View Full Version : Mandola to Taropatch ?

Pukulele Pete
05-14-2015, 01:19 AM
Does anyone know if You can change the steel strings on a Mandola
to nylon and tune it like a ukulele , a taropatch ? I'm thinking you might have to enlarge the slots in the nut. Has anyone tried this and does it work well? thanks

05-14-2015, 02:20 AM
The Mandola is built to handle the much higher tension of steel strings. The low-tension uke strings will be very quiet.

- FiL

05-14-2015, 10:43 PM
I have several different instruments built for steel strings tuned different from the intended tuning, and with different material. I am quite satisfied with the sound of every one of them. Mandolins - Balalaika - Banjo - 1923 Martin t-18 are some of the mutants..... How it feels to your fingers and sounds to your ears is all that matters.

05-15-2015, 12:05 PM
My mandola has relatively low tension strings, compared to my mandolin.

My Yamaha guitar was bought with steel strings. I fitted nylon strings without even considering there may be a problem ... there wasn't!

Other than re-working the nut, I wouldn't anticipate an issue, but do go slowly. With the lower-tension of nylon strings the neck may tend to "bend backwards" slightly for a day or two, until it finds a new setting. If you're a bit overly keen with the nut file immediately you may just find some strings starting to buzz unaccountably a few days later and you may have to re-fill the slots slightly. Once the strings stay in tune for a reasonable amount of time you can be fairly certain the neck has settled and you can finish fine-tuning the action, if you need to.

Good luck, and as always ... YMMV ;)

05-15-2015, 07:18 PM
CAN you restring the mandola with nylon-oid? Sure. Will you be happy with the results? Maybe. As mentioned, it might be rather quieter than you expect; the string tension may not be sufficient to drive the soundboard's mass.

Consider: I stick a micrometer into my instruments and measure soundboard thicknesses. My Kohala soprano 'ukes are about .090 inch. My Kala tenor uke is about the same. My Kay and Rogue A-type mandolins (also soprano instruments) are both about .140 inch, or half again as thick. My Mexican cuatro-menor, built similar to a mandola, is about the same. That's a lot more mass for the strings to move.

So, standard nylon strings will probably be disappointing. What to do, what to do? Just for ducks, I gargled for high-tension nylon guitar strings (https://www.google.com/search?q=high-tension+nylon+guitar+strings). Guess what? THEY EXIST! Then I tried high-tension nylon ukulele strings (https://www.google.com/search?q=high-tension+nylon+ukulele+strings). Bingo! GHS Fluorocarbon High Tension Fingerstyle Ukulele Strings might be the way for you to go.

05-16-2015, 01:24 AM
Try it. I put uke strings on a tenor banjo to create a baritone banjolele. It works for me in the settings that I play it in.

** If you have a magnetic pickup, they won't work with nylon **