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Mike Black
Feb-01-2010, 9:40pm
I've been working on building my now 3 month old son a piccolo mandolin. I just finished setting it up tonight. It was made from scrapes that I had laying around. The top is red spruce that Bruce "Spruce" Harvie cut in 1990. The maple is some (I believe) sugar maple that I had and did the old Loar style flip matching for it.

My son James is now a little bigger than the instrument now. I'll try to get a picture of him with it tomorrow when he's awake. I'll also try to get some sound clips too.

Mike Black
Feb-01-2010, 9:42pm
Here are some pictures to see the size relationship.

First the family shot with the octave mandolin and then with a regular A style.

JEStanek
Feb-01-2010, 10:06pm
Superb. I love the family portrait. Congratulations. It looks great.

Jamie

Ben Milne
Feb-01-2010, 10:24pm
Congratulations on finishing the piccolo Mike. - The next-to shots really bring the size into perspective. I guess you considered nothing but a James TP on this one?

hank
Feb-01-2010, 10:36pm
Looks fantastic Mike. James is definitely the coolest kid on the block now.

Mike Black
Feb-02-2010, 12:00am
Oh! And the label. :grin:

I haven't been able to put this thing down all night. :mandosmiley:

Skip Kelley
Feb-02-2010, 10:23am
Nice work, Mike! How do you like the sound? Is it tuned in 5ths like a mandolin?

Mike Black
Feb-02-2010, 10:46am
Nice work, Mike! How do you like the sound? Is it tuned in 5ths like a mandolin?

Thanks Skip,
Yes, it's still tuned in 5ths. But it's like an octave mandola (in the other direction than a Mandocello). CGDA.

It has a different sound. It has a clear bell like sound. I probably should have used Sitka for the top instead of the red spruce. That would probably mellowed the highs a bit. The red spruce gives it the cutting power. It's weird hearing things played that high. But it is kinda fun. I haven't gotten the chance to hear how it sounds with another instrument yet. Should be interesting. :mandosmiley:

ISU Trout Bum
Feb-02-2010, 12:38pm
Very, very nice work! They are all beautiful instruments.

P.S. (and I don't mean to Bogart the thread, but I've gotta ask) Mike, does Three Bean ever get to Iowa to play? I think Kerouac is one of the coolest songs ever written for Mando/Fiddle . . . and I'd LOVE to hear it live rather than on disk! ;) Again, sorry. I don't mean to change the thrust of the thread. But, you guys need to come to Iowa . . . :grin:

Charlieshafer
Feb-02-2010, 5:46pm
Too cool for the room. Any ideas of putting it into production? The market will be limited, but if you use inexpensive woods and eliminate some of the decorative elements, those of us who spoil our kids rotten with nice playing instruments might just bite. It's always great to learn on something that handles and feels like the real thing.

Doug Ezell
Feb-02-2010, 6:12pm
Lucky son!!

I'm available for adoption. Potty trained, too!!:)

Gary McMoran
Feb-02-2010, 6:18pm
That is cool, I love it! Didn't you mention some sound clips?

Tripp Johnson
Feb-02-2010, 6:22pm
Awesome!

JEStanek
Feb-02-2010, 8:20pm
Mike,
I'm assuming the string tension on a piccolo is still pretty high, correct? What gauge strings did you use on it? The only other piccolo I've heard was on a Dawg recording and on the website of TAFKAJW (http://www.wiensmandolins.com/instruments.htm) (linked page has a sound clip by Josh Pinkham. If you ever get a chance to record yours, even just some scale runs and chords, I would love to hear it.

Jamie

Link
Feb-02-2010, 8:44pm
This is horrible! Don't you know piccolo mandolins are evil? You should send this one to me immediately. I'll, um, take care of it. Yeah.

Mike Black
Feb-02-2010, 10:59pm
Mike,
I'm assuming the string tension on a piccolo is still pretty high, correct? What gauge strings did you use on it? The only other piccolo I've heard was on a Dawg recording and on the website of TAFKAJW (http://www.wiensmandolins.com/instruments.htm) (linked page has a sound clip by Josh Pinkham. If you ever get a chance to record yours, even just some scale runs and chords, I would love to hear it.

Jamie

Hey Jamie,
The string tension is about the same as a regular mandolin. I used D'Addario J62 on it. .010 - .014 - .024 - .034.

I'm trying to post a sound clip but it's not letting me for some reason. Says "upload failed". I'll keep trying.

JEStanek
Feb-02-2010, 11:11pm
Mike,
You can upload an MP3 up to 19.3MB. You might be having problems with your upload failing from your ISP if you're using an MP3 format.

Jamie

Mike Black
Feb-02-2010, 11:13pm
Mike,
You can upload an MP3 up to 19.3MB. You might be having problems with your upload failing from your ISP if you're using an MP3 format.

Jamie

The MP3 is only 2.2 MB. I checked that first.

Mike Black
Feb-02-2010, 11:19pm
Here is a sound clip I did on it using my Zoom H2 in my living room then dumped onto the computer. The tune is Possum up a Gum Stump. First in it's original key of G then in the key of C so I can use the bottom three strings.

(I ended up just putting the MP3 up on my website and downloading it from there)

Bill Snyder
Feb-02-2010, 11:25pm
Looks and sounds good Mike. Really nice job. I hope that as he grows up James will be able to really appreciate how special this instrument is. It should be a family heirloom for generations to come.

Mike Black
Feb-02-2010, 11:33pm
Too cool for the room. Any ideas of putting it into production? The market will be limited, but if you use inexpensive woods and eliminate some of the decorative elements, those of us who spoil our kids rotten with nice playing instruments might just bite. It's always great to learn on something that handles and feels like the real thing.

Thanks Charlie,
I've kinda thought about putting it into production. But I don't think it would be the two point piccolo. Most likely an A5. Or if it was a two pointer, I would re-design it so the points didn't have so sharp of a bend. That was a PITA. But that is a good idea of simpler wood A5 version.

JEStanek
Feb-02-2010, 11:36pm
That sounds real nice and balanced. Not shrill at all. A very nice voice. Thanks for getting that up.

Jamie

Mike Black
Feb-02-2010, 11:56pm
James really loves his piccolo. He's drooling all over it.

I think that I might have gotten this too him just in time, he was starting to look like a B@nj0 player :disbelief:

grandcanyonminstrel
Feb-03-2010, 2:28am
Coolest dad around!

j.
www.condino.com

grassrootphilosopher
Feb-03-2010, 5:05am
Looks nice, sounds nice. I donīt think that Red Spruce is a bad choice. It will mellow out after some time while Sitka may get muddy.

wildpikr
Feb-03-2010, 9:20am
What a sweet sound and nice picking too! I like the tune also - got a copy of the music to spare?

JEStanek
Feb-03-2010, 9:25am
Possom up a Simmon Tree (http://www.mandozine.com/music/search_results.php?searchfor=possum&tuneselectby=C&mandolevel=&category=&songkey=&artist=&transcriber=&sortby=T&sortorder=A&submit=) on Mandozine seems to be quite similar to my ears. You'll need the TablEdit Viewer too.

Jamie

Mike Black
Feb-03-2010, 10:00am
If you go to our website, there is a page of nothing but tunes. That tune is in the Carpilation tune book that we put together.

http://threebeansalad.net/Homework.html

Jim Garber
Feb-03-2010, 10:00am
I have a couple of vintage piccolos: a Leland and a no-name (possibly Bauer) bowlback. Just wondering what scale length did you use. I assume it would be near to the equiv of a std mandolin capoed at the fifth fret?

Mike Black
Feb-03-2010, 10:09am
I have a couple of vintage piccolos: a Leland and a no-name (possibly Bauer) bowlback. Just wondering what scale length did you use. I assume it would be near to the equiv of a std mandolin capoed at the fifth fret?

Your assumption would be right. I just cut the slots for the fingerboard with a mandolin scale using the 5th fret as the nut. It has as standard nut width. Then scaled down an old A style body to fit the fingerboard scale. Then drew in the points.

I probably should have scaled the headstock down a little. But I was planning to put inlay in the headstock, but decided not to until later when I find out what he likes.

Trey Young
Feb-03-2010, 10:29am
That's great Mike! I have a six month old son who is already reaching for my mandolin, keep us updated if you start producing these...

hank
Feb-03-2010, 11:01am
Mikes original quote
"I think that I might have gotten this too him just in time":)):)):)):)):))
I enjoyed your Web Home. Your music is happy and fun too!

wildpikr
Feb-03-2010, 11:16am
Thanks for the tunes Jamie and Mike!:mandosmiley:

swinginmandolins
Feb-03-2010, 11:20am
Looks and sounds great!

eadg145
Feb-03-2010, 11:29am
Wow, that's a beautiful looking and sounding mandolin! Really nice work, Mike!

From the size, I really wasn't expecting that type of tone. I can really hear the wood already! Fantastic!

cheers,

David

PJ Doland
Feb-03-2010, 11:32am
A question for those of you with kids: When do you think I can start my son off with a soprano uke tuned to GDAE? Or am I better off just waiting until a Suzuki method violin teacher will take him, then introducing our fretted-friend later?

Mike Black
Feb-03-2010, 12:57pm
Wow, that's a beautiful looking and sounding mandolin! Really nice work, Mike!

From the size, I really wasn't expecting that type of tone. I can really hear the wood already! Fantastic!

cheers,

David

Thanks! By the time he's really old enough to play it, it should be opened up pretty well. I guess I'll have to suffer though playing it until it opens up fully. Or he takes it away from me. :mandosmiley:

powercat
Feb-03-2010, 2:12pm
James really loves his piccolo. He's drooling all over it.

I think that I might have gotten this too him just in time, he was starting to look like a B@nj0 player :disbelief:

The photo of your boy and the piccolo is so precious. Hard to tell that it is miniature version as it looks normal sized. It really made me smile. Sounds great too. Great job on the instrument (and your cute-as-a-button boy) :)

John

ColdBeerGoCubs
Feb-03-2010, 2:57pm
Lucky son!!

I'm available for adoption. Potty trained, too!!:)

Same here!!

Except for that whole potty trained business. What a load of #### that is.

bradlaird
Feb-03-2010, 3:24pm
Nice work, Mike!

These micro mandos are fascinating... Here is mine which I call the Mandolita at the suggestion of one of my students...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=afnktXtSdvE

Skip Kelley
Feb-03-2010, 5:23pm
James really loves his piccolo. He's drooling all over it.

I think that I might have gotten this too him just in time, he was starting to look like a B@nj0 player :disbelief:

Mike, He alreaday looks TOO smart to be a banjer picker!:))
Seriously he is a cute little guy!

Paul Statman
Feb-04-2010, 1:04pm
Looks and sounds great, Mike. I really hope young James turns out to be a mando-head. I'm a little concerned, though. Is that some serious rapper 'tude I see in that kid's face, or is he just 'delivering a package'?

hank
Feb-04-2010, 1:29pm
Skip looks like you've got a piccolo player in the family too(your avatar). :))

mculliton123
Feb-04-2010, 1:48pm
WOW...just ...Wow!!!

Mike Black
Feb-04-2010, 9:59pm
Here are a couple pictures of James & I playing the piccolo mandolin for more size reference.

Scotti Adams
Feb-05-2010, 12:37pm
Really Sweet..nice playing too.