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Thread: Mandocello build thread

  1. #426
    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandocello build thread

    Moving along, I installed a tailpiece and end pin...
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    strung it up, adjusted the action and intonation, finished the nut, and...
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  3. #427
    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandocello build thread

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  5. #428
    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandocello build thread

    While I was setting up lights for pictures, I decided to keep this "glamor" shot.
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  7. #429
    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandocello build thread

    So, how does it sound? (I figured nobody was going to ask that, so I'd just go ahead and do it myself.)
    Mostly good. The C strings are sort of thumpy because of the short (25") scale, but there isn't much I can do about that. It's kind of like an upright or console piano. The bass strings sort of thump more than a 9 foot grand piano because they are so short and fat. Playing a little closer to the bridge helps a lot with that.
    Hopefully, the future owner will do some recording with it soon and then I might be able to link to a youtube.

  8. #430
    Registered User Timbofood's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandocello build thread

    John, this has been so much fun to watch, thanks for sharing!
    Timothy F. Lewis
    "If brains was lard, that boy couldn't grease a very big skillet" J.D. Clampett

  9. #431
    Registered User tree's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandocello build thread

    +1

    I've already used some things I learned - most recently, that a no. 102 quill is an excellent tool for delivering coloring agent (dye or ink) to small areas where precision is required. Thanks for taking the time to document this so well!
    Clark Beavans

  10. #432
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    Default Re: Mandocello build thread

    Looks very nice. This has been a great thread.

  11. #433
    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandocello build thread

    A couple more snapshots for size perspective. Mandocello and mandolin.
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  13. #434
    Eschews Obfuscation mugbucket's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandocello build thread

    This has been one of the most fascinating threads I've followed since joining the Cafe, Thanks John for sharing!
    “Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!"

  14. #435

    Default Re: Mandocello build thread

    Agree with recent comments. Thanks much for allowing us to ride along. Sorry to see the end near. Time to start a new one!

  15. #436
    Registered User amowry's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandocello build thread

    Beautiful work, John! Great color. I don't think many people realize how many tedious little steps are in the finishing and setup processes, so it's nice to see them detailed here.

  16. #437
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    Default Re: Mandocello build thread

    Quote Originally Posted by sunburst View Post
    So, how does it sound? (I figured nobody was going to ask that, so I'd just go ahead and do it myself.)
    Mostly good. The C strings are sort of thumpy because of the short (25") scale, but there isn't much I can do about that. It's kind of like an upright or console piano. The bass strings sort of thump more than a 9 foot grand piano because they are so short and fat. Playing a little closer to the bridge helps a lot with that.
    Hopefully, the future owner will do some recording with it soon and then I might be able to link to a youtube.
    With a 25" scale length and say 0.074" (D'Addario) diameter strings your C-course will be at approximately about 68 - 70 lbs (34 - 35 lbs per string) total tension. I'm surprised to hear that there is an issue with them sounding thumpy as you describe it? Those mandocello strings are under close to 10 lbs (average) more tension than mandolin strings for example. Of course what one person calls "thumpy" someone else might find OK?

    Has this been asked before? Why did you choose an oval hole rather then f-holes?
    Bernie
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    Due to current budgetary restrictions the light at the end of the tunnel has been turned off -- sorry about the inconvenience.

  17. #438
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    Default Re: Mandocello build thread

    The C-course sounds good, it's just that the other strings sound better, at least to me. One of the things I strive for in instruments that I build is good string to string balance. With this scale length, it's not easy to do. As I said, moving the pick a little closer to the bridge helps the C.
    The inspiration for this instrument is Mike Marshall's mandocello. The guy who ordered this one did so because he likes Mike's so much and wanted something similar... so, oval hole it is. If I had built it for myself I still would have chosen an oval hole because I think larger mando-family instruments benefit from the rounder, deeper oval hole sound as opposed to the slightly more nasal, cutting f-hole sound.
    I still have possession of the instrument while the future owner is trying to pay off debts and raise money, but he played it for awhile a few days ago and he likes the sound of the C-course just fine. I just think a longer, lighter string would sound better, as is nearly always the case in instruments like this. As I alluded earlier, there is a reason 9 foot grand pianos sound so much better than console and upright pianos. Nothing compares to those loooooong bass strings! In the case of a piano, string length is compromised to make the instrument fit into spaces like living rooms and other smaller spaces. In the case of a mandocello, string length is compromised in order for players to be able to reach and play notes more easily.

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  19. #439
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    Default Re: Mandocello build thread

    Beautiful John. Merry Christmas too.

  20. #440
    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandocello build thread

    Thanks David (and everyone else).
    (I might be planning a trip back to the middle of Virginia sometime. I'll let you know.)

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  22. #441

    Default Re: Mandocello build thread

    Gorgeous 'cello! Any chance of getting sound clips up and down the fingerboard? Would F-holes and tone bars possibly have alleviated the "thumpiness" of the C-course?

  23. #442
    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandocello build thread

    We're hoping to put together a video soon, and then link to a youtube.
    Tone bars and f-holes would do nothing about the scale length, and that is the reason for what I call the "thumpy" aspect of the short, fat C strings. As I see it, only a longer scale length would improve the sound, but then it would be harder to play. The guy who is getting this instrument doesn't have hands as large as Mike Marshall's, and this is the same scale length as Mike Marshall's 'cello. I don't think he would want to play a longer scale.

  24. #443
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    Default Re: Mandocello build thread

    i just have to say the scroll design of your F5 is simply the most beautiful thing out there, and the Gibson designers missed the boat. IMHO, the Montelone is really good, but the Hamlett is the most graceful of them all....and a sure cure for scroll envy. The unplated "string organizer" (another lovely thing) still graces my A5.

    David has been doing a good job of taking care of the local luthiery business, but i think of the old Nelson Co shop everytime i go on a cider (nonpasteruized) run to Drumheller's. The neighborhood just ain't the same without you, John. Hope you're doing well.

    And there's a '56 Martin A that could use a new fretboard and neck narrowing, too.
    Last edited by dan in va; Dec-21-2017 at 8:36pm.

  25. #444

    Default Re: Mandocello build thread

    John - beautiful work and excellent blow-by-blow, I learned a ton as others have said.

    Looking back over the thread I have to ask - have you made one like this before or were you just going on experience and gut?

    Just saying - between the great pictures and descriptive text you have the making of a great book here. Probably wouldn't make it to the top of the NY Times book list, but certainly something that would be treasured by many young and old. Especially with the world going more and more to automation, having an historic record of how building is done by a master would be something I would treasure.
    VerneAndru.com | oKee.ComX

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  26. #445
    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandocello build thread

    Thanks Verne. I learned quite a bit myself, doing this.
    First mandocello, so I suppose it is #1.
    I went by experience, research, conversations with John Monteleone, Cave Cohen, the future owner, and in the end using all that and more to just build it by feel, so to speak.
    There are people who have built hundreds of guitars, there are people who have built hundreds of mandolins, but how many mandocellos has any one person built? In other words, there just aren't many people with a huge amount of experience building these things, so we must extrapolate (is that the right word?) from our other experiences and from what we can learn from others.

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  28. #446
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    Default Re: Mandocello build thread

    My all time favorite biology professor would refer to something like this as "pooling our ignorance".

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