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Thread: When you learn something important

  1. #26
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: When you learn something important

    OK so here it is. (Told you I can't keep a secret long.) And I have never heard anyone advocate this or talk about it. While my Skype teacher is for classical, I believe it will provide advantage for any genre.

    Keep the mandolin leaning a little forward of vertical. For a bowlback you just turn it away from you a little. For all others, (when playing without a strap) you just kind of keep the mandolin on its front edge. Raise the back edge just slightly.

    Keep the left hand where it was, but put the mandolin a little forward. A little.

    OMG. It makes Big Bill Bluegrass chords easy to reach, it makes pinky stretches easy to achieve. It makes shifts up and down the neck easier.

    I can't seem to do it using a strap. So I took the strap off, and held the mandolin pretty much the way Mike Marshall explains.

    Hitherto I kept the mandolin either vertical, or really, a little back from vertical, so I could peek at the finger board I suppose. With it forward I have to use the edge dots or just the feel of it.

    The important thing is that the left hand is unchanged, no angle between wrist and arm. The bass side of the neck is just rotated a little closer to the hand. The mandolin itself feels like its closer to my hand, or really it feels like my fingers are longer.

    I find it gigantic, though I just started and I keep forgetting. It seems a little easier to do on a bowl, but same advantage on any mandolin. And I can't do it with a strap. (This is not a huge problem because I rarely play with a strap, and I almost never ever play standing up.)

    It is making my playing so much easier I can't believe I never heard of this before. Maybe it was correcting a problem unique to me. But try it. Wow.
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  3. #27

    Default Re: When you learn something important

    Oh. That. (just kidding - if this qualifies as epiphanous for you, or even helps at all, cool...ergonomics are important )

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffD View Post
    I suppose for everything there is a context in which it can be seen as ridiculous.
    Didn't Camus or someone come to this same conclusion. .?

  4. #28
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: When you learn something important

    Quote Originally Posted by catmandu2 View Post
    Didn't Camus or someone come to this same conclusion. .?
    I know I can't be the only one who thought of it.
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  5. #29

    Default Re: When you learn something important

    Okay Jeff... I'm gonna give it an honest try.

    For the moment though, I feel like I just watched Geraldo open Big Al's vault.
    "I play BG so that's what I can talk intelligently about." A line I loved and pirated from Mandoplumb

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  7. #30
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    Default Re: When you learn something important

    I'll give it a try tonight - anything to make my fingers feel like they are longer!

  8. #31
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    Default Re: When you learn something important

    Really? My pizza and beer advice is light years past that! (unless you have gluten problems)
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  10. #32
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: When you learn something important

    Well it might be something unique to me but I am finding this to be huge.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FLATROCK HILL View Post
    For the moment though, I feel like I just watched Geraldo open Big Al's vault.
    I would feel the same. It is kind of simple. But if it works for someone, great.
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  12. #33
    but that's just me Bertram Henze's Avatar
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    Default Re: When you learn something important

    That's how I played TB all those years ago. Of course, turning the fretboard towards your fingers makes it easier for them. But I couldn't keep it up with the OM, because with double stops and more shifts up and down I needed to see what I do more often. Also, I have developed a way of minimizing back contact with my belly which contravenes this rolled-forward position.
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    Default Re: When you learn something important

    Would have been a good Classified: Powerful, blinding epiphany. $25 OBO
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  15. #35
    Registered User bradlaird's Avatar
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    Default Re: When you learn something important

    Thanks, Jeff. I need to go on a diet... again.

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    Default Re: When you learn something important

    Thanks Jeff. This technique is much better easier to when using a strap if it’s an A style with a strap button.

  17. #37
    Registered User foldedpath's Avatar
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    Default Re: When you learn something important

    If it doesn't work with a strap, then it won't work for me. With rare exceptions, I play sitting down at sessions and gigs. I'm 6'2" and my torso is too tall to rest the mandolin in my lap without hunching over. The strap keeps the mandolin raised high enough that I'm not hunching over, with sore back and shoulders after a few hours. I've never perfected the Dave Apollon style of just pinching the mandolin body with my arm to hold it up without a strap.

    A different strap location might work, like an A-style with a button on the underside of the neck close to the body, which tends to tilt the instrument forward. But that that big 'ol curly strap holder on my F-style, it's not gonna happen.

  18. #38
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: When you learn something important

    Yea I got to figure out a strap accommodation.

    I have managed to accommodate my ummm..., geometry, but I am still perfecting it. I find myself leaning over the instrument, (like Chris Thile does, or used to, when playing sitting down). I can play significantly, measurably, better in that position, but it is not sustainable. My back hates it.

    And when tired,
    I will not be able to do it. And half the fun of jamming is playing to exhaustion - getting into that zone of a zen-ish one-ness between fingers, brain and ears, where all that exists in the universe is music. That happens most reliably when I am too tired to "over-think it".

    But wow, that angle does help. The difference is worth putting in the effort figuring out a way.
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  19. #39
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: When you learn something important

    I am thinking about something that might be attached to the back edge on the treble side so that by resting the instrument on my lap it will naturally lean forward.

    Or something that can be attached on the bass side in the back so that when handing from a strap it angles forward.

    - - - Updated - - -

    To make it work I have to consciously avoid compensating by bending my right wrist backwards. Keep the wrist and hand where I am used to it, and only the mandolin is in a different position. It is the moment I feel the compulsion to adjust my left wrist that I know I have leaned the instrument just forward enough.
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  20. #40
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    Default Re: When you learn something important

    One thing i do playing guitar sitting down is raise my right foot on a stack of books, that locks the guitar body between thigh and picking forearm. I never did this on mandolin, banjo, bass guitar etc but I'll have to try later on.

    Also the tonegard seems to tip the top of mandolin away a little, I never noticed that before.

    I got the idea at a classical guitar shop, Guitar Solo in San Francisco (great shop!). The customers would all come in with monster fingernails and play left leg raised so i tried that and then the right leg, which felt right, right away.
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    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: When you learn something important

    For what ever reason I have never heard of this before my teacher told me. I hope others who try it will report how or whether it worked for them.

    And for those who always knew, I guess I can't complain that you never told me, (seeing as I understand the impulse), but jeeez louise if I had known this earlier.
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  22. #42

    Default Re: When you learn something important

    That's one of the efficacies of formal study under a qualified teacher who will impart such subtleties: proper positioning is Lesson #1. And thanks to you for pointing this out; I don't doubt there're plenty of self-learners watching the fingerboard - a natural inclination, but poor ergonomics.

  23. #43
    Chu Dat Frawg Eric C.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: When you learn something important

    Sounds like a re-design of the Tonegard. Just add a few inches to the bass side :D
    Kentucky KM950 and loving it.

  24. #44

    Default Re: When you learn something important

    Is there evidence of any pros using this technique? Most of the great players seem to look across the fingerboard. Do you have smaller hands? It seems like if you have a 7 fret + span there is no need for this unless it's just a comfort thing.

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  26. #45
    Mandolin Friendly Mark Gunter's Avatar
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    Default Re: When you learn something important

    Quote Originally Posted by dadsaster View Post
    Is there evidence of any pros using this technique? Most of the great players seem to look across the fingerboard. Do you have smaller hands? It seems like if you have a 7 fret + span there is no need for this unless it's just a comfort thing.
    Ergonomics vary a bit from one person to another. Main thing, IMO, if it brings you a startling improvement, do it - and share with anybody who's interested. Not much of what we do in detail is really "one size fits all" ... YMMV and other such sayings
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  28. #46

    Default Re: When you learn something important

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Gunter View Post
    Ergonomics vary a bit from one person to another. Main thing, IMO, if it brings you a startling improvement, do it - and share with anybody who's interested. Not much of what we do in detail is really "one size fits all" ... YMMV and other such sayings
    Agreed. I have shorter pinkies attached to large hands. For whatever reason I feel much more comfortable with a neck angle around 45 degrees. It's definitely more vertical than most players I run across. I feel much less tension in my forearm doing this and it makes 4-finger chop chords pretty comfortable.

    I just don't think I could play as well without seeing the fret board. The hunched back position many mandolin players adopt seems to be used to attain a better view.

  29. #47

  30. #48
    Mandolin Friendly Mark Gunter's Avatar
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    Default Re: When you learn something important

    Quote Originally Posted by dadsaster View Post
    I just don't think I could play as well without seeing the fret board.
    To me, yoking is just another skill to learn - if you want to.

    Back in the 60's, in the area where I grew up, it was called "yoking" - playing your guitar without watching your hands. Admittedly, watching what you're doing is a necessity for most of us when starting out. But playing by feel and by hearing is more important than playing by looking, for some people - and it can have obvious advantages, just think about it. YMMV
    Technique, theory and fun, fun, fun. I love playing, studying and sharing MUSIC.
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  31. #49

    Default Re: When you learn something important

    I play in the dark sometimes. It's an informative exercise. I just haven't been able to get the fretting accuracy I need to play cleanly without looking. I find slides particularly disorenting.

  32. #50
    but that's just me Bertram Henze's Avatar
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    Default Re: When you learn something important

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Gunter View Post
    Back in the 60's, in the area where I grew up, it was called "yoking" - playing your guitar without watching your hands.
    Another etymological conundrum - since horses were replaced by tractors, "yoking" is pretty much out of use and apparently free for different semantics; is that how it came?
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