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Thread: Arm rest a good aid for begginers?

  1. #1
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    Default Arm rest a good aid for begginers?

    I have read quite a few posts regarding arm rests helping in arm position.
    Any thoughts as to if it would be benificial for a beginner , eg aiding in picking hand position. Any thoughts?

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    Default Re: Arm rest a good aid for begginers?

    You are going to get different opinions for and against. As for me I have a McClung armrest on my Yellowstone and I find it helps me with my picking.

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    Default Re: Arm rest a good aid for begginers?

    Iím a beginner and I like my (McClung) arm rest. I donít know if it helps my picking, but itís comfortable. I suppose it also keeps my sweaty grimy arm off the shiny finish of my Eastman.

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    Default Re: Arm rest a good aid for begginers?

    I sure like mine. But others don't. I think it just depends on your anatomy. The thickness of your forearm, the length of your fingers, the slope of your shoulders.

    For me, it helps keep my wrist straighter and is more comfortable on my forearm.

    I think anatomical variations may also influence whether or not you like finger rests (pick guard). Many like them(I do), but just as many dont. Just depends on how you're put together... whether you flail your fingertips or keep them curved or need a reference point or what not.

    These things everyone must try for themselves. No use getting opinions on. You like boxers or jockeys? Might even depend on your instrument and how much bouncing around is going on when your playing...but thats a different subject. Are we still talking mandolins?
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    Registered User Frankdolin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Arm rest a good aid for begginers?

    My answer would be no. I would try and learn correct posture and technique first. For many years. Then you can try any supplemental aids. Aids are fine if they keep you playing but I think less is more. Enjoy the journey.

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    Default Re: Arm rest a good aid for begginers?

    Well I learned without one . But then I never saw one until a decade or so age. When I bought a new mandolin I installed one to protect the finish. I didn't really notice any difference in wrist angle or tone. But the finish on the arm rest is disappearing rather than my mandolin top. That is sufficient reason to use one for me. R/
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    Registered User sblock's Avatar
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    Default Re: Arm rest a good aid for begginers?

    Well, you certainly don't require an arm rest for good posture and hand position on the mandolin. And it's worthwhile spending some time developing good position from the start, if you can. That said, a good many folks find that having an arm rest can help with this. Conversely, very few folks -- but you'll probably hear from some of them here! ;-) -- find that an arm rest ever gets in their way. As others have said, it depends on your personal anatomy. Folks use arm rests precisely because they like them. They serve two basic functions: they protect the mandolin from the forearm (and vice versa) and they help to position the arm and hand appropriately.

    In the violin world, there are many forms of chin rest, and not all individuals like the same type -- or even having one at all.

    You just have to try one and see. I got an armrest and liked it, not so much for hand positioning (my hand position was already pretty decent), but for protecting the mandolin and its finish from my body sweat, and for preventing the occasional scratching of my arm by the tailpiece. So I got more of these for my other mandolins. I also like the look of them.

  11. #8

    Default Re: Arm rest a good aid for begginers?

    When I was starting out, I would drift out of the sweet spot and I'd be picking down by the bridge. When I tried an armrest, I found it easier to stay up by the fingerboard for some reason. I plant my forearm on the rest and it stays there. It must be the more parallel geometry between the top and arm.
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    Be Wild Zach Wilson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Arm rest a good aid for begginers?

    The arm rest is a tricky one for me...

    If I need one, I'll get one.
    But how will I know when I need one?

    😀

    I've tried other pickers mandolins st jams that had arm rests. I didn't really notice any difference.

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    not a donut Kevin Winn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Arm rest a good aid for begginers?

    I love mine. Like Br1ck, it keeps my picking hand from drifting back toward the bridge, and is generally just more comfortable.

    YMMV

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    Default Re: Arm rest a good aid for begginers?

    IMHO, how much benefit you get from an armrest also depends a lot on the bridge height and/or arch of your mandolin top.
    I have used the McClung for years and it definitely gives me a more comfortable wrist angle.
    If I try to play without it, I miss it instantly.
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    Default Re: Arm rest a good aid for begginers?

    I have an armrest made by Voight Mandolins. The slightly elevated height does help a bit with good picking technique, but the main reason I bought it was because the corner of the mandolin where the top meets the side dug into my forearm and it became very uncomfortable after long periods of playing. If anyone has that same issue, an armrest can seriously be a saving grace!
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    Default Re: Arm rest a good aid for begginers?

    I don't think it matters. Do what's most comfortable for learning.

    I go between a 5-string bass, many different guitars and mandolins all requiring a slightly different playing position for both hands. I like the diversity and don't find moving from one to the other problematic.

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  19. #14

    Default Re: Arm rest a good aid for begginers?

    Americans seem to have a great love of attaching superfluous things to their instruments, in 50 years of playing with a lot of other mandolin players, I've never seen an armrest on a mandolin here in the UK.

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    Default Re: Arm rest a good aid for begginers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Hanson View Post
    Americans seem to have a great love of attaching superfluous things to their instruments, in 50 years of playing with a lot of other mandolin players, I've never seen an armrest on a mandolin here in the UK.
    To be fair I have a McClung on one of my mandos. They can significantly increase tone and volume by keeping the picking arm/hand off the soundboard so it vibrates freely and they do put the hand in a more comfortable position.

    I categorize them as "nice to have" not "need to have." If I could swing it I'd get another 1/2 dozen or so for other instruments I have, so they do have value.

    Curiously mandolin armrests appear to be a uniquely American cottage industry as there doesn't seem to be any makers selling through the big retailers that I've seen.
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  22. #16

    Default Re: Arm rest a good aid for begginers?

    For me, it is much more comfortable to rest on an armrest rather than the sharp edge of the mandolin top. The absence or presence of an armrest won't keep you from learning proper posture and technique.
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    Registered User sblock's Avatar
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    Default Re: Arm rest a good aid for begginers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Hanson View Post
    Americans seem to have a great love of attaching superfluous things to their instruments, in 50 years of playing with a lot of other mandolin players, I've never seen an armrest on a mandolin here in the UK.
    Dave H
    So Americans have a love of the superfluous? Seems to me that you're being a bit condescending and snobbish here, not to mention over-generalizing. It's pretty ironic, too, since 5 of the 6 mandolins you own (by Gibson, Eastman, and Weber) are based on American -- and not traditional British! -- instrument designs, directly traceable to the innovations of Orville Gibson, Lloyd Loar, and others. Those scrolls on the F5's are superfluous, too. And the same goes for the curlicues on the headstocks. In my opinion, and the opinion of many fellow mandolinists, armrests are functional, and not superfluous. I offer you this photo :

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	England armrest.jpeg 
Views:	53 
Size:	52.2 KB 
ID:	171226

    Oh -- it's worth mentioning that many Italian bowlbacks from the late 1800's also had armrests integrated into them. There is nothing newfangled or New World about those, and nothing superfluous about them, either.

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    Default Re: Arm rest a good aid for begginers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Leonard View Post
    For me, it is much more comfortable to rest on an armrest rather than the sharp edge of the mandolin top. The absence or presence of an armrest won't keep you from learning proper posture and technique.
    This.

    Make absolutely sure your left hand position is correct... the resulting pain that can come from having that wrong is terrible. I had mine wrong, suffered for it although I didn't realize that was what was causing the pain. Worked on it, last night played pain free. You MUST pay attention to body mechanics first and foremost.

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    Default Re: Arm rest a good aid for begginers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Leonard View Post
    For me, it is much more comfortable to rest on an armrest rather than the sharp edge of the mandolin top. The absence or presence of an armrest won't keep you from learning proper posture and technique.
    I never had an armrest until I bought my Collings (used,) it came with an armrest. I find it more comfortable than the edge of my mandolin, if I play for any length of time. I bought one for two of my other mandolins, but not for all of them (just the ones I play most.) It is purely a comfort thing for me.

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    Default Re: Arm rest a good aid for begginers?

    Thanks for your input everyone. Sometimes the sharp edge digging into my arm causes some discomfort so I have decided to try one.
    Pulled the trigger and now have a McClung armrest on the way. I'll let you know how it works out.

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  31. #21

    Default Re: Arm rest a good aid for begginers?

    Dudenbostel was advertising a few in the classifieds recently. You too, can own a Dude.
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  33. #22

    Default Re: Arm rest a good aid for begginers?

    Americans do actually make great mandolins, this is never in dispute.

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    Default Re: Arm rest a good aid for begginers?

    Quote Originally Posted by sblock View Post
    So Americans have a love of the superfluous? Seems to me that you're being a bit condescending and snobbish here, not to mention over-generalizing. It's pretty ironic, too, since 5 of the 6 mandolins you own (by Gibson, Eastman, and Weber) are based on American -- and not traditional British! -- instrument designs, directly traceable to the innovations of Orville Gibson, Lloyd Loar, and others. Those scrolls on the F5's are superfluous, too. And the same goes for the curlicues on the headstocks. In my opinion, and the opinion of many fellow mandolinists, armrests are functional, and not superfluous. I offer you this photo :

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	England armrest.jpeg 
Views:	53 
Size:	52.2 KB 
ID:	171226

    Oh -- it's worth mentioning that many Italian bowlbacks from the late 1800's also had armrests integrated into them. There is nothing newfangled or New World about those, and nothing superfluous about them, either.

    I can only agree with what Dave said originally. In the last 40+ years, I too have never come across a mandolin in the UK with an armrest and neither he nor I are commenting on the quality of American made instruments. (None of my 4 US built mandolins have an armrest!)

    Incidentally, in England, items bearing the word "England" are generally confined to football (soccer) shirts and this is pronounced "In-gur-lund".

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    Default Re: Arm rest a good aid for begginers?

    Seeing how many classical guitarists these days wear a miniature sleeve over there right forearm to deal with discomfort due to the edge, I'd say this is a fairly common issue and that mandolin players are fortunate to have the option to use an armrest. I'd agree some mandolin attachments could be considered "superfluous," but an armrest is definitely not one of them
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    Default Re: Arm rest a good aid for begginers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Leonard View Post
    For me, it is much more comfortable to rest on an armrest rather than the sharp edge of the mandolin top. The absence or presence of an armrest won't keep you from learning proper posture and technique.
    That was why I bought what would appear to be the only mandolin armrest in the UK* I found it immediately made my mandolin more comfortable to play and maybe improved the tone.

    *unless Old Berkshire has seceded from the Union without me noticing. Which is entirely possible.

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