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anyone play mandolin?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by sloppysubs, Aug 5, 2005.


  1. sloppysubs

    sloppysubs

    Nov 24, 2002
    Swansboro, NC
    im thinking of getting into it. ive played them here and there and they seem like fun. i look at some musicians and they can all play the basics (drums, bass guitar). but then you have a few (and it seems like bass players most times) that can play the really cool kind of 'hey i wouldnt have used that there, but its awsome' instrument. anyway, thought id ask. thanks
     
  2. Yes ... I actually played mandolin before bass. Someone gave me one, an Alvarez A100, many years ago, and I enjoy playing it. I write originals and I use it for "spice" in my arrangements. I also play keys, but the manodlin gives me that warm feeling when I play it ... just like the bass ... you can feel the tone through the body.

    I advise you to give it a shot ... it's a fun instrument. Plus, mandolin is in a ton of cool music ... including some great Led Zepplin tunes.
     
  3. sloppysubs

    sloppysubs

    Nov 24, 2002
    Swansboro, NC
    whats it tuned to normally?
     
  4. I heard it was the hardest instrument to play... :meh:
     
  5. Richard Lindsey

    Richard Lindsey

    Mar 25, 2000
    Metro NYC
    It's tuned just like a violin, G D A E, low to high. The low G is the same note as the open G string on a guitar.

    I've played mandolin, but badly. If you're interested, there are other instruments in the mandolin family that are a little lower in range, such as the octave mandolin and the mandocello; there are even mandobasses, though I think they're kinda rare now.
     
  6. Against Will

    Against Will Supporting Member

    Dec 10, 2003
    Big Sound Central
    The mandolin's pretty straightforward. If you have any grounding in violin, viola or similar instruments, you should have no trouble picking up the mandolin (the mando and viola families are related; mandolin's tuned the same as violin, mandola same as viola, etc.) Even if you don't have any experience with those instruments, picking up mandolin isn't that hard. The longest thing for me was the technique and being able to fret the notes on the tiny neck, but if you get a well-made one that fits you, this won't be a problem. I went from playing bass to playing mandolin and you'll be surprised how much carries over from the two.

    Accordion's probably the hardest to play, aside from maybe a few east asian instruments, you have a lot you need to pay attention to with Accordions.
     
  7. sloppysubs

    sloppysubs

    Nov 24, 2002
    Swansboro, NC
    all the ones i see have 8 strings. so i assume they are octaves. but i was thinking of getting one and dropping it low and putting really thick strings on it so as to make soudn a little darker. i thought that would be cool.
     
  8. Against Will

    Against Will Supporting Member

    Dec 10, 2003
    Big Sound Central
    The sets of strings are supposed to be tuned the same, at the same octave. They're doubled to help them resonate and increase the volume of acoustic mandolins, electric mandolins don't need to worry about volume so the redundant strings are nixed.
     
  9. DubDubs

    DubDubs

    Aug 23, 2004
    Los Angeles
    The strings on a mandolin are traditionally tuned to GDAE. There are two strings for each note tuned to the same octave.
     
  10. TMWPB

    TMWPB

    Mar 1, 2004
    Portland, Oregon
    Started playing about 6 months ago. Got one of the Rondo Agile Mandolins, pretty good. Fun to play.

    TMWPB
     
  11. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Yeah, I have an Ovation Elite mandolin, and have played it in the country-western band on songs like "You Don't Even Know Who I Am" and the Hell Freezes Over version of "Tequila Sunrise."
     
  12. sloppysubs

    sloppysubs

    Nov 24, 2002
    Swansboro, NC
    mandocello and mandobass? are those just lower pitched mandolins? or are they more similar to say a cello or double bass?
     
  13. Against Will

    Against Will Supporting Member

    Dec 10, 2003
    Big Sound Central
    They're both. Like I said, the mandolin and violin families mirror each other. Mandocellos and mandobasses are tuned the same as cellos and basses and, consequently, they're bigger. Mandolas are closer in range to a guitar, mandocellos with a baritone guitar, and mandobasses...well..


    Mandocellos and basses are very rare, most of the guys I know that have cellos have spent a couple grand to get original Gibsons, you could get one custom made but that could always end up being more expensive. I haven't known anyone with a mandobass, though I've seen pictures, they're even rarer than the cellos.
     
  14. sloppysubs

    sloppysubs

    Nov 24, 2002
    Swansboro, NC
    cool. thanks. i guess ill stick with mandolin and tune it down.
     
  15. Richard Lindsey

    Richard Lindsey

    Mar 25, 2000
    Metro NYC
    Why? It's meant to be tuned at certain ranges of pitches and likely sounds best that way. Why not learn it the way it's traditionally tuned and played?

    A good compromise might be an octave mandolin, which is more guitarlike and doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg. I believe Fender makes one now. And at folkie/Celtic festivals I've seen people selling them for relatively modest amounts (i.e., not multiple thousands).
     
  16. sloppysubs

    sloppysubs

    Nov 24, 2002
    Swansboro, NC
    why do people used alternate tunings on bass or guitar? to explore possibilities. i do intend on learning it the way it was supposed to learned. however, why not expirement and get creative too?
     
  17. Vorago

    Vorago (((o)))

    Jul 17, 2003
    Antwerp, Belgium
    I don't have any experience with mandolins, but it's completely made of wood, and I don't think it has a trussrod, so putting on other heavier strings could damage the instrument.
     
  18. Bob Lee (QSC)

    Bob Lee (QSC) In case you missed it, I work for QSC Audio! Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 3, 2001
    Costa Mesa, Calif.
    Technical Communications Developer, QSC Audio
    I play a Mid-Missouri M-4 (www.midmomandolin.com). It's a blast. I figure I have both the lowest and highest notes covered. ;)

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  19. Richard Lindsey

    Richard Lindsey

    Mar 25, 2000
    Metro NYC
    Nothing at all wrong with experimenting. It's just that it's often a good idea to first get a handle on the thing you're experimenting with. A major reason why many people explore alternate tunings on bass and guitar is that they've already spent time with standard tuning and have become sufficiently familiar with it to feel that they want to try something different. IOW, they've gotten a sense of the possibilities at hand before looking for others. A great example is the late great Red Mitchell. He was already an accomplished and in demand upright bassist, but he decided he wanted something different. So he decided to try tuning in 5ths (CGDA), like a cello but an octave lower. It worked for him, and he took it from there.

    Anyway, it's not as if the tuning police are gonna get you; it's just a piece of friendly advice.
     
  20. Bob Lee (QSC)

    Bob Lee (QSC) In case you missed it, I work for QSC Audio! Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 3, 2001
    Costa Mesa, Calif.
    Technical Communications Developer, QSC Audio
    Tommy Tedesco used to write a studio guitarist column in Guitar Player magazine, and he said that he doubled on mandolin but used guitar tuning (the top four strings) on it so he could more easily learn the instrument and move between guitar and mandolin.