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Thread: Just Ordered my First Mandolin, Advice?

  1. #1

    Default Just Ordered my First Mandolin, Advice?

    I've been playing guitar almost every day for the past 3 years. No lessons, and very little use of online instruction, mostly I have just used books. In the beginning my focus was on learning to read notes on a page and play them on the guitar, then memorizing lots of melodies. From there I started working on pentatonic scales. This year I finally decided to work on playing open chords and singing.

    This summer I got really into listening to Ryan Shupe & the Rubberband, a local band popular in my area. The mandolin solo on their song The Sun Will Shine Again really grabbed my ear (interestingly the mandolin isn't prominent on the rest of that song). Pretty soon I started noticing mandolin parts in many songs, purchasing albums by Sierra Hull & Chris Thile and generally obsessing over the idea of learning the mandolin. I just ordered a used Kentucky KM150 mandolin and a Mel Bay mandolin book.

    What advice would you give me as I get started?

    For anyone interested the song that started me down this road, the solo starts around 2:04.
    https://youtu.be/G9Evn83Mieo
    Last edited by El Serio; Oct-18-2021 at 7:34pm. Reason: Wrong word in song title

  2. #2
    Fingertips of leather Bill McCall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Just Ordered my First Mandolin, Advice?

    Get a lesson to get good mechanics, either online or existing videos. Chris Thule, Mike Marshall, Don Julin and Pete Martin have good YouTube videos to get started.

    Have fun.
    Not all the clams are at the beach

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    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Just Ordered my First Mandolin, Advice?

    read back in the immense archives, here , is my advice ..
    writing about music
    is like dancing,
    about architecture

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  6. #4

    Default Re: Just Ordered my First Mandolin, Advice?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill McCall View Post
    Get a lesson to get good mechanics, either online or existing videos. Chris Thule, Mike Marshall, Don Julin and Pete Martin have good YouTube videos to get started.

    Have fun.


    It will probably have to be online since I don't know of anyone in my area who teaches it. Thanks for the list of names to look up.
    Last edited by El Serio; Oct-18-2021 at 7:48pm. Reason: Add quote

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    Registered User Jill McAuley's Avatar
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    Default Re: Just Ordered my First Mandolin, Advice?

    Also check out the free online lessons Baron Collins-Hill provides over at https://www.mandolessons.com
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    Registered User Simon DS's Avatar
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    Default Re: Just Ordered my First Mandolin, Advice?

    Yes, at the beginning learning how to gather info from the internet is a valuable skill for your advance in playing the mandolin.
    thesession.org
    mandolintab.net
    You’ll definitely need a few ‘in person’ or Zoom lessons at first too.
    And I guess you could even be in a band of friends even as a beginner playing small parts.

    Good luck, playing music is a lot of fun!!

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  11. #7
    Resident Hack
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    Default Re: Just Ordered my First Mandolin, Advice?

    This Sierra Hull video

    Is a great place to start. Then for sure basics lessons.
    I've had a good experience with Banjo Ben who has a wealth of beginner lessons for you.
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    Registered User Kevin Briggs's Avatar
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    Default Re: Just Ordered my First Mandolin, Advice?

    Play, play, play. Listen, emulate, look up songs on YouTube and slow them down to .5 speed to get all the notes. Learn easy/beginner versions of fiddle tunes. Do it all!
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  15. #9

    Default Re: Just Ordered my First Mandolin, Advice?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jill McAuley View Post
    Also check out the free online lessons Baron Collins-Hill provides over at https://www.mandolessons.com
    I watched one of his introductory videos, once I get my mandolin in hand I can go further.

  16. #10

    Default Re: Just Ordered my First Mandolin, Advice?

    Quote Originally Posted by Simon DS View Post
    Yes, at the beginning learning how to gather info from the internet is a valuable skill for your advance in playing the mandolin.
    thesession.org
    mandolintab.net
    You’ll definitely need a few ‘in person’ or Zoom lessons at first too.
    And I guess you could even be in a band of friends even as a beginner playing small parts.

    Good luck, playing music is a lot of fun!!
    Thanks for sharing some additional sites to check out!

  17. #11

    Default Re: Just Ordered my First Mandolin, Advice?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mitch Stein View Post
    This Sierra Hull video

    Is a great place to start. Then for sure basics lessons.
    I've had a good experience with Banjo Ben who has a wealth of beginner lessons for you.
    Interesting advice, particularly concerning picks and how to hold them. Sounds like I may want to try some different ones than the ones I use for guitar.

  18. #12
    Registered User CWRoyds's Avatar
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    Default Re: Just Ordered my First Mandolin, Advice?

    I came to mandolin from guitar.
    Some people tell guitarists to think of the mandolin as the bottom four strings of a guitar turned upside down.
    Dont do this... It is a bad way to think about it.
    Dont try to translate guitar stuff to mandolin.

    Learn mandolin as its own thing.
    Learn the chords and scales.
    You will be able to apply your musical knowledge to mandolin, without referring back to guitar.
    Mandolins: Northfield 5-Bar Artist Model "Old Dog", J Bovier F5 Special, Gibson A-00 (1940)
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  20. #13
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    Default Re: Just Ordered my First Mandolin, Advice?

    Nothing to do with playing, but I suggest getting a hard case. Mandolin is a small easily kicked about our knocked over instrument with high string tension. Every time I put mine in the car trunk in its original soft bag I had to be really careful. Now I have an ABS case (nothing fancy), I don't have that concern. Only thing is, mandolins and cases vary a lot in size, so check it fits before you buy.

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  22. #14

    Default Re: Just Ordered my First Mandolin, Advice?

    Quote Originally Posted by maxr View Post
    Nothing to do with playing, but I suggest getting a hard case. Mandolin is a small easily kicked about our knocked over instrument with high string tension. Every time I put mine in the car trunk in its original soft bag I had to be really careful. Now I have an ABS case (nothing fancy), I don't have that concern. Only thing is, mandolins and cases vary a lot in size, so check it fits before you buy.
    That seems like good advice. I hadn't thought about it, but that slender neck does have a lot of tension. I'm sure it would be easier to break than a guitar.

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