Results 1 to 25 of 25

Thread: Wide neck Mandolins ?

  1. #1

    Default Wide neck Mandolins ?

    I am a clumsy oaf of a guitar player who has difficulty dealing with typical mandolins. Are there any with wider necks ?

  2. #2
    man about town Markus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Madison, Wisconsin
    Posts
    1,918
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default Re: Wide neck Mandolins ?

    Quote Originally Posted by audiorep2 View Post
    I am a clumsy oaf of a guitar player who has difficulty dealing with typical mandolins. Are there any with wider necks ?
    There is a small range of neck sizes, with nut width of 1 3/8" being on the wide size and narrow getting down to near 1".

    Old US made Breedloves all were wider necks, while not all brands make some wider neck versions quite a few do. While I found it easier when converting from guitar, there were a few things I found harder technique wise with a wide neck that I do with ease on my just 1/8" narrower neck.
    Collings MT2
    Breedlove OF
    Ellie eMando
    Schmergl Devastator

  3. #3
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    S.W. Wisconsin
    Posts
    5,205

    Default Re: Wide neck Mandolins ?

    There are mandolins with a 1/4" neck. My '22 A2 is one of those. A wonderful sounding mandolin, tho like Markus I am preferring a narrower neck these days.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

  4. #4
    Registered User hdismal's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Dire Stone Canyons of NYC
    Posts
    51

    Default Re: Wide neck Mandolins ?

    Hello,
    These are pac-rim Breedloves with 1 3/16th nut width and radiused board (no financial interest). Have never played one so I can not speak for quality, value, or ease of play. (Sales pitch was that they were designed specifically for guitar players transitioning to mandolin.)

    https://reverb.com/p/breedlove-crossover-of-nt-mandolin

    I play a Washburn M118SWK that has a 1 1/4 nut, but a flat board. Build quality is pretty shoddy, but the tone is at least acceptable if not stellar. I keep it rather than moving on because I can not afford to purchase a custom wide nut instrument, comfort being primary to my continued ability to play (old guy).

    Good hunting. Fare well, db

  5. #5

    Default Re: Wide neck Mandolins ?

    I have a Breedlove MIC that has a neck much wider and rounder than the Eastmans I owned before. And the latter were fantastic instruments, but those necks gave me tendinitis. I just couldn't find a way to hold on to the neck and play that didn't lead to pain. This Breedlove Crossover FF has enabled me to enjoy playing and try to learn again.

  6. #6
    Registered User TEvans's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    135

    Default Re: Wide neck Mandolins ?

    When I started playing several years back, I was sure that my fingers were too big for mandolin. My bass teacher called me "hot dog fingers" when I was learning. (He was a great friend, so it was funny). I started on bass, picked up guitar, then picked up mandolin. I decided that I could play mandolin, despite my "hot dog fingers" after I saw a video of Mike Marshall. His hands are the size of tennis rackets, and he sounds great.

    If a wide neck feels good, go for it! But nothing beats just spending time on whatever instrument you end up with.

    Austin, TX

    Ellis A5

  7. #7

    Default Re: Wide neck Mandolins ?

    Some European mandolins have wider necks. Many years ago, Radim Zenkl had a custom made mandolin with a very wide neck, as he did lots of classical guitar type counterpoint.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Wide neck Mandolins ?

    If you're just starting out, try giving it time, I know how it feels. Coming from years of playing 6 string basses, when I first picked up the mandolin I also felt like a clumsy oaf. After spending a good amount of time with the mandolin I adjusted, and now it feels a lot more natural.

  9. The following members say thank you to Shanannigan for this post:


  10. #9

    Default Re: Wide neck Mandolins ?

    I found that small or large, some things you will find hard, and some easy, in equal measure. I look at clips of large or even average hands easily playing closed position scales, whereas I have to shift my hand to play them. Then there is the G chop chord to contend with. But I would imagine there are those who would envy my ability to traverse the tight spaces. My widest board is on my A 1. Some things are easier, some harder. Just make sure you are coming in at the correct angle. Pretend you are playing the violin. That is the correct position for mandolin.
    Silverangel A
    Arches F style kit
    1913 Gibson A-1

  11. #10
    Registered User Aaron Smith's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Earth
    Posts
    23

    Default Re: Wide neck Mandolins ?

    I'm definitely in agreement with a lot of the sentiment stated here. Although it has strings as is plucked as a guitar the ergonomics and techniques are really quite different. Just keep digging into and playing your instrument as much as possible, trying others when you have the opportunity. Also make sure it's set up nicely - can make all the difference. After some time you'll know when/if you need to get a different instrument. I find that neck shape/profile has as much (or possibly more) to do with comfort than just the fretboard width factor. A guitarist friend of mine, after a vacation where he only had a mandolin around finally had things click. He has big ole bear paws for hands and always felt really frustrated on a mandolin. But he said something to the effect of: "I get it now, it's not a guitar". He is a very good blues/soul guitarist and funnily enough he can do all that on the mandolin now.
    current joys:
    Gibson F-5G | Northfield A5 Special | Kentucky KM-150 | Mid-Mo M-70 Octave | Martin HD-28V | Gold Tone BC-350 | 5-string Mandoblaster | Les Paul | Strat | Piano | Bongos | Tacoma Thunderchief | old Dobro | Some amps & microphones

  12. #11
    Registered User Ranald's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Ottawa, Canada
    Posts
    478

    Default Re: Wide neck Mandolins ?

    I don't have great manual dexterity (some might put it less politely). This summer, I bought an Espana, a wide-necked Finnish mandolin built in the 1960's, in part because of it's wide neck (1 1/4" at the nut, 1 3/4" at the other end), for about $400 CDN. Espana was a New York guitar company. My luthier tells me that he's seen these mandolins before, but rarely. I like the tone, but I play mainly blues and have different (i.e., lower) standards of purity of tone than many here do. I enjoy playing it a great deal. However, the wide-necked mandolin has a major disadvantage. Because the neck is wider, everything's farther apart, so some of the long finger stretches are harder than on my standard size Godin, e.g., index finger on the 1 or 2 with pinky on the 5 or 6 of another string. I move back and forth between the Espana and Godin regularly (and my banjolin when I'm in the mood). I have no regrets about the Espana, but as others said, the wide neck won't solve all of your problems. As they say, practice helps. As well, I've experimented with my hand position, raising and lowering the wrist for example, which has helped. A teacher might be able to give advice with that. There are many good, free teaching videos on YouTube , including Pete Martin's below, that you might find helpful:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0mDN...tfJn6I&index=2

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D0OA...tfJn6I&index=3
    Robert Johnson's mother, describing blues musicians:
    "I never did have no trouble with him until he got big enough to be round with bigger boys and off from home. Then he used to follow all these harp blowers, mandoleen (sic) and guitar players."
    Lomax, Alan, The Land where The Blues Began, NY: Pantheon, 1993, p.14.

  13. #12
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Location
    Brooklyn, NY
    Posts
    90

    Default Re: Wide neck Mandolins ?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0iG7gcWioWc&t=2s


    Mando-tar !

    I've been playing one since Christmas and I swear it's the instrument I've always been looking for.

    Sounds just like a mandola to my ears.

  14. #13
    Registered User Eric Platt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    St. Paul, MN
    Posts
    866

    Default Re: Wide neck Mandolins ?

    Some pre 1911 Gibson mandolins have wider (and thicker) necks. The 1910 I had didn't, but my band mate has one with a very wide neck. So there is some variation.

    My 1935 Kalamazoo has a nut width that's about 1 3/16" wide. Barely wider than normal, but I do notice it switching between it and either my Gibson or Collings.
    1935 Gibson A50, 2018 Collings MT, 1929 Gibson A Jr., 1935 Kalamazoo KM-21, 1941 Strad-O-Lin, 2018 Eastman MDO-305, 1950's Californian
    http://ericplatt.weebly.com/
    https://www.facebook.com/LauluAika/
    https://www.lauluaika.com/
    https://www.facebook.com/Longtine-Pl...4404553312723/

  15. #14
    Registered User DavidKOS's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    North CA
    Posts
    3,949

    Default Re: Wide neck Mandolins ?

    Yes. I custom ordered mine with a wider neck:

    It makes chords easier and makes switching between guitar and mandolin more comfortable.

  16. #15

    Default Re: Wide neck Mandolins ?

    I found recutting nuts for wider course spacing (by making the courses narrower) can make most necks (even narrow neck Eastmans) work pretty well. I found I prefer that to an actual wider neck after I tried a 1 1/4" neck and didn't like it as much as a narrower neck with one of my custom nuts. But a slightly wider nut like 1 3/16 is great, I can diddle with course spacing with a nut to my heart's content there. I also tried spacing the G string and the A string slightly more than the other strings, it was another subtle thing that worked really well for me, I have done that on a few mandolins now (especially electrics).
    Trinity College TM325 Octave Mandolin (converted to 4-string tenor guitar).
    Eastman MD-605SB, MD-604SB, MD-305, all with Grover 309 tuners.
    Eastwood 4 string electric mandostang, 2x Airline e-mandola (4-string) one strung as an e-OM.
    DSP's: Helix HX Stomp, various Zooms.
    Amps: QSC-K10, DBR-10, THR-10, Sony XB-20.

  17. #16
    Registered User Randi Gormley's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Connecticut, USA
    Posts
    3,094

    Default Re: Wide neck Mandolins ?

    Although I've seen some reference to "practicing more" with what you have, nobody has actually spelled out that you may be holding the instrument wrong, or if they have, I missed it (perfectly likely). You don't hold a mandolin like a guitar. You hold it like a violin/fiddle. Good guitar technique means your hand is perpendicular to the fretboard. that's horrible mandolin technique. If you hold your mandolin up to your chin as if it were a violin/fiddle and see where your hands naturally fall -- at an angle -- you're closer to mandolin technique. With your hands at an angle, you have a better chance of fretting the notes more cleanly and your hands aren't as strained. This may not be your experience -- you may be holding the instrument in the best way a mandolin ought to be handled, in which case a wide neck may be what works better -- but I'd double check your fretting hand position. Just putting that out there.
    --------------------------------
    1920 Lyon & Healy bowlback
    1923 Gibson A-1 snakehead
    1952 Strad-o-lin
    1983 Giannini ABSM1 bandolim
    2009 Giannini GBSM3 bandolim
    2011 Eastman MD305

  18. The following members say thank you to Randi Gormley for this post:


  19. #17
    Peace. Love. Mandolin. Gelsenbury's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Canterbury, Kent
    Posts
    664
    Blog Entries
    6

    Default Re: Wide neck Mandolins ?

    My Fylde mandolin has a wider-than-standard neck, as do all of their Touchstone models. The disadvantage, as Ranald said, is that stretches are more challenging because everything is a bit further apart. It's not a dramatic difference, but noticeable.

    Since you describe yourself as a guitar player and this is your first post on the forum, I assume that you haven't been playing mandolin for long. If that's the case, I'd recommend trying a variety of instruments to see what suits you best. I also echo Randi's point about making sure you have the technique right. The (for your body and your mandolin) correct angles between the mandolin's neck and the floor, between the mandolin and your chest, and between your hand and the fretboard can all make a difference to how comfortable the neck will feel.

  20. #18

    Default Re: Wide neck Mandolins ?

    Y'all know Radim Zenkl, right?

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	ZENKL1.jpg 
Views:	16 
Size:	537.1 KB 
ID:	182758

  21. The following members say thank you to Marty Jacobson for this post:


  22. #19
    Registered User J Mangio's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    The Outer Limits
    Posts
    291

    Default Re: Wide neck Mandolins ?

    1st post, you must be new to the mandolin scene? If so, there is lots to consider; budget, type of Mando, and brand for starters.

    I went from a 1 1/16” wide at the nut to a 1 3/16”, it was not a hard transition.

    Check out your local music store and see what fits.

  23. #20

    Default Re: Wide neck Mandolins ?

    As a feller born and raised in Europe, I have to admit that 1/16" vs 3/16" really doesn't mean much to me. Seems unlikely it'd make much if any difference.

    Needless to say, I'm more than willing to admit that my natural loathing of the needless use of fractions for the sake of using fractions is interfering with my rational thinking. But for Pete's sake :D

    ... AAAAAND back to our program.

  24. #21
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    NC
    Posts
    3,725

    Default Re: Wide neck Mandolins ?

    National RM-1s have a 1.25 inch nut width. My others are 1 1/8 and 1 3/16 (which essentially feel the same). I can tell a difference between the RM-1s and the others, for sure, but it only takes a second to adjust.

    I love my RM-1, and love having it as an option, but the other 2 get the most play...
    Chuck

  25. #22

    Default Re: Wide neck Mandolins ?

    I say whatever floats your boat. As a banjo player of over 50 years, I was always repulsed by the idea of a 6 string guitar-tuned banjo. Well, I tried one this weekend and it was a lot of fun, so.................what do I know? Wide neck mandolins? OK.................why not?

  26. #23

    Default Re: Wide neck Mandolins ?

    I will be attending the Orlando Guitar Show in a few weeks. There is usually a good number of Mandolins ,.. and players there. Hope to gain a good deal
    of info ,.. and perhaps an instrument there.

  27. #24
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    Location
    Round Rock, TX
    Posts
    95

    Default Re: Wide neck Mandolins ?

    I've only played a couple of "wide" neck mandolins. I don't think 1/4 inches helps all that much, but it does make it a little harder to play the one finger spilt string A.

  28. #25

    Default Re: Wide neck Mandolins ?

    I've been playing guitar for years and wanted to get into mandolin playing. I have large hands, and every time I'd try to play one, it felt way too uncomfortable, so I know exactly what you're going through. So I bought a Gold Tone mandolin that was originally setup up with 12 strings (tuned like a 12 string guitar but one octave higher). The instrument is slightly larger than a standard F style mandolin, with a wide neck to accommodate all those strings. I brought it to the luthiers at Gold Tone and asked them to convert it to 8 strings. All they did was remove the 4 corner tuning pegs and create a new nut.

    This was the result. Funny thing is I bought a standard mandolin shortly after and really dug in to where I was playing it daily. Now it's the only one I play. Like with anything, it just takes some time to get used to. I won't play the Gold Tone, mostly because there's too much gap in between the strings. I might bring it back to them and see if they can bring the strings in closer, or maybe convert it back to a 12 string lol!

    Attachment 182825

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •