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Thread: right hand practice

  1. #1
    A DEAD HEAD
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    Default right hand practice

    what a good right hand practice ---exercise?
    Some people know a little about
    about a lot of things,i would rather
    know a lot about the little things
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    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: right hand practice

    I think it depends on what you want to get better at.

    In Marilynn Mair's book she has an exercise which develops tremolo. Its been a while since I looked, (and browsing through it here I can't seem to find it), but first you do quarter notes, up down up down, then eighth notes, then sixteenth, and so on till soon enough you do quarter note tremolo, half note tremolo and whole note tremolo.

    I may be off a little but it is a good exercise for tremolo.
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    Turtle Hoarder Womandolin's Avatar
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    Default Re: right hand practice

    Tremolo is so hard for me that I've been avoiding it. I think I'm going to keep avoiding it for a while.
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    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: right hand practice

    Quote Originally Posted by Womandolin View Post
    Tremolo is so hard for me that I've been avoiding it. I think I'm going to keep avoiding it for a while.
    I know what you mean. But give that method from Marilynn Mair a try. Many folks have had good success with it.


    Tremolo is one of those things that the mandolin just "does" better than other instruments.
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    Default Re: right hand practice

    I'd classify myself a beginner but a couple of things my teacher had me do was use a "loose wrist" to strum scales with a down/up strum. He also stresses a loose grip on the pick which has really helped. When things go south for me, it's usually because everything tenses up, starting with my head.

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    formerly Philphool Phil Goodson's Avatar
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    Default Re: right hand practice

    Quote Originally Posted by Womandolin View Post
    Tremolo is so hard for me that I've been avoiding it. I think I'm going to keep avoiding it for a while.
    No, no, no. Tremolo is the SOUL of the mandolin. Don't avoid the soul.

    Take your pick and use the tip like a tiny piece of sandpaper.
    Turn the pick tip so it addresses the string at about a 45 degree angle, then "sand" the course of strings with the tip of the pick. (like you're trying to sand off a tiny spot of rust from the strings.)

    You won't get much sound, but wait! (if you call now, I'll double the offer...)
    Keep "sanding" and slightly dig in a little deeper as you "sand". After 5 minutes of this, let the pick tip slightly slide off the strings before each reversal of pick direction. Somewhere in all of this, you'll see TREMOLO happen. After a while, you won't even think about it.
    Phil

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    Registered User Ernie Campbell's Avatar
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    Default Re: right hand practice

    What works well for me is to go slow and listen to each note making sure they sound like you want.I practice fiddle tunes with simple melodies.The Marilynn Mair book is were I learned all the basics like how to hold the mandolin and the pick.There is also a great section in her book on musicianship.

  8. #8
    The Bloomingtones earthsave's Avatar
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    Default Re: right hand practice

    1 string drills, 2 string drills, 3 string drills, 4 string drills, tremelos (dudu, triplet, emphasis on different beats), scales, pick grip, hand position, downstrokes only, etc, etal..........
    Scot
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    Default Re: right hand practice

    I'm only a beginner, but my teacher has explained to me to make sure you hit both strings. I was pulling away. He said concentrate on letting the pick fall onto the lower string and keep loose (and then the reverse on the up). I'm working on the down to get the feel and the sound, next step seems obvious, work on the up. Keep it simple and slow to start with.

    Still loving this instrument. Even more dust on my guitar now.

    If I've missed the point somebody please let me know.

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    Default Re: right hand practice

    The key to a good tremolo is the concept of Successive Approximations Toward a Goal. Or in other words, know where you want to get, understand the steps necessary for getting there and take them one at a time. The Mair section on tremolo lays it out well.

    Sticking an 8.5X11 sheet of paper on the wall in your direct line of sight when you are practicing with the word S-L-O-W written in 64 point type helps greatly.

  11. #11
    Dave Keswick Ravenwood's Avatar
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    Default Re: right hand practice

    Philphool is dead on. Don't avoid it. It really gives you insight to other techniques, like triplets, etc.

    Marilynn's book does walk you right through it. I can't remember if it was in the book, or an article she wrote, that she said it will take as much as a year to develop a good tremelo. I didn't believe it would take that long, but it really did. You have to practice it a bit every day, and at first you won't think you are getting anywhere, but there will be a day when it just comes together and works.

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    Registered User Brad Weiss's Avatar
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    Default Re: right hand practice

    Try this exercise from Mandozine and John Moore. It's one of the best exercises I've ever found, and I try to work through it most every day (really!). Go slow, build speed (applies to ANY situation)

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    Default Re: right hand practice

    I agree that MM has some great tremolo exercises in that book, but also says that you should hit both strings on the downstroke, and the bottom string only on the upstroke. Seems to be how some play in the classical world. I found that impossible, and since I'd already gotten do-able t. instruction from Peter O. (in person) and Mike Marshall (via his DVD series), chose to ignore that part. For whatever reason, t. hasn't given me much trouble. (Unlike everything else.) I'd agree that the sideways approch is very helpful - less pick friction. Not to mention that you'll find yourself using the pick differently when you want different tremolo effects. I often either start out with the pick somewhat sideways, or work toward that from a more perpendicular position. The sideways position has a soft, whispery sound that's very useful.

    Go slow, and keep your hand very relaxed, so the pick is almost falling out of your fingers.

    Otherwise, the Mike Marshall Mando Fundamentals Vol I DVD/Booklet has a lot of up-down picking exercises (in tab and standard notation) that have helped me a lot. Mike's very nice and explains things well.

    Anita

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    Default Re: right hand practice

    [QUOTE=Dragonflyeye;636201]I agree that MM has some great tremolo exercises in that book, but also says that you should hit both strings on the downstroke, and the bottom string only on the upstroke. Seems to be how some play in the classical world. I found that impossible, and since I'd already gotten do-able t. instruction from Peter O. (in person).


    Could you elaborate on what Peter O. says please? On an audio link that was posted here Peter seemed to be talking about using some kind of rest stroke with the tremelo, unless I misunderstood it. I didn't realise MM says to hit only the bottom string on upstroke. I read her saying not to force the pick on the down stroke (use just gravity) but use force on the upstroke. Correct me if I'm wrong

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    semi-active member bgjunkie's Avatar
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    Default Re: right hand practice

    Matt Flinner teaches a right hand exercise at this workshops that I will try to explain:

    All picking is DUDU (you can play as slowly as you need to)

    Open G, Open D, G2, OD, G4, OD, G5, OD, G4, OD, G2, OD - repeat
    next repeat above replacing Open D with Open A and then repeat using Open E so that you are crossing strings from the G to the open strings. Once you get to E go back down.

    Then do the same thing starting with the D string (remember that the Open G will be an up-stroke). Work slowly to get good clean notes and concentrate on your right hand making sure that you don't tense up at any point. Gradually speed up still paying attention to your right hand.

    Hopefully I wrote that in a way that makes sense. I do it sometimes as a warmup to loosen up my right hand and wrist.
    Steve B.
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    The Bloomingtones earthsave's Avatar
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    Default Re: right hand practice

    Quote Originally Posted by Drringos View Post
    I'm only a beginner, but my teacher has explained to me to make sure you hit both strings. I was pulling away. He said concentrate on letting the pick fall onto the lower string and keep loose (and then the reverse on the up). I'm working on the down to get the feel and the sound, next step seems obvious, work on the up. Keep it simple and slow to start with.

    Still loving this instrument. Even more dust on my guitar now.

    If I've missed the point somebody please let me know.
    To clarify on my response, when I typed 1 string drills, 2 string drills, I mean a 1 course or both G strings (1 string drill), both G and D strings(2 string drills), etc....
    Scot
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    Default Re: right hand practice

    Makes sense now. Hey, I'm only learning, hope you don't take that wrong, I've picked up some good stuff from you guys so I don't want to offend anyone.

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    Default Re: right hand practice

    In addition to all the technical picking exercises listed, pick follow-through is muy importante.

    To quote the lovely and talented Lou Martin:

    Let your right and left hands hang for those ancient tones.

    A bit Zen-y, but makes good sense.

  19. #19
    Mark Evans mandozilla's Avatar
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    Default Re: right hand practice

    No, no, no. Tremolo is the SOUL of the mandolin. Don't avoid the soul.
    Philphool is dead on!

    Tremolo is very difficult to master but you'll never regret learning how and it won't come overnight. Follow all the good tips in this thread and you'll get there.

    Tremolo is to the mandolin what the long bow is to the fiddle...it's the best way to wring emotion out of your axe.

    I see many young or newer mandolin pickers who have avoided learning how to tremble and it shows...they can be technically very good at spitting out 1/8 notes but very dull and boring all the same.


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    Default Re: right hand practice

    [QUOTE=ald;636626]
    Quote Originally Posted by Dragonflyeye View Post
    I agree that MM has some great tremolo exercises in that book, but also says that you should hit both strings on the downstroke, and the bottom string only on the upstroke. Seems to be how some play in the classical world. I found that impossible, and since I'd already gotten do-able t. instruction from Peter O. (in person).

    Could you elaborate on what Peter O. says please? On an audio link that was posted here Peter seemed to be talking about using some kind of rest stroke with the tremelo, unless I misunderstood it. I didn't realise MM says to hit only the bottom string on upstroke. I read her saying not to force the pick on the down stroke (use just gravity) but use force on the upstroke. Correct me if I'm wrong
    Peter O. spent about 1/2 an hour with me on trem, and said to stay relaxed and follow-through (my term) on both the upstroke and the downstroke. Meaning: play both strings both ways and come to "rest" (but don't take a rest) on the adjacent set of strings. I don't remember anything about a rest stroke, unless he was talking about it as a part of a syncopated tremolo approach (which he didn't cover with me). By following-through each stroke up/down up to the next set of strings, you're guaranteed a fully resonant sound. Peter likes a hearty tremolo, but uses pick position (from perpendicular to almost sideways) to control the volume, and get different sounds. So, you're kind of "scrubbing" the strings with the same energy (tho not necessarily the same speed), no matter how soft the playing. Course, when you're playing up the neck, off 1st position, the distance to the next set of strings gets smaller and smaller.

    I remember the thing MM said about the stronger upstroke, but I'm also pretty sure she likes to pick two down and one up. It's in her pagelong "essay" on tremolo in the book. I asked Peter about it and he said some classical players do it, but he didn't. I don't have her book here at work, so can't tell you exactly.
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    Default Re: right hand practice

    Quote Originally Posted by AlanN View Post
    In addition to all the technical picking exercises listed, pick follow-through is muy importante.

    To quote the lovely and talented Lou Martin:

    Let your right and left hands hang for those ancient tones.

    A bit Zen-y, but makes good sense.
    Lou Martin's "Recent Work" (Rounder) is a mandolin classic!

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  23. #23
    Registered User Miked's Avatar
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    Default Re: right hand practice

    I had a heck of a time getting consistent tremelo when I was using the Fender heavy picks. I would have it going and then kind of get stuck on a downstroke.

    Using a BC pick has made a night and day difference with the tremelo. The pick glides over the strings and you get a nice variety of tone with varying the angle. In general, my right hand technique has improved a lot since getting a BC.
    Mike Bloder
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  24. #24

    Default Re: right hand practice

    Holy Cow Fellas! That's John McGann who responded up there. He is the one to listen to. If you don't already have his rhythm book I highly recommend it. With just Ted Eschliman's Jazz Mando book, Mike Marshall's DVD's, Chris Thile's DVD and John's website/DVD you would never need to leave your room again in your life. Every detail you could ever want to know about how to master your instrument. I owe them everything.

    By the way John if you read this...........


    Dude, you are IT.
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    Default Re: right hand practice

    [QUOTE=Dragonflyeye;637632]
    Quote Originally Posted by ald View Post
    I don't remember anything about a rest stroke, unless he was talking about it as a part of a syncopated tremolo approach (which he didn't cover with me).

    I remember the thing MM said about the stronger upstroke, but I'm also pretty sure she likes to pick two down and one up. It's in her pagelong "essay" on tremolo in the book.
    I've got to amend my above post. After reading a bit in Marilyn's book last night, apparently the technique of playing through up to the next set of strings when doing trem is called a "rest stroke," cause you come up to the other strings. That's probably what Peter was referring to in that sound clip. There's really no "rest" involved. (darn!) Marilyn cites it too, & says it's a good technique for learning tremolo (and getting a sense for where your hand is), but you can, at some point, drop it.

    On page 22 of Marilyn's book, she asks several questions, all of which you should be able to answer "yes" to in prep for doing tremolo. One is: "Are you picking down through both strings of the pair, but up on only one?" She describes the motion as "drop-lift," rather than "push-pull." She also says to use a softer up stroke to "make your tremolo seem more even and natural, as it imitates the iambic cadence of speech . . "

    I really like Peter's tremolo (and that of another MM - Mike Marshall, who encourages a stronger upstroke than downstroke), and neither "lift," so I don't either.

    Anita (who's adding John's rhythm book to her list)

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