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Thread: Rhythm Guitar messing up my mandolin playing??

  1. #1

    Default Rhythm Guitar messing up my mandolin playing??

    All:

    I need your help. I have been learning rhythm guitar, and it is going well. But in the last 4 months or so, my mandolin playing has gotten progressively worse. I've played mandolin for 30 years and can get around okay. The symptom I'm noticing is that my right hand and arm are getting tighter and, seemingly, more constricted. Tied up. I have trouble playing fast, and I have more trouble keeping good time. These were not problems before. I have no idea if this has anything to do with my learning rhythm guitar and whatever muscle memory and righthand technique is involved in that. All I know is that these two things seem to coincide.

    Has anybody had experience with this? Any suggestions? Help! Thanks.

    AdHocMando
    Last edited by AdHocMando; Nov-11-2012 at 2:52pm. Reason: typo

  2. #2
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rhythm Guitar messing up my mandolin playing??

    I do find that after playing rhythm guitar it is harder to switch back to mandolin. I think it is only a temporary thing. I would practice both instruments or else put down the guitar for awhile. This is why I generally do not take gigs where I switch off too much. Then again, I just realized that I did one recently. Oh well.
    Jim

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    Default Re: Rhythm Guitar messing up my mandolin playing??

    I agree with Jim. I've played guitar for 10 years and just picked up the mandolin recently. They both have their own techniques (with some overlapping) and are also different sizes. It takes muscles a while to get accustomed to one or the other. Lots of strumming on the guitar would probably mess with your brain when going back to the finer movements for mandolin.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Rhythm Guitar messing up my mandolin playing??

    Quote Originally Posted by Mando.Hobo View Post
    I agree with Jim. I've played guitar for 10 years and just picked up the mandolin recently. They both have their own techniques (with some overlapping) and are also different sizes. It takes muscles a while to get accustomed to one or the other. Lots of strumming on the guitar would probably mess with your brain when going back to the finer movements for mandolin.
    Jim and Mando.Hobo:
    Thanks for your feedback. What you say makes sense. I guess I just need some patience in readapting my right hand to playing both instruments. I often play both in the same day. I try to start with the mandolin, since it seems easier to then go to the guitar. Vice versa doesn't work as well. That said, having once been reasonably proficient on the mando, I'm a bit frustrated with regressing, even if it goes away. I guess I'll just plug ahead and hope for the best. Anyway, I really appreciate the help.
    AdHocMando

  5. #5

    Default Re: Rhythm Guitar messing up my mandolin playing??

    It's kind of like learning two languages at once -- until they are both equally familiar and have become second nature, they can hinder each other.
    Plenty of people have overcome this, and you will be glad you carried on with both instruments. Learning Deep River Blues on guitar made my 4th finger far more useful on mandolin. I always used it sparingly before I was forced to make it do hard work on guitar.

    So switch back and forth, do a week concentrating on mando, then a week on guitar, or whatever you need to do. Or you could use the opportunity to work out the technical problems that you are experiencing. Maybe your hands are always a little tighter than they should be, and you only really notice it after playing guitar. So you could just work on loosening up or adjusting your posture whenever you encounter that problem.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Rhythm Guitar messing up my mandolin playing??

    ArtDecoMandos:

    Thanks a lot. I think you reinforced a suggestion from one of the other folks: spend a week on an instrument, and maybe relax into the flow of it. I haven't tried that yet. I'm hoping that as my right hand/arm relaxes on the rhythm guitar, which it is, this will carry over into my right hand/arm on the mandolin. I'm noticing incremental improvements on that. And I am trying to play more double-stops and two-string passages on the mandolin to force my right arm to take a wider swipe at the strings...in the hope that this will loosen it up.

    I appreciate the help.

    AdHocMando

  7. #7
    perpetual student smokyt81's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rhythm Guitar messing up my mandolin playing??

    I started playing mandolin after 15 years on guitar. It took switching to fingerstyle on the guitar to start progressing on the mando. Having a different headspace for each instrument made everything easier to sort out
    If I had known how much easier it is to carry the mandolin around instead of a strat and a half-stack, I'd have been playing mandolin this whole time.

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    Riggity Von Kriggity gauze's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rhythm Guitar messing up my mandolin playing??

    it took me a while to get use to playing bass guitar after playing guitar for a few years, I've had a similar but less drastic time converting to mandolin, but I'm still an unskilled mando play so I might run into other hurdles yet still.
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    Default Re: Rhythm Guitar messing up my mandolin playing??

    Playing mandolin, at least Bluegrass mandolin, is more like the time keeping of a drummer; the chop chord on the 2 & 4 beat. I've played guitar for 40 years and the mandolin for about 30 and the mandolin is much more difficult all the way around. As far as playing both at the same gig, I only play classical guitar in a fingerpicking style, so the only problem I have is the space between the strings.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Rhythm Guitar messing up my mandolin playing??

    Well having one backwards to the other is definately a mind bender. And that "B" string on a guitar certainly makes them dissimilar. Both are plectrum instruments but the techniques and groove differ widely. At first after years on guitar putting one down and picking the other one up was a problem ... but it did not stay one. Then I picked up a fiddle..... Bows .... that's another tale entirely.... luck.. R/
    I love hanging out with mandolin nerds . . . . . Thanks peeps ...

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