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Thread: Converting Right handed Mandolin to left handed

  1. #1
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    Default Converting Right handed Mandolin to left handed

    Hi
    Has anyone converted a right handed Mandolin to a left handed version ? I have seen people talk about it here but not much more info. So what make / model did you convert ? What did it finally cost you to convert it ? Happy with the end results ? Thanks
    Eastman MD-305 Left Handed Version
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  2. #2

    Default Re: Converting Right handed Mandolin to left handed

    I am not left handed but once helped a left handed friend convert his A style Ibenez mando to leftie. The 2 areas of most concern are the bridge saddle and the nut. They will be mirror images of right handed saddles and nuts in order for the strings to intonate and tune properly. I believe Steve at Cumberland Acoustics stocks leftie saddles for his bridges. Nut blanks are available online with a thorough search. A bit of skill with mandolin setups will be most useful too. If not, take it to a pro for a setup which will cost upward of $100. A DIY conversion should be much cheaper. Living in Grass Valley, you should have access to a professional luthier or two in your area. Best of luck and keep us posted.

    Len B.
    Clearwater, FL

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    Registered Muser dang's Avatar
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    Default Re: Converting Right handed Mandolin to left handed

    I hear itís much easier on an A style than an F style





    Sorry I have nothing useful...
    I should be pickin' rather than postin'

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    Default Re: Converting Right handed Mandolin to left handed

    Quote Originally Posted by dang View Post
    I hear it’s much easier on an A style than an F style





    Sorry I have nothing useful...
    And A style looks more natural when converted then a F style
    Eastman MD-305 Left Handed Version
    Pick....Dunlop JD Jazz Tone 207 (for today anyway)

    67.4 % of all statistics are made up !

  6. #5

    Default Re: Converting Right handed Mandolin to left handed

    I've only built my first mandolin, however the bass and treble bars are carved differently as I remember. IE, converting a right hand mandolin just with the nut and bridge will not sound right.

    So- buy a lefty.

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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Converting Right handed Mandolin to left handed

    Actually there is a thread here somewhere where a few well known luthiers basically defied anyone to hear the difference and you won't. Buy a righty and convert, you'll have a hell of a lot more choices and it will save you money.

    And by the way, one well known and fairly well thought of import line sold a mandolin for a few years that didn't have any tone bars.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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  9. #7
    Adrian Minarovic
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    Default Re: Converting Right handed Mandolin to left handed

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeEdgerton View Post
    And by the way, one well known and fairly well thought of import line sold a mandolin for a few years that didn't have any tone bars.
    Had one of those for setup few weeks ago and wouldn't recommend buying it to anyone. Perhaps it was just one dog but really bad one... the top was extremely thin verall (3.5mm under bridge would be lethal even for tone bar mandolin) and the neck joint showed some movement making the bridge too high even when lowered to minimum and the tensions created quite bad fingerboard hump at neck joint. Finally the sound was terrible, like a hollow log with no finesse, kinda like cigar box instrument. I believe that instrument will show again soon as the whole thing is slowly imploding.
    I would recommend buying nice righty and learn to play that, just like CT and many others do. You need to learn new things with both hands anyway.
    Adrian

  10. #8

    Default Re: Converting Right handed Mandolin to left handed

    6 months ago I purchased an Eastman MD404 form Mass Street Music and had them convert it to lefty for me. They changed out the bridge and nut, and while they were at it I had them put in K&K pickups.
    I am not at home right now so I cant look at the receipts, but I think I paid about $300 extra for all that on top of the new mandolin purchase.
    They did a great job. The only issue I have is that the short fret board extension sometimes gets in my way and I get the pick click. One day I may take care of that.

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  12. #9

    Default Re: Converting Right handed Mandolin to left handed

    Thanks for that Mike. Interesting counterintuitive result!
    Chinn A-style
    Chinn BluesBird Emando #1
    Aria M-300BG 2 Point
    Kay Model 68

  13. #10

    Default Re: Converting Right handed Mandolin to left handed

    Check out Jerry’s Lefty Guitars, just go to the guitars for sale page and scroll down there are lots of mandos there.
    Northfield F5M #268, AT02 #7

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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Converting Right handed Mandolin to left handed

    Quote Originally Posted by Chinn View Post
    Thanks for that Mike. Interesting counterintuitive result!
    Here's the thread I was thinking about. There are a few more, maybe more than a few.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Default Re: Converting Right handed Mandolin to left handed

    Don Roon,,, why are you looking to do this?
    Do you have a particular mandolin on hand that you want to switch over or are you thinking that since most mandolins are righty that it seems to be the best option for buying a used righty to switch to lefty?

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    Registered User Tom Sanderson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Converting Right handed Mandolin to left handed

    Quote Originally Posted by Chinn View Post
    I've only built my first mandolin, however the bass and treble bars are carved differently as I remember. IE, converting a right hand mandolin just with the nut and bridge will not sound right.

    So- buy a lefty.
    The very first Collings mandolins were built with the tone bars reversed by mistake. I don’t know how many were made that way, but I once owned #15 and it was that way, so at least 15, but I’ve heard that there were dozens. If you could find one of those and change the nut and bridge, you would have a correctly built lefty.

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    Default Re: Converting Right handed Mandolin to left handed

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Sanderson View Post
    The very first Collings mandolins were built with the tone bars reversed by mistake. I don’t know how many were made that way, but I once owned #15 and it was that way, so at least 15, but I’ve heard that there were dozens. If you could find one of those and change the nut and bridge, you would have a correctly built lefty.
    Good info...Thanks !! Do you know about what year you bought #15 ?
    Eastman MD-305 Left Handed Version
    Pick....Dunlop JD Jazz Tone 207 (for today anyway)

    67.4 % of all statistics are made up !

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    Registered User Tom Sanderson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Converting Right handed Mandolin to left handed

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Roon View Post
    Good info...Thanks !! Do you know about what year you bought #15 ?
    No, it was a long time ago, at least 15 years. It was back in my “catch and release “ days, I didn’t own it very long. I will look to see if I can figure out when it was

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  22. #16
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    Default Re: Converting Right handed Mandolin to left handed

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Sanderson View Post
    No, it was a long time ago, at least 15 years. It was back in my “catch and release “ days, I didn’t own it very long. I will look to see if I can figure out when it was
    Thanks.......were you able to hear anything different because of that build mistake, I mean did you not like the sound ? Is that why you sold it ?
    Thanks again
    Eastman MD-305 Left Handed Version
    Pick....Dunlop JD Jazz Tone 207 (for today anyway)

    67.4 % of all statistics are made up !

  23. #17
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    Default Re: Converting Right handed Mandolin to left handed

    I have Collings MT glosstop that is a lefty.
    I got it in a trade deal and thought I would flip it.
    I quickly switched it to a righty to see what it sounded like.
    It sounds great.
    Better than a Collings MT2V that I have here but it has been played a lot and the MT2V has not so maybe that has something to do with it.
    If having the tone bars opposite of normal detracts from the sound of a mandolin i can't hear it.
    I might have a chance of getting an MT2V that is a lefty and i would have no qualms about it at all.
    Switch it to righty and away we go.
    The only difference is that the end of the fretboard extension is opposite but that's no big deal.
    I should actually reconnect with the guy who owns it to see if he is ready to sell it yet.

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    Default Re: Converting Right handed Mandolin to left handed

    Quote Originally Posted by atetone View Post
    I have Collings MT glosstop that is a lefty.
    I got it in a trade deal and thought I would flip it.
    I quickly switched it to a righty to see what it sounded like.
    It sounds great.
    Better than a Collings MT2V that I have here but it has been played a lot and the MT2V has not so maybe that has something to do with it.
    If having the tone bars opposite of normal detracts from the sound of a mandolin i can't hear it.
    I might have a chance of getting an MT2V that is a lefty and i would have no qualms about it at all.
    Switch it to righty and away we go.
    The only difference is that the end of the fretboard extension is opposite but that's no big deal.
    I should actually reconnect with the guy who owns it to see if he is ready to sell it yet.
    Thanks, that's good to hear ! I'm pretty sure I will buy a used righty and convert it.
    Eastman MD-305 Left Handed Version
    Pick....Dunlop JD Jazz Tone 207 (for today anyway)

    67.4 % of all statistics are made up !

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    Registered User doc holiday's Avatar
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    Default Re: Converting Right handed Mandolin to left handed

    Back in the day... I had a Collings MT while I was waiting for the one Heiden lefty F build. I ordered it with 2 nuts and 2 bridge tops. When my Heiden arrived, I sold the MT to a picking buddy. So I heard the instrument lefty & righty from both sides. There was no discernible difference in sound. A great mandolin.

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