NEwbie with a bunch of questions :)

  1. brogh
    Hey Ya'll

    hope you are all doing well and being safe, so i got bitten by the bug hehe

    I got my first mandolin ( a present ) yesterday, i play guitar 10+ years so i have quite some dexterity (mechanically speaking ) and i'm looking to get around the first couple of tunes, i'm learning some chords too.

    The mandolin i have is a super economic one which as a longtime guitar player is showing me some "things" that aren't right right away, but hey .. for the moment it's fine.

    I played the instrument for 3/4 hours yesterday & today, and there are some things that are already showing up as weeeeeeeelllll

    - the frets have are not parallel to the nut for a start, the bass side is off on all frets

    - frets are super tiny, I'm not familiar with mandolin frets but it measures like less than 1 mm most of them, and 'm not sure this is a correct size for a mandolin.

    - i fitted the top with sandpaper on the mandolin in the most intonated spot on the top and now it fits well, you could really slide quite some paper in many places.

    now here' come the question...s :D

    as an experienced guitar player, i'm not starting completely from "zero", learning the first moves was quite """""easy""""" You might think that this is premature but ..

    This is a really economic instrument that i'd like to preserve as it is a gift, so i don't think i'll be heavy modding and changing parts also because there's no sign of solid woods, no trussrod, i got a set of new strings today as those onboard feel very "sticky"? .. not sure how to express however.

    I'm not rich and putting aside some money will take me some time, and I'm not really sure what i'm looking for, but here's what id' like to have ..

    Love it to be a F style but .. hey .. A style will do a little wider nut and frets at least 1 mm high

    I already like to "upgrade" already, i mean, I've seen some mandolins from The Loar, and Rover which are in the 350 $ range but i'm not sure those will be a real upgrade comapred to this one ( probably they are ) i don't want to start the buy and sell circus i'd like to get me a good nstrument and keep it for some years to come and eventually upgrade waaaaayyy down the road.

    Do you think that as a seasoned guitar player i will benefit to in gettin a 300 $ Mandolin ? or should i make the jump to 5/600 ish right away ?

    The Loar Honey Creek is around 300 and i read some good reviews, but 'm not sure what i'd expect ( just reviews ) and i have to order online, or should i wait even a little more and get the eastman entry level ones which i heard a LOT about ?

    I'd like to have a Northfield ( who doesn't ) but consider i'm in europe and all the mandolins that you have there in the US are really not available here, without a bonus for shipping + taxes which are QUITE steep.

    ALL suggestions are welcome

    Have a great day and have fun !

  2. HonketyHank
    Hi brogh and welcome! In answer to your main question, I think you probably have an instrument that will serve you well enough as a starter instrument as long as it is set up properly. I don't play guitar but I have heard that a good guitar luthier is not necessarily a good mandolin luthier, so keep that in mind as you look for someone to do the setup. Or you could, as I would encourage, email Rob Meldrum and get a copy of his free eBook (pdf) on how to do a setup with very basic (cheap) tools. I think that an economical model mandolin is a perfect instrument on which to try doing your own setup. 1. A good setup makes a VERY noticeable difference on an inexpensive mandolin; and 2. if you make a horrible mistake (unlikely) you haven't lost much. Go to the main forum and search for "Meldrum" to find details on how to get the ebook. Also look for a youtube video he made -- you'll notice that he starts out with a mandolin very much like yours except for the name and peghead shape, and he makes it very playable and responsive.

    I think it is too early for you to be thinking of "the next step up", especially if you are on a tight budget. But if and when the time comes, I think a $300 instrument might make you slightly happier but for only a short time. On the other hand, if you instead can put $5-600 into your step up, you will be happier longer. And even on these instruments, a good setup is essential and it may well need a good setup when you buy it.

    I don't know what brand names are available in Europe without being imported from the US. There is at least one Newbie here who resides in Europe and I know there are lots of Europeans in the main forum. I bet they can help with brand names and merchants.

    Welcome, again. I look forward to hearing you play a tune for us.
  3. Louise NM
    Louise NM
    Welcome, brogh.

    Everything Hank said above is good advice. One thing I would add is that a mandolin is not just a little upside-down guitar. Left hand position, in particular, is different. There are tons of online resources to help you get going.

    What kind of music do you want to play?
  4. brogh
    Hello to both And thanks for the tips

    Yes i Already got Rob's Meldrum setup book ( and finished it :P ) and already done most of it on the instrument, in fact the instrument sounded better right away, i knew i had to take car of that stuff right away because after 30+ years of music you just know when things should sound right

    Today I got new strings coming in and I'll be focusing on the nut a little bit, but i really doubt that I'll be able to push much further, what bugs me the most is the misalignment of the frets, as they all are NOT parallel with the nut, maybe from the picture it doesn't show well i'll make another but they are off on the G side quite somewhat.
    At the moment i have it intonade quite well the e is spot on, G is always a off no matter how much i tinker with it.

    The action is good i might can get it a little lower after reading Rob's Excellent book i realized i can go a little bit lower if i want, as said I'm a guitar player so fingers and calluses are there, it's not a "newcomer" problem, go figure i have 12's on my guitars and most of my friends can't play them because usually guitarists tend t go with 9's/ 10', the consistency of the frets is not great quite some low spots and quite low, i have the same fretwire on my guitars, it's just taller but I'll survive to that for some time as i start figuring out the notes and chords.

    Honketytank you confirmed what i was thinking of, thanks

    i'll be playing this one and go for something in the 5/600 region in the future, i don't really want this to become the upgrade circle i've seen quite a few around in that range, here in europe we can get all the high ends one in the +1000 Eur region, around 5/600 there are some brand like Eastman & the Loar, kentucky is really not there sometimes some pop up but it's rare, again .. buying in the US and getting it here is a no-no.

    I'll tr to get a better pic and file and setup the nut and start understanding this little fella that i'm liking quite much.

    @Louise thanks you too

    I'm really open minded musically and listen to almost everything, from classical to .. well almost whatever, except "i'mscreamingfrommylungsmetal" :P i'm really into country & bluegrass so i'm "playing" with that stuff but it will take a while to me being good enough ( and in tune ) to be posting a video .. but i'll ge there

    Thanks again ! cheers !
  5. bbcee
    @brogh, sent you a DM.
  6. brogh
    @bbcee Gotcha
  7. Trav'linmando
    Eastman's are known for having a narrow neck and nut. Also small frets. Currently I have 3 of them. Two are oval hole models, 1 for folk and country, the other is my old time player. Or aka faux Gibson.
  8. brogh

    Thanks Trav'linmando !

    I'm having some fun in learning some stuff with this mandolin, it's gonna take some time before i can invest in something good.

    Have a nice weekend
  9. SOMorris
    Welcome, Brogh! I'm sure you already know way more than I do about playing a stringed instrument, so no help there from this quarter.
  10. Mark Gunter
    Mark Gunter
    Hello Brogh, looking at your photo, I think I can see that the frets are at a bit of a slant. Itís been a few weeks now, how are you getting on?
  11. brogh
    Hello Mark

    well messing up my guitar muscle memory hehe, slowly going trough Red haired boy and Jerusalem Ridge learning scales and chords, thing is I need to keep up my Guitar practice & Piano too, but I'm slowly moving forward

    So far I'm enjoying it quite much, it's really a neat and funny instrument ...I mean "the mandolin", I got mine a little bit better but notes still are out of tune, I'm gonna get me a slightly better one for xmas probably... the first week i got it i didn't play guitar when.. i picked it up wow that neck is big lol :P

    Have fun Stay safe ! uh and yeah play lots of mandolin

  12. Spragster
    in that photo does the bridge look a little low on the bass side maybe? They. float on mandolins like a banjo or fiddle. It can really get stuff sounding whacky if itself even a little.
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