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Thread: Spiderwalk for Mandolin

  1. #1

    Default Spiderwalk for Mandolin

    Sometimes my YouTube mandolin searches take me into guitar videos and I found various videos promoting the "spider walk" as a miracle exercise.


    I found my left hand position on the neck contorting as I went through the exercise, trying to keep the finger bridge in place; something I wouldn't normally do if I could lift my fingers. Getting a clean sound was also hard keeping all the fingers down, which isn't normally when I can lift them and apply at a different angle.

    I searched through the Mandolin Cafe and didn't really find any references to the spider walk exercise for mandolin and wondered why.

    Is it not helpful for the mandolin playing style? Does it not translate to the smaller fretboard easily? Does it create inadvertent bad habits?
    Last edited by mandokismet; Dec-08-2020 at 11:25pm.

  2. #2
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Chicagoland north

    Default Re: Spiderwalk for Mandolin

    I learned a simplified version of that from my mandolin teacher, which he recommended for developing strength and independence of fingers. He also warned me to take it easy and not do too many repetitions at once, and to be especially careful of the little finger, in order to to avoid hand injuries. I believe he suggested starting with 5 reps, and building slowly. The way he did it was just to walk up chromatically from the lowest note til all four fingers were down, and leave them down in that position while moving only one finger at a time to do the same thing on the next higher string. Do all four strings and repeat. It's a straightforward exercise with a lot of payback, but on a mandolin it is really easy to hurt your little finger.

    Start at the fifth fret where it's easy to play, don't hurry; go for clean unmuted notes and tone.

    (Sorry, I managed to figure out how to make a movie, but not how to make it play when you click on it.)
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  4. #3

    Default Re: Spiderwalk for Mandolin

    Thanks. That's the same first exercise on the website I linked. The have an interesting variation called "single string spiderwalk" that isolates individual fingers in different orders that's mentally's like having to will the ring finger up at first.

  5. #4
    The Amateur Mandolinist Mark Gunter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Alvarado/Mansfield, Texas

    Default Re: Spiderwalk for Mandolin

    That’s Andrew Wassim’s website. I learned a lot of music theory from Andrew. He’s a good guitar teacher.
    "Life is short. Play hard." - AlanN

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  6. #5
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Westchester, NY

    Default Re: Spiderwalk for Mandolin

    There are somewhat similar exercises in Mike Marshall's "The Great Book of Finger Busters." If you really want to be in serious pain, do what classical violinists do using Dounis' Daily Dozen exercises (to download pdf of the book). It is a little hard to understand from the sheet music but similar to the spiderwalk, you hold down all four fingers and then lift one at a time. He gives different chordal hand positions to do the same thing in different ways. Ouch!

    Carlo Aonzo offered a similar set of exercises for mandolin. They were known as the "Aonzo Family Scales." I think his dad offered them to him as a young mandolinist to strengthen his fingers. See below. Well... maybe not really the same as the spiderwalk.

    Click image for larger version. 

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