Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Introduction to Mandolin

The new mando video series is just what I needed… about a year ago. Ben covers all those left hand position problems that plagued me for so long. It was good to see that I’d come up with mostly correct solutions for my issues.

Just in time!!! My new mando should arrive this week.

Perfect! Just make sure you aren’t a dummy like me, and try to play with a poor set-up.

Congrats on the new mando Mike! I didn’t know you played mando too. What did ya get?

I am not much of a mando player. I tinkered with mando years ago. I ended up getting interested again when I was asked to sit in for a short set, and I had fun getting ready for it and playing. Another forum member (brenton) really liked his red valley mando:

I talked to the builder James, and it sounded like a potentially good fit for me. I liked James’ approach, thoughts on design, honesty and goals. In addition, just the concept of buying from an individual builder was a big plus. I got a flat-top A style with sitka on mahogany and a 1 1/4" nut width. It’s very similar to the one on the video at the above website. It’s certainly not the standard bluegrass mando, but I am thinking it might be just the right combination for me. Practicing mando can be a bit loud for those around you, so I am hoping this will have a woodier, old-time kind of vibe. The other instrument I was considering was a Collings MT… that’s a heck of a nice instrument, it has an incredible tone. It’s loud and it cuts very well and these are usually strong points, but in my case something a bit more mellow will be good. The wider nut width was just a wild shot, but I am thinking I’ll enjoy a bit more room. It is supposed to arrive Thursday, so I am eager to see it and try it out. I’ll really enjoy Ben’s intro series. Hopefully, I don’t already have too many bad habits to break.

Very nice looking mandolin! I’d like to hear more about it once you get a little hands on time.