Newb rethinking strategy....

  1. LRDave
    I introduced myself on this post on the General Mandolin Discussions forum a few days ago.

    To quickly re-cap:

    1) I am lefty
    2) I am 63
    3) This is the first instrument I've tried to pick up/learn

    I ordered a "mandolin shaped thing" off the great retailer in the sky (let's give the thing a name: Vangoa.) After 4-5 days of playing around/playing beginners chords and scales, I have decided this thing will not work for me. One of the reasons I ordered from the great retailer in the sky is the return policy and I am going to return it.

    I just ordered an Eastman MD-305L from The Mandolin Store (with strap, picks and tuner). I need to take set-up and instrument quality out of the equation to figure out why things: 1) sound bad, and: 2) hurt my fingers.

    I know the gods of spending $ on instruments are clapping their hands gleefully.....
  2. NDO
    Great call on the Eastman.
    I started with a Rogue and it was very painful until I set it up according to Rob Meldrum’s e-book. And even then it wasn’t nearly as fun to play as the Eastman I got myself for Christmas, which came with a great setup from TMS. Your fingers and your ears will thank you.

    Don’t get discouraged. This is very do-able.
  3. HonketyHank
    Welcome, Dave!

    Five or six years ago I asked folks on the main forum to post pictures of their fretting hand fingertips. You might be able to find that thread. Anyway, I was amazed at the relative absence of callus among really good pickers. My fingertips were hard, crusty, crevassed, and grooved. Theirs were smooth - tough but smooth. The general consensus was that I was a) fretting with too much pressure, b) playing with a poorly set-up mandolin with nut slots not deep enough, or, more likely, c) all of the above.

    c) turned out to be the correct answer.
  4. LRDave
    Thanks HH. I am 100% sure that I am pressing too hard and reasonably sure the action is too high on the MSO I am trying this out on.
  5. SOMorris
    Welcome, Dave. You have come to the right place. Enjoy your learning experience!
  6. Sue Rieter
    Sue Rieter
    Good call swapping them out IMO! I started with a Korean Kentucky KM-200S, and got my Strad-O-Lin within 3 months. Haven't stopped smiling every time I play it since.
  7. Louise NM
    Louise NM
    Uh-oh, another one just fell down the rabbit hole.

    Teasing aside, Dave, that was a fantastic decision. It will come set up well, it is likely a much better instrument, and it won't get in the way of learning.
  8. LRDave
    Louise NM: Undoubtedly, the rabbit hole has been entered. My left-handedness will save me from a lot of temptation, though.
  9. Southern Man
    Southern Man

    What is the next mandolin you have your eye on?
  10. LRDave
    Southern Man: The only thing I have my eye on right now is my Fedex tracking number. I'm supposed to receive my Eastman MD-305L from TMS tomorrow.

    I will then, temporarily, have two mandolins - or at least one mandolin and one MSO. In a couple of days, the MSO is going back to where it came from.

    As a lefty, I fear it will be almost impossible to try any new mandolin before buying.
  11. Southern Man
    Southern Man
    Well, we're waiting...
  12. Louise NM
    Louise NM
    And waiting . . .

    Maybe he's too busy playing with his new toy.
  13. NDO
    And if you decide you want the next step fancier and a pickup you could grab this one too
  14. LRDave
    I'm back! New Mandolin arrived from TMS late Weds. as promised. I can only compare to the MSO that was returned, but I find it dreamy. I can't support enough the beginner's strategy of not starting rock-bottom cheap (if one can afford it) and to start with a good mandolin set up correctly. Unsurprisingly, the new one is MUCH easier to play. The sound is richer and louder (much...).

    I only had 1 full day to play (well, make sounds, fumble through D-C-G chords and a couple of simple scales) and explore. We had to travel early Friday and alas, this was not the kind of travel my new mandolin could accompany me on. So we are just back home and the real work starts this evening. I've got a metronome app and I my plan is take things slowly (tempo-wise) but persistently.
  15. NDO
    Awesome! Congratulations Dave!
  16. SOMorris
    Congratulations, Dave! I think you will enjoy the Eastman.

    I was just thinking as I logged in here how nice it is to have somewhere like this to come to for encouragement and advice in learning something that to some of us is pretty foreign. I appreciate all of you!

    By the way, my new tailpiece was delivered Friday for my MD 505. I got it put on and all new strings installed yesterday. Dennis at TMS was super helpful when I ran into a little bit of a glitch. I went on their site about 6:30 p.m. in Nashville on Friday evening and used the "contact us" link. Dennis responded right away that he was at dinner but would get back to me a little later. He did and we worked out the issue. Great vendor and great guy.
  17. HonketyHank
    Got that new mandolin grin! Yes!
  18. bbcee
    I've got a metronome app and I my plan is take things slowly (tempo-wise) but persistently.

    Amen LRDave, that's the way to do it. More important than playing fast is being able to play cleanly, and it takes time to get it into your fingers. Speed will come on its own.

    More importantly than anything else, play as much as you can every day, even if it's just 10 minutes. It's much better than trying to have a eight hour mandolin blowout on the weekend!
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