View Full Version : anyone play other 8 strings?

Mar-02-2004, 1:50pm
Just wondering if anyone here plays any of the other mando family? I recently bought a Johnson Octave Mando...and it is a very different creature indeed...though it works well in my duo setting, it does get lost in the "rock thang" I participate in....Thinking about getting a Mandola to add even more color...thoughts? opinions? death threats? Hey...did I mention Uke? (CRASH!!! the sound of many dishes zinging above my head as my Air Jordan's carry me to safety)...just wondering if anyone has any thoughts on blues mandola, blues octave etc...

bjc AKA Cryin' Brian

Mar-02-2004, 6:50pm
What model johnson OM do you have? I've been wondering how folks like the ma-550.

(sorry about the diversion....Bill)

And I'm really interested to hear what folks have to say about your initial question. It seems like a 'drone' machine could work well with some of those open tuned zep songs (perhaps tuned to ADAD, or GDAD, or whatever...).

Mar-03-2004, 5:26pm
Stanley...I have a 550 Johnson and I do enjoy it...in fact last night my bass player (you know one of THOSE guys who wonder why EVERYONE else has more strings....tee hee) said he really liked the tone...It does have a nice mellow tone to it (as opposed to the "ping" of the mando)...But for improvising it sounds best in the middle to upper frets...those nice open riffs on mando sound too undistishable on octave, but it is TONS easier to play in closed position (if you are a guitar player)...tremelo doesn't sound as "important" on it, but pull offs and hammer ons are much more effective...For some songs in my Duo it has filled out the sound a lot (I still play mando on most of the songs). It the trio I play with it has a tendancy to get a little lost in the mix...since vocing wise it is close to guitar...I would recommned it to people who are looking for something a little different, but I don't think I could make it my main axe...What type of stuff are you playing? and what sort of ensemble (if any) are you doing it with?

bjc....aka Cryin' Brian

Mar-04-2004, 7:39pm
yeah actually (blush) I wrote a book/CD on Octave mando


Got some good reviews... http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/cool.gif

Mar-05-2004, 2:35pm

I will check it out...looks good...Just wish I could remember my PayPal account password....:(

Mar-05-2004, 11:21pm
BJC - look down in the Thread menu on the message board. There's a thread labled "CBOM". This is for Cittern, Bouzoukoid / Octave Mandolin. There are a lot of Big Mando players which hang out there.

Mar-06-2004, 3:30pm
Yeah...I saw it after I posted...Talk about ADD....tee hee

Thanks...I take it you play Mandola...what type of tunes?

Mar-07-2004, 11:53pm
Play - you play these things?

I fool around with a ton of Strathspeys and other Scots tunes, some jazz and some Irish tunes. But James Scott Skinner's music along with Abraham MacIntosh, Tom Anderson, Keith MacDonald and others music really seems to be monopolizing my playing. Then there are the Rembetika tunes and ... the list keeps growing. I got enamored with the sound of Mandolin first and the rest just kind a fell in my lap.

A really interesting player in Colorado who focus' a lot on Mandola voicing is Dwight Mark. (http://www.dwightmark.com/) He tries a lot of different types of music and is really enamored with Mandola. He's worth a look ...

I sing bass and the lower register, big mandolins really go along with my rumbling vocal experiments. (Your opinion may vary ...)

Mar-08-2004, 5:42pm

# Funny I got your reply the same day my Mandola came in...Hurray...I figured I already had a mando and an octave...I am hoping to write a 3 piece insturmental for the other two guys in one of my ensembles....any tips you could give me on mandola would be welcomed...I noticed that GHS sells 12 gauge strings, which are on the mandola and I ordered (gasp!) 15's from D'Adario...what do you use?
# #I play mainly Blues, rock and country with my other eight strings, though I just printed out a whole tons of jigs to learn for St. Patricks day...
# # And thanks for the listening tips...I will try to find some of it....

Mar-09-2004, 6:26am
Congratulations! What kind arrived at your doorstep?

Re tricks in playing with other instruments / transposing / reading from a treble clef ... first off, there is very little music (celtic or otherwise) written out specifically for Mandola / Alto clef. So what to do? There is a nifty trick which both Niles Hokannen and Dane Tyson heartily recommend of using a capo on the second fret of a standard tuned 'dola (CGDa). The second fret will give you DAEb which is like the upper three strings of a mandolin plus the seventh fret of the e string ... With this setup - a huge per centage of Celtic music in D - G and A (and the modal derivatives) just come alive and are accessible. Get a good Capo - Kyser or Shubb which is made for your neck profile (flat or curved) and try this out first.

Strings - not knowing what type of mandola ... I'd recommend trying a set of GHS Octave Mandolin Strings (PF285) at .044 / .032 / .022 and .012 as a starting point. Doug Deiter at his remarkable Site # (http://www.kennaquhair.com/) has a really nifty string tension calculator which you can download to your computer and see where the string tensions work - at your unique scale length. (Look at the bottom of his left hand menu for "Universal String Calculator.)What you're trying to achieve is a balance between string courses which will sound and play correctly and not implode the top. I normally look for something in the 19 to 22 pounds tension - for each string of the four sets. Two of my 'dola's work with .014 A strings, the other three work with twelves - then one responds and plays amazingly well with .015 but ... that's really pushing the threshold on a 405mm scale.

More of this is type of information is listed on the CBOM site. A quick reference to CGDa tuning is - think of it as an Octave Mandolin capoed at the fifth fret ... and Chords and scale forms are IDENTICAL to those of a traditional tenor banjo.


Mar-09-2004, 9:05pm
Greetings Mandola Freak...It sounds like you've got a collection that rivals my eletric guitar collection (12)...Wow!!!
My Mandola is the Trinity College that I got from Folk of the wood...the action is really high on it and I am trying to tighten the truss rod (which had no tension on it at all when shipped) to get it more "intune" with the action on my mando...I'm considering taking it to a local guy who I trust a lot...he plays eletric guitar, but also mando...any suggestions? I will go to the site you suggested...thanks AGAIN for the tip...I really do feel the community here...

Mar-10-2004, 6:44am
No tension on the truss rod? Send it back ... immediately. Call Mickey, talk to HIM. Explain the problem and see about an exchange or a total redo. He's usually pretty good about bad instruments and from what I gather, it was supposed to come set up.

Scream nicely!

The truss rod is NOT for setting up the action but ... adjusting the relief - period. That's it don't put a wrench on it unless the relief, (forward or back curve to the fret board) is visibly curved!

Mar-12-2004, 8:05am
Hey...thanks for the help...actually I took it to my local (and awesome) repair guy and he says he can get it all to my liking. I know what is called a set up by most people, but they don't normally live up to my picky standards...But the cool thing was when I brought it in the guys at the store feel in LOVE with the tone...one of the repair guys brought it over to the store owner to show him...too cool...sad thing it is I must now wait a week...but so it goes...thanks for all your help...I can't wait to investigate some of your listening suggestions...

Mar-18-2004, 2:33am
Hmmm--guess I'm going to have to get mine out.... I remember really liking it when I was playing it a lot (it's an older--Japan-built--Trinity College). Not sure yet whether or not I'll thank y'all for reminding me about it http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif