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Thread: Any others here that started their mandolin/instrument later?

  1. #51

    Default Re: Any others here that started their mandolin/instrument later

    I started learning the mandolin at 62. Never played any instrument before and could not read music. I love it!

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  3. #52
    Registered User urobouros's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any others here that started their mandolin/instrument later

    I started at 44 and sprinted down the rabbit hole. My first instrument was violin so mandolin was familiar when I started. I also play guitar which helped the technical side a bit too.
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  4. #53

    Default Re: Any others here that started their mandolin/instrument later

    I bought a cheap left handed Stagg mandolin from Amazon when i was 71...never played a string instrument before. Now 7 years later still playing
    mandolin, mostly Irish tunes. I have since bought left handed Eastman, Northfield Calhoun, two Pavas, one oval one F hole and a Collings MT.. Love them all.. just ordered one of the new Klos carbon fiber mandolins. Can't wait until I get it. Best thing I ever did to keep from getting bored in retirement.

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  6. #54

    Default Re: Any others here that started their mandolin/instrument later

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Blake View Post
    I started learning the mandolin at 62. Never played any instrument before and could not read music. I love it!
    This is pretty much where I'm coming from. Can you read music now? What sources did you learn to if so?

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    Default Re: Any others here that started their mandolin/instrument later

    Quote Originally Posted by jryp17 View Post
    This is pretty much where I'm coming from. Can you read music now? What sources did you learn to if so?
    There are several beginners books on music theory. There also a software program that teaches music theory with exercises and quizzes. Made by eMedia. The is a phone app called Waay that teaches theory. I have not used but it gets good reviews

  8. #56
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    Default Re: Any others here that started their mandolin/instrument later

    I stated playing mandocello at 70. I am a retired music professor but was never a string player--I taught choir, theory, research and such. I played a little two-finger bluegrass for fun until I learned about the Classical and Orchestral mandolin world, where I really belong. Always loved the Bach cello suites, never thought I would be playing them (plucked) in my senior years.
    It was frustrating to have the knowledge, know what the music should sound like, but not be able to play really clean and fast due to aging fingers and arthritic thumb joint. But I love it, and play as well as I can in our local orchestra and get most of the notes at CMSA conventions. And I am a little better now than I was a while ago, so it's worth the effort. In a couple years I'll be 80, I should be pretty good by then.
    Jim

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  10. #57
    Graham Todd
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    Default Re: Any others here that started their mandolin/instrument later

    I started with the fiddle mid-2022 at 37, and am still loving it. Ended up getting an awesome revoiced German trade fiddle from the Florida luthier Royce Burt (would sing its praises more but this is not fiddle hangout) and in getting rid of the violin I started on I ended up trading towards an Eastman. There’s something about a mandolin that makes me want to practice and play in a way that guitars just never did when I was younger, either the way it just feels in my hands or the distinct sound it makes. The upside of the mandolin in my experience is that I don’t have to stop playing when the kids go to sleep. On top of the personal enjoyment I have gotten from it you’ve also got the chance to get out there and play music with others at jams. I still get nervous about taking solo breaks but I never regret it once I have and it’s also very satisfying to chop along on rhythm.

    There’s that old saying about the best time to plant a tree being 30 years ago and the second best time is today. That saying kind of irks me because today is actually the 10,956th best day but that saying is a cliche because it’s true.
    I have said to myself that I wish I had started as a kid but I’m mostly just glad that I found something that I want to do now and I’m looking forward to more in the future and hope the same for you.

  11. #58
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    Default Re: Any others here that started their mandolin/instrument later

    Great thread! Some truly enjoyable reading!

    I started on mandolin (and found the Mandolin Cafe) when I was 32 (49 now). I started on guitar at 18 (late in some folks’ estimation) and it’s still my main instrument. What drew me to the mandolin were “Celtic” sounds. I was never drawn to Bluegrass and still don’t care to play it (though it’s great fun to watch people play it well).

    There was a stretch of time when I was on my way to being a pretty good mandolin player. But I always get drawn back to my guitar, which I’m a lot better at (it’s better for singing songs with too).

    One cool thing about the mandolin: it will open doors for you like the guitar won’t. There are lots of guitar players but very few mandolin players. Pretty early in my mandolin-journey I was asked to play at a friend’s wedding while she walked down the aisle. I’ve been invited to sit in with church bands and some other settings, simply because I knew how to play the mandolin.

    I don’t regret not starting younger. What good have regrets ever done anyone?
    ...

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  13. #59

    Default Re: Any others here that started their mandolin/instrument later

    Quote Originally Posted by MandoGrahambo View Post
    I started with the fiddle mid-2022 at 37, and am still loving it. Ended up getting an awesome revoiced German trade fiddle from the Florida luthier Royce Burt (would sing its praises more but this is not fiddle hangout) and in getting rid of the violin I started on I ended up trading towards an Eastman. There’s something about a mandolin that makes me want to practice and play in a way that guitars just never did when I was younger, either the way it just feels in my hands or the distinct sound it makes. The upside of the mandolin in my experience is that I don’t have to stop playing when the kids go to sleep. On top of the personal enjoyment I have gotten from it you’ve also got the chance to get out there and play music with others at jams. I still get nervous about taking solo breaks but I never regret it once I have and it’s also very satisfying to chop along on rhythm.

    There’s that old saying about the best time to plant a tree being 30 years ago and the second best time is today. That saying kind of irks me because today is actually the 10,956th best day but that saying is a cliche because it’s true.
    I have said to myself that I wish I had started as a kid but I’m mostly just glad that I found something that I want to do now and I’m looking forward to more in the future and hope the same for you.
    Thanks a lot for this response. I found it inspiring. I've loved music my whole life. Been obsessed with it but never really attempted an instrument before. I'm at a place now where I have a lot of time in the early morning and evenings to myself. I thought it seemed like a great time to try and learn to play (pluck) along with some of my favorites.

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  15. #60

    Default Re: Any others here that started their mandolin/instrument later

    I started in my late 40s, after playing guitar since my early teenage years. I wanted to play like Tiny Moore, so I built several solid body 5-strings. Finally found a Korean-made Fender after several years of searching. Learning in mid-life is possible, and fun if you have the time. I do mando off and on, off for several years but now back on. Even in my mid-70s, it's doable, and lots of fun.

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  17. #61

    Default Re: Any others here that started their mandolin/instrument later

    started <3 years ago at 46, now in two bands and a regular at a local jam. I was coming from guitar which helped. I so love it. I have 3 pieces of advice
    - I took a warnick camp class which I found super helpful after I could play some chords.
    - Go to local jams constantly - fastest way to get better, build confidence, etc
    - I practice daily - if you don't like to practice than that's a barrier. by practice I can mean anything, playing songs, learning songs, scales/arpeggios etc

    I started on a eastman 305 and eastmans are awesome. I've played more expensive mandos that are definitely better but there's nothing about an eastman that would hold you back in the slightest. Good luck!!!!

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  19. #62

    Default Re: Any others here that started their mandolin/instrument later

    I taught myself to read music from a Hal Leonard book titled "Play Mandolin Today".

  20. #63

    Default Re: Any others here that started their mandolin/instrument later

    I have just bought my first mandolin, and this is my very first post on Mandolin Cafe. I知 67.

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  22. #64
    Registered User Sue Rieter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any others here that started their mandolin/instrument later

    Quote Originally Posted by LFL Steve View Post
    I have just bought my first mandolin, and this is my very first post on Mandolin Cafe. I’m 67.
    Welcome, Steve! I'm so excited for your
    "To be obsessed with the destination is to remove the focus from where you are." Philip Toshio Sudo, Zen Guitar

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  24. #65

    Default Re: Any others here that started their mandolin/instrument later

    I was almost 70 when I started mandolin. I have been a guitar player for 60 years. Mandolin was harder to learn, but for me it was easier to figure out tunes on it.

  25. #66
    Registered User Dave Fultz's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any others here that started their mandolin/instrument later

    I知 69. I started playing mandolin about 5 years ago, then set it away for a few years. I知 really been on it hot and heavy for a few months now, again. I truly enjoy it.

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  26. #67
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    Default Re: Any others here that started their mandolin/instrument later

    I came to mandolin rather late in life. As an 8 year old kid, I began to play the violin and over a very few years, I became quite good, for a kid. Although I quit taking lessons or playing regularly as I turned into a teenager, I always maintained my love for great violin music and I always thought of music in fifths.

    When I went through high school and later, I would dream about playing guitar and wooing young ladies, much like the poor guy playing in "Animal House." Unfortunately, my Martin dreadnought guitar was not tuned in fifths, and I am permanently configured to think in fifths. So, I really quit playing any instrument for a very long time.

    In 2010 and 2011, I lived for more than 500 days in a hotel as a short two or three month job out of town lasted much longer than ever anticipated. But, during that long stay, I had my guitar in the hotel room and I set aside a half hour a day for 17 months to learn to play. I did try, and I did fail. Upon returning home from that lengthy business trip, I passed on my guitar to my best friend.

    In 2015, I attended a fund raiser wine gala where a phenomenal violinist was playing for the crowd. He ended up sitting at my table and I told him that I loved how well he played and I told him that I had been thinking of taking violin lessons again, which was true. He indicated that since he had already been invited to play at the following year's wine gala, if I picked up my violin again and took lessons, he would invite me to play a duet with him at the next event. That's all it took. I was 61 years old when he threw down the gauntlet. Perfect motivation!

    I found a great violin teacher in Texas and discovered that the violin was relatively easy to play once more. At the following wine gala, my violinist friend and I did play three duets together. It was a tremendous amount of fun!

    But, the young dude side of me still wanted to play something like a guitar, in part, because I could give my bow arm a rest, andnot have to pretzel my left hand to reach the fingerboard. However, the old restriction remained -- I would always think in fifths. In a subsequent life changing conversation with my violin teacher, I told her that what I would really enjoy, besides just the violin, would be a smaller guitar-like instrument tuned just the same as a violin -- an instrument that would be easier on my right shoulder, my left wrist, and that I could play sitting down. One of my recent life goals was to play an instrument well enough in the corner of a large gathering room in an assisted living center, where I might eventually end up.

    My violin teacher asked, "Have you thought about a mandolin?" Say what? I had heard of mandolins, but I thought that was a funny looking string instrument, only played at Renaissance festivals. And, in fact, I wasn't even sure I had ever even seen a mandolin as I had lost my vision many years in the past.

    I ended up looking around and walked into "Fiddlers Green." I purchased my first mandolin, an Eastman 515 in May 2017 at the age of 62. I continued to play violin, but increasingly picked up the mandolin for pure pleasure. Once Covid struck, I put the violin away, and switched completely over to my new instrument. While people were being cautious during the pandemic, I would play alone on my front porch. Lots of social distancing and I was outdoors.

    In 2021, I commissioned an Ellis F5 Special that has become my every day, all the time, ever satisfying mandolin. I am now 69 years old and play for one or two hours a day. There is much joy in this instrument.

    Although I am hopeful to not need assisted living for another decade or two, I am ready to play in the corner of that community room in the future. I play mostly rock, jazz, funk, pop, folk and country from between about 1964 through 1979. I also play classical violin pieces when I need my fix. I generally play for an audience of one, but it works for me.

    So, yes, I started mandolin later in life, but it has only made me feel younger.

    Keep playing!
    ---
    2021 Ellis F5 Special #564 mandolin
    1928 Roth violin
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    1907 Foltz violin

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  28. #68
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    Default Re: Any others here that started their mandolin/instrument later

    I started mandolin in my late 50痴, had dithered a bit with guitar some.
    I set the mandolin down a year or two into it due to my work schedule, and then for health. Picking it up again for reasons of health .
    Eastman MD515 CC/TV
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  29. #69

    Default Re: Any others here that started their mandolin/instrument later

    I started at 51. Also stopped at 51, maybe a year in (life got in the way). 53 now, picking it back up .
    Dont get discouraged. I started playing the bagpipes at 37. According to traditionalists, that was 30 years too late....but I got decent enough to place at competitions. I knew full well I would never be professional grade, but, that also wasnt why I went into it. No way I could match the dexterity of those half my age, playing twice, or 3 times, as long as me. Didnt care. I did it for the glory!!
    I also found out at 37 that I am actually musically inclined. The last instrument I played, was 3rd grade trumpet, which I hated so much, I stuffed it full of play-doh and said it was broken, lol. Playing the bagpipes, I became a perfectionist, and quickly became the band's tuner. I couldnt stand when someone was out of tune. It literally grated on me. Same as when people didnt play on the beat. As a pipe SGT, I emphasized that, as a marching band, the importance is on the beat. So long as you are hitting the beat note on the beat, I dont care. Dont sweat the embellishments. Play a tune simple, but play it IN TIME.
    After a decade, I gave it up. A combination of where I lived (I have a condo, and its not exactly conducive to playing pipes in), poor time management, and that I couldnt commit to all the gigs the band wanted, I gave it up. I took away from it an appreciation for Celtic music, and, in particular, fiddle music (many pipe tunes-probably somewhere around 90% of them-are old fiddle or harp tunes). I deep dove into all celtic music, and really fell in love with trad, and some modern renditions. I appreciates the folkiness of the music and, to this day, its my favorite genre.
    About 3 years ago, I decided I wanted to learn a new instrument. I picked up a guitar, and decided it wasnt my cup of tea. I toyed with the idea of a banjo or a mandolin, and settled on a mandolin, simply because I can tie it to the back of the bike if I wanted to take it with me on a motorcycle trip. Learned notes and chords, started with a couple tunes, then stopped. Just picked it up again, last month. I decided to make my life my priority, instead of work, so I am back to practicing every day again, starting from scratch. No intention of becoming a great player, I do this for me, and, in the event there are local sessions, I will eventually jump in to those at some point too.
    Good luck!!

  30. #70

    Default Re: Any others here that started their mandolin/instrument later

    Quote Originally Posted by Sue Rieter View Post
    Welcome, Steve! I'm so excited for your
    Thanks Sue! It’s quite a charming happy instrument. I’m having fun!

  31. #71

    Default Re: Any others here that started their mandolin/instrument later

    Quote Originally Posted by LFL Steve View Post
    I have just bought my first mandolin, and this is my very first post on Mandolin Cafe. I知 67.
    How are you enjoying it so far? I'm becoming more and more obsessed with mine. I'm new to Mandolin Cafe and enjoy it as well. Welcome!

  32. #72

    Default Re: Any others here that started their mandolin/instrument later

    Quote Originally Posted by oldsoldier181 View Post

    Good luck!!
    Thanks. I'm enjoying it so far and even though I'm not good I'm looking forward to playing it more each day. I've just recently started listening to traditional Irish tunes. Once I made the decision to play mandolin I started to listening to a lot of different mandolin stuff other than my usual bluegrass/old time. What are some traditional Irish tunes you recommend?

  33. #73
    🎶 Play Pretty 🎶 Greg Connor's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any others here that started their mandolin/instrument later

    I’ve been a guitar player since childhood and bought my first mandolin in my late 60’s. I enjoy the heck out of playing mandolin. It really compliments the other instruments.

    Here is a suggestion: turn the radio on to your favorite station and try to play along, find the key that the song is in, play rhythm, play lead and then go to the next song. If you run across a difficult song … well … that’s the time to refill your coffee cup and get ready for the next song.

    Good luck, it sounds like you’re having a great time with your new instrument.

  34. #74

    Default Re: Any others here that started their mandolin/instrument later

    I’m 71 years old now and started playing the mandolin when I was 59. My biggest problem is finding the time to practice. I know enough chords to get me by, but I have to spend more time learning the fingerboard.

  35. #75

    Default Re: Any others here that started their mandolin/instrument later

    Quote Originally Posted by jryp17 View Post
    Thanks. I'm enjoying it so far and even though I'm not good I'm looking forward to playing it more each day. I've just recently started listening to traditional Irish tunes. Once I made the decision to play mandolin I started to listening to a lot of different mandolin stuff other than my usual bluegrass/old time. What are some traditional Irish tunes you recommend?
    There are a bunch of them. Most that I enjoy are in 6/8 time, which gives it a nice dance swing. Kesh Jig, Masons Apron, Swallowtail Jig, Lark in the Morning, to name a few. There are far more tunes than I could name, and 95% of them I probably dont know by name, only by sound (coming from the piping world, a lot of them were renamed and rewritten to work with bagpipes-but they are still Irish jigs).

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