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Thread: Affordable 10 string mandolin/mandola?

  1. #1

    Default Affordable 10 string mandolin/mandola?

    Hello. While lurking around, I learned that an affordable mandolin is somewhere in the $100 - $200 range, and going for much less depends on what one is willing to put up with as far as low quality/problems, etc.

    But I have not been able to find an affordable 10 string mandolin/mandola, it seems all discussions revolve around high end instruments, handmade and ordered direct from well respected luthiers, ranging between $3,000 - $10,000 or more.

    Even with a realistic price range between $500 - $1,000, I still can't seem to locate one.

    Since I think a mandolin I might like to buy for the price is probably the Eastman MD504 or the MD505, where could I find a 10 string mandolin/mandola of similar quality and price? Obviously the intent is to get a good instrument for as little money as possible.

    Thanks for listening.

    P.S. I play several other instruments, but not the mandolin just yet.
    Last edited by Don Dv; Jun-14-2016 at 11:58am.

  2. #2
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Affordable 10 string mandolin/mandola?

    There are a whole lot of inexpensive 10-stringed instruments around. You may not find one listed as a mandola or mandolin.

    http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from...tring&_sacat=0


    https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_n...-string+cuatro
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Affordable 10 string mandolin/mandola?

    Thanks for your comment, I suppose expanding the search to all 10 string hits might help, though I was hoping for known sellers I guess.

    I am certainly willing to pay more than the price of a cuatro in that amazon search.
    Last edited by Don Dv; Jun-14-2016 at 12:16pm. Reason: clarifying

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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Affordable 10 string mandolin/mandola?

    You can tune it the way you want to as long as the scale length is close. The 10-stringed mandolin is not a real popular instrument in the US. If you're looking for one that is inexpensive chances are it will be sold in a country outside the US. People here convert guitars and other instruments all the time in an attempt to get the lesser available mandolin family instruments for less money than a custom built instrument.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  5. #5
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Affordable 10 string mandolin/mandola?

    Reverb.com will pop up an occasional 10-string Citern as well. To my knowledge there are no inexpensive 10 string mandolins or mandolas being imported into the US. There are plenty of inexpensive mandolin family instruments with 8 strings.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Affordable 10 string mandolin/mandola?

    Wouldn't a converted instrument would have the fret tuning all wrong, or at least not very accurate?

    Plus the issues of string tension on the neck, etc.

    If an international seller is reputable enough, I would be willing to go that route, within a reasonable price, for a 10 string mandola.

    I found one for just over $700 posted, but it was sold out of course. By inexpensive I don't mean cheap, I mean, not top of the line or even near it.

  7. #7
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Affordable 10 string mandolin/mandola?

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Dv View Post
    Wouldn't a converted instrument would have the fret tuning all wrong, or at least not very accurate?

    Plus the issues of string tension on the neck, etc.....
    Not necessarily.

    One company that is mentioned now and again in the UK is https://www.hobgoblin.com/. They import instruments for their market. Their house brand is Ashbury. I don't know if they will have 10-string mandolas or not. You might check out the site.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Registered User Jes Woodland's Avatar
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    Default Re: Affordable 10 string mandolin/mandola?

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeEdgerton View Post
    One company that is mentioned now and again in the UK is https://www.hobgoblin.com/. They import instruments for their market. Their house brand is Ashbury. I don't know if they will have 10-string mandolas or not. You might check out the site.
    Hobgoblin have a 10 string Ashbury Pacific Cittern...ref:GR34016.....for 529. I've used
    Hobgoblin for many years and always found Pete,Mannie and their staff very helpful!
    Jes Woodland
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    Default Re: Affordable 10 string mandolin/mandola?

    Too bad you didn't scoop up the Moon 10 string that was at Elderly a while back. It sat unsold for a few months before it finally went. 725 dollars if memory serves. They still have a 10 string Moon cittern for 900 dollars and I don't understand why it's still there. I played it and it is sweet but scale is a bit long for me. Moon lists his price for an entry level mandolin at 795 pounds, not sure what making it a 10 string would add.
    Don

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    My Florida is scooped pheffernan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Affordable 10 string mandolin/mandola?

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Dv View Post
    Even with a realistic price range between $500 - $1,000, I still can't seem to locate one.
    If I were looking for a ten-string in that price range, I'd jump on the Moon cittern on consignment at Elderly:

    http://www.elderly.com/instruments/m...ern-recent.htm
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    Default Re: Affordable 10 string mandolin/mandola?

    Ha ha Patrick, great minds think alike!
    Last edited by multidon; Jun-14-2016 at 3:14pm.
    Don

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Affordable 10 string mandolin/mandola?

    IMHO the main problem with 10 string instruments is determining the proper scale length. If you use a standard the mandolin scale the lower C course is too loose. If you use a longer scale the upper E course is too tight and you break strings. Some luthiers have used multiple scale lengths with slanted frets and that seems to work. Unlikely that you will will find a bargain 10 string tho. Custom shops make them but I don't know of any factories that do.

    10 strings are pretty popular in choro music and you might be able to buy one from one of those makers at a semi-reasonable price. You can reach some on the Bandolim Eye Candy page.
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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Affordable 10 string mandolin/mandola?

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeEdgerton View Post
    There are a whole lot of inexpensive 10-stringed instruments around. You may not find one listed as a mandola or mandolin.
    http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from...tring&_sacat=0
    https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_n...-string+cuatro
    I thought of cuatros too but the scale length would work better for a cittern-voiced instrument since it is usually about 20 inches scale.
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    Default Re: Affordable 10 string mandolin/mandola?

    Quote Originally Posted by multidon View Post
    Ha ha Patick, great minds think alike!
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  16. #15

    Default Re: Affordable 10 string mandolin/mandola?

    I love the sound of citterns, but in comparing the sound of citterns on youtube with the sound of true 10 string mandolin/mandola (whatever that means), I notice that there is a distinct sound difference, and I tend to prefer the more aggressive, biting dark sound of an instrument like what Hamilton de Holanda and similar performers play, than the more gentle cittern sound.

    As far as size, I don't want an instrument that is too big, though I must admit I am partial to the darker sound of the instrument de Holanda plays. I play the viola, so I guess that is one reason. From the other discussions I gather 15 inches or so is about right for a 10 string?

    As far as custom shops, are there any that sell anything in the $1,000 and under range? Even $1,000 is really more than I wish to spend, I am just trying to keep an open mind concerning pricing.

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Affordable 10 string mandolin/mandola?

    Maybe you can settle for a mandola for that lower sound? Like this Trinity College mandola in your price range?

    I am not sure of his pricing but Dudu Maia plays a 10-string bandolim by Pedro Santos. I have a feeling it is above $1000 but you can check...

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  19. #17

    Default Re: Affordable 10 string mandolin/mandola?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    Maybe you can settle for a mandola for that lower sound?
    If you are trying to convince me not to get a 10 string, showing me that video is not going to help.

    As far as a plain mandola, since I have never seen one in person, this is what I need to know : can one put down all 4 fingers on the fingerboard simultaneously, without straining yourself, like you would on a violin or viola, say on the A string like this: A0, B1, C2, D3, E4?

    If this is not possible, then maybe the instrument is too big for what I might want (immediate transfer from violin/viola left hand technique). Since I also play cello, I know I can handle the size, but I am not sure that would be my preference.

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    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Affordable 10 string mandolin/mandola?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    IMHO the main problem with 10 string instruments is determining the proper scale length. If you use a standard the mandolin scale the lower C course is too loose. If you use a longer scale the upper E course is too tight and you break strings. Some luthiers have used multiple scale lengths with slanted frets and that seems to work. Unlikely that you will will find a bargain 10 string tho. Custom shops make them but I don't know of any factories that do.
    I had a ten-string mandolin/dola built for me by Bernie Lehmann here in Rochester; "fanned" frets and fairly extremely slanted nut and bridge. Scale lengths range from 14 inches on the E string to 16.5 inches on the C string. A beautiful instrument, and I use it quite a lot, but definitely is a "compromise" in terms of the voices of a mandolin vs. a mandola.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    By the way, cost me about $4K, plus a Cedar Creek case.
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    Chief Moderator/Shepherd Ted Eschliman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Affordable 10 string mandolin/mandola?

    I think Thomas Flood may have retired from building budget priced instruments, but he built me a decent (under $1K) 10-string awhile ago. Hate to get anyone's hopes up, because I haven't heard from the Las Vegas art teacher in five years, and I'm not even sure how to get a hold of him. Note the links listed below and on the Cafe Builders Resource page are no longer active.

    Thomas Flood 10-string

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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Affordable 10 string mandolin/mandola?

    I believe he retired. He sold off all his spare parts in the classifieds last year.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Affordable 10 string mandolin/mandola?

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Dv View Post
    If you are trying to convince me not to get a 10 string, showing me that video is not going to help.

    As far as a plain mandola, since I have never seen one in person, this is what I need to know : can one put down all 4 fingers on the fingerboard simultaneously, without straining yourself, like you would on a violin or viola, say on the A string like this: A0, B1, C2, D3, E4?

    If this is not possible, then maybe the instrument is too big for what I might want (immediate transfer from violin/viola left hand technique). Since I also play cello, I know I can handle the size, but I am not sure that would be my preference.
    The main problem is your budget. 10-strings are generally custom instruments and unless you find a budding luthier who wants to try his hand at one you prob need to up your budget.

    I think most CGDA mandolas would be fine for a viola-size instrument.
    Jim

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  24. #22

    Default Re: Affordable 10 string mandolin/mandola?

    Nobody has mentioned a Waldzither yet. They are cheap, and often have 9 strings so you can sort of get that 10-string vibe. My Bohm is tuned GDAEB but FCGDA works better.

  25. #23
    Registered User David Houchens's Avatar
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    Default Re: Affordable 10 string mandolin/mandola?

    Click image for larger version. 

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    This needs a little work. Haven't looked at it in a long time. To be honest, I'm not totally sure what to call it.

  26. #24

    Default Re: Affordable 10 string mandolin/mandola?

    Looks like a bandurria, 12 strings tuned in 4ths.

  27. #25

    Default Re: Affordable 10 string mandolin/mandola?

    I sent you a PM on one that is under $400.

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