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Thread: Best Armrest

  1. #1

    Default Best Armrest

    I have an Ellis F5 that I love but recently played a couple of mandolins with armrests and found that the armrest added a lot of comfort by eliminating the edge of the mandolin digging into my arm. I've seen threads referencing the McClung, Steve Bell and Dudenbostel arm rests and I'm hoping that you folks can tell me which is the best. I can't seem to find anything currently on Steve Bell so I'm not sure if he is still making them and if he is what they cost. I also couldn't find an armrest on Dudenbostel's website so I'm not sure if he is still making them and if so what they cost. Thanks for your advice.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Best Armrest

    I don't think you're going to find a 'best' out of the ones you mentioned. Any one of them will satisfy your needs. They are very simple devices with little in the way of differences between models from different makers.

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  4. #3
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    Default Re: Best Armrest

    I use and like both Dude and Siren armrests.

  5. #4

    Default Re: Best Armrest

    I love the Dudenbostel armrest I put on my Pava. It's probably the smallest one out there and it fits tight up against the James tailpiece. It uses some sort of rubber as padding and doesn't move a bit even though I don't have it very tightly clamped. I think Lynn makes them in batches. I'm sure he'd tell you when he plans to make more.

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  7. #5
    Registered User sblock's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Armrest

    In reality, there is very little difference among the various commercial armrests. They all do the job. They differ mainly in the aesthetics, so pick one you think looks really good on your mandolin! The "McClung" style armrest from Doug Edwards (Hill Country Stringworks) is angled up towards the bridge a bit, and may produce less indentation in your arm if you tend to grab the mandolin harder than most, but this depends on how you hold it. It makes a small difference for some. There are also some armrests made that go partially over the tailpiece, if you're someone whose arm is held in such a way that it collides occasionally with the tailpiece -- but most folks don't. Get any one that works for you. They're all good, IMO.

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  9. #6
    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Armrest

    there have been favorites mentioned in many past threads ..
    maybe, via looking them up , you can add up the votes over the years ?

    For just not having the edge making a mark on my arm
    the one i got from Steve smith, Cumberland acoustics , is quite adequate.

    he also wholesales them to Elderly, so you can do a combination Order thru them.


    Doug and Dudenbostel seem to post a small, batch FS on the Classifieds from time to Time.
    writing about music
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  11. #7
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    Default Re: Best Armrest

    Go with the McClung from Doug at hillcountrystringworks.com. You can send him a picture of your mando and he'll color match it if you want, or do a complimentary color, or custom inlay. His price is astounding for a custom piece and he is great to work with. I have tried other arm rests and I prefer the McClung due to the more ergonomic angle it has. You can also get a flat arm rest from him too.

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  13. #8
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    Default Re: Best Armrest

    I have been very happy with my McClung.
    David Hopkins

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    The older I get, the less tolerant I am of political correctness, incompetence and stupidity.

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  15. #9

    Default Re: Best Armrest

    Thanks everybody. Great comments. Very helpful.

  16. #10
    Registered User KGreene's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Armrest

    Doug Edwards "McClung".....excellent craftsmanship and customer service!
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  17. #11
    Middle-Aged Old-Timer Tobin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Armrest

    Quote Originally Posted by colorado_al View Post
    Go with the McClung from Doug at hillcountrystringworks.com. You can send him a picture of your mando and he'll color match it if you want, or do a complimentary color, or custom inlay. His price is astounding for a custom piece and he is great to work with. I have tried other arm rests and I prefer the McClung due to the more ergonomic angle it has. You can also get a flat arm rest from him too.
    I second this. I have McClungs on 3 of my mandolins, and love them. Doug took a photo of my Ellis one evening at a jam, and custom picked a "flamethrower" piece of wood to match it. I'd say he pretty much nailed the color and figure that I wanted. The clamp hardware is gold to match the hardware on my Ellis. My only regret is that my arm covers it up while I'm playing!

    The comfort and ergonomics are perfect on the McClungs. It keeps my arm from hazing the finish on my mandolin and protects the binding. I can't think of any way this armrest could be improved. And the price from Doug is very reasonable.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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  18. #12
    Registered User J Mangio's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Armrest

    I use Cumberland Acoustic on two of my Mandolins;
    simple design, works well.
    I slipped a piece of thin leather I cut from an old wallet
    behind the clamping arms so they wouldn't mar the finish if contact was made.

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  20. #13
    Spencer Sorenson Spencer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Armrest

    You won't really know til you try one for while. I got a McClung, as mentioned above, it's beautiful, matches my instrument nicely, good service and all, but there is something about the shape that bothers my arm when I play, so I am currently not using it. I think a smaller one would work better for me, but haven't tried yet. Everybody is built a little different, different strokes.....

    Spencer

  21. #14
    Registered User Gary Alter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Armrest

    Lynn still makes his armrests, I bought one from him a just a couple of months ago. Contact him by email (knoxdude58@gmail.com) and he'll let you know when his next batch will be ready. He now has two styles one has a straight edge with a bevel on the other end and the second type has a bevel on both ends.

  22. #15

    Default Re: Best Armrest

    I recommend the McClung for two reasons.First - Its a great design and wonderful armrest. Secondly I contacted Doug with a query about the armrest recently and he got back to me straight away and was super helpful.

    A great product with great customer care to match.

  23. #16
    Registered User Hoovetone's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Armrest

    The trick is to have the armrest to fit only the very outer edge of your mandolin. You don’t want them on top of your sound wood. So, if they don’t angle up over the top, it will kill the sound.

  24. #17
    Mandolin user MontanaMatt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Armrest

    Weber integrated tail piece arm rest...the best.
    IMO of course!
    2007 Weber Custom Elite "old wood"
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  25. #18
    Registered User Mandobart's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Armrest

    I bought a Cumberland Acoustic armrest for my first mandolin. Really not comfortable at all. I have an off-the-shelf Doug Edwards on my F5, plenty nice and comfortable. I based a couple of home made attempts on his design and they're ok but not as good as Doug's. But I had Steve Bell make some custom armrests for my mandola, octave mando and mandocello. Absolutely the best! Unfortunately I haven't been able to reconnect with him.

  26. #19

    Default Re: Best Armrest

    I cannot recommend highly enough the quality of the McClungs and the customer service from Hill Country String Works. I got a wild cherry armrest from him in gold finish for my first mandolin in a half over the tailpiece. It wasn't what I needed, so he gladly switched out to the regular McClung. Then I traded up and had silver on the new mandolin. Doug was kind enough to switch out the gold for the silver colored hardware. He's super easy to work with and his armrests are superb!

  27. #20
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    Default Re: Best Armrest

    Do not overlook Soliver armrests (made by a Café member also NFI.) I have two of them, find them to be good quality, and comfortable.

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  29. #21
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    Default Re: Best Armrest

    Quote Originally Posted by LadysSolo View Post
    Do not overlook Soliver armrests (made by a Café member also NFI.) I have two of them, find them to be good quality, and comfortable.
    He made this one for one of my Breedloves and even custom made one for my Blevins octave mandolin.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    David Hopkins

    Breedlove Legacy FF; Breedlove Quartz FF
    Gibson F-4, (1916); Blevins Octave Mandolin, 2018
    McCormick Oval Sound Hole "Reinhardt"
    McCormick Solid Body F-Style Electric;
    Recording King Resophonic Mandolin; Slingerland Songbird Guitar (c. 1939)

    The older I get, the less tolerant I am of political correctness, incompetence and stupidity.

  30. #22

    Default Re: Best Armrest

    I’ve made two out of some mahogany 1x2 I had laying around. Even used grain filler then ting oiled them. A trip to a local violin shop provided the hardware. Took me all of two hours, so it’s not rocket science. Some of the long ones I’ve seen don’t look right to me.
    Silverangel A
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  31. #23

    Default Re: Best Armrest

    I have one of Soliver's and another brand. For comfort, Soliver's is much nicer. Quality of construction is basically identical.
    Play it like you mean it.

  32. #24
    Registered User Craig the Mad's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Armrest

    The only mandolin armrest I've used is the one from Cumberland Acoustics, and I'm happy with it. Installation was simple; it protects my '23 A-jr from my arm rubbing against it; and I don't find it uncomfortable (but I never found the hard edge of the mandolin uncomfortable either).
    1923 Gibson A-Jr
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  34. #25
    Registered User Denman John's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Armrest

    McClung armrests work for me and I wouldn't hesitate to order another one if needed. Give Doug’s website a gander if you’re interested.
    ... not all those who wander are lost ...

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