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  #16  
Old 04-05-2023, 05:52 AM
jacot23 jacot23 is offline
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Originally Posted by leew3 View Post
Related to this, work to avoid the death grip on the neck that most of us coming from the guitar bring to mandolin. This took me a while to get so don't develop this bad habit to have to undo!
Thanks for the tip. I think I'm OK, but maybe I'll get an in person lesson ot too soon and have someone check to be sure.
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  #17  
Old 04-05-2023, 08:29 AM
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keith.rogers keith.rogers is offline
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Don't skimp on practiing chords, finding different voicings and substitutions.

I first picked up the mando after playing a bit of fiddle and found all the fingerings and fiddle tunes simple, but I neglected the chords/harmonic part of the instrument, so soon it was ignored (and eventually sold) because, frankly, most of the time you're playing in a group, you need to be doing something other than single note stuff. Even if it's just the "snare drum" role in Bluegrass, you want to be able to grab chords quickly and not be wasting a lot of time/energy jumping around due to lack of knowledge (and practice) with rhythm playing in any key.
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Last edited by keith.rogers; 04-05-2023 at 11:15 AM. Reason: typo
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  #18  
Old 04-11-2023, 02:10 PM
Br1ck Br1ck is offline
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When I was 65, my three year old grandson walked up to my wife and told her she needed to make me buy a mandolin because he wanted to play it when he came over. That was eight years ago and a whole lot of fun. Things go better the less you try to think in guitar terms. Wayne's World of Mandolin has a lot of good videos, and Mandolessons.com is great for fiddle tunes.
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  #19  
Old 06-02-2023, 05:23 AM
dave42 dave42 is offline
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Originally Posted by Br1ck View Post
...Wayne's World of Mandolin has a lot of good videos, and Mandolessons.com is great.....
Thanks for the links!
I've owned a great Weber mandolin, since it was new, for about 19 years and have had it in my hands maybe 4 hours total. I was going to offer it to friend (today in fact) but this thread has convinced me to work on it a little more. I've quit playing out and have lost a bit of inspiration. Maybe this will wake me up some!
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  #20  
Old 06-02-2023, 10:47 AM
FrankHudson FrankHudson is offline
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Originally Posted by Nymuso View Post
Tuned in fifths. I canít do it, my mind wonít let me adjust. LA studio guitar ace Tommy Tedesco played the mandolin parts in the Godfather films, his mandolin tuned like the first four strings of a guitar. If Iím ever drafted into Bluegrass band to play mandolin, Iíll do that.
I used to use that Tedesco "cheat" whenever I had to play an usual stringed instrument. I loved his old Guitar Player columns when he talked about things like that.

I'm a little more open to sticking with conventional tunings now that I've had more experience with guitar in alt tunings.
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  #21  
Old 06-02-2023, 01:47 PM
catt catt is offline
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Originally Posted by FrankHudson View Post
I used to use that Tedesco "cheat" whenever I had to play an usual stringed instrument. I loved his old Guitar Player columns when he talked about things like that.

I'm a little more open to sticking with conventional tunings now that I've had more experience with guitar in alt tunings.
I enjoyed Tommy's regular column in GP too. It may have contributed to my own excessive pursuits in multi-dom, although it never occurred to me to go that route (tuning everything like a guitar) - of course many instruments wouldn't respond as favorably as, say, banjo, bouzouki, etc - to guitar tuning..

Ya I think going off with a bunch of scordatura on guitar kind of spurs one toward that inclination for exploration. Lindley's axiom "All one big guitar" speaks to that...

RE mandolin family - no doubt one of the appealing aspects of 5ths-tuning is the great range to be had from it: from the range of mndln-family to banjos to orch strings... I didn't take up cello until I was 60 years old, but from being a guitarist/fiddler/mandolin/double-bassist, I possessed the requisite technique from the outset and am able to enjoy it as my primary instrument these days - from the Bach suites to Gaelic pipe tunes, Irish fiddle tunes, to improvising...it's like the perfect amalgam of all these great instruments.

Last edited by catt; 06-02-2023 at 02:13 PM.
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  #22  
Old 07-11-2023, 12:02 PM
Charlie Bernstein Charlie Bernstein is offline
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Originally Posted by Nymuso View Post
Tuned in fifths. I can’t do it, my mind won’t let me adjust. LA studio guitar ace Tommy Tedesco played the mandolin parts in the Godfather films, his mandolin tuned like the first four strings of a guitar. If I’m ever drafted into Bluegrass band to play mandolin, I’ll do that.
It was daunting at first. You get used to it. It takes some brain expansion to go from a five- to seven-fret span, but if you can think in five frets, you can think in seven.

The good news — great news, in fact — is that unlike the guitar, the scale and chord patterns are absolutely regular and logical. Once you see the patterns, they glow in neon.

Last edited by Charlie Bernstein; 07-11-2023 at 12:55 PM.
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  #23  
Old 07-11-2023, 01:02 PM
Charlie Bernstein Charlie Bernstein is offline
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Originally Posted by jacot23 View Post
Thanks for the tip. I think I'm OK, but maybe I'll get an in person lesson ot too soon and have someone check to be sure.
The key is, a mando is held like a fiddle, not a guitar. Your left fingers press at an angle, not straight down, almost like your hand is a paintbrush. You hold the neck with your fingertips so there's lots of daylight between the neck and your hand.

The pick is held loosely, between thumb and forefinger, with your fingers curled under almost into a fist. Instead of striking flat onto the string, it hits at an angle, which reduces resistance and makes fast tremolo possible. Pick choice matters more with mando than guitar. Lots of players have different picks for different songs and styles.

So get lots of picks and experiment.

And don't get too hung up on what's the "right" way to do it. Work on your technique, but make plain old playing your main concern. It's like they say: A mistake repeated often enough becomes a style.

Most important: Join www.MandolinCafe.com if you haven't already. The folks there include beginners, hobbyists like me, and advanced pros. Everyone there is helpful and knowledgeable. A good time and good education are guaranteed.

Enjoy your mando adventures, and give us an occasional progress report to let us know how you're making out.

Last edited by Charlie Bernstein; 07-11-2023 at 01:20 PM.
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  #24  
Old 07-12-2023, 01:50 PM
Br1ck Br1ck is offline
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Any instrument is hard, and I think you get frustrated you aren't and won't be as good a mandolin player as you'd like to be. Eight years in and I'm starting to see the light. You need to get past the cost of a good one too.
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  #25  
Old 07-12-2023, 02:33 PM
Shuksan Shuksan is offline
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Based on my experience when I took up mandolin, the initial frustration phase can be greatly reduced by starting with a good mandolin, meaning one with a good set up. I found the first mandolin I had to be physically hard to play which was very frustrating, but I thought it might just be part of making the transition from playing guitar. One day, I played a Breedlove mandolin in a music store and holy cow what a difference! Way easier to play. I later realized that the set up on my first mandolin was just awful. The action was high, but what was even worse was that the nut slots were not cut deep enough which made pressing the strings down on the frets much harder than it needed to be. I ended up buying a Breedlove mandolin and the frustration was gone.

Regarding calluses, I find I need better ones for acoustic guitar than for mandolin. With a properly set up mandolin, it doesn't take much pressure to fret the strings and with two strings in a double course, the pressure seems to be distributed over a wider area of the fingertip. I've been playing octave mandolin as my main instrument almost exclusively for the past year and a half. Recently I went back to my guitars (which are properly set up) and found that my calluses weren't up to the task at first, especially on the B and high E strings.
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  #26  
Old 07-12-2023, 04:57 PM
rockabilly69 rockabilly69 is online now
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Originally Posted by Shuksan View Post
Based on my experience when I took up mandolin, the initial frustration phase can be greatly reduced by starting with a good mandolin, meaning one with a good set up. I found the first mandolin I had to be physically hard to play which was very frustrating, but I thought it might just be part of making the transition from playing guitar. One day, I played a Breedlove mandolin in a music store and holy cow what a difference! Way easier to play. I later realized that the set up on my first mandolin was just awful. The action was high, but what was even worse was that the nut slots were not cut deep enough which made pressing the strings down on the frets much harder than it needed to be. I ended up buying a Breedlove mandolin and the frustration was gone.

Regarding calluses, I find I need better ones for acoustic guitar than for mandolin. With a properly set up mandolin, it doesn't take much pressure to fret the strings and with two strings in a double course, the pressure seems to be distributed over a wider area of the fingertip. I've been playing octave mandolin as my main instrument almost exclusively for the past year and a half. Recently I went back to my guitars (which are properly set up) and found that my calluses weren't up to the task at first, especially on the B and high E strings.
Breedloves are not only setup good, their fingerboards are radiused, and they are slightly wider making it easier for guitar players to transition. I switched to narrower fingerboards (gibson), but I really liked my Breedlove mandolins. I owned A and a F model and they both sounded great and played even better!
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  #27  
Old 07-16-2023, 04:04 PM
ceciltguitar ceciltguitar is offline
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Mandolin is a great instrument. An alternative for anyone who doesnít want to learn mandolin tuning is the Emerald Amicus:


https://emeraldguitars.com/models/amicus/
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  #28  
Old 07-16-2023, 07:55 PM
Mandobart Mandobart is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FrankHudson View Post
I used to use that Tedesco "cheat" whenever I had to play an usual stringed instrument. I loved his old Guitar Player columns when he talked about things like that.

I'm a little more open to sticking with conventional tunings now that I've had more experience with guitar in alt tunings.

Not to necessarily take anything from Mr. Tedesco, but there are (and were then) 1000's of multi-instrumentalists out there who can play anything with strings in the original intended tuning better than Tommy ever could with his cheats. Case in point - most every working bluegrass band.

The music world was different then; more controlled, unionized and limited (who you knew vs what you could do). The Wrecking Crew was where you went for soundtracks, commercials, fleshing out or entirely subbing out an original band's raw sound. Nice work for them. Different now.
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  #29  
Old 07-16-2023, 08:24 PM
Wade Hampton Wade Hampton is offline
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Iíve always played mandolin in the original mandolin tuning - for me, mandolin was the second instrument that I took up, after mountain dulcimer. Then came five string banjo and THEN came guitar.

As has been stated, multi-instrumentalism is quite common in bluegrass and old time music, and using the original tunings makes quite a difference in the sound. Personally, I donít care much for the sound of a mandolin tuned like the four high strings of a guitar.

Plus itís just so easy to find melodies in the fifth interval tuning.


Wade Hampton Miller
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  #30  
Old 07-17-2023, 10:40 AM
catt catt is offline
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Originally Posted by Mandobart View Post
Not to necessarily take anything from Mr. Tedesco, but there are (and were then) 1000's of multi-instrumentalists out there who can play anything with strings in the original intended tuning better than Tommy ever could with his cheats. Case in point - most every working bluegrass band.

The music world was different then; more controlled, unionized and limited (who you knew vs what you could do). The Wrecking Crew was where you went for soundtracks, commercials, fleshing out or entirely subbing out an original band's raw sound. Nice work for them. Different now.
Kind of an 'apples and oranges' comparison. TT's gig called for reading, jazz chops, and understanding the musical nuances of a wide variety of musical forms - and providing the sounds. This is quite a bit different than virtuosity in American folk song form idioms.
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