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Thread: New to mandolin

  1. #26

    Default Re: New to mandolin

    I am going to second Bill McCall. Right hand technique is very much a fine motor skill, and one that requires the rapid coordination of very small movements of the wrist, and arguably the more important one to dedicate your dominant hand with.

    The fretting hand doesn't require quite the level of delicate fine motor skills as the right. They can be a little more sloppy in the amount of pressure that is applied (beyond a certain level of pressure it all sound the same), and they are not as rapid fire. Whereas with your picking hand delicate changes in pressure are imperative to control volume and tonality of the instrument. Not only does the picking hand have to worry about the fine motor skills of up and down picking, but it also concerns the depth of pick to the strings, and as mentioned previously, the amount of pressure applied - Really deep picking for loud aggressive playing and more shallow picking for rapid tremolo and softer tonality. So, the right hand really controls the fine dynamics of the instrument - and that is what I would advise any newbie to dedicate their dominant hand with.

  2. #27

    Default Re: New to mandolin

    When I was looking for a good entry mando, my criteria were: solid wood, made in the US or Canada, nice looking, affordable. Ended up getting a Mid-Missouri, now called Big Muddy, with a solid spruce top and solid rosewood back and sides.

    Love it. I got a more expensive mando later, but the Mid-Missouri is still what I usually use for home, parties, and busking.

  3. #28
    Registered User Willem's Avatar
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    Default Re: New to mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by pheffernan View Post
    Excellent option!

  4. #29
    Registered User Kevin Stueve's Avatar
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    Default Re: New to mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by spanjo View Post
    I am going to second Bill McCall. Right hand technique is very much a fine motor skill, and one that requires the rapid coordination of very small movements of the wrist, and arguably the more important one to dedicate your dominant hand with.

    The fretting hand doesn't require quite the level of delicate fine motor skills as the right. They can be a little more sloppy in the amount of pressure that is applied (beyond a certain level of pressure it all sound the same), and they are not as rapid fire. Whereas with your picking hand delicate changes in pressure are imperative to control volume and tonality of the instrument. Not only does the picking hand have to worry about the fine motor skills of up and down picking, but it also concerns the depth of pick to the strings, and as mentioned previously, the amount of pressure applied - Really deep picking for loud aggressive playing and more shallow picking for rapid tremolo and softer tonality. So, the right hand really controls the fine dynamics of the instrument - and that is what I would advise any newbie to dedicate their dominant hand with.
    if you are playing melody you have to move your fingers as fast as your pick and you have to coordinate multiple fingers and positions shifts. The pick hand just has to go up and down and it can be sloppier than the fretting finger, you get sloppy with the fretting finger you get mush. Of course if you are just chopping chords, well then sure your right hand is finer motor control. But if you are just chopping chords stay on guitar, boom, chuck boom chuck boom chuck.
    2012 Weber Bitterroot F5.

  5. #30

    Default Re: New to mandolin

    I am in the same position as GrantP, including being a lefty. After spending much too much time listening to mandolins on the Internet, I drove across the state to a well-stocked music shop yesterday and spent some time with the Northfield Calhoun. Northfield is actually willing to make me a lefty, so now I have to decide whether that’s what I want.

    I played fiddle the usual way for the usual reasons for over ten years but am currently switching to lefty due to multiple injuries. I thought I was going to play mandolin as a lefty too, but the righty orientation felt more natural and didn’t seem nearly as painful as the violin. That store full of wonderful instruments also showed me the wider world that would be available to me as an honorary righty. So now I’m going to borrow a friend’s mandolin and see if playing righty is doable over the longer term.

    I had a lot of criteria that I’d worked out intellectually, but it made a world of difference to actually get a couple of instruments in my hands. I suspect that once you hold one you’ll know whether to play lefty or not. And FYI the Calhoun, which is US-made, is indeed an option for the lefty beginner.
    Last edited by Trubadur; Feb-10-2019 at 9:44am.

  6. #31

    Default Re: New to mandolin

    Setup, setup, setup. A mandolin is capable of turning your left hand into a screaming mass of pain. It is also capable of letting your fingers dance over the fretboard.

    To see this you need to stare danger in the face and go play some four thousand dollar mandolins. They will play very easily and sound great. To get that sound you will need to fork out the cash. Most any mandolin can be made to feel like that.

    Watch some Rosa Stringworks set up videos. Every one has him filing frets, a procedure I believe essential to the best action. That 4K mandolin has probably had this done.
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  7. #32

    Default Re: New to mandolin

    I know a lot of people swear by Eastmans and Kentuckys. But if you're one of us who likes to support small US companies, check out Big Muddy Mandolins. They're solid wood, and the prices are well inside your outside price.

    They're flattops, so you won't look like Bill Monroe. But would you really want to?

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