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Old 01-11-2013, 06:24 PM   #1
Chronic-Headach
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Difference between the Mandolin and Banjo

Don't know where else to put this, so bare with me, please!

Am curious about learning mandolin, but I really don't know much about it (though I am learning). And while I dont't know much about any of the alternative string instruments (of the lute/banjo family) I was wondering what the (if any) big diferences were, because they seem to be grouped together quite often in bluegrass. I always thought the mandolin was more European/midevil
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Old 01-11-2013, 07:26 PM   #2
Showiddlydiddly
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The mandolin, IIRC, is an Italian folk instrument.

I guess the biggest difference would be that a mandolin has 8 strings, and is tuned like a violin.
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Old 01-11-2013, 07:32 PM   #3
Chronic-Headach
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I never played violin (9+ years of trumpet in school) I currently play a 7 string guitar and some bass, but am very ambitious in always willing to learn. How hard would it be for. Guitarist to learn some mandolin basics?
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Old 01-11-2013, 08:35 PM   #4
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Seems like a pretty cool thing to learn. You'll definitely be at an advantage.
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Old 01-11-2013, 10:21 PM   #5
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As a guitarist who can also play the mandolin, it's not hugely difficuly, but it is hugely rewarding.

My advice would be to learn it.
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Old 01-11-2013, 11:22 PM   #6
Chronic-Headach
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so then, here is another question: What maker of mandolins do you all reccomend? I did a brief google search and waw checking out Loar Mandolins. Im willing to spend between 300-550 on a quality mandolin. What would you guys rec?
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Old 01-12-2013, 08:43 PM   #7
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I can't actually help here, I'm afraid, I play one from the 70's...

But I wish you luck with your search!
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Old 01-13-2013, 12:56 AM   #8
Chronic-Headach
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Thanks. Luckily they aren't that hard to shop for. Now LUTES on the other hand... I can only find a handful of them around the inetrnet
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Old 01-13-2013, 10:23 AM   #9
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Ha, you should try getting a good folk harp for under 500. It's a challenge.
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Old 01-13-2013, 11:21 AM   #10
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I play both mandolin and banjo in addition to the guitar. Mandolin is definitely more "guitar like", especially if you are familiar with bluegrass-style flatpicking. Much of the technique is fast alternate picking and single-string work.
The big difference is the much different and smaller fret spacing. Like the guitar, chords can either be simple or complex.
The traditional bluegrass "chop" rhythm chords are full, four-finger chords that require quite a bit of stretch and strength.

Banjo is quite a different animal. Tuned different, different technique, etc. Still, quite a few "lead" guitarists double on banjo so they find some correspondence.

Check out the "Mandolin Hangout" and the "Banjo Hangout" (sister websites) for lots of information and product reviews and free lessons and all that.
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Old 01-13-2013, 01:11 PM   #11
Chronic-Headach
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Thanks! Will do. Im not familiar at all with bluegrass. Mostly Metal and Reggae (quite a combo, right?) Nor am I very good at finger picking with my acoustic.
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Old 01-14-2013, 12:16 PM   #12
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Check out some tunes by the Sam Bush band to see what's happening. Sam is a "newgrass" guy who incorporates Reggae, rock, and lots of other stuff into his sets.

Not only is Sam a stellar mandolin player, his band is terrific.
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Old 01-14-2013, 07:16 PM   #13
Chronic-Headach
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wow, sam bush is awesome. Def. getting me inspired to want to try mandolin. The sound of the Banjo is starting to grow on me too. Bluegrass is starting to grow on this metalhead
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