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Thread: Fretboard weak spots?

  1. #1

    Default Fretboard weak spots?

    I'm pretty new to Mandolin - just started a few months ago. I love the sound of my mandolin, but I've noticed one odd thing and I'm not sure what to make of it.

    I've noticed that the 5th fret (C) on the G string seems weak compared to other notes. The "G" chop chord sounds pretty strong and full, but the "C" chop always seems a little weak. Individual note also seems a little more "thunky". It gets better if I'm really careful about not touching the back of the mandolin at all.

    I don't see any strangeness on at the 5th fret on other strings.

    I'm pretty new so this might just be me and technique. Any ideas what might cause this? Debating whether to take it in to get looked at (substantial drive).


  2. #2
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    DeKalb, IL

    Default Re: Fretboard weak spots?

    I think you must have quite an ear. The C on the 5th fret, with all other strings open, doesn't cave a direct strong harmonic. All the other strings at the 5th fret have an octave ringing on another string open.

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  4. #3
    Registered User Drew Egerton's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Statesville, NC

    Default Re: Fretboard weak spots?

    Most any mandolin is going to have strong and relatively weaker notes. When you get to the upper end that variation may get smaller, but even in high end instruments you can find some where the low end is weak or not balanced well. I love my mando across the board but there are certainly areas that just really pop on it. Get to know it and learn a bunch of scales and licks that highlight the strong points!
    2016 Skip Kelley Vintage F-5 (#54)
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  5. #4
    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Manchester - Lancashire - NW England

    Default Re: Fretboard weak spots?

    From Stygobite - " this might just be me and technique..." A good point for you to come up with. Anybody new to playing any stringed instrument will develop their fingering technique over a period of time. Your 'apparent' problem might simply be that you're not pressing the string down hard enough when playing a 'chord'. How does it sound when you press the G string down on it's own to play the C note ?. Does it sound any stronger ?.

    A question - What make / style of mandolin are you playing,& what brand / gauges of string are you using ??. Strings can make a huge difference to the overall sound of any stringed instrument,that's why most members on here have test driven a lot of different ones. Even the very finest mandolins sound at their best with a specific brand / gauge of string,& the picks that the players use can also make a huge difference as well. Strings & picks are the very cheapest up-grade,so i'd advise you to try out a few different string brands / gauges & a few different picks. Somewhere down the line,you'll find the perfect combo. for your mandolin (hopefully).

    In the meantime,there's one thing that you could try. Very often players will find that the 1st (E) strings sound a tad 'weak'. Sometimes,that can be down to having the action too low. Bringing it up just a tiny fraction higher can strengthen the tone. Try bringing the bridge height on the G string side up by a tiny amount & see (hear),if that works,
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  7. #5
    Registered User
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    Sep 2018
    Somewhere south of Denver and north of Pueblo

    Default Re: Fretboard weak spots?

    Me, I’d touch the fret slot with a bit of Crazy Glue, holding it down with a hammer while it dried.

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