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Thread: One instrument to serve two octaves

  1. #1
    Harley Marty
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Mullingar Co Westmeath Ireland
    Posts
    189

    Default One instrument to serve two octaves

    I started off on the tenor guitar a few years ago so whenever I tried Mandolin I found my fingers were too scrunched up so I ordered a special built 17" mahogany mandola & tuned it up to Mandolin. To get the high E I use d'addario pl.007. This works great for me. During the lockdown I got this idea of making one instrument that could be tuned Mandolin or Octave Mandolin & still sound ok. I figured that the .007's would be totally unreliable at an 18" stretch for the high Mandolin E, & that an Octave Mandolin low G would sound very ordinary below 18"s. The first thing for me is that it made sense to make it in a 4 string banjo format. I went with a 10" open back pot, I was confident that the .007 would play top E at 17.5". Then using then using the multi-scale or fan-fret approach I set the bottom string at 18.5" as this is about the shortest string length to get a decent sounding Octave Mandolin low G. When it all came together I put a set of Clifford Essex heavy Irish Tenor Banjo strings onto it. It sounded pretty good as an Octave Mandolin (tenor)Banjo & it is super comfortable to play. Then I put then I put on the .007 along with the top 3 strings from a set of Clifford Essex light Irish Tenor Banjo strings, so .007, .011, .016w & .026w. That also sounds good as a Banjo Mandolin in fact really good & just as comfortable to play. I'll probably keep it in Mandolin tuning for a while & it's great to know I can swap it down an Octave anytime I want.

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  3. #2
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Portland, Ore.
    Posts
    197

    Default Re: One instrument to serve two octaves

    I applaud your willingness to experiment.

  4. #3
    Registered User Ben Vierra's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Vancouver, Washington
    Posts
    65

    Default Re: One instrument to serve two octaves

    Sounds interesting and creative. Do you have any pictures to share?

  5. #4
    Harley Marty
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Mullingar Co Westmeath Ireland
    Posts
    189

    Default Re: One instrument to serve two octaves

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Vierra View Post
    Sounds interesting and creative. Do you have any pictures to share?
    I added a photo of it to the - What's on my bench thread.

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