Page 2 of 3 FirstFirst 123 LastLast
Results 26 to 50 of 56

Thread: Do most pro players play lightly?

  1. #26
    bird and mando geek Rob Fowler's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Arcata, CA
    Posts
    490

    Default Re: Do most pro players play lightly?

    Reading about this topic made me think of this video of Jethro from the Adler house from 1985. Check it out and listen to the volume that comes out from his F5L he's playing and compare it to the volume that's coming out of Don Steirnbergs' Monty. Big difference and you can see how Jethro's right hand moves in similar way to Monroe's.

    Maybe Don S. can comment more on Jethro's approach to producing so much volume from his instrument?


  2. #27
    NY Naturalist BradKlein's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    NYC
    Posts
    1,135

    Default Re: Do most pro players play lightly?

    That's an amazing video Rob. I don't know what it says about technique, but boy, I wish I'd been there. I'm sure it sounded much different sitting in the room, compared to the audio that was captured. But still...

    Jethro: "That's what prosperity does. You have more than one pick... you get confused."
    BradKlein
    Senior Producer, Twangbox®
    Twangbox® Videos

  3. #28
    Registered User Dobe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    1,118

    Default Re: Do most pro players play lightly?

    Didn't need a Toneguard either ! I'd say play how you like. If you want to emulate someone, then do it. Mando's need to be pushed a little. ' Lovingly spanked' , if you will.

  4. #29
    Registered User Paul Cowham's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    manchester uk
    Posts
    332

    Default Re: Do most pro players play lightly?

    I certainly used to think that volume and speed whilst not necessarily mutually exclusive were at least difficult to combine and I still think this to a degree.

    Last November though, I went to Eurpean mandolin event in Germany, Mike Marshall and Don Stiernberg were both teaching there (as was Caterina Lichtenberg), and I can certainly vouch that they can all (and do) play loudly and at speed. Mike played a choro piece with Caterina with a full backing band of guitars/mandolins/mandolas etc (I was playing guitar) at a concert on the last evening, and he could easily be heard above this.

    I had a lesson with him and he was trying to explain to me that the volume control is how tightly the pick is gripped with the thumb and that is his method of adjusting volume. I hope I explained this right and am not misrepresenting him, anyhow I can't say that I've managed to emulate his technique (although the lesson has helped me), but one of the things that I certainly took away from this is that the mandolin can and should (sometimes) be played loudly.

    I know that volume and playing heavily aren't the same thing but to play loudly I don't think you can play too lightly.

  5. #30
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Upstate New York and Washington DC area
    Posts
    16,408
    Blog Entries
    25

    Default Re: Do most pro players play lightly?

    Just to clarify, playing lightly is not the same as playing too lightly. What I mean is there is a lightness of playing that can be interpreted as timidity, tentativeness, a cry of "don't listen to me that hard". We are not talking about that.

    Whether it is timidity, or just sounds like it, you have to be louder and stronger than that. One should always play with with a volume and strength that says, at a minimum: "hey, you, listen to this". Above that there is a dynamic range to explore, but below that it just sounds like you don't mean it.
    As much as I post, I pick a whole lot more. Just sayin'
    We cannot put off living until we are ready. -- Jose Ortega Y Gasset

    The entire staff
    funny....

  6. #31
    Registered User Chip Booth's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Hailey, ID
    Posts
    2,091

    Default Re: Do most pro players play lightly?

    Fantastic video Rob, thanks for posting that!

  7. #32
    Registered User Dobe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    1,118

    Default Re: Do most pro players play lightly?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chip Booth View Post
    Fantastic video Rob, thanks for posting that!
    Ditto ! I also notice how Jethro gets no pick noise off his 'Florida'. I don't have that kind of control. I scoop them suckers & still get the occasional 'click'. Guess I'm just sloppier of right hand than Jethro was ! ?

  8. #33
    Registered Mandolin User mandopete's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Clearview, WA
    Posts
    7,211

    Default Re: Do most pro players play lightly?

    I don't know about the pro's, but this amateur thinks that video is fantastic!

    5 Stars!
    2012 Ford Escape
    Fender Medium Guitar Pick
    3 Cats & 1 Worn-Out Dog

  9. #34
    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Manchester - Lancashire - NW England
    Posts
    8,638

    Default Re: Do most pro players play lightly?

    I heard that Chris Thile once referred to his 'Dude.' action as a 'sissy' action due to it's being so low,& we've all heard about the 'manly action' used by a certain William Smith Monroe.I suppose that the string height that we choose as individuals, is in some ways determined by where we're playing ie. - if we only play for ourselves at home,then a low action with less volume might suit us.On the other hand, if we play live on stage with a band or we're simply jamming,then a higher action with the added volume would be required.
    I think that the action on both my instruments is about 'medium'. It's 3/32" at the 12th fret on the G side (top of fret to underside of string) & a tad lower on the E side. Re.speed & action,again i suppose it's what we get used to over time. After a warm up i don't have too much trouble playing fast,but i don't really like to do it,it's too much of a 'trash' for me. As for playing loud,i use a lot of finger/thumb power to 'dig in' with the pick,i don't increase my wrist movement at all,
    Ivan
    Weber F-5 'Fern'.
    Lebeda F-5 "Special".
    Stelling Bellflower BANJO
    Tokai - 'Tele-alike'.
    Ellis DeLuxe "A" style.

  10. #35
    Slow your roll. greg_tsam's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Houston, TX
    Posts
    1,938
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default Re: Do most pro players play lightly?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bertram Henze View Post
    The trick is to make the pick hit the string with higher speed, not higher force (I think there may be similar recipes in martial arts, employing bricks instead of mandolins).
    You're talking about the difference between quick and fast as it refers to martial arts. Quick is explosive and sharp. They can be mutually exclusive of each other. A bus or a train can both travel fast on the but no one would call them quick.
    Breedlove Quartz FF with K&K Twin - Weber Big Horn - Fender FM62SCE

    Wall Hangers - 1970's Stella A and 60's Kay Kraft

  11. #36
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    san diego
    Posts
    1,245

    Default Re: Do most pro players play lightly?

    I took a workshop with Mike Marshal a few years back in San Diego and he told us that he and most of the super players that he knows, get the very fast playing on record by playing very lightly. Then it is turned up in the studio to match the other instruments.
    ntriesch

  12. #37
    Master of mediocrity Barry Wilson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Surrey, BC, Canada
    Posts
    943

    Default Re: Do most pro players play lightly?

    Well that was a fun video to check out. Jethro always has so much fun playing...

  13. #38
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Florida, USA
    Posts
    510

    Default Re: Do most pro players play lightly?

    Nick mentions "I took a workshop with Mike Marshal a few years back in San Diego and he told us that he and most of the super players that he knows, get the very fast playing on record by playing very lightly. Then it is turned up in the studio to match the other instruments."

    That is what I am getting at with this post. When I listen to mando playing of say Cody Shuler, on a cd, it is clean, fast and I can hear some slight pick noise. That tells me he is close to the mic and playing lightly, but still with great tone. In an open jam, he probably does not play that quietly and then may lose some of the speed and accuracy.

    Great input on this post...thanks everyone...I'm enjoying it and learning from it...

  14. #39
    Registered User pefjr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Las Vegas
    Posts
    678

    Default Re: Do most pro players play lightly?

    They are pros,... they play what the music calls for. Piano and Forte' and ppp and fff on the sheet of music will tell you what level of volume the writer calls for. Most are not playing ppp for sure. I read where Jesse MacReynolds still can not read a note of music, but he must have great instinct as I have not noticed him being too loud or too ppp. In fact, I would guess all pros have that instinct.
    Last edited by pefjr; Apr-27-2012 at 10:17pm.
    I have the world in a jug, and the stopper in my hand.

  15. #40
    Mike Parks woodwizard's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Knoxville (Piney Bay) Arkansas
    Posts
    2,802

    Default Re: Do most pro players play lightly?

    That was an awesome video!
    I Pick, Therefore I Grin!

    1918 Gibson A4
    2006 Gibson F5 Goldrush
    2011 Martin HD-16R LSH

  16. #41
    Registered User Josh Kaplan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Granger, Indiana
    Posts
    229

    Default Re: Do most pro players play lightly?

    I also play the trombone, and when I started taking lessons my teacher told me to play as loud as I could. That helped improve my playing more than anything else (except practice). Obviously I don't play as loud as I can all the time, but my teacher realized that I was playing too timidly and wasn't committing, and it affected my tone. He was always telling me to play out. My daughter's flute teacher told her to bounce the sound off the wall she was facing, for the same reason. It's probably the same with singing. Sometimes in my concert band, if there's a passage that is quiet, the director will have us play it fortissimo and then forte and then mezzo forte and then piano. The point is that even when you play quietly, you have to support the note with air. When we are tuning at the beginning of rehearsal, he will do the same thing--have us play the tuning note loud and then softer. He says, "Before you can tune, you have to tone."

    I think something similar happens with the mandolin. At first, I played quietly and timidly. It is just difficult to get a good tone from the instrument, or play musically, when you do that. Tone is about commitment. Once you get that, it doesn't matter if you play loud or soft. I think this is one of the more difficult things about the mandolin; there is a knack to pulling the tone from the little instrument. I don't know why it's so difficult, but it is.

    -Josh

  17. #42
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Upstate New York and Washington DC area
    Posts
    16,408
    Blog Entries
    25

    Default Re: Do most pro players play lightly?

    Quote Originally Posted by Josh Kaplan View Post
    At first, I played quietly and timidly. It is just difficult to get a good tone from the instrument, or play musically, when you do that. Tone is about commitment. Once you get that, it doesn't matter if you play loud or soft.
    Well said.
    As much as I post, I pick a whole lot more. Just sayin'
    We cannot put off living until we are ready. -- Jose Ortega Y Gasset

    The entire staff
    funny....

  18. #43
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Bay Area, California
    Posts
    1,639

    Default Re: Do most pro players play lightly?

    Quote Originally Posted by Timmando View Post
    When I listen to mando playing of say Cody Shuler, on a cd, it is clean, fast and I can hear some slight pick noise. That tells me he is close to the mic and playing lightly, but still with great tone. In an open jam, he probably does not play that quietly and then may lose some of the speed and accuracy.
    Yeah, same with Matt Flinner– his attacks are pretty clicky, making me thing that he's playing at a comfortable volume and turned up in the mix for clarity. (This is not meant to imply anything negative, Matt Flinner is a total pimp and Music du Jour is the best mandolin CD of the last few years.)

  19. #44
    Stop the chop!
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    europe
    Posts
    811

    Default Re: Do most pro players play lightly?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Fowler View Post
    Reading about this topic made me think of this video of Jethro from the Adler house from 1985. Check it out and listen to the volume that comes out from his F5L he's playing and compare it to the volume that's coming out of Don Steirnbergs' Monty. Big difference and you can see how Jethro's right hand moves in similar way to Monroe's.

    Maybe Don S. can comment more on Jethro's approach to producing so much volume from his instrument?

    I wouldn't judge volume by listening to a recording. To me his sound is above all trebly and stringy, probably from the use of a thin pick.

  20. #45
    Registered User catmandu2's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    6,312

    Default Re: Do most pro players play lightly?

    That is a great vid...vivid opportunity to observe their technique. Did most of the older guys use thin? Because nice phattys hadn't yet been mass produced? Just guessing..

  21. #46
    ...but that's just me Bertram Henze's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    0.8 mpc from NGC 224, upstairs
    Posts
    6,138

    Default Re: Do most pro players play lightly?

    Quote Originally Posted by catmandu2 View Post
    Did most of the older guys use thin?
    Thanks for classifying me as an older guy for my using 0.73
    the world is better off without bad ideas, good ideas are better off without the world

  22. #47
    Registered User Chip Booth's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Hailey, ID
    Posts
    2,091

    Default Re: Do most pro players play lightly?

    Quote Originally Posted by SincereCorgi View Post
    Yeah, same with Matt Flinner– his attacks are pretty clicky, making me thing that he's playing at a comfortable volume and turned up in the mix for clarity. (This is not meant to imply anything negative, Matt Flinner is a total pimp and Music du Jour is the best mandolin CD of the last few years.)
    That "click" in Matt's sound is just inherent to his instrument to some degree. I am not sure why, it has a ton of low end, is incredibly open and responsive, and it just makes that sound when you play it. I have played it and I made exactly the same clicky sound, and when Matt played my mandolin he did not click. I did notice less of it when the Trio played in my town this year than last year, so maybe Matt has found some technique to help reduce this a little bit.

  23. #48
    Registered User doc holiday's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    alberta
    Posts
    913

    Default Re: Do most pro players play lightly?

    I saw Mike Marshall & Edgar Meyer this winter in the Margaret Greenham Theater (circa 265 seats) at the Banff Centre this february. It was a wonderful concert & they played entirely acoustically......no pickups...no mics. MM's Loar was regraduated & the tone bars changed to respond to his lighter touch. He does play lightly compared to say...Sam Bush.....but he plays with enough attack to be heard clearly.
    The concert...due to the players & the entirely acoustic nature of the performance....was fantastic.

  24. #49
    Registered User Nick Quig's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    111

    Default Re: Do most pro players play lightly?

    I believe Matt Flinner uses a Dunlop Jazztone 207 which would help with that "click" sound, which I like alot!

  25. #50
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Florida, USA
    Posts
    510

    Default Re: Do most pro players play lightly?

    Thanks for the intro to Matt Flinner...outstanding! From the videos I just saw of him at the radio station, he definitely has a light touch, at least in those videos. A friend gave me one of those dunlop 207 and I couldn't believe how thick it was. At that time I was using a guitar .83 dunlop. When I tried the 207 I couldn't get enough volume to be heard in the jam session so I went back to the thinner one. I will try the 207 and not worry about volume and see what happens recording into a mic.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •