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#1 2011-05-13 16:39:00

steelstrings
Senior Member
From: Western Australia (born in NZ)
Registered: 2011-04-18
Posts: 322

Thinkin about learning to play the mandolin

How easy is it?


"Where you begin doesn't matter. Your willingness to start is what counts."
Without music life would be a mistake.
Country music is three chords and the truth.
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#2 2011-05-13 19:54:53

jerome.oneil
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From: Bellevue, WA
Registered: 2006-06-15
Posts: 3056
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Re: Thinkin about learning to play the mandolin

It's deceptively difficult.  The instrument is tuned upside down to 5ths, so you have seven fret stretches for some common chords.   There are 8 strings, and it's tightly tuned, so your hands need to be in really good condition.

And "mandolin" is an Italian word meaning "out of tune."   smile


Someday we'll win this thing...

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#3 2011-05-14 04:44:36

tandm3
Senior Member
From: Florida Panhandle
Registered: 2006-03-04
Posts: 421

Re: Thinkin about learning to play the mandolin

Its the same tuning as a violin, GDAE low to high. That reverse "bass" tuning causes the 7 fret intervals as opposed to the five fret spacing on a normal guitar.  There are a bunch of two finger chord options.  All of the frets are really close together.. its quite a bit different from playing a guitar but if you consider it as a really short scale guitar with an alternate tuning, its not too bad.  I love the sound of a mandolin, even if I play one like a guitar player would.  Now back to the original question: How easy is it?  That's based purely on your desire to learn.


Now available in 5G !

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#4 2011-05-17 21:16:24

jaygordon75
Senior Member
Registered: 2007-01-29
Posts: 531

Re: Thinkin about learning to play the mandolin

I started playing mandolin in a church praise and worship group several years ago...guitar is my usual weapon of choice but we already had a couple of really good guitar players, so I bought a mandolin. It took me a little effort to learn how since the chords and fingerboard are quite different...but the sound is definately worth it! For basic stuff like chording and rythym it's fairly easy for a guitar player...but like a guitar it can be very difficult to master.


Middleaged Redneck sorta guy who refuses to grow up...passion for music, especially Southern Rock but like bout everything cept Gangsta/Hip Hop. Collect guitars, mandolins, and love to ride Harleys.

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#5 2011-05-17 21:23:36

bensonp
Honoured Member
From: Tooele Ut
Registered: 2006-03-04
Posts: 3799

Re: Thinkin about learning to play the mandolin

I always wanted to learn, also, but not bad enough to give it a try.  I work hard enough with the guitar.


You can see all my video covers on http://www.youtube.com/bensonp1000
I have finally found happiness in my life.  Guitars, singing, beer and camping.  And they all intertwine wonderfully.

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#6 2011-05-17 21:44:49

Tyson7
Senior Member
From: Wisconsin
Registered: 2011-04-25
Posts: 289
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Re: Thinkin about learning to play the mandolin

Jay,
   I play mandolin and guitar with a three piece group. It is a challenge to remember the different chords and progressions when your switching back and forth. But you 've already found out how cool a mandolin fits with almost any song. Keep it going .Once you get a little more comfortable with it I know you'll love it as much as guitar. Have fun.

   Joe

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#7 2011-05-20 16:55:18

RedGuitars
Junior Member
Registered: 2011-03-25
Posts: 2

Re: Thinkin about learning to play the mandolin

Been thinking of a mandolin also.  Any suggestions or thoughts on a good, quality instrument?

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#8 2011-05-20 18:24:41

Tyson7
Senior Member
From: Wisconsin
Registered: 2011-04-25
Posts: 289
Website

Re: Thinkin about learning to play the mandolin

Red, without going bigtime with a Gibson check theses out. Eastman and Michael Kelly make some nice quality mandolins for + or - $1ooo. Loars and Kentucky are about half that price. A lot depends on what you can afford. I've found some older Washburns that were really nice players.If you are looking for something electrified stay away from the ones with any knobs or mounted preamps. All I've plyed and people I know that have had them found they all hiss through and amp or PA. You can put a pick on them later . Some good pickups available through Elderly Instruments. Hope this is a starting point.
Joe

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#9 2011-05-29 06:15:26

FarNorthRider
Junior Member
Registered: 2011-03-14
Posts: 1

Re: Thinkin about learning to play the mandolin

I have an antique one (in the family for 1/- 150-200 years. If you ever see an old one for sale then buy it & have it restored. Though I am a lousy player it sounds beautiful and much more full than a modern one.

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#10 2012-02-29 09:27:18

ndrewoods
Member
Registered: 2011-07-05
Posts: 25

Re: Thinkin about learning to play the mandolin

jaygordon75 wrote:

I started playing mandolin lessons in a church praise and worship group several years ago...guitar is my usual weapon of choice but we already had a couple of really good guitar players, so I bought a mandolin. It took me a little effort to learn how since the chords and fingerboard are quite different...but the sound is definately worth it! For basic stuff like chording and rythym it's fairly easy for a guitar player...but like a guitar it can be very difficult to master.

Same scenario here. But not because there are already a good guitar players in our church but I was intrigued in learning one. If it would encourage you, mandolin is easier than to play in aguitar mostly due to the more logical GDAE fifths tuning, well in some ways. More easily reachable chord voicings. Some particular techniques that are more challenging are right hand picking doubled strings and mastering the smooth tremolo so necessary to the sound. If you really desire to learn, go for it. You may regret in the future if you didn't take the courage to learn now.

Last edited by ndrewoods (2012-03-04 16:57:36)

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#11 2012-03-11 19:55:50

bigbike4
Junior Member
Registered: 2009-11-23
Posts: 4

Re: Thinkin about learning to play the mandolin

RedGuitars wrote:

Been thinking of a mandolin also.  Any suggestions or thoughts on a good, quality instrument?

You can find quality mandolins on ebay, if you know what you are looking for.  Surprisingly even SOME low quality mandolins can sound pretty darn good if they are set up properly.  As for QUALITY instruments most reputable instrument makers can and will make you a mandolin.

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#12 2012-03-11 21:18:09

Phill Williams
THE MODERATE MODERATOR
From: The Land Of Song
Registered: 2007-12-10
Posts: 2536
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Re: Thinkin about learning to play the mandolin

hi BB4 welcome to chordie forums. i see you've been a member for more than a year, so glad you decided to join in the forums. i know it's hard to get started, but it gets easier as you go along.
the forums are for giving and sharing advice, also for making friends and sharing experiences. hope to see more from you.

phill


There are two "L's" in Phill

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