Which to play - bouzouki, cittern, or octave mandola?
This thread follows on from MikeS thread about tunings for an octave mandola.
I’ve been toying with the idea of buying one of these instruments for some time now. However, I’m having problems selecting the one best suited for what I want to be able to do, which is have the potential to give meaty accompaniment with a reasonable bottom end (as well as light accompaniment of course!!!) and to be able to pick tunes without too much of a painful stretch (and string tension not too high). I had been thinking along the lines of a cittern, tuned CGDAE, or a 5-course short-scale length bouzouki tuned that way as well - my intention being to capo at the 7th fret for playing tunes. I’d use a Quickdraw capo - so either the headstock/nut would have to allow for the capo to be parked over it, or there’d have to be a zero fret with sufficient space for this. Failing this, I’d tune the whole instrument down a semitone, and treat the first fret as a zero-fret. What I don’t know, is which would be the best instrument to go for with respect to ease of playing tunes, in relation to scale length, string gauge and tension. Also, advice with respect to unison or octave string tuning of the lower courses would be useful.
Has anyone any advice, please?