McClung Evaluation & comments
of the Standard and McClung model armrests.
I sent a couple of armrests out to be evaluated. I sent one 1/2″ Standard and one of the new “McClung”, both in Rosewood.
Also included are others have to say about their armrests.
Ft Worth, TX
Standard: “Not uncomfortable due to the smooth contours, but I feel the “hump” of it pressing into my forearm a little bit, and it felt a little unnatural.”
McClung: “Very comfortable. The angle of the armrest makes it feel almost nonexistent (even though it is a little more substantial in size)”.
Standard: “The rounded edges give it a nice soft appearance that is unobtrusive to the eye, and the smaller visual profile may be preferred by some.”
McClung: “The sharper edges actually blend well with the lines of the mandolin (including the tailpiece)”.
Control or Feel:
Standard: “When my arm would brush against it while chopping or repositioning, it felt fine, but it did keep my arm nicely in a central position. Raising my arm slightly above the top was an improvement in positioning my arm for better tone and technique”.
McClung: “Perfect. I hardly noticed the armrest, and I felt like my right hand was in a much better position for achieving optimal tone and motion”.
Tone and/or Volume:
Standard: “Directly compared to the instrument without the armrest, it seemed to “choke” the sound just slightly. With the armrest, I think I lost just a little volume and openness”
McClung: “Just a hair of choke on this one as well, but like the Standard, the difference was slight enough to make me wonder if I was just imagining it.”
McClung wins for comfort and the position it put my arm in for good tone and technique. It also looks good on the mandolin. The Standard model, however, is not a bad second choice at all.
“Big Joe” Vest
I really liked the McClung model, but it put just a bit of pressure on my forearm which made it a bit uncomfortable. I may have gotten used to it in time, but the other was comfortable right from the start. The thing I liked about the McClung is that it positioned the hand high enough to keep the hand from hitting the bridge. This seemed to make it a bit louder. I do not plant my hand, but it will sometimes make contact.
Comfort: Standard was most comfortable
McClung was a bit too high…cut into the forearm
Visual Appearance: Both looked good. You might try sanding with a grade or two finer sandpaper to make it even a bit smoother and it will buff it a bit also. Not a necessity, just a suggestion.
Control or Feel: Standard was GREAT! I liked the control a bit better than the Cumberland Acoustic, which I’ve used for several years. The feel was really good. The McClung had great control but was not as comfortable.
Does the mandolin vibrate more freely: YES
Pricing: $50 is a good base price for either. You can add options above that. The McClung should be a bit more because of the extra labor.
Which did I prefer and why: Standard because of the items mentioned above. Both were really good.
Does either make a difference: Better tone, volume, and projection and protects the top from forearm sweat. I’ve used armrests for years and would not have a mandolin without one.
Additional Comments: Good product. I like it better than the armrest I’ve used for years.
Updated Comment: I did get the new McClung armrest and it is much better than the previous one. I really like it and have mounted it on my mandola. It was a great addition giving more volume and cleaner tone to that instrument. It makes night and day difference on that instrument.
I think this is a winner of a design and I am greatly impressed.
I played each armrest and compared them with one Andrew Mowry made for my mandolin.
Here are my findings:
The standard did not do it for me in the comfort category although it was more comfy than my Mowry, which I do not use anymore.
The McClung is the most comfortable armrest I have ever used. The angle of the rest and the positioning on my mandolin supported my arm in the optimal playing position. Your armrests are as good as any I have ever seen. Your choice of materials is first-rate. If you ever make the McClung in the flamed maple I want one!! The standard armrest did not
give me the same amount of control and dexterity as did the McClung. I could not discern any appreciable tonal differences between the standard and McClung armrest. Although that could vary from mandolin to mandolin.
Your pricing is fair and I consider it a bargain considering your accessories are handcrafted. You should label each as such. My preference is the McClung for the previous stated reasons.
while back. I had placed it in the bus to try it out, and for a long time couldn’t find
the package. Finally, I discovered it and tried it out.
WOW! I was just thinking how sore my arm was from sitting on the edge of the mandolin. But when I tried out your product, it was such a relief! So comfortable. And it really is beautiful to look at! Matches my Gibson very well.
A thousand thanks for sending it to me. I haven’t taken it off since!!
May the Lord richly bless you.
New York, NY
I ended up leaving with the McClung (angled one) in rosewood. I think it matches my ebony Weber pickguard nicely. I also think it’s really comfy on the right arm. Sound-wise, the first thing I noticed (even in a room with a noisy fan on) is that the top is more resonant than it was with the weight of my right arm dampening it. I know the armrest dampens it a little too, but to my ear, it’s a notable improvement with the armrest compared to without. And I’ve continued to love my sound improvement since that night. I’d even dare to say it improved my volume and tone about the same as what a couple of years of playing would have!
Getting my arm up a little higher has also done a wonderful thing for my picking technique — I no longer weight the bridge. This is giving me less top dampening (again), better trem, and all-around a better feel as I play. I do wonder whether the angle is the slightest bit extreme for my particular way of holding the mandolin (and I’m not sure what angle my McClung is — I guess he has two). I’ve noticed I play with my right wrist bent inward a little, but I’m not sure it’s more than the natural bend of my wrist required for the motion of strumming and picking. I’ve played a bunch of gigs that way, and no pain or stretching issues. No problem getting where I need to go either. I hope it won’t catch up with me when I get past middle age.
Thanks for being such a great guy, Doug. Good to know you, and great product. My review should not be taken as a survey of the armrest smorgasbord — Doug’s are the only ones I’ve tried! I’m just sharing my images and that I really like what I hear and feel.