What Music Do You Play On Your Mandola?

  1. Laurence Firth
    Laurence Firth
    While purchasing a new mandolin a little over a year ago I got a serious case of MAS while playing a Mandola they had in the shop. I fell in love with it and purchased it there on the spot - bring home two new mando family instruments! For the first few months I gave most of my attention to my mandolin but as time permitted I spent more time playing my mandola as well. I'd take it to "folk" jams and noodle around the edges of other peoples songs. I tried fiddle tunes too but I prefer playing them on my mandolin. Lately I've been attempting the Bach Suite in G major - working my way through measure by measure. If nothing else its helping my reading skills and its a great workout. Beautiful music too.

    What are you playing on your Mandola?

  2. Tobin
    Tobin
    While I've played the mandolin for years, I've only had my mandola for a week. So I'm still trying to figure out where it fits and what it does best. I do play fiddle tunes on it (though usually transposed down a fifth interval from the original key). That's nice, but it seems like a bit of a shame to make it just a sidekick to the mandolin.

    What I love about the mandola is its big, booming lower end. It kind of adds some "growl" to the tunes. I just have to find the right tunes to take advantage of it to its potential. Which I suppose means I should be hunting around for anything that the viola does. But the idea of having to learn to translate C-clef doesn't thrill me.

    One thing I've found is that the mandola has a richer sustain on the C-strings that will tend to drone on and on as I play. It works very nicely on Irish tunes... as long as you play them in the key of C.

    I'll be working up some mandolin-mandola duets, which I will commit to paper (or PDF, as it were) in the future. It would be great if others could do the same, and we could build a library of mandolin-mandola specific tunes.
  3. Dolamon
    Dolamon
    I've played 'dola for over ten years and once I got over the initial shock on not having a lot of music available to me, I started to explore what the instrument and I were capable of and ... what music did I really want to play. The last part came down to the American Song Book catalogue and learning how it could be approached on a C instrument.

    Mel Bay offers a trio of really great Tenor Banjo books but, after exercising my brain on these I came to the gross realization that virtually all of his music places the melody on the A string. Ok - I get it, now lets see what happens when you move the melody line an octave below and play on the G and D strings. This takes time to get it under the hands but it really enhanced my musical choices, style of playing and even voicing. The C and A strings now took on either a drone role or a descant voice which fills in chord structure and makes a 'dola (or a Tenor Guitar) more useful in ensemble playing. To that end ... I've just had a four string, resonator built for me with a 17 inch scale. It is a spider bridge design and for me ... a major game changer. The notes are spot on up to the 18th fret and chords or lead playing are so much louder than any of my other C tuned instruments.

    I've been playing a lot of Bach on it and - well - the only issue is a funny thing that the long sustain just makes the tunes swing ... which is not only amazing but great to play. I've also been playing some Tommy Peeples and Brenda Schubert pieces and they are all fun and demanding to explore. So - what am I studying now? Pete Martin's, Mandolin Jazz book. I've been working on controlling my rhythm playing and trying to get a chord change each quarter note on all my instruments. That is a brain and finger stretch.

    But his books almost all have the root placement in the chord shapes so ... to change key is no problem

    I hope this helps.
  4. River bear
    River bear
    I write much of my own music. I also play guitar. If I have not written the song, like well, for example 'Wayfaring stranger', I usually perfect it on the mandolin, then emulate same on mandola, with only a few adjustments here and there, I have a harmony part for the mandolin part.
  5. Toycona
    Toycona
    I've been playing everything - Bluegrass, Fiddle Tunes, Dylan, etc. - on the dola. The best advice I've received when transposing down a bit, is - don't play it like a mandolin, play it like a mandola. So I use the lower end whenever I can. Also, play more double stops than chop chords. That's a little easier said than done, but I'm working on it. Overall, the mandola is an excellent voice and subtle counterpart to any ensemble that features a mandolin.
  6. mandroid
    mandroid
    Dola Adds a different voice to the mandolin & guitar voices . in a session .

    Aging Folkies with some Jazz~Blues, seasonings..

    + in the CGDA tuning is my 4 string electric [ built around an A 50 in the style ..
    ala Johhny Gimble's EM150.

    & my 4 string solid body, with 4 divided bridge pickups.. when using a Guitar Synth , via RMC Black Box,

    Because a Mandolin is already an octave Higher .. there was a Patch cut out on the high E . (guitar neck's top note)
    is barely past the mandolin 12th fret ...

    that with the A in the 1st string position the cut out surprise isn't there..
  7. Redwing
    Redwing
    Nino
    Virgines del Sol
    Apache
    I’m an old Cowhand
    En Gracias
    Highlife Hymn
    Nobody Knows You
    Palomita
    Papirosa
    Perla Equatoriana
  8. Teak
    Teak
    I have had my mandola for only a couple of months but have found that I can play songs on it that I never would have tried on the mandolin. For me, the mandola is a better backing instrument for vocal songs and I have worked up the following:

    How Can A Poor Man Stand Such Times and Live
    I Got Mine
    Lyin' Eyes
    On the Sunny Side of the Street
    Georgia On My Mind
    The Glory of Love
    When You're Smiling
  9. k0k0peli
    k0k0peli
    I've played guitar a long time, mandolin on-and-off not so long, and I just got a cheap mandola a few weeks ago. My goal (maybe) is to be King of the Surf Mandolin and the mandola gets some spin-off there. Another goal is to use it as a guitar stand-in to accompany my woeful singing. I have large hands and manage an Ovation 12-string guitar with no problem but chording the mandola in CGDA is a bit of a stretch so I mostly tune to CGDG. Where will I go with mandola? Wherever it takes me. (Which may be to something better and costlier than what I have.)
  10. Bud Barnwell
    Bud Barnwell
    I've owned several mandola's and keep trading or selling them. I really like what it has to offer. I had a Collings MT mandola for several years and really liked it but got stupid and traded it. I've got the newest MDA 315 Eastman and just having a blast. I've tried using a capo so I can stay in the right key for the tune. It works ok as long as you don't go up too many frets. I've played mandolin for a lot more years. I would say I like the mandola best right now. I try fiddle tunes, Bach, and especially blues. Just having fun with it.
  11. Bud Barnwell
    Bud Barnwell
    I've owned several mandola's and keep trading or selling them. I really like what it has to offer. I had a Collings MT mandola for several years and really liked it but got stupid and traded it. I've got the newest MDA 315 Eastman and just having a blast. I've tried using a capo so I can stay in the right key for the tune. It works ok as long as you don't go up too many frets. I've played mandolin for a lot more years. I would say I like the mandola best right now. I try fiddle tunes, Bach, and especially blues. Just having fun with it.
  12. Carl23
    Carl23
    @k0k0peli -
    My dad is a surf player from way back. I'm learning Walk Don't Run as a birthday present to him. Just starting to work in the chords under the melody... fun stuff.

    Carl
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