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Thread: Mandolin playing mindset vs guitar playing mindset

  1. #26
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    Default Re: Mandolin playing mindset vs guitar playing mindset

    Quote Originally Posted by foldedpath View Post
    Do you place your thumb in the middle of the back of the neck on both mandolin and guitar? That's what I do on guitar, but I shift to a more fiddle-like hold with the thumb on the side with mandolin.

    There is no official right or wrong about that, but I believe that's what many mandolin players do. Here's the Mike Marshall video on the subject that helped me understand the differences:


    I don't think it's even physically possible for me to place the thumb that way on the mandolin (as I've mentioned before, I have very little control over my left thumb, since one tendon is missing. My attitude in both cases is I don't place the thumb at all; I fix the instrument in place, then bring my hand to the neck and let the thumb land where it lands, mostly, in both cases, on the side, perhaps lower on the guitar. Barreing will ofen force my thumb below the fretboard, but is to be avoided anyway. Complete barrre chords don't connect well.

    The right hand may be a different issue. Especially on a mandolin without pickguard players tend to brush the strings behind the bridge (for tactile reference, or, perhaps simpy because the strings are there.) That tecjhnique does not translate to a flattop guitar.

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    Registered User lowtone2's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandolin playing mindset vs guitar playing mindset

    Quote Originally Posted by ralph johansson View Post
    Yes, Guitar neck in one case, mandolin neck in the other. But my general left hand approach is exactly the same in either case.
    Judging from my own experience, you might one day regret having used that left hand technique on mandolin. I play a little guitar, bass guitar, and double bass and on all of those place my thumb behind the neck and try to keep my fingers perpendicular to the strings. On mandolin, that technique eventually caused me a lot a wear at the basal joint. Maybe you will be fine, but my experience, and especially playing, improved immensly when I shifted to more of a fiddle hold.

    This sweet little instrument can be brutal!

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    Default Re: Mandolin playing mindset vs guitar playing mindset

    Quote Originally Posted by lowtone2 View Post
    Judging from my own experience, you might one day regret having used that left hand technique on mandolin. I play a little guitar, bass guitar, and double bass and on all of those place my thumb behind the neck and try to keep my fingers perpendicular to the strings. On mandolin, that technique eventually caused me a lot a wear at the basal joint. Maybe you will be fine, but my experience, and especially playing, improved immensly when I shifted to more of a fiddle hold.

    This sweet little instrument can be brutal!
    I simply don't understand what you're talking about. What exactly are you referring to by "that left hand technique"? I can't think of a more relaxed approach than mine. I've been playing the guitar for 64 years, and the mandolin for 54, and never experienced any problems or injuries except those caused by accidents, such as being hit by a car on a bicycle crossing.

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    Default Re: Mandolin playing mindset vs guitar playing mindset

    [QUOTE=lowtone2;1840851] ...... (double posting)

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    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandolin playing mindset vs guitar playing mindset

    What about the chromatic playing on guitar (one finger one fret) versus diatonic playing on a mandolin (one finger two frets).

    This screws me up more than anything. I am predominantly a melody player, and switching between these two ways of fretboarding drives me nuts.
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    Default Re: Mandolin playing mindset vs guitar playing mindset

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffD View Post
    What about the chromatic playing on guitar (one finger one fret) versus diatonic playing on a mandolin (one finger two frets).
    No real difference - we're still playing fingering variations of 1-2-3-4 .. on all of them (stringed instruments, whether mndln/fdl, gtr/cello, et al.) Only real different one is bass..

  7. #32
    Chu Dat Frawg Eric C.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandolin playing mindset vs guitar playing mindset

    Quote Originally Posted by J.R. Jersey View Post
    If you were a guitar player before coming to mandolin, how do you change you mindset and approach when playing mandolin? [/B] (either solo or in a group setting)
    Spend a month playing traditional Irish tunes on the mandolin.

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    Registered User DougC's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandolin playing mindset vs guitar playing mindset

    The double course strings gave me a big challenge. I worked on using the pick for quite a while to get control over the sound.
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    Default Re: Mandolin playing mindset vs guitar playing mindset

    Quote Originally Posted by DougC View Post
    The double course strings gave me a big challenge. I worked on using the pick for quite a while to get control over the sound.
    Me too, definitely have to get some discipline, precision and memory into your pick hand in order to play mandolin.
    With guitar you can pick and miss notes all over the place and it doesn’t change too much, you can try to do the same with mandolin but it’ll take years to get the melody/double stop balance right.

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    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandolin playing mindset vs guitar playing mindset

    I would think it depends a whole lot on the type of guitar player one was. Mostly chords and rhythm, fingerpicker, lead guitar, used fingers only, used a pick, used many picks. I think there are probably more kinds of guitar players than mandolin players, and each one is going to have a different path in picking up the mandolin.
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    Registered User Simon DS's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandolin playing mindset vs guitar playing mindset

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  13. #37
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    Default Re: Mandolin playing mindset vs guitar playing mindset

    Quote Originally Posted by ralph johansson View Post
    i simply don't understand what you're talking about. What exactly are you referring to by "that left hand technique"? I can't think of a more relaxed approach than mine. I've been playing the guitar for 64 years, and the mandolin for 54, and never experienced any problems or injuries except those caused by accidents, such as being hit by a car on a bicycle crossing.
    ok. What I was describing was the left hand technique you described as exactly like your guitar technique. If it's fine for you, it's fine for you, and that's why I included that exception in the post.

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    Default Re: Mandolin playing mindset vs guitar playing mindset

    Quote Originally Posted by ralph johansson View Post
    I simply don't understand what you're talking about. What exactly are you referring to by "that left hand technique"? I can't think of a more relaxed approach than mine. I've been playing the guitar for 64 years, and the mandolin for 54, and never experienced any problems or injuries except those caused by accidents, such as being hit by a car on a bicycle crossing.
    There was no answer. I may have to rephrase my previous post. What I said in an earlier post was that my left hand approach to the mandolin is the same as to the guitar. I never said anything about placing the thumb on the back of the mandolin. I never did, and after an accident 13 years ago it's impossible. Nor do I place it on the back of the neck on the guitar. As I've explained in numerous posts I don't place my thumb at all. Nor do I hold or support either instrument with my left hand. I secure the instrument in place, over one knee, then I bring my hand to the neck of either instrument, and start playing.The thumb will land where it lands, most of the time on the side of the neck. I can't think of a more natural and relaxed approach. In 64 years of guitar and 54 of mandolin I've never changed my approach.

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