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Pedro Santos Ten-String Bandolim
 
Peghead Nation’s Brazilian Choro Mandolin instructor Ian Coury demonstrates his main instrument and talks about the history of the mandolin in Brazilian music.
July 13, 2022
 

Peghead Nation instructor Ian Coury is one of Brazil’s leading mandolin players, and we recently launched his Brazilian Choro Mandolin course. Although most of the choro repertoire can be played on a standard American-style eight-string mandolin (in his Peghead course, all of Ian’s arrangements can be played on an eight-string), many choro players use a ten-string version of the instrument known as the bandolim in Brazil.

Much like how the Italian mandolin evolved after arriving in North America in the 1800s, the instrument’s design was also modified after it landed in Brazil. Ian credits Brazil’s mandolin pioneer Jacob do Bandolim (1918–1969) with playing a major part in the creation of the new instrument. “Jacob went to a Portuguese luthier, and they developed the first Brazilian mandolin,” Ian explains. With design cues taken from the Portuguese guitar, the new instrument replaced the Italian mandolin’s bowl back with a teardrop shape and a flat top.

Jacob do Bandolim popularized the eight-string version of the Brazilian bandolim, and while he may have also played a ten-string instrument, Ian says that the modern bandolim can be traced to virtuoso players Armandinho Macêdo and Hamilton de Holanda, who popularized the concept in the early 2000s. Tuned like the five-string fiddles that have become popular in American roots music in the last couple of decades, with a low C added to the standard GDAE tuning, the ten-string mandolin extends the range in a way that not only gives it a fuller sound for solo playing, but also creates a larger tonal spectrum when paired with the seven-string guitar often used in Brazilian music. 

In this video, Ian uses his Pedro Santos bandolim to demonstrate the ten-string’s capabilities. Built in Bahia, Brazil, Ian’s instrument has maple back and sides and a spruce top. To hear Ian’s bandolim paired with a standard eight-string mandolin, check out his performance of “Receita de Samba” with fellow Peghead Nation mandolin instructor Joe K. Walsh.  

To learn mandolin from Ian Coury, enroll in his Brazilian Choro Mandolin course! 

pedrosantos.com.br

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    ● Courses
    ● Live Workshops
    ● Instructors
    ● Sample Lessons
    ● Notation Guide
    ● For Beginners
 
 
    ● Vintage Vault
    ● New Gear
    ● Fine Lutherie
 
 
    ● Workshops
    ● Advice
    ● Repertoire
 
 
    ● Recordings
    ● Events
    ● Breaking News
 
 
    ● In The Studio
    ● Live Onstage
    ● Backroom
 
 
    ● New Products
    ● Inside Look
    ● Performances
    ● Partner Pages
 
 
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