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Thread: is an arm rest a benefit to technique ?

  1. #1

    Default is an arm rest a benefit to technique ?

    Hi all,

    I am interested in learning to play the mandolin and might buy a Northfield Calhoun.
    For an extra $40 charge Northfield offers for sale an arm rest. Would an arm rest be of some benefit to learning correct playing technique?
    Thanks in advance for any helpful replies.

    DG

  2. #2
    The Amateur Mandolinist Mark Gunter's Avatar
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    Default Re: is an arm rest a benefit to technique ?

    An armrest is not necessary ... could it possibly be a benefit? I'd have to say yes. I like having an armrest and people have reported that it helps with their right hand position. Not all people, but some people. You can learn good technique both with and without an armrest, and using one would be a personal preference IMO.
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  4. #3

    Default Re: is an arm rest a benefit to technique ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Gunter View Post
    An armrest is not necessary ... could it possibly be a benefit? I'd have to say yes. I like having an armrest and people have reported that it helps with their right hand position. Not all people, but some people. You can learn good technique both with and without an armrest, and using one would be a personal preference IMO.
    Thanks for the reply. Also, I appreciate the "Advice for Mandolin Beginners" link in your signature and I will spend some time viewing those videos.

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  6. #4
    Registered User Bob Clark's Avatar
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    Default Re: is an arm rest a benefit to technique ?

    I agree with Mark that an arm rest is not essential, but I think they can help in a few ways. They can help keep you from dampening the sound of the mandolin by keeping your arm off the top. They can also elevate the wrist enough to help you develop better right hand technique, by holding your wrist straighter. Like all things in the mandolin technique arena, opinions vary and no one thing applies to all players. That said, from my perspective, developing good technique from the beginning gives one a better foundation to grow on, and I believe they do provide the benefits I mentioned. I am a happy user of Cumberland Acoustics arm rests.
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  7. #5

    Default Re: is an arm rest a benefit to technique ?

    Everyone’s different, an armrest may help you maintain a ‘good’ posture, but what is sure is that to be able to play the mandolin then you’re going to need muscles.

    I’ve found that if I go for a run or some long hikes then it’s much easier (a week or so later) to hold the instrument and do the long hours of practice that are necessary to progress. It depends on a lot of different factors as well as how active and healthy you are in your daily life.

  8. #6
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: is an arm rest a benefit to technique ?

    I never played with an armrest but a recently acquired mandolin has one and I like it. It is pretty minimal though and ergnomically designed. If I ever got one for another mandolin i would want one like that. OTOH I don't know if I ever need another armrest.
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  9. #7

    Default Re: is an arm rest a benefit to technique ?

    Nope. But if it makes you feel more comfortable, have at it.

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  11. #8
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: is an arm rest a benefit to technique ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    I never played with an armrest but a recently acquired mandolin has one and I like it. It is pretty minimal though and ergnomically designed. If I ever got one for another mandolin i would want one like that. OTOH I don't know if I ever need another armrest.
    Here's mine...

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    Jim

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  13. #9
    Registered User Louise NM's Avatar
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    Default Re: is an arm rest a benefit to technique ?

    I like using one and found that it did help with my right hand position. YMMV. Also, my first instrument had pretty sharp edges and the armrest kept the dents in my forearm down.

  14. #10

    Default Re: is an arm rest a benefit to technique ?

    Ha, ha, I thought the question was about a fret arm rest!
    -and putting your feet up, or laying in a hammock, does this benefit your technique?!
    Last edited by Simon DS; Jan-29-2020 at 6:14am.

  15. #11
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    Default Re: is an arm rest a benefit to technique ?

    Tried one, not for me.

    Armguard
    pickguard
    toneguad

    all no

    Right Guard

    yes

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  17. #12
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    Default Re: is an arm rest a benefit to technique ?

    I had to put one on to defend the finish from my acidic sweat. It does slightly change your arm position. I did not notice that it took a great deal of getting used to. I have now worn the finish off the arm rest. Soooo mission accomplished. R/
    I love hanging out with mandolin nerds . . . . . Thanks peeps ...

  18. #13
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    Default Re: is an arm rest a benefit to technique ?

    Quote Originally Posted by AlanN View Post
    Tried one, not for me.

    Armguard
    pickguard
    toneguad

    all no

    Right Guard

    yes
    Right Guard: Don't get dressed without it

    It's a good product but I have never considered using it on a mandolin. Maybe a banjo

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  20. #14
    Registered User Doug Edwards's Avatar
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    Default Re: is an arm rest a benefit to technique ?

    If you wanted to try one out, I’m other other makers would take a return. I let my customers exchange or refund. In most cases you’d just be out the shipping. Another option would be listing it on the Cafe classifieds

  21. #15
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    Default Re: is an arm rest a benefit to technique ?

    Arm rests may benefit the mandolin more than the player's technique. Saves wear and sweat damage on the finish. I've found that the radius on an arm rest makes playing for extended periods less rough on my piking forearm as well.

  22. #16

    Default Re: is an arm rest a benefit to technique ?

    I have one on one mandolin, but have other mandolins without one. Don’t really see a difference. In the beginning it seemed like a big change, now not so much.
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    Registered User Doug Brock's Avatar
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    Default Re: is an arm rest a benefit to technique ?

    I have a couple of beautiful flamed-maple McClung arm rests, one on an A-style, one on an F-style, and have experimented quite a bit with them. I bought them after hearing that they would protect the mandolin finish AND put my arm at a better picking angle. My current feeling is that I'm actually slightly more comfortable picking without them. I do like the looks, though, and I like the McClung tilt. As for protecting the mandolin, you might be protecting that top edge but if you have a varnish finish you're going to leave marks on top and bottom from the arm-rest mount.
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  24. #18

    Default Re: is an arm rest a benefit to technique ?

    It is personal preference. I love Doug Edwards' and Spencer Oliver's arm rests and have one or the other on all of my mandolins. I would try it and see if it works for you. If it does, great! If not, I'm sure it would be an easy resell here on the classifieds.
    Best, Stevo

  25. #19

    Default Re: is an arm rest a benefit to technique ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    Here's mine...

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    Jim, that is really a beautiful armrest. I love the "floating" extension. Is it custom, are they available? I've never seen one like it.

  26. #20
    Registered User Eric Platt's Avatar
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    Default Re: is an arm rest a benefit to technique ?

    On a smaller body octave mandolin, it helps with my right hand technique. On my others mandolins, it doesn't really help, but do have them on two instruments.
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  27. #21
    Registered User John Soper's Avatar
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    Default Re: is an arm rest a benefit to technique ?

    I like the fact that I don't have a sharp crease in my right arm when I use an armrest. Also in the summer, it protects the finish from sunscreen, insect repellant, and sweat - of course, there are other ways of of protecting the finish, but it is more comfortable than a long sleeved shirt in a North Carolina July, and looks better than a towel draped over the bass bout of the mandolin.

  28. #22
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: is an arm rest a benefit to technique ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dillon View Post
    Jim, that is really a beautiful armrest. I love the "floating" extension. Is it custom, are they available? I've never seen one like it.
    It came with my Campanella. I don’t know if he makes them separately. I also got one by Lynn Dudenbostel which is also pretty small. I just put it on my Brentrup mandolin.
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  29. #23
    Gilchrist (pick) Owner! jasona's Avatar
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    Default Re: is an arm rest a benefit to technique ?

    I like my Doug Edward's armrest for how it helps my right hand float free. I also use a Tone guard, but mostly to help keep my A style mandolin still and in the correct position. I also like finger rests for knowing where my right hand is. None of these are necessary.
    Jason Anderson

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  30. #24
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    Default Re: is an arm rest a benefit to technique ?

    I have a mandolin with one on it and I love it ! I have another without one and I love it !
    My two favorite pastimes are drinking wine and playing the mandolin but most of my friends would rather hear me drink wine! Adapted from quote by Mark Twain------supposedly !

  31. #25
    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: is an arm rest a benefit to technique ?

    It's a not having a sharp bound edge jabbing my forearm, solved by armrest..

    rounded unbound edge its un needed...
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