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Electric Mandola
I have built an Electric Mandola
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Raywells
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May 22, 2014 - 8:22 pm
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Retired and on a fixed income it is not possible to afford a low end mandola so I have built a mandola by adding appropriate strings to a Squier Mini Guitar using the bottom 4 strings.  Hope you like it

 

Strings are: D'Addario guitar strings

  C .. CG052 Simple XL chrome flatwound

  G .. CG040 Simple XL chrome flatwound

  D .. CG028 Simple XL chrome flatwound

  A .. DAD 015 P

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Ferret
Byron Bay Australia
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May 22, 2014 - 8:39 pm
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Hey Ray

Sounded good. Nice tone mate. And your playing got better the further you got into the tune.

All you gave to do now, like I would have to do, is play it a hundred or so more times and it will sound fantastic. exactly

Seen it all. Done it all. Can't remember most of dunno ..... What was I saying???? facepalm

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Oliver
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May 23, 2014 - 11:43 am
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I know nothing about mandolas but I listened to some on You Tube and yours sounded very similar.  Very appealing sound.  I would guess Baroque?

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

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Raywells
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May 23, 2014 - 12:29 pm
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Thanks for watching/listening Oliver and Ferret. Actually I did not build much. Rather I researched in Mandolin Cafe and elsewhere on the net to find that there are electric mandolins and mandolas that look strangely like small electric guitars. My beginnings in violin taught me about violas and cellos and the concept of instrument families. The mandola takes the viola place in the mando family. I have some more experimenting to do with string guages as I dont really like the sound of my C string. The use of the mini guitar follows from its scale length of 22 3/4 inches measured from nut to bridge. This puts it in the mandola range with some variance in string guage to get the sound desired. In the back of my mind is the idea of the Octave mandolin which like the violin and mandolin tunes GDAE but an octave lower than standard.

Will also need to check video problem, I am not a lefty.

Ray

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Oliver
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May 23, 2014 - 5:10 pm
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Hi

You may want to be careful with the octave idea.  There are sometimes problems with octave violins that the larger string diameters are not an easy fit.  However, the violin sounds with octave strings are amazing and I guess would be a surprise with the mandolin.

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

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Raywells
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May 23, 2014 - 8:42 pm
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Hi Oliver; This quest for pleasing to me lower registers led from violin to 14" viola and then octave strings for violin and viola. The low notes were fascinating but standard peg boxes do not accomodate the larger guage octave strings without undue wear on the strings (C) and the pegbox so that experiment is ended. I will replace my current C and D strings with a bit smaller guage than now. I have added an E string to now tune C G D A and E. and while see how the bits of tunes I know fit on this new contraption.

Ray

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Oliver
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May 23, 2014 - 9:23 pm
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I recently changed a 15" viola over to violin tuning and it sounds great.  The problem now is that I don't want to play the violin anymore!

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

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Uzi
Georgia
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May 23, 2014 - 10:25 pm
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Way cool idea and it sounds good. 

A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort. ~Herm Albright

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Raywells
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May 23, 2014 - 11:04 pm
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Hey Uzi and Oliver. My 14" viola is a Cecilio and the back seam opened and was replaced but postage being expensive they said keep the faulty one. So I repaired it  and now have a 14" viola strung as a viola and the other strung as a violin and that one is a nice dark violin.

Ray

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Fiddlestix
Michigan, USA
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May 23, 2014 - 11:39 pm
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Octo-Fiddle:

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DanielB
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May 24, 2014 - 5:19 am
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I think it's highly cool, Ray.  Are you planning to modify the bridge and nut for 4 strings, or invent the 6 string electric mandola? 

I modded an old electric guitar years ago to play it as sort of a 6 string Appalachian dulcimer.  A friend had loaned me a dulcimer and I liked it, so when it went back home I improvised one out of an old cheapo electric guitar.  When I eventually got an acoustic dulcimer, I further modded that electric by scalloping the fretboard and making a "buzz bridge" for it to turn it into a homebrew electric sitar.  LOL

There's a lot of neat stuff you can make by modding instruments that were cheap enough to consider "expendable".

Fun stuff.  Your project is sounding good, Ray!

"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman

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Oliver
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May 24, 2014 - 7:39 am
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Fiddlestix   I'm always impressed at how much sound the violin is capable of.  I played some octave violin in a church group before I moved to NC and it sounded good.

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

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Raywells
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May 24, 2014 - 11:42 am
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Hi DanielB. For now I think I will leave things as they are; at least I will make no changes to the as bought equipment. I have moved the  CGDA strings up one place and have added an E string so perhaps I now have a 5 string octave mandolin. It now tunes C2,G2,D3,A3 and E4 ... so that should be an octave below a regular mandolin or violin at G3, D4, A4, and E5. If I can manage the fingering I guess I have the option to play it as an octave mandolin or as a mandola.

Ray

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Raywells
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May 24, 2014 - 3:18 pm
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My Mando Family

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