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Thread: Newbie (2 months) on the mandolin and needing help/advise.

  1. #1

    Question Newbie (2 months) on the mandolin and needing help/advise.

    I am having trouble getting the G & D strings to play crisp notes. It seems like a lot of work to get my fingers positioned so there's no vibration when I strum. It feels like a have to press down really hard and perfect. I don't have that problem with the A & E strings, which I understand since they are easier to reach, but boy it seems like too much of a difference.

    Is this normal for a newbie or is there something wrong with my setup?

  2. #2
    high strung gfury's Avatar
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    Default Re: Newbie (2 months) on the mandolin and needing help/advise.

    Could be your setup. Your action may be too high at the nut and/or the bridge.

    You also may want to try lighter gauge strings until you gain more strength in your fingers.
    Greg Fury

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  4. #3

    Default Re: Newbie (2 months) on the mandolin and needing help/advise.

    It's probably the setup, as Gfury says. Otherwise, you'd be having the same problem with every string.

    If it's not the setup, I've been told here that the most likely culprit is the nut. I had that problem, and folks here steered me in that direction, to good effect.

    So can you find a pro luthier to do the setup for you? Start with that. If it's still hard to play, then have your pro cut a new nut.

    Do you play guitar? Mandolins are a lot more finicky. You can play a guitar with a bad setup or nut all day long, but you can't with a mando. They're a whole different world.

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  6. #4

    Default Re: Newbie (2 months) on the mandolin and needing help/advise.

    Email Rob Meldrum for a copy of his e-book on how to set up a mandolin, especially if you don’t have a good luthier nearby.

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  8. #5
    Registered User
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    Default Re: Newbie (2 months) on the mandolin and needing help/advise.

    I'm going back to the mandolin after many years of not playing. I'm elderly and don't have a lot of strength in my hands but I'm sure that will get better. I've ordered light strings for my mandolin as this will help.

  9. #6
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    Default Re: Newbie (2 months) on the mandolin and needing help/advise.

    I’ve never been convinced that light strings make a mandolin easier to play. I use mediums on everything (I have quite a few mandolins) and, although marginal, some are easier to play than others. It’s largely down to set-up rather than string gauge and, the lighter the strings, the more likely you are to get your pick caught up.

  10. #7

    Default Re: Newbie (2 months) on the mandolin and needing help/advise.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jillity View Post
    I'm going back to the mandolin after many years of not playing. I'm elderly and don't have a lot of strength in my hands but I'm sure that will get better. I've ordered light strings for my mandolin as this will help.
    Good luck with that!

  11. #8
    Old Guy
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    Default Re: Newbie (2 months) on the mandolin and needing help/advise.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jillity View Post
    I'm going back to the mandolin after many years of not playing. I'm elderly and don't have a lot of strength in my hands but I'm sure that will get better. I've ordered light strings for my mandolin as this will help.
    I'm old too. Get yourself a HandMaster and use it daily. It works. NFI-YMMV
    Thanks

    Silverangel F5
    Big Muddy M-2

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    Registered User Keith Johnston's Avatar
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    Default Re: Newbie (2 months) on the mandolin and needing help/advise.

    It has not been so long ago that I have not forgot how hard I as a beginner how hard I thought I needed to fret
    each note I tried playing. It took a while and a lot of sore fingers until I figure out that high pressure does not
    produce crisp notes. What does is fingers in the correct place at the correct time "timing" and that takes practice.
    So hang in there one day it will come..... don't rush it and be consistent.
    Keith

  13. #10
    Registered User Isaac Revard's Avatar
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    Default Re: Newbie (2 months) on the mandolin and needing help/advise.

    Probably a combination of setup and technique. You’ll get it down, one half requires an easy to fix the other, time, patience and giving yourself some grace. Push as close to the frets as you can.

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