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Thread: my son's piccolo mandolin

  1. #1
    Mandogenerator Mike Black's Avatar
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    Default my son's piccolo mandolin

    I've been working on building my now 3 month old son a piccolo mandolin. I just finished setting it up tonight. It was made from scrapes that I had laying around. The top is red spruce that Bruce "Spruce" Harvie cut in 1990. The maple is some (I believe) sugar maple that I had and did the old Loar style flip matching for it.

    My son James is now a little bigger than the instrument now. I'll try to get a picture of him with it tomorrow when he's awake. I'll also try to get some sound clips too.
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  2. #2
    Mandogenerator Mike Black's Avatar
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    Default Re: my son's piccolo mandolin

    Here are some pictures to see the size relationship.

    First the family shot with the octave mandolin and then with a regular A style.
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    Moderator JEStanek's Avatar
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    Default Re: my son's piccolo mandolin

    Superb. I love the family portrait. Congratulations. It looks great.

    Jamie
    There are two things to aim at in life: first, to get what you want; and, after that, to enjoy it. Only the wisest of mankind achieve the second. Logan Pearsall Smith, 1865 - 1946

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    In The Van Ben Milne's Avatar
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    Default Re: my son's piccolo mandolin

    Congratulations on finishing the piccolo Mike. - The next-to shots really bring the size into perspective. I guess you considered nothing but a James TP on this one?
    Hereby & forthwith, any instrument with an odd number of strings shall be considered broken. With regard to mix levels, usually the best approach is treating the mandolin the same as a cowbell.

  5. #5
    Henry Lawton hank's Avatar
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    Default Re: my son's piccolo mandolin

    Looks fantastic Mike. James is definitely the coolest kid on the block now.

  6. #6
    Mandogenerator Mike Black's Avatar
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    Default Re: my son's piccolo mandolin

    Oh! And the label.

    I haven't been able to put this thing down all night.
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  7. #7
    Kelley Mandolins Skip Kelley's Avatar
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    Default Re: my son's piccolo mandolin

    Nice work, Mike! How do you like the sound? Is it tuned in 5ths like a mandolin?

  8. #8
    Mandogenerator Mike Black's Avatar
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    Default Re: my son's piccolo mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by Skip Kelley View Post
    Nice work, Mike! How do you like the sound? Is it tuned in 5ths like a mandolin?
    Thanks Skip,
    Yes, it's still tuned in 5ths. But it's like an octave mandola (in the other direction than a Mandocello). CGDA.

    It has a different sound. It has a clear bell like sound. I probably should have used Sitka for the top instead of the red spruce. That would probably mellowed the highs a bit. The red spruce gives it the cutting power. It's weird hearing things played that high. But it is kinda fun. I haven't gotten the chance to hear how it sounds with another instrument yet. Should be interesting.

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    Registered User ISU Trout Bum's Avatar
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    Default Re: my son's piccolo mandolin

    Very, very nice work! They are all beautiful instruments.

    P.S. (and I don't mean to Bogart the thread, but I've gotta ask) Mike, does Three Bean ever get to Iowa to play? I think Kerouac is one of the coolest songs ever written for Mando/Fiddle . . . and I'd LOVE to hear it live rather than on disk! Again, sorry. I don't mean to change the thrust of the thread. But, you guys need to come to Iowa . . .
    Eric Northway

    http://northwaystringedinstruments.blogspot.com/

    "Sine Cerere et Baccho friget Venus" - Terence, Eunuchus, IV.v

  10. #10
    poor excuse for anything Charlieshafer's Avatar
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    Default Re: my son's piccolo mandolin

    Too cool for the room. Any ideas of putting it into production? The market will be limited, but if you use inexpensive woods and eliminate some of the decorative elements, those of us who spoil our kids rotten with nice playing instruments might just bite. It's always great to learn on something that handles and feels like the real thing.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: my son's piccolo mandolin

    Lucky son!!

    I'm available for adoption. Potty trained, too!!

  12. #12

    Default Re: my son's piccolo mandolin

    That is cool, I love it! Didn't you mention some sound clips?

  13. #13
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    Default Re: my son's piccolo mandolin

    Awesome!

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    Moderator JEStanek's Avatar
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    Default Re: my son's piccolo mandolin

    Mike,
    I'm assuming the string tension on a piccolo is still pretty high, correct? What gauge strings did you use on it? The only other piccolo I've heard was on a Dawg recording and on the website of TAFKAJW (linked page has a sound clip by Josh Pinkham. If you ever get a chance to record yours, even just some scale runs and chords, I would love to hear it.

    Jamie
    There are two things to aim at in life: first, to get what you want; and, after that, to enjoy it. Only the wisest of mankind achieve the second. Logan Pearsall Smith, 1865 - 1946

    + Give Blood, Save a Life +

  15. #15

    Default Re: my son's piccolo mandolin

    This is horrible! Don't you know piccolo mandolins are evil? You should send this one to me immediately. I'll, um, take care of it. Yeah.

  16. #16
    Mandogenerator Mike Black's Avatar
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    Default Re: my son's piccolo mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by JEStanek View Post
    Mike,
    I'm assuming the string tension on a piccolo is still pretty high, correct? What gauge strings did you use on it? The only other piccolo I've heard was on a Dawg recording and on the website of TAFKAJW (linked page has a sound clip by Josh Pinkham. If you ever get a chance to record yours, even just some scale runs and chords, I would love to hear it.

    Jamie
    Hey Jamie,
    The string tension is about the same as a regular mandolin. I used D'Addario J62 on it. .010 - .014 - .024 - .034.

    I'm trying to post a sound clip but it's not letting me for some reason. Says "upload failed". I'll keep trying.

  17. #17
    Moderator JEStanek's Avatar
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    Default Re: my son's piccolo mandolin

    Mike,
    You can upload an MP3 up to 19.3MB. You might be having problems with your upload failing from your ISP if you're using an MP3 format.

    Jamie
    There are two things to aim at in life: first, to get what you want; and, after that, to enjoy it. Only the wisest of mankind achieve the second. Logan Pearsall Smith, 1865 - 1946

    + Give Blood, Save a Life +

  18. #18
    Mandogenerator Mike Black's Avatar
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    Default Re: my son's piccolo mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by JEStanek View Post
    Mike,
    You can upload an MP3 up to 19.3MB. You might be having problems with your upload failing from your ISP if you're using an MP3 format.

    Jamie
    The MP3 is only 2.2 MB. I checked that first.

  19. #19
    Mandogenerator Mike Black's Avatar
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    Default Re: my son's piccolo mandolin

    Here is a sound clip I did on it using my Zoom H2 in my living room then dumped onto the computer. The tune is Possum up a Gum Stump. First in it's original key of G then in the key of C so I can use the bottom three strings.

    (I ended up just putting the MP3 up on my website and downloading it from there)
    Attached Files Attached Files

  20. #20

    Default Re: my son's piccolo mandolin

    Looks and sounds good Mike. Really nice job. I hope that as he grows up James will be able to really appreciate how special this instrument is. It should be a family heirloom for generations to come.

  21. #21
    Mandogenerator Mike Black's Avatar
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    Default Re: my son's piccolo mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by Charlieshafer View Post
    Too cool for the room. Any ideas of putting it into production? The market will be limited, but if you use inexpensive woods and eliminate some of the decorative elements, those of us who spoil our kids rotten with nice playing instruments might just bite. It's always great to learn on something that handles and feels like the real thing.
    Thanks Charlie,
    I've kinda thought about putting it into production. But I don't think it would be the two point piccolo. Most likely an A5. Or if it was a two pointer, I would re-design it so the points didn't have so sharp of a bend. That was a PITA. But that is a good idea of simpler wood A5 version.

  22. #22
    Moderator JEStanek's Avatar
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    Default Re: my son's piccolo mandolin

    That sounds real nice and balanced. Not shrill at all. A very nice voice. Thanks for getting that up.

    Jamie
    There are two things to aim at in life: first, to get what you want; and, after that, to enjoy it. Only the wisest of mankind achieve the second. Logan Pearsall Smith, 1865 - 1946

    + Give Blood, Save a Life +

  23. #23
    Mandogenerator Mike Black's Avatar
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    Default Re: my son's piccolo mandolin

    James really loves his piccolo. He's drooling all over it.

    I think that I might have gotten this too him just in time, he was starting to look like a B@nj0 player
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  24. #24

    Default Re: my son's piccolo mandolin

    Coolest dad around!

    j.
    www.condino.com

  25. #25
    Registered User grassrootphilosopher's Avatar
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    Default Re: my son's piccolo mandolin

    Looks nice, sounds nice. I donīt think that Red Spruce is a bad choice. It will mellow out after some time while Sitka may get muddy.
    Olaf

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