Yes, ash back and sides on that instrument, which I call a zoukulele. Though it looks like a mando, it's tuned like a tenor uke: GCEA (low to high).
I've never actually heard the term "alto mando" before. How is that tuned? And what's the scale length?
The other instrument you asked about (at least, the one I think you're asking about) is a guitar-bouzouki, custom designed and built for an Irish player named Tony Dunne. It is tuned ADGBE, with octave pairs on the A, D, and G courses, and unisons on the B and E. Scale length is 25.6" (650mm). Here's Tony playing both of these instruments at the Newport Guitar Festival in Florida last April:
Sorry about that, after I posted that message I scrolled back up and saw that there were pics of it there...meant to let you know that, but forgot! It's beautiful. Mine is going to look like a mini guitar shape body with the 8 string 22+" scale neck. I will probably have some questions as I move ahead! Thanks, Edward
Thanks for the update/advice Jon. I have been pondering over the scale length question for a while and it looks like you settled it. Books banter the "right way" around and all seem to disagree, but I respect your opinion very highly...one thing to write about scale lengths, another to have experimented with them and found the best! I am not a busy builder like you, I only build for myself and it's a long time between projects... I have been in the planning stages too long on this octave mando and I have a free source for great tone woods right now and need to take advantage of it while it lasts! I will keep you posted with my progress now that I about to move past the paper plans stage. I would love to see pics of the work you are about to start, especially the L-00 guitar. And solid bodies are not the Dark Side in my book, as a matter of fact I am about to build a body for a neck I built a while back for a 6 string banjo that I made and didn't like. Speaking of the Dark Side, I saw a bumper sticker that read "Come over to the Dark Side...we have Cookies!" take care and keep me posted! Thanks, Edward
It's been a while, hope things are good for you! I know I asked this before, but I am about to get started on my octave mando and I wanted to know what scale you used on your hybrid 9 string? Thanks, Edward
Thank you for the kind comment. In my page, I posted a picture with the title "fanplate", and added a detailed comment about how those tuners work. In fact, they are typically Portuguese, nobody else makes tuners like those. However, there are 18th century english instruments, called "English gittars", with similar tuners, only the plate was square, not fan-shaped, and there were no thumbscrews, only the screws, you had to have a key (similar to those of old time clockwork toys, or the ones used by piano tuners) to tune the instrument. That was a great progress, if compared with renaissance lutes's tuners, however these modern ones are much better, and are in use in Portuguese tuners since the last quarter of the 19th century, if not before. They are reliable, long-lasting and grant you fine tuning that holds the string tension for days. And they are a lot nicer than conventional tuners. Besides that, they allow to contain tuners for 12 strings in a very small space (much better than the celebrated Rickenbaker solution). The two examples shown in the pictures I posted are custom made, handcrafted ones, made specially for me by the man I consider the very best artisan in the field. You can choose very expensive ones, made of noble woodas, or semi-precious stones ( Traditional Portuguese taste is a litlle kitsch). I go for solid brass thumbscrews, it's a matter of taste.
Nice to hear from you!