PDA

View Full Version : Classical mandocello



arbarnhart
Feb-02-2008, 2:30pm
I had mentioned starting on this in the builders and CBOM section. It is something of an experiment - a nylon strung mandocello converted from a classical guitar. It's done! I used extra high tension low E guitar strings for the C pair and the tension is little less than I would like, but the rest are perfect. The C strings sound good (they aren't so loose that they slap together or anything), but are harder to keep in tune. Everything is hard to tune for the first week with a new set of nylon anyway.

EDIT I should have waited a little before posting the comments about how it sounds; with just a day of string settling and player learning, 4 string chords with open strings sound great also, but they have to be big and booming. Soft strumming of open chords muddies them but soft strummed arpeggios sound good. Rock ballad progressions done in arpeggios sound incredible.

The neck is quite large, but I also play bass so it doesn't seem so bad to me. It sounds really good played like a bass. Arpeggios and double stops are awesome. Of course, my judgment is a little suspect since I am in the throes of "proud papa syndrome". 3 and 4 string chords sound best up the neck a little or just using the bottom 3 pairs. The best sounding rhythms I have found so far are walk ups on the C and/or G strings and then a chord on the G, D and A strings. Also, using those 3 means I know a lot of chords from the mando and it makes a lot of the forms reachable by a mere mortal.

Baron Collins-Hill
Feb-02-2008, 2:52pm
oooooooh, that is really really cool. more pictures more pictures. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/wow.gif http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/tounge.gif

how did you manage all that with the slotted headstock and such?

do they make nylon strings in all different gauges like they do steel strings?

thanks for sharing,
baron

flatback8
Feb-02-2008, 2:53pm
It inspires me when someone "goes for it" and does what they plan to do regardless of what everyone else says! It looks great - enjoy the journey!

Oh, and thanks for your reply about neck pick-ups for my mando conversion; it's not underway yet, but hope to be at it soon.

Jim Rowland
Feb-02-2008, 3:00pm
A couple of years ago,in a mando class at Elkins,an older lady who had played cello in an orchestra,had a classical conversion like that. It looked like a hobo's shoe,but it sounded fine. I didn't give it much thought at the time,but now I wonder how she came by the instrument.
Jim

arbarnhart
Feb-02-2008, 3:40pm
oooooooh, that is really really cool. more pictures more pictures. #http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/wow.gif http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/tounge.gif

how did you manage all that with the slotted headstock and such?

do they make nylon strings in all different gauges like they do steel strings?

thanks for sharing,
baron
For rediculous reasons, decent pictures are kind of a pain right now. I will prbably get my daugter to take a few later.

I took the classical tuners out and glued in a dowel using thickened epoxy (the dowel was a loose fit and epoxy fills gaps). I colored the interior of the slots black with a wood stain marker (though the black one looks and smells suspicously like a Sharpie). I bought a set of cheap Ping A style tuners. I took one set apart so I could use the plate as template. I screwed it on using one of the plate screw holes from the old tuners on one end to get it centered and be sure I had both sides at the same spot. The 4 mando tuners fit fine where 3 classical guitar tuners were. I drilled trough the post screw hole to mark the spots, then took the plate off and used a larger bit so the posts would fit. Did the same thing on both sides, being careful to orient the plate the right way on each side. Put the tuners back together and put them on. I bought a replacement nut and someone on the builder forum pointed me at a spreadsheet to figure spacing. I used needle files to cut the slots. I roughed them before gluing it in. Down at the bridge, I used toothpicks and epoxy to fill the old string holes and used my burgundy wood stain marker to make them match reasonably well. I used the same spreadsheet to figure spacing down there. To keep from taking the bridge off, I got a little inventive. I duct taped a small drill bit to the tip of a plastic rod that came from a paintbrush from a water color set (we have 4 kids, so we have about a hundred of these). Then I put a piece of paper on the soundboard to keep from scratching it, chucked the rod in my drill and carefully drilled the new holes, guiding the bit with one hand while I operated the drill with the other.

Yes, you can get all kinds of gauges and for a little more I can get beefier CC strings, but these are already settling in and staying in tune better, so I will probably stick with what I have. I bought from an outfit that will let you cobble together guitar sets however you want for the same low price and even had a price break at 3 sets, so I bought 18 strings and got a mix of extra high tension EE strings (to tune to CC), high tension AA (to tune to GG), normal D strings and normal mono G strings (to tune to A).

delsbrother
Feb-02-2008, 4:09pm
Nice! It's not a tres or a quatro... It's an Ocho. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif

trebleclef528
Feb-04-2008, 12:05pm
Interesting Idea,..... can you tell me what the scale length is of the "Mando cello guitar"
Thanks
ian

steve V. johnson
Feb-04-2008, 5:14pm
Wonderful! Well done!

Thanks for describing the headstock/tuners work! That was my question.

stv

billkilpatrick
Feb-04-2008, 5:49pm
sound samples, please! - give us an earful! i once tuned my baritone uke to GDAE but there's nothing quite like paired courses. very interesting idea.

arbarnhart
Feb-04-2008, 10:37pm
Interesting Idea,..... can you tell me what the scale length is of the "Mando cello guitar"
Thanks
ian
It's 25.5" - the classical standard. It used to be this guitar (http://www.gibson.com/products/epiphone/archive/epiacoustic/1.html), so it's a distant cousing of a Gibson, sort of...

I don't have a good recording setup for it yet. I have one PC mic that might do an okay job (whether I will do a good job or not is another story).

zoukboy
Feb-07-2008, 1:52pm
[quote=arbarnhart,Feb. 04 2008,

I don't have a good recording setup for it yet. I have one PC mic that might do an okay job (whether I will do a good job or not is another story).[/quote]


Can't wait to hear it!

arbarnhart
Feb-18-2008, 12:10pm
Well, unless the new owner is a Cafe member that chooses to share, I am afraid I won't be doing sound samples. I was consumed with the thing when I first started playing it, but I decided that given the choice I would rather have a shorter scale octave solid body electric and while working on this thing I got the building bug again. So I sold it to buy parts (I try to keep that hobby as a zero sum game). In the process of selling it, I gave it a few days here and then yanked it and went to the bay, where I got a question about details and took some detailed shots:
http://s43.photobucket.com/albums/e396/arbarnhart/mandocello/
The reason for the mutliple sound hole shots was trying to figure out for sure whether it was a solid top or not. Some grains looked like they ran through to my naked eye, but the flash and macro mode seems to indicate laminate.