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Oct 1, 2021 - 5:56:36 PM
258 posts since 1/12/2011

Everyone has different ability levels and I am at the lower end of this level. In the area of dedication and persistence I am at the higher end ! I quickly learn a tune up to a certain moderate skill level but I fall off when attempting to improve much beyond this ! Very frustrating ! But, I didn't begin playing until I was 64 so perhaps I am expecting too much !

Oct 1, 2021 - 8:43:46 PM
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23 posts since 10/16/2015

Scott, there's no getting around speed being an issue, especially as we get older. The trick is to feel good about what you're doing...pick songs that maybe others play fast, but still sound great when played at the moderate speed you're describing. When you hear people of advanced years playing faster than you, it is a pretty sure bet that they have been playing for many years and got that "feel" wired into their hands at a much younger age and luckily can draw on muscle memory to get their hands to go that fast. I was never the world's fastest player because I never figured out what it took even in my prime years. Consequently, I'm playing a lot of waltzes and blues these days and focus on making them sound great, which still brings a lot of enjoyment.

Oct 2, 2021 - 3:15:44 AM

258 posts since 1/12/2011

Well, perhaps I am too generous in describing my playing as moderate or intermediate but I do play in a group for nursing homes weekly , or I did until this Covid came back ! Anyway, here is a quote I always tell my grand daughters ! If the only bird that sings in the forest is the one that sings the best , than the forest would be a very lonely place !

Oct 2, 2021 - 4:52:33 AM
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237 posts since 12/23/2010

Scott, Eddie is right: as you get older, you naturally tend to slow down a bit because of arthritis and/or other old age problems. Your fine motor skills deteriorate as you age and nothing much you can do about that.

I used to jam with the hot shot pickers many years ago and I could keep up with them. Then, as I grew older, it became more difficult to achieve that sort of speed, so I started my old "old timers" jam at festivals. We could play at a decent speed and also help others who were learning to jam. We let the hot shots have the limelight and we sat back and enjoyed jammin'.

Oct 2, 2021 - 6:05:42 AM
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655 posts since 10/3/2012

Scott, just think back to the 80s and Live Aid — Neil Young probably played one fifth the notes that Jimmy Page produced and the rest is history— as long as you play heart fully and enjoy the process, you’re an artist.

Oct 3, 2021 - 2:11:18 PM
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Players Union Member



1005 posts since 1/3/2011

Hey Scott. I agree with every previous post here. Sounds to me as though you play because you like the mandolin and the music and the joy that they bring. That's what matters.

At 53, I can't play like Bill Monroe, Ricky Skaggs, or Erik Berry. Then again, I never could. I knew when to take a break at a jam, and when to smile, shake my head, and say "Pass."

Oct 3, 2021 - 6:13:02 PM
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258 posts since 1/12/2011

You and everyone else are absolutely correct ! I am the most dedicated, hardest working , patient, , worst player there is ! :) I love practicing and playing every day ! I am the best mandolin player in my music group however ! Okay, I admit, I'm the only mandolin player in my group ! :) At least I can afford good instruments ! Ellis F5, Ellis A5, Girouard F4 and a Girouard A oval ! You don't have to be good to have great instruments ! :)

Oct 6, 2021 - 5:39:48 AM
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96 posts since 12/30/2010

I still teach and will start in a few minutes. There is no way I can play as fast as I did in the 70's now that I am in my 70's and I don't want too. There is a lot of great mandolin music that is not real fast.

Oct 6, 2021 - 4:36:13 PM

258 posts since 1/12/2011

All great points !! Thank you !

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