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Thread: Getting better at Mandolin by Playing other Instruments

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    Registered User red7flag's Avatar
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    Default Getting better at Mandolin by Playing other Instruments

    Recently, I have been playing mostly bass for a Church band and a jam and guitar for music writing. From the bass I have been focusing on fluidity in using chord tones. From guitar, I have been focusing on transitioning between chords. Last night at a jam, I played a good deal of mandolin. A number of things helped. One, I was not worried about messing up. Two, I was improvising within chords easily (thanks to bass work). Three I was moving gracefully (not a word I usually ascribe to my playing) between chords (thanks to guitar work). I played some of the best jam mandolin that I can remember. Not only was it appreciated by my my fellow musicians, I was really having fun. Thanks bass and guitar.
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    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Getting better at Mandolin by Playing other Instruments

    Anything you do in music helps everything else you do in music. That has been my experience. While I never became much of a fiddler, by three years of fiddle lessons greatly enhanced my mandolin playing, especially in moving up the neck and finding alternate ways to finger a phrase.
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  3. #3

    Default Re: Getting better at Mandolin by Playing other Instruments

    I've had the same experience in reverse.
    Ever since I've taken to learning mandolin on a more serious level, mainly from one on one lessons with a pro, my guitar playing has gotten much more fluid and powerful. My right hand economy has gotten much better......less effort/tension and better tone.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Getting better at Mandolin by Playing other Instruments

    I've noticed this also. Anything we do to increase our understand of music and playing helps across the board.
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    Default Re: Getting better at Mandolin by Playing other Instruments

    Me too. Playing the mandolin has improved my claw-hammer banjo playing. I seem to know the melody better, and have been adding extra notes into the banjo. I agree that the more instruments you play, the better you will get on each of them. There is a lot of cross over between stringed instruments.
    Richard

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  6. #6

    Default Re: Getting better at Mandolin by Playing other Instruments

    There ya go. Every instrument fits in the "band" in it's own place. Lot's of fun sitting in the different seats. It's like you hear it afresh.

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    Default Re: Getting better at Mandolin by Playing other Instruments

    At this late date, I've finally figured out that seeing music in new ways on any instrument helps you to see music in new ways on all instruments.

    One of the more "accidentally beneficial" things I've done, maybe 15 years ago, was digest "Singing for Dummies" right before the bass guitar books (both Dummies and Idiots Guide ...), only to find that I could =almost reliably= sight-read some of the bass lines right off the printed page. Experience has made that yet more reliable. (Not sayin' I'm actually good at it, but often can get a clue!)
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    Registered User Doug Brock's Avatar
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    Default Re: Getting better at Mandolin by Playing other Instruments

    Playing different instruments is good! I hadnít played much piano in a few years and started again this summer. I was amazed at how much easier it was to fluidly improvise melodies and Iím sure it is due to my mandolin playing.
    Doug Brock
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    Default Re: Getting better at Mandolin by Playing other Instruments

    My wife and I each play at least 5 instruments, and teach as well. This is all good to some point but there comes a time when the hours on each instrument are essential to get that just right touch and feel. It is easy to confuse the approaches for each instrument and you have to confront each one on its terms. But there are techniques that carry over and those techniques will be enhanced by playing a variety of instruments. It will also develop your musical awareness. As you play more music you never hear music the same again as you did before you played music.

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    Default Re: Getting better at Mandolin by Playing other Instruments

    I am mostly a bass player. I find that mandolin helps me get out of a musical rut I can fall into.

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    Registered User Frankdolin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Getting better at Mandolin by Playing other Instruments

    Yes. I think moving between instruments is one of the best exercises for brain and body. We all need to think outside the box to grow and get better, no matter what our passion might be.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Getting better at Mandolin by Playing other Instruments

    I bought a ukulele electric bass a while ago and immediately tuned it in fifths.
    I’ve learned a huge amount about alternating chord tones, doublestops and the general fretboard layout from this instrument.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Getting better at Mandolin by Playing other Instruments

    I have tried to learn all the songs I play on both mandolin and fiddle. Some songs do sound better on one particular instrument, but it has helped stretch my playing to do some things I normally don’t do playing the other instrument. It has also come in handy a few times when I can only take one instrument on a trip, or during gigs when strings have broken, or picks have somehow disappeared.

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    Default Re: Getting better at Mandolin by Playing other Instruments

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Bradford View Post
    ... tried to learn all the songs I play on both mandolin and fiddle. ....
    Definitely do get that. Early on in my mandolicity (12-15 years ago), I'd translate favorite guitar parts to mandolin. Maybe the first, and that STILL manages to impress folks, is the Eagles' "Witchy Woman".
    - Ed

    "Then one day we weren't as young as before
    Our mistakes weren't quite so easy to undo
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    I'm a better man for just the knowin' of you."
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    Registered User stevo58's Avatar
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    Default Re: Getting better at Mandolin by Playing other Instruments

    I’m primarily a tenor banjo player. I just assume anything I do on one instrument will work on the other. It usually does. They are both tuned in fifths.
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