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 Can anyone play a mandolin?

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PostSubject: Can anyone play a mandolin?   Sun Sep 14, 2008 12:44 am

cactus flower wrote:
EvotingMachine0197 wrote:
cactus flower wrote:
Well done EVM, I hope it will bring you (and your listeners) many hours of enjoyment Very Happy

HeeHee..listeners. I might do Slane next year. Cool

How's it going EVM ? Is the auld pianee going good?

Someone just gave me a mandolin ( a modern one ) and that put me in mind of your music. In my head I'm going to just pick it up (the mandolin) and this wonderful music is going to come pouring out (clang clash clang ?).

I've one too which I've had for years and barely learned to tune. I'll dig it out and try to tune it and maybe I can post up any progress I'll make, if any.
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PostSubject: Re: Can anyone play a mandolin?   Sun Sep 14, 2008 12:49 am

It has a lot of strings and they seem to be uspide odwn
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PostSubject: Re: Can anyone play a mandolin?   Sun Sep 14, 2008 1:00 am

cactus flower wrote:
It has a lot of strings and they seem to be uspide odwn

Double strings - I even forgot about that much. I think they are the four guitar notes (the bass strings) inverted if I remember right - EAGDBE is the guitar so the mandolin might be DGAE, by jesus we'll be busking for christmas yet in Grafton street cactus ! Silent Night sounds great on the mandolin I'd say !
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PostSubject: Re: Can anyone play a mandolin?   Sun Sep 14, 2008 1:05 am

cactus flower wrote:
It has a lot of strings and they seem to be uspide odwn

I would never claim to be a musician but I do own and play (badly) several stringed instruments including guitars, tenor and G banjos, 2 mandolins and a utungu but if you ever have the opportunity to lift an Octave Mandola you will have your interest in playing shaken into obsession. It is larger than a mandolin but has, similarly, four sets of double strings. There are tuning options but I stick with GDAE. What makes the Octave Mandola special is the use of thick and thin gauge strings together which produce that drone which mirrors the pipes or DAGDAD tuning and produces (when played by someone else) the sound of two instruments. It's larger body also means it can thump out chords in a sing song and hold its own with most guitars. Give it a go and the mandolin will then be a breeze.
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PostSubject: Re: Can anyone play a mandolin?   Sun Sep 14, 2008 1:09 am

Quote :
four sets of double strings.


Yes, it has those, and a mighty drone ! Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: Can anyone play a mandolin?   Sun Sep 14, 2008 1:13 am

cactus flower wrote:
Quote :
four sets of double strings.


Yes, it has those, and a mighty drone ! Very Happy

Yes but each pair of strings on the mandolin are the same gauge but on the mandola some of the pairs have mis-matching strings an octave apart which drastically (in a good way) change the sound.
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PostSubject: Re: Can anyone play a mandolin?   Sun Sep 14, 2008 1:22 am

lukedelmege wrote:
cactus flower wrote:
Quote :
four sets of double strings.


Yes, it has those, and a mighty drone ! Very Happy

Yes but each pair of strings on the mandolin are the same gauge but on the mandola some of the pairs have mis-matching strings an octave apart which drastically (in a good way) change the sound.

I have a way to go. scratch jocolor
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PostSubject: Re: Can anyone play a mandolin?   Sun Sep 14, 2008 1:28 am

Do you know any songs with the mandola we could listen to lukedelmege? I can't picture it in my ear now but the mandolin is ringing clearly. The "Galway Girl" has been on the radio way too much lately and I'd say it has at least one mandolin.

Are the double strings of a 12-string guitar different gauge too like in the mandola?

Cactus if you have a normal guitar at home you'll find that the thick E and the thin E (the first and last strings) are both .. E but very different thicknesses. Imagine them close together and you have a quarter of a mandola Wink
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PostSubject: Re: Can anyone play a mandolin?   Sun Sep 14, 2008 1:52 am

Auditor #9 wrote:
Do you know any songs with the mandola we could listen to lukedelmege? I can't picture it in my ear now but the mandolin is ringing clearly. The "Galway Girl" has been on the radio way too much lately and I'd say it has at least one mandolin.

Are the double strings of a 12-string guitar different gauge too like in the mandola?

Cactus if you have a normal guitar at home you'll find that the thick E and the thin E (the first and last strings) are both .. E but very different thicknesses. Imagine them close together and you have a quarter of a mandola Wink

Do you know I honestly cannot and was unaware of the existence of the instrument until a couple of years ago but there are plenty of examples on youtube. Sorry my technical knowse has not advanced sufficiently to post a direct link. I believe the 12 string guitar can be strung in various ways but it does include some similar mismatching the details I'm not familiar with. Did you know you can also get a six string banjo tuned just like a guitar, now that is mental in the right, or indeed wrong hands.
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PostSubject: Re: Can anyone play a mandolin?   Sun Sep 14, 2008 1:55 am

lukedelmege wrote:
Auditor #9 wrote:
Do you know any songs with the mandola we could listen to lukedelmege? I can't picture it in my ear now but the mandolin is ringing clearly. The "Galway Girl" has been on the radio way too much lately and I'd say it has at least one mandolin.

Are the double strings of a 12-string guitar different gauge too like in the mandola?

Cactus if you have a normal guitar at home you'll find that the thick E and the thin E (the first and last strings) are both .. E but very different thicknesses. Imagine them close together and you have a quarter of a mandola Wink

Do you know I honestly cannot and was unaware of the existence of the instrument until a couple of years ago but there are plenty of examples on youtube. Sorry my technical knowse has not advanced sufficiently to post a direct link. I believe the 12 string guitar can be strung in various ways but it does include some similar mismatching the details I'm not familiar with. Did you know you can also get a six string banjo tuned just like a guitar, now that is mental in the right, or indeed wrong hands.


Very Happy Twisted Evil Cool
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PostSubject: Re: Can anyone play a mandolin?   Sun Sep 14, 2008 2:06 am

I think I might have heard about that banjo though I'm not sure. You're right - there's tons of youtube out there. I found some great stuff on how to play Damien Rice "Volcano" - really good lessons that just kept repeating the progressions over and over for ten minutes - that's my style of learning !

Here's Ryan Adams with some banjo in chorus... if you're here long enough you'll be posting youtubes etc. (at least I think it's a banjo What a Face)

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PostSubject: Re: Can anyone play a mandolin?   Sun Sep 14, 2008 2:14 am

It's a banjo all right but sounds like a five string, recognisable by the 'bing a dinga' rolls onto the little g, the half string which gives the instrument its name. It's an open chorded insrument so anyone can lift it and learn half a dozen chords with one finger, some of us haven't progressed much beyond that point.
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PostSubject: Re: Can anyone play a mandolin?   Sun Sep 14, 2008 2:29 am

Is that extra string a bit lower than the others? I thought it might sound lower for a banjo. It's tuned openly so is it? I know a good few Joni Mitchell numbers that are tuned differently to conventional guitar tuning and the chords are often very simple and the sound very good. The open strumming is often a chord in these tunings.

Half string which gives the instrument its name? Don't stop there ..
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PostSubject: Re: Can anyone play a mandolin?   Sun Sep 14, 2008 12:14 pm

Auditor #9 wrote:
Is that extra string a bit lower than the others? I thought it might sound lower for a banjo. It's tuned openly so is it? I know a good few Joni Mitchell numbers that are tuned differently to conventional guitar tuning and the chords are often very simple and the sound very good. The open strumming is often a chord in these tunings.

Half string which gives the instrument its name? Don't stop there ..

The G Banjo, the one which you will see in Bluegrass sessions, has 5 strings and is probably more accurately described as the 5 string banjo as it can also be tuned in open C among other ways. The usual G tuning is DBGDG. The final G is the little string on top which only extends half way up the neck of the instrument. The other G is is tuned an octave lower and the 2 Ds are an octave apart also. The high G is normally struck more often than the others and is the backbone of the sound. It differs greatly to the Tenor banjo which is tuned GDAE like a violin or Mandolin and is primarily for picking individual notes rather than chords or rolls and is the instrument you will see at trad sessions. The G Banjo is used in Irish music also including The Pogues and both are semi percussion (huge drum) in their own fields.

I'm no authority on open Guitar tuning but I know it's much more widespread than some people realise and may explain their difficulty in mastering a particular song. Paul Brady, for example, used an open D tuning for some of his beast known numbers and although the suggestion is that this simplifies chord fingering, in reality, more complex structures may be needed to help the sound. If using a simple one finger bar on an open G tuning, A will sound fine up two frets but when you go all the way up to F, that's another story.
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PostSubject: Re: Can anyone play a mandolin?   Sun Sep 14, 2008 12:26 pm

lukedelmege wrote:
I'm no authority on open Guitar tuning but I know it's much more widespread than some people realise and may explain their difficulty in mastering a particular song. Paul Brady, for example, used an open D tuning for some of his beast known numbers and although the suggestion is that this simplifies chord fingering, in reality, more complex structures may be needed to help the sound. If using a simple one finger bar on an open G tuning, A will sound fine up two frets but when you go all the way up to F, that's another story.
Interesting . I've found that the mandolin which I have is not possible to tune with relative tuning or else I've a dyslexic ear. The best way I've found to tune it is to get the notes from a sound file from a website and pitch the notes like that. Is it defective, I wonder or is relative tuning not done on those instruments? (relative tuning is tuning one string and then tuning the rest off that)

I can't picture a string going halfway up the neck though ..
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PostSubject: Re: Can anyone play a mandolin?   Sun Sep 14, 2008 12:42 pm

Auditor #9 wrote:
lukedelmege wrote:
I'm no authority on open Guitar tuning but I know it's much more widespread than some people realise and may explain their difficulty in mastering a particular song. Paul Brady, for example, used an open D tuning for some of his beast known numbers and although the suggestion is that this simplifies chord fingering, in reality, more complex structures may be needed to help the sound. If using a simple one finger bar on an open G tuning, A will sound fine up two frets but when you go all the way up to F, that's another story.
Interesting . I've found that the mandolin which I have is not possible to tune with relative tuning or else I've a dyslexic ear. The best way I've found to tune it is to get the notes from a sound file from a website and pitch the notes like that. Is it defective, I wonder or is relative tuning not done on those instruments? (relative tuning is tuning one string and then tuning the rest off that)

Relative tuning is possible (7th fret across the neck) but even the lads I play along with, who are proper musicians unlike myself, use a chromatic tuner. This is a small electronic device which clips onto the head of any instrument and tunes the instrument through vibration as opposed to pitch which means an instrument can be tuned regardless of the noise around. It is not an expensive item (about 15-20 sterling) and I have found it invaluable and was less than two minutes getting over any elitist notion that it wasn't the proper thing to do. Even using this will help to train the ear. As for your own instrument, it will help to identify if there is any defect such as loose machine head/tuning peg. Also, have you re-strung the mandolin recently? Strings can reach a stage where they are simply done and no amount of tuning will help. One further suggestion comes from a difficulty I experienced when I began playing, I used to go to a quiet but cold room to tune up in peace and quiet and then return to a warmer room to play and I found this affected the tuning. Finally, if you happen to have a Sony mobile, most of them have a tuning device hidden somewhere in applications.
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PostSubject: Re: Can anyone play a mandolin?   Sun Sep 14, 2008 12:53 pm

I'd say my mandolin has firm heads and pegs and all but I wonder if the bridge has something to do with it ? It's moveable - the yoke at the back near the soundhole - I think a fiddle bridge is moveable though. This changes the distance to the nut at the neck which might be why it's all over the place. This is not normal is it What a Face

Can the same chromatic tuner also do for a guitar?
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PostSubject: Re: Can anyone play a mandolin?   Sun Sep 14, 2008 1:32 pm

Auditor #9 wrote:
I'd say my mandolin has firm heads and pegs and all but I wonder if the bridge has something to do with it ? It's moveable - the yoke at the back near the soundhole - I think a fiddle bridge is moveable though. This changes the distance to the nut at the neck which might be why it's all over the place. This is not normal is it What a Face

Can the same chromatic tuner also do for a guitar?

What sometimes happens is that people shave a portion off the base of the bridge to reduce the action (distance between strings and fingerboard) in an attempt to make the strings easier to hold down, especially true of beginners trying to avoid painful fingertips. It is not neccessarily a bad thing but it can be overdone and depending on the design of the base of the instrument it can adversely affect the vibration through the sadle to the soundboard and leave the instrument impossible to tune. The bridge should be set to preference each time the mandolin is strung and shouldn't move apart from that. I would seek professional help in these matters to be sure but I am fortunate enough to know a good and more impotantly, honest man who assists me with problems like this but there are plenty of charlatans that will charge you the worth of your instrument for the privilege. Are you aware of accoustics on an instrument, they will help you identify if it is properly balanced. Lightly rest a finger on a string, do not put any down pressure on it. pluck the string and you should detect a full clear ringing sound as your resting finger passes over certain frets, particularly 5, 7 and 9 whereas distortion occurs elsewhere. Give it a go, you'll recognise the sound from any number of songs.

The chromatic tuner was, I'd imagine, designed primarily for the guitar but will work for any instrument. Indeed I have seen it identify the pitch from a table leg screeching on the floor, on which it was resting.
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PostSubject: Re: Can anyone play a mandolin?   Sun Sep 14, 2008 2:27 pm

lukedelmege wrote:
What sometimes happens is that people shave a portion off the base of the bridge to reduce the action (distance between strings and fingerboard) in an attempt to make the strings easier to hold down, especially true of beginners trying to avoid painful fingertips.
..
Are you aware of accoustics on an instrument, they will help you identify if it is properly balanced. Lightly rest a finger on a string, do not put any down pressure on it. pluck the string and you should detect a full clear ringing sound as your resting finger passes over certain frets, particularly 5, 7 and 9 whereas distortion occurs elsewhere. Give it a go, you'll recognise the sound from any number of songs.
I think the bridge is adjustable with little screws ... you mean harmonics here. Yes I know them and would be interested in mucking around a bit with the positioning of the bridge but I wouldn't radically adjust the height of it like in your example above. I think it's important to not be afraid of these things and anyway the instrument is quite old. I have a friend who built his own guitar when he was about 15 - great project for him, no fear whatsoever.

Quote :
The chromatic tuner was, I'd imagine, designed primarily for the guitar but will work for any instrument. Indeed I have seen it identify the pitch from a table leg screeching on the floor, on which it was resting.
It's very versatile so Smile
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PostSubject: Re: Can anyone play a mandolin?   Sun Sep 14, 2008 2:44 pm

Harmonics yes, that's the word.
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PostSubject: Re: Can anyone play a mandolin?   Thu Sep 18, 2008 12:22 am

This fella and his ukelele/banjo thing





"This song is too f* good"

lol
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PostSubject: Re: Can anyone play a mandolin?   Thu Sep 18, 2008 1:18 am

Note that the master of mandola and mandolin is our own Andy Irvine:
http://ie.youtube.com/watch?v=xRg6X1sHBt4

At the age of 66 his playing and his voice are still fantastic.

See also:
http://www.andyirvine.com/about.html
for some info about his instruments.
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PostSubject: Re: Can anyone play a mandolin?   Thu Sep 18, 2008 1:38 am

Better get a few more in before youtube goes down for maintenance !

"The Blacksmith" - plenty of mandolins in this one. And who's your man with the long hair and the Bazouki? It sounds medieval ...

http://ie.youtube.com/watch?v=3Z3A5Tgy47M&feature=related
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PostSubject: Re: Can anyone play a mandolin?   Thu Sep 18, 2008 10:42 pm

Auditor #9 wrote:
... And who's your man with the long hair and the Bazouki?
The great Donal Lunny, no less.

Come to think of it, in the clip I sent, Andy Irvine is playing a guitar-bodied bouzouki rather than a mandola or mandolin.

Was anyone else charmed by those old Planxty clips on YouTube? I also love the clips of Andy and Paul Brady, and Andy with Mick Hanly, and...
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PostSubject: Re: Can anyone play a mandolin?   Thu Sep 18, 2008 10:51 pm

soubresauts wrote:
Auditor #9 wrote:
... And who's your man with the long hair and the Bazouki?
The great Donal Lunny, no less.

Come to think of it, in the clip I sent, Andy Irvine is playing a guitar-bodied bouzouki rather than a mandola or mandolin.

Was anyone else charmed by those old Planxty clips on YouTube? I also love the clips of Andy and Paul Brady, and Andy with Mick Hanly, and...
Nobody else was into the diddly-diddly (spelling?) except it's less trad than something else - medieval music or something or celtic mysticism. I couldn't remember the name of Donal Lunny. I thought that was a funny looking guitar Andy Irvine was playing alright.

I listened to 'Follow Me Up to Carlow' too and now I know why Carlow was important for waging war on the Pale



It was some kind of back door or enclave that could be surrounded easily - like the Gaza strip ...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uggbzBtGbJw
Andy Irvine sings that too does he?
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