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Sage Wisdom

"Good improvisation communicates harmonic progression melodically. Effective melodies manipulate harmonic content through the use of guide tones and preparatory gravity notes, masterfully woven in systematic tension, release, and transparent harmonic definition."



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June 29, 2011 | The right hand

Interesting find from the Mandozine archives, an intriguing survey on right hand mandolin technique by Mike Strangeland. The best take away from the following observations of prominent mandolinists is the amount of variety. Generally, it's open hand touching something (strings or top), but no one single answer.

We're all different, aren't we? Even the pros.

From the article:

"When you closely observe the right hand technique of some of the best mandolin players a pattern seems to emerge. It seems that most of them play with slightly to very opened hand and they drag the tips of their pinky and ring fingers on the pickguard or the top of the mandolin."


  1. Sam Bush - Open hand, fingers touching the top of the mando, no pickguard (from his early days)

  2. Bill Monroe - loosely closed fist, heal of palm and wrist touch strings behind bridge

  3. Joe Carr - loosely closed fist, heal of palm and wrist touch strings behind bridge

  4. Dawn Watson - open fingers touching the top of the pickguard

  5. Simon Mayor - Open hand, fingers touching the top of the mando, no pickguard

  6. Chris Thile - loosely closed fist, palm and wrist touch strings behind bridge

  7. Hershel Sizemore - Open hand, fingers touching the top of the mando, no pickguard

  8. Norman Blake - Open hand, fingers touching the top of the mando, no pickguard

  9. Nancy Blake - Open hand, fingers touching the top of the mando, no pickguard

  10. Ronnie McCoury - very open hand, fingers always touching top of mando, no pickguard

  11. David Grisman - moderately open hand, curled under fingers touching the pickguard

  12. Butch Baldassari - moderately open hand, fingertips touching pickguard, posts pinky to tremolo

  13. Mike Compton - moderately open hand, fingertips touching pickguard

  14. Ricky Skaggs - Open hand, fingers touching the top of the mando, no pickguard

  15. Tim O'Brien - Open hand, fingers touching the top of the mando, no pickguard

  16. The Nashville Mandolin Ensemble - all but two touch down with finger tips on pickguard or top


Read JazzMando archive on pick grip.

JMPick.jpg

Posted by Ted at June 29, 2011 5:52 AM


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