Rhonda Vincent Message Board

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I need some advice from someone who knows mandolins and I just know there's a few hundred thousands of you on Rhonda's site.
After listening to Rhonda angelic voice and blessed musical talents I now have a burning desire to investigate the possibilities of trying to learn how to play a mandolin.
I've never played a guitar (other than electric bass with no formal training or lessons) so I'd be starting as a new student.
Does anyone have an opinion on a "decent to good" mandolin to purchase to begin on?
What are the chances of finding a good teacher in the Cincinnati, Ohio area, especially one with lots of patience?

Any advice anyone has will be greatly appreciated.
Uncle Pen's Friend
I'm a beginner in the mandolin as well.    I started about 2 years ago.   I don't have much time to practice but I will give a you few things that I haved learned.   First, if you know how to play electric bass, then the strings to the mandolin are tuned to the same as the strings on a bass:  G,D,E,A.   Another thing that turned the light on while I was leaving was that one of my instructional book taught be the fret board is set up similar to the keyboard if you are familiar with that.  

Don't be too quick to buy a cheap beginner mandolin.   We did that because we weren't sure I would stick with it.   They normally don't "sound" they way we are used to hearing them.   I would spending a little more money if you have it.    I have a Morgan Monroe and I love it.   One of girls on here has a Michael Kelly and I believe Courtney bought herself a Gold Tone.   I was fortunate enough that I traded in my cheap mandolin for my Morgan Monroe. 

I've learned from instructional books, DVD's and Pete Wernick's Jam Camp in Gettysburg.   And from playing in jams with others.  

Good Luck 
harley johnson
Hi mark
buy sierra hulls cds she is the best young mandolin
player i have heard in a long time
best of luck
Richard Blanton

I have only been playing the mandolin for a little over a year but love it. It can become quite addictive. I agree totally with Uncle Pen about not buying a cheap mandolin. I did that to start and it was a mistake. It was hard to play and stayed out of tune. My second mandolin was an Eastman. You can get one at a very reasonable price. Although I now have a Gibson I find myself still playing the Eastman a lot. I doubt that I will ever get rid of it. The standard mandolin tuning is GDAE which is the same tuning as a violin or fiddle.

Uncle Pen's Friend

thanks for fixing that string mix up.   It was way tooo early to type something on the message board.

Matthew Waldron

Now any good mandolin player does not limit their choices to only one mandolin, I at one time had 3.  I'm down to two now, but if you can get any A-model versus F-Model it would save some cash, and learning is the same.. I myself have an A-Model Epeiphone and my favorite, Satin Walnut Michael Kelly Dragonfly III Limited edition..   OOOH lordy, that's nice..  The guy in Josh Turner's band has one of those.  good growl, fine bark, and amazing quality.  And surprisingly you can get it from less that $1000..  I've had positive comments on the sound, and looks myself.  For a beginner, start with something small, as you never know how you will do on it, a lot of people realize their fingers are too big, because it's small neck, and the strings are real close together and there's two of all 4.  8 strings.    Just some friednly advice, hope it helps.

Ed Hutson
I first picked up a mandolin just over 5 years ago when I was 50 years old and have enjoyed every minute of time I've had to play/learn it.

As a novice mandolin player, I never took lessons.  I listened to CDs, got thrown into jam sessions, and watched and listened to other mandolin players.  I did have some guitar in my background which helped a good bit, but what helped the most was the more I played a mandolin, the better my guitar got as well. 

Anyway, I got the "Mel Bay" mandolin book and tried to go through the lessons, but my impatience would not allow me to follow it too well, so I just started learning the chords and listening to Rhonda, Bobby, Clark, Wayne Benson, Mike Andes and tried to mimic their sound.  However, my emulation of their skills leaves allot to be desired.  I would highly recommend lessons, unless you are very adept at learning from videos. 

As to instruments, I've seen several good starting mandolins and the Morgan Monroe, Michael Kelly, Gold Tone are all great places to start.  I personally started with a Fender, but it did not last very long.  I went on to an Epiphone.  From there it was a Weber Absaroka.  I am now on my second "Rose" mandolin built by Darby Boofer from West Virginia.  I would not recommend going out and spending $2,000 for a mandolin to learn on, but I would recommend something like the three others have mentioned above.  Get something that feels good in your hand. 

Then, let the MAS begin.  By the way, MAS is "Mandolin Acquisition Syndrome".  It begins to consume your life and you can't have enough mandolins or hear enough Rhonda Vincent, Nothin' Fancy, Williams and Clark Expedition, The Martins....

Hey, go with a RATLIFF mandolin. Audey Ratliff makes them and they are awesome. He has a website and I am sure he would be very pleased to send you one. Happy shopping!

Tim Adams
I play an Eastman f-style mandolin and have been very pleased with it. It has a great tone and plays well.

Good luck

I have a Michael Kelly Legacy Oval-F style. It is not a pro grade model but it was about $400+. It would be a great dedicated beginner model. Been playing 6 months. Contact some music stores in Ohio for recommended instructors.
I am lucky that Jeremy Chapman is here local. He has been real patient... I am finding my hands dont want to cooperate on some chords though.
{Try craigslist.com too}
Good luck and post back when you make a choice!!

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