Clark JM Jazz Mandolin
Search
Tips & Tricks Mel Bay Mandolin Sessions
Spotlight

Enjoy the resourses on this website? Help us offset our server expenses with a modest one-time donation.

JM_Ad_GiJM.jpg

JM_Ad_JLSmith.jpg

JM_Ad_Clark2.jpg

Manndolins.jpg

JM_Ad_Sorensen.jpg

JM_Ad_Giroaurd.jpg

JM_Ad_MandolinCafe.jpg

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."



« Moving on Up | Main | Thoughts on Speed »

October 13, 2006 | Back to the Wall?

The perpetual search for rich, resonant tone can be a daunting one. Sometimes it's the simple things we change, not just in string gauges or construction, pick shape, or adjusting the action and frets on the instrument, but in the way we hold the instrument.

Some instruments with vibrant backs can be opened up merely by being aware of how much they are touched as we play. If you've ever tapped on a drum head, you've discovered that vibrations are strongest in a circle between dead center and the edge of the drum. Middle of the drum isn't particularly hot, and the closer you get to the edge isn't live either, but inches away from either can be affected by putting your finger on the head.

Drummers have all kinds of ways of addressing this. Usually, they WANT to deaden some ring, some of the high, obnoxious overtones. They will used anything from expensive high-tech accessories to duct tape and newspapers, but its usually a science that is inexact and personal.

Mandolinists, however, want maximum vibration and need to be conscious of contact with the abdomen while playing. Bear in mind we are all different in size and shape, and this will vary with the degree of resonance of the wood in the back, where (and if) contact is made, and how close to the edge the instrument rests. There is no single, one-size-fits-all solution, simply an awareness that the one of the two biggest hunks of wood on your ax needs space to breathe.

Adjustments you can make include how far from the side the instrument rests and the angle from which it juts from your chest or stomach. You can rest this on the deader outer circle of the back and move the mandolin at a greater angle, headstock forward. This may not be comfortable to you. Strap height is another variable, but you also want your hands and wrists to remain unrestricted.

Lap playing works, too. Some of us still need the strap to assist in monitoring the distance, but many classical players will rest the instrument on a tacky cloth on their leg while they play. Again, you'll want to experiment, as the solutions out there are as individual and different as the variety of player sizes and instruments.

There's always the Tone-gard. We use this on several of our more resonant back instruments, and it not only breathes a new dimension of no-fuss richness, it keeps the back from getting scratched or marked. In our opinion, these are not expensive when you consider they preserve the value of your instrument AND open up your tone.

Check out the website: Tone-gard

Posted by Ted at October 13, 2006 6:28 AM


Bookmark and Share


QuickNav:   Home | Book | Webtracks | Tips | Store | Contact
Feeds: Tips & Tricks | What's New
© 2005-2015 JazzMando.com. All rights reserved.


Disclaimer: In the 'Information Age' of the 21st Century, any fool with a computer, a modem, and an idea can become a self-professed 'expert." This site does not come equipped with 'discernment.'



Site designed and hosted by No Hassle Design, Development, & Hosting

Tips & Tricks - Listen & LearnMel Bay Mandolin Sessions Articles- check it out!