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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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.