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Thread: Algerian Mandole

  1. #1
    Registered User Walt Kuhlman's Avatar
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    Default Algerian Mandole

    Well I'm at it again just received an order for an Algerian Mandole! The Mandole is a cross between guitar, mandocello and oud with 4 additional frets serving as 1/4 tones. I will be building this instrument using Sitka Spruce for the top, Mahogany back, sides and neck, ebony fingerboard and bridge. It will have an adjustable truss rod, Grover mini-tuners and a single pole Shadow pickup, he wants to add some effects to his playing. The scale will be 25 1/2", the body 14 1/2" wide at the lower bout and thinking in the area of 18" in length, have to see how it lays out, and of course this will be another one of my form free builds...love this stuff!!

    If anyone has suggestions on other pickups let me know, the Shadow is a sound hole mount single pole and he likes the crispness of it.

    Here's what the instrument looks like, if the photo doesn't post follow the link, it's a neat instrument.
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  3. #2
    Registered User steve V. johnson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Algerian Mandole

    Holy ####, Walt, amazing! That must be some math exercise, quarter-tone frets. Wow.

    I'm sure it'll be a real joy when it's done. I hope it doesn't give you fits on the way. ;-)

    thanks and best wishes,

    stv
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  4. #3
    Registered User Walt Kuhlman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Algerian Mandole

    No it won't Steve..I'm really pumped about it! The 1/4 tones aren't difficult just look scary! BTW any ideas on pickups?

  5. #4
    Registered User MandoNicity's Avatar
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    Default Re: Algerian Mandole

    Wow! That looks really cool! Like a mando on steroids! Good luck and keep us posted. Your last unusual build was lovely.

    JR

  6. #5
    Registered User Walt Kuhlman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Algerian Mandole

    I will JR, may do a mini photo series as it goes along, don't look for something to quickly though, it will be a few weeks.

    Walt

  7. #6
    aka aldimandola Michael Wolf's Avatar
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    Default Re: Algerian Mandole

    A mandole is very unusual request, very interesting. Will it have five courses tuned in quarts? Do you know what music the future owner plays?
    For what it´s worth, I can really recommend the Headway HE1-bouzouki. After trying several solutions over the years I have this one in my bouzouki and it´s very very good. It´s the only dedicated bouzouki-PU that I know of, anyway. Maybe it sounds so good because the maker plays the bouzouki himself.

  8. #7
    Registered User steve V. johnson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Algerian Mandole

    I once participated in a recording (long ago, on 2" 16-trk analog tape) of a complex version of Androcles & The Lion that was written in quarter-tones, and that's where I got most of my notions of those sounds, and the technologies of writing and playing them. The artist and producer had it all scored and used some student players from Indiana Univ's (great) formal music school, along with some super veteran jazz & classical players. Even with all that, playing the score was really challenging for many of
    them.

    I'm eternally glad that I didn't have to do any of the editing on that project. A lot of it was done on the multi-track tape (Eeeek)
    and there was a LOT of assembly done on the mixed 1/2" stereo master tapes.

    I'm glad it's only the best sort of challenge for you, Walt! And, no, I don't really have any insight about pickups, tho I can say that my favorite sorts, and which I find most true and easy to use, are the soundboard transducers, like the Baggs I-Beams. And, they're not easy to install/move/tweak/replace on all instruments, like those with little f-holes and thus restricted access.

    stv
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  9. #8
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    Default Re: Algerian Mandole

    Really interested in seeing (hearing) how it turns out. I love Mandole music from Algeria (Chaabi) and it's near impossible to find them here - good ones anyway. The ones I've seen in pictures/videos had diamond-shape sound holes.

    Please keep us posted and best of luck!
    Avi

  10. #9
    Registered User zoukboy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Algerian Mandole

    Hi Walt,

    I highly recommend the B-Band AST transducer and A1.2 preamp (make sure you don't get the A1.2n - it has a low midrange notch for guitar that doesn't suit the bouzouki).

    Transducer:
    http://www.b-band.com/index.php?mact...01returnid=151

    Preamp:
    http://www.b-band.com/index.php?mact...01returnid=151

    Since you are an OEM, you can probably order these direct from B-Band just as a dealer would.

    Disclosure: I am an endorser, but I don's use their pickups because they give them to me, I use them because I like them better than anything else.

    If you decide go this route feel free to contact me about installation. I've a lot of experience putting these in a variety of instruments: zouks, ouds, laoutos, lavtas, etc.

    Cheers,
    Roger
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  11. #10
    Registered User Walt Kuhlman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Algerian Mandole

    First I would like to thank everyone for their input! As you can see by the photos my customer opted for a round soundhole and a very simple instrument, no frills, no bindings, etc. It is rich sounding, partly due to the choice of mahogany back and sides and the placement of the bridge. The bridge/saddle is ebony as is the fingerboard, it has an adjustable truss rod and Grover mini-tuners, (5 courses/10 string). I hope the photos do the mahogany justice, its some great looking ribbon stripe. Here is the build.

    Walt
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  12. #11
    Registered User Walt Kuhlman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Algerian Mandole

    A few more photos, tried to put up 12 but have to go back for the other 6..
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  14. #12
    Registered User MandoNicity's Avatar
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    Default Re: Algerian Mandole

    Wow!

    JR

  15. #13
    Phylum Octochordata Mike Bromley's Avatar
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    Default Re: Algerian Mandole

    Quote Originally Posted by steve V. johnson View Post
    Holy ####, Walt, amazing! That must be some math exercise, quarter-tone frets. Wow.

    I'm sure it'll be a real joy when it's done. I hope it doesn't give you fits on the way. ;-)

    thanks and best wishes,

    stv
    The frets are the 24th root of two apart from each other.
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  16. #14
    Registered User Jim MacDaniel's Avatar
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    Default Re: Algerian Mandole

    It's always interesting to see what you are up to Walt, from lovely tonewood choices with tasty wood inlays, five-course mandolins with fanned frets, killer looking zouks, to cylinderbacks -- and now this.
    "The problem with quotes on the internet, is everybody has one, and most of them are wrong."
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    Mandolin shirts, hats, case stickers, & more at my Zazzle storefront

  17. #15

    Default Re: Algerian Mandole

    Please use the classifieds for commerce. You can link to this thread in your ad if you want. Please refer to the posting guidelines.
    Last edited by JEStanek; Jan-17-2013 at 8:39am. Reason: Commerce.

  18. #16

    Default Re: Algerian Mandole

    Please use the classifieds for commerce. You can link to this thread in your ad if you want. Please refer to the posting guidelines.
    Last edited by JEStanek; Jan-17-2013 at 8:39am. Reason: Commerce

  19. #17

    Default Re: Algerian Mandole

    these are playesd in a particular type of algerian folk music. i forget the name , but it is from the berber communities--not the arab communities and is the blues of the berbers like rembetiko is for greece and fado for portugual. there is some on you tube. good stuff. the odd traditional one turns up on ebay, there are cheap ones there all the time. probably made in china. the berbers are poor so they play what they can make.

  20. #18
    Registered User Andy Marshall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Algerian Mandole

    The Mandole is typically used in Nuba (Algerian Classical music), Chaabi and Kabylian music. Nuba is the original music of Arabo-Andalusia, and is still popular today in Algeria. It is serious music with specific forms (as in Western Sonata form or Rondo form) and specific scales (as in the Arab Maqams). Unlike Arab music, Algerian Nuba does not have any quarter tones. The quarter tone frets were added in the last 20 years or so by younger players who wanted to bring Arab and Turkish melodies to their repertoire. The older generation of players scoff at those who have quarter-tone frets on their Mandoles.

    With such a large Algerian community in France these days, many of the better French luthiers are now building Mandoles. Franck Bélier and Romuald Provost are among the best in France at building Algerian Mandoles.

    Traditionally, the Algerian Mandole was a 4-course instrument tuned (deepest to highest) DADG, though I have seen EADG and ADGC. These days many builders add a 5th course and tune the instrument (deepest to highest) DADGC. They are always strung in unison, not in octaves. The Algerians are particularly fond of Savarez Argentine strings (typically favored by Gypsy Jazz players). They buy two sets of Argentine guitar strings and throw away the highest string or two, depending upon their instrument.

    Many Algerian Mandoles have quite a long scale length, often in the range of 26" to 27".

    One of the world's greatest Mandole players and teachers lives in Northern California now. His name is Omar Ait-Vimoun. He is an extremely nice man and a VERY talented musician. Omar has one CD out called "Assaru u Stekhvar". If you live anywhere near the SF Bay area and are interested in Algerian Mandole, you must seek him out for lessons.

    I hope this whets some appetites for info and sounds. Go forth and Google. It's a wonderful world.

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  22. #19
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Algerian Mandole

    Is it played with a plectrum or fingers?
    Indulge responsibly!

    The entire staff
    funny....

  23. #20
    Registered User Andy Marshall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Algerian Mandole

    Almost always with a guitar-style flat pick, though I have seen a few people using oud picks on them.

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  25. #21
    Registered User Dusepo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Algerian Mandole

    Looks fantastic. I'd love to hear a sound or video sample if possible?

  26. #22

    Default Re: Algerian Mandole

    [QUOTE=Andy Marshall;1133717]The Mandole is typically used in Nuba (Algerian Classical music), Chaabi and Kabylian music. Nuba is the original music of Arabo-Andalusia, and is still popular today in Algeria.

    thamks andy, that's the name i couldn't remember. a local doctor from the algerian berber community play their four course oud cousin in chaasbi music. the other styles i did n't know about.

    where would one find scores and cds of nuba--ols andalucia styles would ne fascinating

  27. #23
    Registered User Andy Marshall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Algerian Mandole

    I have never seen a score of any Nuba, but CDs are available. There is a series of them on Ocora records out of France. They all feature the words Nuba (Nûba) and Algeria (d'Alger) in the title. My personal favorite is "La Nûba Ghrib" by Mohamed Khaznadji. The CD is titled "Algérie: Anthologie de la Musique Arabo-Andalouse, Vol. 2 - Çana'a d'Alger". This CD was my introduction to Nuba music. I found it in a used CD shop on Kennedy Road in Hong Kong in the 1990s. I was mesmerized and had to learn more.

    There is an insanely obscure book on Algerian songs and scales published by the Algerian Ministry of Culture. I found a used copy in Paris a few years ago. I will dig it up and add the title and ISBN when I can. It is 97% in Arabic and 3% in French. Luckily, the basic theory and scales are explained in French. The Arabic appears to be song lyrics, but I am only guessing, as I don't read Arabic.

    More details to follow.

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  29. #24

    Default Re: Algerian Mandole

    very interesting. i had no idea that there was andalucian music still alive. too cool for words. i have never played a mandole but i have seen a few cheap ones, and pictures of some good ones. my algerian neighbour says the chaabi and the andalucian music was more berber influenced than arabic, but there are both influences. nowsdays many people who call themselves arab in the mahgrib(algeria, morrocco, tunisia), are desentants og berbers. there weren't that many arab immigrants to the mahgrib after the invasion. perhaps a quarter of the population is fairly pure arab descent, most are mixed, some pockets are totally berber.

    the same in andalucia, or andalus as they called it. but its great music in any case. years ago when i was in morroco the music of the coast was totally different from that of the high atlas--possibly foolishly me and a girlfriend hitchhiked through the atlas from marrakesh , back into the mountains and came out near fez. people were actually very nice and every family we met invited us home and they all had some level of local music, some quite accomplished. i played guitar and sang kids songs for the kids--we were mobbed by kids in some villages.

    i occasionally think of buying an atlas lute with a skin head and three strings/with no fretts.

    there is a lot oc chaabi on you tube, most quite modern, but some acoustic stuff

  30. #25

    Default Re: Algerian Mandole

    This instrument of Walt's is for sale:

    https://reverb.com/item/392629-walt-...n-mandole-2012

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