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Strings Help with Mandolin purchase and learning

ProfJames

Elementary member
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12,033
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Berkshire, UK
My pal wants to take up mandolin. He asked me to put a post on here to see if anyone can offer some simple advice on type to buy - F, A or whatever the model letter means - what make, lessons and any other advice.

Much appreciate any help at all
 

Kingsleyhk

Senior Member
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Nr. Bandung, Indonesia
I'll contact my son - not the world's greatest communicator - and see if he can help. He's a mandolin layer with some folk bands in Scotland.

(I know- you do everything you can for them, and that's how they turn out!)
 

ProfJames

Elementary member
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Berkshire, UK
Much appreciated. One immediate question he wants to know is accoustic or electro accoustic? That is the question! Then - what else does he need to know?
 

Kingsleyhk

Senior Member
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507
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Nr. Bandung, Indonesia
I'll be in touch ASAP
 
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Kingsleyhk

Senior Member
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Nr. Bandung, Indonesia
Just heard back from him. Happy to help. Maybe put them in direct email touch?
 

Colin the Bear

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It's such a simple instrument to play I wouldn't have thought lessons were necessary. Twin strings tuned in 5ths starting with G. The next size up is the mandolla. Same as but, starts on C. The mando family are similar to the vial family but rarer in the larger sizes.

Acoustic for folk music in the room and add your own pick up for band work or stage. I have acoustic and solid body electric mandolins. Pedal up the solid body and howl like Hendrix.

Some tune the mandolin like the top four strings of a guitar to easily transpose your lead guitar finger patterns.

The beauty of being tuned in 5ths for me is the lack of a break like the guitar. Scale patterns repeat and you can race about the fingerboard.

Whatever you learn on mandolin will work directly on tenor banjo, bazuki, etc. but in a different key. I have several mandos and a tenor banjo tuned in different keys. (CHEAT) lol

Strum it, pick it or play melody lines.

A fun simple instrument and very portable.
 

ProfJames

Elementary member
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Berkshire, UK
These are people who will not understand your post Colin! I know you mean well and try to help! That is much appreciated by me! The question I suppose really is - how much should he spend and should he buy electro accoustic or whatever!? Really appreciate the help and many thanks!
 

Greg Strange

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These are people who will not understand your post Colin! I know you mean well and try to help! That is much appreciated by me! The question I suppose really is - how much should he spend and should he buy electro accoustic or whatever!? Really appreciate the help and many thanks!

I can see it now - "Foxy Lady" or "Little Wing" played on an electric mandolin...yeah baby...you rock...:thumb:

A Fender Mandolinocaster sounds cool...:)))

Greg S.
 
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sushidushi

Mine's an espresso
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651
I am no expert, but the F mandolins have a fancy scroll on them. The A mandolins don't. I don't know what the letters stand for, but your friend will generally get better value with the A, as he's not paying for the ornamentation. The scroll doesn't affect the sound.

As for acoustic or electro-acoustic, that would depend partly on whether he really needs to amplify the sound. He's likely to get better value for money buying an instrument that doesn't have the amplification gubbins. It would also seem a bit more 'folky' in my view.

I think I want a mandolin now... :eek:
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
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These are people who will not understand your post Colin! I know you mean well and try to help! That is much appreciated by me! The question I suppose really is - how much should he spend and should he buy electro accoustic or whatever!? Really appreciate the help and many thanks!

Have you looked at the wikipedia article? Most of what you want to know is there.
 

old git

Tremendous Bore
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Get lessons from Bill Monroe. Just remembered he's snuffed.

Used to make band members work on his farm when they didn't have gigs.

Does the ride outs from Maggie May have the same place amongst mandolinists as Baker Street with saxophonists?

Now does he really want to play mandolin? >:)
 

dooce

Well-Known Member
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Daventry
Suggest that he finds a branch of Hobgoblin Music, the folk instrument equivalent of sax.co.uk (or indeed Howarths/Dawkes/WWR - other shops are available). Always found their staff really knowledgeable and helpful, and as usual in good music shops, they are generally superb musicians in their own right.

http://www.hobgoblin.com/shops/
 

jrintaha

Senior Member
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283
Locality
Helsinki, Finland
From my experience with acoustic and electroacoustic guitars, the best results are achieved when you buy an acoustic guitar without a pickup, and install (or have someone else install) a piezo pickup later if needed, or just use a vocal microphone. A lot of the built-in pickups are bad, and you're paying a premium for the pickup.

The best result I've ever had with recording an acoustic guitar is with a vocal microphone (RØDE NT1-A to be exact). No pickup seems to work as well as a good mic. A good mic is handy for a lot of other things as well.
 

Colin the Bear

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Burnley bb9 9dn
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Colin the Bear

Well-Known Member
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Burnley bb9 9dn
The G4m site has a good range to chose from, starting with their own at £45. I would recommend that for a musical novice an instrument with a fixed bridge might be more practical. I have a Romanian mandola that took ages to find just the right spot and angle and needed quite a bit of sanding to get the best out of it.
 

Greg Strange

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Hamilton, Waikato, North Island, New Zealand

ProfJames

Elementary member
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Berkshire, UK
Thanks for all of the help! My pal has got a good starter pack deal from Hobgoblin although GAK and G4M were also very impressive with help, advice and pricing. It was so interesting and such a laugh that I have bought one as well.

I have purchased a second hand Crafter m70e semi accoustic. Will pick it up from Reading tomorrow. Will take it with my YTS to my sax lesson and see what my tutor thinks!

For £80 I have acquired a £250 mandolin that is six months old. That is typical second hand pricing. Crafter is Korean and are competing against strong competition fro the Chinese mandolin manufacturers.

Looking forward to it......and again thanks to everyone. Also any further advice would be very welcome.
 
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