Right Hand Technique

Mike Stangeland

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. Ronnie McCoury - Open hand, fingers touching the top of the mando, no pickguard

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

Score:
Loosely closed fist - 5
Moderately open fist touching pickgaurd - 3
Open fingers touching down - 20