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-   -   Mandolin-Mandola-Octave Mandolin tunings (https://www.acousticguitarforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=602456)

varmonter 01-25-2021 07:37 AM

The op is a guitar player.
The mandola is a mandolin family
So learning will be new. Not a rehash of guitar chords. Music theory
aside . I have an archtop tenor I tune
GDAE . So it's basically an octave mandolin with 4 strings. The DGBE tuning would be closest to guitar.

Explorer 01-26-2021 10:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by varmonter (Post 6614530)
The op is a guitar player.
The mandola is a mandolin family
So learning will be new. Not a rehash of guitar chords.

I agree... But only if the OP decides to tune in fifths.

Since the discussion seems to (mostly) be about the advantages of either guitar- or fifths-intervals tunings, if the OP decides to pursue fifths tuning, "learning will be new," as you say.

If the OP decides to pursue guitar-interval tunings a la Tommy Tedesco, then learning *will* be a rehash of guitar chords.

It's not my instrument nor my money which purchased, so I have no strong feelings about the OP pursuing either. I do play both tunings and both instruments.

Still, having experience in the tuning, and knowing how capable CGDA jazz tenor banjo players are, I recently tackled the Vince Guaraldi composition "Skating" on full-fifths CGDA mandola as a jazz chord melody piece. I will never discourage someone from getting a perfect set-up on a mandola and then playing in CGDA using the full range of the fretboard.

catt 01-28-2021 03:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mandobart (Post 6590579)
... Why not learn how to really play it vs just fake it? I'm from the bluegrass world. Most of us are multi-instrumentalists. If we can figure out fiddle, mandolin, guitar, banjo and bass you can too.

I would say the same, here, about guitar and bass - why not learn how to [I]really play them[I]?

The vast majority of bluegrass does not exploit either instrument to anywhere near its capacity. If all one does on these instruments is play bluegrass, one is ignoring worlds of technique and musicality available with them.

*But of course there is tremendous value to be had in studying a new discipline, instruments in traditional and idiomatic forms, etc.

Mandobart 01-29-2021 08:46 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by catt (Post 6618096)
I would say the same, here, about guitar and bass - why not learn how to [I]really play them[I]?

The vast majority of bluegrass does not exploit either instrument to anywhere near its capacity. If all one does on these instruments is play bluegrass, one is ignoring worlds of technique and musicality available with them.

*But of course there is tremendous value to be had in studying a new discipline, instruments in traditional and idiomatic forms, etc.

That's quite a wild assumption. Just because I play bluegrass, you assume I only play bluegrass. I started as a classical violinist decades ago. I expanded to folk/blues/rock guitar, bass in a jazz ensemble and rock band, bluegrass fiddle, guitar, then mandolin.

Mandolin (and resonator mandolin, banjolin, mandola, octave mandolin, mandocello) is/are my main instrument(s) now for bluegrass, gypsy jazz, swing, old time, Irish trad, Itallian (folk and classical) and Nordic folk (though my 10 string Hardanger fiddle gets the most play in that last genre).

The best musicians in any genre I've played with are the gypsy jazz people. Bluegrassers are a close second.

PHJim 01-29-2021 09:21 AM

I have an octave mandolin and I find that GDAD tuning works best for me. I do use a capo and D'Addario mandola strings seem to work just fine. I was worried that they might not be long enough, but they are.
https://scontent.fybz2-2.fna.fbcdn.n...41&oe=603A9FA1

https://scontent.fybz2-2.fna.fbcdn.n...e7&oe=60391E00

https://scontent.fybz2-2.fna.fbcdn.n...ef&oe=603BAD12

catt 01-29-2021 11:58 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mandobart (Post 6618628)
That's quite a wild assumption. Just because I play bluegrass, you assume I only play bluegrass. I started as a classical violinist decades ago. I expanded to folk/blues/rock guitar, bass in a jazz ensemble and rock band, bluegrass fiddle, guitar, then mandolin.

Mandolin (and resonator mandolin, banjolin, mandola, octave mandolin, mandocello) is/are my main instrument(s) now for bluegrass, gypsy jazz, swing, old time, Irish trad, Itallian (folk and classical) and Nordic folk (though my 10 string Hardanger fiddle gets the most play in that last genre).

The best musicians in any genre I've played with are the gypsy jazz people. Bluegrassers are a close second.

Hmm, actually I was making no assumptions at all, but merely responding to your critique with my own. But thanks for the curricula vitae :)

I've started a hardanger fdl thread on MC fiddle group) - https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/g...514&do=discuss

Explorer 01-29-2021 02:55 PM

I'm just going to note that tuning a CGDA mandola down to GDAE octave tuning, using the tension one finds comfortable for CGDA, means using around double the string gauges for the GDA courses.

In other words, assuming one is using

.015 A
.025 D
.035 G
.052 C

then, to get to the lower pitches for the GDA under the E course, which are one octave below the GDA of mandola CGDA, one would use

.030 A
.050 D
.070 G

along with the appropriate high E strings.

Although it can be blithely ignored in conversation ("Just alter the nut!), that stringing might not sound great after doing the work to permanently alter the existing nut and bridge. The small body might not support the amount of air needed to get a decent sound at the lowest frequencies.

Full disclosure regarding this: I have several Flatiron Army Navy mandolas, which are all *extremely* loud and punchy. I have them strung very lightly, and one is actually strung as an octave. It's not bad as a travel instrument, but not as responsive as my actual OMs. Given that Flatiron also made Army Navy OMs that have the the power in that range, that's not at all surprising.


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