Newbie with The Loar's cheapest F-style... You know the one...

  1. Reywas

    Hello! Reywas here, finally posting something after lurking among the forums for most of the past year. Ever since I learned what a mandolin was (from the Ranger's Apprentice books, back when I was about 9), I always wanted one. Once I got to college, I realized that my dream could finally come true. So, in January, I went online and bought... this cheapo mandolin from amazon. It was enough to get me started, but even after some clumsy working to make it better (the bridge was way to high and already sat on the pegs), I decided that I ought to make an improvement. So, two weeks ago, I got an upgrade, which will need to stave of MAS until I finish college or at least get a more steady job. I even splurged and bought from Elderly Instruments rather than amazon to ensure a decent setup, which was worth it. Unfortunately, I haven't yet found anyone else who plays the mandolin, so I have mostly been teaching myself fiddle tunes from Turns out, reasonable action really helps fingers last longer and makes everything better-who'd have guessed. On the slim chance that there are any pickers in the Provo, Utah area who are willing to show a newbie some tricks from about 6 feet away, let me know!
    Thanks to anyone who spent the time to read through my elaborate mandolin saga!
  2. Reywas
    Also, I was wondering what everyone's thoughts on shoulder strap attachment are. I started off tying behind the nut, then tried doing the fancy through-the-scroll approach when I got my the loar, but I couldn't get the peghead to stop dropping. Does the location even matter?
  3. HonketyHank
    Hi, Reywas, and welcome to the Newbie bunch. I think it looks kinda uncool to have the shoulder strap go out to the peghead, but on some mandolins, usually older A models, it might be necessary unless you want to install a strap button on the heel. But uncool is OK. I suspect though that if you have it attached at the scroll with that strap in the photo, it might well be that you are pulling down on the neck slightly or maybe letting the neck support the weight of your hand and forearm. In any case, I am pretty sure that that tendency will go away with practice. You don't want to be holding the neck of the mandolin up with your hand but nor do you want the mandolin to be holding your hand up. Do use a strap though. I am lazy and half the time I don't and then when I do I realize why it is a good thing - it is harder to be agile with your left fingers if your hand is holding up the mandolin's weight. Does location matter? Nah. Do what works for you. I am pretty old to be talking about cool vs uncool.

    Sorry I am not closer -- I am a pretty long day's drive west of you. But ask questions. We don't flame people here, so all questions are good questions for discussion.

    Re your saga: most of us started out pretty much the same way you have. Your theLoar should keep you picking through college. I started with an old no-name mandolin banjo. Then I got a theLoar A model. You can eventually go onward and upward from the theLoar but going onward and upward with college is the priority; the theLoar will certainly serve while you are studying. I do believe you were wise to move up from your previous mandolin, though.
  4. Louise NM
    Louise NM
    Congratulations on the upgrade. It should serve you well.

    I don't know what to say about the strap. Despite Hank's aesthetic objections, I have mine tied to the headstock. My F-style came that way—a wide leather strap came with it, and the previous owner had it lashed to the headstock. My A is done the same way. It doesn't have a strap button and I don't want to add one, so I'll stay uncool!
  5. bbcee
    Hi Reywas, welcome! It's definitely a personal preference - I find the strap attached to the peghead uncomfortable, whereas looped around the scroll, or in the case of my A5, attached to a heel strap button, pulls the mandolin in against my belly, and everything just seems to fit better.

    seconding Hank's advice - college first, MAS much later. You've got a decent mandolin on which to learn and improve. Glad to have you here!
  6. Trav'linmando
    Reywas, personally I prefer the strap around the pegs. Better balance of the mandolin. I use a thin leather lace around the mando and tied to the strap.

    Welcome the the group.
  7. SOMorris
    Welcome to the Newbies group, Reywas!

    I am uncool too. I have my strap attached at the headstock of my A style. I have never been too concerned about what is "cool."
  8. Reywas
    Thanks for the comments everyone! The biggest benefit of starting on a cheapo instrument is that it came with the (still cheap) accesories, unlike my theLoar-the tuner and the strap that I cannibalized and still use. I even jerry rigged it to hold my picks!
  9. Reywas
    Also, I've been amaazed at how I recognize random fiddle tunes-Arkansas Traveler's A-part makes up a nursery song my mom sings about a small child torturing, killing, and eventually eating and vomiting up a bumblebee, imagining how proud their mother will be of them. Nursery songs are weird.
  10. HonketyHank
    We had Old Joe Clark for a tune of the month a while back and my wife, who spent a career in early childhood ed, heard me practicing and asked me "Is Clap Clap Clap Your Hands" really your Tune of the Month? That title being a children's tune often sung in day care centers.
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