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Thread: Guitar feels huge ...

  1. #1

    Default Guitar feels huge ...

    Hi.

    I nearly bumped a year old thread before posting but, refrained as I know some don't like that way of doing things.

    Thread here was interesting https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/t...-playing/page4

    Anyway, played guitar a long time, many styles. Maybe, 40 years on and off. Mostly electric until 3 years ago when I challenged myself to learn some bluegrass style flatpicking. Man, what a transition! I can't say I found it easy and it was alien in style.

    However, lockdowns etc helped me focus and I have somewhere around 50 ish tunes I play. Or did.

    2 months back, i dropped for a mandolin. An A style eastman 505. I had never been exposed to mando before listening to the BG stuff but wow, what a sound.

    So, 2 months later, I have around 20 ish tunes under the fingers to varying degrees of excellence, or tolerance depending on who is listening.

    Of course, I have spent my time learning the mando maybe 70:30 time wise and initially didn't struggle with the instrument transition. Now I am, big time. To the point that I am playing the mando cleaner than the guitar.

    A pain? Yes.
    Can I stick it out? Perhaps.

    Any tips, support and advice welcome.

    I made a choice to use the same strings (d'addario XT) 11-40 mando, 13-56 guitar and learn mostly different tunes across the instruments.

    Help....

  2. #2

    Default Re: Guitar feels huge ...

    Well, compared to a mndln - guitar is huge. Its larger physical dimensions provide for a larger sound, greater harmonic and dynamic range, more color possibilities, etc. There are certainly benefits to mndln - great volume and projection in the soprano range, percussiveness, size convenience, 5ths tuning; these things are great in particular styles of ensemble music - such as bluegrass, old-time/fiddle tunes, etc - where these qualities are desirable. But it certainly lacks the polyphonic capacity of the larger instrument. Depending upon what style/type of music you want to play - may influence your choice of instrument.

  3. #3
    working musician Jim Bevan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Guitar feels huge ...

    I've played Irish Trad on mandolin for years, and when the situation came up that my wife (who has played Irish Trad for many more years than I have) needed an accompanist, I "created" the "Irish Requinto" (custom-made for me by Gary Zimnicki) – an ADGCEA-tuned steel-string guitar, with a scale-length that is the same as if one capo'd a normal guitar at the fifth fret.

    Doesn't feel huge at all!

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Guitar feels huge ...

    The guitars I've been primarily playing are a Martin 00-17 1931 reissue and a McPherson CF Touring, so it's not quite as bad as picking up my Dread, but, yeah, definitely a difference. The Martin nut width is 1 and 7/8 inches as well, but I play them all enough that it's not an issue to switch. If I took guitar off for a few months, then, yeah, it'd be tougher coming back to it, for sure.

    I remember when I had my mandocello. Now, man, that thing felt HUGE regardless of what I picked it up after, lol...
    Chuck

  5. #5
    Registered User Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    Default Re: Guitar feels huge ...

    Then there are folks like Chriis Hillman whose instruments of choice are mando and bass.

    Go figure!
    Gibson A-Junior snakehead (Keep on pluckin'!)

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    Default Re: Guitar feels huge ...

    True! I also play electric bass but not doghouse. It’s different enough technique that it doesn’t bother me as much 🤷 But just the sheer size of an upright probably would…

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  8. #7

    Default Re: Guitar feels huge ...

    I'm just going to stick with it and hopefully find a balance. I never expected the switching would affect me so much.

  9. #8
    The Amateur Mandolinist Mark Gunter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Guitar feels huge ...

    For me, the transitions between the two have gotten a little smoother after five or six years with the mandolin and a lifetime of guitar.

    What I have noticed now, though, at 76, is that when gigging last weekend and on guitar my duo partner and lead played an unfamiliar tune and in a senior moment my brain was wanting to throw in mandolin chord shapes which caused some trouble comping on the guitar, lol.

    At present, my granddaughter is having trouble learning guitar due to the size, coming from several year of uke.
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    Default Re: Guitar feels huge ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie Bernstein View Post
    Then there are folks like Chriis Hillman whose instruments of choice are mando and bass.

    Go figure!
    Funny, I’ve always had bass lines running through my head, and like to play the lower mando strings, especially on the Silverangel which has a solid low end. And on a bass your playing style will be much different, hitting individual notes vs chords. Mando and bass seems like a good combo.
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  11. #10

    Default Re: Guitar feels huge ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Kinsho View Post
    I'm just going to stick with it and hopefully find a balance. I never expected the switching would affect me so much.
    The key element is practice - with time, it will become easier to transition between instruments. The more you do it, the easier it gets. However, if you're just learning another instrument, it may help to immerse yourself in the new one. When I'm learning something new, I typically devote nearly all of my time to the new instrument/form - anywhere from 2 months to two years.

    If you happen to be playing multiple instruments in the same session, I find it's easier to start with the larger ones and progress to smaller. This could just be my preference, however, with no generally applicable principle. Going between fretted instruments gtr/bnjo/mndln/fiddle etc was never an issue as I recall (but I've been playing many decades). However, going back and forth among fretless instruments - fiddles, ouds, etc - with different scale lengths takes a bit of time to adjust intonation..

    Double bass and mndln - don't think you'll have a prblm. But going to/from DB and cello - again it takes me a bit to readjust my intonation.

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    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Question Re: Guitar feels huge ...

    " an ADGCEA-tuned steel-string guitar, with a scale-length that is the same as if one capo'd a normal guitar at the fifth fret."

    Tacoma Papoose did that .. made quite a few, then stopped..

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  14. #12
    working musician Jim Bevan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Guitar feels huge ...

    Quote Originally Posted by mandroid View Post
    Tacoma Papoose did that .. made quite a few, then stopped.
    Ibanez makes one too. Both of those are "travel-size"d guitars, and I was after something bigger, that sounded fuller etc.

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    Default Re: Guitar feels huge ...

    Jethro Burns said something to the effect that you should only play one instrument, so that when you are out of work, you know what kind of work you are out of.
    Life is short, play hard. Life is really really short, play really really hard.

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  17. #14
    Registered User Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    Default Re: Guitar feels huge ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Kinsho View Post
    I'm just going to stick with it and hopefully find a balance. I never expected the switching would affect me so much.
    It happens to the best of us. Jerry Garcia quit trying to play pedal steel and guitar at the same show because it was too confusing.

    (Sounded pretty good, though!)
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  18. #15
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Guitar feels huge ...

    Well, sometimes mandolin can "feel huge."


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    Ukulele, however, almost always feels tiny.

    Though there can be exceptions to that, as with every rule:

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    Registered User Mandobart's Avatar
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    Default Re: Guitar feels huge ...

    This has just never been an issue for me. Fiddle, ukulele, mandolin, mandola, octave mandolin, guitar, mandocello......I play them all. My hands immediately recognize the difference and I adjust accordingly.

    One of the things I frequently practice is playing the same song in the same key on multiple instruments, one right after the other.

    When I started playing mandolin about 15 years ago I soon noticed my guitar playing improved as well, even though I was spending more time on mandolin.

    I know everyone is different, but for me the cross training on multiple instruments makes me a better player on each one.

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  21. #17

    Default Re: Guitar feels huge ...

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffD View Post
    Jethro Burns said something to the effect that you should only play one instrument, so that when you are out of work, you know what kind of work you are out of.
    All comedy aside though, Jethro was a fine guitar player. He played a complex, full six string chord melody style modeled after Roy Lanham of the Sons of the Pioneers. There are several cuts on the Puritan Sessions where he is playing guitar.

  22. #18
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    Default Re: Guitar feels huge ...

    I'm trying to simultaneously learn mandolin and a DADGAD tuned Guild jumbo 12 string. I find the difference in size stops me forgetting what I'm holding

  23. #19
    mandolin slinger Steve Ostrander's Avatar
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    Default Re: Guitar feels huge ...

    I play mando, guitar and bass. I play mostly short scale basses so that makes the transition a little easier.
    Living’ in the Mitten

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    Registered User BrunoS's Avatar
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    Default Re: Guitar feels huge ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandobart View Post

    When I started playing mandolin about 15 years ago I soon noticed my guitar playing improved as well, even though I was spending more time on mandolin.

    I know everyone is different, but for me the cross training on multiple instruments makes me a better player on each one.
    I can second the part about playing mandolin making me a better guitar player, the difference was really night and day, even after a few months of playing. I'm guessing it's mostly because of the double courses of strings and the precision needed to have them both ring, and also more melody oriented playing rather than just chords (with the occasional embellishment) on the guitar.

    As for the size difference, it only happened to me at the beginning, and only when I focused on the mandolin exclusively. Two years in, and having mixed it up daily, it's not as jarring, but the first time I came back to the guitar it felt clunky how spread out the notes were across the neck, and the tuning didn't help either, it just doesn't make sense compared to fifths.
    For me, some harmonized scale exercises (intervals and triads) and playing the same parts across the neck helps with getting around the neck more easily.
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    Default Re: Guitar feels huge ...

    How do you all feel about using different gauge picks on different instruments - or do you use the same thickness on everything?

  27. #22
    Registered User Mandobart's Avatar
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    Default Re: Guitar feels huge ...

    Quote Originally Posted by maxr View Post
    How do you all feel about using different gauge picks on different instruments - or do you use the same thickness on everything?
    Decades ago when I started acoustic guitar I used Jim Dunlop .73 mm nylons because that's all I could get in my little town. Before the internet I wasn't aware of all the different pick materials, shapes and thicknesses.

    When I picked up mandolin I saw immediately that those thin nylon picks wouldn't work. I worked my way up from 1.0 mm to 2.0 mm harder material picks (tortex, ultex, etc.). I found I liked the rounded triangle shape like the Wegen M200 for mandolin. I started using these on guitar and really preferred the sound and accuracy over those wimpy little nylon picks

    Since then I've tried every major pick brand and every material offered. I've settled on Gravity Gold PEEK thermoplastic picks, 1.5 mm thickness as the best for me. XL rounded triangle for all the mando's and XL standard teardrop shape for my guitars.

  28. #23
    Registered User DougC's Avatar
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    Default Re: Guitar feels huge ...

    What stops me in the switch from mandolin to guitar is in thinking about chord patterns. I just can't 'go there' right now. Also I seem to ignore the top strings of the guitar. I suppose it's from using 4 strings for so long. So my method is to work on chords on guitar and melody on mandolin.
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  29. #24
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    Default Re: Guitar feels huge ...

    Quote Originally Posted by maxr View Post
    How do you all feel about using different gauge picks on different instruments - or do you use the same thickness on everything?
    I use the same pick across all instruments, the BC TAD60-1R, and just switch between the rounded and pointier tip if I want smoothness vs volume. I have to spend some time on adjusting when I try the normal teardrop shape, so I'd rather just use the same pick and the same pick hold and not have to worry about it. I feel that a thicker pick is more versatile than a thinner one, if you want volume, you can have it, and for strumming you just loosen your grip.
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  30. #25

    Default Re: Guitar feels huge ...

    I find that when I switch back to electric or acoustic guitar I am not resting my palm on the bridge!

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