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Thread: Piccolo (Soprano) Mandolins

  1. #1
    Registered User Classicalcomp's Avatar
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    Default Piccolo (Soprano) Mandolins

    Hey everyone. I was just wondering how many people out here actually play the piccolo mandolin? I have a weber gallatin tuned CGDA a fourth above the regular mandolin. They call that one the soprano (which I know is confusing).

    I was just curious who else plays them and in what context you might play them in? Ensemble, solo? Etc
    (I was) my own teacher and pupil, and thanks to the efforts
    of both, they were not discontented with each other. -- Segovia

    Lawrence Smart Stern 2-point Mandolin
    Lawrence Smart Stern 2-point Mandola
    Weber Gallatin Mandocello
    Weber Gallatin Soprano (Piccolo) Mandolin
    Breedlove Prototype Mandolin

  2. #2
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Piccolo (Soprano) Mandolins

    I have the same one, tuned the same way. I play it a lot.

    I like it especially because with the soprano I am usually the only one, and can soar above the melody with what ever decoration I want and be heard. (Think of the piccolo part in a Sousa March.)

    Also support of the melody from above, a kind of new thing for me, is quite an adventure.

    And being small, the soprano is killer fun on its own, to take on a trip and play in the hotel etc.

    I have a vintage pouchet mandolin I am getting repaired, and I hope to explore the high range of mandolinning for a long time.
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Piccolo (Soprano) Mandolins

    I have not heard talk about the piccolo mandolin and didn't know they existed. I guess you could capo a standard mandolin at the fourth fret to simulate the sound. Interesting.

  4. #4
    Registered User Classicalcomp's Avatar
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    Default Re: Piccolo (Soprano) Mandolins

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffD View Post
    I have the same one, tuned the same way. I play it a lot.

    I like it especially because with the soprano I am usually the only one, and can soar above the melody with what ever decoration I want and be heard. (Think of the piccolo part in a Sousa March.)

    Also support of the melody from above, a kind of new thing for me, is quite an adventure.

    And being small, the soprano is killer fun on its own, to take on a trip and play in the hotel etc.

    I have a vintage pouchet mandolin I am getting repaired, and I hope to explore the high range of mandolinning for a long time.
    Yeah I bought mine to predominately make it easier to do flute music, but I was hoping to hear some use it in the orchestral way to double high lines.
    (I was) my own teacher and pupil, and thanks to the efforts
    of both, they were not discontented with each other. -- Segovia

    Lawrence Smart Stern 2-point Mandolin
    Lawrence Smart Stern 2-point Mandola
    Weber Gallatin Mandocello
    Weber Gallatin Soprano (Piccolo) Mandolin
    Breedlove Prototype Mandolin

  5. #5
    Registered User Classicalcomp's Avatar
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    Default Re: Piccolo (Soprano) Mandolins

    Quote Originally Posted by neilca View Post
    I have not heard talk about the piccolo mandolin and didn't know they existed. I guess you could capo a standard mandolin at the fourth fret to simulate the sound. Interesting.
    Yes and No. The nicest part of the piccolo mandolin is you have a very easy play up to the high C 3 octaves above middle C. Also you can play open to fifth position on all of the strings pretty easily. If you put a capo on the mandolin, it’ll be tougher to play those same lines.

    I hope you get a chance to try one someday. I think they’ve improved my high playing and they’re pretty fun to play on.

  6. #6
    Registered User Bob Clark's Avatar
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    Default Re: Piccolo (Soprano) Mandolins

    I had Mike Black build one of his A4-type piccolos with a Virzi for me. Wonderful instrument, I can't say enough good about it. I use it in a variety of settings, mainly for melody line playing. It's voice, even though high, is rich and full. I love it.

    It really is not that similar to playing a mandolin with a capo, any more that playing a mandola or OM with a capo would equal a mandolin. The smaller plate size, body volume and neck really changes the sound and how the player experiences the instrument.

    Anyway, as I said, I find mine to be a great joy to play and to listen to. Of all my instruments, it is the one I am least likely to ever part with.

    Here, I've added a few photos. The one with the Phoenix Neoclassical is for size comparison.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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    Purr more, hiss less.

  7. #7
    Registered User Classicalcomp's Avatar
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    Default Re: Piccolo (Soprano) Mandolins

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Clark View Post
    I had Mike Black build one of his A4-type piccolos with a Virzi for me. Wonderful instrument, I can't say enough good about it. I use it in a variety of settings, mainly for melody line playing. It's voice, even though high, is rich and full. I love it.

    It really is not that similar to playing a mandolin with a capo, any more that playing a mandola or OM with a capo would equal a mandolin. The smaller plate size, body volume and neck really changes the sound and how the player experiences the instrument.

    Anyway, as I said, I find mine to be a great joy to play and to listen to. Of all my instruments, it is the one I am least likely to ever part with.

    Here, I've added a few photos. The one with the Phoenix Neoclassical is for size comparison.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	completed shots 7.JPG 
Views:	12 
Size:	1.14 MB 
ID:	181160Click image for larger version. 

Name:	completed shots 8.JPG 
Views:	6 
Size:	1.14 MB 
ID:	181161Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Virzi in place.jpg 
Views:	8 
Size:	487.4 KB 
ID:	181162
    Those are two beautiful instruments
    (I was) my own teacher and pupil, and thanks to the efforts
    of both, they were not discontented with each other. -- Segovia

    Lawrence Smart Stern 2-point Mandolin
    Lawrence Smart Stern 2-point Mandola
    Weber Gallatin Mandocello
    Weber Gallatin Soprano (Piccolo) Mandolin
    Breedlove Prototype Mandolin

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  9. #8
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Indulge responsibly!

    The entire staff
    funny....

  10. The following members say thank you to JeffD for this post:


  11. #9
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Piccolo (Soprano) Mandolins

    I don't have any modern versions just vintage ones. Here are my two pictured with a standard Vega bowlback. The Vega on the left next to a Leland piccolo (Lyon & Healy around 1913) and a no-name picccolo bowlback.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Jim

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  12. #10
    Registered User Classicalcomp's Avatar
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    Default Re: Piccolo (Soprano) Mandolins

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    I don't have any modern versions just vintage ones. Here are my two pictured with a standard Vega bowlback. The Vega on the left next to a Leland piccolo (Lyon & Healy around 1913) and a no-name picccolo bowlback.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	2piccolos_vega.jpg 
Views:	9 
Size:	295.7 KB 
ID:	181173
    Beautiful also!
    (I was) my own teacher and pupil, and thanks to the efforts
    of both, they were not discontented with each other. -- Segovia

    Lawrence Smart Stern 2-point Mandolin
    Lawrence Smart Stern 2-point Mandola
    Weber Gallatin Mandocello
    Weber Gallatin Soprano (Piccolo) Mandolin
    Breedlove Prototype Mandolin

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