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Mandolin Question.

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Pierre Le Chapeau 11 Apr 09 - 06:36 PM
Will Fly 11 Apr 09 - 06:48 PM
Sorcha 11 Apr 09 - 06:48 PM
McGrath of Harlow 11 Apr 09 - 07:30 PM
GUEST,Pierre Le Chapeau 11 Apr 09 - 07:39 PM
Les from Hull 11 Apr 09 - 08:46 PM
Mark Ross 11 Apr 09 - 09:38 PM
GUEST,astro 11 Apr 09 - 11:51 PM
Richard Bridge 12 Apr 09 - 03:06 AM
theleveller 12 Apr 09 - 04:16 AM
The Sandman 12 Apr 09 - 05:21 AM
Zen 12 Apr 09 - 07:04 AM
Dave Hanson 12 Apr 09 - 07:08 AM
van lingle 12 Apr 09 - 08:16 AM
Abdul The Bul Bul 12 Apr 09 - 10:51 AM
GUEST,iancarterb 12 Apr 09 - 11:31 AM
Pierre Le Chapeau 13 Apr 09 - 04:34 AM
Willie-O 13 Apr 09 - 11:11 AM
Wesley S 13 Apr 09 - 11:54 AM
Bernard 13 Apr 09 - 12:20 PM
Pierre Le Chapeau 13 Apr 09 - 12:56 PM
matt milton 13 Apr 09 - 01:25 PM
GUEST,jeff 13 Apr 09 - 03:36 PM
Pierre Le Chapeau 13 Apr 09 - 05:58 PM
Pierre Le Chapeau 13 Apr 09 - 06:00 PM
Mooh 13 Apr 09 - 07:40 PM
GUEST,jeff 14 Apr 09 - 01:58 AM
Pierre Le Chapeau 14 Apr 09 - 07:14 AM
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Subject: Mandolin Question.
From: Pierre Le Chapeau
Date: 11 Apr 09 - 06:36 PM

What picks do Mandolin player recomend I use for playing Mandolin?
I have just had my Mandolin professionally set up and it sounds stunning compared to how it sounded when It came out the factory.

Since then I have tried strumming without a pick but it sound dull even when I stum in a up and down fashion which I have been told is very important thing to master.
                  So far I have tried Cork,& Felt picks.
The Cork sounds ok but Im sure folk could recommend something better.

Has for the felt it sounds ok but tends to wear down and leave tiny hairs all over the instument, Hairs also tend to get trapped in the wound strings.
Thanks very much Pierre.


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Subject: RE: Mandolin Question.
From: Will Fly
Date: 11 Apr 09 - 06:48 PM

Hi PLC - I just use a regular guitar pick - .95mm, and sometimes .85mm. Plenty of clear volume and no trapped hairs...


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Subject: RE: Mandolin Question.
From: Sorcha
Date: 11 Apr 09 - 06:48 PM

Friend of mine cut hers out of plastic milk cartons


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Subject: RE: Mandolin Question.
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 11 Apr 09 - 07:30 PM

Cut up credit cards can make fair enough picks, at a pinch. Best use for them really...


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Subject: RE: Mandolin Question.
From: GUEST,Pierre Le Chapeau
Date: 11 Apr 09 - 07:39 PM

Ok folks thanks.

I have mastered stumming a guitar without a pick so can one master with persisteance stumming a Mandolin with out a pick or do folk think a pick has to be used in regards to stumming?. Playing me Scales using fingeres in a up and down style,Well Im getting that ..........Slowly.


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Subject: RE: Mandolin Question.
From: Les from Hull
Date: 11 Apr 09 - 08:46 PM

Personally, I think that all strumming sounds better (to me at least) with a pick. I use a very soft standard plastic guitar pick. Also you can pick among the strings rather than strumming all of the at once. Also notice the difference in strumming up and strumming down.


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Subject: RE: Mandolin Question.
From: Mark Ross
Date: 11 Apr 09 - 09:38 PM

Ry Cooder does some great work on the mandolin without a pick.

Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: Mandolin Question.
From: GUEST,astro
Date: 11 Apr 09 - 11:51 PM

I really like the Pro Plec picks...pretty heavy, 1.5 mm.
astro


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Subject: RE: Mandolin Question.
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 12 Apr 09 - 03:06 AM

Without a plastic flatpick (I have seen guitarists using metal ones for extra bite) you will get a dull plunky sound out of a mandolin.

"Real" mandolin flatpicks are tiny in comparison to guitar picks, and very stiff.

The really stiff picks (mandolin size or guitar size) demand a more subtle right hand technique as you need to allow the pick to roll in the fingers to pass over the strings. Once mastered this can add to your tonal palette but I have never mastered it.

I find the ubiquitous Jim Dunlop 60 thou guitar pick good for mixed melody picking and chord chopping on the mandolin and it is very rare for me to want anything stiffer. If I did I would go up a guage or so to the 88 or higher.


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Subject: RE: Mandolin Question.
From: theleveller
Date: 12 Apr 09 - 04:16 AM

I can recommend Jim Dunlop delrin picks. They come in different thickness so experiment with a cuple to see which is best. I use .72mm on my cittern and mrsleveller uses the next thickness up on her mandolin. When I first started using them I was amazed at the improvement in tone. Only problem is, they go dull after about a week so I buy them 10 at a time (they're only around 25p each). You can get them online from Strings Direct.


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Subject: RE: Mandolin Question.
From: The Sandman
Date: 12 Apr 09 - 05:21 AM

I use 60mm plastic picks,if you want to fingerpick,the technique I like,is to copy single string 5 string banjo,for quavers use thumb index,down up,for crotchets use thumb down.


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Subject: RE: Mandolin Question.
From: Zen
Date: 12 Apr 09 - 07:04 AM

Mandolin picks are the subject of never-ending discussions over at the Mandolin Cafe forum, with some "connoisseurs" paying up to $35 for a handmade pick.

Mandolin is my main instrument and, over the years, I have settled on celluloid picks of about 0.90 to 1mm as giving a good balance between attack, clean sound and tone. About 50p to £1 for a good one. Those are my preference but many others prefer lighter or heavier picks or different materials.

Much can be done without a pick but for serious melody or chord work a pick is pretty well essential on a mandolin.

Zen


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Subject: RE: Mandolin Question.
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 12 Apr 09 - 07:08 AM

Dawg

Dave H


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Subject: RE: Mandolin Question.
From: van lingle
Date: 12 Apr 09 - 08:16 AM

I use a triangular Dunlop Ultex .94 mm (Clayton makes very similar ones).I thin out one side just a bit with sand paper (finish with 600 grit) and use the stiff points for melody and the thinned one for strumming. The Ultex never slips in my hand.


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Subject: RE: Mandolin Question.
From: Abdul The Bul Bul
Date: 12 Apr 09 - 10:51 AM

Whatever happened to the plectrum?

Al


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Subject: RE: Mandolin Question.
From: GUEST,iancarterb
Date: 12 Apr 09 - 11:31 AM

Golden Gate, similar to Dawg. Small, VERY stiff, and nearly round. Sparsely finger picked mandolin can sound wonderful for vocal accompaniment, but it is I think more difficult than 1)learning to use the flatpick/plectrum well, 2)finding the right adhesive technique and 3)learning to relax so that the adhesive is less necessary. For adhesive I found resin from the fiddle player good; also using elastoplast medical adhesive tape until JUST before playing in public.:) I even tried contact cement, which is effective but messy. Getting the darn pick to stay in hand is esential for learning to relax the right arm enough to hold the pick just tightly enough to keep from dropping it and then abandoning the adhesive. Took me a decade plus, but I'm a slow learner.


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Subject: RE: Mandolin Question.
From: Pierre Le Chapeau
Date: 13 Apr 09 - 04:34 AM

I have trouble holding the pick too jancarterb .It tends to fly out me fingers usually right in mid song, I cut some light grooves into my pick using a modeling knife and that made it much better for me


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Subject: RE: Mandolin Question.
From: Willie-O
Date: 13 Apr 09 - 11:11 AM

Pierre, if picks slide away from you, you're not the first one. Try asking for Tortex, or the nylon ones with a grip. Also just keep practicing, it will happen lessas you get more accustomed to using the pick.

To go back to one of your questions: YES, you need to use a flatpick to play a mandolin effectively. It's just the way it is, your guitar fingerpicking is not relevant to this instrument, and the rest of us are not Ry Cooder.

Personally, after 30 years of mandolin picking, I am exactly in line with The Levellers recommendation--I use Jim Dunlop .73 mm tortex picks almost exclusively for both mandolin and guitar. Because I pick fairly aggressively, the points wear out fairly quickly on mandolin. I find it convenient to use the same kind of pick on both instruments, but would maybe go one thickness heavier (.88 mm) for mandolin only.

I use regular teardrop shaped picks--the big triangular ones are too floppy and cumbersome, and I just don't find any advantage in the small tiny ones.   

As you're starting out you may prefer a lighter gauge pick. It flexes a bit when you strum it, making it easier to hang onto. (A heavy pick digs into the strings and is more likely to jump out of your hand, because it doesn't flex.) However if you find yourself learning to play faster (bluegrass or Celtic styles), the flexing slows you down because the pick point is boinging around, making it harder to place when you only have a fraction of a second between notes.

Good luck, try different types, see what works for you.
W-O


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Subject: RE: Mandolin Question.
From: Wesley S
Date: 13 Apr 09 - 11:54 AM

I agree with Willie. Many of us start off with very light picks and soon realize that the heavier picks is what we need to use. It would be better to just bite the bullet and get used to a heavy pick right away.


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Subject: RE: Mandolin Question.
From: Bernard
Date: 13 Apr 09 - 12:20 PM

A heavy guage plectrum/pick and not gripping too tightly works for me. The ones I'm still using were sold in the UK by Barnes and Mullins, and are made of nylon.

The art of playing is in the wrist action... too many people play with a stiff wrist and move the entire forearm from the elbow, which means the weight of the forearm is working against them.

I've been playing for forty years... I prefer fingerstyle for guitar and banjo.


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Subject: RE: Mandolin Question.
From: Pierre Le Chapeau
Date: 13 Apr 09 - 12:56 PM

Thanks Bernard, Thats a terrific tip I will work on what you have wrote.
Kind regards Pierre.


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Subject: RE: Mandolin Question.
From: matt milton
Date: 13 Apr 09 - 01:25 PM

"It's just the way it is, your guitar fingerpicking is not relevant to this instrument"

I think that's stating things too strongly. I've found guitar fingerpicking to be very relevant to mandolin playing (even when I'm using a pick to play it).


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Subject: RE: Mandolin Question.
From: GUEST,jeff
Date: 13 Apr 09 - 03:36 PM

While primarily an acoustic guitarist I play mandolin, mandola, octave mandolin, 4-string banjo, etc. Jim Dunlop Tortex .73mm are what I've settled on after many years. They're a little stiffer than Fender .73mm, but not as stiff as the Fender .88mm which is the next step up. The Dunlops are bright yellow and can be seen easily if dropped. Would recommend not going any lighter as the next step down is a little 'floppy'.

'Celtic' and 'Bluegrass' style strumming are 2 completely different disciplines. One needs to be proficient in both. The 'bluegrass chop' is played on the 2 & 4 beats of a 4/4 measure and 2 & 3 beats of 'waltz time'. The use of full chords w/no open strings accomplishes this. 'Celtic' uses a more flowing rhythm approach w/more use of open string chords.

While the sound is more delicate in my experience it's the more difficult of the 2 disciplines because the subtlety of movement requires greater wrist control and the restraint of a lighter touch. Just MHO. Also, the mandolin is used mostly as a melody instrument in Celtic style. In bluegrss it's used as the 'snare drum' while taking 'breaks' and doing 'fills' in trade w/t fiddle, banjo and dobro.

Just pick out songs you like and learn to play/sing them on the mandolin. As your strumming improves you'll find yourself taking on more and more complicated songs. I play anything from 'Til There Was You', 'Pretty Woman', 'Ordinary Man', Tiptoe Through The Tulips', 'Old Joe Clark', 'Music For A Found Harmonium', 'Wayfarin' Stranger', 'Little Begger Boy'(Red Haired Boy in bluegrass cicles) and 'Lies'(a Stan Rodgers song). They all lend themselves to the mandolin very well. You'll enjoy steady improvement if playing/singing songs you like. Have fun...it's a lifelong process.


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Subject: RE: Mandolin Question.
From: Pierre Le Chapeau
Date: 13 Apr 09 - 05:58 PM

Thank you jeff.
Do you folk think that Mandolin and head brace harmonica work? I find it help to keep Rhythm and .


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Subject: RE: Mandolin Question.
From: Pierre Le Chapeau
Date: 13 Apr 09 - 06:00 PM

Sorry slip of the thumb, I was gonna say"variation?


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Subject: RE: Mandolin Question.
From: Mooh
Date: 13 Apr 09 - 07:40 PM

Dunlop Ultex 1.00mm three corner pick, usually with a few small holes drilled in the middle for grip. To locate the holes nicely, I use a Wegen pick of the same shape as a template, slip them in the drill press, and "Bob's your uncle". The Ultex material, has a nice neutral attack, excellent durability, is easily re-dressed when it wears (if it wears before it's lost, that is), and is affordable compared to the Wegen and many other boutique picks.

Also recommended is the Dava GripTip www.davapick.com

Peace, Mooh.


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Subject: RE: Mandolin Question.
From: GUEST,jeff
Date: 14 Apr 09 - 01:58 AM

Yes, go ahead and use harmonica/rack combo along w/mando. Wish I'd thought of it myself as one can create some nice harmonies w/t 2 instruments. My wife and I are planning a cycling tour of Ireland and Wales next year and our instruments of choice are mandolin and piccolo...lots of high end. Never thought about harmonica/rack, but they'll be along, too. Thanks for the idea. Excuse me, I have to go practice...


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Subject: RE: Mandolin Question.
From: Pierre Le Chapeau
Date: 14 Apr 09 - 07:14 AM

Jeff
thanks for you replies and good luck with harmonica and Mandolin I am mastering D.G.A. chords at present because I new to the Mandolin so I stick me D harmonica in head brace and accompany myself I think its a good combination and it easy to drown the Mandolin with to much Harp so watch out for that.
Good luck Pierre.


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