I bought a mandolin

Talk about things that are not necessarily related to music or the guitar.
Malcolm
Posts: 982
Joined: Thu Dec 10, 2009 5:42 am
Location: Brisbane Australia

I bought a mandolin

Post by Malcolm » Fri Jan 25, 2019 6:12 am

It's a Breedlove, at the lower end of the price range but still a lovely little instrument.

I'm sure there are plenty of mandolinists in this forum so I have two questions:

!. Is there a mandolin forum similar to this one? and

2. Does that fast picking (tremolo?) come from moving the arm up and down at the elbow, or from rotating the forearm backwards and forwards?

The two things I have to get used to are using a pick (haven't used one of those since I was nineteen and that was a long, long time ago) and playing an instrument that is tuned in 5ths! (first time ever for that one).

Any advice is most welcome.

Cheers,
Malcolm
When I was ten, I thought my parents knew everything. When I became twenty, I was convinced they knew nothing. Then, at thirty, I realized I was right when I was ten.

Mark Twain

User avatar
Hany Hayek
Posts: 126
Joined: Mon Sep 19, 2016 8:50 am
Location: Cairo - Egypt

Re: I bought a mandolin

Post by Hany Hayek » Fri Jan 25, 2019 6:51 am

Check "mandolin Cafe forum". That's the best place for mandolin you can find.
Breedlove is a fine brand and they make good mandolins from the reviews I read. I only play a bowlback.
Tremolo takes a long time to master. It comes from the wrist with very very little arm movement even none.
I know there is another mandolin player here on this forum.
Start by making sure you are holding your pick correctly. Play slowly down strokes and up stroke. Try rest strokes with you pick ending resting on the next string without playing it. When you start getting the taste of alternative picking you may try tremolo.
Check the Mandolin Cafe. People there are very helpful. You'll find lots of material. If you need further information let me know.
Almost forgot. Did you have your mandolin set up. That's crucial to have a good sounding and easy to play instrument

User avatar
Mollbarre
Posts: 83
Joined: Sat Jan 12, 2019 2:10 am
Location: Canada

Re: I bought a mandolin

Post by Mollbarre » Fri Jan 25, 2019 1:42 pm

Yes - what Hany said!

Again, I'd strongly suggest at least taking an introductory lesson to make sure you're starting off doing things correctly.

Congrats on your mandolin!
2016 Fender CN320AS
2018 Cordoba C10 crossover
2018 Sawchyn Beavertail
1982ish Shiraki Mandolin
...and miscellaneous bits and pieces.

Malcolm
Posts: 982
Joined: Thu Dec 10, 2009 5:42 am
Location: Brisbane Australia

Re: I bought a mandolin

Post by Malcolm » Sat Jan 26, 2019 9:27 am

Thanks so much for your responses. I didn't have the instrument set up, I just assumed it was ready to play. There is a place that did some work on my Ramirez classical guitar so I will check with them to see what they can do. What exactly do they do?

As far as lessons are concerned, my guitar teacher has recommended someone but because I am still waiting for surgery on my right hand for Dupruytren's Contracture it doesn't seem fair on a teacher to have a couple of lessons and then have several weeks break while I recover and he/she has to find another student to temporarily fill that time slot.

I guess right now youtube is probably my friend.

Cheers,
Malcolm
When I was ten, I thought my parents knew everything. When I became twenty, I was convinced they knew nothing. Then, at thirty, I realized I was right when I was ten.

Mark Twain

User avatar
Hany Hayek
Posts: 126
Joined: Mon Sep 19, 2016 8:50 am
Location: Cairo - Egypt

Re: I bought a mandolin

Post by Hany Hayek » Sat Jan 26, 2019 11:43 am

Mandolin set up is to level the frets if needed, place the bridge in the correct spot, adjust the string height to reach best intonation and playability.

MessyTendon
Amateur luthier
Posts: 1881
Joined: Fri Jun 19, 2015 1:33 am

Re: I bought a mandolin

Post by MessyTendon » Sun Jan 27, 2019 5:52 am

Avoid the tight death grip on the pick...that will let the pick move...gotta keep a loose grip, of course don't drop the pick. Think of the pick as a single fingernail attempting to do a rasqueado...it has to move fluidly up and down.

Practice as loose as you can go without dropping it...and it will fly off sometimes. All the tremolo comes from the pick movement...It's a heckuva lot easier to get on a mando than a guitar.

Good luck.

Wuuthrad
Posts: 1084
Joined: Sat Oct 07, 2017 9:16 pm
Location: USA

Re: I bought a mandolin

Post by Wuuthrad » Sun Jan 27, 2019 8:31 am

Some time ago I bought a mandolin too, an Appalachian, or more properly termed (I suppose) Bluegrass model, which I prefer due to the fancier accoutrements (and F holes!)

I do love the standard tuning of Mandolin- fifths, which resembles a violin, viola or tenor banjo, and play the instrument in groups as a lead or accompaniment instrument. I also like to experiment with some other common tunings or even my own alternates for various improvisations.

I'm certainly no expert, but I can confidently say that Tremolo is all from the wrist- for sure! For me the most important thing is to keep the wrist relaxed and keep breathing, rythmically at best.

Have fun- it's a marvelous instrument which is uniquely beautiful and virtuosic at times. It never ceases to amaze me how small the neck is, yet this doesn't limit its playability at all once it's learned (or hacked up) a bit. :cool:

I handed my mandolin to a slightly more seasoned singer/songwriter compatriot of mine at a recent jam session, who'd never played one, and he was almost instantly ripping chords and leads that sounded like he'd played for years!

Have you heard the Zeppelin tune "Battle of Evermore?" As I understand, Page made this up on the spot having never played the mandolin before. Of course that would have been a Folk or Celtic mandolin, and I believe Jones wrote some material on this fantastic instrument as well.

All that being said:

Rock on!
"Pay no attention to what the critics say. A statue has never been erected in honor of a critic." -Jean Sibelius

User avatar
David Norton
Posts: 4534
Joined: Sun Jan 27, 2008 4:12 pm
Location: Salt Lake City, UT, USA

Re: I bought a mandolin

Post by David Norton » Sun Jan 27, 2019 2:41 pm

Here's a track to inspire you on your journey:

David Norton
Salt Lake City, UT
First person to complete the Delcamp "Let's Learn Sor's Opus 60" project

Malcolm
Posts: 982
Joined: Thu Dec 10, 2009 5:42 am
Location: Brisbane Australia

Re: I bought a mandolin

Post by Malcolm » Mon Jan 28, 2019 3:29 am

Ahh!!!! Bach on the mandolin - lovely. I have a couple of albums of Avi Avital. One of them is Bach concertos the other includes Bartok, Falla, Piazzolla etc. What a wonderful musician he is!

Many years ago now I bought an album by David "Dawg" Grisman, a country player not classical, but still fabulous music and virtuoso playing. Having Stephanne Grappelli playing on your albums would be nice to have on one's CV.

Check youtube - there's plenty of clips of him including some with Grappelli.

Cheers,
Malcolm
When I was ten, I thought my parents knew everything. When I became twenty, I was convinced they knew nothing. Then, at thirty, I realized I was right when I was ten.

Mark Twain

Sandaun
Posts: 233
Joined: Thu Sep 03, 2015 6:45 am
Location: Tauranga, New Zealand

Re: I bought a mandolin

Post by Sandaun » Sun Feb 03, 2019 8:07 am

Some years ago I was in a folk/acoustic music club, and one evening someone brought in a mandolin. Knowing even the little of music theory that I do, I was able to play chords on it, and keep up with the rest of the club. The owner was somewhat amazed - but working out the simple chords for a mandolin or a tenor banjo - also tuned in fifths - is not that hard. Enjoy!
"I have supposed that he who buys a Method means to learn it." - Ferdinand Sor, Method for Guitar

User avatar
bergmann
Posts: 331
Joined: Thu Jan 06, 2011 5:22 pm
Location: Kalundborg, Denmark

Re: I bought a mandolin

Post by bergmann » Sun Feb 03, 2019 11:09 am

For scores check out Trekel in Hamburg. The owner is a passionate mandolin player and they have a huge collection for both guitar and mandolin.

Malcolm
Posts: 982
Joined: Thu Dec 10, 2009 5:42 am
Location: Brisbane Australia

Re: I bought a mandolin

Post by Malcolm » Tue Feb 05, 2019 2:42 am

bergmann wrote:
Sun Feb 03, 2019 11:09 am
For scores check out Trekel in Hamburg. The owner is a passionate mandolin player and they have a huge collection for both guitar and mandolin.
I will keep that in mind although right now I have a quite reasonable collection of scores including 26 Bach pieces purchased as a download from SMP.

I also bought an album of mandolinist Chris Thile playing Bach Sonatas and Partitas. WOW!!!!! what a great player!

Cheers,
Malcolm
When I was ten, I thought my parents knew everything. When I became twenty, I was convinced they knew nothing. Then, at thirty, I realized I was right when I was ten.

Mark Twain

Return to “The Café”