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Thread: Overwhelmed beginner - merging of styles/genres?

  1. #26

    Default Re: Overwhelmed beginner - merging of styles/genres?

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffD View Post

    I bet that there is a lot of guitar music, maybe most of it, that can be played on the mandolin if you get away from trying to play it "guitarishly" on the mandolin. A mandolin player, in taking up something made popular on guitar, would listen to the music and then learn to play it on the mandolin. Not try to learn or emulate the guitar players technique on the mandolin, but play the tune on the mandolin using mandolinny technique.
    Yes, that is what we've been saying. But not only "Not try to learn or emulate the guitar players technique on the mandolin" but harmonic form as well, for while there is some technique sharing, the biggest differences are harmonic/tonal. Your vid example displays this vividly - the dramatic difference between the mndln and gtr and piano renditions.

    A person may prefer the mndln version, but it is a necessarily sparser, attenuated rendition that imbues far less musical value, information, etc. In a piece like "Leyenda" you have to leave out a lot of the material by virtue of the mndln's lack of polyphony. I think most folks would understand and accept this, rather than try to equate the mndln with the guitar or conflate or promote the capacities of mndln beyond what it is. I understand the zeal for mndln here, but let's be real.

    *Maybe to show that I'm not just "picking on" the mndln.. When adapting music from piano to guitar, we have to do the same thing - because the guitar lacks the polyphony of the piano. Marina Krupkina advocates for the 10-string guitar for this reason: because it expands the polyphonic range of the instrument, rendering it more capable (https://youtu.be/EwUNwjxMQqw).

    Conversely, with the Bach Cello works for example, we can expand on what Bach wrote for the cello's four strings: gtr sometimes plays full triads and chords in the Suites, for example, where the cello may play a single note - the guitar's single low D (where the guitar is transposed in the 1st Suite) lacks the depth, breadth, gravitas of a bowed low C on the cello, so the guitar arrangement plays a chord to emulate the sonority.

    This is the fun of arranging for instruments.
    Last edited by catmandu2; Nov-22-2021 at 1:56pm.
    Randal Scott

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    CarlM 

  3. #27
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Overwhelmed beginner - merging of styles/genres?

    Quote Originally Posted by catmandu2 View Post
    I think most folks would understand and accept this, rather than try to equate the mndln with the guitar or conflate or promote the capacities of mndln beyond what it is. I understand the zeal for mndln here, but let's be real.
    Its the equating that is the issue. One might, for example, just as inaccurately start with the mandolin, and say that the guitar is that larger deeper, boomier, more complicated cousin to the mandolin that encourages players to add a whole lot of stuff to otherwise great music just because "they can".
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  4. #28

    Default Re: Overwhelmed beginner - merging of styles/genres?

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffD View Post
    ... start with the mandolin, and say that the guitar is that larger deeper, boomier, more complicated cousin to the mandolin that encourages players to add a whole lot of stuff to otherwise great music just because "they can".
    Well, it's often about expression - range, harmony, texture, form, dynamics - rather than just melody and rhythm.

    Musical necessity or expediency is another matter. I admit, I'm usually drawn more to the former.

    Segovia didn't think much of flamenco toque- after all, it's just another folk form based on the dance

    Last edited by catmandu2; Nov-22-2021 at 2:34pm.
    Randal Scott

  5. #29

    Default Re: Overwhelmed beginner - merging of styles/genres?

    Hope Isaiah's killing it
    Randal Scott

  6. #30

    Default Re: Overwhelmed beginner - merging of styles/genres?

    I was starting to learn a few things, from this thread, but I may have to start my own question to get some clarification. However, when I read this..

    "Is there much done on a guitar that "requires" the ability to grab notes on all six strings at once?"

    It depends on what you mean by " required ". There are chords that use all 6 strings if the root is on the 6th string, like GMaj7, but it can also be played with less. However, a Gmaj7 on the third fret sounds the fullest and is certainly more usable than the one at the 10th fret and the root is on the 5th string. I suppose you could play some shape that uses just the 4 notes required to make a GMaj7 in various voicings.

  7. #31

    Default Re: Overwhelmed beginner - merging of styles/genres?

    The biggest differences between guitar and mandolin, aside from the higher pitch of the mandolin, that affect how you approach the instrument are the sustain and the greater range of timbre or tonalities you can get out of a guitar. The sustain of a guitar allows you to ring pitches together creating shimmering cascades of sound in crosspicking and fingerpicking and to establish drone tones that affect harmony. Both of these things are more difficult to do and are achievable to a lesser degree on the mandolin. The greater sustain allows the guitarist to fill up the middle in a way the mandolin cannot. Conversely the guitarist has to work harder to achieve sharp rhythmic effects. The range of tonality allows you to wring sounds out of a guitar that are not there on mandolin. On the other side the mandolinist can create a sharp, rhythmic attack that establishes the beat or backbeat much more distinctly.

    The fifths tuning pushes you toward a different use of double stops. Double stops that fall under your fingers on mandolin are difficult and require longer stretches on guitar and vice versa. The "floaty" type of double stop on a guitar with the open string in the middle does not work nearly as well on mandolin. Tremolo works much better on mandolin than guitar. The higher pitch of the mandolin rises over the crowded middle of the sound spectrum. The more logical fretboard arrangement of the mandolin gravitates toward better use of melody.

    For these and a lot of other reasons, it is much better to approach mandolin as its own instrument and forget about copying guitar licks and being a little guitar.

  8. #32

    Default Re: Overwhelmed beginner - merging of styles/genres?

    Quote Originally Posted by CarlM View Post
    The biggest differences between guitar and mandolin, aside from the higher pitch of the mandolin, that affect how you approach the instrument are the sustain and the greater range of timbre or tonalities you can get out of a guitar. The sustain of a guitar allows you to ring pitches together creating shimmering cascades of sound in crosspicking and fingerpicking and to establish drone tones that affect harmony. Both of these things are more difficult to do and are achievable to a lesser degree on the mandolin. The greater sustain allows the guitarist to fill up the middle in a way the mandolin cannot. Conversely the guitarist has to work harder to achieve sharp rhythmic effects. The range of tonality allows you to wring sounds out of a guitar that are not there on mandolin. On the other side the mandolinist can create a sharp, rhythmic attack that establishes the beat or backbeat much more distinctly.

    The fifths tuning pushes you toward a different use of double stops. Double stops that fall under your fingers on mandolin are difficult and require longer stretches on guitar and vice versa. The "floaty" type of double stop on a guitar with the open string in the middle does not work nearly as well on mandolin. Tremolo works much better on mandolin than guitar. The higher pitch of the mandolin rises over the crowded middle of the sound spectrum. The more logical fretboard arrangement of the mandolin gravitates toward better use of melody.

    For these and a lot of other reasons, it is much better to approach mandolin as its own instrument and forget about copying guitar licks and being a little guitar.
    I love your take on this, CarlM. Well said.

    My rather rudimentary technique means I stick to pretty much straight melodies on mandolin and just occasionally grab a double-stop when it's convenient/easy and sits well in the tune as a point of emphasis.

    When I'm playing tunes on guitar (where my technique is also rudimentary) I'm constantly searching around for one of those cheap-and-easy double stops to add a little color or put a tag on the end of a phrase. But they are never there to grab! Well OK maybe if I'm playing the melody up the neck a good few frets.

    By chance, I just last week encountered the guitar concept of "floaties" and have been trying to work in some of that to a fiddle tune I'm learning at the moment. Cool that you mentioned it and used the same term I'd heard it described by.
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  9. #33
    Registered User Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    Default Re: Overwhelmed beginner - merging of styles/genres?

    Welcome, Isaiah!

    I'm not a pro, just a guitar slut who accidentally fell into mando a few years ago.

    My genres are a lot like yours: folk, blues, old-school country, Americana, garage rock. And like you, I mostly just translate guitar songs I know into Mandolese.

    You've make a "key" discovery: Some CAGED keys are easier than others. You're right, G-major is a pushover. But you'll find that the others are manageable, too. D and C are close to G, and if you can get those, A and E won't be out of reach.

    I try learning to use the same keys and modes on mando that I use on guitar. If it's A-major, I learn it in A-major on mando. If it's minor pentatonic blues in E, that's what I shoot for on mando. Confusing at first, but you'll get the hang of it.

    All the instruments you've mentioned can be fun. I do think mandolin is more all-purpose than OM or zook. But whatever gets you up and playing is good.

    Beyond that, all the advice from the others here is worth chewing on. Meost important: Keep on pluckin'!
    Gibson A-Junior snakehead (Keep on pluckin'!)

  10. #34

    Default Re: Overwhelmed beginner - merging of styles/genres?

    Well as the custom sometimes goes - hope we didn't overwhelm our overwhelmed OP.

    Now to throw the oft cited David Lindley axiom - it's all just one big guitar, or paraphr, meaning that in his/(my) case using guitar as a frame of reference - it's easy for the brain, or just fun I guess to view and access any number of multiple permutations of a box with strings on it. Yes each is different and has its own wonderful attributes. But as a heuristic, or analog for the brain to gorge on, strings are strings. It may have a wooden soundboard or a goat skin with rattles hanging on it; may be refined or crude - once you know the practices, the fingering is intuitive - just different scales - and we can just go on to focus on the picking hand which is the significant factor in so much music. Which is really the fun of strings.

    And then I get more abstract and start talking of the picking hand as a universal drummer.

    So I'll stop
    Randal Scott

  11. #35

    Default Re: Overwhelmed beginner - merging of styles/genres?

    Been away from the computer a bit but still strummin', and thanks for the new tips! :D I'm trying to perfect my tremolo but I'm struggling a bit with it on multiple strings. I'm also using a 0.58mm pick atm even if all tutorials recommend a thicker pick / looser grip.. If anyone is still reading the thread, how much of your pick is exposed below the grip usually?


    //Isaiah

  12. #36
    Registered User Simon DS's Avatar
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    Default Re: Overwhelmed beginner - merging of styles/genres?

    My pick hinge point about half way but I use a 1.5 mm. Cant play fast with anything less than 1mm...
    Last edited by Simon DS; Dec-07-2021 at 9:10am.

  13. #37

    Default Re: Overwhelmed beginner - merging of styles/genres?

    Okay! What kind of pick do you use? And during tremolo, do you keep your right hand kind of floating in the air? I tend to rest part of the palm on the bridge to be able to control the 'height' between pick and strings/body

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