Attached is a picture of an instrument I built. It has 8 strings in 5 courses and a scale length of 40cm. This puts it at the short end of the mandola-zone. I have nylon strings on it and it is tuned in a re-entrant 5ths tuning: A#3, F4 F4, C4 C4, G4 G4, D5 D5. I am considering making another with single strings, like a bandola llanera, but with the same tuning, and maybe another with all doubled courses. Maybe also another with steel strings. There is also the possibility of experimenting with some of the courses in octaves, particularly the C and A#.
So what we have is something like a nylon stringed cittern? Or an acoustic equivalent of the (primarily) electric 5 string mandolin/mandola? Or a 5 string bandola llanera or 5 course bandola oriental? Or a modern equivalent of the baroque mandolins?
This is what I have been experimenting with of late. I'd love to know what you all think.