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Author Topic: Got a Troubadour Gervaise Mandola  (Read 2190 times)

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Offline muttonhead

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Got a Troubadour Gervaise Mandola
« on: Oct 25, 2009, 11:43:32 PM »
About a month ago I got a Mandola from
The short version: Not bad, especially for the price.
Some setup, replace the strings and off you go.

The boring details: David, the TroubadourUK guy is nice to work with and pretty darn responsive. Only took about ten days to get here (Western US) and while the box was beat-up, the mando had not a scratch. Tuned up and took it to a jam that night. Folks liked the look. Blew the windings off three of the stock strings that night. Yep, they're trash. Also found that the under-saddle pickup didn't work. It was an acoustic jam so that wasn't an issue, but the usual band I play with is kinda loud so I had ordered the version with the pickup installed.

Set up: Fortunately I had also ordered a set of Ted's JazzMando.com flatwounds so the stock strings came off the next day. Found that the hole under the bridge was off by enough so it was causing the pickup wire to kink and (presumably) fail. David sent a new one the next day and mentioned that they hadn't seen that before. I recut the saddle slots and checked the Zero Fret, which was actually about the right height. I rather like having a zero fret since it seems to make the fretted and unfretted notes sound more similar. The stock tuners are rather rough, so I put a leather tension strap over each of the string barrels and 'ran in' the tuner mechanism for a while with an electric screwdriver. That and a little lube seemed to help.

Sound: My only real point of comparison is with a local TC Mandola that costs four times as much. It has some nice PB strings on it and has a nice ringy tone to it. Frankly if I'd had the money I'd have bought the Trinity.  Mine, with the flatwound strings does not sound the same, as you'd expect. Slightly more muted, it doesn't 'cut through' as much when playing acoustically. When playing amplified, I can get as much 'ring' as I want with the Treble slider so it's not an issue there.
Over all I'm pretty pleased.

Note David's web site still says the Gervaise has a truss rod. Mine doesn't, though I hear the OM and Bouzouki versions of this body do. Given the very stout neck, I don't see why you'd need one.

Interesting side note: I found these instruments when I was looking for the Troubadour Music web site associated with a shop by that name that's just down the street from my house. Researched it on MandolinCafe.com and then ordered...all the way from Scotland.


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