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Thread: About mandocello (or mandoloncello)

  1. #1

    Question About mandocello (or mandoloncello)

    I would buy a mandocello (or mandoloncello) but I saw that there are two types of chords :
    - G D A E (like the mandolin but one octave lower)
    - or, C G D A (as the cello)

    What do you think? What type of chords is preferable?

  2. #2
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: About mandocello (or mandoloncello)

    I am a huge fan of CGDA, like a violin cello, and octave below the viola. Why? Because there is so much great music written for cello that moves on to mandolincello easily.

    And the mando-cello can deliver.
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    Default Re: About mandocello (or mandoloncello)

    Gdae, unless I'm mistaken, would be an octave mandolin or Bouzouki. The Mandocelli I've checked out were tuned CGDA. I'm sure you could find a string combo to let you tune GDAE, but that low C rumble is kind of the point

    I love their tone, and hope to have one some day as well, though my bass is fulfilling my rumble jones at the moment...
    Chuck

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    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: About mandocello (or mandoloncello)

    If the point of GDAE tuning is that you can play what you already know, with others, that's fine. And a lot of fun. But IMO it kind of misses a lot of what the cello is about. IMO the mandocello's role in the ensemble is best fulfilled when pitched like, umm... a cello.

    Of the mandocello players I have played with, I most enjoyed the ones who also play regular cello and had a feeling for it.

    YMMV
    Life is short, play hard. Life is really really short, play really really hard.

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    Default Re: About mandocello (or mandoloncello)

    Quote Originally Posted by morix View Post
    I would buy a mandocello (or mandoloncello) but I saw that there are two types of chords :
    - G D A E (like the mandolin but one octave lower)
    - or, C G D A (as the cello)

    What do you think? What type of chords is preferable?
    You could try the Damman 5 course mandocello and have the best of both worlds.

  6. #6

    Default Re: About mandocello (or mandoloncello)

    Thank you for your answers!
    I see that you opt for the CGDA. Indeed, this type of chords can allow to tackle the cello repertoire.
    But the disadvantagee for a mandolin player, is that you learn new fingerings.
    Do you think the C of CGDA is a fifth below the G of GDAE?
    I think this must be the case because a GDAE mandocello has a pitch of 61 cm while a CGDA has a pitch of 65 cm. But I would be certain.

  7. #7
    Registered User JH Murray's Avatar
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    Default Re: About mandocello (or mandoloncello)

    Yes the C of CDGA is the fifth below the G. Mandocello has the same interval of fifths tuning as the mandolin, mandola, octave mandolin etc.
    Fun fact- Put a capo at the fifth fret of a GDAE Octave mandolin, and presto you have a mandola. Two instruments for the price of one.

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  9. #8

    Default Re: About mandocello (or mandoloncello)

    Quote Originally Posted by morix View Post
    Thank you for your answers!
    I see that you opt for the CGDA. Indeed, this type of chords can allow to tackle the cello repertoire.
    But the disadvantagee for a mandolin player, is that you learn new fingerings.
    Do you think the C of CGDA is a fifth below the G of GDAE?
    I think this must be the case because a GDAE mandocello has a pitch of 61 cm while a CGDA has a pitch of 65 cm. But I would be certain.
    Also, an instrument with a 65cm scale length (or more!) is not easy to play and takes some getting used to. It is very important that the instrument is well set up and the strings are not too high from the frets at either end of the fretboard. Even a small error in setup can make this instrument very frustrating for the player. When well designed and set up, though, they are very rewarding.

  10. #9

    Default Re: About mandocello (or mandoloncello)

    Thank you to all!
    Your answers will help me a lot to make a choice.

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    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: About mandocello (or mandoloncello)

    Quote Originally Posted by morix View Post
    ...But the disadvantagee for a mandolin player, is that you learn new fingerings...
    Not exactly new fingerings; just that the same fingerings produce different chords. A D chord on a GDAE mandolin, or octave mandolin, is a G chord on a CGDA mandocello (or manual). One learns to transpose, but the fingers go in the same places.

    ...Do you think the C of CGDA is a fifth below the G of GDAE?...
    Yes, the C of a mandocello 4th string is below the G of an octave mandolin 4th string. If you had an instrument tuned CGDA above the octave mandolin, that would be a mandola.
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    mando-evangelist August Watters's Avatar
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    Default Re: About mandocello (or mandoloncello)

    And then there's a hybrid, the liuto cantabile -- tuned CGDAE. Like a mandocello plus octave mandolin, five courses.
    Exploring Classical Mandolin (Berklee Press, 2015)
    Progressive Melodies for Mandocello (KDP, 2019) (2nd ed. 2022)
    New Solos for Classical Mandolin (Hal Leonard Press, 2020)
    2021 guest artist, mandocello: Classical Mandolin Society of America

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    Registered User foldedpath's Avatar
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    Default Re: About mandocello (or mandoloncello)

    Quote Originally Posted by allenhopkins View Post
    Not exactly new fingerings; just that the same fingerings produce different chords. A D chord on a GDAE mandolin, or octave mandolin, is a G chord on a CGDA mandocello (or manual). One learns to transpose, but the fingers go in the same places.
    I dunno... that may be true if you have really large hands, but I know I'd be changing the way I finger a basic C chord on a mandocello, compared to the way I do it on my mandolin and 22" scale octave mandolin. I can barely manage that C chord on the OM as it is, and my hands are pretty big. The classic Bluegrass G chop chord shape on my 22" OM? Forgettaboutit.


    I know you're addressing the way chord shapes themselves don't vary, just transpose, but I think this is an important point. Unless you have big hands and great finger extension like Mike Marshall, most of us mortals will be re-thinking how we finger a few things in first position on a mandocello. Further up the neck, yeah... no sweat.

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    Registered User red7flag's Avatar
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    Default Re: About mandocello (or mandoloncello)

    When I play either my mandola or octave mandolin, I play mostly three finger chords usually leaving the high or low string unplayed. Like Alan said, when play in G on the mandola, I mentally think of playing D on the mandolin. After a few tunes even leads fall into place

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    Registered User Mandobart's Avatar
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    Default Re: About mandocello (or mandoloncello)

    Quote Originally Posted by August Watters View Post
    And then there's a hybrid, the liuto cantabile -- tuned CGDAE. Like a mandocello plus octave mandolin, five courses.
    Yep. Like this


    26" scale with octave pairs on the C, G and D courses. Built by Tom Jessen.

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