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Smokin' Mandolins

Cigar Box Mandolins

Members: 104
Latest Activity: Jan 18

Discussion Forum

Playing chords with the melody

Started by Paul Cooper. Last reply by Craig Franklin Wolford Oct 13, 2014. 21 Replies

I am new to cigar box nation,  I learned to play the violin so I can pick out a few tunes, but I've never learned to play chords,  Is it possible to play the melody with chords so as the tunes are…Continue

Tags: chords, with, melody, the, Playing

Cigar Box Mandolin help

Started by Dakota McGivern Sep 4, 2012. 0 Replies

i am new to the cigar box world and i was hoping to get some tips on Cigar Box Mandolins! Continue

Bolt on VS Through Necks for Mandolins

Started by Tristan Chambers. Last reply by Mark Werner Sep 8, 2011. 2 Replies

Hello mando-makers, I'm consider making a bolt on neck but it seems to me that the tension of so many strings would put the box under a lot of stress. I'm wondering what your experiences have been…Continue

Mandolin Nut Course Spacing

Started by Steven Miller Jan 4, 2010. 0 Replies

If the two strings in a course are too far apart, your finger will jam between them when playing, completely messing up the tone and intonation. I recently learned this by trial and error when…Continue

Tags: Action, Course, Double, Nut, Mandolin

Comment Wall


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Comment by Dave S on January 10, 2015 at 1:51pm

My first mandolin build- a four-string Punch box just like the previous post.  My goal was to build an angry-looking little mandolin just right for playing folky/Celtic punk (checkout Flatfoot 56's "Knuckles Up").

Comment by Will King on November 19, 2014 at 10:42am

My 1st Mandolin.  I used Aquila Soprano Fifths 30U strings tuned GDAE.  Thanks to Uncle John, I am only using two fingers for the chords.  The Rod Peizo/Pre-Amp works great, not that I play well enough to want anyone to hear me.  Play it almost every day.  I also have a concert size CBU (wider neck at the nut) with the same strings, that I like even better, because it gives me more finger room and I don't have as much buzz and dead strings.

Comment by Cameron Brown on October 12, 2014 at 8:04pm

I just bought my first mandolin. An Ibanez A style. Now that I have my blueprint I'll be building shortly after my license plate doubled string resonator with mag pup is done. Do most usually go with a wider neck than a standard mando?

Comment by Uncle John on January 8, 2013 at 7:25am

Standard mando strings (GDAE) tuned GDGD- actually less pressure.

Comment by Marmelade on January 8, 2013 at 2:12am

How do you do to choose your strings ? Are they from a mandolin set ?

Comment by Chuck Cobillas on January 7, 2013 at 9:56pm
Thanks Uncle John, I'll give that a try sometime!
Comment by Uncle John on January 7, 2013 at 9:11pm

Thanks Croc.  May try that some time.   Was one of these the way Shane's mando was tuned for the Jumper vid?  It sounded like the GDgd.

Comment by CrocBite on January 7, 2013 at 9:05pm

Uncle John - Sounds great!

I love that tuning, someone introduced me to it some time ago.  It's wonderfully reminiscent of a mountain dulcimer (my first love).  

Some of my builds sound great in AEae too.

Comment by Uncle John on January 7, 2013 at 8:54pm

I agree with CrocBite- mandos have been challenging for me.   Here is a vid on a tuning that is new to me and fun and easy to play.

Comment by CrocBite on January 7, 2013 at 2:02pm

Devil Man, best of luck in your mandolin build!  I find them to be the most challenging and rewarding cigar box instrument to create. 

Even with through-style necks, there is a lot of tension on that soundboard!  I could never get any internal bracing to sound good to me, so I started bracing my cigar box mandolin soundboards externally with a steel cover plate.  I figure if armored plates work for crocs, they'll work for CrocBites, and so far they do.  They do color the tone though, in a way that I like.  

here's one in action :


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