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Thread: Ordered a custom tenor from Davy Stuart

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    Default Ordered a custom tenor from Davy Stuart

    Won't arrive until around next March, this will be a necro thread by then, hopefully I can find it.

    It will be an 18" scale instrument, based on his 18" flat-top mandola, with a larger but still tear-drop shaped body, and a modified neck angle to accommodate a traditional height adjustable mandolin bridge. So he is taking an existing neck and design, and modifying it slightly for me.

    I found that builders often farm out their necks to CNC shops, so a custom neck length is often a non-starter, so I searched for people who already made an 18" scale mandola and got lucky.

    Davy Stuart does nice work too, some folks around here have his instruments and have spoken well of them.

    A flat-top tear-drop should sound pretty much like a guitar body, or close enough for me. My intent is to put a pickup in it and play tenor guitar in our band.

    And I ordered it with Grover 309 tuners, so I can string it up with 8 strings if I want, although I am not expecting to ever do that.
    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.

  2. #2
    Harley Marty
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    Default Re: Ordered a custom tenor from Davy Stuart

    Nice work! At 18" are you going for CGDA tuning?

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    Registered User fox's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ordered a custom tenor from Davy Stuart

    Quote Originally Posted by kurth83 View Post
    Davy Stuart does nice work too, some folks around here have his instruments and have spoken well of them.

    And I ordered it with Grover 309 tuners, so I can string it up with 8 strings if I want, although I am not expecting to ever do that.
    Hmm not sure how one would set up or design the bracing for 8 strings and still get the best from 4 strings?
    Sounds like an interesting project though....

  4. #4

    Default Re: Ordered a custom tenor from Davy Stuart

    It will be tuned as an OM with GDAE, that's why the skepticism as to whether it would work at all, for mandola tuning the stock design would have been fine and no need for a custom.

    If he makes it lighter braced then I might not be able to put 8 strings on it, I'll let him worry about that, it's mainly aimed as a 4-string tenor.
    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.

  5. #5
    Harley Marty
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    Default Re: Ordered a custom tenor from Davy Stuart

    18" scale tuned GDAE on normal steel strings seems a bit short to me. I've tried gypsy guitar strings on a 16" concert banjo-uke that sounds ok if that's any help.

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    Registered User fox's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ordered a custom tenor from Davy Stuart

    Yes I agree, it will be possible but probably not very comfortable to play...
    Something like 18p 24w 38w 56w might work?
    18” scale is great for CGDA

  7. #7
    Harley Marty
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    Default Re: Ordered a custom tenor from Davy Stuart

    Another consideration my be to get some Hannabach series 890 strings for children's 1/8th classical guitar strings. I ordered 6 sets of them yesterday from amazon to try GDAE on a 17" scale Tenor banjo-uke. Maybe you could sound out Davy Stuart on the option of stretching out the length of the strings as they go lower, i.e. Fanfrets. Start off with 18" on the E to whatever you're comfortable with for the G & think about where you'd place the "square across the neck" fret.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Ordered a custom tenor from Davy Stuart

    I have an electric (Eastwood Airline Mandola, 18" scale), that I converted to a tenor GDAE, strings are 13.5p, 22w, 33w, 52w (thats about 15 lbs per string). It is everything I could have hoped for in comfort, ease of play, and tone. With those light strings its very bendable, perfect for an electric.

    I am trying to replicate that in an acoustic. I have a 20.5" scale OM that I converted to a tenor (Trinity College), and it's scale length is too long for me to play comfortably in the mandolin way. I have to switch to one fret per finger near the nut, but that's not what I want to do.

    I can go heavier strings on an acoustic, probably around 18-20 lbs per string (around 15p, 24w, 34w, 56w). I like light strings, not likely I'll go heavier than that.

    I know it's odd, and a bit of an experiment. He says it won't be done until next February, so probably March delivery. That's a long wait, hopefully the electric will keep me company until than.
    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.

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    Lord of All Badgers Lord of the Badgers's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ordered a custom tenor from Davy Stuart

    I used to have a 20" tenor. In GDAE it wasn't the best. Time will tell! If not there's nothing wrong with CGDA really.

    My dream is a CGDA acoustic but in the cello range. Never heard one but I know people have had them made.
    My name is Rob, and I am Lord of All Badgers

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    Harley Marty
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    Default Re: Ordered a custom tenor from Davy Stuart

    My dream is a CGDA acoustic but in the cello range. Never heard one but I know people have had them made.[/QUOTE]

    Well if they can do the job of making a ukulele bass sound well, then your dream is totally doable with the same approach! Easy. The split neck Bass/Tenor nylon I put together a couple of weeks ago sounds great particularly on the low C with silver wound uke- bass strings. Stay clear of the Kala ones though as they are made to the bare 23" ( the ends taper down to fit into the tuners)

  12. #11

    Default Re: Ordered a custom tenor from Davy Stuart

    CGDA an octave below a mandola is called a mandocello AFAIK, and they are being produced today, and TMS has some for sale. :-)

    I found a nice electric one here:
    https://eastwoodguitars.com/products...lis-mandocello

    The demo video is worth it, the guy can play, and you can watch his technique to see what it is like to play one.

    What is of interest there to me is the scale length (25.5") and the string gauges, it gives a pretty nice example of what is possible.

    I find several mandocellos at TMS also, with guitar bodies. Also they have demo videos too. The Goldtone was surprisingly good at a low price.
    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.

  13. #12
    Lord of All Badgers Lord of the Badgers's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ordered a custom tenor from Davy Stuart

    Quote Originally Posted by kurth83 View Post
    CGDA an octave below a mandola is called a mandocello AFAIK.
    Yes, when double strung it's a mandocello. Am aware of the eastman cello and the eastwood bari tenor. I want an acoustic version of the eastwood instrument - I play fingerstyle on tenor so although I can do so on double strung...
    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

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    My Florida is scooped pheffernan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ordered a custom tenor from Davy Stuart

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord of the Badgers View Post
    Yes, when double strung it's a mandocello. Am aware of the eastman cello and the eastwood bari tenor. I want an acoustic version of the eastwood instrument - I play fingerstyle on tenor so although I can do so on double strung...
    Would a plectrum guitar get you there? They’re not usually strung to cello tuning, but the scale length is usually in the ballpark.
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  15. #14

    Default Re: Ordered a custom tenor from Davy Stuart

    Well, if you want a 4-string in 5ths in the mandocello range, my usual method is to remove four strings from an 8-string, kinda why I ordered from Davy Stuart. :-)
    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.

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    Registered User fox's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ordered a custom tenor from Davy Stuart

    A four string conversion using a good quality classical guitar would not be to difficult for a luthier.
    You can find a decent Yamaha with truss rod for a good value price, it will be braced for around 80- 100lb string tension so right on the money for four steel strings.

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  18. #16
    Harley Marty
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    Default Re: Ordered a custom tenor from Davy Stuart

    Rather than start a new thread when this is totally related; I just spoke to my luthier, Alistair at Emerald Guitars in Donegal & put the specs together for a GDAE Carbon Fibre Tenor. It'll be a little longer than 18" though, it's going to be 23" on the 1st & 24" on the 4th G, with a big chunky neck for sustain attached to the X30 jumbo body, garnished with a dark brown open grained veneer. Standard pickup, 16" radius frets & light (Irish Tenor banjo wound A) strings. My Christmas present to me, so in a few months we'll have to compare photos & sound clips the best part is that it's almost paid for!

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    Gunnar 

  20. #17
    Registered User Gunnar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ordered a custom tenor from Davy Stuart

    That sounds swanky, I'd love to hear it when it's done
    Mandolin: Kentucky KM150
    Other instruments: way too many, and yet, not nearly enough.

    "Imagine life without mandolin. Now slap yourself! Never do it again!" -Gunnar Salyer

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