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I’m thinking about a mandolin

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by stxrus, Feb 27, 2021.

  1. howardlo

    howardlo Tele-Afflicted

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    I played mandolin in a good bluegrass band back in the late 70’s/early 80’s. Built one from scratch back then from blueprints of a 1920’s Gibson F-style. Long and very tedious job. After doing so I consider any F style mandolin at nearly any price a bargain.

    For a decent low/mid priced mandolin I would look at Kentucky or Loar mandolins.

    Maybe you’ll be the next Sam Bush or David Grisman.
     
  2. teletimetx

    teletimetx Doctor of Teleocity

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    Ok, I drop a picture of my electric mandola in almost every “thinking about a mandolin” thread.
    Sweet mini-humbucker, 18” scale fun to play.
    24408110-0821-48D0-A126-5F83CEC80792.jpeg

    Look it up at Eastwood Guitars.
     
  3. howardlo

    howardlo Tele-Afflicted

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    Electric mandolin? No thanks!
     
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  4. PastorJay

    PastorJay Friend of Leo's

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  5. Dave Hicks

    Dave Hicks Friend of Leo's

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    I like the concept - how does it sound? (My 4-string electric mando sounds a little too much like a guitar.)

    D.H.

    upload_2021-2-27_16-16-55.png
     
  6. bgmacaw

    bgmacaw Poster Extraordinaire

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  7. Boreas

    Boreas Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Starting out, I would go with an A style. As others have said, a cheap A sounds better than a cheap F. You can also get F style bodies with round holes. But I would stick with an A. An F sounds great in a bluegrass situation, but unless you are going to be onstage sharing a single mic, an A will usually be mellower and more pleasant in a living room where you will be learning. Once you are awesome and want to cut through a mix in a band, then think about an F.

    Don't be scairt of the 8 strings, as each finger frets two strings. So basically - 4 strings to deal with. But the tuning is different than a guitar, so you start all over with chords. Once you learn 5-7 chords, you will be better than most people who "tried" mandolin. One thing that helps immensely with learning mandolin is searching out "cheater" chords on the internet. True mando chords tend to be complicated if you are used to guitar - unusual shapes using 3-4 fingers because of the different tuning. Cheater chords sound about the same as the true chords, but are usually only played with 1-2 fingers. They can get you up and running if you are playing along with someone else. Unfortunately, once I learned the cheater chords, I never bothered to go back and learn the proper ones...
     
  8. teletimetx

    teletimetx Doctor of Teleocity

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    Here's a song of mine, intro and background with electric mandola. It can get some traditional sounds or something approaching that.

     
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  9. teletimetx

    teletimetx Doctor of Teleocity

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    Is that based on extensive experience or just the love of the traditional mandolin experience? Seems like a reaction, rather than experience, but I sure could be wrong about that.
     
  10. Tuneup

    Tuneup Tele-Holic

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    Why are mandolins so expensive?
     
  11. Cpb2020

    Cpb2020 Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    Hand carving (an F scroll adds labor), bindings, etc. And a group of folks obsessed with tone (I don’t mean that in a bad way).
     
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  12. Dobronaut

    Dobronaut Tele-Meister

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    Don't bother with anything other than a US made one. Thousands and thousands of Gibson and Martin mandolins were made in the middle of the last century, and many are still around. I'm in the UK, and they are even common over here. I've seen good examples of both makes go for £500 british pounds. And I take great delight in telling my guitarist friends that I have a 1968 Gibson!

    One other thing, if you play guitar you are a guitarist. If you play guitar and mandolin, you're a musician!
     
  13. Dobronaut

    Dobronaut Tele-Meister

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    Also meant to say that if you get a good one, you'll never have any problems being heard. They are loud little buggers, but as an earlier poster said, you only notice this from out front. From the players position, you can be misled into thinking that because a mando is small it makes a small sound. This is definitely not the case!
     
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  14. howardlo

    howardlo Tele-Afflicted

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    More tradition than anything. But then I have played primarily acoustic instruments since 1957. I have never even been a fan of A/E guitars. I did play mandolin in a very good bluegrass band for about ten years back in the late 70’s/early 80’s. Even built my own F-5 mandolin from scratch from 1920’s Gibson blueprints.

    I have never played an electric (or plugged in) mandolin, but really have no desire to do so. Much prefer acoustic sounds from stringed instruments.

    Here's a sample of what we recorded back in 1985. A couple of my mandolin songs.


     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2021
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  15. bgmacaw

    bgmacaw Poster Extraordinaire

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    Bill Monroe, or at least he's why bluegrass players spend a small fortune on them.

    Of course, a F style mandolin isn't as easy to build as some other instruments although modern techniques have brought down the cost considerably.
     
  16. Old Deaf Roadie

    Old Deaf Roadie Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I have 3 mandolins, 2 A style and an Epiphone Mandobird. A styles are tuned like a bass, the Mandobird is tuned like the 1st four strings of a guitar. I go play, and nobody knows the difference other than "real" mando players.

    As a beginner, my best advice to you is to parrot what others have posted: find some thing that plays okay, then figure out what you want/need as you progress.
     
  17. Charlie Bernstein

    Charlie Bernstein Poster Extraordinaire

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    Really, as I said, don't worry too much about the fine points for your first mando. Get one you can afford and like looking at. If it's an F, that's just fine.

    Make sure it has a pro set-up. If you enjoy it, there will be more mandos in your future. The only thing more pernicious than guitar GAS is mando GAS.

    Let us know what you end up getting!
     
  18. MickM

    MickM Poster Extraordinaire Platinum Supporter

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    Any builder worth his/her salt will tell you that the difference between A and F styles is all visual and in a blind test even the best can't tell 'em apart. Oval holes are a little rounder sounding that the punchy F holes but as with most things it comes down to the player.
     
  19. Wallaby

    Wallaby Friend of Leo's

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    What a thread, I am beyond "mando-ignorant" and learning as much as possible, watching with great interest.

    My only possible qualification for my interest is that I once ushered at a Gateway Trio show and John Abercrombie played a Mandocaster. It was strange, incredible, awesome and just plain COOL all at the same time.
     
  20. John O

    John O Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    I went to a Seals and Crofts concert in NJ in late 70's, and was blown away by what Dash Crofts was doing with a mandolin. He played a lead solo on that thing on "ridin' thumb" that rivaled most I've seen great guitarists do!
     
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