Results 1 to 7 of 7

Thread: Struggle to get dola sounding...mellow

  1. #1
    Blue ridge gal
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Location
    NC. VA border.
    Posts
    1

    Unhappy Struggle to get dola sounding...mellow

    Hi, Im trying to get some kind of Mellow sound out of my Hora ( Romanian ), Dola.
    ( THe Hora has a deep ,wide body, almost Octave MAndo size , with a 16in-16.25 scale,)
    **I actually normally play a frailing mountain style banjo and a 'Tenor Fiddle"; alto/tenor, viola d' Gamba )
    On the Dola,Im frailing , w/ drop thum bass and chords and notes. no pick. Its sounds OK, but just not quite tuneful.
    ** I got the dola to be able to carry a light instrument out side on walks to play and sing, while taking mountain view breaks, or just 'added money' on the sidelines at jams. The GAmba has syn-gut strings and is very mellow sounding, but not OK for hikes. lol. The banjo is maybe too loud, out in nature.
    I love old modal tunes, so a bright 'plinky' sound is not so good.
    I had it tuned the dola in GDae with John Pierce PB strings, but it was a bit..? shrill. SO..I lowered it to CGda, using the same strings, and it was better.
    ALSO even when in tune ( by the tuner, ) it sounds off. At the 12th fret it barely gets a harmonic. Im wondering if it needs a 'compensated bridge? ( I have a short scale tenor banjo that would not come into a good tuning , until I did that.) ( $$$)
    SO I need broad minded, creative advice..should I use UKE? strings? or kids guitar strings? ( strung double w light metal for a touch of zing? )
    It sounds pretty good in DADA.. but the cords and keys are limited.
    MAybe... Im on a wild goose chase... but I know what I want is possible. This takes out side the box, ( crack-pot'? ) thinking... please help.
    Last edited by CJ McGee; May-20-2019 at 12:26pm. Reason: added point

  2. #2
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Location
    Brooklyn, NY
    Posts
    62

    Default Re: Struggle to get dola sounding...mellow

    I get a pretty mellow sound out of mine. But everyone has different taste.

    I use GHS PF280 strings (CGDA) and with the right pick the sound is very good.

    I did replace the banjo bridge with a more traditional mandola bridge (not compensated) and it sounded much better.

    Intonation on mine is fine.

    I never tried finger style so I can't comment on that.

    I have recently tuned a baritone Uke to CGDA using classical guitar (nylon) strings and it sounds wonderful. So I'm thinking about trying that on the mandola.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Struggle to get dola sounding...mellow

    Hi, CJ!

    I suspect that you're looking for the sound of gut and/or nylon, and are disappointed by the comparative brightness of metal strings.

    Of course, if you choose that path, you'll have to figure out the tensions on your current strings. That will enable you to find the nylon strings which have the same tensions at the same pitches.

    You'll also have to figure out how to attach the nylon strings to your tailpiece.

    I do a lot of retuning and restringing in metal/phosphor bronze strings, but my experience for nylon strings is extremely limited. Sorry I can't be of more help!

  4. #4
    Confused... or?
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Over the Hudson & thru the woods from NYC
    Posts
    2,251

    Default Re: Struggle to get dola sounding...mellow

    PICKS are the fastest way to change the sound of most fretted instruments. In general:
    - thicker and rounded = mellower sound;
    - thinner and pointier = more treble, and maybe thinner, sound.

    Personally, I find that triangular D'Andrea Pro-Plecs in 1.5mm work well on mandolin (whose range overlaps mandola by 75%, or so). The least pointy that I've seen are the almost-round Dawg picks that some love but that many find just too mellow. And classical players often use thin & pointy picks on their bowlbacks, but that sound is just a bit beyond me. (BTW, on guitar I tend to use thinner & somewhat pointier picks than on mandolin, but they would still be characterized as "medium", at .80 or .90mm.)

    Fortunately, I've so far resisted the urge to get into the uber-expesive Blue Chips and the like.
    - Ed

    "What our group lacks in musicianship is offset by our willingness to humiliate ourselves." - David Hochman

  5. The following members say thank you to EdHanrahan for this post:


  6. #5
    Harley Marty
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Mullingar Co Westmeath Ireland
    Posts
    102

    Default Re: Struggle to get dola sounding...mellow

    You could try Savarez silver wound on copper gypsy guitar strings. I've had good results tuning them GDAE on a 16" banjo-uke.

  7. #6

    Default Re: Struggle to get dola sounding...mellow

    A quick fix could be a small piece of bicycle inner tube woven between the strings really close to the bridge? Or even between the strings and the bridge?
    Or:
    Another one is to drop the string tension down by a fret or two, then capo up.
    Tea towel inside the instrument?
    Lots of strings the same note, eg GDGD.
    Put on really heavy or gut strings but use LOW tension, and again, capo up?
    Damp everything down and use a pickup with an iRig to change the sound completely? Rock or heavy metal even can sound, well maybe not mellow, but cool.
    What ever it takes to get the sound you’re looking for. Good luck.

    -with a bit of imagination and ‘let’s do it’ you can even make an instrument that you find in the trash, old guitars etc sound great.
    And it’s kind of fun to see something like that come back to life.

  8. #7
    Lord of All Badgers Lord of the Badgers's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    South West UK
    Posts
    1,094

    Default Re: Struggle to get dola sounding...mellow

    Quote Originally Posted by EdHanrahan View Post
    PICKS are the fastest way to change the sound of most fretted instruments. In general:
    - thicker and rounded = mellower sound;
    - thinner and pointier = more treble, and maybe thinner, sound.

    Personally, I find that triangular D'Andrea Pro-Plecs in 1.5mm work well on mandolin (whose range overlaps mandola by 75%, or so). The least pointy that I've seen are the almost-round Dawg picks that some love but that many find just too mellow. And classical players often use thin & pointy picks on their bowlbacks, but that sound is just a bit beyond me. (BTW, on guitar I tend to use thinner & somewhat pointier picks than on mandolin, but they would still be characterized as "medium", at .80 or .90mm.)

    Fortunately, I've so far resisted the urge to get into the uber-expesive Blue Chips and the like.
    Beat me to it.
    Primetone 1.5 rounded big triangles. Like I use on the mandolin.

    Why is this thread not in the CBOM section btw?
    My name is Rob, and I am Lord of All Badgers

    Paul Shippey custom "Tone" Octave Mandolin, Paul Shippey "Axe" Bouzouki,
    Phil Davidson A5 "Badgerlin" mandolin, Phil Davidson F5 mandolin,
    Mcilroy Tenor Guitar, Phil Davidson Tenor Mandola
    My band's website

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
  •