View Full Version : Fender Mandocaster Uke conversion

05-13-2015, 07:00 AM
I have this electric Fender Mandocaster that I got in 2005 for Bakersfield/country band work. It's a 5-string, but the low C never intonated right. It sounds OK, and I made some records with it, but it wasn't magic.

In my flu medication induced haze this morning, I got the bright idea to tune it like a uke. I've always wanted a 5-string tenor, as I end up alternating between low G and re-entrant tunings for various songs.

I didn't do anything fancy, just tuned the sucker down to GCEA, and replaced the low C with a .014 string for the re-entrant G. gGCEA - Fun! The muting and/or double barring to deal with the double G strings will take some getting used to, but I like the sound better than when it was in mando tuning. The steel strings give a different uke texture, but that's OK, too.

I might use it on my Rin-Kon-Tiki gig this weekend!


05-13-2015, 08:57 AM
How are some of the more "crowded" uke chords getting along with the 1 1/8" fretboard at the nut? Sure it doesn't need different strings to get the best sound out of the uke tuning?

05-13-2015, 09:31 AM
Nut space is tight, but not unmanageable. I don't know what you mean by "crowded" chords. I generally play chord voicings all over the neck on my tenor.

New strings wouldn't hurt (strings on it are probably 10 yrs old), but the lower tension doesn't seem to be a problem.

05-13-2015, 02:58 PM
I've read some posts about some of the chords that use 4 fingers being very difficult on the narrower fret board. I haven't had the opportunity to try myself. Re: my comment about different strings was a response to your statement about liking the mando tuning better. I just thought maybe tuning down your strings may be partly responsible for that and that new different strings that are optimal for the uke tuning (higher tension if/as needed) may give you back some of that mando sound you like. If you haven't visited the Mandolin Café, it would be another good resource on technical issues such as this.

Doug W
05-13-2015, 03:16 PM

The only instrument I ever had custom made was a 5 string Tele style electric mandolin. Same intonation problem. I sold it.