View Full Version : Lute mandolin

Feb-26-2016, 9:48am
I've been liking my #tzouras so much, decided to go looking for a round-back mandolin -- I found one on craigslist, will be trying it out and hopefully purchasing on Sunday... I'm wondering now if I should learn it with standard tuning (which would be natural since I've been playing fiddle for a long time) or with the E dropped to D (to mimic the tzouras). Dig the inlay!

Feb-26-2016, 10:12am
Sorta thinking I'll start out with the drop D tuning and see how that goes, and eventually will get a flat body mandolin and learn to play that with standard tuning.

Feb-26-2016, 10:21am
I think it depends entirely on your musical goals. I think you will find the mandolin, with its much shorter neck, may hinder effective playing the music you are playing on the tzouras. It really is optimized for something else. (I know that playing the mandolin music I am used to on a mandolin tuned tzouras was just plain awkward.)

That said, its all fun, and in my mind playing anything on a bowlback instrument is an amazing experience, participation in and continuing a tradition so very very old.

Feb-26-2016, 10:29am
Thanks -- good point. I haven't got the instrument yet, will see how it goes...

Dan Krhla
Feb-28-2016, 8:01am
That's a sharp looking mandolin.

Feb-28-2016, 8:08am
I could overdub this instrument with the tzouras and call the record "Butterflies and Tater-bugs".

Mar-05-2016, 3:02pm
Got it! I initially strung it with D'addario medium gauge but did not like it. I switched to Elixir light and it's starting to have a nice sound -- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OVZw9UkEms0

Marty Jacobson
Mar-06-2016, 8:49am
Yeah, D'daddario medium strings would probably have caused structural damage over time. Lights or extra-light strings are needed for bowlback instruments.

Mar-06-2016, 8:55am
Just retune the first string from E to D as needed - go from mandolin tuning to the DAD of the Greek baglama.

Mar-06-2016, 11:52am
What's strange is, the old strings on it were definitely medium gauge. Hoping not too much structural damage has occurred over the years...

Jim Garber
Mar-06-2016, 1:51pm
What's strange is, the old strings on it were definitely medium gauge. Hoping not too much structural damage has occurred over the years...

The previous owner does not check in on this forum. Most folks think mandolin strings at their local music store are fine for bowlbacks but they are not.

Mar-07-2016, 11:49am
Not every bowl-back strung with medium-gauge strings has been damaged -- but the chances are much greater that damage will occur. Bowl-backs are so much more lightly built and braced than other mandolin styles.

You can tell whether there's structural damage by the presence/absence of neck warpage, damage to the neck joint, and top sinkage. If none of these occurred, you have a "survivor."

Mar-07-2016, 6:33pm
Well, neck joint and neck and top all look sound, so I'll assume things are ok.

Mar-07-2016, 7:23pm
Hope it works out--cool mandolin--enjoy!