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Thread: What's the longest scale mandolin you have seen?

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    Default What's the longest scale mandolin you have seen?

    Not including octave mandolins, mandolas and mandocellos etc... 14" seems to be normal for a mandolin, but have you seen longer? Like 15"? or longer?

    Or, has anyone ever taken a mandola and strung it up mandolin strings tuned GDAE? Just to have a larger mandolin.

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    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's the longest scale mandolin you have seen?

    Yes, people do that with mandolas. Not sure why. Nine times out of ten it's just ignorance, methinks. A good mandola is voiced to sound its best within a certain range of pitches, so tuning outside that range will produce less than optimum results. It may also put more tension on the instrument than it was designed for, depending on the gauges you use.

    You can play in standard tuning up to 16 inches or so, if you can find strings that will handle it. E strings get pretty tight at that length; you would need a .009 or an .008 if you could find one. No matter what gauge you use, though, it becomes difficult to avoid breaking the E string at greater scale lengths.
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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's the longest scale mandolin you have seen?

    I used to have one with a 42" scale but that was a mando bass.

    National mandolins (the metal ones) used to have 15 inch scales. I have one from the lat 1920s and I hated the way it sounded with std strings (even light gauge) tuned to std. I restrung and tuned mine down to E for blues and it makes more sense.

    Among the longest scales (within reason) I have played is Joe Brent's LaBraid mandolin: 14.25” scale.
    Jim

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    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's the longest scale mandolin you have seen?

    I used to have Blondie, a Kent 744 electric from the '60s with a 16-inch scale. Playing Blondie in standard mandolin tuning was like playing a cheese slicer.
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    Registered User John Kelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's the longest scale mandolin you have seen?

    My mandolin, a self-build, has a 375mm (14.76") scale length and it takes standard strings and is tuned to normal GDAE. I have built several to this scale length and to 360mm (14.17) and have had no problems reported from their users so far. I originally settled on the 375mm scale as i had come to the mandolin from guitar and found the shorter scale length a bit too tight for my personal liking.

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    Default Re: What's the longest scale mandolin you have seen?

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kelly View Post
    I originally settled on the 375mm scale as i had come to the mandolin from guitar and found the shorter scale length a bit too tight for my personal liking.
    I'm a guitar player first as well. I like a wider nut on my mando and was wondering if I'd prefer a slightly longer scale too. Within reason. Collings mandola is 15.9" and Weber is 17", which would be too long I'm sure. I thought the longer scale would increase string tension and raise volume too. I'm curious if that string tension would compromise the structure of the instrument for sure. Or cause the strings to become so tight it's unplayable.

    I'm comfortable on a mando with normal scale length. Just curious if slightly longer would make it even more comfortable and make it acoustically louder.

    John, I'd like to see your mando if that's possible.

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    Registered User bruce.b's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's the longest scale mandolin you have seen?

    My Roger Landes Newell is just over 15". I have extra light strings on it and it sounds and plays great. It's a loud mandolin and has a powerful bass end. I love it. One thing that really stands out is how well all guitar ornaments work on it, as well as a guitar and as easy to play. It has a very creamy smooth tone and chords are gorgeous. It even sounds great finger picked.

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    Registered User Jimdalf's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's the longest scale mandolin you have seen?

    Mike Vanden's Simon Mayor model mandolin was designed to stretch out the scale to open up the high notes, if I remember the patter correctly, It is 14.17 inches (360mm)

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    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's the longest scale mandolin you have seen?

    That's right. I was just about to mention Vanden. My general impression is that the British Isles luthiers are more willing to experiment with scale length than American ones are. IIRC, Paul Shippey and Paul Doyle have also built mandolins that run a little long.
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    Default Re: What's the longest scale mandolin you have seen?

    John Kelly, I did a little hunting and found your mando pics in your profile. Attractive work! I really like your binding.

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    Registered User John L's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's the longest scale mandolin you have seen?

    Quote Originally Posted by mrmando View Post
    I used to have Blondie, a Kent 744 electric from the '60s with a 16-inch scale. Playing Blondie in standard mandolin tuning was like playing a cheese slicer.
    I have one of those too. Good tip from a cafe member was to tune it down a step and a half so that G chords become E chords. Lots of fun and no cheese.
    Johneeaaddgg

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    Registered User trevor's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's the longest scale mandolin you have seen?

    The Fylde touchstone is 15".
    Trevor
    The Acoustic Music Co (TAMCO) Brighton England
    Over 100 mandolins in stock.
    www.theacousticmusicco.co.uk.

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    Registered User John Kelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's the longest scale mandolin you have seen?

    Hi, I see you managed to find some pix and here is a link to the mandolin I mentioned, which is ash back and sides. It is on the page here: http://www.luthierjohn.co.uk/page2.html

    On the 2nd instrument page on my site there are other mandos, all having 375mm scale. They construction seems so far to hold up to the tensions of standard tuning (oldest is around 7 years now!) and they do seem to have a bit more volume. I use D'Addario strings with either 10 or 11 top E.

  14. #14
    Harley Marty
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    Default Re: What's the longest scale mandolin you have seen?

    I have strung up a 17” scale tenor uke with steel strings to GDAE mandolin pitch & it works great, so now I’m getting a custom 17” scale f style built (octave mandolin body). The strings I’m using are the top 3 from Clifford Essex Irish Tenor Banjo light set & a D’Addario .007

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    Mandol'Aisne Daniel Nestlerode's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's the longest scale mandolin you have seen?

    My Arrow G5 (5 string emando CGDAE) has a 15" scale length. It makes going back and forth between it and other mandolins other instruments a bit risky. I over reach on the shorter scales and under reach on the longer one!

    Daniel

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