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Thread: New Nylon String Archtop

  1. #1
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    Default New Nylon String Archtop

    I have built several instruments with nylon strings for mando tunings with success.
    All are designed with a tie bridge - vs - a tail piece for the tone I was after.
    The latest is a new four nylon string archtop model that can be tuned to mando/octave mando.
    Dual side sound ports. No soundhole on the soundboard, but as you can hear, very good projections and sustain for finger picking. Carpathian Spruce and figured Maple.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Here is Travis Stine performing
    https://www.facebook.com/15816918088...type=3&theater

    https://www.facebook.com/15816918088...type=3&theater

    https://www.facebook.com/15816918088...type=3&theater

    Here is my friend Tim Connell on an all Koa instrument for a episode or Oregon art Beat.
    http://www.roberts-guitars.com/#!media/c7zm

    Working on several new instruments for Brazilian Choro Bandolim.

    Mark

    www.roberts-guitars

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  3. #2
    Registered User Mandoborg's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Nylon String Archtop

    Nice !!! Great materials too !!! Just curious , why the color on the heel of an otherwise blonde ??

  4. #3
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    Default Re: New Nylon String Archtop

    I liked it.

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  6. #4
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    Mark Roberts

    Roberts Guitars
    www.roberts-guitars.com
    Portland, OR

  7. #5
    Registered User Bob Clark's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Nylon String Archtop

    I am glad to see that you are experimenting with and building nylon-strung mandolins. I have one that Walt Kuhlman (Gypsy Mandolins) made and I love it. It is quite a different animal from yours, but I think there are plenty of uses for nice, purpose-built nylon-strung mandolins. They give us yet one more voice to play with. Best wishes with these!

  8. #6

    Default Re: New Nylon String Archtop

    Cool!

  9. #7
    I may be old but I'm ugly billhay4's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Nylon String Archtop

    Nice work.
    Bill
    IM(NS)HO

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    Default Re: New Nylon String Archtop

    Thank you all.
    I don’t build other peoples designs and most of my instruments have unique design characteristics related to the function, then the form. Most people don't know that I was a product designer for eight years, before ever getting involved in lutherie.
    For every model I build, the design is always based on maximizing the potential of the smaller instrument….because it teaches me how to improve on all other instruments.
    My clients come to me from all over the world, and this year has been a great opportunity of working with clients with very deep wish lists.
    An octave mandolin player looking for a short scale, non-archtop instrument, with four nylon strings for finger picking, great sustain and a very warm sound….tuned to octave mandolin, but in a 17" scale length.
    Then there is the retired professor living in Egypt who plays bass guitar and plays J.S. Bach concerts on a cello.
    He wanted a short scale instrument with nylon strings for finger picking, with deep emotive sustain, five strings, and tuned to cello tuning.
    I am privileged to have these patrons, that are asking me to push typical expression into completely new territory.

    Additionally, I am also working on a replica and variations of the arguably first six string guitar...an 1826 Giovanni Batista Fabricatore.
    I am building the replica, my completely modern interpretation of the instrument, Terz sized, baritone ukulele, tenor ukulele, octave mandolin, and mandolin. All nylon string. Finger picking, warm, and lots of sustain.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Mark Roberts

    Roberts Guitars
    www.roberts-guitars.com
    Portland, OR

  11. #9
    Registered User Mandoborg's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Nylon String Archtop

    Quote Originally Posted by msrvfx View Post
    I liked it.
    Works for me !!! Nice instrument !!!!!!

    https://www.facebook.com/jimmy.combra

  12. #10
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    Default Re: New Nylon String Archtop

    Mark---I have not found a source for Hilo strings yet. However, I have used Elixer nylon mandolin strings (11500) with some success. They are coated with "nanoweb" and play easily. Gauges are .010, .014, .024, with a wound G string of .034. I would like to find an alternate as the Elixers seem a bit floppy and insipid to me. Any considerations to share?

  13. #11

    Default Re: New Nylon String Archtop

    Mark, what is the tuning used in the videos with Travis playing?
    Bill Snyder

  14. #12
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    Default Re: New Nylon String Archtop

    The Hilo's are designed for ukulele. I believe Bob Gleason of Pegasus guitar has stopped making them. I know my friend Kerry Char, here in Portland, OR has some on hand. They are a "rectified" string. I know D'Addario makes/sells some black rectified strings for ukes. Not sure if they are the same or similar base material though. Might be worth checking to.
    It could be that switching the string order around, and possibly choosing various models you will find the strings you really like if you want to play four string nylon in mando tuning.
    I know Radim Zenkl plays some 4 string nylons that I have heard. I emailed Radim to see what his string preferences are.

    You might also investigate a US company called South Coast Strings. Pretty innovative company. I like their approach.
    http://southcoastukes.com/5ths.htm
    Mark Roberts

    Roberts Guitars
    www.roberts-guitars.com
    Portland, OR

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    Default Re: New Nylon String Archtop

    Travis is playing G-C-E-A on that setup. He is a uke and guitar player.
    He is playing it the day after I built the bridge and installed the strings. Didn't even have time to do a proper intonation on the nut and saddle. I think it wold sound better to my ear in Low G-C-E-A, or mando/octave mando tuning.
    Mark Roberts

    Roberts Guitars
    www.roberts-guitars.com
    Portland, OR

  16. #14
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    Default Re: New Nylon String Archtop

    Bob, I have a mold waiting for a build of a Selmer octave mando.
    Mark Roberts

    Roberts Guitars
    www.roberts-guitars.com
    Portland, OR

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    Default Re: New Nylon String Archtop

    I have recently be using some D'Addario Nyltech strings for tenor and baritone uke tunings. I like the tensions. That is what Travis is playing on in my videos. It is his current preferences too. D'Addario is doing a collaboration with Aquila Strings out of Italy.
    I have liked Aquila's in the past but have run into some quality control problems in the past year or so.
    I have met Fan Tao, at a GAL conference, who is the head string designer for D'Addario and he is very focus and excellent in his QC and string design. I would guess he would be keeping a sharp eye on all production standards.
    Mark Roberts

    Roberts Guitars
    www.roberts-guitars.com
    Portland, OR

  18. #16
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    Default Re: New Nylon String Archtop

    Travis is playing G-C-E-A on that setup. He is a uke and guitar player.
    Mark Roberts

    Roberts Guitars
    www.roberts-guitars.com
    Portland, OR

  19. #17
    Registered User Bob Clark's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Nylon String Archtop

    I am using D'Addario Classical Guitar 0.035 for G and 0.029 for D. I like the sound. I buy these as singles from JustStrings.com which really keeps the price down.

    I am using D'Addario Pro-Arte Concert Uke 0.0322 for A and 0.028 for E. I like the sound just fine.

    I tried D'Addario Nyltech Concert Ukes for my A and E and really did not like the sound at all. Kind of dull.

    That's my take on it. YMMV.

    Bob
    Last edited by Bob Clark; May-02-2015 at 9:36pm.

  20. #18
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    Default Re: New Nylon String Archtop

    Thank you Bob. I will try your suggestion. These for the concert strings?
    http://daddario.com/DADProductDetail...ulele__Concert
    You might also consider checking out these "rectified" strings. Might be warmer, if that's what you're looking for.
    http://daddario.com/DADProductDetail...ulele__Concert

    Is that for mandolin or octave mandolin scale length?
    Mark Roberts

    Roberts Guitars
    www.roberts-guitars.com
    Portland, OR

  21. #19
    Registered User Bob Clark's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Nylon String Archtop

    Quote Originally Posted by msrvfx View Post
    Thank you Bob. I will try your suggestion. These for the concert strings?
    http://daddario.com/DADProductDetail...ulele__Concert
    You might also consider checking out these "rectified" strings. Might be warmer, if that's what you're looking for.
    http://daddario.com/DADProductDetail...ulele__Concert

    Is that for mandolin or octave mandolin scale length?
    Hi Mark,

    My latest order for the D'Addario Concert Uke strings was only about three weeks ago, but they seem to have changed the item numbers and the packaging in the intervening time. I don't know if the actual strings are different from the ones you pointed out. The gauges are the same. It could be like the mandolin string packaging change D'Addario recently went through, but there they just changed the letters and kept the numbers the same (AFAIK). The ones I have been using are item # J92-clear nylon. I ordered a bunch of them this time, but I do seem to go through them (the 'a' strings tend to break, as do the wound D strings).

    Those rectified Uke strings look interesting. Thanks for pointing them out. I look forward to trying them out. I'll get some next time I order. I have not seen them before.

    My nylon-strung is regular mandolin scale length. I think a nylon OM would be great fun though. Here's a link to the thread from when Walt made mine. I am not the original owner. http://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/sh...ht=gypsy+nylon

    Best wishes,

    Bob

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