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Thread: Dola on the Way

  1. #1

    Default Dola on the Way

    Yesterday I visited our local GC. Hanging high on the wall was an F model mandolin that was much too big to be a mandolin. Turned out to be an Eastman MDA 815 mandola in pretty pristine shape for $999.99. Only deficit I could see was old strings. Could I use such a thing? Or would it turn into another novelty instrument like a long discarded guitar banjo, 5 string guitar, or octave mandolin?

    I thought about it all night. A beautiful instrument at a good price. My wife and I play a lot of mandolin/fiddle duets. Perhaps the mandola would add more fullness to our sound.

    So this morning I called and placed a deposit on the mandola. At least I have 45 days to decide whether it's going to be useful.

  2. #2
    Registered User Bob Clark's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dola on the Way

    My guess is, you'll love it. That's just based on my fondness for mandolas, though. Give it a real chance, play it a lot even if at first you don't take to it. You might find you really like it. I hope you do!
    Purr more, hiss less.

  3. #3
    Registered User NotMelloCello's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dola on the Way

    Surprised to hear of a mandola at Ninth Circle of Hell Music.
    The difference between death and taxes is that death does not grow worse every time Congress convenes. - Will Rogers

  4. #4
    Registered User bbcee's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dola on the Way

    I think you're going to find it to be an excellent accompaniment instrument. I also have an MDA815 and really love the tone. I wound up changing the bridge out for a Cumberland, but more as an experiment than anything else. And even though I know close to zero about music theory, I didn't find the changeover to CGDA to be very daunting.

    There's a small, quirky Nils Hokkanien (?) book on mandola tips & tricks that really set me on the right path. Through it, I found that double stops sound way better than full chords when playing rhythm, among many other great suggestions. NFI, it just helped me a lot. Enjoy the heck out of it and post pictures!!
    -------
    Waiting for the thunderous applause and enthusiastic cheering. But for some reason, I only hear crickets…- Multidon

  5. #5
    Registered User bbcee's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dola on the Way

    -------
    Waiting for the thunderous applause and enthusiastic cheering. But for some reason, I only hear crickets…- Multidon

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  7. #6
    Registered User Bob Visentin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dola on the Way

    My wife also plays fiddle and we often would play the same or similar parts at jams. I shifted to mandola for that reason and I love it. I also found double stops or 3 note chords work best especially when guitars are involved. Most people think I'm playing a mandolin and don't even know what a mandola is.

  8. #7

    Default Re: Dola on the Way

    I recently joined the mandola club myself, seems to have a lot of charm. A little more oomph than a mandolin without losing much the mandolin's high speed playability. I got an electric, when I picked it up I knew immediately I was going to love it. Thanks for the tip on the Niles Hokkanen book, hard to refuse a book by a fellow Cafe member at that price.

  9. #8
    Registered User DougC's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dola on the Way

    Same situation here. My wife plays violin and mandolin is in the same range of pitch. So I was always on the low strings. The mandola however naturaly sounds lower, even on the higer strings because of the instruments' larger size. I can play melody in unison with her and you can really hear the difference. It is well worth learning how to play on that low C string and how to go up the neck to get thoes notes where the mandolin's e string would be. And I just love that lower sound.
    A bird does not sing because it has an answer. It sings because it has a song.

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  11. #9

    Default Re: Dola on the Way

    I picked up the dola tonight. Took it home and gave it a run through. It's a beautiful, pristine piece with excellent build quality. I could quibble over the visibility of the curl on the sides, but that's about it.

    I had thought I might try restringing it and tuning it as an OM, but after playing a number of tunes with my wife on fiddle, I find I'm liking it as is. Learning to adapt to the dola's possibilities will hopefully keep my aging brain youthful.

    When picking up the dola, the sales associate showed me a used Eastman 815 archtop guitar they had just taken in. Not as clean as the dola, but very nice.

  12. #10

    Default Re: Dola on the Way

    I've the dola for a few days. Some observations. The instrument is a newer one and the finish is quite different from earlier Eastmans, which were quite delicate and fragile. This finisn seems to be tougher and probably a bit thicker. Reminds me of the nitro top coats on The Loar mandos, like the 700 series, although more cleanly applied. Also an observation about aesthetics. The headstock has a bigger cutout, which makes things seem off.

    Other than that, it's a great instrument and a lot of fun.

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