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Thread: Always use a strap? Even when seated?

  1. #26
    Registered User John Bertotti's Avatar
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    Default Re: Always use a strap? Even when seated?

    Quote Originally Posted by Beanzy View Post
    I'm another one who never uses a strap on mandolin or Mandoloncello standing or seated.
    The mandolin design allows this, for either the bowlback or carved top, without having to make any contact beyond the edge.
    For the bowlback mandoloncello I use my foot on one of those A shaped guitar stands it sits in when not in use.
    That instrument rests on my thigh on a grip mat & I always play it at a similar angle to a classical guitar (maybe just a tad steeper than typical).
    The neck rests lightly in the groove above the knuckle between palm & index finger, where it can slide easily without friction being an issue.
    Some people think it's some kind of trick, but it's really just using the design to fit your body rather than making the body contort to the design. Once it's correct it is very solid with no slipping or wobbling about no matter how keen I get.
    I’m starting my ietondiet again because my bowl belly and bowlback mandolin are starting to argue! Ahhaha
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  3. #27
    Unfamous String Buster Beanzy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Always use a strap? Even when seated?

    I have seen some who turn this to a virtue allowing a nice perky higher position with added support shelf below
    Eoin



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  5. #28
    Registered User John Bertotti's Avatar
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    Default Re: Always use a strap? Even when seated?

    I don’t have that big a belly bowl yet! Which is why I am working on getting ahead of the game and avoid the shelf! Hahaha
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  6. #29
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    Default Re: Always use a strap? Even when seated?

    Lots of good advice. The main thing is keeping your instrument stabilized in a reasonably consistent position so that you get an optimal pick angle and have the freedom to move your hands around freely. Whether that requires a strap, a foot prop, non-slip materials, etc, or nothing at all varies person to person.

    I almost always use a strap. Sometime not with guitar or banjo if Iím just grabbing one for a quick tune but probably 99% of the time otherwise. I even installed strap buttons on my ukuleles because it felt more familiar but mainly because I felt like I was fighting them when I played standing up. So, Iím a strap guy. But, do what works best for you, and enjoy the ride!

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  8. #30
    Registered User Sue Rieter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Always use a strap? Even when seated?

    Quote Originally Posted by CES View Post
    Lots of good advice. The main thing is keeping your instrument stabilized in a reasonably consistent position so that you get an optimal pick angle and have the freedom to move your hands around freely. Whether that requires a strap, a foot prop, non-slip materials, etc, or nothing at all varies person to person.
    I've been thinking alot about this, because I am trying to work on speeding up my playing.

  9. #31
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    Default Re: Always use a strap? Even when seated?

    I use a strap for all of my mandos except my bowlbacks. 2 reasons - position consistency (mandolin neck height) and safety - my cats and dogs often feel the need to be on my lap, and I don't want my mandolins to hit the floor!

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  11. #32
    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Always use a strap? Even when seated?

    No. I dont when seated .. One benefit a Tone Gard offers is the back's resonance is not dampened holding it against the body ..
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  13. #33
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Always use a strap? Even when seated?

    If after playing a tune, put your left hand over your head. If the mandolin shifts position, or you panic and grip the instrument tighter with your right arm, it is an indication that your left hand was supporting some of the weight of the instrument. This is not a hanging offense, it just means that sometimes you are subconsciously making decisions about what notes to play and how, based on not dropping the instrument, instead of based on what the music needs.

    To reiterate my previous quip: a strap does not guarantee you are holding the instrument correctly.

    Oh, and Strap Acquisition Syndrome is a real thing, so don't go googling Coach Guitar Straps, or Legacy Straps, or Lakota Leathers, or search for straps on Etsy, Sweetwater, or Musician's Friend. Don't befriend fiber artists who do work with looms. Don't go to vintage camera shops that sell vintage camera straps. Just don't.
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  15. #34
    Registered User Sue Rieter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Always use a strap? Even when seated?

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffD View Post
    Oh, and Strap Acquisition Syndrome is a real thing, so don't go googling Coach Guitar Straps, or Legacy Straps, or Lakota Leathers, or search for straps on Etsy, Sweetwater, or Musician's Friend. Don't befriend fiber artists who do work with looms. Don't go to vintage camera shops that sell vintage camera straps. Just don't.
    I've got more straps than I do instruments, and, being somewhat of a fiber artist, I'm thinking seriously about getting into making some.
    Cotton and/or paracord macrame, and maybe leather.

  16. #35
    Registered User John Bertotti's Avatar
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    Default Re: Always use a strap? Even when seated?

    Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	196198Leather is fun. I made a round braid with some leather, very soft and flexible. I wanted one just in case. I do use it now and then but mostly go strapless.
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  18. #36
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    Default Re: Always use a strap? Even when seated?

    I am spoiled. When i was a very young grasshopper my dad brought home two old beat up guitars. My brother really took to guitar, but they came with these great old straps, that i acquired. They were made from inch wide suspenders from I am guessing the early decades of the last century. Real cool retro vibe, when retro vibe wasn't really a thing.

    So I have a fondness for cloth straps, an inch or under wide, with retro designs.
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  20. #37
    Registered User T.D.Nydn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Always use a strap? Even when seated?

    As a child I started on a bowlback, so no strap and I always sat down. When I got my first carved A model ,I didn’t have a strap and really didn’t know any better so I played without a strap both sitting and standing. When I got the F model,it was a substantial instrument and balanced differently so I use a strap. So to this day ,sitting or standing : A model no strap, F model strap…

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  22. #38
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Always use a strap? Even when seated?

    The now famous Mike Marshall video shows sitting, with a strap. What you will notice however, is that the strap is superfluous. It is not stabilizing the mandolin. Mike's right arm is stabilizing the mandolin. The video would be exactly the same without the strap.
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  23. #39
    Registered User Tom Wright's Avatar
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    Default Re: Always use a strap? Even when seated?

    My straps are left attached, partly because I more often than not practice standing, and partly because it would take extra effort to remove them, past the strap locking arrangement. Even sitting, I am often playing with the instrument a bit to my side, and hanging from the strap.

    My acoustic, a Buchanan 10-string, is heavy at the peghead, and left hand has to support it. This is not a technical problem, because best results, in my experience, come from the left hand really knowing how to work with the right hand. Sone support comes from wedging under right arm, but most from left hand. The amount is modest. My electric 10-string is closer to balanced, but I find no major technical differences in handling it compared to the acoustic.

    The heavy electric gets a wide, guitar-style leather strap. The acoustic uses the lighter Ernie Ball nylon-web strap, which is slippery, but works well, easily adjustable.
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  25. #40

    Default Re: Always use a strap? Even when seated?

    I not only always use a strap when playing, mine always stays on my mandolin even when it's in the case. Guess it might as well be considered part of the instrument, for my purposes.
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  27. #41
    not a donut Kevin Winn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Always use a strap? Even when seated?

    +1 on Brent's comments above: Always on the instrument, always around my neck when playing, sitting or standing.

    Just always done it that way.

    Which is, of course, the best reason to keep doing anything...
    "Keep your hat on, we may end up miles from here..." - Kurt Vonnegut

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  29. #42
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    Default Re: Always use a strap? Even when seated?

    Big guitar straps can be a problem in tight-fitting mandolin cases or bags, so a lot of players go for small thin straps - since most mandolins aren't heavy.

    I have a couple of braided leather ones, cowhide from Massimo Gatti and kangaroo leather from David Hine.

    Although I have come to prefer these adjustable, woven silk/cotton straps:
    Chicago straps
    Bren

  30. #43

    Default Re: Always use a strap? Even when seated?

    Like some others here, the strap is pretty well attached to the mandolin - loop around the scroll and grommet holding the strap button end - so it's on the mando all the time. At this point, I only play sitting down, using a foot rest (of sorts), per Mike Marshall's course at ArtistWorks. So, the strap goes over my shoulders.

    Here's at least one video [link only] where the first thing he does is talk about seated posture (a frequent topic in his video exchanges!), and you can see he's got a strap on, but it's not doing anything, save possibly preventing an accidental drop.

    https://youtu.be/K1_Q7DMrSck
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  31. #44
    Registered User Kirk Higgins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Always use a strap? Even when seated?

    I always use a strap on my mandolins whether sitting or standing. The primarily reason being I donít want to drop it.
    Kirk

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  32. #45
    Mandolingerer Bazz Jass's Avatar
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    Default Re: Always use a strap? Even when seated?

    Quote Originally Posted by keith.rogers View Post
    Like some others here, the strap is pretty well attached to the mandolin - loop around the scroll and grommet holding the strap button end - so it's on the mando all the time. At this point, I only play sitting down, using a foot rest (of sorts), per Mike Marshall's course at ArtistWorks. So, the strap goes over my shoulders.

    Here's at least one video [link only] where the first thing he does is talk about seated posture (a frequent topic in his video exchanges!), and you can see he's got a strap on, but it's not doing anything, save possibly preventing an accidental drop.

    https://youtu.be/K1_Q7DMrSck
    I notice how low he (and Chris Thile and others) has the mandolin in his lap.

    I have a very long torso and with my mandolin strapped at comfortable playing position, the mando is no where near that low in my lap when seated.

    Even propping my left leg right up, with the upper point resting on my left leg I'd need to be hunched right over...

  33. #46
    Registered User Simon DS's Avatar
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    Default Re: Always use a strap? Even when seated?

    I like that the mando is light.
    I use mainly old black or thin leather camera straps from second hand shops or multicoloured 1/2inch flat climbing strap material with paracord at the ends.
    You can buy nice ones too.
    Whatever, there’re always attached, I think it’s safer that way.

  34. #47
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    Default Re: Always use a strap? Even when seated?

    Always do, always have. You can simply let go of your instrument whilst you do something else - change picks, pick up a capo, take a drink etc. etc.

    I remember the late Red Rector who never seemed to use one even when standing

  35. #48
    Registered User Drew Egerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Always use a strap? Even when seated?

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffD View Post
    The now famous Mike Marshall video shows sitting, with a strap. What you will notice however, is that the strap is superfluous. It is not stabilizing the mandolin. Mike's right arm is stabilizing the mandolin. The video would be exactly the same without the strap.
    Having watched a lot of Mike's videos through Artist Works, one of his main points on the strap while sitting is that if he gets to feeling the groove and leans up out of position, that the mandolin moves with him so he arm position doesn't have to change for those brief moments.
    I personally would say I use the strap while sitting roughly 50% of the time.
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  36. #49
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    Default Re: Always use a strap? Even when seated?

    I always use a strap, mandolin, guitar, ukulele, always. I usually practice standing up, but I still use a strap when playing seated.
    Kentucky KM-250 Mandolin

  37. #50
    Registered User J Mangio's Avatar
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    Default Re: Always use a strap? Even when seated?

    Standing or seated, I use a boot lace slung over my shoulder.
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