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View Full Version : Anyone play mandolin and uke?



inkandsilver
07-11-2009, 02:20 PM
Just an idea I wanted to throw out here, for anyone who might be interested. My first fretted instrument was a mandolin, less than a year ago. I love it, but once I discovered the uke my mandolin started collecting dust. I *love* the sound of mando but it isn't an easy instrument to learn, and so with limited practice time and burgeoning uke-obsession, there she sat, making me feel guilty, so guilty. Suddenly it came to me one day recently: I'll tune the mandolin down to ggcceeaa! Sacrilege, I know, to some, but it's great because I can apply some of the progress I've made on the uke and still get that very different sound. It also has helped temporarily curtail my "need" for another tenor uke to have one set up low-g.

There's some great information here (http://www.ezfolk.com/forums/forum43/6134.html) if you want to check it out. Essentially, though, you just get rid of your mandolin's E course and use a second A course -- so your first course is A strings tuned to A, your second is A strings tuned down to E, your third is D strings tuned down to C, your fourth is G strings tuned to G. If you don't want to give up any of that high end range you can also tune it DGBE, an octave above a baritone uke.

It's not by any means a perfect solution but it's been fun.

DeG
07-11-2009, 02:27 PM
Sweet... My son is a mando player... I wonder if he would mind..... :D

SailorQwest
07-11-2009, 03:43 PM
I have a Mandolin somewhere, I might try that!!

dnewton2
07-11-2009, 03:50 PM
I was working with a guy down in Tennessee/North Carolina and we were talking about plaing music. He played the guitar and I told him I played th ukulele. He said I might like the mandoline because it is "like" 4 stings. I haven't got my hands on one yet but would like to give it a try someday. I do love the blugrassy appalatian (spelled wrong) music. I want to pick up the dulcimer as well.

So many cool instrument for such a slow learner.:p

dirk.li
07-11-2009, 04:22 PM
Just an idea I wanted to throw out here, for anyone who might be interested. My first fretted instrument was a mandolin, less than a year ago. I love it, but once I discovered the uke my mandolin started collecting dust. I *love* the sound of mando but it isn't an easy instrument to learn, and so with limited practice time and burgeoning uke-obsession, there she sat, making me feel guilty, so guilty. Suddenly it came to me one day recently: I'll tune the mandolin down to ggcceeaa! Sacrilege, I know, to some, but it's great because I can apply some of the progress I've made on the uke and still get that very different sound. It also has helped temporarily curtail my "need" for another tenor uke to have one set up low-g.

There's some great information here (http://www.ezfolk.com/forums/forum43/6134.html) if you want to check it out. Essentially, though, you just get rid of your mandolin's E course and use a second A course -- so your first course is A strings tuned to A, your second is A strings tuned down to E, your third is D strings tuned down to C, your fourth is G strings tuned to G. If you don't want to give up any of that high end range you can also tune it DGBE, an octave above a baritone uke.

It's not by any means a perfect solution but it's been fun.

I used to play the mandoline in a mandoline orchestra in my village when I was 10 - 14 years old. I still have my mandoline from these days and I can still play it, but I've only played the ukulele since I encountered it about a year ago. And the mandoline strings are all rusty by now!! Now you make me remember my mandoline. I guess I'll get a set of new strings for it and record some multi-track uke-mandoline song! :-)
I prefer to keep the mandoline's GDAE tuning though because I'm used to it and know where the notes are on the fretboard.
When the vid is uploaded, I'll post a link here. (Could take some time, I'm so busy with "serious" things at the moment).

Thanks man for reminding me of my old mandoline! :D

LazyRiver
07-11-2009, 05:28 PM
I tried mando and pretty quickly put it up for sale. I thought it would be relatively easy since I played violin as a kid a million years ago (same tuning). I also bought a 5-string banjo at the same time. I kept the banjo. My problems with mando are personal - I love the sound, but couldn't get much out of the lower range and I really prefer finger picking to striking with a pick. Did I mention the strings really bite your fingers?

As far as tuning goes - if banjo players can use any of a zillion tunings, why not mando players? Who's checking?

-- Al

SamWise
07-11-2009, 11:30 PM
I play a passable mandolin, but I also have the plectrum problem - I hate them on any instrument. My mandolin is a sweet vintage one, but it currently has a neck problem that's causing choking above the 5th fret. At some point, it will become top priority.......

Floyd Blue
07-11-2009, 11:39 PM
I own a mandolin and tried it in gcea tuning. It wasn't that bad. I tuned it back to mandolin tuning, 'cause a friend wanted to try out "Going To My Hometown" by Rory Gallagher. I found out that the mandolin tuning works for me now pretty good and when I'll get it back again, I'll give it one more try. But as I'm a geetaarrr, bass and ukulele player, it's easier for me to use the uke tuning...

itsme
07-11-2009, 11:55 PM
I've played mandolin before. Not lately, but I still have four. I wouldn't want to try to change any of them, especially not my Gibson that's approaching the century mark. :)

Buddy McCue
07-12-2009, 12:07 AM
The mandolin had been my principal instrument for over 22 years before I picked up the ukulele.

I re-tuned a baritone uke from D-G-B-E to Bb-F-C-G (all fifths, like the mando) so I could play right away, but the uneven string tensions forced me away from that approach. I knew that I could either mess with string gauges or learn the uke in the proper way.

Now I'm hooked on ukulele, and I haven't played my mandolin much at all over the last several months. They're both fine instruments in their own different ways.

uke552
07-13-2009, 05:09 AM
I have played mandolin on and off (mostly off) since 1991. After discovering and playing the ukulele, I have not touched the mandolin. I have gotten joy from the uke that I never did with the mandolin.

russ_buss
07-13-2009, 05:58 AM
i have a mandolin in the closet that is holding up the banjo that i never play.

the UU's own BaronK has some awesome mandolin videos on his channel:
http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=BaronK69&view=videos&query=mandolin

vahn
07-13-2009, 05:59 AM
My friends band had a mandoling player, my friend Will, who moved to Oregon. Now there missing that high end treble sound in there band... Fortunately for them I have learned a lot of his mandolin parts on ukulele!!!!!! I dont really have a need to drop a mandolin into GCEA tuning though, because I have my steel string uke (which is what I use when trying to emulate the mando sound on uke) I just run it through my effects processor with a touch of chorus and a millisecond of delay to give it that false second string sound. I have a Jupiter Creek Solid Body concert cutaway with 22 frets, fretboard looks pretty similar to a Mandos... I wonder if I could put mando string on it and tune it GDAE....

haole
07-13-2009, 10:10 AM
I have a tacky faux-flame-top Harmony mandolin from the 50s. It rocks. Only song I know is "The Battle of Evermore" by Led Zeppelin. :p But the GDAE tuning doesn't bother me much; used to play violin in school, and I'm probably better at reading sheet music for violin/mandolin than any other instrument because my fingers know where to go. Thinking about trying it in uke tuning because the chord forms are a little more familiar, but first I need to re-glue the fretboard. :eek:

SamWise
07-13-2009, 10:53 AM
Today, one of these was delivered to me for review. More than 2000, by some way the most expensive mandolin I've played......


http://www.eastmanmandolins.com/images/products_mandolins/off_black/dgm1_full_front_0.75.jpg

buddhuu
07-13-2009, 11:29 AM
I'm probably more of a mandolin player than anything else. That's what I play mostly in my band, with some ukulele as well. Mandolin is also what I take with me on vacations to Ireland where I sit in on ballad sessions with some friends. That's a mandolin I'm playing in my avatar.

There's no doubt that uke is much easier than mando, and much easier on the fingers too.

I've seen sites offering uke strings for mandolin tuning, but I don't really see the point. If I want to play chords I'd rather play in uke tuning.

Mandolin tuning, in fifths, is great for melody playing in major keys, so I'd choose it over uke for that (bluegrass, old time and Irish stuff, for example), but uke is, for me, better laid out for melody lines built on pentatonic scales.

It's horses for courses. When I want a uke I want a uke, and when I want a mandolin I want a mandolin.

BTW, Sam. Those Eastmans are an interesting style, eh? Not my cup of tea, but certainly a change from standard A and F styles. I've owned Eastman mandos (but not that style!), they are a real bargain.

clayton56
07-13-2009, 11:04 PM
I just tried that, too. Mandolin was my first instrument and I used to be pretty serious about it, but I've gone over to guitar, banjo, and now uke. So I decided to try stringing it like a uke.

I went out and bought 2 sets of guitar strings for the test, so the string tension would be even. Mandolin strings are 7 half steps apart and uke 5 or less. The top 4 guitar strings are the same relationship as a uke (assuming a low G).

It worked ok but I didn't like the tight spacing between strings. And the sound was a little too jangly. I really only wanted the mandolin for tremolo melodies, and so I got the inspiration to remove the low G strings and make it like a balailaika.

With only three pairs on it I was able to respace the strings to give plenty of room. And the C strings I tuned down to A, so it's really some sort of A minor tuning (A, E, A). It's simpler and more intuitive for melodies than the uke tuning was.