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Thread: Picking technique on electric mandolin?

  1. #1

    Default Picking technique on electric mandolin?

    I recently picked up an Eastman ER-M. Seems with my normal mandolin picking technique I run into the pickups. (Probably due to some sloppiness and newness to the instrument.)

    I'm wondering how other electric mandolin players handle picking technique? Is there a difference between acoustic and electric pick placement?

    Thanks.
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  2. #2
    Hands of Pot Metal
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    Default Re: Picking technique on electric mandolin?

    Lighter. You’ve got a volume knob
    Play it like you mean it

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  4. #3

    Default Re: Picking technique on electric mandolin?

    Pick-click is pick-click but it shouldn't come through a magnetic pickup like the ER has.

    I've adapted my picking style to avoid the scooped Florida on my acoustic and that carries over to the electric.
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  5. #4

    Default Re: Picking technique on electric mandolin?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill McCall View Post
    Lighter. You’ve got a volume knob
    Yes! An entirely different instrument. Thanks.
    --
    2020 Eastman MD805/V
    2020 Eastman ER-M
    2004 Subaru Forester motorized transport

  6. #5

    Default Re: Picking technique on electric mandolin?

    Quote Originally Posted by Verne Andru View Post
    Pick-click is pick-click but it shouldn't come through a magnetic pickup like the ER has.

    I've adapted my picking style to avoid the scooped Florida on my acoustic and that carries over to the electric.
    Thanks. More time with the ER-M this evening. Will be a learning curve but I am really enjoying the possibilities.
    --
    2020 Eastman MD805/V
    2020 Eastman ER-M
    2004 Subaru Forester motorized transport

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  8. #6

    Default Re: Picking technique on electric mandolin?

    On the other hand, it's not always the fault of your technique sometimes it's the design of the instrument. The trouble with electrics is that too often they're mini copies of guitars, which creates problems like not enough space for your hand between the neck and the bottom horn when playing high notes, and ya, not enough room for your pick travel.

    I've got three 5-strings with me at the moment:
    1. I don't have any issues with the pick hitting the pickup on my Mann SEM-5.
    2. I hit the pickup now and then on my Schwab but don't hear any clunking through the amp or headphones.
    3. The Mike Marshall Signature has been a money pit simply because of this I'm on my third set of pickups trying to carve out enough real estate for the pick to move in, and when the pick does hit the pickup, it's a pretty loud clunk.

    I don't have any experience with the ER have you tried lowering the pickup(s)?

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  10. #7
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    Default Re: Picking technique on electric mandolin?

    I’ve played the acoustic for decades and have a very heavy (for lack of a better term) approach with both hands. With the electric, I have had much better results with a thinner pick and a looser grip. Also, I position my forearm as it crosses the body so it is roughly parallel to the strings. Hope that helps.

    Tim

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  12. #8
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    Default Re: Picking technique on electric mandolin?

    I regret having too many frets I'll never use forcing the pickup to be in the way ..
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  13. #9

    Default Re: Picking technique on electric mandolin?

    Quote Originally Posted by mandroid View Post
    I regret having too many frets I'll never use forcing the pickup to be in the way ..
    One of these years I'm going to build (out of whatever scrap and/or cheap materials I can find) a quickie 8-string electric mandolin-tuned object, and it will have 8 frets. Literally eight frets are all I need/want for the genres I play. I have never used any of the higher frets (on mandolin, anyway) in the last 60 years and I don't intend to start now, those higher frets just sit there unused (and they make dusting more complicated).

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  15. #10
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    Default Re: Picking technique on electric mandolin?

    Quote Originally Posted by mandroid View Post
    I regret having too many frets I'll never use forcing the pickup to be in the way ..
    Definitely. I don't play above the 12th fret on my electric mandolins because it doesn't sound good through an amp. [Generally avoid the E string up there too.] With more frets, it pushes the pickup location toward the bridge where the strings are not vibrating as much. Therefore worse sound. Plinkity plink... Playing below the 12th fret gives you 4 violin positions to play in. That covers everything I need.

    Re: picking technique, look at players in your style on Youtube. I play in a sort of western swing and country jazz style. More alternating picking than a jazz guitarist, but a lot of downstroke articulation too. I start the pick next to the string and push it through the string relatively slowly. Even when playing fast. The pick doesn't move much past the string. Picking as if it was bluegrass is totally wrong for this style. A fast moving pick gives too much "attack". Maybe it works when playing rock.
    Last edited by Joel Glassman; Oct-03-2020 at 7:47pm.

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  17. #11

    Default Re: Picking technique on electric mandolin?

    I practise above the 12th fret, but ya, I almost never play above the 12th fret.
    When I'm running through scales (and arpeggios, chords, patterns) in all keys and all positions, my formula is to not go above the 12th fret if I'm repeating the same notes as I just played if I'm doing a riff in different positions, moving up the neck, I'll stop at the 12th. If, however, a new octave, a new set of notes can be played, then the 15th fret's the limit.
    I'll also get way up there if I'm practising something in all keys just because that's where I end up if I'm to keep the pattern consistent, eg a riff in B's probably going to be four frets higher than the same riff in G.
    It's territory that doesn't get used live, but (a) it strengthens the fingers, and (b) getting a reasonably-satisfying tone up there is a challenge that I believe has some merit, some degree of payoff.

    I also agree with Joel about pick movement, other than to add that my opinion is that rock uses the same technique the only difference is that there's an inverse relationship between distortion-level and picking-technique tonal results (as in it don't make no never mind).

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