Results 1 to 17 of 17

Thread: Inexpensive Mandolin with longer scale length and wide nut width?

  1. #1

    Default Inexpensive Mandolin with longer scale length and wide nut width?

    Hi, I wanted to know if there is a mandolin out there thatís got a longer than average scale length and wider nut width that isnít to pricey, maybe somewhere between $150-$350 range. I have very bad dexterity problems and have tried a regular mandolin and Iím really struggling so if anyone knows of something like this please let me know. Thanks

  2. #2
    mandolin slinger Steve Ostrander's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Capitol of MI
    Posts
    2,686

    Default Re: Inexpensive Mandolin with longer scale length and wide nut wi

    An octave mandolin has a longer scale length tuned GDAE an octave below a traditional mandolin. Trinity College and Gold Tone come to mind. Gonna be hard to find one used under $350 though.
    Never say "bouzouki" to a TSA agent...

  3. The following members say thank you to Steve Ostrander for this post:


  4. #3
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Location
    Marietta, GA
    Posts
    37

    Default Re: Inexpensive Mandolin with longer scale length and wide nut wi

    You may want to consider a tenor guitar. Ibanez sells one for $200.

    https://www.musiciansfriend.com/guit...gaAklHEALw_wcB

  5. #4
    Registered User JH Murray's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Burnstown Ontario Canada
    Posts
    773

    Default Re: Inexpensive Mandolin with longer scale length and wide nut wi

    A mandola perhaps?

  6. #5

    Default Re: Inexpensive Mandolin with longer scale length and wide nut wi

    I was going to suggest mandola too. With patience you can find them in that range. They're in the sweet spot where first position notes are close enough together without being too close together for playing with speed and accuracy, at least for my hands.

  7. #6

    Default Re: Inexpensive Mandolin with longer scale length and wide nut wi

    My two cents:

    - longer scale won't help as much as you might hope, it might be easier for a beginner, but better players will fret right up next to the fret - necessary to get a clean tone in tune with minimum force - so the fretting accuracy to play cleanly doesn't go down that much with longer scale.

    - wider nut has an easier solution (I hate narrow nuts myself too, but found a simple solution), it can make more difference if you recut the nut than getting a wider one. I recut one to reduce the width of the courses (from about 3/32 to 2/32 measured from the inside of each wire). The difference in playability was amazing, and this was on a super-narrow nut Eastman 1 3/32 nut width.

    I bought a pack of nut files for $60 from stew mac, and 10 blank bone nuts from amazon for about $12.

    For about that same price (I am guessing under $100) you could have a new nut made by a pro too.
    Trinity College TM325 Octave Mandolin (converted to 4-string tenor guitar).
    Eastman MD-605SB, MD-604SB, MD-305, all with Grover 309 tuners.
    Eastwood 4 string electric mandostang, 2x Airline e-mandola (4-string) one strung as an e-OM.
    DSP's: Helix HX Stomp, various Zooms.
    Amps: QSC-K10, DBR-10, THR-10, Sony XB-20.

  8. The following members say thank you to kurth83 for this post:


  9. #7
    Registered User Jon Hall's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Nacogdoches Texas
    Posts
    1,166

    Default Re: Inexpensive Mandolin with longer scale length and wide nut wi

    I agree that an Ibanez tenor guitar might be a candidate. A tenor guitar is tuned in 5ths as are mando instruments. A mandola and a tenor guitar are tuned C - G - D - A. You might find a used mandola in your price range but it might have issues. The Ibanez would be a new instrument. I've heard several accomplished mandolin players "go to town" on a tenor guitar!

  10. #8
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Location
    Brooklyn, NY
    Posts
    60

    Default Re: Inexpensive Mandolin with longer scale length and wide nut wi

    If you go the mandola route consider this:

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/Mandola-mad...oAAOSw0JpV3shs

    Mine has a very good sound and they are dirt cheap.

  11. #9
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2019
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    14

    Default Re: Inexpensive Mandolin with longer scale length and wide nut wi

    Quote Originally Posted by kurth83 View Post
    My two cents:
    - wider nut has an easier solution (I hate narrow nuts myself too, but found a simple solution), it can make more difference if you recut the nut than getting a wider one. I recut one to reduce the width of the courses (from about 3/32 to 2/32 measured from the inside of each wire). The difference in playability was amazing, and this was on a super-narrow nut Eastman 1 3/32 nut width.

    I bought a pack of nut files for $60 from stew mac, and 10 blank bone nuts from amazon for about $12.

    For about that same price (I am guessing under $100) you could have a new nut made by a pro too.
    Well, shucks. I'm only about a month into my mandolin journey but I've been having a spot of trouble getting my sausage fingers out of the way when fretting my MD305. Going to keep at it without modifications for a while longer yet to see how much my technique can be improved on its own but will also keep this option in the back of my mind in case it continues to be a serious issue.

  12. #10
    Registered User JH Murray's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Burnstown Ontario Canada
    Posts
    773

    Default Re: Inexpensive Mandolin with longer scale length and wide nut wi

    You can put new strings on a tenor ukulele and turn it into a mandola. A cheap fix that's a fun alternative.

  13. #11
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    1,934

    Default Re: Inexpensive Mandolin with longer scale length and wide nut wi

    Make sure you're using the correct mandolin fingering system of 2 notes per finger. If you try to play it like a little guitar, you'll go crazy.
    http://www.nigelgatherer.com/mando/tut1/tut6.html
    Steve

  14. #12

    Default Re: Inexpensive Mandolin with longer scale length and wide nut wi

    Look into the Breedlove Crossovers. They are designed for guitar players trying out mandolin who are more comfortable with a wider fingerboard. They can be found used starting at about $300 US.

    Practically no one makes a mandolin with a longer scale length than 14”, which is exactly 1/8” more than the classic 13 7/8” scale. I think you would find the wider fingerboard makes the difference you’re looking for. Mandolin scale leangth actually makes a lot of sense once you start to use it.

    No mandolin offered for $150 is worth your time, especially with your particular criteria.

    It’s worth the trouble to find one you’re comfortable to start with. You’ll dig it.

  15. #13

    Default Re: Inexpensive Mandolin with longer scale length and wide nut wi

    Never heard of those crossovers before, I would have bought one a while back if I had known about them, cheap easy way to get into a wider nut. Seems like a standard mandolin in every other respect. Anyone know how they compare to Eastmans in sound/quality?
    Trinity College TM325 Octave Mandolin (converted to 4-string tenor guitar).
    Eastman MD-605SB, MD-604SB, MD-305, all with Grover 309 tuners.
    Eastwood 4 string electric mandostang, 2x Airline e-mandola (4-string) one strung as an e-OM.
    DSP's: Helix HX Stomp, various Zooms.
    Amps: QSC-K10, DBR-10, THR-10, Sony XB-20.

  16. #14

    Default Re: Inexpensive Mandolin with longer scale length and wide nut wi

    Iím an Eastman 505 player; The feel and sound are quite different. Iíd say the Crossovers are more resonant and less punchy, but generally comparable in quality to the Eastman 300 line. Some of them were made with laminate sides and back (solid top) which keeps the price down; Eastmans are all solid wood. I quite liked the one I tried but I didnít like it enough for 6-700 Cdn +tx.

    We seem to have lost the OP, come back Bearded Buck, there are opinions here!

  17. #15
    Registered User G7MOF's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Lancashire/UK
    Posts
    1,411

    Default Re: Inexpensive Mandolin with longer scale length and wide nut wi

    I play a Fylde Touchstone and it has a slightly longer neck than most mandolins and a wider nut as well.
    I never fail at anything, I just succeed at doing things that never work....


    Fylde Touchstone Walnut Mandolin.
    Gibson Alrite Model D.

  18. #16

    Default Re: Inexpensive Mandolin with longer scale length and wide nut wi

    Hey i am back and thanks everyone for the ideas, thereís a store nearby that has the crossovers and also the Eastman octave mandolin although thatís out of my price range Iím going to check it out since itís there. Definitely trying to find somewhere nearby that has Mandolas but so far no luck.

  19. #17
    Registered User tonydxn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Mansfield UK
    Posts
    281

    Default Re: Inexpensive Mandolin with longer scale length and wide nut wi

    See if you can get hold of an old German Waldzither. They have a longer scale length and were made to take 9 strings. With a new nut and bridge made to take 8 strings you will have loads of room. You can string it up for tuning as a mandola CGDA or an octave mandolin GDAE.
    Mandolins: Bandolim by Antonio Pereira Cabral
    German flatback by unknown maker converted from a descant Waldzither

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •