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Thread: Octave Mandolin -

  1. #1

    Default Octave Mandolin -

    Hi, i have a entry level Octave Mandolin - Hora.
    Been playing it for about 2 months now while enjoying it I am noticing a problem with my picking hand. The heel of my hand rests on the edge of the bridge and this is deadening the sound.

    I believe the heel should ideally be resting behind the bridge, but when i do that my pick is too far from the hole of the body and the sound is not great.
    It sounds best when picking on the nearest edge of the hole, but i canít stretch my picking hand that far and still rest the heel of my hand behind the bridge.

    I tried moving the bridge closer to the hole but the results were not good.
    The sound was wonky and even after I tune the strings, when i start playing itís like the sound on each fret is a bit flat or sharp. Also the strings are a bit higher off the fret board. So this is not looking like the right solution.

    Would it be possible to make a sort of resting bar out of metal, or acrylic or even wood and afix it to the bridge? Or would that also result in deadening the sound?
    Basically anything on the bridge deadens the sound?
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Octave Mandolin -

    Cool octave mandolin. Two points. As you discovered, you can't just move the bridge. It changes the intonation. You shouldn't be leaning your hand on the bridge. Actually, you really shouldn't be leaning your picking hand on anything. I would suggest getting a couple of lessons, or if that proves difficult in these covid times, watching some instructional videos. I have not used them but I am sure people here can recommend some good ones.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Octave Mandolin -

    As Nevin has said, the position of the bridge isn’t negotiable - it should be just as far from the 12th fret as is the nut. Some players rest a finger on the top of their instrument SE of the sound hole but this tends to wear a patch on the top and is a bad habit to get into. Others use an elevated pickguard as a guide which is my preferred solution but without a pickguard it’s usually a matter of resting your forearm on the top edge of the instrument as guide. I’ve never seen an elevated rest attached to the bridge - the solution is going to largely down to technique.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Octave Mandolin -

    I would recommend an arm rest. It gets your forearm elevated and gives you something to anchor to without deadening the top. It also helps in getting your picking hand positioned floating over that sweet spot where it sounds the best. There are nice ones made by McClung and Cumberland acoustics. They clamp on the side of the instrument using the same type of clamps used for violin chin rests. I can't tell how deep your instrument is, but you'll want to measure it before you order so you get one with clamps long enough to span the rim of your instrument. It's a nice OM looking one BTW.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Octave Mandolin -

    An arm rest can be really great - I like the ones that have some upward angle to them. I have a nice one made by luthier Dan Voight, and also a McClung and a S. Oliver. All good products. As Rob said, you'll have to measure the instrument depth - you'll probably need viola sized clamp hardware, which any of the armrest suppliers should be able to provide. Just send them the measurement. I think you'll find you want your hand in different positions depending on what you're playing. I would not want something keeping my hand off the bridge, because I use it regularly to mute for effect, or for control of unwanted noise. If you're trying to play near the sound hole and neck to get in the sweet spot, you'll have to either anchor your hand somewhere else or your arm on the top. I don't like to anchor my pinky, and as Ray said, it's generally considered a bad habit, but there are some great players who do it anyway. I try to have may hand floating if I'm not resting near the bridge - like anything else, it takes practice to control it. You should definitely look at some videos as Nevin suggested, and look at how other players are doing it. The suggestion about lessons is also good - there are a lot of great teachers available on line these days. You can probably arrange for as many or as few as you want. Good luck, and have fun! (Nice rosette on that OM.)

  6. #6

    Default Re: Octave Mandolin -

    Ok so float the arm, or fit an arm rest.
    Thanks for the tip.

    I had watched a couple videos of the picking hand, 2 were for mandolin and they talked about resting the heel of the hand behind the bridge.
    The other was for Irish Bouzouki and i think it was similar, not 100% about that now.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Octave Mandolin -

    I'd say float the hand - if your hand is floating, you still need a reference point to find the strings, so some part of your arm will probably be against the top edge, which is where the arm rest can be handy. Your exact technique may change over time with your skill level, so try to remain conscious of how you're approaching it and where you want to go.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Octave Mandolin -

    For a very low mass arm rest I use packing material closed-cell foam, the almost shiny white stuff. Just a little blue painters tape, folded over to be double-sided. So far, no damage to several finishes, just enough grab to not slide off. Only about 1/4” thick, and comfortable. Zero cost.
    Mass added to a bridge is called a mute; a small amount makes a big change, usually by killing the treble and lowering the volume. Not nearly as important on a plucked instrument as one that’s bowed. You may also find that the resting position of the instrument against your body can be adjusted to help keep your arm clear. I don’t think octave players get involved with straps as do the bluegrass folk! But if it works...

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Octave Mandolin -

    Hey Bluey - check out today's Mandolin Mondays for a nice example of what I mean by floating the right hand instead of anchoring it. Lucy Lindblom is letting her hand float, and between 00:40 and 00:55 you can see her changing position for effect.
    https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/e...-Lucy-Lindblom

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