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Thread: Restringing Gold Tone F-12 Mando-Guitar

  1. #1

    Default Restringing Gold Tone F-12 Mando-Guitar

    Hi there,

    I'm a newbie to Mandolin Cafe. But browsing around, sure looks like a passionate and informative group.

    So, this may be blasphemy, but I recently purchased a Gold Tone 12-string Mando-Guitar (F-12). I did because, I'm older and started learning guitar years ago. I love bluegrass music and the sounds of all of the instruments (especially fiddle, mandolin, banjo). [Aside: I also bought a Deering Banjo-Guitar]. So, I can just apply what I know from slow progress on guitar over the years but get some other sounds, I bit the bullet and bought the 12-string. The instrument is tuned just like a guitar, E-A-D-G-B-e so, I don't have to learn new chording.

    When it arrived, I found the top three string pairs were strung and tuned as octave string pairs; they were tuned Ee-Aa-Dd. Then the bottom three string pairs were tuned in unison as gg-bb-ee.

    It sounds pretty good as factory tuned, but it kind of sounds a bit like ringing bells or xylophone with a mandolin if that makes any sense. I found the best way to tune it was with chromatic tuner.

    Anyway, that brings me to my question: I want to restring the instrument to give it the best chance of sounding like a mandolin. I have been thinking it would be best to tune all six pairs in unison and then use a Peterson Stroboplus hdc tuner to work on high accuracy chromatic tuning and seasoning with the bluegrass sweetners. I know nothing about mandolin strings. Anyone out there with a recommendation on unison tuning, best strings, the best gauge of strings, etc. to achieve a "mandolin" quality from my instrument?? Also, any ideas on Peterson tuning sweetners that may help??

    Thanks for any help or suggestions...

  2. #2
    Registered User Jonathan K's Avatar
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    Default Re: Restringing Gold Tone F-12 Mando-Guitar

    What up, Frobie?

    I canít answer your tuning question, but you will need to do a little work to create a set of strings for your instrument. The mando-guitar is rather unusual, perhaps someone sells the set you describe. If not, youíll need to order some single strings. You can look on the Gold Tone product page to see the string gauges they use and order the gauge that reflects the unison octave you want for each course. I order single strings from juststrings.com. NFI.

    Also, do note that even this will not make the mando-guitar sound like a mandolin. The mandolin is tuned in 5ths which leads to much more open chord voicings than on a guitar. Your mando-guitar will sound more like a guitar tuned an octave up I guess? Thatís perfectly fine for what it is, but I wouldnít recommend expecting the instrument to sound like a mandolin. :-)

    And finally, with no disrespect to your purchase, I picked up mandolin late in life after years playing guitar. It took some time to train my brain but it was worth the effort. 5ths tuning is just 4ths tuning upside down. And itís magical in a way different from guitar.

    So enjoy your mando-guitar and I hope it leads you to the mandolin!

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Restringing Gold Tone F-12 Mando-Guitar

    Be careful when you make up a set of strings, that don't have an octave, that you don't add too much tension. I would try to figure the tension on the strings you have, and select gauges of strings to not add a lot more tension.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

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