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 Post subject: Mandolin Books
PostPosted: Sat Feb 13, 2010 10:19 am 
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Koa
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If there's going to be a mandolin forum, I'd guess a lot of people would look here for suggestions on where to begin, such as myself. So I figured a topic called "mandolin books" would help them find that information.

Here are the books I've found with a short googling.

"The Mandolin Manual" by John Troughton
"The Mandolin Project" by Graham McDonald
"The Ultimate Bluegrass Mandolin Construction Manual" by Roger Siminoff
“Constructing a Bluegrass Mandolin” by Roger Siminoff

I'm not familiar with any of these books. Hopefully, some other members can advise on these or other books.

Mike

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 Post subject: Re: Mandolin Books
PostPosted: Sat Feb 13, 2010 10:37 am 
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Brazilian Rosewood
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Excellent thread, Mike.

I have found "The Ultimate Bluegrass Mandolin Construction Manual" by Roger Siminoff to be very helpful. I also watched Don MacRostie's DVDs "How to Build a Carved-Top Mandolin" and found that even more helpful.

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 Post subject: Re: Mandolin Books
PostPosted: Sat Feb 13, 2010 11:25 am 
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Brazilian Rosewood
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I bought the original Siminoff book many years ago, and while it gave me ideas, it was just a start. My advice is to get the new one if you are going to make carved mandolins and study the builder page on MC (not to mention this forum in the future!). Buy the Siminoff prints except for the F5 (the Adrian Minarovic print is the best) and study them also.
I would imagine the MacRostie DVD is good too, but I have never seen it.


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 Post subject: Re: Mandolin Books
PostPosted: Sat Feb 13, 2010 1:49 pm 
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I built my first according to "Constructing a Bluegrass Mandolin" (the old one). It is a great book in many ways, for one thing I believe it was the first of its kind for mandolins, in other ways a bit...uhum, unorthodox? Like cutting the truss rod slot after the neck is shaped, carving the inside of the plates before the outside etc. Like Hans says, it is only a start. I belive the newer book is much better, but I have not seen it. "The Mandolin Project" by G. McDonald covers a broader range (it shows the building of 4 different types of mandolins), and it has a lot of interesting mando information in addition to the building descriptions. It is a bit scetchy on the info on some of the steps however, but if you are interested in more than just arch top mandolins it certainly a good book to own. I'm not familiar with "the Mandolin Manual".

Adrian Minarovic's F5 plans are great, but Don McRosties are also quite nice, and are also based on an actual Loar, (I think?).

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 Post subject: Re: Mandolin Books
PostPosted: Sun Feb 14, 2010 12:47 am 
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Koa
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Mike i have the same 3 books you mention but i really prefer the Smirnoff book. It really gets into theory and has a great set of plans to go along with it. The mandolin project is great too but i feel he wasted to many pages on the history of mandolins. This stuff just seems like filler to me to fatten up a rather thin book...Mike


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 Post subject: Re: Mandolin Books
PostPosted: Sun Feb 14, 2010 12:53 am 
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Koa
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Haans wrote:
I bought the original Siminoff book many years ago, and while it gave me ideas, it was just a start. My advice is to get the new one if you are going to make carved mandolins and study the builder page on MC (not to mention this forum in the future!). Buy the Siminoff prints except for the F5 (the Adrian Minarovic print is the best) and study them also.
I would imagine the MacRostie DVD is good too, but I have never seen it.

The MacRostie DVD is pretty good but deals a lot with kit building since it is sold as an aid for their kits. He does show how to do things from the raw but rushes through them a little. But overall i recommend it to those wanting to see how its done since i think this is the only video out there on the subject . The MacRostie F5 plans are very well detailed. I recommend them to anyone in search of agood set of plans....Mike


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 Post subject: Re: Mandolin Books
PostPosted: Sun Feb 14, 2010 7:28 am 
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Brazilian Rosewood
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Don's plan (I have it also) is probably taken from a Loar or two, but the Minarovic print is the most detailed, followed by the Siminoff print (yup got that too). Adrian has just updated the copy I have, but I just don't need any more detail, I have all the grads I need and photos in the Mandolin Archive provide the last detail for any Gibson mandolin.


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 Post subject: Re: Mandolin Books
PostPosted: Sun Feb 14, 2010 12:32 pm 
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Koa
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Thanks for the feedback. I've not actually ever touched a mandolin, but I seem to keep running into them and thinking either, "that sounds cool," or "that's awesome looking." So I figured I might try and make one. I've got to get a few guitars finished before I can start though. Or I need a bigger shop so I can spread out an infinite number of unfinished projects.

Mike

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 Post subject: Re: Mandolin Books
PostPosted: Sun Feb 14, 2010 4:39 pm 
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I was just checking out Minarovic plans at Ederly's site. Pricey but they show carving details and a whole lot more detail then anything i have seen. I have to get these....Mike
http://www.elderly.com/books/items/656-1.htm


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 Post subject: Re: Mandolin Books
PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2010 7:43 am 
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Brazilian Rosewood
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Looks like he's added a lot and also which way the bindings overlap. A bit too fanatical for me, but it is the most accurate print. Bill Halsey is quite knowledgeable about Gibson and makes some quality copies. I would say that I could see some forgery attempts coming, but folks like Bill can tell a fake a mile away.


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 Post subject: Re: Mandolin Books
PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2010 9:56 pm 
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Walnut
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Arnt and Mike,

I am always interested in feedback about how well the book works. I would be interested to know what sections you think are sketchy or don't cover the process well enough. If I can sell the first print run a second, improved edition is a possibility. The history chapter is in there because no-one else has ever done a history of the mandolin, something I didn't realize until I started doing the research, and I thought some historical overview was warranted. A much expanded version of that might well emerge as another book in a year or two.

Its not all that thin :)

cheers


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 Post subject: Re: Mandolin Books
PostPosted: Fri Feb 19, 2010 5:19 pm 
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Graham like i stated the only thing i didn't like was the history section. It was to long. It dealt with ancient instrument that may or may not have influenced the mandolin. Other then that its a great book. Maybe you should have giving us your take on F styles construction yes Siminoff covers it well but i wouldn't mind seeing your take on things. I also own the bouzouki book and think thats great....Mike


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 Post subject: Re: Mandolin Books
PostPosted: Sun Feb 21, 2010 9:34 pm 
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Walnut
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Mike,

I deliberately didn't go near the F5 type of mandolin for a couple of reasons. Firstly because Roger's book and Don McRostie's DVDs cover building of Gibson style mandolins pretty comprehensively, There are things I don't agree with in Roger's books (and there are probably things he doesn't like about mine) and some things which are a bit of a puzzle. I get the idea it is an adaption of the Gibson manufacturing/production methodology adapted for the small workshop. For example, I can't see why you would carve out the inside first unless you were working with carving machines and raw blocks of wood machined to a particular size. In that case it makes sense to remove the inside first because you still have the flat rim to sit it on when carving the outside. Otherwise you have to have a support cradle to carve the inside second, and it makes the whole thing more complicated in a production environment. I have no idea if the current Gibson mandolins are just carved to pre-set graduations, or how much hand-work/ voicing goes on. It may well differ from model to model. Gibson sometimes are and have been a triumph of salesmanship over mass production

Secondly I have never built a copy of a Gibson mandolin, so I hardly felt competent to try to get involved in writing about building that type of mandolin. The book was aimed at a middle ground between John Troughton's Mandolin Manual and Roger's books on the F5. I am still trying to work out why Stewart MacDonald don't want to stock it :cry:

I am sorry you didn't enjoy the history chapter. One thing I found fascinating was the way you can see the evolution of instruments over the centuries as a continuity, branching off in various directions as instruments change depending of the music and technologies available. You probably won't want to get the next book then :D

cheers


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 Post subject: Re: Mandolin Books
PostPosted: Mon Feb 22, 2010 4:32 am 
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Hi Graham,
Thanks for checking in on this new mandolin section on the OLF! We are honored to have a seasoned veteran like yourself dropping by.

Graham McDonald wrote:
Arnt and Mike,

I am always interested in feedback about how well the book works. I would be interested to know what sections you think are sketchy or don't cover the process well enough.



Ooops! Suddenly I feel like a 14 year old, caught smoking behind the school again... :oops:

Graham, I can only imagine all the time and effort that went into the work of the writing the book, so describing it as “sketchy” is perhaps unfair... OK, it IS unfair, especially coming from a novice like myself!! Like I said, I think your book has a lot of interesting information in addition to (describing) the building process. I guess my point is that when you cover such a large number of topics, including the describing of 4 different types of mandolins between pages 33-146 (plus drawings), you can’t dwell too much on every little thing; it just the nature of things. Well, you could, but then it would be really thick! If you compare it to Cumpiano and Natelson’s guitar making book, for example, your book is quite concise (they show the building of only 2 instruments). Some of their methods are perhaps a bit dated by now, and the language is not exactly too fresh, but but there is a LOT of info, background etc behind most tasks. In your book, it is not that any specific topic is not covered, but you know how some of these things can be discussed at length; if you look at some builders’ web sites, or some of the build threads on the forums, some folks go into great detail about some pretty esoteric building issues. Especially the makers of F-style Loar copies seem extraordinarily anally retentive about some of the details of this instrument; scroll shapes, types of binding joints, even the printing of labels, the list goes on. I realize you haven’t written a book about F-style mandolins, but when you get used to seeing these things discussed all the time, the approach in you book seems, if not ‘sketchy’, so perhaps more general? To make a book that covers not only all the all the building steps of 4 instruments, and not just a few arcane methods for doing specific jobs on one instrument, I guess it is necessary to do it this way, but I wouldn’t mind if you added some more and larger pictures, for example...

So, in an oafish attempt to redeem myself, let me say that I think your book has some strong, and perhaps unique points in that is covers much ground, you can get a lot of mileage out of it through 4 different styles of mandolins (you can also pick and chose between them when you come up with your own unique designs...), but I wouldn’t mind seeing it even thicker! How was that? :D

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 Post subject: Re: Mandolin Books
PostPosted: Mon Feb 22, 2010 4:10 pm 
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Hello Graham and welcome to the latest addition to OLF. I've just finished my first, an "A". I saw your book advertised in American Luthier but when my wife tried to get me a copy they weren't available yet. That was a while ago. Can I get one from your web site?

Hope you check in from time to time.

And Arnt, are you Norwegians trying to make a mockery of one of our national sports.
Attachment:
10380.jpg

Your psych tactics won't work on us my friend. laughing6-hehe I'm just jelous we didn't have the guts to wear that.

Cheers,
Danny


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 Post subject: Re: Mandolin Books
PostPosted: Mon Feb 22, 2010 6:20 pm 
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Hey, what do you mean? That's how we all dress over here, well when we go out and want to look sharp, anyways. 8-)

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 Post subject: Re: Mandolin Books
PostPosted: Mon Feb 22, 2010 6:28 pm 
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Walnut
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Sorry Arnt, didn't mean to put you on the spot ;)

The Cumpiano/Natelson (What ever happened to Natelson?) book admirably started from the very basics and that meant they had to include a lot more fundamental information. I worked on the idea that most people buying my book would already have one or more books on instrument construction and have some woodworking experience and so including a lot of basic information would just be repeating what Cumpiano/Natelson and others had covered so well. The world didn't need more instructions on sharpening a chisel or a scraper. The book was written as I did the work, a process of doing something, photographing it and writing it up. Sometimes in doing something and thinking about how to describe it a different, simpler or more accurate way of doing it would suggest itself, so it was a learning experience for me as well.

I am sure there are some sections where more detailed information could have been included, but I am not sure if it would have helped the person doing the building. There are some aspects which I don't think you can fully tell someone how to do in a book, there has to be a little bit of discovery on the part of the person with the tool in his/her hand.

Cheapest place to buy a copy is from Amazon, though Elderly and LMI have copies as well. I am not entirely sure which other bookshops will have it, but it should be available to any bookshop through the distributors - IPG

And I think more effort needs to be put into making curling more of a blood sport. As a TV commentator said once, 'Any sport without violence is just exercise'.

cheers

graham


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 Post subject: Re: Mandolin Books
PostPosted: Mon Feb 22, 2010 11:15 pm 
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Graham McDonald wrote:
And I think more effort needs to be put into making curling more of a blood sport.
Or encourage Johnny Weir to take up the sport - he'd certainly liven it up!

I think many reference books try too hard to be all things to all people. I imagine there are very of us who rely only on one resource, and I think the more successful books have a narrower focus than others and make some safe assumptions about the readers' basic skill level. There's the danger that in trying to cover all bases, the information presented can be spread too thinly and satisfy no-one as a result.

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Last edited by Pete Brown on Mon Feb 22, 2010 11:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Mandolin Books
PostPosted: Mon Feb 22, 2010 11:16 pm 
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I just ordered Graham's book through Abebooks.com. Good price.

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 Post subject: Re: Mandolin Books
PostPosted: Mon Feb 22, 2010 11:28 pm 
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Arnt Rian wrote:
Hey, what do you mean? That's how we all dress over here, well when we go out and want to look sharp, anyways. 8-)

I'm taking my next holiday in Norway. You guys are way too much fun.

Graham, the Canadian fans made a Danish curler cry today. That has to be a step in the right direction. Amazon does have your book. Thanks for that. I can't get enough info on these little darlings. Even though I fumbled my first build, the end result was OK, I think it sounds good and I'm having a hoot playing.

Cheers,
Danny


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 Post subject: Re: Mandolin Books
PostPosted: Tue Feb 23, 2010 6:53 pm 
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Hi Graham,

personally I really appreciated your books as they dont deal with Gibson replicas but with more interesting instruments. beehive It really is a tribute to the power of the internet and Gibson's marketing that so many people believe the only "real" mandolin is an F5 (or a derivative) or if you are poor an A5. A lot of people forget (or dont know) that there is a classical repertoire that goes back to Vivaldi.

Im looking forward to a history book as well. Keep them coming big fella!


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 Post subject: Re: Mandolin Books
PostPosted: Thu Feb 25, 2010 12:13 am 
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Koa
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Well, McDonald, Siminoff, and Benedetto all showed up in the mail today along with Hock. They all look pretty good, but very different in intent too. I'll share my newbie impressions once I've had a chance to spend more time with them.

Mike

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 Post subject: Re: Mandolin Books
PostPosted: Sun Feb 28, 2010 1:22 am 
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Koa
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I do find it strange that Stewart Macdonald won't carry the Mandolin Project since they carried Graham McDonald's The Bouzouki book. Maybe thats why I don't buy much from them. I got mine from Amazon. I pre-ordered it when they first listed it. Luthiers mercantile carries it to.


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