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Old 12-30-2020, 09:16 PM
Steve DeRosa Steve DeRosa is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Staten Island, NY - for now
Posts: 11,398

Originally Posted by Mandobart View Post
First off - you're spending the money to get a mandola. 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.

Second - your 'dola tailpiece probably takes loop end strings. If you're not going to use standard tuning you can't use pre-packaged sets - you'll need to put together your own custom 8 string loop end sets to have the proper tension.

Third - once you get used to the simplicity and symmetry of 5th's tuning you'll love it. You'll wonder why more guitarists haven't adopted it.
  1. The only one on the list that I don't play is fiddle (figured 'em all out long ago - and yes, I can play legit mandolin and doghouse bass), and just as some obscure 17th century lute player decided one day to tune his third course to G rather than F#, or modern fingerstyle players use alternate tunings full- or part-time to create certain sonic textures, I enjoy the possibilities (not to mention the convenience) guitar-based tunings provide; since the OP is primarily a guitar player who intends to use the mandola as a texture rather than a solo instrument, and voiced some concerns about both the tuning in fifths and the associated learning curve, alternate tunings provide a viable option IMO
  2. That's a given, and I wasted a lot of time/money when I set up my first tenor banjo in Irish GDAE 30 years ago (another non-standard tuning, BTW) until I found I could buy properly-gauged strings in bulk - been doing it ever since for all my instruments, and I keep a good supply on hand so I'm never caught short
  3. My earliest background was in jazz; while I have no problem accessing wide-spaced chord voicings (using either skip-string picking/comping a la Johnny Smith, or fingerstyle), tuning in fifths, although highly effective for single-line/double-stop and bluegrass "chop" chording, doesn't allow for the close internal voicings I favor without large stretches - and as with much else in life, just because I can (I have a six-fret span in first position - seven frets on shorter-scale guitars) doesn't mean I should...
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