Results 1 to 22 of 22

Thread: How high do you go

  1. #1
    Registered User John Bertotti's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    SD
    Posts
    3,116

    Default How high do you go

    Out of curiosity, I was playing around way above the 12 fret. I can cleanly fret with some effort using my pinky up to the 20th fret on the E string and A string a bit of stretching up to 19 sometimes 20 on the G and D. Above that it doesn't sound good and I have no reason to be there. Do any of you actually play that high up the fretboard on any string? Is it just tradition to have the board extend farther? I could easily live with an instrument, mine is an oval A from OldWave very much like an old Gibson, without the higher frets. But will I find I want them as I progress farther? And no I am not going to change my instrument to get rid of them. They are there to stay. Just curious as to how much use or how practical they really are to those who play a lot more than I do.
    My avatar is of my OldWave Oval A

    Creativity is just doing something wierd and finding out others like it.

  2. #2
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Location
    Guildford + Falmouth England
    Posts
    450

    Default Re: How high do you go

    Modern 'Classical' composers seem to find a use for anything you can do with or to an instrument, and I guess the dusty end of the mandolin fretboard gives them a sonic palette similar to where you fall off the piano stool?

  3. #3

    Default Re: How high do you go

    I’m not too interested in that end of the fretboard, but another 2 or 3 frets at the other end for a mandolin would be sweet!

  4. #4
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    S.W. Wisconsin
    Posts
    6,094

    Default Re: How high do you go

    There are a few tunes that I like to add some color and play the melody in 3 or 4 different places on the neck. In those instances I will go to the 15th fret.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

  5. #5
    Registered User John Bertotti's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    SD
    Posts
    3,116

    Default Re: How high do you go

    On all the strings or mainly just the highest two?
    My avatar is of my OldWave Oval A

    Creativity is just doing something wierd and finding out others like it.

  6. #6
    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Key West
    Posts
    12,962
    Blog Entries
    2

    Default Re: How high do you go

    Those frets are sort of like cops. It's nice to know they're there but most of the time I don't need them, I get along fine without them, but if I need them, they're available. I guess I could have said "fair-weather friends" or some such, but that's not as funny.

    I generally don't venture up there, though I have on occasion gone up to the C or D on the E string. That's rare, and would be in the heat of the moment in a live performance, wherein the unexpected and unplanned may well occur, and would depend on the key. But in some of my songs such ventures are part of the plan.

    I have a shuffle in D in which the lead goes up to a quick accent using the A above the octave (fret 17). I have a slow blues in E which ventures up to a wow moment on the B above the octave (fret 19). In another song the intro/traveling riff is Am Am F G, and for the coda/fade I keep moving this up the neck to its final position with the Am at 14-14-15-17. This is thematically important, as the title is "Bluebird" and the effect is supposed to evoke flying "right up into the sky," as the line says. Lastly, I have a song which begins with a riff in Am/Em then modulates by a full step to a verse in Bm, second verse in C#m, and final riff in D#m. That's 11-13-13-14.

    Single notes are easier to finger cleanly than chords, of course. I mention these instances because they are parts of the composition, as well as the arrangement, so I have to go there. Bear in mind, when fingering these high frets, that you don't have to fit your fingers between the frets. What your fingertips are doing below the frets doesn't matter, as long as you don't go above the frets. I find myself having to explain this to audience members who ask about this, though players should know this already. But I thought I'd leave no question, so I went the Captain Obvious route here.
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

    Furthering Mandolin Consciousness

    Blues Mando Social Group
    Gibson Mandolins Social Group
    North Florida Mandolin Players Social Group

    Lucinda Williams and Eric Von Schmidt (who would have turned 90 5/28/21), the night devotee met hero (and both my heroes)

  7. #7
    Registered User John Bertotti's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    SD
    Posts
    3,116

    Default Re: How high do you go

    Ah and there you have it! I have not found a reason to go above about 15 on the G or D and 15 on the A and in one rare moment 19 on the E. Now classical may use much more but honestly I don’t get the beat tone consistently on the two lowest strings above 17 and on the A and E 19 seems to be my limit for clean fretting and nice tone on that string. I have to use my pinky above the 15 for whatever reason my ring finger doesn’t do well. To weak? Can’t be to big I have small slim hands and finger. Technique is probably a big part of it though.

    I can’t remember who I was watching but they went down to Florida in their playing and it sounded good. I need to practice a lot more!
    My avatar is of my OldWave Oval A

    Creativity is just doing something wierd and finding out others like it.

  8. #8
    Registered User DavidKOS's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    North CA
    Posts
    4,439

    Default Re: How high do you go

    On the one mandolin I own with a full upper register...I do use those notes!

  9. #9
    Registered User Bruce Clausen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Vancouver Island
    Posts
    1,366

    Default Re: How high do you go

    I know they exist, but I've never played a piece or an orchestra part for mandolin that went above G or A (17th fret), and in my jazz playing that is about as far as I need to go. But I remember Paul Hostetter posting once about a musician whose instrument (was it a mandolin, or maybe a guitar?) needed refretting every year, and Paul said every fret was totally trashed, and under every string. I've sometimes what kind of music that player was playing.

  10. #10
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Location
    Guildford + Falmouth England
    Posts
    450

    Default Re: How high do you go

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Clausen View Post
    ...I remember Paul Hostetter posting once about a musician whose instrument (was it a mandolin, or maybe a guitar?) needed refretting every year, and Paul said every fret was totally trashed, and under every string. I've sometimes what kind of music that player was playing.
    Maybe he was in Spinal Tap, playing his electric guitar with a mandolin?

  11. The following members say thank you to maxr for this post:


  12. #11
    Registered User Frankdolin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    near Boston, MA
    Posts
    585

    Default Re: How high do you go

    I don't go there too often, but I would sure miss them if they were gone!

  13. #12

    Default Re: How high do you go

    I was once doing an electric mando slide outro with some friends at a jam and did a portamento slide up to the 2nd octave E (24th fret if this electric mando had one). It sounded great to end the song on such a high note and left everybody smiling. I don't get many opportunities to use it.

    Len B.
    Clearwater, FL

  14. The following members say thank you to lenf12 for this post:


  15. #13
    Distressed Model John Ritchhart's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Mars Hill, North Carolina
    Posts
    1,020

    Default Re: How high do you go

    Sometimes I want to sound like a woodpecker on a tin roof, but not very often. I have gone up to the high D on the E string on Kentucky Waltz but only because Grisman did it.
    We few, we happy few.

  16. #14
    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Key West
    Posts
    12,962
    Blog Entries
    2

    Default Re: How high do you go

    I don't often play up there, but when I do, I use dos ojos! (That's both eyes. ) Stay careful, my friends.

    Quote Originally Posted by lenf12 View Post
    I was once doing an electric mando slide outro with some friends at a jam and did a portamento slide up to the 2nd octave E (24th fret if this electric mando had one). It sounded great to end the song on such a high note and left everybody smiling.
    Sounds like that would have been akin to that swell note Dickey Betts hits at the end of "Ramblin' Man" - but two octaves higher!
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

    Furthering Mandolin Consciousness

    Blues Mando Social Group
    Gibson Mandolins Social Group
    North Florida Mandolin Players Social Group

    Lucinda Williams and Eric Von Schmidt (who would have turned 90 5/28/21), the night devotee met hero (and both my heroes)

  17. #15

    Default Re: How high do you go

    I personally feel like anything above 15 or 17 is beyond my use. I sometimes dream of a mandolin that stops at 17 just to have the tonal palate of being able to get my right hand to really dig in to the strings where there are usually a bunch of frets in the way.

    Thanks
    Baron
    MandoLessons: Free Online Mandolin Lessons
    Velocipede: My Fiddle Tune Duo
    Old Time Mandolin: Solo Old Time Mandolin Album

  18. #16
    Registered User Tom Wright's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Rockville, MD
    Posts
    1,781
    Blog Entries
    7

    Default Re: How high do you go

    My Buchanan 10-string stops at 17, and I rarely use even that, 15 being the likely limit. Even on my 20-fret electric I rarely use even the 15. More likely I'll use 13 for a high F on a jazz tune, but rarely.

    For a recent album, the highest note I played was a 12th-fret E on a choro.
    Blog--Miniature Orchestra
    Sound Clips--SoundCloud
    Videos--YouTube
    The viola is proof that man is not rational

  19. #17
    Registered User DavidKOS's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    North CA
    Posts
    4,439

    Default Re: How high do you go

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Clausen View Post
    I know they exist, but I've never played a piece or an orchestra part for mandolin that went above G or A (17th fret),
    Some of the music by writers like Calace and Munier goes past the 24th fret in some passages. I can't recall exactly right now, sorry.

  20. #18
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2019
    Location
    England - Norfolk/London
    Posts
    46

    Default Re: How high do you go

    I don't often go above the 15th-17th fret but I'm sure there's a contemporary classical composer who's laughing as he notates out the high E on the 24th fret.
    -Ross
    Just a dude with a mandolin.
    rossdoesbass.com - my website

  21. The following members say thank you to Rossjcw for this post:


  22. #19
    Registered User T.D.Nydn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    Upstate N.Y.
    Posts
    1,290

    Default Re: How high do you go

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	20210509_124654.jpg 
Views:	27 
Size:	240.5 KB 
ID:	194070 range of notes on Calaces 2 preludio...

  23. The following members say thank you to T.D.Nydn for this post:


  24. #20
    Registered User DavidKOS's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    North CA
    Posts
    4,439

    Default Re: How high do you go

    Quote Originally Posted by T.D.Nydn View Post
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	20210509_124654.jpg 
Views:	27 
Size:	240.5 KB 
ID:	194070 range of notes on Calaces 2 preludio...
    Thanks, that was one of the pieces I was thinking of (and not remembering) when I made my last post.

  25. The following members say thank you to DavidKOS for this post:


  26. #21

    Default Re: How high do you go

    I use the whole fretboard, but not a lot. On my banjolin, I can just keep playing up past the fretboard, if I hit hard and have my fretting finger in the right place.

  27. #22
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Upstate New York
    Posts
    23,673
    Blog Entries
    54

    Default Re: How high do you go

    I play often times above the 15th fret, very rarely required to play 20 or above. I routinely practice up there however. Scales, arpeggios, and general messing around. Mandolins are not cheap, I want all the mandolin I can get.
    Having something to say is highly over rated.

    The entire staff
    funny....

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •