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  #1  
Old 10-16-2016, 10:12 PM
Mandobart Mandobart is offline
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Default Backwards Conversion

I've never seen this question asked before - I just googled it and got only the reverse of what I'm about to ask.

I'm contemplating a mandocello to guitar conversion - the exact opposite of what is usually discussed here and on mandolincafe. Here is why:

I have an Eastman MDC 805 mandocello. It is basically an Eastman archtop guitar (the fret markers are for guitar, not mando) with a nut, tailpiece and bridge modified for 4 pairs of strings instead of 6. It sounds great and is fun to play, BUT I have a much better custom built F4 style archtop 10 string mandocello that gets all my attention now. I was going to sell my Eastman 'cello to finance the purchase of a nice archtop. A friend who was interested in my Eastman is interested no longer, so I thought "for the cost of a few $$ and hours time I could make a new nut, fit and slot a new bridge and have an Eastman archtop guitar."

So here is the question for fellow guitarists - if you could string up a guitar with 8 strings, how would you string it? F to A with one empty slot? Standard tuning with double courses on the B and E? Or other ideas I haven't thought of? Thanks!
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  #2  
Old 10-17-2016, 09:44 AM
Steve DeRosa Steve DeRosa is offline
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There's a few possibilities I can think of:
  • The doubled B and E you suggested
  • Octaves on the G and D
  • Modified Van Eps tuning: seven-string/low A (or B), octave on the G (if you like soloing further up the neck this'll give you a five-octave range)
  • Taylor baritone: B-B or A-A, octaves on the third and fourth strings

- or you could keep it as a 2x4 8-string and try one of these:
  • Long-scale octave mando (I'd try this first - could be a real cannon)
  • Modified Irish bouzouki: GDAE with octaves on the lowest three strings (use a .007 for the high A)
  • Modified Greek bouzouki: DGBE with octaves on the D and G)

Could be interesting...
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Old 10-17-2016, 10:40 AM
H165 H165 is offline
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I'd just change the nut, re-slot the bridge cap, and play it 6-string. Or you could go with the McGuinn 7-string setup.
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  #4  
Old 10-17-2016, 08:14 PM
Mandobart Mandobart is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve DeRosa View Post
There's a few possibilities I can think of:

- or you could keep it as a 2x4 8-string and try one of these:
  • Long-scale octave mando (I'd try this first - could be a real cannon)
  • Modified Irish bouzouki: GDAE with octaves on the lowest three strings (use a .007 for the high A)
  • Modified Greek bouzouki: DGBE with octaves on the D and G)

Could be interesting...
Thanks for the suggestions! Just to let you know:
  • Long-scale octave mando (I'd try this first - could be a real cannon)

    Tried it. Its cool. But my 26" 10 stringer can do this, as can my 21" octave mando. And it does sound better as a 'cello.

  • Modified Irish bouzouki: GDAE with octaves on the lowest three strings (use a .007 for the high A)

    My 26" 10 stringer has octave pairs on the C, G and D. My 21" octave has octave pairs on the G, D and A.

  • Modified Greek bouzouki: DGBE with octaves on the D and G)

    Haven't tried that yet.
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  #5  
Old 11-03-2016, 04:44 AM
Jabberwocky Jabberwocky is offline
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How about getting a new guitar tailpiece for it, too? It becomes a regular guitar now.
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  #6  
Old 11-03-2016, 06:21 AM
Mandobart Mandobart is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jabberwocky View Post
How about getting a new guitar tailpiece for it, too? It becomes a regular guitar now.
I may, as these Eastman original two piece hinged TP's have been known to explode on occasion. I know of four people this has happened to. However it would also work as a six stringer with the current TP, just leave out two strings. It would still have two unused tuners in the headstock as well.
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Old 11-03-2016, 06:25 AM
Jabberwocky Jabberwocky is offline
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Stephen Holst can make you an ebony or cocobolo tailpiece with a solid metal hinge and bracket for about $100 or so. Send him the old Eastman tailpiece and bracket so that he can get the screwmount holes drilled in the same locations.

http://www.pacinfo.com/~sholst/
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  #8  
Old 04-25-2017, 11:06 PM
Mandobart Mandobart is offline
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So I completed the conversion from Eastman mandocello to 6 string archtop guitar. I used a Stewmac bridge and a new bone nut. Mounted one of these pickups and wired it up to the tip on the TRS jack, rewired the piezo's I had installed earlier to the ring. I put on a set of La Bella medium jazz flats strings. Plugged in to my Carvin AG300 or the house PA it sounds good across all the strings thru either the mag pu, piezo's or a blend of both.

Acoustically, the D, G, B and high E sound good. Even, good sustain, mellow, good punch and volume. The low E and A strings, however, sound dull and tubby with very little sustain. When strung as a 'cello or octave mando with phosphor-bronze d'addario strings the acoustic sound was even across the board, lots of sustain.

There are several possible causes. I have carved and fit a few nuts before, as well as archtop bridges on fiddles, mandolins, octave mandos and more with no issues so I don't think its the bridge or nut fit. The easiest first thing to swap out are strings. What are some of the favorite jazz archtop strings out there for tone and volume? Thanks!

Last edited by Mandobart; 04-25-2017 at 11:11 PM.
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  #9  
Old 04-26-2017, 04:56 AM
MC5C MC5C is offline
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I have heard excellent things about these strings from Newtone: https://www.stringsbymail.com/electr...p-masters-824/

So much so that I just ordered a range of them to try on different guitars, but I haven't actually received them yet, just ordered yesterday.

Brian
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  #10  
Old 04-26-2017, 06:09 AM
Mandobart Mandobart is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MC5C View Post
I have heard excellent things about these strings from Newtone: https://www.stringsbymail.com/electr...p-masters-824/

So much so that I just ordered a range of them to try on different guitars, but I haven't actually received them yet, just ordered yesterday.

Brian
Thanks! The guitar shown on the package looks exactly like my Eastman (minus the neck pu) so that must be a good sign, right?
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  #11  
Old 04-26-2017, 11:45 AM
Mandobart Mandobart is offline
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I have several spare sets of gypsy Jazz strings that I'm thinking of trying. These are typically steel or silver-wound copper so I don't know if they'll work with a mag pu. OTOH I've used good old d'addario phosphor bronze strings on this instrument with the mag pu and it worked fine...
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  #12  
Old 05-17-2017, 02:12 PM
Mandobart Mandobart is offline
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Swapped out the strings with a set of Newtones. Big improvement in acoustic tone and volume. Not as "jazzy" when plugged in but still good. Spent the morning doing some YouTube jazz lessons.
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