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Thread: Tune a mandolin like a uke? + other questions

  1. #1
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    Default Tune a mandolin like a uke? + other questions

    I'm thinking of getting new strings for my old mandolin--what brand should I buy? I don't remember what brand the ones are that are on there *now*. I just know they are decades OLD.

    And I'm thinking of tuning it G (low) C E A, as I don't remember chord shapes at ALL for mandolin, plus I don't want to try to relearn and get myself confused when I play ukulele. I never did know many chords on the mandolin, nor did I do much more than strum slowly. I should've had an ukulele then, but the mandolin was free.

    Has anyone else done this? Any recommendations and/or ideas? Thanks!

    CountryMouse
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  2. #2
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    Since you're not doing a lot of mandolin playing I will recommend using light gauge strings. I would stay with mandolin tuning GDAE, who knows you might take up the fiddle someday and it uses the same tuning. Here's a nice chart of two-finger chords you might find useful.
    http://www.mandolincafe.com/two.html
    As a two mandolins, eleven ukuleles owner I feel your pain.

    Jude
    "Man cannot live by bread alone, he must have peanut butter" -Kruger Bear-

  3. #3
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    To use steel strings and go from GDAE to GCEA would likely cause a problem on the two high strings...tuning down from AE to EA will probably make them too loose, and tuning up will bust them. Thats my guess

  4. #4
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    I can rework it for you in GCEA Ms. Mouse...Send me an EMail and we can work out when...

  5. #5
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    Cool idea if it is possible...
    ...anything that makes you play it more often!

    I've seen posts of people who re-strung solid body mandolins as ukes.
    Last edited by Paul December; 04-26-2010 at 05:15 AM.

  6. #6
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    I have an old Manjo that I strung like an 8 string Uke using fishing line. I get really cool sounds out of it. The super thin neck is a little hard to finger Uke chords tho'

  7. #7
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    you can do it but you should use guitar strings. The gauges of the mandolin strings are made to be right for the wider range between the strings. The guitar strings are the same relationship as uke.

    I did this, as a test. However the scale length was so short I had to tune it higher than C to get the tension right. I think it was playing up in Eb or so. Sounded cool but not that useful.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by clayton56 View Post
    you can do it but you should use guitar strings. The gauges of the mandolin strings are made to be right for the wider range between the strings. The guitar strings are the same relationship as uke.

    I did this, as a test. However the scale length was so short I had to tune it higher than C to get the tension right. I think it was playing up in Eb or so. Sounded cool but not that useful.
    Interesting. How did you attach them? All of my mandos use a loop-end string.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by WhenDogsSing View Post
    I can rework it for you in GCEA Ms. Mouse...Send me an EMail and we can work out when...
    Thanks! I'll email you about further stuff. I haven't made up my mind what I want to do with it, other than play it again.

    CountryMouse
    Flukes: Island Design custom; Red Cowboy | Fleas: Denim concert; Grape soprano | Enterline CBU #7
    Lanikais: LB6-S banjolele; LU-21 | Eleuke Mahogany | aNueNue U900 pineapple | Luna Great Wave pineapple
    Kalas: Purple Paisley Ukadelic; Watermelon | Red Hilo soprano | Dolphins: Pearl White; Pink Burst; Green Burst;
    Blue Metallic | Mahalos: Blue Tr Fruit; Smiley Face; Hearts; Black Les Paul | Tom Pocket Uke | Plastic: Woodi; TV Pal

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  10. #10
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    Thanks, everyone, for your input! I found the old wrapper for the strings that are on it--Gibson medium gauge. I haven't made up my mind totally yet about which way to have it tuned yet. Lots to think about.

    CountryMouse
    Flukes: Island Design custom; Red Cowboy | Fleas: Denim concert; Grape soprano | Enterline CBU #7
    Lanikais: LB6-S banjolele; LU-21 | Eleuke Mahogany | aNueNue U900 pineapple | Luna Great Wave pineapple
    Kalas: Purple Paisley Ukadelic; Watermelon | Red Hilo soprano | Dolphins: Pearl White; Pink Burst; Green Burst;
    Blue Metallic | Mahalos: Blue Tr Fruit; Smiley Face; Hearts; Black Les Paul | Tom Pocket Uke | Plastic: Woodi; TV Pal

    Twitter | Blog | Facebook | YouTube | YouTube Too

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