Choosing the right wood for your Mandola
When placing an order for a Mandola; you can choose between different woods. The tonewoods have different tonal qualities, therefore the instrument will sound different. Please, consult the wood available!
Maple Mandola: It’s a dense wood with high durability. Boosts the hi-mid frequencies giving us a beautiful bright full sound, good sustain, and big volume.
Walnut Mandola: This wood would be between the mahogany and the maple. Soundwise boosts the low frequencies, giving us a warm velvet sound.
Cherrywood Mandola: It’s a close-grained wood, good mid-range tone.
What is a mandola, really?
The mandola is a fretted instrument that belongs to the mandolin family. As a matter of fact, it is actually its ancestor, and it developped from the lute ! The body and neck are a big bigger and longer than its little sibling. Tuned a fifth lower than the mandolin, in CGAE , it is the equivalent of the viola in pitch. Like the mandolin, the octave mandolin and the mandocello, the mandola also comes in 4 double courses strings and in this case, they are tuned in unison. You usually play it with a plectrum, or a pick, or your fingers, though it is not the usual.
What is the Difference between a Tenor mandola and a mandola?
Don’t get confused: they are the same instrument! If, as we discussed, a mandola is a 5th lower than the mandolin, and equivalent of the viola, it should be easy, right? Well, depending on your side of the world, the US and Canadian and some European folks will call it a mandola where in Ireland and the UK it can be called a tenor mandola. The standard scale lenght is the same, between 41 – 43 cm/ 16″ – 17″ . You can also find other names such as alto mandola, tenor mandolin or alto mandolin, due to the different evolutions and tunings it went through in different countries over the centuries.
The mandola in the folk music
We might think the mandola is a bit of a forgotten instrument amongst the folkies. But in fact, many groups such as The Planxty, Andy Irvine especially, have used it in their Irish folk songs. Brian McDonagh from an Irish group called Dervish used an alternative tuning for its mandola. In Italy, the mandola is also popular in the folk music.
Mandolas are still found in string orchestras together with other instruments from the same family. Still, there are some artists who use the electric mandola, such Attila the Stockbroker, a punk poet as his main instruments or acoustic, like Alex Lifeson from the canadian rock band Rush.
Left Handed Mandola
Are looking to buy a left-handed mandola? We can build it for you at no extra cost, no problem! As you know, our mandolas are handcrafted and made to order, that’s how we ensure the instrument will fit your criteria.
Mandola Sound demonstration
In this video, you can listen to my latest model of mandola build with European spruce for the top and has a body made of sycamore. It is tuned in CGDA and a 42cm scale.
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