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Old 01-29-2021, 02:55 PM
Explorer Explorer is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 593

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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