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Thread: Bridge digging into picking hand

  1. #1

    Default Bridge digging into picking hand

    Hi all,

    I just picked up a new mandolin from a local shop. A new The Loar LM-520-VS, which is a welcome upgrade from my old, cheaper, poorly-set-up Ibanez that I've had since I was a teenager (I'm primarily a guitarist who's just now rediscovering the mandolin)

    The Loar feels and sounds great except one thing. Not sure if this is a sign of bad technique or just my bridge is sharp, but the ball of my right thumb is getting irritated from the corner of the bridge. I typically rest the heel of my right-hand right behind the bridge, so the up-and-down motion brushes against the corner repeatedly.

    I didn't have this problem on the Ibanez since the corner of that bridge is more rounded. I could sand down the edge of the bridge on the The Loar, but am I just picking incorrectly here? Should I change up my technique if this is causing me discomfort?

    Kyle

  2. #2

    Default Re: Bridge digging into picking hand

    If there's a real edge where your picking hand rests, just take a piece of 200 grit sandpaper and carefully round it off a little. Even a very slight round will make it more comfortable. I've done this on many bridges because I have the same issue.

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  4. #3
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    Default Re: Bridge digging into picking hand

    +1 I do it to all of mine.
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  5. #4
    The Amateur Mandolinist Mark Gunter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bridge digging into picking hand

    +1 Okay to round off sharp corners, on some I've even had to round off the screw (that holds the thumb wheel) a bit on the end. It is your mandolin make it comfortable.
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    Be Wild Zach Wilson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bridge digging into picking hand

    I agree that rounding off the corner to make your instrument more comfortable should work and I'd probably do that if I were in your shoes.

    I'd also ask some experienced players to watch my technique to make sure that I haven't picked up any bad habits.

  7. #6

    Default Re: Bridge digging into picking hand

    Yup, smooth corners down, and then get a clamp-on arm rest like from McClung or others. Started using these and will never go back!

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  9. #7
    Registered User Cobalt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bridge digging into picking hand

    I had an old mandolin that I'd been playing for fifteen or twenty years. During that time, the act of playing the instrument had naturally rounded off the corners of the bridge on the upper side - the lower corners were still sharp. When I got my next mandolin, with sharp corners, I figured I could either play it for fifteen years, to get the rounded corners naturally, or do it myself right now with a few minutes work. I chose the latter option.

  10. #8
    Registered User DavidKOS's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bridge digging into picking hand

    Quote Originally Posted by Zach Wilson View Post

    I'd also ask some experienced players to watch my technique to make sure that I haven't picked up any bad habits.
    great advice, but there are a couple possible issues with that too:

    Not all "experienced players" agree on what is proper technique

    You have the exceptional players that can play well in spite of their technique, not necessarily because of it.

    Personally I suggest not resting your wrist on the bridge unless you want to deliberately palm mute...which is a rare special effect.

  11. #9

    Default Re: Bridge digging into picking hand

    I agree with DavidKos - not a good idea to rest any part of your hand or wrist on the bridge of your instrument. But many players brush the bridge slightly, using it as a "depth gauge" to pick more accurately. For me that's where the need to round the edge of the bridge comes from.

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  13. #10

    Default Re: Bridge digging into picking hand

    Quote Originally Posted by bgpete View Post
    I agree with DavidKos - not a good idea to rest any part of your hand or wrist on the bridge of your instrument. But many players brush the bridge slightly, using it as a "depth gauge" to pick more accurately. For me that's where the need to round the edge of the bridge comes from.
    Slightly brushing the bridge is fine. Lightly touching the bass strings with the fleshy part below your thumb (unless you are playing those strings) helps mute those strings and keep them from sympathetically vibrating. I find I really need to do this on my banjolin.

    I have rounded the corners on almost every bridge I have.

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  15. #11

    Default Re: Bridge digging into picking hand

    Another method would be to glue the sandpaper to your hand and sand-as-you-play...

  16. #12
    The Amateur Mandolinist Mark Gunter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bridge digging into picking hand

    Quote Originally Posted by bgpete View Post
    Another method would be to glue the sandpaper to your hand and sand-as-you-play...
    ingenuity
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  17. #13
    Be Wild Zach Wilson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bridge digging into picking hand

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidKOS View Post
    great advice, but there are a couple possible issues with that too:

    Not all "experienced players" agree on what is proper technique

    You have the exceptional players that can play well in spite of their technique, not necessarily because of it.

    Personally I suggest not resting your wrist on the bridge unless you want to deliberately palm mute...which is a rare special effect.
    Very true! I guess find the person with the sharpest bridge and watch them 😂

    I should have said... ask other experienced players, with good technique, for advice... and take it with a grain of salt.

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  19. #14

    Default Re: Bridge digging into picking hand

    Thanks for all the replies! Glad to know I'm not the only one who's experienced this

    I think I will go with the option of lightly sanding the bridge corner... although it seems like I should get someone to check my technique. I feel like I need to rest my wrist somewhere or I have a very hard time controlling the pick, and I subconsciously use my right hand to mute strings I'm not playing on. Definitely a carry-over from my guitar experience. Sounds like a cacophony when I try to keep my wrist up and can't use the edge of my thumb to mute the strings...

    Now I just need to find an experienced mando player willing to watch me and give feedback

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