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Thread: Mandolin strings along OM strings on an octave mandolin like 12 ?

  1. #1
    Shayan Givehchian
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    Default Mandolin strings along OM strings on an octave mandolin like 12 ?

    Hello good folks.
    I was wondering if anyone has ever tried using one string from a mandolin string to pair with an om string to have an octave difference to get a different tone like you would with a 12 string guitar. Has anyone tried this ?
    I'm trying to put j74s along with j80 strings on my APC octave mandolin curious to know if anyone has tried this before. I know greek bouzouki have a similar setup
    In love with the mandolin since Feb 2016
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    Mangler of Tunes OneChordTrick's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandolin strings along OM strings on an octave mandolin like

    Yes, I've done it and it gives a "12 string " effect. Perhaps more a reflection of my abilities (or choice of tune!) but for playing melody it didn't work so well because you'd get "jumps" in a sequence of notes that sounded odd. But for chords it sounded great

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    Registered User Mandobart's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandolin strings along OM strings on an octave mandolin like

    I've used octave paired vs unison strings on a mandolin, mandola, octave mandolin and mandocello. I didn't like how it sounded on mandolin, but I really like it on 'dola, OM and 'cello. Unlike most 12 string guitars, I pair them with the low string first - meaning when strumming down (towards the floor) with my right hand the pick contacts the low or normal gage string first. I got the idea to do it this way after playing a Herb Taylor 'zouk. Easy rule to follow is if you want to double the frequency (tune a string an octave higher) you halve the diameter. So if my OM uses .022 for the A, I'll use a .011 for the octave higher A. The instruments I do this on have zero frets so I didn't have to change nut slots at all. They also have Allen tailpieces which accept loop or ball end strings so I make up my own custom sets buying individual guitar strings.

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    fishing with my mando darrylicshon's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandolin strings along OM strings on an octave mandolin like

    I have an solidbody octave strat that came that way, it's fun sounds like a 12 string, I found if you play it right you can get a lot of different sounds
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    Registered User foldedpath's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandolin strings along OM strings on an octave mandolin like

    I tried it once on my OM. It's a cool sound at first, but I decided it had some disadvantages for the way I play.

    The first problem was that I mainly play Irish/Scottish melody on my OM, and the octave jump messed with the phrasing. Notes would jump out an octave away from where they "should" be. That was with a 12-string guitar type setup, with high strings first when picking downwards. Maybe it would have been better in reverse order, as Mandobart mentions. I didn't try that, although I think I just prefer the dark, moody sound of identical strings on an OM when playing a melody line.

    The second reason I decided against it was that the OM got a little quieter. It gained in "shimmer" from the octave strings, but lost the punch and power I was used to with double courses at the same string gauge. This may vary with different instrument designs, so I'm not sure that would apply to everyone else. You'll just have to try it.

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    Default Re: Mandolin strings along OM strings on an octave mandolin like

    By all means try it and see how it sounds but I don’t think you’ll get away with half a set of J74s.

    J74s are gauged to reach mandolin pitch over little more than half the scale length of an OM so, to get them up to pitch, you’ll have to wind them up way beyond the pitch they were designed for and you’re likely to snap some or all of them in the process. You need to settle on suitable gauges and not the J74s.

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    Mangler of Tunes OneChordTrick's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandolin strings along OM strings on an octave mandolin like

    Quote Originally Posted by Ray(T) View Post
    By all means try it and see how it sounds but I don’t think you’ll get away with half a set of J74s.
    Good point! Plus they may not be long enough; I once had a custom set made for my octave based on a mandolin set and they were only just reached the tuners

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    Registered User Mandobart's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandolin strings along OM strings on an octave mandolin like

    Quote Originally Posted by Ray(T) View Post
    By all means try it and see how it sounds but I don’t think you’ll get away with half a set of J74s.

    J74s are gauged to reach mandolin pitch over little more than half the scale length of an OM so, to get them up to pitch, you’ll have to wind them up way beyond the pitch they were designed for and you’re likely to snap some or all of them in the process. You need to settle on suitable gauges and not the J74s.
    You can use regular ball end guitar strings of the correct gage if they have hollow vs solid brass balls and you carefully snip the balls with a pair of dikes, leaving a small loop behind. Another thing you can do is buy two sets of OM strings. Pair one of the spare A's with your G, and tune it to G an octave above the normal G. Likewise pair a spare E with the D, tune it down to D an octave above the normal D.

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    Smile Re: Mandolin strings along OM strings on an octave mandolin like

    Just to take this in the opposite direction.........

    I string my old Martin 12 string guitar [D12-18] as a 10 string.
    Low E & A are single strings
    D/G/b/e courses are unison pairs like a "standard" OM or Zouk.

    Very full, and the "natural" harmonics still give it a 12 string sound with out the excessive "jingle jangle". Plus no issues with runs, melody playing or chording.

    [ Stan Rogers tunes sound amazing]

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    Default Re: Mandolin strings along OM strings on an octave mandolin like

    Clifford Essex will sell you made up sets in the UK : http://cliffordessex.net/index.php?_a=viewCat&catId=25

    So will Newtone if you ask them : https://newtonestrings.com/

    As I read it, Olga Egorova uses octave strings in this stunning video : https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/e...t-Olga-Egorova
    - Jeremy

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