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Thread: Mandola again...

  1. #1


    So, I brought home my new/used TC 325 yesterday--early V-day gift from wife. I've spent the past two nights playing it, as I'm quite smitten with it. I don't know how much I'll be playing my zouk now, which I have capoed-off at about 19", because I enjoy the timbre and the compactness of the dola -- I find that I can easily drop the A string to G for a zouk-like CGDG tuning, which makes it even more versatile for me. Being a long time guitarist, I'm more attuned to the lower timbral qualities of the larger mandos, so I think I may be using this more and more as I arrange more of my repertoire for it. I play a lot of solo mando stuff, so it works quite well for me. Anyway, just wanted to share my joy. The TCs are simple but substantial in construction and feel quite nice. I'm interested in hearing what others are doing with their dolas, stylistically.

  2. #2
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Acton, Massachusetts


    Hello catmandu, I’m also a new mandola owner and loving it. I've had my Spira mandola for about 6 months. Its a great instrument with a marvelous sweet ringing sustain (there's some fotos in the "post a picture..." thread.) I’m still figuring out how to use it, but I try to take advantage of that sound, which I guess means not being too busy, using slides and double stops, and finding chord voicings that ring over the melody. Playing with folks, I find it sounds best in spare or open arrangements so the sustain can be heard, and its great for harmonies. At Christmas I played harmony behind a recorder duo playing Renaissance music and it sounded very sweet.

    Playing solo, lately I’ve been trying to work on Niles Hokkanen’s “clawhammer mandolin” style, which features playing across the strings with drones or harmony notes on the high strings and the melody mostly on the lower strings. The ring and sustain are great for this style. I’ve only gotten a couple of tunes worked up but there’s lots of potential.

    Hope you continue to enjoy it as much as I do.

  3. #3


    Morgan, thanks very much for your post. I'm new to the instrument myself, and if the heavy strings don't prove to be too much for me, I'd like to make it more of a primary instrument. I play string music for a living and have to try not to "over do" lest I exacerbate my carpal tunnel symptoms; I only got my dola three days ago, and I'm trying not to play it more than a few minutes after work (so far, I haven't been able to resist it much)..

    I play solo (guitar, banjo, mando) -- lots of fiddle tunes and lyric accompaniment. I like the more guitar-like timbre of dola for these styles. On doal, I find that I like the Irish ouvre most, but not the rest of the fiddle tunes -- must be for the reasons you stated. I tune it standard CGDA, and also CGDG for some jigs and reels. I find that just about anything from my zouk repertoire sounds pretty good on it -- much better than the fiddle tune ouvre (BTW, for anyone who hasn't played zouk, drop your A string one step to G -- equivalent to GDAD, and try the Stone's "Moonlight Mile" in CGDG).

    Your duet with recorder seems well-suited for dola, and is the kind of thing I'd like to get into. Concerning finger-style playing, I saw some clips of M. Cochrane on the FOTW site that sounded quite nice.

    Thanks again.

  4. #4
    Registered User bjc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    SoNo Chesapeake, Va


    Catmandu2, I just posted something for you in the general area. If the strings get to be too hard, try a lighter seems like there is a wide variety of gauges that people use...

  5. #5
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Shenandoah Valley, VA


    I love the dola! I have a Weber Alder 1 and absolutely love the deep, lower sound! Try the song "The Star of County Down" on it, I was just skimming through and trying out the mandola on songs from the book "Fiddle Tunes and Irish Music for Mandolin" and this number sounded nice. It's by Mel Bay. I know it's not the purest of sources for true Irish/Celtic stuff (or so I've heard?), but it's a start!
    Weber mandolin, mandola, OM

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