NMD--New mandolin day

maxvintage

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New to me anyway. Picked up an F style mandolin branded "austin" on Craigslist. $100.




Backstory: I got interested in Irish music and decided that rather than try to adapt my jazzbo and blues guitar stylings to Irish music, I'd learn something completely new. Lots of Irish music types don't want any rhythm instrument at all, and two guitars are way worse than one at an Irish music session. So I started on the flute. I got to be sort of OK after 2.5 years, to where they would let me play at local pub sessions.


But then at my job, because of the unmentionable, everybody and me are all wearing masks. Employer requirement. Hmm in one world I'm wearing a mask indoors, and so is everybody else, but then in another I'm going to a crowded pub and playing a flute, aerosolizing my mistakes. I thought "what could I play that would not have a huge learning curve and I could play with a mask?" Voila! Mandolin. Mandolin is towards the edge of acceptable to irish music traditionalists.

austin.jpeg


There's the mando with the flute

Irish music types prefer the "A" style mandolin, ideally an oval hole, rather than the F, which is the bluegrass player's ideal. I don't know diddley about mandolins aside from what i just typed. It's been a fun challenge trying to play melodies I know on the flute on an instrument that's tuned like a fiddle. Wait why is that note an open string?

The Austin is an example of the miracle of modern instrument production. It's amazingly not bad. The finish is not to0 thick, it stays in tune reasonably well, the action is easy. The bridge is a little roughly cut but perfectly serviceable. It dented the top pretty significantly though. so putting a replacement bridge on there would be hard. Two of the tuner bushings aren't seated well in the holes. Tailpiece cover is missing. But compared to the sort of terrible instrument that were available fro beginners back in the day? it's a miracle.

My local store has a bunch of old Gibson and Martin A style mando's in stock--I think I'll be checking them out.
 
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Fretting out

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Cool!

I’ve been tempted several times, every time I try one those tightly spaced double coursed necks I walk away
 

JL_LI

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My big problem with guitar is that as much as I keep getting better, I’m not good enough to satisfy myself. I can’t imagine adding flute and mando. I’d go form dissatisfaction to self loathing. I’m glad for you that you can pull it off.
 

maxvintage

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My big problem with guitar is that as much as I keep getting better, I’m not good enough to satisfy myself. I can’t imagine adding flute and mando. I’d go form dissatisfaction to self loathing. I’m glad for you that you can pull it off.


I feel like it made me a better guitar player in someways. Different instruments kind of have a "perspective." The ideal with the flute in Irish music is all by itself it should make people want to dance--just the melody solo. Pulling that off is useful for groove and feel on any instrument. When i played a few Irish tunes on the mando i didn't play them really well, but the bounce and swing was there
 

maxvintage

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With the flute--during the unmentionable of last year, all gigging stopped and I'm getting old, and the simplicity and portability of it was really appealing. Just try to play the melody with drive, lift and swing. It was kind of meditative. with the mando I'm working on the same thing, playing melodies that alone make you tap your foot. its hard but fun
 

burtf51

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I've played guitar all my long life. Bought a mandolin a few years back, sold it and bought another mandolin. The mandolin is such a cool instrument and genre neutral as it can take any tune to another dimension.
 

Mandocaster68

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Good for you! You will find playing an instrument that has the same number of courses as you have fingers, and tuned in most-logical fifths, will have wondrous effects on you. You may find yourself growing a few inches taller, and suddenly more attractive to the opposite sex.
Don't panic. This is normal.
 

Old Deaf Roadie

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Cool!

I’ve been tempted several times, every time I try one those tightly spaced double coursed necks I walk away
I can appreciate that. I am the multi-instrumentalist in our little jam group (we don't often gig anymore) and the switch between bass & mando is brutal.
 

esseff

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My fingers were pinched up enough between the frets without having a skinny neck to contend with. I wonder why they can't be built wider; I'm not bothered about tradition. I sold mine after a couple of months, eventually didn't even feel like picking it up.
 

Guitarteach

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Nice..I adopted my folkie daughter’s old pancake style and put an under saddle piezo in it.. love it.

Easy to fit into a lot of tunes. Practice and different voicings sorts working with the spacing.. but some chords are really hard.. i’ve resorted to a mando capo for a couple of tunes
 

maxvintage

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My fingers were pinched up enough between the frets without having a skinny neck to contend with. I wonder why they can't be built wider; I'm not bothered about tradition. I sold mine after a couple of months, eventually didn't even feel like picking it up.
There’s a company—it’s one guy—which will make you a very nice and well made pancake mandolin for reasonable money. He has a wide neck option

muddy river mandolins

oops big muddy mandolins https://www.bigmuddymandolin.com/
 

harpdog

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Is that the mandolin or the mandola? Been looking at the mandola since they were calling it "Cosey". Already have an Eastwood "Mandocaster" type and an Eastman oval-hole MD404.

The Eastwood pictured is the mandolin. It's fun.

There’s a company—it’s one guy—which will make you a very nice and well made pancake mandolin for reasonable money. He has a wide neck option...big muddy mandolins https://www.bigmuddymandolin.com/

The pale A style in above picture is a Big Muddy mandolin with wide neck and primitive build option. Nice.
 

Matt Sarad

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I first saw and heard the Austin F5 last Sunday.
I answered a Craigslist ad and a young feller came over.
He grew up playing violin. A shoulder injury and surgery made it too painful to hold a bow. He came to my place with a padded sling to limit motion in his tight arm.
He had decent technique and knew a dozen fiddle tunes well.

His Austin Mando was just fine for what we were doing. Compared to my Gibson F9, it was
almost as loud. Bright and articulate, it was perfectly acceptable for bluegrass.

You have done well with the acquisition.
 




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