View Full Version : Wiens Piccolo mandolin

J. Wiens
Apr-30-2004, 9:06am
Hi All, Here's a few pics of the piccolo f-style mandolin that I built last year and showed at WIntergrass in February........Jamie

J. Wiens
Apr-30-2004, 9:09am
The Cherub inlay. Note he's playing an F-5......

J. Wiens
Apr-30-2004, 9:11am
A piccolo can make certain parts of your body appear larger than they really are *g*...........

J. Wiens
Apr-30-2004, 9:13am
the body.......

J. Wiens
Apr-30-2004, 9:15am
the Price "Tradition" tailpiece with the Wiens logo engraved..........

J. Wiens
Apr-30-2004, 9:18am
The one-piece Sugar maple back. The entire instrument is of this species, with a Red spruce soundboard.......

J. Wiens
Apr-30-2004, 9:20am
The custom Calton case. It is smaller than the regular F-style case........

J. Wiens
Apr-30-2004, 9:22am
The custom piccolo bridge. The intonation was a matter of trial & error.........Jamie

Apr-30-2004, 9:24am
Beautiful mando. My wife would go insane if I had that. She already thinks my mando scale practicing is piercing.

Apr-30-2004, 9:25am

Reminds me of the Austin Powers movie where Fat ####### sees Mini Me for the first time "Come here, ya little baby" (in a heavy Scottish accent) http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif

Ted Eschliman
Apr-30-2004, 9:34am
Gorgeous. Compelling. Mmmmust havvvve...
The only thing bringing me back to my senses is the fact that a smaller ax like that will make my gut look even BIGGER in comparsion.

Scott Tichenor
Apr-30-2004, 9:59am
I've played it. Better than you could ever believe.

Apr-30-2004, 11:14am
A piccolo can make certain parts of your body appear larger than they really are *g*...........
Scott Tichenor is actually 8 feet tall!

Apr-30-2004, 2:19pm
I'll bite, what is the tuning? D/A/E/B ?

Apr-30-2004, 4:34pm
Thanks, Jamie! I've been looking forward to seeing some close ups of the "Wiens Piccolo" especially that beautifull Cherib! Very well done. Wow ...... custom fit case!! Of course http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/mandosmiley.gif

J. Wiens
May-01-2004, 1:00pm
Hi Gary , I designed it to be tuned to C G D A ....it's an octave above mandola that way. The string tension (with D'addario J-62 lights) at that pitch is very similar to a regular mando ....so it still feels somewhat familiar.
I've also tried the Bb F C G tuning that David Grisman says he uses on his piccolo. It still sounds fine but of course the odd Bb key is a bit confusing when playing with other mando/guitar players.........Jamie

May-01-2004, 1:13pm
Thanks Jamie...

So, it is like a mandola in the other direction...

Jim Garber
May-01-2004, 2:45pm
What is the scale length?

Also (not to take away Jamie's glory, as themaker of the only? F5 piccolo --or it is really a P5?) but are there other piccolos out there? I know that Lyon & Healy made one that is pictures on #Gregg Miner's site (http://home.earthlink.net/~gcminer/piccolomandolin.htm). I have also seen a 6 string one made by Gibson that I believe Mark O'Connor owns. Didn't Gilchrist also make one?


J. Wiens
May-02-2004, 3:55am
Hi Jim, the scale length on my piccolo is a hair over 11".

Yes, this instrument actually says P-5 on the label. And yes, it's closely based on the P-5 that was built by Steve Gilchrist, who also built an A-style piccolo for David Grisman. I understand Steve's were, in turn, based on the one-of-a-kind Gibson A-style 3-course piccolo you mentioned.

I have also seen pictures of older flatback & taterbug-style piccolos , but as far as I know, mine is only the second piccolo F-style mandolin out there...........Jamie

May-02-2004, 7:33am
never heard a picolo mando. is the tone considerably different? if not, why use one?

May-02-2004, 1:46pm
The piccolo is spectacular. I have been admiring your mandolins and wow, I'd love to have one. A matching piccolo and regular F, that would be heavenly. If you don't mind sharing your thoughts, how do you think you'd like to make the next one? Same design, or any modifications? Did it take more time to make this than your regular design?
Thanks for the great craftsmanship and sharing the impressive pictures!

May-02-2004, 1:54pm
oh no. I think I have PAS. Piccolo acquisition syndrome.

J. Wiens
May-03-2004, 5:23am
Hi Ira, I find that the piccolo's tone IS signifigantly different and I think it would be ideal as a dedicated harmony instrument for mando duet stuff, or in a mando orchestra.
Sure, you can hit all the same notes as the piccolo on a regular mando if you wanted to, But the piccolo is more focused and has more cut & clarity in the higher registers. Also the sound of the open strings on the picco can't be had by merely capoing a mandolin, and any lines involving the open strings have a distinctly un-mando sound. I've said it before, but there's a certain "chipmunkiness" about the piccolo that is very appealing.

Then there's' the feel of the instrument. Play the piccolo for an hour and then try switching back to your standard mando. It'll feel & sounds like a mandola now and the frets will seem miles apart. Probably good therapy for the mandolinist who's in need of some inspiration.

Hi Berkeley, yes a matching picco/F-5 pair would be wonderful and I've been thinking about such a project. What would I change on the next picco? I'm actually pretty happy with how the piccolo sounds and the only things I might do different on my next piccolo are perhaps using a softer back and/or a slightly deeper rim and just see if that brings a bit more bottom without losing the focused highs.

As far as the time & effort to build the piccolo ? Yeah it took every bit as much effort to build as a regular F-5. And of course before I could even start building I had to scale everything down, draft it all out in detail & then make almost all my F-5 tooling in miniature. Yep,alot of time invested.

Anyway ,thanks for asking guys and I hope this answers your questions.........Jamie

May-03-2004, 6:19am
Very nice Jamie, beautifull inlay work and fit and finish. I'd love to see it some day. What is the finish on this little thing?

May-03-2004, 5:17pm
Would you be willing to make an A-style piccolo?

May-03-2004, 7:44pm
okay jamie, i'm sold. (if i could only buy all that i long for.....-oh well, one day) thanks for the information.

J. Wiens
May-04-2004, 8:06am
Hi Gary, thanks for the kind words buddy. The finish is lacquer.
As far as me making an A-style piccolo....I'd probably consider it. Drop me a private message and inspire me *g*................Jamie

May-04-2004, 10:13am
Hey Jamie, Do you still have the piccolo at home? I would love to pop by sometime and play it a little. (for all you other members, i am lucky enough to live up the street from Jamie Wiens, but not lucky enough to be able to afford one of his instruments).

Bob A
May-04-2004, 10:15am
I believe the Gibson piccolo is an oval-hole, as well as being a six-string. How would the sound of the instrument vary from an f-hole piccolo? (This would be tough to answer unless someone can reply who has played the Gibson, I suppose).