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Thread: nylon stringed mandolin

  1. #1

    Default nylon stringed mandolin

    Hello

    I am thinking of building a nylon stringed F style mandolin. I think it can be built lighter because of the lower string tension (please comment!).

    Does anyone have a suggestion for top and back thickness?

    violins are around 3mm would this be reasonable for the top?

    Thanks
    Kev

  2. #2
    Jo Dusepo, luthier Dusepo's Avatar
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    Default Re: nylon stringed mandolin

    Yes, you are correct, it can be built lighter.
    I would make the soundboard thinner than that (around 1.5mm) but then again I wouldn't do it carved or f-style, so that's probably not a fair comparison.
    Look towards the historical gut-strung mandolins for measurements. Or if doing a carved top, there are some ukuleles built this way (like mini jazz guitars) which may be a useful point of reference.
    I am a luthier specialising in historical and world stringed instruments. You can see more info at my website.

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  4. #3

    Default Re: nylon stringed mandolin

    I just got a nui , really like it

  5. #4

    Default Re: nylon stringed mandolin

    Hey those Ukuleles are cool. I am now thinking along those lines. A archtop style body with a mandolin scale length. Anyone with experience in this?

  6. #5
    Registered User BoxCarJoe's Avatar
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    Default Re: nylon stringed mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by Kev View Post
    Hey those Ukuleles are cool. I am now thinking along those lines. A archtop style body with a mandolin scale length. Anyone with experience in this?
    Click image for larger version. 

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    I had this custom made by Bruce Wei last year. 19" Archtop baritone uke tuned CGDA
    I still play it a lot but it is disappointing in many ways.

  7. #6
    Jo Dusepo, luthier Dusepo's Avatar
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    Default Re: nylon stringed mandolin

    Hey if we are sharing images as above, here's 2 Cremonese mandolins I built last year (4 nylon strings, tuned in fifths like a Neapolitan):


    And here's a baroque mandolin I also built last year (5 courses of doubled nylon strings (tuned in fourths like the pre-Neapolitan mandolins):
    I am a luthier specialising in historical and world stringed instruments. You can see more info at my website.

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  9. #7

    Default Re: nylon stringed mandolin

    Kev, thinking of 8 or 4 strings? Going to try for mandolin tuning or lower? Fixed bridge (like a guitar or uke) or floating? All these things go into structure.

  10. #8

    Default Re: nylon stringed mandolin

    Hey dusepo beautiful work!

    BoxCarJoe,

    what did you dislike about it in general?

    Richard500,
    The plan is for 8 strings if that does not work maybe 4 will. I am thinking of steam bending the plates and using a archtop guitar shape for the body. All just in the planning stages now.

    Please more comments everyone. Everything is helpful!

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    Dusepo 

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  13. #10
    Registered User BoxCarJoe's Avatar
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    Default Re: nylon stringed mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by Kev View Post

    BoxCarJoe,

    what did you dislike about it in general?


    Please more comments everyone. Everything is helpful!
    I think the instrument was poorly made.
    The volume is at least 1/2 of what you would expect.
    And very little tone. Just "pick on string" type of sound.
    I electrified it with a humbucker and it sounds good. Just not what I wanted.
    I'm still playing it though.

  14. #11
    Registered User sebastiaan56's Avatar
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    Default Re: nylon stringed mandolin

    Ive built a number of poly string mandolin type instruments now and the secret sauce for me is the strings. Aquila Red Mandolins stings are the ducks. They are denser than the other compounds out there so there is more volume but they are still easy on the fingers. Great strings!

  15. #12
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    Default Re: nylon stringed mandolin

    I’ve been playing vintage nylon-string (acquilas) banjo-ukes , tuned to mandolin tuning, for years. Punchy, loud, and distinctive! IMO 4 strings may work better than 8 for nylons for your build: because they have less tension, they’d run the risk of being “muddy” in courses of two.

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