It is currently Tue Dec 01, 2020 10:03 pm

All times are UTC - 6 hours




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 6 posts ] 
Author Message
 
PostPosted: Thu Sep 29, 2005 12:16 pm 
Offline

Joined: Tue Jun 26, 2001 6:00 pm
Posts: 1436
Location: Bloomington, Indiana
Hi. Is an octave mandolin any easier to play melody on then a tenor banjo?

My fingers just aren't adjusting to the stretch of my short-scale tenor banjo (it's scale is about 20"), and I was wondering if octave mandolin would be any different.

I may just get a regular manolin at some point, but I suspect I like the lower voice better.

-Brett


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Sep 29, 2005 12:29 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Sun Dec 02, 2001 6:00 pm
Posts: 1545
Location: London, Ontario
A scale of 20" is about as short as you could make a reasonable octave mandolin. 22" is a lot better. So the scale of an OM would at least be as long as your tenor banjo, if not longer. A cittern, on the other hand, has 5 courses and could be tuned the same as an OM on the bottom four courses with an added A on the top. The note B, which is the highest note in most reels and jigs would then be on the 2nd fret of the first string and you don't have to reach up for it. This doesn't mean that the cittern is easy to play. It's not but at least you don't ordinarily have to reach higher than the 5th fret.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Sep 29, 2005 7:55 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Thu Jun 03, 2004 3:14 pm
Posts: 2012
Location: SoFla
I don't have an OM (yet) but i do have a 17-fret tenor banjo.

The shorter scale on the 17-fret is what makes necessitates the need for thicker strings in the GDAE tuning (otherwise the strings are kind of floppy -- the scale was made for tuning a fifth higher at CGDA).

The shortest scale OM i've seen commonly available is the Trinity College at 20-3/8". I may be mistaken but i think this scale will not give you a lot of projection in the GDAE tuning unless you raise the action, making it not only an uncomfortable stretch but also more difficult to fret.

Most other OM's look like they're somewhere around the 22-23" scale... bouzoukis start somewhere around 25" depending on who you ask.

If you want to play fiddle tunes and want a shorter than 20" scale but you don't want the fiddle/mandolin range you might think about either retuning the tenor banjo into CGDA (the tuning it was likely originally designed for) or getting a mandola (also tuned in CGDA) and putting a capo on the second fret (giving you DAEB) and just adjusting to life without the G string.

You already play whistle so you probably have some strategies worked out for playing tunes which typically fall below the D bell tone.

_________________
there is no end to the walking


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Sep 29, 2005 8:36 pm 
Offline

Joined: Tue Jun 26, 2001 6:00 pm
Posts: 1436
Location: Bloomington, Indiana
rh wrote:
life without the G string...


Ahh, life without the G string. :) Sorry...it always makes me chuckle when Irish tenor banjoists start talking about their G strings.

-Brett


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Sep 29, 2005 9:14 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Thu Jun 03, 2004 3:14 pm
Posts: 2012
Location: SoFla
Bretton wrote:
rh wrote:
life without the G string...


Ahh, life without the G string.


liberate yourself!!! :lol:

_________________
there is no end to the walking


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2005 4:19 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2004 2:38 am
Posts: 2719
Location: Flower Mound, TX
rh wrote:
The shortest scale OM i've seen commonly available is the Trinity College at 20-3/8". I may be mistaken but i think this scale will not give you a lot of projection in the GDAE tuning unless you raise the action, making it not only an uncomfortable stretch but also more difficult to fret.

I'd like to find a tenor banjo with a shorter scale length. One nice thing about banjos is that you can sometimes modify the neck angle to permit a higher bridge without changing the action.

I was thinking that an octave mandolin could be built with a slanted neck from the beginning--like John Duffey's "Duck" mandolin. I was also worrying that supporting the top under increased tension could be a challenge. Digging around a little, I see that Sobell octave mandolins (and citterns) combine an angled neck and an arched top on an instrument with a 23" scale. (See http://www.sobellinstruments.com/ and look under Citterns in the menu at the left.)

The question is whether something could be designed to have a scale length under 20" and still produce decent volume with strings at optimum tension.

I know too many tunes on mandolin to want to re-learn them in a different fingering. Besides, many fiddle tunes are really sort of designed for that tuning. So, I want to go down an octave, but I don't want to pay the price of a long finger stretch. Otherwise, I might as well just stick with guitar. (Or banjo guitar, if I could find one I really like.)

_________________
Mike Wright

"When an idea is wanting, a word can always be found to take its place."
 --Goethe


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 6 posts ] 

All times are UTC - 6 hours


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group
[ Time : 0.090s | 11 Queries | GZIP : On ]
(dh)