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Thread: Wished there was a Mini-Mandolin available!

  1. #1
    en kunnskapssøker James Miller's Avatar
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    Default Wished there was a Mini-Mandolin available!

    God, I've got the mandolin bug. Wished I had one I could carry on my back with a sling or something, then I could play it during breaks between jobs or job sites.

    And this tune that's stuck in my head, and find myself whistling it. Would much rather whip out a mini-mandolin (OR SOMETHING!) and start playing when I have downtime.

    Would be also good for when I start riding the recumbent trike again. Used to carry a ukulele in a soft case, and tempted to see about stinking that uke to GDAE and maybe add 8 string tuners to it and string it up.

    Wished could find a Sweet Pea even for a reasonable price ... before I consider transforming the ukulele into a mandolin. Or would a Martin Backpacker Mandolin sound better then a Sweet Pea? Seen a few of those on eBay for the price of a few pizzas.
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    en kunnskapssøker James Miller's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wished there was a Mini-Mandolin available!

    This fellow has the idea, in effect, with four strings...

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    Be Wild Zach Wilson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wished there was a Mini-Mandolin available!

    There was a Martin Backpacker Mandolin in my local Craigslist classifieds for a decent price. It's gone now. If I see it pop up again I'm gonna get it.

    Do you still have your $50 dollar Rouge? Bring it! It obviously isnt as nice as the Weber but at least its a REAL Mandolin and if it breaks your not out too much.

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    My Florida is scooped pheffernan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wished there was a Mini-Mandolin available!

    Mike Dulak builds an MM8 Mini-Mo mandolin: https://reverb.com/item/6136498-34-m...ravel-mandolin
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    en kunnskapssøker James Miller's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wished there was a Mini-Mandolin available!

    Gave the Rogue to a missionary couple from Madagascar.

    Was looking for something more compact, that can be carried just about anywhere. Guess there are no mandolins with bottoms that can slide/fold out/in - collapsible. Something you could sneak into work on your back and no one would be the wiser.
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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wished there was a Mini-Mandolin available!

    Quote Originally Posted by James Miller View Post
    This fellow has the idea, in effect, with four strings...
    I wouldn't put steel strings on a uke, especially a good one. You could just string it with this Aquila set, meant to be tuned GDAE.
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    en kunnskapssøker James Miller's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wished there was a Mini-Mandolin available!

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    Registered User bruce.b's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wished there was a Mini-Mandolin available!

    I’ve seen a few sopranino mandolins. They are really small and tuned CGDA, a forth above a regular soprano mandolin. Weber, maybe Mike Black and somewhere I’ve seen a flattop sopranino. You could just play it exactly like a regular one for practice.
    https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/s...%96-Test-Drive

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    en kunnskapssøker James Miller's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wished there was a Mini-Mandolin available!

    Bruce is making some Rangers, so in another month or so there might be an option there.
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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wished there was a Mini-Mandolin available!

    Nothing wrong with a sopranino or piccolo Mandolin but I find you have to get used to a much shorter scale so for practice purposes I would think not. Better off a small mandolin with a standard scale.

    Travolin looks pretty good but no indication of price. Seagull S8 is a possibility or even one of those German pocket mandolins.
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    Default Re: Wished there was a Mini-Mandolin available!

    This subject comes up often on this forum and I don't get it. What does a travel mandolin actually save you? An inch or two on the body size? And the trade-off is less sound. The mandolin is tiny to start with, for Pete's sake.

    Reminds me somewhat of the evolution of the cell phone. Was big as a WWII walkie-talkie in 1993, then quickly became pocket sized, then became even smaller to where it was hard to use, then people wanted a bigger screen, so we're back to carrying a big old clunky thing again that barely fits in the back pocket of a pair of jeans. Moral of the story: you can't have it both ways.

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    Lurkist dhergert's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wished there was a Mini-Mandolin available!

    Looks to me like the Travolin is about the length of a normal mandolin up to the normal mandolin's nut. So it saves just about the length of a peghead and it's about half as wide as a normal mandolin.

    The Travolin looks nice to me and of course it would be interesting to have one from a MAS standpoint, but compared to all my other stringed instruments (banjo, mandolin, guitar, double bass), my mandolins are already the easiest to carry and that is what I take just about everywhere. It's my go to instrument.

    I do have an old UB1 banjo uke, but it doesn't sound like a mandolin.

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    Default Re: Wished there was a Mini-Mandolin available!

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Mando View Post
    This subject comes up often on this forum and I don't get it. What does a travel mandolin actually save you? An inch or two on the body size? And the trade-off is less sound. The mandolin is tiny to start with, for Pete's sake.

    Reminds me somewhat of the evolution of the cell phone. Was big as a WWII walkie-talkie in 1993, then quickly became pocket sized, then became even smaller to where it was hard to use, then people wanted a bigger screen, so we're back to carrying a big old clunky thing again that barely fits in the back pocket of a pair of jeans. Moral of the story: you can't have it both ways.
    I hear you, especially on the phone sizes... I’m still a “plus size” holdout.

    If you consider though, a typical mandolin is about 27.5” tip to tail. I’ve been pricing up materials for a full scale/less frets (17) build at about 21.5”. I travel for work a lot and don’t want to be stopped at the gate to check my instrument, or anything else for that matter. 21.5” fits a soprano ukulele case whereas my tenor uke swims laps in my A mando case. Heck I could fit that in one half of my carry-on. The OP seems to be in the same camp, or close enough where that extra 6” might be slapping him in the rear if he were to sling it over his back.

    Yes, we are giving up sound without a doubt. Contrary to sage Jedi advice, size does matter. It might be the difference between playing music or not.

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    Default Re: Wished there was a Mini-Mandolin available!

    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

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    Registered User bruce.b's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wished there was a Mini-Mandolin available!

    For anyone seriously into hiking and cycling an instrument as small as possible makes a tremendous amount of sense. For a long backpacking or bikepacking tour it could mean the difference between bringing an instrument or not. It’s also easier to protect it from damage as it gets smaller. For me, even my pancake mandolin is too big to take bikepacking, it’s just not worth the hassle of trying to protect it and put it someplace. A wooden flute would be perfect, but I damaged my lip in a bicycle crash many years ago and I can’t properly play one.

    - - - Updated - - -

    For anyone seriously into hiking and cycling an instrument as small as possible makes a tremendous amount of sense. For a long backpacking or bikepacking tour it could mean the difference between bringing an instrument or not. It’s also easier to protect it from damage as it gets smaller. For me, even my pancake mandolin is too big to take bikepacking, it’s just not worth the hassle of trying to protect it and put it someplace. A wooden flute would be perfect, but I damaged my lip in a bicycle crash many years ago and I can’t properly play one.

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wished there was a Mini-Mandolin available!

    Quote Originally Posted by James Miller View Post
    Wished I had one I could carry on my back with a sling or something, then I could play it during breaks between jobs or job sites.
    I also am not sure why you just don't get a case that has backpack straps like this Boulder Alpine gig bag:

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    Or if you want a hardshell case, maybe this Crossrock case.

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    This would be a lot better soundwise to take a full size mandoin than a travel mandolin especially if you are traveling on a bike. And you would not have to buy a new mandolin.

    As for the Travolin, it looks very nice but has a shorter scale than standard, 13", which would probably be all right. Do you know how much the basic one costs? I assume a lot more than $60.
    Jim

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wished there was a Mini-Mandolin available!

    Quote Originally Posted by James Miller View Post
    Bruce is making some Rangers, so in another month or so there might be an option there.
    Who is Bruce? What is a Ranger? Are you talking about Bruce Weber and Montana Lutherie? Is this what you are talking about?
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    Is that a Ranger?
    Jim

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    en kunnskapssøker James Miller's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wished there was a Mini-Mandolin available!

    Already have a normal sized mandolin. With a tadpole recumbent there is not a lot of room for storage, and even then it needs to be kept lighter in weight due to everything else being carried that are far more important. Still would be good to carry a mandolin on here. I have carried a ukulele in a soft case strapped in between the yellow fiberglass rods, but my head in that general vicinity too.






    A youngster going for a ride on the Rover. There's not a lot of room here, so a "travel sized" mandolin would be highly desired.
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    en kunnskapssøker James Miller's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wished there was a Mini-Mandolin available!

    And you just don't know where you might want to stop along the trail and play a few tunes...



    30 miles in 5m 30s


    This is one of the trails coming up in a couple of months that I like riding down on.
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    en kunnskapssøker James Miller's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wished there was a Mini-Mandolin available!

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    Who is Bruce? What is a Ranger? Are you talking about Bruce Weber and Montana Lutherie? Is this what you are talking about?
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    Is that a Ranger?
    Yup. Bruce said the Ranger would surpass the older Sweet Pea. I probably would not be able to afford a Ranger after he told me what his lowest priced mandolin would be; which would be a year's worth of work from my lowest paying job + a tad more. :Q


    Thought I found a Sweet Pea seller in New York but she's not responded.
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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wished there was a Mini-Mandolin available!

    My guess from the description on this page for the Travolin, that it is not all that inexpensive either. Maybe a used Sweet Pea or Martin backpacker (if you can find one).

    Here's an old thread on the topic. The one that the OP bought -- looks like it may be still available and looks really stripped down to the minimum tho only 4 strings: Stoneman Backpack/Hiker mandolin.
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    Default Re: Wished there was a Mini-Mandolin available!

    I turned a McNally strumstick uke into a mandolin tuned CGDA with the replacement of just the first string. It's close enough in size to a regular mandolin, although no double-courses and not as nice sound as a real mandolin. It's good enough for when you just want to play a tune. Only weighs about a pound and it is slim and small and pretty indestructible. I take it on wilderness backpacking trips. I took it on a trip down the Buckskin Gulch slot canyon in northern Arizona where it got banged against rocks and rained on but keeps on playing. I took it on a nice trip in the High Sierra last summer. Plan to take it on the PCT this spring for a nice 200+ section hike. There are nicer travel-sized mandolins in this thread, but if you want something you don't have to care about getting mistreated, I found the strumstick to work out well. I have their regular strumstick, too, but the fingering isn't the same, so the uke tuned it CGDA (with the first string replaced with a mandolin G string) works great. I just play everything on the same strings so that D tunes become G tunes. This would bother some people but not me since I'm just playing alone.

  31. #24

    Default Re: Wished there was a Mini-Mandolin available!

    Quote Originally Posted by James Miller View Post
    Nice trike! Figures there would be other bent riders here. I guess geeky people do similar things for fun. I haven't ridden my trike in a really long time, though.

  32. #25
    but that's just me Bertram Henze's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wished there was a Mini-Mandolin available!

    As if the mandolin wasn't small enough as it is.
    I wonder what solutions they come up with at the bass forums
    the world is better off without bad ideas, good ideas are better off without the world

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