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Thread: New kind of to site

  1. #1
    Don Smith
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    Default New kind of to site

    I have been a member on the site for a bit but have never posted anything
    Signed up back at the end of 2018 or beginning of 2019 not really sure exactly when after signing up to become a member on the forum I had some personal things come up that stopped me from even thinking about doing anything other then taking care of my wife who was struck by a hit and run driver while she was taking a walk but I have finally got the time to start thinking about learning to play a mandolin again

    I purchased a Loar LM310 just prior to my wife getting hit and was learning on it I have a question the Loar has what I believe is standard nut width on most mandolins because of the size of my hands and finger I find it hard to fret the strings cleanly would a wide nut mandolin make it any easier to play for someone with large fingers and hands

  2. #2
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: New kind of to site

    Well, I hope all is going a bit better for you and for your wife. I'm making the assumption that you have some history playing another stringed instrument like the guitar. If that is the case you need to adjust the way you are holding your hand when fretting the fretboard. I'm sure there will be a plethora of people stepping in with answers but my advice to you is to not press down with the end of your fingers like you do on a guitar. You have to change your grip to be a little more sideways. You end up using the corners of your finger tips. As an example, when I started playing mandolin all the time my callouses pretty much migrated from the ends of my fingers to the corners of my fingertips. Once you figure out that you don't have to get all of your fingers straight down to make a chord it does get easier.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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  4. #3
    Registered User
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    Default Re: New kind of to site

    In my experience there are more variables to consider than nut width. Nut width being one but also flat vs radius fretboard, profile of the neck (vee, "c", half round, etc. ) and thickness of the neck along that profile.
    I would suggest playing as many mandolins as possible to find what you are most comfortable with and take mental or physical notes on each. This will take more than a 5 minute test drive.
    For me it was 1 3/16" nut, flat fretboard and "c" profile. Not easy to find by the way.

  5. #4
    Registered User Mandobart's Avatar
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    Default Re: New kind of to site

    Djsmith you joined 12/8/19. Good to have you here!

  6. #5

    Default Re: New kind of to site

    I suggest you persist practising with your current mandolin and take in the advice you have been given, which is all pertinent to improvement. There is no instant solution to making progress and I am reminded of George Stephenson's watchword- perseverance, which applies to life in general. Once you have invested a certain amount of time and overcome the sore fingers and other irksome hurdles, you will be better able to make an informed decision of whether or not you need to make changes. It is a fact, that my first proper mandolin, a Japanese copy of a Gibson A5 "Jethro Style" mandolin had a wider fingerboard. I did not appreciate this at the time, because back then you were lucky to find a mandolin in most music shops, so you were not spoiled for choice and could not experiment trying different instruments. However, even with that wider board, it was still a huge chore to make any progress and it did take time, so enjoy what you are doing and persevere!

  7. #6
    Don Smith
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    Default Re: New kind of to site

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandobart View Post
    Djsmith you joined 12/8/19. Good to have you here!
    I realized that after I posted but thank you

  8. #7
    Don Smith
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    Default Re: New kind of to site

    Thank you everyone that replied problem here in Arizona is there are not many stores that even carry a mandolin in stock so when I purchased the one I have I was lucky to find a Guitar center that even had one and that was literally all they had was one my hands and fingers are so big that it started me thinking which is probably not the smartest thing to do

    NickR you are probably correct in your thinking to just keep practicing with what I have and learn

  9. #8
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: New kind of to site

    You got a decent instrument, anyway; not every Guitar Center has solid-wood carved-top mandolins.

    If mandolin is ultimately too "compressed" for your fingers, consider larger mandolin-family instruments: mandola, octave mandolin, etc. They have more guitar-like fret spacing.
    Allen Hopkins
    Gibsn: '54 F5 3pt F2 A-N Custm K1 m'cello
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  10. #9
    Orrig Onion HonketyHank's Avatar
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    Default Re: New kind of to site

    Hi, DJ, nice to have you back with us.

    A wider nut might help, but not a lot. A typical wide nut is only 1/16" wider. Divide that by three for the amount of "help" you can expect. The real answer is practice and subconsciously learning how to fret cleanly even with sausage fingers.

    One thing I am finding (I am admittedly a Newbie) is that I don't need as much finger pressure as I want to apply. More pressure will flatten out your fingertip, making it wider. Less pressure, but more precisely applied right behind the fret, helps me avoid those clammy notes. Also, more pressure will make your calluses get grooves, thus requiring even more pressure to get the string down on the fret crown. Pete Martin has a good (free) video on finger pressure on his website (petimarpress.com).
    New to mando? Click this link -->Newbies to join us at the Newbies Social Group.

    Just send an email to rob.meldrum@gmail.com with "mandolin setup" in the subject line and he will email you a copy of his ebook for free (free to all mandolincafe members).

    My website and blog: honketyhank.com

  11. #10
    Registered User
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    Default Re: New kind of to site

    I’ve owned mandolins with narrower nuts (Eastman) and currently have 1 1/8, 1 3/16, and 1 1/4 (National RM-1) widths. It’s definitely easier to avoid buzzing from touching adjacent strings on the wider boards, but I’ve been able to adjust to all of them. I have large hands, but not sausage fingers, though. Try to grip the neck more like you’d hold a violin than a guitar if you’re not already doing so, and practice for a few more weeks. If you just can’t make your fingers fit, then consider a wider board. I thought 1 1/8 was my fav until I got 1 3/16, and now I feel like that’s my sweet spot. Silly as it sounds, that 1/16 of an inch makes a difference for me...

    Welcome back, and I hope your wife has recovered and is doing well!!
    Chuck

  12. #11
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: New kind of to site

    Quote Originally Posted by Djsmith View Post
    Thank you everyone that replied problem here in Arizona is there are not many stores that even carry a mandolin in stock so when I purchased the one I have I was lucky to find a Guitar center that even had one and that was literally all they had was one my hands and fingers are so big that it started me thinking which is probably not the smartest thing to do...
    Up until last year you had one of the best mandolin retailers in the country in your state by the way.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  13. #12
    Registered User Timbofood's Avatar
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    Default Re: New kind of to site

    The thing is you are learning a different instrument, don’t think of it as a guitar, it’s not. It is an instrument unto itself, use what you have, adjust your grip, endeavor to persevere. Once you get a little more comfortable, it will feel much more relaxed and things will start to make sense. Don’t beat yourself up for not getting it immediately.
    It’s something new, take a little time make every date with your mandolin pleasant and they will become more intimate and rewarding!
    Timothy F. Lewis
    "If brains was lard, that boy couldn't grease a very big skillet" J.D. Clampett

  14. #13
    Don Smith
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    Default Re: New kind of to site

    Thanks again to everyone that replied I do appreciate all input I have always loved the sound of a mandolin and made the mistake of telling my wife that I always wanted to learn to play one when I was younger and low and behold what shows up one day A mandolin she said it was the only one she could find when she went and looked it was not vary long after her giving it to me she was hit she has recovered from her physical injury's from being hit but about 2 years earlier we found out she was in early stages of Dementia and after getting hit by the hit and run driver her dementia increased 10 fold so its an ongoing struggle for her to just remember the easiest of things that came naturally for her at one time, I feel obligated to her to learn to play it as for playing an instrument before the mandolin I played an alto sax so I do not feel I have any habits I need to re learn as far as stringed instruments

    Again I do greatly appreciate any and all input that is why I signed up on the site was to learn,I am one that takes all opinions and suggestions to heart and try to learn from others that have already been there and done that and the way I was taught is the only stupid question is the one you do not ask.

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