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Mandolin tuned like a guitar?

jazztele
February 10th, 2011, 04:35 PM
Y'know, the old Tommy Tedesco trick. Did a search, but never saw the question answered: "What string gauges?" (and where to get 'em)

And before I get the hate mail, I'm not interested in learning to play the mandolin. I'm recording with a friend who's making a demo, her song calls for a mando part/solo, IMHO, and I'm gonna use the studio trick to "get her done."

FMA
February 10th, 2011, 04:47 PM
From Tommy's book:

1st string (double string) E .009
2nd string (double string) B .012
3rd string (double string) G .017
4th string (double string) D .024

fakeocaster
February 10th, 2011, 05:24 PM
Intonation might be iffy, and its not difficult to come up with parts in the regular tuning once you play something simple. As an alternative why not try a 12 string capo'd up high?

jazztele
February 10th, 2011, 05:48 PM
Don't have a 12 string, she does have a mandolin (that she can't play) so I thought about this route...won't hurt to try...

getbent
February 10th, 2011, 06:45 PM
jazztele, it totally works and sounds just fine... one thing to consider (and since you are an educated guitar player this will be pretty easy) the intervals need to be honored so it sounds "mandolin-ny" if you play guitar intervals it will just sound like a cool high range guitar...

If you do mostly single note stuff on it.. it will be cool... go for it.

Del Pickup
February 10th, 2011, 07:32 PM
It's not that hard to get to grips with mandolin chords in it's standard tuning - it's just upside down to the guitar chords.

If I can do it then I'm sure anyone can!

Dave Hopping
February 10th, 2011, 08:28 PM
You guys are doing it to me again! I've been repressing my GAS for an old-timey blond Fender electric mando by reminding myself I can't play upside down.Now somebody tells me Tommy's old banjo trick works on mando too...

If there's one thing I can't resist it's temptation.

gitold
February 10th, 2011, 08:58 PM
I know you don't want to hear this but mandolin is easier to play tuned to it's regular tuning then tuned like a guitar. If your a decent player it wouldn't take long at all to figure it out since the tuning on a mandolin makes more sense then a guitar and sounds a lot better.

getbent
February 10th, 2011, 09:26 PM
it must actually be easier to play traditional mandolin than to read the original post!

too funny. A guys says, "How do I get to Baltimore and a bunch of us say... "Baltimore? Baltimore is not nearly as hot in the summer as they say."

it must just be a human nature thing.

jbmando
February 10th, 2011, 09:43 PM
jt, I am not trying to be critical here, but 6 years ago when I first started playing mandolin, within a week I was doing mandolin licks that sounded mandolin-y. I highly suggest picking up her mandolin and just messing around on it. The string gauges (11-15-24-40) used for the 5ths tuning sound IMMENSELY better on the little thing than 9-12-17-24. You can do it, I know you can. I know you are a better guitar player than I am, so I have no doubt that within an hour you'll be doing some pretty cool stuff on the mandolin.

klasaine
February 10th, 2011, 09:59 PM
Lol! Your intonation will be fine.
Here's another cool studio trick on mandos tuned to guitar tuning ... on the low D, make the doubled string an octave higher. Use .010 or .011

*JT's a good enough musician that he'll know how to voice the chords so as not to sound like a capo'd guitar. Come to think of it I seriously doubt that a mando - however it's tuned - due to it's doubled strings, high tension, tailpiece/bridge configuration and tiny body would ever sound like any guitar. 6, 12 - capo'd or not.

jazztele
February 10th, 2011, 10:54 PM
Dig it. It's gonna be single notes, so I'm gonna roll with it.

The tune sounds like a david grisman swing # with vocals, so I want to be able to rip a little improv wise...maybe someday I'll actually learn mandolin, but for now, no learning curve is what I need. Thanks for the help all...

Now to try and hunt down loop end strings in those gauges...

jbmando
February 10th, 2011, 11:04 PM
Crush the balls out of regular strings to get loop end strings. They're too long but they will work. And I wasn't talking about intonation. I meant the tone of the mandolin itself. Obviously, every case can be different, but I put a set of 10-36 on a mandolin one time and it was just weak and tinny until I put 11-40s on there. I admit I have never tried to set up a mandolin in 4ths tuning, but I don't think it would have very good tone. I would also NOT tune the low D in an octave. It will will definitely not sound mandolin-like that way.

jazztele
February 10th, 2011, 11:11 PM
Ball crushing...sounds violent ;)...how would i go about that? Pliers?

jbmando
February 10th, 2011, 11:16 PM
Yep. I use a medium pair of diagonals to do it, but regular pliers will work.

klasaine
February 11th, 2011, 02:02 AM
I would also NOT tune the low D in an octave. It will will definitely not sound mandolin-like that way.
True, but it does sound super cool. You won't notice it much on single lines and with chords there's just a hint of an upper octave in there since it's only one string. YMMV - it works for me anyway.

wshelley
February 11th, 2011, 02:09 AM
it must actually be easier to play traditional mandolin than to read the original post!

too funny. A guys says, "How do I get to Baltimore and a bunch of us say... "Baltimore? Baltimore is not nearly as hot in the summer as they say."

it must just be a human nature thing.

I got a kick out of this.

That being said, mandolin is a really easy instrument to learn in about an hour. Easily less time than it would take to set one up to play like a guitar.

klasaine
February 11th, 2011, 02:16 AM
I got a kick out of this.

That being said, mandolin is a really easy instrument to learn in about an hour. Easily less time than it would take to set one up to play like a guitar.

Yes, all true enough - for playing trad mando rhythm/chords.
But if one reads the posts from this threads author you'll notice he needs to play single note solo/improv stuff. Not chords. And being the very good jazz guitarist that he is this will be a piece of cake for him with the mando tuned like a guitar. It's for a session, there's no real time to learn.

jazztele
February 11th, 2011, 09:08 AM
, mandolin is a really easy instrument to learn in about an hour. Easily less time than it would take to set one up to play like a guitar.

Wow, I seriously doubt that.

getbent
February 11th, 2011, 10:56 AM
I got a kick out of this.

That being said, mandolin is a really easy instrument to learn in about an hour. Easily less time than it would take to set one up to play like a guitar.

this made me think of this....

c8VBQioFH44

Ed Boyd
February 11th, 2011, 11:05 AM
I got a kick out of this.

That being said, mandolin is a really easy instrument to learn in about an hour. Easily less time than it would take to set one up to play like a guitar.

This will not help the OP.

But I play Mandolin and I was thinking A LONG those lines. It takes a longer than an hour but it is an instrument you can pick up somewhat quickly. ..... unless you are looking to play at a high level then of course it takes time to harness the true mojo.

The mandolin scale patterns are fairly straight forward. The instrument tunes like a fiddle. The 7th fret postion is same pitch as the next set of strings. In a couple of days to a week or so you could be playing Copperhead Road.

If you really want a Mandolin that tunes like a guitar you can get something along those lines. Travis Tritt played something like that on his cover of Copperhead Road I believe. I am not sure what it is called or where you would get one.
tDh6aT5eFjM

jazztele
February 11th, 2011, 11:09 AM
I have until tomorrow.

Guys, thanks for the help and the pats on the back, I'm sure I could pick up a little mandolin, but I'm looking to play exactly what's in my head in one or two takes--and I've got what I need to do so.

Again, I appreciate all who helped me out here.

rand z
February 11th, 2011, 11:18 AM
It's not that hard to get to grips with mandolin chords in it's standard tuning - it's just upside down to the guitar chords.

If I can do it then I'm sure anyone can!

yeah.

i tried it the old tedesco method... but it really didnt cut it.

so, i took the time to learn to play upside down. it really wasnt that hard. not that ive mastered it, but i can get around pretty good. and it DOES sound like a mandolin.

rand z

Wailin' Tele
February 11th, 2011, 12:18 PM
Some food for thought, why go to Baltimore when Boston is right up the coast?

Seriously, I understand your need for expediency, good luck with the project.

OTOH one of the cool things about picking up an unfamiliar instrument is that the unfamiliarity often produces unexpected and cool phrasings. If you had more time it would be nice to be able to do 2 takes, one with each setup.

If you can post your finish product.

klasaine
February 11th, 2011, 02:05 PM
Cause the gig is in Baltimore ... ?

FraKo
January 10th, 2013, 04:39 AM
I know you don't want to hear this but mandolin is easier to play tuned to it's regular tuning then tuned like a guitar. If your a decent player it wouldn't take long at all to figure it out since the tuning on a mandolin makes more sense then a guitar and sounds a lot better.

Right, I just bought a mandolin (after some 25 ys since I plasyed one) and tried to tune is like a guitar (or an Uke). the result wasn't good enough, IMHO. It's definitely made to be played with a standard tuning.

MrTwang
January 10th, 2013, 05:46 AM
That being said, mandolin is a really easy instrument to learn in about an hour. Easily less time than it would take to set one up to play like a guitar.

All you guys who are saying "keep it in regular tuning, it'll be fine" must have either

a) missed the part where the OP says he needs to improvise in David Grisman swing style,

or

B)not be familiar with the playing of Mr Grisman.

Using the Tedesco trick is the only sensible way to go in these circumstances.

Good luck, jazztele, let us know how you get on.

Califiddler
January 10th, 2013, 10:04 AM
All you guys who are saying "keep it in regular tuning, it'll be fine" must have either

a) missed the part where the OP says he needs to improvise in David Grisman swing style,

or

B)not be familiar with the playing of Mr Grisman.

Using the Tedesco trick is the only sensible way to go in these circumstances.

Good luck, jazztele, let us know how you get on.


This thread, and the gig, are almost two years old. Zombie!!

bigbandtele
January 10th, 2013, 10:16 AM
I'm surprised that in all the time this thread has been up, no one mentioned this:

http://www.goldtone.com/img/products/item-gm-6-mandolin-470_med.jpg


Gold Tone GM-6 mandolin for guitarists.

bigbandtele
January 10th, 2013, 10:16 AM
Heck, they've even got a 12er!

http://www.goldtone.com/img/products/item-469-1726_med.jpg

Paleus
January 10th, 2013, 10:34 AM
Trying to turn a mando into a guitar tuned instrument is just like the 6-string banjo. Alot of the sounds of the instrument are due to its intervals. But, that shouldn't matter if you are just playing single note stuff and not chords. Just the whole cheater instruments thing is a peeve of mine.

crazydave911
January 10th, 2013, 11:31 AM
Heck, they've even got a 12er!

http://www.goldtone.com/img/products/item-469-1726_med.jpg

Now your talkin'! :grin:

Dave Hicks
January 10th, 2013, 12:47 PM
Tremolo picking is very common in mando, less so in most guitar styles, so it might aid the impersonation.

D.H.

bigbandtele
January 23rd, 2013, 10:30 AM
Tremolo picking is very common in mando, less so in most guitar styles, so it might aid the impersonation.

D.H.

That's one of the few times those of us who play surf get the advantage!

FraKo
May 6th, 2013, 08:10 AM
Heck, they've even got a 12er!

http://www.goldtone.com/img/products/item-469-1726_med.jpg

AAAAGH, it costs 10 times what I've paied my mando!

Muttcaster
May 6th, 2013, 08:56 AM
Wow, I seriously doubt that.

No, honestly... if you know scales and you do, the mandolin scale is extremely logical. I sat down with one 30 years ago and inside 30 minutes had the "long " and the "short" chords figured out as well a passable solo to "Big Mon". 10 years later, a band I knew needed a mandolin player, so I bought one, figured out my I-IV-V's and the next week was playing with them on stage, including kicking-off songs. To get GOOD, yeah.... takes some time, but it's really easy to play "mandolin sounding" phrases on one. Easiest instrument I've ever doubled on, I think.

All you guys who are saying "keep it in regular tuning, it'll be fine" must have either

a) missed the part where the OP says he needs to improvise in David Grisman swing style,

or

B)not be familiar with the playing of Mr Grisman.

Using the Tedesco trick is the only sensible way to go in these circumstances.

Good luck, jazztele, let us know how you get on.


Actually, I'm VERY familiar with Grisman's style having lived and breathed everything up to "Dawg '90" and I'd much, much rather try to imitate him on his instrument than I would on a guitar tuned object. Again, the scales are SO logical. Plus, Grisman's style is based largely on right hand bounce and timing anyway, not left hand scales.

FWIW, me, mandolin:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GQtb57uinFY

jefrs
May 6th, 2013, 09:58 AM
Banjo strings have loop ends ...

Tuned like a guitar it will sound more like a 'ukulele than mandolin, and yes, there are 8-string 'ukuleles. You will be missing the bottom octave, mandolin are tuned GDAE from guitar 3rd string up to 12th fret on 1st string. If you tune it like an ukulele you might want to tune it GCEA (guitar 3rd string to 5th fret 1st string)

mudbelly
May 8th, 2013, 01:06 PM
I play mando tuned like a guitar. I also use this tuning on tenor banjo and baritone uke. Works well for jug band type tunes and in my circles and no one else plays these instruments. No one asks my tunings.

Would I go to a bluegrass fest or dixieland convention and pull out my instruments? No they would all laugh. I'll play 6 string or bass there. YMMV.