Long scale Mandola

Written by Patrick Podpadec on . Posted in Mandolins

I had originally built this instrument for a musician that had specific ideas about the scale length of this mandolin. Generally an octave mandolin has a scale length of about the 21" to 23" range. The client wanted to have it about 19" because he tuned it like a reg. mandolin ( G D A E ) and could not reach (without extreme difficulty) the normal chording positions with a scale lg. of 21". He had been playing a "Trinity College" octave mandolin with a capo on the first fret, essentially making it a 19"scale lg. instrument. This actually makes it a "long scale" mandola, which is normally tuned like cello ( C G D A ) . When the instrument was tuned like mandolin, the tension on the strings was not correct ,and it required a very large string gauge on the low G and the low D. I put a Mandola set on which is gauged at about .045" for the bottom end and about a .012 for the top and tuned it like a cello and it plays and feels great.  

   This mandola has a beautiful wood for the back and sides. It is called Goncala Alves. I believe that it is from South America and everything I read about it lead me to believe that it would be a good tone wood. I was right! Its a little difficult to bend, but fortunately this instrument didn't need any radical bends. It has a gorgeous grain pattern and finishes quite nicely I intend to use it again in the future for other instruments.

                I wanted this mandolin to have a Celtic feel to it because I relate it closely to a "irish bozouki". I bound the top, neck, and back with red/green/red purfling strips and inlayed a Celtic lover's cross on the headstock.


Another important feature to this mandola is the oval soudhole. It is trimmed with highly polished .100" thick ebony overlay.

This is a feature now standard on all Liam guitars.


You can see the details in the "X" bracing along with the placing of the back braces as well








I found that after I built it that I had a difficult time trying to find a case that fit it properly, so I decided to build the case myself.

It turned out great, but I don't think that I want to get into the case making business. I tend to over do it a bit. I will leave that job to the case pros.