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Thread: Ovation Mandocello

  1. #1

    Default Ovation Mandocello

    I found an old discussion that mentioned a booklet or manual. I don’t have one and can’t find one online. Does anyone have one that they’d be willing to scan and send me?

    I’m primarily interested in neck set-up and string gauge for alternative tuning to take it from CGDA to standard mandolin tuning.

    Any advice welcomed.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ovation Mandocello

    I don't know if there is a specific mandocello manual but their guitar guide has the strings and other settings and is listed as one of the items covered in this manual.

    http://www.ovationtribute.com/Catalo...ence_Guide.pdf

    Added Note: After reviewing this link I realize this is the manual for not only the guitars but the mandocello and the mandolin. It's an interesting all in one publication. The file is in a message below.
    Last edited by MikeEdgerton; Mar-30-2023 at 10:42am.
    "It's comparable to playing a cheese slicer."
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  3. #3
    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ovation Mandocello

    You will never get "standard mandolin tuning" on a mandocello. That's absurd. The strings will break.
    Emando.com: More than you wanted to know about electric mandolins.

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  4. #4

    Default Re: Ovation Mandocello

    You could certainly do it in GDAE (octave mandolin tuning) with a custom set of strings built from singles. You'll probably end up with some wonky intonation issues since you'll have to use plain steel strings on the top two courses. Something like 11-17-26w-42w.

  5. #5
    Registered User Marcus CA's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ovation Mandocello

    The Ovation mandocellos had a scale length of 25 1/4", so to put it into OM tuning, you'd have to approach it like a long-neck bouzouki. However, people usually tune the high string on those only to D, rather than E. D'addario's Irish bouzouki set (for GDAD tuning) has gauges of 11, 16, 28, and 40, which is in the ballpark of what Melt_in_the_Sun described. To take the high string up to E, you may need to swap out the 11 for a 10. However, I'd guess that even if you could use thin enough strings to prevent them from breaking, you're going to end up with a pretty thin tone, lacking the usual gravitas of a mandocello. Keep in mind that you're tuning the instrument dramatically higher than what it was built for.
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  6. #6
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    Default Re: Ovation Mandocello

    Yeah, there’s not a lot of neck block/structure in the Ovations. I ruined a perfectly good Applause 6 string by putting heavy gauge strings on it to play slide. There’s really no resetting them when they go…
    Chuck

  7. #7
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ovation Mandocello

    For posterity the Ovation guide that covers the mandocello and mandolin as well as the guitars.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Ovation 2007 Use and Care Referenc  Guide.pdf  
    "It's comparable to playing a cheese slicer."
    --M. Stillion

    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them"
    --J. Garber

  8. #8

    Default Re: Ovation Mandocello

    For GDAE octave mandolin tuning, you could use the G, D, and A strings from a mandocello set (moving them over one position on the nut and bridge) and just have to get the E pair from an Octave set or as singles. There remains the question of tension,

  9. #9

    Default Re: Ovation Mandocello

    For those who are concerned, normal guitars regularly tune their highest pitched string to E4 at a 25.5" scale length. No Ovation I've owned has had a problem with it.

    I also have an Ovation 12-string which I've used in full fifths tuning since 2009.

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/t...-my-experiment

    The Ovation 12-string-to-mandophone has been in full-fifths tuning for almost 15 years at this point, so I'm pretty sure the tension is okay. The string gauges are:

    B4 - .006 experimental alloy
    E4 - .010
    A3 - .016 pb wound
    D3 - .030 pb wound
    G2 - .042 pb wound
    C2 - .059 pb wound

    The bottom four courses are the mandocello, and the middle four courses are the octave mandolin.

    Just my thoughts and opinions, but based on over a decade of actually doing this successfully.

    Whatever you choose to do, good luck!
    ----

    Playing a funky oval-hole scroll-body mandolin, several mandolins retuned to CGDA, three CGDA-tuned Flatiron mandolas, two Flatiron mandolas tuned as octave mandolins,and a six-course 25.5" scale CGDAEB-tuned Ovation Mandophone.

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  11. #10
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    Default Re: Ovation Mandocello

    thank you for posting the Ovation guide. for reference, it has the following string gauges:

    mandolin: .038-G, .024-D, .016-A, .011-E, set "8080 ball-end"
    mandocello: .074-C, .048-G, .034-D, .022-A, set "9090 ball-end"

    note1: corresponding mandolin D'Addario set is EJ70 MED/LIGHT BALL END 11-15-24-38.

    note2: ovation mandocello is just an ovation acoustic bass setup for 8-strings (8 tuning machines, 8 holes in the bridge, instead of 4).
    I doubt that it will work well strung with GDAE strings: the high-E string is same as guitar high-E string, too high for an acoustic bass body.

    note3: (as others noted) no need for string tension calculator: G, D and A strings are same as the mandocello set, E is the heaviest plain steel (12, 11, 10?) that would go to high-E without breaking (too often).

    note4: common trick with 12-string guitars is to detune by 2 frets (GDAE becomes FCGD) and permanently capo on 2nd fret (back to GDAE). now your high-E string only needs to go to high-D (or high-C for GDAD).

  12. #11

    Default Re: Ovation Mandocello

    Thank you, everyone, for your input! I'll be keeping it in mandocello tuning. I'm a rank beginner at mandolin and not fully musically literate, so, I struggle with such things. I had no business buying this instrument, but as an avid Ovation fan, I just couldn't let the opportunity pass me by. I'll take it to my mandolin lesson next week for my instructor to see and teach me a few things. I really appreciate y'all entertaining my question and hope others benefit from the feedback I received. Gratefully yours, me.

  13. #12

    Default Re: Ovation Mandocello

    Wow, do you have any recordings of that? I'd love to hear what it sounds like!!

  14. #13
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    Default Re: Ovation Mandocello

    > as an avid Ovation fan, I just couldn't let the opportunity pass me by

    congratulations with your acquisition. I am still kicking myself for not buying one of them when they were everywhere on the wall of every local music shop back when back where.

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