For the poster who says he doesn't think he can play with big hands: My husband has huge bear paws, he plays rhythm guitar but he wails! on our Fender A mando! He can do ALL the bar chords with his meat hooks! And, the GDAE string layout makes doing lead runs in any key so much more intuitive in going from string to string than on the guitar (in my opinion). Don't count it out just because you've got big hands!
YES! I've been playing since August and I absolutely love the sounds I can make with my little MK Dragonfly Custom F5. At first I bought a Fender A Acc/Elec. but the overtones were really harsh, I couldn't make clean changes or get clean pressure on the low G string with any other finger down. Plus, I've got small hands. I was seriously limited in the chords I could make until I researched and found the MK had the radiussed fret board. I still have trouble with bars but I can make all changes much cleaner and the sound is so sweet. Make you cry. Last night I found an F I can make. !!!!! I was overjoyed! With the mandolin I don't feel limited. Technique I can improve with time. To be able to make reasonably clean sounds right away only happened for me on the mando. Jay Buckey's instructional materials helped me and within a week I was playing AND Singing (at the same time!) 5 whole songs.
I played classical piano for 5 years as a kid but knew I'd never play Carnegie Hall. I really wanted to play Rock & Roll but back then there weren't any teachers near me. I played guitar in my 20's, long enough to get really sore & really discouraged with my spastic fingers. I picked up the violin last year only to run all the stray cats out of my yard and my neighbors out of their yards. Mandolin was my only hope for finally being able to play with my husband and friends. I can't tell you what a joy to have found, at this stage in my life, that I can make music with my husband when he plays acc. guitar. We play every night! Right now we're practicing Bluegrass standards but he'll go off on a Dead tune or a classic R&B progression and, (now that I found that F) I'm right in his back pocket!
We've come to Chordie often and I've just subscribed. I'll be working on our songbook and check back with you all at this forum. We nightly sit and try to figure out tunes and I'll try to contribute some mandolin tabs for our arrangements when I can. My husband tells me I'm too technical but I'm sure I'm not the only one wired that way. It's the fun and commeraderie of it that juices me.