View Full Version : mandola in octave tuning?
Can a mandola be tuned as an octave mandolin with satisfactory results? And if so, what string gauges. Thanks, Kurt
, You Mean Cc Gg dd aa ? try half the diameter for the octave half of the pair.
If you mean a 4th lower , It would mean really heavier, and would , I think need a strong wide neck, if its a loose tension, off the edge the string slips, or its a lot of pull..
steve V. johnson
I tried this one time, since I had a bunch of guitar strings, all different sizes, in stock. It was pretty cool, but it took a lot of experimentation to get the gauges right. I like that size scale (mandola-size, ~ 18"), but the instrument wasn't mine, so I put it all back when I had to return it.
My thinking was to look at the sizes of a "medium" gauge mandolin set, and then go up a bit. I strung (always do, actually) this one in unison pairs, not in octave pairs, by the way.
Try it! Good luck!
There's a good reason why electric bass scale length is 34" long compared to 25" for guitars...to get optimum sound the proportions have to be right. You CAN string a mandola up like an OM but sonically it won't be optimum regardless of string gauges- you need a deeper body for the right resonance of the lower pitches. Of course YMMV!
Hi, thanks for your responses. I did mean unison tuning, tuned like a standard mandolin, one octave down. My question was motivated by something I read in passing about mandolas in Europe traditionally tuned like the way way an octave mando is tuned here in the US. I may not have read it correctly. Thanks
Kurt - that is always problematic on a mandola. Depending on the actual scale length of the instrument, tuning to GDAe MAY be possible with the creative use of string guages.
This has been posted many times but Doug Dieter (http://www.kennaquhair.com/)has a marvelously uncomplicated string guage program on his website. Look down at the bottom of the menu choices on the left hand column and download his "Universal String Calculator". Download it and start fiddling with it. (He also makes some very interesting and reasonibly priced instruments.)
I regularly will take a new instrument and try some 'standard' string sizes to see what the tension would be like across the bridge. Then - I'll start fudging with one or two changes to see if I can get the tension as close to level / equal across all the courses. This "normally" will let you know what MAY be a workable combination.
This is a lot cheaper than buying a bunch of sets and experimenting over a period of months ...
There is always confusion as in Europe they call the octave mandolin "octave mandola" for some maddening reason- by all logic "octave mandola" is a mandocello. To me:
octave mandolin- no modern bowed equivalent
octave mandola- you got me http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/rock.gif
A friend of mine had two instruments made by Weber... both intended to be tuned as OM... only one was OM scale (about 21") and the other mandola scale (about 18"). Truth be told, they both sounded great, but (not surprisingly) the OM scale one sounded better in that register...having more sustain and depth. Still, the mandola scale one was better than either of us had expected and the short scale made it possible to REACH so much more. I would think this option might be worth exploring for someone who really wants the range of OM but to do mostly melodic work... it would not have worked as well for accompaniment.