Here’s a quick reference guide: The best idea here is to experiment with all types, till you find which type you prefer. They are most commonly manufactured in Europe, where the long history of mandolin development has created local styles. The instrument sound does not punch through the other players' sound like a carved top does. Can you suggest any larger loop end style of mandolin string (light gauge) manufacturer?  Other American manufacturers include Martin, Vega, and Larson Brothers. These styles generally have either two f-shaped soundholes like a violin (F-5 and A-5), or a single oval sound hole (F-4 and A-4 and lower models) directly under the strings. The bridge is a movable length of hardwood. Calace and other Italian makers predating Gibson also made mandolin-basses. Like any plucked instrument, mandolin notes decay to silence rather than sound out continuously as with a bowed note on a violin, and mandolin notes decay faster than larger stringed instruments like the guitar. 1916 Gibson F4 with arched and carved top, curled scroll and oval soundhole, 1924 Gibson F-5 mandolin, with f-shaped soundholes designed by Lloyd Loar. Its scale length is typically about 26 inches (660 mm). Another mistake to avoid when re-stringing the instrument is improperly winding the string around the tuning peg. Presstops made of solid wood have the wood's natural grain compressed, creating a sound that is not as full as on a well made, carved-top mandolin. Thanks again. This new style is credited to mandolins designed and built by Orville Gibson, a Kalamazoo, Michigan, luthier who founded the "Gibson Mandolin-Guitar Manufacturing Co., Limited" in 1902. They deliver a textured feel most players are familiar and comfortable with. The mandobass most frequently has 4 single strings, rather than double courses, and is typically tuned in fourths like a double bass or a bass guitar: E1–A1–D2–G2. When I get the opportunity to have the bridge modified by a competent local luthier, I will have that done as a priority. 1930 National Triolian resonator mandolin, Manufacturers of Neapolitan-style mandolins, Other bowlback styles: Lombardic, Milanese, Cremonese, Brescian, Genoese, Marcuse, Sibyl; Musical Instruments: A Comprehensive Dictionary; W. W. Norton & Company (1975).  Reportedly, however, most mandolin orchestras preferred to use the ordinary double bass, rather than a specialised mandolin family instrument. The pressed-top instruments are made to appear the same as the carved top instruments; however, the pressed tops do not sound the same as the carved-wood tops. Furthermore, of the works that have been written for mandolin from the 18th century onward, many have been lost or forgotten. Flatback mandolins use a thin sheet of wood with bracing for the back, as a guitar uses, rather than the bowl of the bowlback or the arched back of the carved mandolins. Flat tops are constructed from finished round wound strings. It has an additional unison pair of strings tuned C, below the bass G. The mandolin strings gauge, described usually with the terms light/medium/heavy is directly related with the tension strings place on the instrument. Having said that, here are some popular choices: D’addario is perhaps the most popular choice in general.  The German bowlbacks use a style developed by Seiffert, with a larger and rounder body.  The bridge is kept in contact with the soundboard by the downward pressure from the strings. The international repertoire of music for mandolin is almost unlimited, and musicians use it to play various types of music. A hardwood fingerboard sits on top of or is flush with the sound table. This difference is very important, as it has different effect on different mandolins. Most mandolin bridge feet have a lower area between the adjusting wheels so the saddle can be lowered to it's full extent. D’Addario Phosphor Bronze Mandolin Strings.  Lefebure collected the music in Italy, and it was forgotten until manuscripts were rediscovered.. The mandolin's paired strings facilitate this technique: the plectrum (pick) strikes each of a pair of strings alternately, providing a more full and continuous sound than a single string would.  Paris' round-back double-top mandolins use a false back below the soundboard to create a second hollow space within the instrument. To fill this gap in the literature, mandolin orchestras have traditionally played many arrangements of music written for regular orchestras or other ensembles. It also affects playability (combined with construction) and durability (combined with coating). These strings are flat wound on chrome steel and highly polished except the plain e-string of the Mandolin set, which is made of tin plated silver steel.  The peg-head is similar to the guitar's.. Vivaldi created some concertos for mandolinos and orchestra: one for 4-chord mandolino, string bass & continuous in C major, (RV 425), and one for two 5-chord mandolinos, bass strings & continuous in G major, (RV 532), and concerto for two mandolins, 2 violons "in Tromba"—2 flûtes à bec, 2 salmoe, 2 théorbes, violoncelle, cordes et basse continuein in C major (p. 16). However, modern instruments are louder, using metal strings, which exert more pressure than the gut strings. Would you now proceed to adjust the truss rod and how would you go about that? If you put strings on an instrument which is larger than the one the strings are designed for, e.g. For electric guitars, in our opinion, a good default string height at the 12th fret is typically about 6/64th of an inch (2.38mm) on the bass side and 4/64th of an inch (1.59mm) on the treble side. I subsequently received a number of smart and dismissing comments, basically saying that I should not worry about string action; if it feels right it is right. , In the United States, when the bowlback was being made in numbers, Lyon and Healy was a major manufacturer, especially under the "Washburn" brand. You can adjust height to improve fret clarity at 12th fret, 13th, 14th, etc., and above. Although there’s no single answer to this question, the good thing is that a set of mandolin strings is rather inexpensive, costing from 5 dollars to 50, tops. The courses are typically tuned in a succession of perfect fifths, with the same tuning as a violin (G3, D4, A4, E5). I am a little relieved that other players on this forum have similar concerns to me. Other makers from the Loar period and earlier include Lyon and Healy, Vega and Larson Brothers. It is then when you need to measure the scale (from bridge to nut) of your instrument but also the distance from nut to tuning peg and string end to the bridge, summarize them and use the result as your guide to select custom strings with the proper length.  The Roman mandolin had a fingerboard that was more curved and narrow. A mandolin I recent aquired has a string height of about a heavy 3/16 of an inch. 7, Symphony No. It'll buzz quite readily, but I can play it buzz-free for the most part. The flat-backed mandolin uses thin sheets of wood for the body, braced on the inside for strength in a similar manner to a guitar. In my case this is not only related with speed but also with sound. Thus, the tension term came into use. Some also call this instrument the "alto mandola". Welcome to my adventures! What is the normal string height at the 12th fret? Other American-made variants include the mandolinetto or Howe-Orme guitar-shaped mandolin (manufactured by the Elias Howe Company between 1897 and roughly 1920), which featured a cylindrical bulge along the top from fingerboard end to tailpiece and the Vega mando-lute (more commonly called a cylinder-back mandolin manufactured by the Vega Company between 1913 and roughly 1927), which had a similar longitudinal bulge but on the back rather than the front of the instrument. String length is defined as the sum of three distances: When playing custom instruments, the scale of the instrument may vary. , Japanese brands include Kunishima and Suzuki. I’m Chris, a mandolin lover from Greece, trained in Music, Mathematics and IT who makes a living on technology but enjoys life through music and arts. Take jazz for example, and think the sound you expect to hear from an instrument. Hi Clarence,I have noticed that the D’Addario strings have rather large loop ends, but I can not be sure if they will fit. A rule of thumb is to change strings every 1-3 months, but that depends on playing frequency. The same can happen if the channels in the nut are too narrow, so these should be of sufficient width and prepared with a little graphite from a soft pencil. That means your experimentation may take … more time!