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Old February 10th, 2011, 04:35 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Mandolin tuned like a guitar?

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."

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Old February 10th, 2011, 04:47 PM   #2 (permalink)
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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
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Old February 10th, 2011, 05:24 PM   #3 (permalink)
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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?
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Old February 10th, 2011, 05:48 PM   #4 (permalink)
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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...
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Old February 10th, 2011, 06:45 PM   #5 (permalink)
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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.
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Old February 10th, 2011, 07:32 PM   #6 (permalink)
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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!
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Old February 10th, 2011, 08:28 PM   #7 (permalink)
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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.
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Old February 10th, 2011, 08:58 PM   #8 (permalink)
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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.
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Old February 10th, 2011, 09:26 PM   #9 (permalink)
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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.
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Old February 10th, 2011, 09:43 PM   #10 (permalink)
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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.
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Old February 10th, 2011, 09:59 PM   #11 (permalink)
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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.
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Old February 10th, 2011, 10:54 PM   #12 (permalink)
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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...
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Old February 10th, 2011, 11:04 PM   #13 (permalink)
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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.
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Old February 10th, 2011, 11:11 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Ball crushing...sounds violent ;)...how would i go about that? Pliers?
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Old February 10th, 2011, 11:16 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Yep. I use a medium pair of diagonals to do it, but regular pliers will work.
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Old February 11th, 2011, 02:02 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbmando View Post
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.
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Old February 11th, 2011, 02:09 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Quote:
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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.
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Old February 11th, 2011, 02:16 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Quote:
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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.
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Old February 11th, 2011, 09:08 AM   #19 (permalink)
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, 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.
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Old February 11th, 2011, 10:56 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Quote:
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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....

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