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Octave strung mandocello?

GUEST, Tom Bliss 22 Jul 11 - 06:32 AM
GUEST,Jon 22 Jul 11 - 06:39 AM
GUEST,Jon 22 Jul 11 - 06:42 AM
theleveller 22 Jul 11 - 07:03 AM
GUEST, Tom Bliss 22 Jul 11 - 07:06 AM
GUEST, Tom Bliss 22 Jul 11 - 07:11 AM
theleveller 22 Jul 11 - 07:25 AM
GUEST,Jon 22 Jul 11 - 07:32 AM
GUEST, Tom Bliss 22 Jul 11 - 07:54 AM
GUEST,Jon 22 Jul 11 - 08:12 AM
theleveller 22 Jul 11 - 08:39 AM
GUEST, Tom Bliss 22 Jul 11 - 08:41 AM
Leadfingers 22 Jul 11 - 08:44 AM
GUEST, Tom Bliss 22 Jul 11 - 08:44 AM
theleveller 22 Jul 11 - 09:08 AM
theleveller 22 Jul 11 - 09:13 AM
GUEST, Tom Bliss 22 Jul 11 - 10:55 AM
Crowhugger 22 Jul 11 - 11:07 AM
GUEST, Tom Bliss 22 Jul 11 - 11:17 AM
theleveller 22 Jul 11 - 11:48 AM
evansakes 23 Jul 11 - 12:41 PM
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Subject: Octave strung mandocello?
From: GUEST, Tom Bliss
Date: 22 Jul 11 - 06:32 AM

I've been thinking about stringing one of my mandocellos in octaves - all four courses.

I'm not at all interested in the 'lower-strings-only' bouzouki/12-string approach, because I want to play tunes, and do not want the top octave to disappear when I play across the top course/s.

I guess this would make it no longer be a mandocello but simultaneously a mandocello and a mandola - would that be a mandolacello perhaps? (Pray NOT an octave mandola for reasons passim)!

All three of my 'cellos are standard guitar sized. String gauges now are a custom-made* 58 (with an extra-thick core), 42, 32, 16.

I'm thinking of using 33, 24, 13 and 9 for the top octave - but that means 9 for a high A, which will be tight (might have to track down an 8).

Anyway. Has anyone ever tried this? If so how did it go?

Tom

*Malcolm Newton natch.


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Subject: RE: Octave strung mandocello?
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 22 Jul 11 - 06:39 AM

I only played a (Gibson) mandocello a few times years ago.

The owner originally had it in standard tuning but moved it to GDAD bozouki tuning.

As far as I was concerned, this particular attempt "ruined" the instrument. The joy of having the low notes was gone and all that was left was a (to me) clumsy feeling and nothing special sound wise bozouki.

I think he liked it though as he stuck with it...


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Subject: RE: Octave strung mandocello?
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 22 Jul 11 - 06:42 AM

(clumsy - I felt it was worth the extra effort for the low notes).


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Subject: RE: Octave strung mandocello?
From: theleveller
Date: 22 Jul 11 - 07:03 AM

Interesting experiment, Tom. Let us know how you get on. I've recently converted an old guitar to an 8-string instrument (not sure what), which I've currently got tuned to standard bouzouki tuning with unison strings, but I'd be interested in giving what you're suggesting a try if it works.


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Subject: RE: Octave strung mandocello?
From: GUEST, Tom Bliss
Date: 22 Jul 11 - 07:06 AM

GDAD is very popular, specially among octave mandolin players. Tom Napper tunes his octave mandolin thus (and manages to play tunes incredibly well in spite of the need to slip up to second position on the top course, something he does automatically on the OM but not on the Tenor Banjo), as do Phil Beer and Steve Knightly (though, confusingly, they call their octave mandolins mandocellos - or in Steve's case 'cello mandolins'). (I also have an Oddy MC like theirs, but tune mine ADGC, making it technically a four string twin course guitar - or, as Tom calls it, a picolo mandobass).

Bouzoukis seem to appear in so many different tunings these days that it's almost impossible to call anything 'Bouzouki tuning' IMO. GDAD is quite common - but does that not make them actually OMs if thus tuned?

The question is; is it the shape of the body that defines the name, or the presence of octave strings (James Fagan, for example, uses no octave strings), or - as I would have it - the tuning, on the basis that this tells you what gauge of strings to buy, and others what you'll be able to play on it.

Tom


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Subject: RE: Octave strung mandocello?
From: GUEST, Tom Bliss
Date: 22 Jul 11 - 07:11 AM

Terry, what are you calling standard bouzouki out of interest? And what gauges? Did you cut a new nut and saddle? and where did you fit the extra machine heads?


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Subject: RE: Octave strung mandocello?
From: theleveller
Date: 22 Jul 11 - 07:25 AM

"Terry, what are you calling standard bouzouki out of interest? And what gauges? Did you cut a new nut and saddle? and where did you fit the extra machine heads?"

It's Pete, actually, Tom (LOL). I've currently got it tuned GDAD. I can't remember gauges offhand but I think it's 42(44?) 32 18 12 (kept it quite light because it's a bit fragile). Yes, I fitted a new nut and saddle and fitted a trapeze tailpiece because I didn't think that the face was strong enough to cope with the stress of 8 bridge pins (although I kept the same bridge but filled in the holes). The slotted head was cracked so I repaired it and fitted fairly heavy mnandolin machine heads. It sounds surprisingly good and I often play it in preference to my Fylde cittern now.

Have a look: 8-string guitar


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Subject: RE: Octave strung mandocello?
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 22 Jul 11 - 07:32 AM

GDAD is quite common - but does that not make them actually OMs if thus tuned?

Personally, I tune and think of OM as GDAE (the octave below what I consider standard tuning on a mandolin).

But I agree it is all very debatable...


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Subject: RE: Octave strung mandocello?
From: GUEST, Tom Bliss
Date: 22 Jul 11 - 07:54 AM

ha - sorry Pete - I'm reading a book about climate change and soaking off my nails, and listening to the cricket (I wish) and for some reason I read 'leadfingers' (as you know I'm horribly dyslexic)! Can't see the pic for some reason I'm afraid.

Jon, I agree that GDAE is the normal' OM tuning, but I'd suggest that a single tone difference in one course is insufficient reason to change the name - we don't change the name of the guitar when we drop the bottom E to D, or even go to DADGAD or C modal after all.

Bouzoukis are tuned DADA, GDGD, ADAD, GDAD and many more. The old Greek Trichordos were, I think, tuned however one fancied, (though most usually Dd aa dd like a mountain dulcimer with extras), and the Tetrachordo was I believe Cc Ff aa dd, which is closer to the guitar in terms of intervals than the mandolin family.

I don't think there is a precedent for a Cc Gg Dd Aa boumandolacellozoukilin, but if I can make it work I think it will make an interesting noise.

Tom


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Subject: RE: Octave strung mandocello?
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 22 Jul 11 - 08:12 AM

OK, my own take on OM vs ("Irish") bouzouki is the scale length. Which incidentally, could be one reason for me to choose D rather than E for the first string as with the longer instrument, I'd probably be changing position anyway to make the B.


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Subject: RE: Octave strung mandocello?
From: theleveller
Date: 22 Jul 11 - 08:39 AM

See if this works, Tom:

8-string guitar


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Subject: RE: Octave strung mandocello?
From: GUEST, Tom Bliss
Date: 22 Jul 11 - 08:41 AM

Yes, OMs are usually shorter than bouzoukis (though my Buchanan zouk is exactly the same length as my Oddy 'cello). Zouks and 'cellos are usually longer (about guitar length), OMs somewhere shorter (if they're to be used for tunes, anyway), and Mandolas shorter still - though Tom Buchanan ships his long instruments (625mm) in Zouk, MC and OM tuning, and his short instruments (500mm) in both OM and Mandola tuning. (You can have a bass the size of a uke if you have thick enough strings - in theory)!

I tune my long Buchanan as a true MC, but it spends the bulk of its time capod on the 7th fret as an OM. That way I get nice close frets for tunes in fiddle/mandolin fingering, and nice low notes for accompaniment on the same instrument.

But I do fancy the octave idea. I think. (or do I?)


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Subject: RE: Octave strung mandocello?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 22 Jul 11 - 08:44 AM

Cant decide wether I should feel flattered or insulted ! LOL


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Subject: RE: Octave strung mandocello?
From: GUEST, Tom Bliss
Date: 22 Jul 11 - 08:44 AM

Ah - sorry Pete. Don't do Facebook.


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Subject: RE: Octave strung mandocello?
From: theleveller
Date: 22 Jul 11 - 09:08 AM

No probs, Tom. I love Tom Buchanan's instruments (mrsleveller has a mandolin) but I notice that his citterns have a scale length of 500mm which is very short. My Fylde is 596mm and is tuned GCGDG, which is fine for tunes but not so good for accompaniment. I've a hankering for a Buchanan OM but what I'd really, really like when I win the lottery is this:

guitar bouzouki


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Subject: RE: Octave strung mandocello?
From: theleveller
Date: 22 Jul 11 - 09:13 AM

Actually, I think I'd probably sell my soul for one of those!


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Subject: RE: Octave strung mandocello?
From: GUEST, Tom Bliss
Date: 22 Jul 11 - 10:55 AM

Yes, this is why I'd suggest that the shape is nothing to do with the name. Because that would be a guitar not a zouk if the shape was the criteria.

You have to be very careful with Tom Buchanan's terminology. The names he gives his instruments should not be taken at face value. I've taken him to task about this, but he explains (quite reasonably) that he can make two instruments and sell six this way - though he really should stop using the terms 'octave mandola' and 'tenor mandola' IMO because both are open to horrendous misunderstanding (for neither technically exists and those words can mean mandocello, octave mandolin and/or mandola to different people)

His 500mm instrument can be strung as a cittern, an OM or a mandola - though I'd only ever tune mine as a mandola because it's too short for the others - or would I? Hmm. Maybe that could be an octave strung OM/M? Now - what string gauges would that entail, I wonder?


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Subject: RE: Octave strung mandocello?
From: Crowhugger
Date: 22 Jul 11 - 11:07 AM

Wow I can just imagine how it would feel to hold and play that powerful resonance. I feel a recurrence of IAS coming on, alas it'll go untreated since the budget doesn't permit.


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Subject: RE: Octave strung mandocello?
From: GUEST, Tom Bliss
Date: 22 Jul 11 - 11:17 AM

Bother - you see, I've even tripped myself up! The smaller Buchanan I have is only 420mm - i.e without doubt a Mandola.

But Tom (confusingly and annoyingly) calls this the 'tenor mandola', which it can't possibly be as it's an alto instrument*. Tenor Mandola means 'a mandola in the tenor range' - i.e. an Octave Mandolin. Never, Use, The, Term, Tenor. Mandola. Or. Octave Mandola.

Mindst you - how would it sound if I strung it Gg Dd Aa Ee, I wonder, and what sizes would I use....


*Furthermore the mandola is the senior and original member of the family and thus 'should never be insulted with an adjective' (Louis de Bernieres)


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Subject: RE: Octave strung mandocello?
From: theleveller
Date: 22 Jul 11 - 11:48 AM

Frankly, I've given up on terminology. If I was in the market for another instrument (which, unfortunately I'm not 'SOB')I'd first of all think how I wanted to tune it and then go for a scale length that would allow reasonable tension without resorting to too-heavy strings. Then I'd probably call it an egg-slicer.

No I wouldn't - I'd sell the furniture and probably the children, and get Nigel Forster to build me one of his guitarbouzoukithingies before he goes of on his travels to the far east again. Then I would be a happy man!


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Subject: RE: Octave strung mandocello?
From: evansakes
Date: 23 Jul 11 - 12:41 PM

Having recently (and successfully) gone through a course of therapy to cure a rare and acute form of Instrument Acquisition Syndrome I have to say reading this thread has not been easy for me...so stop it guys!!

For anyone interested my condition was eventually diagnosed as "Dysfunctional and Altogether Deluded Guitar Acquisition Disorder"


....or DADGAD for short.


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