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Turning a guitar into a mando

theleveller 24 Dec 10 - 04:08 AM
GUEST,Pete G 24 Dec 10 - 04:26 AM
Will Fly 24 Dec 10 - 04:42 AM
GUEST,RAy 24 Dec 10 - 05:22 AM
GUEST,Grishka 24 Dec 10 - 05:48 AM
Wesley S 24 Dec 10 - 06:20 AM
theleveller 24 Dec 10 - 06:28 AM
GUEST,Ollie 24 Dec 10 - 08:02 AM
Seamus Kennedy 24 Dec 10 - 12:09 PM
GUEST,erbert 24 Dec 10 - 01:04 PM
GUEST,erbert 24 Dec 10 - 01:16 PM
GUEST,Ray 24 Dec 10 - 06:35 PM
Richie Black (misused acct, bad email) 24 Dec 10 - 06:44 PM
GUEST,Grishka 26 Dec 10 - 06:03 PM
theleveller 27 Dec 10 - 05:38 AM
GUEST,Bruce Michael Baillie 27 Dec 10 - 04:42 PM
theleveller 16 Jan 11 - 08:41 AM
theleveller 16 Jan 11 - 08:42 AM
theleveller 16 Jan 11 - 09:34 AM
maeve 16 Jan 11 - 10:03 AM
GUEST,erbert 16 Jan 11 - 10:52 AM
dick greenhaus 16 Jan 11 - 09:22 PM
GUEST,garry zouki 22 Apr 14 - 12:30 PM
GUEST 22 Apr 14 - 12:43 PM
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Subject: Turning a guitar into a mando
From: theleveller
Date: 24 Dec 10 - 04:08 AM

Having seen the Apollonio mandola that's just been auctioned gave me an idea. I've an old guitar that I've had for over 40 years that needs some work on it, so I'm thinking about turning it into an 8-string guitar/mandosomething. The head needs rebuilding anyway so no problem putting 8 tuners on, but I can't decide whether to use the existing bridge with a new saddle and anchor the strings by means of a trapeze tailpiece or put on a new bridge so that I can secure the strings through the body with bridge pins. I realise that there are totally different dynamics involved so any advice or comments would be much appreciated.


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Subject: RE: Turning a guitar into a mando
From: GUEST,Pete G
Date: 24 Dec 10 - 04:26 AM

Be worth having a look round the Mandolin Cafe forum - I think there are several mando cello conversions from guitars on there.

Similarly I have an old 12 string that one of these days is going to get converted to a guitar-oud

Let us know how you get on,

Cheers,

Pete.


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Subject: RE: Turning a guitar into a mando
From: Will Fly
Date: 24 Dec 10 - 04:42 AM

My mate Ian Chisholm has just very successfully converted an old Hofner archtop into a bouzouki. You could contact him if you need some advice. He's very helpful and very skilled. PM me if you'd like his email address.


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Subject: RE: Turning a guitar into a mando
From: GUEST,RAy
Date: 24 Dec 10 - 05:22 AM

No reason why it can't be done. The Santa Cruz "F" model body is also used on their mandocello.


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Subject: RE: Turning a guitar into a mando
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 24 Dec 10 - 05:48 AM

RAy, there are many possible reasons why the result may not be satisfactory, actually I would be surprised if it were. Leveller, please inform us about the progress of your research.


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Subject: RE: Turning a guitar into a mando
From: Wesley S
Date: 24 Dec 10 - 06:20 AM

I'll also suggest asking for advice over at the Mandolin Cafe. In the forum there is a section for builders. Some of the best in the world frequent it. I'm sure you could get some excellent advice there. Good luck and let us know how it goes.


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Subject: RE: Turning a guitar into a mando
From: theleveller
Date: 24 Dec 10 - 06:28 AM

Thanks for the advice - I've been on Mandolin Cafe and already got some hints. I think I'll proceed in stages. First of all I need to have a poke arond inside and see what the strutting's like. Then I might buy a trapeze tailpiece, put on some strings and see what it sounds like. If that's acceptable I'll go the whole hog and rebuild the headstock for the full 8 strings. If not, I can turn it back to a guitar with minimum expense. It'll be interesting if nothing else!


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Subject: RE: Turning a guitar into a mando
From: GUEST,Ollie
Date: 24 Dec 10 - 08:02 AM

Hey why not? Not as if there are too few guitars around....!


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Subject: RE: Turning a guitar into a mando
From: Seamus Kennedy
Date: 24 Dec 10 - 12:09 PM

I'd contact Nick Appolonio who did the conversion mandola in the auction and seek his input.


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Subject: RE: Turning a guitar into a mando
From: GUEST,erbert
Date: 24 Dec 10 - 01:04 PM

.. and maybe check out "Cassandra Elk" links on google.

http://www.google.co.uk/search?sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8&q=cassandra+elk


He's a British musician / 'eccentric' luthier who's been based in Germany a very long time.
I can't remember his name right now,
but he's an interesting and helpful bloke to email regarding guitar to mando thingie conversions.

..and something of an inspiration for my attempts at giving new life to knackered cheap guitars.

I personaly prefere 3/4 scale electric guitar conversions,
but can adapt to playing GDAE chords on a full length Fender scale neck
if the right 'too good to just chuck away' project presents itself for useful modification.

Tough practical point, it's easier to play if you recut the nut to concentrate the strings closer together
in the middle of the fingerboard by losing the 2 conventional outer string / nut slots..


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Subject: RE: Turning a guitar into a mando
From: GUEST,erbert
Date: 24 Dec 10 - 01:16 PM

remembered now;

Stewart Bilcock

http://www.emando.com/builders_active/Cassandra_Elk.htm

He favours spacing the string courses right acroos the entire fingerboard,
which can be a bit difficult for chord playing with heavier strings.


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Subject: RE: Turning a guitar into a mando
From: GUEST,Ray
Date: 24 Dec 10 - 06:35 PM

Despite what Grishka says, compare this - http://www.santacruzguitar.com/instruments/f_model_cat/mc_model/mc_model.html
to this - http://www.santacruzguitar.com/instruments/f_model_cat/f_model/f_model.html

Ignore the cutaway you can specify this on the standard guitar.
Ray


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Subject: RE: Turning a guitar into a mando
From: Richie Black (misused acct, bad email)
Date: 24 Dec 10 - 06:44 PM

HOW TO CONVERT A GUITAR INTO AN OCTAVE-MANDOLIN.

This conversion is easily accomplished that it can be described
quite quickly and easily.


               ADDING TWO ADDITIONAL TUNING GEARS
               ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Elderly Instruments (& many others) sell inexpensive (less than
£20.00 per set) guitar or mandolin tuning machines (aka tuning
gears). I simply bought a set, hacksawed them into individual
units, drilled the proper mounting holes at the head-end of the of
the tuning box (there always seems to be room here to squeeze in
another couple of tuners) & slapped em on. My two new tuners jut
out at about a 45 degree angle, but this is of no consequence.


             //    _ _ _ _    \\
            //\   /         \   /\\ <-- the 2 new tuning machines
          '' \/             \/ ''
             /   O         O   \
             |                   |
         ,, |                   | ,,
         ||--| O             O |--||
         '' |                   | ''
             |                   |
         ,, |                   | ,,
         ||--| O             O |--||
         '' |                   | ''
             |                   |
         ,, |                   | ,,
         ||--| O             O |--||
         ''   \                /   ''
                \ ___________ /
                ||| || || ||| <-- the new 8 string nut
                |~~~~~~~~~~~|
                |          |
                |          |   



                              NUT
                              ~~~
Remove the existing 6 string nut. Use it's shape as a pattern to
whittle/file out a new hardwood nut. Carefully plot out and cut-in
the grooves for 8 strings. Make sure the 2 strings nearest the
edges of the neck are not TOO close to these edges. It seemed to
work out niceley here that each of the strings within the 4 pairs
should be about 1/8" apart. If in doubt, initially just make very
slight grooves & only deepen them once you're satisfied with the
spacing.


                           TAILPIECE
                           ~~~~~~~~~
The electric guitar I used utilized a conventional metal "fasten
to the end of the guitar-body" type tailpiece. No conversion was
made to it -- I simply (& quite effectively) hooked the ends of
the two new strings through the existing string-holes. One was a
bit tight with two strings now going thru it, and I probably
should have drilled the mounting hole out a bit.

                            BRIDGE
                            ~~~~~~
This guitar had a "set-on" type bridge. I fashioned a new
similarily shaped bridge out of rock maple and notched it for the
four pairs of strings. This has worked out quite satisfactorily.
Such a bridge need not be "streamlined" or fancy. Calculate it so
that the grooves in the bridge allow the two outer strings to run
down the neck about the same distance from the neck-edge along
their lengths. Once again, initially make only very light grooves
here & deepen them once you're satisfied with the spacing.


WHAT TO DO IF YOUR BRIDGE IS THE "THROUGH THE BODY"
TYPE WITH NO TAILPIECE:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Remove the bridge saddle & ether a) add new grooves for 4 string
pairs or b) Make a new 8 string saddle out of plexiglass or some
other hard material. The two additional strings can be secured
through the High E and low E bridge holes (this may necessitate
"grooving" the associated mounting pins a bit deeper to take into
account the fact that there now are TWO strings going thru each
hole).


Now just string it up, adjust the action & play it! On the several
instruments so converted here, I have had no sign that the
additional pressure of two extra strings caused any problems. The
former electric guitar, for instance, stays in tune from year to
year - hanging most of the time on the wall!

I used appropriate gauge individual guitar strings, although they
do sell octave-mandolin (or Cittern) strings in several catalogs.

Over the years I've converted lots of instruments from one thing
into another and must say that this guitar - octave mandolin
conversion ranks about the most successful ---- very easy to do
too.

Take a 12-string guitar and use it for an octave mandolin.

1. Remove the low E and the G string(s)
2. Move the remaining high strings (E and B) over to the next set
   of spaces.
3. Retune the A string to G, the D string stays the same, the old
   B string down to A, and the new E (high) string stays the same

Viola, now you have an octave mandolin. Another variation is to
have all the strings in unison, more of a Bouzouki sound.


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Subject: RE: Turning a guitar into a mando
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 26 Dec 10 - 06:03 PM

Very interesting, Richie.

Ray, I do not claim any sort of expertise. It is however common knowledge that the interior of a stringed instrument should be designed according to the expected pressure and tension of the strings etc. Note that Ritchie mentions an octave mandolin, i.e. an instrument tuned a fifth above the mandocello. This sounds a better idea to me, since the tuning is somewhat closer to the guitar.


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Subject: RE: Turning a guitar into a mando
From: theleveller
Date: 27 Dec 10 - 05:38 AM

Thanks for all the great advice, folks. I'm going to have a closer look at the interior of the guitar tomorrow. At the moment it has a slotted headstock but this is split and needs repairing. However, I think that I've located a set of suitable machine heads that will just fit without having to enlarge the slots.

If it doesn't look like a viable project, the alternative is to string the existing guitar in High Nashville Tuning and see how that sounds.


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Subject: RE: Turning a guitar into a mando
From: GUEST,Bruce Michael Baillie
Date: 27 Dec 10 - 04:42 PM

A couple of years ago I turned my Ozark six string guitar into a guitar bouzouki. The experiment worked out very well and the instrument sounds completely different to what it did as a guitar. It cost me about £25 altogether and that includes a new set of strings and a new drill to drill out the extra holes in the headstock! I was lucky in the fact that it had a bridge big enough to accomodate the extra holes underneath the original ones, you couldn't do this on every instrument. If you want to see the instrument in action both as a guitar and guitar bouzouki have a look on my YOUTUBE channel (Bailliekins)I found it comparatively easy to do, but some people may not. I'd certainly recommend it to anyone, at the end of the day the instrument only cost me £100 when I bought it so it was worth the risk. I even emailed David Carroll at Ozark instruments and he was impressed with the result!


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Subject: RE: Turning a guitar into a mando
From: theleveller
Date: 16 Jan 11 - 08:41 AM

Well the conversion's finished and I'm absolutely amazed at how good it sounds. I repaired the head, put on a set of mandolin machine heads, a trapeze tailpiece,a new nut and some fairly light strings (34 22 16 12)m and tuned it like the top 4 strings of my favourite Csus tuning. I can't really describe the sound - more mellow than a tenor mandolin or a bourzouki, very resonant and a bit lute-like. It's somehow quite a melancholy sound and I can't imagine playing bright happy stuff on it, but it's fantastic for laments that have lingering notes and lots of drones. In the end it only cost about £35 including strings, so I'm well chuffed with the result.

Thanks once again for all the advice.


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Subject: RE: Turning a guitar into a mando
From: theleveller
Date: 16 Jan 11 - 08:42 AM

Only problem is, I still can't think what to call it - double-strung tenor guitar seems closest.


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Subject: RE: Turning a guitar into a mando
From: theleveller
Date: 16 Jan 11 - 09:34 AM

Some pics here

http://www.facebook.com/#!/album.php?aid=2107451&id=1386109573


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Subject: RE: Turning a guitar into a mando
From: maeve
Date: 16 Jan 11 - 10:03 AM

Congratulations! Any possibility of a photo link not requiring Facebook sign-in?


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Subject: RE: Turning a guitar into a mando
From: GUEST,erbert
Date: 16 Jan 11 - 10:52 AM

"Only problem is, I still can't think what to call it - double-strung tenor guitar seems closest."


ok, considering the average age of mudcat and the naff cloying way so many guitarists
refer to their guitars as 'she'

"Tenor Lady" ?????


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Subject: RE: Turning a guitar into a mando
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 16 Jan 11 - 09:22 PM

for a real challenge, one could try turning a guitar into a concertina


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Subject: RE: Turning a guitar into a mando
From: GUEST,garry zouki
Date: 22 Apr 14 - 12:30 PM

can we have another link to the pics?


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Subject: RE: Turning a guitar into a mando
From: GUEST
Date: 22 Apr 14 - 12:43 PM

Well, there is the lire organizzata, a hurdy mated with a portative organ...


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