Mandola (Mandolin)

Down Up Dick

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Anybody ever play the Mandola? How did/do you like it? I’m thinking of buyin‘ one, but I dunno . . .
 

VintageGibson

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Anybody ever play the Mandola? How did/do you like it? I’m thinking of buyin‘ one, but I dunno . . .
A couple of years ago I had a severe case of GAS combined with some spare cash that was burning a hole in my pocket, so I convinced myself that I needed an Octave Mandola. I had already some, but not a lot of experience playing Mandolin.
In case you are not familiar, the family is as follows;
Mandolin, approx 14 inch scale, tuned G D A E, low to high in double courses.
Tenor Mandola approx 17 inch scale, tuned C G D A, the pitch of the A strings are the same as the 2nd strings of the Mandolin.
Octave Mandola approx 20/22 inch scale tuned G D A E one octave lower than the Mandolin
Mandocello Approx 25 inch scale, tuned C G D A one octave lower than the Tenor Mandola.

My Octave Mandola is a good instrument but unfortunately we didn't gel.
I didn't like the very boomy bass sound of the two lower sets of strings so I changed these to octave pairs ( like the lower strings on a 12 string guitar) For me, this is better but would probably cause problems for melody players.
Scale length makes mandolin chords too much of a stretch for me, String tension adds to chording problems.
I also play 12 string guitar with no difficulty.

Just some points to consider, especially if you are coming from a uke background.
Basically, for me, it's an expensive wall hanger.

Vintage
 
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Down Up Dick

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A couple of years ago I had a severe case of GAS combined with some spare cash that was burning a hole in my pocket, so I convinced myself that I needed an Octave Mandola. I had already some, but not a lot of experience playing Mandolin.
In case you are not familiar, the family is as follows;
Mandolin, approx 14 inch scale, tuned G D A E, low to high in double courses.
Tenor Mandola approx 17 inch scale, tuned C G D A, the pitch of the A strings are the same as the 2nd strings of the Mandolin.
Octave Mandola approx 20/22 inch scale tuned G D A E one octave lower than the Mandolin
Mandocello Approx 25 inch scale, tuned C G D A one octave lower than the Tenor Mandola.

My Octave Mandola is a good instrument but unfortunately we didn't gel.
I didn't like the very boomy bass sound of the two lower sets of strings so I changed these to octave pairs ( like the lower strings on a 12 string guitar) For me, this is better but would probably cause problems for melody players.
Scale length makes mandolin chords too much of a stretch for me, String tension adds to chording problems.
I also play 12 string guitar with no difficulty.

Just some points to consider, especially if you are coming from a uke background.
Basically, for me, it's an expensive wall hanger.

Vintage
Thanks for the info. No, i play mandolins now. I have a Type A, a Mando-Banjo and a Seagull. In fact, they’re my favorites. I just thought I’d like to try somethin’ a bit different. I don’t want an Octave though.

I really wanted a new type F, but it would be tuned the same as my A, so no difference.— ahhh, well . . . So mebbe, mebbe not.
 

Jim Yates

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In North America, the instrument tuned an octave below the mandolin is called an octave mandolin (OM).
The mandola is tuned the same as a viola - CGDA so an octave mandola would be an octave below that. I have never seen an octave mandola.
I have played a mandola and they are very similar to playing a mandolin. The octave mandolin has a long enough scalelength that certain chord forms that are easy on madolin are impossible 9for me to play on the OM, so I tune my OM to GDAD.
Mandolin & mandola.jpg
Mandolin and mandola (not mine)

My OM
tc.jpg
 

Down Up Dick

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Well, lately, with my Classical Guitar on hiatus, I’ve been whackin’ away my other instruments, and havin’ a moderately good time. So, my burning lust for a Mandola has cooled some. I can’t find one for sale anyhow.

So, thanks for the info. I believe I’ll ponder a while longer. Mebbe until another whim starts nudgin’ me.
 

Knows Picker

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Gold Tone has some decent stuff and has nice quality control too.

I actually started on the mandolin before the ukulele. I still mess around with it. Just past 2000 something I got one of those Asian Over the Top Inlaid instruments. It is a mandola. Boy, if looks could kill!! Griffins all over the place! It is more like a A style mandolin in shape, with a roundish sound hole and a very deep body. Scale about 17 inches. Never played it overly much, as at the time I was more into jigs and reels. The body was just too resonant. I got it back out recently, looked at the scale length and said, hmmm, 17 inches, lets try the string combination I just got for a solid body electric tenor!!

It's quite the thing now!!
 

Down Up Dick

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Well, Knows, thanks for the info. I’ve never seen one like that. I’m glad you got it fixed up.
 

Down Up Dick

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Well, last night, when I was looking out the front window as I always do while locking up, I saw a big box. Thinking it was for someone else, I brought it into the house to check, and it was my new Gold Tone Mandola! Wow! And it was three days early!

I unwrapped it to find that it was a very nice looking instrument indeed. It comes with an all right gig bag. I twiddled the strings in the kitchen (shhh), and it was pretty much outta tune but made some noise. The strings are very tight, and that’s a negative for me, but I still haven’t tuned or played it yet. I guess I’ll just have to wait and see.

I have 5 Gold Tones, and they’ve all been great for me after I whipped some of them into shape. I never did come to love or even like the darned Cello Banjo. It was just not my cup of tea or even water. I finally gave up and sold at a big loss — ahhh, well . . .
 

Down Up Dick

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Today I sent for some lighter strings and some heavier picks for my mandola. Its strings are very tight. I can fret them, but they’re too tight. I have one 2.0 mm pick. and I liked the sound it made the last coupla days.