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Thread: Mandolin armrests - Yes, No, Type?

  1. #26
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    Default Re: Mandolin armrests - Yes, No, Type?

    I have them on two and sometimes take them off. I don't really need them. I took them off and played quite a while without them, but this summer in the high humidity, playing outdoors, the varnish started to cloud where my arm was. I put them back on to stop this, not that my mandolin is mint or anything, it has lots of play wear from gigs. I do find I have to bend the brackets on the armrest where it goes into the wood to change the angle on some mandolins. Doing this makes it way more comfortable. Not all mandolins have the same arch and the armrest should angle your arm to playing position, if not, it is not as comfortable.
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  3. #27
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    Default Re: Mandolin armrests - Yes, No, Type?

    Quote Originally Posted by maxr View Post
    I notice people are gradually fitting more arm rests to guitars here in UK, so maybe they just take a while to catch on.

    A Tone-Gard looks interesting. I intend to try the concept using an old viola shoulder rest, if it's wide enough, then order one.
    I donít have them on any of my guitars either! Iím sure thereís a psychological explanation here; you buy a relatively expensive piece of kit and then youíre persuaded to buy some sort of accessory to either improve or protect it - iPad/iPhoneís need covers, cars need mats to protect the carpets - Iím sure that manufacturers actively try to think of things they can leave off so they can sell you something else!

    Iíve yet to see a guitar with an armrest but I have noticed intsruments with a chamfoured body to stop the top edge from digging into your arm which has much the same effect.

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  5. #28

    Default Re: Mandolin armrests - Yes, No, Type?

    Hi Ray. If I'm honest I've probably had a secret fancy for a tone guard from time to time, but they just look a bit intrusive and I thought 'this will be another £50' down the drain. It will go on and no doubt off soon after and put shoved in my mando cupboard with loads of stuff. I appreviate the idea of it stoppimng your body from dampening the sound but I can't really say I seen pros use it so, to me, that says it all.

    The other thing is I really like just holding my mandolin fairly close to my body. I dare say one of these days I may give one a try but I love the look of my instruments the way they are. I've never ever seen anyone use one on a guitar and it is the same principle really.

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  7. #29

    Default Re: Mandolin armrests - Yes, No, Type?

    I dislike armrests on mandolin or guitar. I perceive them as both visually and ergonomically clunky.

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  9. #30
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    Default Re: Mandolin armrests - Yes, No, Type?

    I wear a terry cloth sweat band on my arm, like some tennis players use, whenever I am playing with short sleeves. Keeps the sweat off the instrument, and is much more comfortable than the edge of the mandolin digging into my arm.

    I have seen some with different images insignia on them, which is kind of cool.

    I have seen Ron Thomason, of Dry Branch Fire Squad, use what looks like the top of an athletic sock.


    I have one mandolin with an installed arm wrest. It was designed that way and I would not remove it. When I play this mandolin in short sleeves, however, I still wear my arm band.

    So in summary, I don't add one, but I don't remove it either.
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  11. #31
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    Default Re: Mandolin armrests - Yes, No, Type?

    It's worth noting that armrests for mandolins are nothing especially new. Many of the better Neopolitan bowlback mandolins from the late 1890's and early 1900's had armrests integrated into their design, for example, mandolins from the world-famous player, composer, and luthier, Raffaele Calace. These armrests were intended to protect the finish on the instrument, prevent undesirable damping of vibrations of the top, and to promote the best possible body position, i.e., for the very same reasons as modern armrests. Here are two examples:

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  13. #32
    Mandolin user MontanaMatt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandolin armrests - Yes, No, Type?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Buck View Post
    I dislike armrests on mandolin or guitar. I perceive them as both visually and ergonomically clunky.
    Perhaps you haven’t seen the Weber armrest yet...
    Subtle and effective.
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  15. #33
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    Default Re: Mandolin armrests - Yes, No, Type?

    I use McClung style armrests from Hill Country Stringworks. They keep the mandolin from getting slimy with sweat & keep my forearm comfy. I'm also a tone-gard fan but would be hesitant to use either with a soft varnish.

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  17. #34
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    Default Re: Mandolin armrests - Yes, No, Type?

    I guess I’m biased, but have used an armrest the past 20 years. I started out with a Siren which was flat and about 5/8” high. I liked the position it allowed for my hand. About 2005 or 2006 I had a career change and began some woodworking I made an armrest for a mandolin our group was raffling for a benefit. I liked it and made one for myself. It wasn’t long before I was selling them on eBay and the Cafe. I kept experimenting and developed the McClung armrest. Thousands of McClungs later we’re still at it and thousands of positive testimonials. Sure there’s those that don’t use one, each to their own. I surely don’t look down on any who doesn’t use one.
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  19. #35
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    Default Re: Mandolin armrests - Yes, No, Type?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zach Wilson View Post

    Cafe member Soliver makes some beautiful looking arm rests and post them to the Classifieds every so often. I've been interested in one of his.
    I have Soliver armrests on my mandolin and my octave mandolin. I find the ergonomic improvement allows me to play longer at a stretch. This benefit is especially valuable to me as my joints are, shall we say, a little "special" and I need to be careful about stressors on them. I believe resonance is improved, too. Oh--as a woodworker's wife, I think I have the standing to say that the craftsmanship is impeccable.

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  21. #36

    Default Re: Mandolin armrests - Yes, No, Type?

    Good post JS....yes, no, maybe.....you're so right ! Opinions are like.... well, you know!!
    as for Tone-Gards and Tonerites all that for another day. ha

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