Official Luthiers Forum!

What is normal dimensions for a mandola?
Page 1 of 1

Author:  unkabob [ Sun Jun 09, 2013 9:37 pm ]
Post subject:  What is normal dimensions for a mandola?

I am trying to lay out a mandola/bouzouki and the dimensions available vary a lot so I will lay out my numbers and please give me your opinions.

Scale length 475 mm (18 3/4")
Body width 280 mm (11")
Body depth 50 mm (2")
Body length 300mm (12")
Nut 32 mm (1 1/4")
Neck at join 40mm (1 9/16")

I am leaning toward a Spanish heel.
I prefer to work in mahogany but will it sound right?
I prefer falcate or "A" bracing.

Any opinions would be appreciated.

Bob :ugeek:

Author:  sebastiaan56 [ Tue Jun 11, 2013 10:04 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: What is normal dimensions for a mandola?

A few comments,

18 1/2" is a bit long for a Mandola, 16 3/4" - 17 1/2" is more typical. Unless you are planning to use really thick strings of course.
Body dimensions should work
I prefer a wider nut, 38mm
At the neck join (14th fret) I go for about 46mm
Spanish heel should work but the neck will need to be adequately stiffened. I used 2 carbon rods in an OM Ive just finished and that seems to be working well.
Mahogany should work well
Either bracing should work.

Have you got Graham McDonalds book? It will take you through the design considerations in great depth. I strongly recommend it.

Author:  Arnt Rian [ Wed Jun 12, 2013 4:31 am ]
Post subject:  Re: What is normal dimensions for a mandola?

When you say "mandola / bouzouki", I have to wonder what instrument you have in mind. There is some controversy and confusion about the names of these things, and what scales and tunings they refer to. A mandola in the US is usually understood to be to the mandolin what the viola is to the violin, which is four double courses of strings, tuned in fifths to the same pitches as the viola (C-G-D-A low-to-high), a fifth lower than a mandolin. In parts of Europe this is called a tenor mandola. There is also a fairly wide range of scale lengths, nut widths etc. in use, but the "standard" scale that was established by Gibson in the golden era of mandolin orchestras etc about a century ago, is about 16". There is of course no reason you need to limit yourself to this, here's one of many good threads about it from Mandolin Cafe.

I second the recommendation for McDondald's books, especially since it sounds like you are planning a flat top instrument.

Author:  unkabob [ Wed Jun 12, 2013 11:47 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: What is normal dimensions for a mandola?

I am taking your suggestion of a joint-width of 46 mm. I am thinking about a bolt-on mortice and tennon joint which would allow me to correct any error in scale length.

Thank you for the link. There is a lot of information contained in that thread.

I am building the body mold and bending form today so things are still flexible.

Bob :ugeek:

Page 1 of 1 All times are UTC - 5 hours
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group