken....

    And, of course, Prince "borrowing" Captain Kirk Douglas' vintage guitar on Jimmy Fallon ending his performance by throwing the guitar high in the air and breaking it.

    Like you say, a shame.

  25. #19

    Default Re: Distressed Mandolin and Regular Playing

    I love the look of a distressed instrument (obviously, see profile pic of my Weber), but I've always thought most real distressing really depends on style of play. Some people have sweeping right hands and nails that dig into the finish as they place their pinkies on the body. Others, like myself, have a smooth right hand that doesn't move a lot and doesn't create pick scratches or anything of the sort. Both my mandolins look the same as the day I opened them and I play 2+ hours every day.
    Blevins E5
    Weber Yellowstone Custom Shop Distressed

  26. #20
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    S.W. Wisconsin
    Posts
    6,857

    Default Re: Distressed Mandolin and Regular Playing

    I don't think playing at home distresses an instrument as much as hard gigging. I was playing around 4 hours a day at home and gigging lots. The home playing is much more controlled and I don't think I distressed it at all. The gigging however did most of the distressing.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

  27. #21
    Registered User urobouros's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2020
    Location
    Sunny PNW
    Posts
    272

    Default Re: Distressed Mandolin and Regular Playing

    I don't care for relic jobs that look obvious but there are some artists that can take a new guitar & make it feel just as lovingly broken in as a pre-CBS strat. I think the number of players trying to fake a vintage guitar vs just going for another aesthetic is drastically if not almost completely over estimated.
    2020 Northfield Big Mon
    2016 Skip Kelley A5
    2011 Weber Gallatin A20
    2013 Collings Mandola
    2021 Northfield Flattop Octave Mandolin
    2019 Pono Flattop Octave
    Richard Beard Celtic Flattop
    And a few electrics

  28. #22

    Default Re: Distressed Mandolin and Regular Playing

    Gigging is what does most of the real damage, and, of course, technique(s) that are certain to wear spots, like keeping a finger planted while picking, or picking that hits an unguarded area of the top. Then, add in the walking into mic stands, stuff falling down on top of things that are unprotected, etc. And, in the past, very smoke-filled joints where the playing was done. Electric instruments seem to get more of that kind of wear because that's more of what is gigged with in the past 50 years. Even the friend who wore part of the finish off the mandolin (in 5 years or so, I'd guess) still has his 70 Martins in better shape than the mandolin. His basses and electric guitars, not so much. (He has played out pretty continuously since the mid 60s.)
    2019 Northfield NF-F5S
    some home music videos

  29. The following members say thank you to keith.rogers for this post:


  30. #23
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Upstate New York
    Posts
    24,253
    Blog Entries
    55

    Default Re: Distressed Mandolin and Regular Playing

    When I started working for a large electric utility, I was issued a hard hat. On my way to my first assignment I pulled over and rubbed the hard hat in the gravel a bit, just to take the shine off.

    I didn't want to be confused with a manager.
    Life is short, play hard. Life is really really short, play really really hard.

    The entire staff
    funny....

  31. The Following 7 Users Say Thank You to JeffD For This Useful Post:


  32. #24
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    NC
    Posts
    4,453

    Default Re: Distressed Mandolin and Regular Playing

    I don't mind some honest play wear and some battle scars. My tele is missing a chunk of lacquer from a strap failure once when I had music in one hand and a drink in another...caught it on the first bounce and didn't spill the drink . My first "real" guitar, a Guild D-40 I bought in 2004, had some lacquer issues at the factory and was a "blem," so it came with a lot of finish checking. Through the years I've pretty much worn through the defective lacquer where my arm rests, have worn to the wood on the lower side of the sound hole, have put my share of pick scratches on it, and there's a chuck of lacquer and a little chunk of binder missing off the lower bout (the binding has a chip in it, it's not completely gone) from an altercation I had with a door jam at a friend's lake house. I like that I put the wear there playing the heck out of it, and I'm also proud that my technique has improved enough that I've not expanded the sound hole wear in years now. That said, I doubt that I'd buy a new instrument that was "pre-distressed" in the shop, unless it was just a spectacular sounding and playing instrument (like maybe one of the lightly distressed Pre-War Guitar Company instruments I've come across a time or two).

    I saw Billy Strings and Willy Nelson on the same stage Saturday night and left amazed that Billy's Preston Thompson dread doesn't have more wear as hard as he plays. A true testament to his technique, IMO. It was particularly striking juxtaposed against Trigger. I'm amazed it's still holding on and playable, and is still sounding great.

    To each his own. I'm just glad we've got the options!
    Chuck

  33. #25
    Registered User Randi Gormley's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Connecticut, USA
    Posts
    3,310

    Default Re: Distressed Mandolin and Regular Playing

    i got my snake with a lot of wear even though, iirc, whoever had it was only the second owner. it does look like it was hard used -- the top is worn down in two spots to the wood grain. I have no idea how he did that. And a crack on the side that looks a bit like it was sat on. I've had the instrument for a few years now -- 8? 9? -- and the only thing i've done is put a ding in the front where I hit my husband's guitar with it. and it's my main gigging instrument, been in heat, mist and humidity.

    My husband-the-guitar-player got a gouge in the back of the neck of his guild when a microphone stand was blown into it during an outdoor gig that he had filled with something -- epoxy? -- and then smoothed over, and it's got dings galore all over it, but it doesn't look anywhere as "used" as my snake.
    --------------------------------
    1920 Lyon & Healy bowlback
    1923 Gibson A-1 snakehead
    1952 Strad-o-lin
    1983 Giannini ABSM1 bandolim
    2009 Giannini GBSM3 bandolim
    2011 Eastman MD305

Posting Permissions

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