Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 63

Thread: Im afraid woodshedding has made me worse

  1. #1
    small instrument, big fun Dan in NH's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2022
    Location
    Nashua NH
    Posts
    286

    Default Im afraid woodshedding has made me worse

    A few weeks ago I got a REALLY CHEAP soprano ukulele off of Amazon and the Aquila nylon strings for tuning a ukulele in 5ths. I keep this downstairs by my couch, and while watching TV with my wife Ill practice scales, open chords, double stops, fiddle tunes, and even make an attempt at chop chords. Classic woodshedding.

    Other than the chop chords, I have been steadily improving. On the ukulele.

    When I go upstairs to my office and grab my mandolin none of the improvement materializes. My fingers are as awkward and my tone is as harsh & amateurish as they ever were.

    Has anyone else tried using a tuned in 5ths ukulele as a dummy mandolin, and if so did your real mandolin playing suffer?
    Eastman MD-514 (F body, Sitka & maple, oval hole)
    Kentucky KM-250 (A body, spruce & maple, f holes)

    And still saving my nickles & dimes & bottle caps & breakfast cereal box tops for my lifetime mandolin.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Im afraid woodshedding has made me worse

    I tried it once but the neck was so wide that I quickly gave up and went back to mandolin.

  3. #3
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Albany NY
    Posts
    1,600

    Default Re: Im afraid woodshedding has made me worse

    First I will let the "Mean Old Timer" speak and say that picking on a mandolin substitute instrument while watching T.V. is not wood shedding.
    Wood shedding really implies, the performer- the mandolin, and tunes and techniques in a somewhat secluded area without much to distract you, in which situations tunes and or techniques are played repeatedly over time until the player can execute them "correctly" with little forethought.

    That being said I applaud the effort at trying to keep working on the mandolin while sharing family time.

    I have a lot of different size instruments I rotate through and sometimes learning on one will "frustrate" the other, also if If I have a "practice" instrument I try to choose one that is less easy to play (kind of like running with ankle weights)

    Sometimes for mastering of a technique comes from:
    first -getting some guidance or approval the the physical technique is correct ( challenging sometimes I know)
    second - daily repeated exercise then...
    put it down, don't play those techniques or tunes or whatever for a day or two
    when you pick it back up (most of the time) you immediately take off
    "Mean Old Timer, He's got grey hair, Mean Old Timer he just don't care
    Got no compassion, thinks its a sin
    All he does is sit around an play the Mandolin"

  4. The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to tmsweeney For This Useful Post:


  5. #4
    Registered User Ky Slim's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Kentucky
    Posts
    528

    Default Re: Im afraid woodshedding has made me worse

    Just keep the mandolin by the couch

  6. #5
    small instrument, big fun Dan in NH's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2022
    Location
    Nashua NH
    Posts
    286

    Default Re: Im afraid woodshedding has made me worse

    Quote Originally Posted by Ky Slim View Post
    Just keep the mandolin by the couch
    My wife is going away this weekend. She and her friend are going to the Yankee candle factory in Central Massachusetts. Theyll be gone Saturday, overnight, and most of Sunday.

    So I totally plan to sit on the couch and play my new mandolin for most of Saturday and Sunday.

    Although Strings & Things up in Concord has a used Eastman 815/v for sale. One of the early styles, with the gold tuners. But I plan to drive up there on Saturday and give it a thorough test drive. Theyre asking a really attractive price, too, if I knew about that mandolin a day earlier I probably wouldnt have bought my 514, I probably wouldve bought that one.

  7. The following members say thank you to Dan in NH for this post:


  8. #6
    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Saint Augustine Beach FL
    Posts
    6,107

    Default Re: Im afraid woodshedding has made me worse

    Bring the 514 along so you can compare the two. Heck, bring the Kentucky too and see if you can do some horse trading if you are smitten with the 815.
    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

  9. The following members say thank you to Charles E. for this post:


  10. #7
    Registered User Ky Slim's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Kentucky
    Posts
    528

    Default Re: Im afraid woodshedding has made me worse

    Quote Originally Posted by Ky Slim View Post
    Just keep the mandolin by the couch
    Jokes aside, mandolins are more physically demanding than ukes. The mandolin is going to "keep you honest" as far as fretting cleanly, picking evenly etc. whereas the uke will be more forgiving. Having a uke tuned to 5ths is fun! Good Luck!

  11. The following members say thank you to Ky Slim for this post:


  12. #8
    small instrument, big fun Dan in NH's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2022
    Location
    Nashua NH
    Posts
    286

    Default Re: Im afraid woodshedding has made me worse

    Quote Originally Posted by milli857 View Post
    I tried it once but the neck was so wide that I quickly gave up and went back to mandolin.
    Man, now that you say that out loud (Type that out loud?) I think youre right. I think my fingers got a custom to the wide neck of the ukulele.

    Well, this is awful. The only arch top mandolins I know of that have a wide neck are astronomically expensive. I could get a wide neck flat top from big muddy I guess

  13. #9

    Default Re: Im afraid woodshedding has made me worse

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan in NH View Post
    Man, now that you say that out loud (Type that out loud?) I think youre right. I think my fingers got a custom to the wide neck of the ukulele.

    Well, this is awful. The only arch top mandolins I know of that have a wide neck are astronomically expensive. I could get a wide neck flat top from big muddy I guess
    You could try just going back to playing only mandolin for a while to get used to the narrower neck again, and if it still feels unnatural, you could look at new gear.

  14. #10
    Registered User Sue Rieter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2020
    Location
    New Hampshire
    Posts
    1,578

    Default Re: Im afraid woodshedding has made me worse

    In a way, I think previously being a guitar player can sometimes be a handicap. As someone who started cold on mandolin, I appreciate the narrower necks because it's easier to fret two courses with one finger, and there seems to be an awful lot of that in chords and doublestops. When I play my mandola, my fingers have to do a *lot* of unaccustomed stretching that would probably be easy peasy for a guitar player.
    "To be obsessed with the destination is to remove the focus from where you are." Philip Toshio Sudo, Zen Guitar

  15. #11
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Invergordon,Scotland
    Posts
    2,741

    Default Re: Im afraid woodshedding has made me worse

    You could just decide to mainly play ukelele? If it seems to be going better for you, I don't see why not.

    However, if you really do want to play mandolin, then you probably do need to actually play one, and you most likely will get better.

    'Woodshedding' is important. I've been playing mandolin for over 50 years, but if I want to learn a difficult piece, then I do indeed need to put some real effort into it, and that is how I would perceive my woodshedding to be.
    David A. Gordon

  16. #12
    Registered User Mandobart's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Washington State
    Posts
    3,500

    Default Re: Im afraid woodshedding has made me worse

    Practice does not make perfect. Practice makes permanent. Only perfect practice makes perfect.

    If you want to get better on mandolin, practice on mandolin.

  17. The Following 5 Users Say Thank You to Mandobart For This Useful Post:


  18. #13

    Default Re: Im afraid woodshedding has made me worse

    Mandolas have a wider neck. I would much rather play a mandola than a ukulele if those were my options.

    As for doing technique drills for mando on the uke, yep, that isnt optimal or even realistic given the difference feel of the string response. You need another mando for the couch, or get a mandola so you can justify to the wifeit isnt two of the same things. That translates, time spent on one improves the other.

  19. #14

    Default Re: Im afraid woodshedding has made me worse

    On the topic of woodshedding, I truly did that on guitar 20 years ago, playing ten hours a day for two years, with topics to study and technique exercises etc. Honestly, at the end of it I was a more skilled guitar technician with better understanding of what to play and why; however I was a worse musician. For years I let those acquired skills dictate what I played and I tainted my inner voice too much. Everything became too “impressive” and ego driven…had to use all the tools I acquired. It took years to learn to forget what I knew and just play the right damn note. Glad I did it because overall I am now in a better place, but i don’t know if I would take that path again. Learning at a school, sur, because you are constantly communicating with your instrument, but woodshedding is a sole pursuit with specific intent. .

  20. The following members say thank you to Jellwoo for this post:

    Tony S 

  21. #15
    Registered User Jill McAuley's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Co. Mayo, Ireland
    Posts
    3,497

    Default Re: Im afraid woodshedding has made me worse

    Quote Originally Posted by Sue Rieter View Post
    In a way, I think previously being a guitar player can sometimes be a handicap. As someone who started cold on mandolin, I appreciate the narrower necks because it's easier to fret two courses with one finger, and there seems to be an awful lot of that in chords and doublestops. When I play my mandola, my fingers have to do a *lot* of unaccustomed stretching that would probably be easy peasy for a guitar player.
    I think in some cases previously being a guitar player can lead to new mandolin players thinking they need a mandolin with a wider neck, possibly because they're expecting fluency on the guitar to translate to fluency on mandolin. I had 20+ years behind me as a guitar player by the time I picked the mandolin up and from the get go I treated it as if I was a novice period full stop, learning the left hand mechanics needed to fret cleanly and move comfortably around the smaller mandolin neck rather than viewing it as cramped etc., so my guitar background was never a detriment to my mandolin progress.

    As others have pointed out to Dan, his version of "woodshedding" hasn't made him worse, it's just a case that he's expecting like for like performance when he transfers the mechanics he's engrained on the ukulele to his mandolin and given the different neck sizes, nylon vs. steel strings and different string tension that's a big ask.
    2018 Girouard Concert oval A
    2015 JP "Whitechapel" tenor banjo
    2018 Frank Tate tenor guitar
    1969 Martin 00-18




    my Youtube channel

  22. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Jill McAuley For This Useful Post:


  23. #16
    Registered User Mando Esq's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2022
    Location
    New Hampshire
    Posts
    41

    Default Re: Im afraid woodshedding has made me worse

    Quote Originally Posted by Jill McAuley View Post
    As others have pointed out to Dan, his version of "woodshedding" hasn't made him worse, it's just a case that he's expecting like for like performance when he transfers the mechanics he's engrained on the ukulele to his mandolin and given the different neck sizes, nylon vs. steel strings and different string tension that's a big ask.
    I experience this when I learn a tune on mandolin and then attempt to play it at full speed on tenor banjo. The notes are all in the same places, but my fingers have to adjust to the new fingering, single strings, wider frets, picking technique etc …

    I have to relearn how to play the song on each different instrument because, well, they are different!
    Eastman MD515 mandolin
    Eastman E20om guitar
    Vega Little Wonder tenor banjo

  24. The following members say thank you to Mando Esq for this post:


  25. #17
    Registered User Sue Rieter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2020
    Location
    New Hampshire
    Posts
    1,578

    Default Re: Im afraid woodshedding has made me worse

    Quote Originally Posted by Mando Esq View Post
    I experience this when I learn a tune on mandolin and then attempt to play it at full speed on tenor banjo. The notes are all in the same places, but my fingers have to adjust to the new fingering, single strings, wider frets, picking technique etc …

    I have to relearn how to play the song on each different instrument because, well, they are different!
    For me, even going from one mandolin to a different one takes some adjustment.
    "To be obsessed with the destination is to remove the focus from where you are." Philip Toshio Sudo, Zen Guitar

  26. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Sue Rieter For This Useful Post:


  27. #18
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Southern Maine
    Posts
    237

    Default Re: Im afraid woodshedding has made me worse

    Quote Originally Posted by tmsweeney View Post
    I have a lot of different size instruments I rotate through and sometimes learning on one will "frustrate" the other, also if If I have a "practice" instrument I try to choose one that is less easy to play (kind of like running with ankle weights
    Yes to this. My first mando was a GC Mitchell received as a gift. Heavy strings and not the easiest player. Ive used it as a traveler and when settling back into my other instruments my efforts were worthwhile.
    Girouard A
    Silverangel A
    Eastman 615

  28. #19
    Registered User Cheryl Watson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    St. Augustine, Florida, USA
    Posts
    1,411

    Default Re: Im afraid woodshedding has made me worse

    If you are serious about improving your mandolin playing, it might be a good idea to hire a private instructor with a very good reputation/references. Of course, you might have already tried doing that. And, has your mandolin been set up by a pro luthier who has a lot of experience with mandolin setup, specifically? Also, what picks are you using? Some picks can get quite a strident tone on mandolin, especially if one's pick technique is not correct.

  29. #20
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Westchester, NY
    Posts
    30,071

    Default Re: Im afraid woodshedding has made me worse

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan in NH View Post
    My wife is going away this weekend. She and her friend are going to the Yankee candle factory in Central Massachusetts. They’ll be gone Saturday, overnight, and most of Sunday.

    So I totally plan to sit on the couch and play my new mandolin for most of Saturday and Sunday.

    Although Strings & Things up in Concord has a used Eastman 815/v for sale. One of the early styles, with the gold tuners. But I plan to drive up there on Saturday and give it a thorough test drive. They’re asking a really attractive price, too, if I knew about that mandolin a day earlier I probably wouldn’t have bought my 514, I probably would’ve bought that one.
    Uh-oh… when the wife is away, the husband will play… and buy another mandolin. Maybe she will come home with $1500 worth of candles?

    Sounds though that you got a nice new mandolin to get acquainted with. I would play that one as much as possible and see what you can get out of it. Down the road you may very well prefer a wider neck mandolin but you have to give this one a chance. After all you just got it.

    I know, I should talk with a big closet full of mandolins. But the downside of MAS is that it gets in the way of actually playing sometimes. Then again, I much prefer them to candles.
    Jim

    My Stream on Soundcloud
    Facebook
    19th Century Tunes
    Playing lately:
    1924 Gibson A4 - 2018 Campanella A-5 - 2007 Brentrup A4C - 1915 Frank Merwin Ashley violin - Huss & Dalton DS - 1923 Gibson A2 black snakehead - '83 Flatiron A5-2 - 1939 Gibson L-00 - 1936 Epiphone Deluxe - 1928 Gibson L-5 - ca. 1890s Fairbanks Senator Banjo - ca. 1923 Vega Style M tenor banjo - ca. 1920 Weymann Style 25 Mandolin-Banjo - National RM-1

  30. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Jim Garber For This Useful Post:


  31. #21
    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Key West
    Posts
    14,663
    Blog Entries
    2

    Default Re: Im afraid woodshedding has made me worse

    I wonder if the issue isn't so much musical or practical as it is social. You said you play/practice on the ukulele while sitting on the couch with your wife while watching TV. I wonder whether these peripheral sensory stimuli distract your mind enough that you are paying less attention to your playing with your conscious mind, and are operating on a more intuitive level. Sometimes overthinking what one is doing can be detrimental to the success of the operation. Am I correct in assuming you are using the ukulele in this context because it is quieter and less distracting for your wife? Perhaps bringing the mandolin into this situation will help your progress. If she's willing to tolerate your doing this, of course. If it would take too much thought and effort to play the mandolin there more quietly, that might be too distracting for you. Perhaps compensating for the increased volume of the instrument by increasing the volume of the TV would work. I dunno, just spitballing here. It's been a long time since I played mandolin while watching TV. I found it too distracting, for both activities. YMMV, of course.
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

    Furthering Mandolin Consciousness

    Blues Mando Social Group
    Gibson Mandolins Social Group
    North Florida Mandolin Players Social Group

    Celebrating her birthday 10/1 and her surviving Hurricane Ian: The lovely Miss Dagmar in her prime, captivating all in attendance - muse, inspiration, friend - a true avatar

  32. #22
    Moderator JEStanek's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Pottstown, Pennsylvania, United States
    Posts
    14,172
    Blog Entries
    2

    Default Re: Im afraid woodshedding has made me worse

    You gotta practice how you will play. Elsewise you're expecting muscle memory on one unique board to translate to another with twice the different strings.

    Jamie
    There are two things to aim at in life: first, to get what you want; and, after that, to enjoy it. Only the wisest of mankind achieve the second. Logan Pearsall Smith, 1865 - 1946

    + Give Blood, Save a Life +

  33. The following members say thank you to JEStanek for this post:


  34. #23
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Upstate New York
    Posts
    24,303
    Blog Entries
    55

    Default Re: Im afraid woodshedding has made me worse

    There is so much more to mandolinning well beyond getting the fingerings right. Especially, you mentioned tone. I don't think one can develop good tone on a mandolin by practicing something else.

    That said, I did experience gigantic leaps in progress on my mandolin playing when I took up the fiddle. Never got anywhere useful on fiddle, but my conception of the mandolin fretboard was revolutionized.
    Life is short, play hard. Life is really really short, play really really hard.

    The entire staff
    funny....

  35. #24
    Pataphysician Joe Bartl's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Adamstown, MD
    Posts
    321

    Default Re: Im afraid woodshedding has made me worse

    I have various tenor instruments (guitar, banjo, tenor Vega "lute"); I have guitars (electric and acoustic); I have mandocellos, a mandola, an octave mandolin, varied vintage bowlback mandos (Italian and American and Italian-American), vintage Gibson mandos (F4s and an A4), a German piccolo mandolin, and, need it be said?, banjo mandolins. On these various instruments are strings in the entire range from tried & true J74s to the lightest Savaras and Aquilas I could find, made in various combinations of wound metal to nylgut and nylon. I play with Blue Chips, Dunlops, Apollos, Golden Gates, Red Bears Gallis, Wolle, and many unbranded picks made from, well, you-name-it, and thickness ranging from the flakey Dunlop .38mm to the 4.2mm Dunlop flow, and in sizes and shapes from the petite Pettines to the unwieldy romans. One of my greatest daily pleasures is, in decent Borg fashion, adapting.

    That said, I perform only for my dog (now sadly I must use a singular noun here) who enjoys fiddle tunes from here, there, and everywhere, golden-age compositions, and as much Bach as I can force him to tolerate. Therefore, Koukou's ears aside, there is no reason for me to perfect anything. And I don't. But ... ain't life grand!

  36. The following members say thank you to Joe Bartl for this post:


  37. #25
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Tangent OR
    Posts
    803

    Default Re: Im afraid woodshedding has made me worse

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan in NH View Post
    Man, now that you say that out loud (Type that out loud?) I think youre right. I think my fingers got a custom to the wide neck of the ukulele.

    Well, this is awful. The only arch top mandolins I know of that have a wide neck are astronomically expensive. I could get a wide neck flat top from big muddy I guess
    "Wide" is relative. A wide-neck mandolin typically has a 1-3/16" nut - which compared to a uke is probably still quite narrow.

    In comparison, your 514 has a 1-3/32" nut, and your kentucky 250 likely is at 1-1/8".

    When I bought my Eastman 515V, I was concerned that the 1-3/32" nut would be hard to play, as all my prior playing experience was on instruments with 1-1/8" widths. I actually find that I like the narrower size of the Eastman - it makes fingering the 2200 A chord with one finger much easier.

    Hope you enjoy the 514. I did peek at the 815V on the strings and things web site - that is a really good price.
    Follow the Flatt Stanley Incident on Facebook

    Listen to original tune "When You Fly" by my old band The Kindreds

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •