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Thread: Converting 8-stringed guitars to mando cellos

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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Converting 8-stringed guitars to mando cellos

    In the past a few folks mentioned the Taylor 8-string baritones as candidates for conversion to a mandolin family instrument. I've been looking at Baritone guitars (6-string) for a while. I bumped into this more affordable than Taylor 8-string yesterday from Alvarez. Yes, the sides and back are not solid but it's a whole lot cheaper than the Taylor model.

    https://www.zzounds.com/item--ALVABT...SABEgI94fD_BwE

    NFI obviously and you may be able to find it cheaper.

    Some bridge and saddle work and a nut. I don't know if the scale length would be an issue or not.
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    "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 8-stringed guitars to mando cellos

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeEdgerton View Post
    Some bridge and saddle work and a nut. I don't know if the scale length would be an issue or not.
    I didn't notice a scale length in the specs, did you? I wonder how it sounds as a bari guitar with the doubled middle courses....

    Len B.
    Clearwater, FL

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    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Converting 8-stringed guitars to mando cellos

    I'd think Taylor might be able to chat with you and send it out with the swapped
    nut bridge & bridge pin locations already done for 4 x 2 strings.
    some use of the 12 string bridge pin drilling jig..

    save on the post delivery luthier time & money altering the Alvarez..

    >assuming Taylor is still Stateside <
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    Default Re: Converting 8-stringed guitars to mando cellos

    Quote Originally Posted by mandroid View Post
    save on the post delivery luthier time & money altering the Alvarez..
    ??? $569 Alvarez vs $4799-6700+ Taylor Custom Shop...(new prices)

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    Registered User William Smith's Avatar
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    Default Re: Converting 8-stringed guitars to mando cellos

    Check evilbay for old archtops that can be converted? Sometimes one can find pretty neat and rare stuff for reasonable prices! Some of those 30's archtops are great bang for the buck and peg heads can be plugged and re-drilled for 8 strings then just a new nut and bridge! Save some serious $ that way.

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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Converting 8-stringed guitars to mando cellos

    I know you can convert anything. The nice thing about the Alvarez and Taylor conversion is the headstock is already done for you.

    The Alvarez is a fraction of the Taylor price for the basically the same item with the exception of the solid back and sides.

    I'm pretty sure any competent luthier can do the nut and bridge. The Taylor uses the same string configuration as far as I can see and the 8 string Taylor's are available used for less than new.

    I don't know the scale length right off but Baritones are tuned lower and the neck appears to be longer. I haven't been able to get one in my hands yet or I probably would own one already
    Last edited by MikeEdgerton; Jul-29-2020 at 9:14am. Reason: Fixed typo
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Converting 8-stringed guitars to mando cellos

    Quote Originally Posted by lenf12 View Post
    I didn't notice a scale length in the specs, did you? I wonder how it sounds as a bari guitar with the doubled middle courses....

    Len B.
    Clearwater, FL
    I've seen the Alvarez 6-string Baritone videos and they sound decent. I haven't seen the 8-string but there are videos of the Taylor 8-string baritones on Youtube.

    Added: The Alvarez 6-string models have a scale length of 27 3/4 inch. I imagine that didn't change on the 8-string model.

    https://pegheadnation.com/instrument...ritone-guitar/

    The Alvarez is here starting about 3:15.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rgae0bQmcr0
    Last edited by MikeEdgerton; Jul-29-2020 at 12:37pm.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  9. #8

    Default Re: Converting 8-stringed guitars to mando cellos

    27-ish" is a WEIRD scale. My electric guitars are all 24.75", 25", or 25.5", but I've owned 26.5", 27", and 28". The 27" and 28" are a super awkward length for an instrument where you're still trying to play chords. My basses are 34", and are fine. I'd recommend playing something with that goofy in-between scale before buying one.

    I'll also note that while many people feel the longer scale is necessary for baritone tunings, I've tuned electric guitars down as low as an octave using extra heavy strings, and very much prefer the tone and feel of the normal guitar scale. The 27" and 28" always sounded like a really wimpy bass with lighter strings, or a really muddy, weird guitar with heavier strings.

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    Default Re: Converting 8-stringed guitars to mando cellos

    What is an 8 string guitar ? Never come accross one.

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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Converting 8-stringed guitars to mando cellos

    A few years ago Taylor brought out an 8-string Baritone guitar. Alvarez has recently brought one out as well. There's a link to a video that shows the Alvarez in Message 7 above. Taylor's Baritone 8 is here. The Alvarez is here.

    Since you haven't seen the 8-string Baritones I'd also think you might want to see a 7-string Martin guitar. There is a lot of weird stuff out here.
    Last edited by MikeEdgerton; Aug-02-2020 at 9:27am.
    "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 8-stringed guitars to mando cellos

    That Martin link tales me to a Gretch, Mike! I assume you don’t mean the one with the extra octave string on the G?

    I too don’t remember seeing an 8 string guitar in the UK though. I believe my old colleague Andy Mackenzie plays one but I’ve never seen him do so or discussed it with him.

    It looks to me that merely recutting the nut on the Alvarez mentiond here would result in a cello with excessive string spacing.

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    Registered User mtucker's Avatar
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    Default Re: Converting 8-stringed guitars to mando cellos

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeEdgerton View Post

    Added: The Alvarez 6-string models have a scale length of 27 3/4 inch. I imagine that didn't change on the 8-string model.
    My guess is you’d be fine at that scale length for a cello conversion. Certainly wouldn’t be wimpy sounding. I hope you have big hands, Lol’s

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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Converting 8-stringed guitars to mando cellos

    Quote Originally Posted by Ray(T) View Post
    That Martin link tales me to a Gretch, Mike! I assume you don’t mean the one with the extra octave string on the G?

    I too don’t remember seeing an 8 string guitar in the UK though. I believe my old colleague Andy Mackenzie plays one but I’ve never seen him do so or discussed it with him.

    It looks to me that merely recutting the nut on the Alvarez mentiond here would result in a cello with excessive string spacing.
    You might want to check out your DNS cache, it takes me right to the unavailable Roger McGuinn Martin on the Musician's Friend site. Then again it might be blocked outside the US but I can't imagine why.

    As Far as simply recutting the nut on the 8-String, you'd have to do something on the bridge as well.

    The link to the Alvarez on Youtube is two players from the UK. I know nothing about them.
    Last edited by MikeEdgerton; Aug-02-2020 at 9:34pm.
    "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 8-stringed guitars to mando cellos

    Tried it on the desktop - yes it's the Martin HD-7; not a true 7 string but has an octave on the "G" - link just doesn't seem to work in an iPad.

    I appreciate that you'd also have to do something with the bridge on the 8 string but moving the outer strings inwards to pair them up would make the courses too far from the edges of the fretboard and moving the inner ones out would create too great a space between the outer two courses. What's needed is a slimmed down neck.

  17. #15

    Default Re: Converting 8-stringed guitars to mando cellos

    on these , what strings do your recommend?? thanks

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