Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Wabash Cannonball Mandolin Solo (Video)

Here is my first video of myself playing. The sound quality isn’t very good on my camera. I have been playing mandolin for about 2 weeks on a borrowed Donner mando, that really doesn’t sound that good.
This solo is a combination of the straight melody, Ben’s double stops, and some licks from my guitar solo, Enjoy!

https://vimeo.com/351691020
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Great! Love the D&H logo. I’m pretty sure my grandfather worked for them as a switchman. He also worked for Erie-Lackawanna.

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Great job… And I think the Mando sounds splendid - but freely admit my weakness for all sounds - Mandolin!

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Nice! You use a thumpick? Do you use it in conjunction with fingerpicks? If so, why? I tried it the other day and it was workable, but not as clean for me

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I like to use a thumbpick because I find it helps me have control while picking. I know it’s different, but I don’t see anything wrong with it.

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Hey Harrison! Sounded nice! Tempo is good and the melody is right on.

I remember when I got my first guitar, I was given a thumb pick instead of a regular pick. One thing to watch out for is whether the thumb pick is preventing you from playing up strokes. When you progress to more complex arrangements, you just won’t be able to play them if you can’t play upstrokes.

Otherwise, if you can play them all, go for it. There’s no rule saying you can’t use a thumb pick on a mandolin. :slight_smile:

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Sounds very great for a 2 weeks old on Mandolin! I don’t know how you manage with the thumb pick for picking up and down on all strings, but you somehow manage it! Great job!

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Wow, two weeks, really? That’s pretty good Harrison. I’ve never seen anyone use a thump pick on mando before, but you made it work.

You will want to try a regular pick though sometime soon and try to get used to it because many tunes are played with up strokes and you’ll need a pick that’s a little less rigid than a thumb pick. You’ll also want to strum/chop while playing backup which would also be difficult with a thumb pick.

You won’t be able to Tremolo with a thumb pick very well and you’ll probably also find that you’ll be able to get a more appropriate angle on the strings with a flat pick and your resulting sound will much more smooth. And you’ll eventually find that a beveled flat pick will be even better still.

I’m a banjo player and using a flat pick was very difficult for me when I took up mandolin, so I get it. I couldn’t keep the pick oriented with a pointy end toward the strings at first. It took a while to get used to it. Trust me, you’ll be able to do so much more with a flat pick.

So much of the sweet rhythms and tones on a mandolin are accomplished with a free hand and wrist action, which is nullified with a thumb pick and your little fingers anchored on the pick guard, like on a banjo. At least give it a try for a while, you might be surprised. They make stuff to help you keep the flat pick from sliding around in your fingers, like Gorilla Snot, which is what I use. It’s in the general store.

Like I said, I’ve never seen anyone use a thumb pick on mandolin, but I’ve also never seen anyone play clawhammer style on guitar til I saw Molly Tuttle do it, so… what do I know?

Keep practicing and we look forward to seeing your progress. All the best.
Cheers buddy :slight_smile:

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Hi Harrison, I can tell right off that bat your going to be a great mandolin player one day. But if you don’t mind an old man offering up some advice. Get yourself a flat pick for that mandolin and a banjo for that thumb pick. You wouldn’t use a fork to slurp soup now would you?

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Thanks for the advice and encouragement everyone! @Archie I have a flat pick for my mando and a banjer for my thumbpick. I tried using a flat pick this morning, it’s a bit harder, especially picking those fast 16th notes on the same string (like on measure 18 of Ben’s Wabash Cannonball), But I’m gonna stick with it.

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Good, stick with it and you’ll be picking even better in no time. Actually, when I started playing guitar I used a running man finger technique to pick (index and middle) and when I switched to pick, it took some getting used to, but is definitely faster and more agile now

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Good for you Harrison, These things take a little time and patience. But once you get over the hurdles you’ll never look back.

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Great job, buddy! Sorry for my delayed reply!

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