Any mandolin players here?

Discussion in 'Acoustic Instruments' started by ABKB, Nov 6, 2005.

  1. ABKB

    ABKB Member

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    I have had a mandolin for about three years now, (one of them cheap Fender jobies with the pickup on it), and I gotta say, I love the instrument, always have. I am not a country or bluegrass player by any means, more of a rock/blues guy. But it is such a sweet sound. Anyway, I have most of the basic chording down, but are there any good web sites on learning the instrument for dumb guitarists like me? Because the tuning is so different from guitar, I really have to pay attention to where I am going, so I know it's just a learning thing. Tonight my band had me break it out and we came up with a really cool tune with it. But I want to get better at it.

    Thanks guys!
     
  2. teleking36

    teleking36 Supporting Member

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    hey there!

    i'm a guitar player at heart, but i've been playing mandolin for a few years now and it's a great change of pace and a great challenge to learn new stuff. my fav mando website is www.mandolincafe.com. they seem to have the most interactive and informative site on the internet. they have tons of useful tabs and soundbytes, as well as a forum for discussions, etc. check them out!
     
  3. ABKB

    ABKB Member

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    Very cool site! Thanks Teleking36. I agree, the Mando is a great change of pace as well as a challenge. And it's just so dang puuuuurty on the ears lol.

    Anybody else play?
     
  4. decay-o-caster

    decay-o-caster Member

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    My GF is a classical violinist, but I've given her electric violins and she's played with my rock band. This year I'm having Bill "Shades" Chapin make an electric mandolin for her - the "Anne-dolin"!. It's the same tuning as a violin, but she'll be able to play chords as well. And ya never know, if she happens to leave it lying around, I just might pick it up and see if I can figure it out myself! :)
     
  5. ABKB

    ABKB Member

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    It's one of those things where, for us guitarists, it's so easy that it's hard lol. In one sense, the chords are real easy to play, but figuring out say a Dm chord (for us) takes some serious head chording conversion. It's like learning a new language, until you get good at it, you will always take the new words, translate them to English in your head, then translate them back to the new language. I have found it's just best to learn it for what it is like your learning all over again. Your GF should have an easy time since she already knows the scales though.
     
  6. george4908

    george4908 Member

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    >>This year I'm having Bill "Shades" Chapin make an electric mandolin for her - the "Anne-dolin"!

    Too cool -- you have to post pics of that thing when it's ready.
     
  7. decay-o-caster

    decay-o-caster Member

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  8. Tim Bowen

    Tim Bowen Member

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    Why yes, I'm a mandolin hack! I've been playing for less than a year, and it shows. I do some recording dates on mando and play a few tunes live, but I've no idea what the heck I'm doing. I can't tremolo pick worth crap (nor can I on guitar), so I use this rather bizarre looking technique with the middle finger that I call the "butterfly", to arrive remotely near such. I pretty much just learn one tune at a time. I keep a mando chord dictionary and a book of standard bluegrass transcriptions in the car, for the next time I get stumped (which will be the next time I pick up the instrument).

    I love the old timey bluegrass guys, and Grisman and all those cats, and Jethro Burns was a true badass, but my fave guy for pop rock stuff, and my personal benchmark, is Davey Johnstone (Elton John). "Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy", "Holiday Inn", "Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters" - that's all beautiful stuff to me. Jimmy Page's bit on Rod Stewart's "Maggie May" is pretty cool as well.

    Mandolin Cafe is a wonderful resource.
     
  9. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    I have a Tacoma Papoose, does that count? ;)

    Sorry, I know. That's like bowling with gutter guards.
     
  10. ABKB

    ABKB Member

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    That was Jimmy on Maggie May? Wow, didnt know that! Thanks for the post Tim B! I think most guitarists are a hacks at mando lol. But some of us just cant resist it (like me). I too keep a chord chart with me. But recently we wrrote a tune on mando and I was just kinda stabbing at stuff, so b4 our next practice I have to figure out for our bass player just what the heck I was playing :D So I will be digging around in the cafe today to get all that. Now I gotta get some Elton albums, which is always a cool things anyway.

    One thing I have found on this instrument that bugs me, and I might switch to fingerpicks as a result, I always use my guitar pick and it always seems to come loose because I cant "dig" into the strings and hold the pick tight like I do with guitar. Do any of you guys have this problem, or do you use fingerpicks?
     
  11. teleking36

    teleking36 Supporting Member

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    I've been playing mandolin for about 5 years now; I would consider myself to be an intermediate player. I've got about 12 years on guitar though, so I mainly consider myself a guitarist.

    I usually go with a very heavy pick, like a dunlop 2.0mm. David Grisman has signature picks as well which work great! I think the thicker picks really help bring out a mandolin's chop and volume, because you seem to vibrate the top more with a heavier pick.

    Interesting to know that Jimmy had mando duties on "Maggie May"! I learn somethin' new every day.
     
  12. ABKB

    ABKB Member

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    I use the Dunlop nylon .88 picks. Love em, never break and I can get a good grip on em. So they are pretty heavy, Maybe I'm just afraid to take a good right hand whack at a mando lol.
     
  13. jayn

    jayn Member

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    I've been playing one for about 3 months now. Great fun. It's relatively easy to pick up for an experienced guitar player, but pretty tough to play it well, if you know what I mean. OTOH, I injured my thumb a year ago or so (sprain on a couple of joints)and I really feel it with the mandolin...not so much with guitar. So, I don't play as often as I'd like.

    I started with a heavy mandolin style pick, but it hurt my pointer finger tip on the bluegrass chop since I hold it too close to the strings. Now, I use the heaviest triangle shaped picks that I can find. I've heard that it's better to grip a pick lightly with a mando, but I haven't thought enough about it to decide if that works better for me or not.
     
  14. Tim Bowen

    Tim Bowen Member

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    It appears that I've possibly tossed out some misinformation here. I have read in publications, have heard in conversation, and have heard via commentary on various classic rock radio stations - for many years - that Jimmy Page played mandolin on "Maggie May" - to the point where I'd accepted it as fact (given the above, there was not much reason to question such). However, upon doing a search, I see only a gentleman by the name of Ray Jackson, a member of folk/rock outfit Lindisfarne, as being credited for such. This is the sort of thing that drives me nuts, as trivial as it may be. I wonder if this yet another *who really wrote "Beck's Bolero"?* type of scenario. For the sake of sheer curiosity, any further clarification on the matter would be quite welcome - and I wouldn't have the slightest problem in standing/sitting corrected.

    Anyway... speaking (remotely) of Pagey, and certainly to excellent mando work within the genre of rock 'n' roll, I've always been quite the fan of John Paul Jones' playing. But then, Jonesy has always done everything well.

    ABKB, I'm a huge Elton John fan (obviously, the early to middle period stuff is the ticket; the later velveeta cheese offerings are, well, not...!). Davey Jonnstone is a criminally overlooked player, and is so as a guitarist as well - like Mike Campbell and Johnny Marr, he rarely goes for flash, but can be consistently counted upon to lay down the absolute perfect part, every single time.

    As for picks, I use the same as I do for all stringed instruments - purple Dunlop 1.14 tortex. However, for my mandolin, ehhh, "style", I'd likely be equally well served by a stewed cabbage.

    As often as I curse at my small hands when playing guitar or bass, I'm quite thankful for them in dealing with those teeny little mando frets.

    I've a show next week where I'll be playing more mandolin in a live setting than I've ever previously attempted. Wish me luck, as I'll certainly need it.

    One more thought for now - somewhere on the planet, at this moment, a couple of accomplished mandolin stylists are trading their fave guitar player jokes. :)
     
  15. ABKB

    ABKB Member

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    Thank you for the update Tim, and the new info is appreciated. I agree, Jonesy is a great all around musician, and was a perfect fit for Zep.

    Also agree on Elton. I dont have all his albums (yet lol). But his early to middle stuff was top notch. I think he kind of fell off after Captian Fantastic, but I am encouraged that I hear great things about his last couple albums. And Davey J is an INCREDIBLE player. I have seen him love (on TV) many times and he really is the one that holds that band to ziplock tightness. And the sounds he gets out of his guitars are incredible. Very overlooked guy.

    Lol, consider yourself lucky on those fingers of yours. I am a small fat fingered guy (think David Gilmour hands). I have to really pay attention in those teeny frets or I flub everything. I have to really watch my weight or my fingers just get too fat for anything.

    Good luck on your gig man! Nice thing about mando is if it's a cool song, the audience really sits up and pays attention.
     
  16. Tim Bowen

    Tim Bowen Member

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    Thank you! I appreciate it.
     
  17. ABKB

    ABKB Member

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    NP, let us know how it goes! I play almost every Sunday with a worship band and now they are getting on me to break the Mando out. I just may do it here in the next couple weeks as long as they dont want any 20 chord bridges or anything like that ;) it should be fun, and it will be my first "live" Mando debut. As long as I get some practice time with the tune I should be fine, but I am nervous about it. But I guess the only way to get wet is to jump in the water!
     
  18. forestryguy

    forestryguy Member

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    About thinking like a guitarist and doing the mental "translation"...it helped me to realize that mandolin chords are like upside down guitar chords. Since the strings are tuned E A D G from bottom to top, it is a flipped over image of strings 3 through 6 on the guitar. A simple G chord on mandolin is fretted 3-2-0-0 from bottom to top. Does that make sense to anyone else?
     
  19. ABKB

    ABKB Member

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    Kinda does, but I wouldnt make it a rule. for instance, D is 2-0-0-2, which bears little resemblance to a guitar D, but it does work for G.
     
  20. forestryguy

    forestryguy Member

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    I often fret the F# on the sixth string of a guitar when playing a D chord, especially in bluegrass style music. Makes for a nice slide or hammer back into the G.
     

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