Howdy fellow pickers, I’m trying like the devil to solve an age old problem for me in 2015 and I’m hoping you guys can assist.
Like all good beginners I found something very challenging and immediately avoided it like the plague, that challenge was strumming on the mandolin. I immediately worked on Irish music that was all melody play, in fact I got so wound up in that that I ended up playing a Tenor Banjo and playing at a local pub rather exclusively for much of 2014.
Well now it’s 2015, and as those of you will remember I’m still trying to backup my Father in law on the guitar. I still remember the major open and closed chords on the mandolin, and can move between them, as silly as it sounds it’s the strumming that befuddles me.
I tried those big chunky picks and in no time they turn and fall right out of my hand.
I’ve watched Ben countless times, trying to see if it’s the angle, the amount of pick, the attack, the bevel, the phase of the moon, solar flares, pixie dust… I’m just so frustrated at what seems like a remarkably simple action. I even pulled out my old Guitar this afternoon and found I cannot strum it either, must be I lost my strum somewhere along the way in life…
I’ve found a few locals that play mandolin, but none have proven that approachable to see if I can get some in person recommendations. I’ve tried Skype but the lag can be a real killer.
My pick grip is “traditional” between the thumb and first finger, pointy end toward the strings. I use a thinish pick (1.1) for the Tenor Banjo and that coupled with the grip give me great control and very high speed. Single strings are fine, flat picking, jig picking, all that craziness I spent 2014 mastering… now it’s just how to use these heavier mandolin picks without losing them.
Bottom line, the picks go in between the strings, I don’t grip too hard, they end up either rotating in between my fingers, or they wobble up and down and end up falling clean out. Otherwise if I hold them too hard I end up getting too much pick on the string and end up with fret buzz or something all together unpleasant sounding. Anyone know of a nice slowed down video that really gets at the heart of the process? Anything to make me feel like less of a klutz
Thanks guys and gals. This is my last big push at mandolin, if it just doesn’t work I’m buying a banjo and never turning back