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I am currently learning the mandolin and have a one off chance to upgrade my mandolin. Being left handed I have limited choice.  But I have tried and liked the left handed Eastman MD805 and love the look and sound of Nigel's Rigel mandolin. I have tried a Moon flat top but found it to be a bit quiet for my style of playing. So I thought I would ask some of the more experienced members what they would advise.

Alcluith
There are better people here than me to advise you but I suggest, if you can, to try before you buy.

Scayles in Edinburgh and Celtic Chords in Stonehaven stock reasonably good mandolins and I'm sure there must be somewhere in Glasgow.

Eastman seem to make fairly good "off the shelf" mandolins from what I can see. I don't a lot about Rigel but I'm sure they must they good if Nigel has chosen one.

Re the Moon mandolins, there are different models. I have an A Plus model Series model with a built in pick up which now appears to be discontinued. I like it although it has a brighter tone than my old Vanden "A"model(My favourite) which is more mellow. He does have a wide range though and worth checking out.

When you say "one off chance", does this mean you have a fair amount of money to spend? Perhaps, you could consider having one custom made e.g. by Moon, Vanden, Sobell etc? There are a lot of good makers around.

You say that The Moon mandolin is quiet for your style of playing but "Your style of playing" also dictates the volume you can achieve from the instrument too. As do other factors such as the type and guage of strings, choice of picks, grip of picks and pick direction. Also how you hold and position your instrument etc, but you probably know all this...  Wink  For what it's worth, I'm a "quiet" player although I've learned over the years how to make myself heard when its really necessary in noisy pubs etc but, generally, I prefer to play at my own volume and pace otherwise you lose a lot of the subtlety.

However, so much of this is down to your own taste and preference and what feels right to you.

I don't know what all is involved in adapting a mandolin for a left handed player and whether or not there is more required than reversing the bridge(More awkward if it's fixed) and nut. Mandolins don't have movable sound posts as violins do but i don't know if the internal construction requires to be any different or not. Perhaps the other John could advise?
(17-10-2016, 02:13 PM)JAJ Wrote: [ -> ]There are better people here than me to advise you but I suggest, if you can, to try before you buy.

Scayles in Edinburgh and Celtic Chords in Stonehaven stock reasonably good mandolins and I'm sure there must be somewhere in Glasgow.

Eastman seem to make fairly good "off the shelf" mandolins from what I can see. I don't a lot about Rigel but I'm they must they good if Nigel has chosen one.

Re the Moon mandolins, there are different models. I have an A Plus model Series model with a built in pick up which now appears to be discontinued. I like it although it has a brighter tone than my old Vanden "A"model(My favourite) which is more mellow. He does have a wide range though and worth checking out.

When you say "one off chance", does this mean you have a fair amount of money to spend? Perhaps, you could consider having one custom made e.g. by Moon, Vanden, Sobell etc? There are a lot of good makers around.

You say that The Moon mandolin is quiet for your style of playing but "Your style of playing" also dictates the volume you can achieve from the instrument too. As do other factors such as the type and guage of strings, choice of picks, grip of picks and pick direction. Also how you hold and position your instrument etc, but you probably know all this...  Wink  For what it's worth, I'm a "quiet" player although I've learned over the years how to make myself heard when its really necessary in noisy pubs etc but, generally, I prefer to play at my own volume and pace otherwise you lose a lot of the subtlety.

However, so much of this is down to your own taste and preference and what feels right to you.

I don't know what all is involved in adapting a mandolin for a left handed player and whether or not there is more required than reversing the bridge(More awkward if it's fixed) and nut. Mandolins don't have movable sound posts as violins do but i don't know if the internal construction requires to be any different or not. Perhaps the other John could advise?
John

Thanks for that advise, everything is always very helpful, and as you say getting your hands on a mandolin is always best but not always practical, especially for left handed. I joined our local mandolin club just before a got a mandolin, more to see what they were using.  I am still very much a novice player despite my years, and get a lot of good training from Nigel. I am just a bit shy of getting a Vanden  but I have been looking at a few luthiers just over the borders, who are within my price range. Like you I like a more mellow sounding mandolin, I have been experimenting with picks and strings etc I have also changed the tailpiece and bridge on my Ashbury and it is sounding a lot better, but not fully what I am looking for. 

Drew
Alcluith
JAJ pointed out:

"I don't know what all is involved in adapting a mandolin for a left handed player and whether or not there is more required than reversing the bridge (More awkward if it's fixed) and nut. Mandolins don't have movable sound posts as violins do but I don't know if the internal construction requires to be any different or not. Perhaps the other John could advise?"

I have never made a left-handed mandolin family instrument yet, and my builds have been all of the flat top variety. Nigel's Rigel is, as far as I remember, a carved top instrument, whereas Moons are flat tops. With carved tops with bass bar the bar is put on the bass side of the soundboard, as in fiddles, and so would have to be built in on the correct side at the time of construction, I'm pretty sure. As JAJ says, there is no soundpost in a mandolin, flat or carved top. Flat tops, depending on the bracing system used, could be strung left-handed. This would involve a new nut (so that the string slots are correctly cut to accommodate the reversed width of the GDAE courses; the tailpiece would not present a problem but the bridge and saddle would require work, again to get correct width of string slots but also if it is a compensated bridge then the compensation adjustments on the saddle would have to be reversed too. My saddles are routed in to the bridge at a slight angle, giving a longer string length at the saddle to the heavier strings - look at any acoustic guitar and you'll see this slanting saddle. Further compensation is built in by adjusting the saddle width for each course to try to get the intonation as accurate as is possible on a very short-scaled instrument. All things that can be done.

Re sound you are after - this is always a very personal choice and depends on how heavily/lightly you play, the string gauges you use, your choice of pick.

Send me a PM if you'd like to discuss things further.

John