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Thread: Holding an octave mandolin like a classical guitar

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    Timothy Tim Logan's Avatar
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    Default Holding an octave mandolin like a classical guitar

    I'm curious if any of you who play classical music on an octave mandolin hold it in the position depicted here - with the neck angle at 45 degrees or much more? Just by accident tonight I held my OM with a fairly extreme angle (a little more than in this picture maybe?) - and it seemed to make both fingering the fretboard and plucking the strings easier, I think I may experiment a bit.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Default Re: Holding an octave mandolin like a classical guitar

    I don't necessarily play classical all that much, but I do find the foot stand useful for anything bigger than a mandolin, and sometimes use it for the mandolin.
    I think my angle is more horizontal, the one caution I've heard from more than one instructor is- do not hold or elevate the neck with your left hand, your hand should be able to let go of the neck and the neck does not move.
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    Default Re: Holding an octave mandolin like a classical guitar

    Quote Originally Posted by Tim Logan View Post
    I'm curious if any of you who play classical music on an octave mandolin hold it in the position depicted here - with the neck angle at 45 degrees or much more? Just by accident tonight I held my OM with a fairly extreme angle (a little more than in this picture maybe?) - and it seemed to make both fingering the fretboard and plucking the strings easier, I think I may experiment a bit.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	2CA32355-56A9-486A-9329-97BF50BED23B.jpeg 
Views:	28 
Size:	347.4 KB 
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    My OM is an "A" body, and I hold it like a guitar, though it has a shorter scale length than the guitar. On the other hand, my 'cello is guitar-bodied, and together with the 25" scale, I do find it easier to work the keyboard holding the instrument in the "classical guitar" manner, especially when working above the 12th fret.

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    Default Re: Holding an octave mandolin like a classical guitar

    All my instruments get positioned like that with a strap, whether I'm sitting or standing. The neck, more vertical than most people use, leaves both my wrists in much more neutral positions, eliminating strain, increasing ease of mobility, and allowing more reach between index finger and pinkie.

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    Default Re: Holding an octave mandolin like a classical guitar

    I find that as the instrument goes more horizontal, right hand picking improves along with coordination between the right hand and left-hand.

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    Default Re: Holding an octave mandolin like a classical guitar

    Quote Originally Posted by Simon DS View Post
    I find that as the instrument goes more horizontal, right hand picking improves along with coordination between the right hand and left-hand.

    That's interesting. I find just the opposite to be true, within limits. Vive la différence, eh?

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    Registered User TheMandoKit's Avatar
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    Default Re: Holding an octave mandolin like a classical guitar

    A few years ago, I made the switch to the classical position, on the left thigh rather than the right, with the neck more vertical, for all fretted instruments larger than the mandolin. Mandolin still rests on the right, but the neck is at about a 45 degree angle. I have found as I have gotten older, this is much more comfortable, and gives me a better hand/fingers/wrist to string angle for both hands. My OM is a guitar body, and the 10 string mandocello has a guitar-ish body.

    Of course, I am primarily a guitar player, so that may affect it, too.

    YMMV, of course.
    Last edited by TheMandoKit; Jan-19-2021 at 8:38am. Reason: Fix an omitted word.

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    Unfamous String Buster Beanzy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Holding an octave mandolin like a classical guitar

    I do that with my mandoloncellos, bowlback & A bodied, but have both feet planted on the floor when seated.
    If standing I put one foot on the stand it sits in when not in use.
    Eoin



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    Default Re: Holding an octave mandolin like a classical guitar

    When I play the cittern (22.75” scale) with a flat pick,I tend to hold the neck of the instrument close to horizontal and my right hand Comes in from the end of the instrument. When I’m playing the instrument with finger picks, My position reverts to that of a classical guitar form - neck high, right hand coming across he instrument in the vicinity of the sound hole. I found that a strap is a superb idea no matter what angle you hold the neck.

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    but that's just me Bertram Henze's Avatar
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    Default Re: Holding an octave mandolin like a classical guitar

    30 degrees, approx., with a strap.
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    Registered User foldedpath's Avatar
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    Default Re: Holding an octave mandolin like a classical guitar

    I play my F-style OM with a strap, neck angled up but not as high as the photo above. Maybe 30 degrees like Bertram above.

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