Results 1 to 20 of 20

Thread: 4-string acoustic?

  1. #1

    Default 4-string acoustic?

    I'm not a luthier and I think the issues I'm dealing with need a luthier's knowledge. I have a wonderful 5-string emando made by Kevin Schwab. I'm looking to find an acoustic instrument which would be a 4-string equivalent. I have a cavaquinho which sounds good but isn't properly intonated/fretted, either because it just isn't that good, or because it's not made to be tuned in 5ths -- non-compensated bridge/saddle or something? Would it be possible to get it in tune by replacing the bridge and saddle?

    If not, I was thinking that I could get a mandolin, replace the nut and tailpiece with 4-string replacements, and remove 4 of the tuning machines. Is this a crazy idea? I don't want to play with double strings, but I need tuning in 5ths. Would the reduced tension on the neck produce problems if I remove half the strings? Does anyone make a 4-string acoustic? Thanks for any guidance.

  2. #2

    Default Re: 4-string acoustic?

    ...why not just do the usual 12-string to 6-string thing and remove half the strings, reslotting the nut and bridge....? You could cut new slots in the bridge right between the usual 2 slots for the doubled strings.

    Provided you have a truss rod and that truss is acting against the usual 8 string tension, you could free it up a little and it should be just fine with 4.

    RE the Cavaquinho -- I know there are some made with a glued-on bridge that's really just a string holder and then the bridge itself moves freely like a mandolin bridge. You could get one of those and simply move the bridge to the desired angle to keep intonation right.

    For example:

    http://cgi.ebay.com/Genuine-PORTUGUE...item56380f2dff

    http://cgi.ebay.com/Genuine-PORTUGUE...item56380f21e4

    http://cgi.ebay.com/Genuine-PORTUGUE...item56380f4b1b

  3. #3
    Chief Moderator/Shepherd Ted Eschliman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Nebraska
    Posts
    4,365
    Blog Entries
    2

    Default Re: 4-string acoustic?

    You might be interested in one of these: JP Charles BSA-4

    Ted Eschliman

    Author, Getting Into Jazz Mandolin

  4. #4

    Default Re: 4-string acoustic?

    Thanks, Jake and Ted. I'll check out all these options.

  5. #5

    Default Re: 4-string acoustic?

    RE the JP Charles -- really nice looking mando!!

  6. #6

    Default Re: 4-string acoustic?

    I play nothing else these days. Can't do a thing with an 8-string any more, and don't particularly want to, either.

    I don't see any real problems coming from removing half the strings. If the mandolin has an adjustable truss rod, you can adjust it. If it has carbon fiber, it shouldn't be necessary. An eight-string may, or should, even, be over built for four strings, however. I carved this insanely thin around the recurve. I have an 8-string that I converted as you suggest, and it doesn't have near the response this one does.

    /Magnus
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

Name:	100_4393.jpg 
Views:	222 
Size:	193.0 KB 
ID:	56605  

  7. #7
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    citrus heights ca.
    Posts
    348
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default Re: 4-string acoustic?

    I did that on a mandolin banjo in order to play with a tenor group never looked back pluged the tuner holes and put 4 bass tunors on love the sound ( banjo mandolins are really loud )
    fred davis

  8. #8
    Ben Beran Dfyngravity's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Richmond, VA
    Posts
    1,459

    Default Re: 4-string acoustic?

    Mid-Mo which is now Big Muddy mandolins had a four string mandolin which they said was their kid model. Though I am pretty sure it was the same as there basic model but just had four strings. It isn't listed on their site, but I am sure it can be built. In fact, in the Eye Candy section under A models, it is the 4 string that you click on to go to their website.

    Many other builders build them too. There is nothing wrong with take off strings, less tension on the neck is actually good you just need to adjust the truss rod if there is one.

  9. #9
    aka aldimandola Michael Wolf's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Kassel in Germany
    Posts
    829

    Default Re: 4-string acoustic?

    I bought this on ebay last week. It´s from a old german builder and has no name. I call it a Mandoquinho now. I has steel strings, but not the glued on bridge like a Cavaquinho. I put some used J74s on for now and it works well in mandotuning, so maybe it really was intended so. I´m beginning to become a 4-string-fan, which I am already, as a tenor guitar player. But it´s really nice for mando, I especially like the possibilities for finger vibrato and tone bending.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

Name:	P1015488..jpg 
Views:	136 
Size:	248.0 KB 
ID:	56673   Click image for larger version. 

Name:	P1015485..jpg 
Views:	142 
Size:	143.4 KB 
ID:	56674   Click image for larger version. 

Name:	P1015481..jpg 
Views:	179 
Size:	232.7 KB 
ID:	56675  

    YouTube Channel -- Soundcloud
    My arsenal: Piguet Swiss Bandolim -- Epiphone Recording A Banjo -- 1923 Gibson Snakehead A -- Duff A5 -- Flatiron A5 Artist -- Chanticleer Reso Tenor Guitar -- Beeton Reso Tenor Guitar -- Kai Tönjes Bouzouki -- 1926 Gibson TB3 -- Manzanita Guitars (Manfred Pietrzok) Style F -- Manzanita Guitars Parlor Guitar -- Ibanez AS60 Artist 1984

  10. #10

    Default Re: 4-string acoustic?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gowanus View Post
    I'm not a luthier and I think the issues I'm dealing with need a luthier's knowledge. I have a wonderful 5-string emando made by Kevin Schwab. I'm looking to find an acoustic instrument which would be a 4-string equivalent. I have a cavaquinho which sounds good but isn't properly intonated/fretted, either because it just isn't that good, or because it's not made to be tuned in 5ths -- non-compensated bridge/saddle or something? Would it be possible to get it in tune by replacing the bridge and saddle?

    If not, I was thinking that I could get a mandolin, replace the nut and tailpiece with 4-string replacements, and remove 4 of the tuning machines. Is this a crazy idea? I don't want to play with double strings, but I need tuning in 5ths. Would the reduced tension on the neck produce problems if I remove half the strings? Does anyone make a 4-string acoustic? Thanks for any guidance.
    I have plans to set up my mandolin as a 5 string (double 1@2). I also recently acquired a crafter 4 string 'cavaquinho', which is converted from their acoustic electric mandolin. I am pondering string diameters and tunings that will get me the most 'mandolin' like sound (also in a quandry about what sound I do want, lol) Sorry if not helpful.

  11. #11
    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Saint Augustine Beach FL
    Posts
    5,533

    Default Re: 4-string acoustic?

    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

  12. #12
    Jo Dusepo, luthier Dusepo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    London, UK.
    Posts
    644

    Default Re: 4-string acoustic?

    Cremonese / Brescian mandolin might be an option?

    https://www.dusepo.co.uk/Instruments...ian%20Mandolin
    I am a luthier specialising in historical and world stringed instruments. You can see more info at my website.

  13. #13

    Default Re: 4-string acoustic?

    thought I put this up but .. I got a nui , a 4 string nylon string , the size of a tenor guitar , I use guitar stings , it has everything the violin an the mando don't have , finger picking, string stretch, rock and blues , cant get enough of playing it, with effects you get electric sound.

  14. #14

    Default Re: 4-string acoustic?

    Quote Originally Posted by kjbllc View Post
    thought I put this up but .. I got a nui , a 4 string nylon string , the size of a tenor guitar , I use guitar stings , it has everything the violin an the mando don't have , finger picking, string stretch, rock and blues , cant get enough of playing it, with effects you get electric sound.
    I was gonna say this, too. I completed this recently and it's getting a lot of play. It's tuned gDAE (re-entrant G).

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_20211013_114114616.jpg 
Views:	16 
Size:	457.9 KB 
ID:	197847Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_20211120_101808864.jpg 
Views:	19 
Size:	306.5 KB 
ID:	197848Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_20211120_101947921.jpg 
Views:	15 
Size:	279.5 KB 
ID:	197849

    Also, there is a uke builder (who I'd rather not promote) who has now a steel string (4) mando-uke. That's something I'd like to try as well.

  15. #15

    Default Re: 4-string acoustic?

    nice

  16. #16
    Registered User BoxCarJoe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Location
    Brooklyn, NY
    Posts
    238

    Default Re: 4-string acoustic?

    I bought a Bruce Wei baritone uke a while back that was a very poor acoustic instrument.

    I mounted a humbucker pickup at the neck and used nickel mandola strings from Emando.
    It's 19" scale and tuned CGDA

    Now it's a really great electric mandola.
    I've moved in other directions but that uke got the heck played out of it.

  17. #17

    Default Re: 4-string acoustic?

    Quote Originally Posted by BoxCarJoe View Post
    I bought a Bruce Wei baritone uke a while back that was a very poor acoustic instrument.

    I mounted a humbucker pickup at the neck and used nickel mandola strings from Emando.
    It's 19" scale and tuned CGDA

    Now it's a really great electric mandola.
    I've moved in other directions but that uke got the heck played out of it.
    That's interesting about his instruments. Have other people had the same kind of experience, do you know?

  18. #18
    Registered User BoxCarJoe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Location
    Brooklyn, NY
    Posts
    238

    Default Re: 4-string acoustic?

    Quote Originally Posted by Brett S. View Post
    That's interesting about his instruments. Have other people had the same kind of experience, do you know?
    I can't say for sure.
    But there is a "cult" of die-hard supporters on line. His work is pretty to look at after all.
    Mine was acoustically dead. Low volume & ugly sounding.

  19. The following members say thank you to BoxCarJoe for this post:


  20. #19
    Registered User Tug's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2021
    Location
    Minneapolis, Minnesota USA
    Posts
    33

    Default Re: 4-string acoustic?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gowanus View Post
    I'm not a luthier and I think the issues I'm dealing with need a luthier's knowledge. I have a wonderful 5-string emando made by Kevin Schwab. I'm looking to find an acoustic instrument which would be a 4-string equivalent. I have a cavaquinho which sounds good but isn't properly intonated/fretted, either because it just isn't that good, or because it's not made to be tuned in 5ths -- non-compensated bridge/saddle or something? Would it be possible to get it in tune by replacing the bridge and saddle?

    If not, I was thinking that I could get a mandolin, replace the nut and tailpiece with 4-string replacements, and remove 4 of the tuning machines. Is this a crazy idea? I don't want to play with double strings, but I need tuning in 5ths. Would the reduced tension on the neck produce problems if I remove half the strings? Does anyone make a 4-string acoustic? Thanks for any guidance.
    Could you post a picture of your Schwab electric if you don't mind?

  21. #20
    Registered User Tug's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2021
    Location
    Minneapolis, Minnesota USA
    Posts
    33

    Default Re: 4-string acoustic?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tug View Post
    Could you post a picture of your Schwab electric if you don't mind?
    Ok I see this was started in 2010 so I may not see any reply from the OP.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •