View Full Version : Cheap Octave
Does anyone know where i can buy the cheapest octave mandolin ever? all i want is something that plays and isnt broken or made of plactic.
There is a range called 'Blue Moon' (probably known by other brands), which is Korean, I think. They make reasonable quality beginners Octave Mandolas and bouzoukis, starting at about 150 - 200 dollars. I'm not aware of anything less expensive.
Ah, but there is. #Surf City off of ebay. #around 100 bucks. #You'll need to dress up the frets and change strings, I had to put a shim under the bridge on mine. #Not a bad piece, but not real good either. #
I think you can get a Troubador also for cheap. #Don't have the web site.
here's a Surf City (http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=10179&item=3758329913&rd=1)
But I think I'd go with This guy istead of the SC,same mando, just set-up (http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=10179&item=3758106368&rd=1)
Here's one off of Ebay. (http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=623&item=3758862451&rd=1) I haven't see this one before.
Here's a Trinity College (http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=2385&item=3758479087&rd=1) , it'll probably need a set up, too.
I have too much time on my hands right now.
heares the link to Troubadur mandos and Zoukes........I have a Zouke of theres my first one and love the sound
hope its a help
Save three hundred and build one. John
Here is a (reportedly) decent one for $99. #The shipping might be prohibitive if
you are ordering from outside the U.S.
Lark in the Morning $99 Octave Mandolin (http://www.larkinthemorning.com/product.asp_Q_pn_E_MAN089_A_Octave+Mandolins_E_)
I played the Lark in the Morning OM-- it was really pretty good for the price (and I suspect is is nearly identical to the Surf City one...). The only reason I didn't buy it at the time was that they had had a fire, and had no cases left, and I was travelling...
IMHO this would be a fine starter instrument, once set up, and it would be hard to beat the price!
ps-- that was a couple of years ago. I'm sure they have cases now!
And John-- there's no WAY to build one for less than $99 once you factor in materials and time... even if you have all the expertise and tools already!
The vast majority of the folks from cittern-L who have bought the Lark in the morning instrument bitterly regret the experience.
I had one, and by the time all was done, I could have had a custom-made instrument for less than it cost me.
"And John-- there's no WAY to build one for less than $99 once you factor in materials and time... even if you have all the expertise and tools already!" #
I agree completely that is why I specified three hundred$. I know it isn't the cheapest possible but some people like to do it themselves. I just listed it as an alternative. Thanks for pointing that out I don't want phishphan to get the idea it is cheaper because it isn't cheaper than those 99$ mass produced imports. If your careful you could easily have an instrument you'll be happy with for a longer period of time. John http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif
No doubt, John.
I hope to build one some day... Am seriously considering taking Don Kawalek's class... just looking for a time when the stars (e.g. time and $) line up right to do so.
There's no way I could do this on my own... without the tools, experience or workspace to do it.
The main reason I chimed in in favor of the Lark instrument is that Phish's standards seem to be pretty low. I'm sure that anyone who hoped for something better should look to other sources. Remember, his standards were:
1) cheapest ever
2) not broken
3) not made of plastic
It definitely meets those criteria! I don't think anyone should expect much from a $99 instrument.
Don't sell yourself short otterly2k I bet you'd do just fine building one. I think anyone who can pay the needed attention to detail to play a mandolin is capable. John
Buy a used 12-string guitar and restring it as an octave mandolin. Might need to file the nut a little for wider strings, unless you like the octave pairs in which case you don't need to do any adjustments. I just bought a Sigma--cheap Martin-- for $150. I also have an old Aria which plays fine. Guitar strings are cheap, too. I suggest you first take any six-string guitar, take off the D string and the low E and retune it GDAE to see if you can stand the reach needed to play chords with the long scale neck.
Buy a used 12-string guitar and restring it as an octave mandolin.
Just reading that reminded my of a yearning from my youth - a good quality 12 string guitar! I have the OM and zouk, now all I need to make the child inside me smile is a 12 string!
Build your own....
Build your own....
Don, I admire your strident use of self promotion via this board (in several threads). I hope it lasts. When I tried something similar on a whistle page, I was castigated and cast out, after a short while!
Adare_Steve you build whistles. Pm me a web site if you would. John
I bought one of these a year or so ago from a little old lady who was anxious to sell it as her husband was ill and needed the money. She said it was her husband's favorite. Next thing I know she has another one up for sale. I guess her husband wasn't happy with owning just one! In my Ebay zeal I ended up paying considerably more than the Lark price. I didn't like the shape of the sound hole so I pulled the hole binding off and recut the hole. I had to reshape and re-attach the binding as I had an exposed edge of plywood (okay, lamitate) showing. After more tweaking it started to be okay to play and didn't sound too bad. I even put pearl dots on the fingerboard as it was plain. I ended up throwing it in on a deal for another mandolin and I think I got close to what I had in it on the trade. I even had the crazy idea of re-topping the soundboard to see what that would do but common sense got the better of me!
"Cheap" is always relative, of course, but from those reports of the Lark octave, I think paying $200 for the Troubadour OM is a very good move by comparison. These need a bit of setup (i.e. either know-how or additional money to pay someone with the know-how), but then they are very decent solid-wood instruments indeed.
steve V. johnson
I've seen &/or played the Larks and all the others but the Blue Moons. I'd recommend the Troubadour over them all.
Having said that, I'd still take the Troub (and esp any of the others) immediately upon arrival to a good tech for a setup. It can make a world of difference in the amount of satisfaction and fun with these things.
Hey Karen! Go ahead and build one! You'll love it! <GG>
I know I will love it... I'm serious about taking Luthier's class... it's just a matter of when the vacation time and money and class offerings line up. Also trying to decide if I want to build an OM or a mando.
re: the original question: no doubt that a solid wood instrument is a better plan if one has the $ to do it. It has seemed to me that the Troubadours are a pretty good deal in that respect, and I'm glad to hear more about it here.
steve V. johnson
The Troubadour that I'm most familiar with is the Gervais mandola. I bought one for a good friend, and I get to play it fairly often. The bridge on this one could be much better, and will be replaced soon, and I suspect it could benefit from a bone nut. It is very a very light instrument also, and I think he may put a cast tailpiece on it, which I think will complement it nicely.
The Troubadour instruments definitely have a European sound, very different from the A/F models' American paradigm...
I like it.
The Troubadour that I'm most familiar with is the Gervais mandola. #I bought one for a good friend, and I get to play it fairly often. #The bridge on this one could be much better, and will be replaced soon, and I suspect it could benefit from a bone nut. #It is very a very light instrument also, and I think he may put a cast tailpiece on it, which I think will complement it nicely.
The Gervais mandola is identical to the bouzouki, except for the shorter neck. The bridge that ships with these is hopeless, but easy enough to replace. I have put an ebony bridge with bone saddle (cost about £6) on my bouzouki, which works very well. Otherwise, the zero fret needed to be lowered dramatically (this is true for many lower-end model), which again is very straightforward. With these modifications, it's a lovely sounding and playing instrument. The nut is a rather ghastly looking soft plastic, but because of the zero fret I don't think it has any effect on tone, other than providing string spacing, so I won't bother replacing it.
steve V. johnson
Martin reminded me "Otherwise, the zero fret needed to be lowered dramatically (this is true for many lower-end model), which again is very straightforward. #With these modifications, it's a lovely sounding and playing instrument. #The nut is a rather ghastly looking soft plastic, but because of the zero fret I don't think it has any effect on tone, other than providing string spacing, so I won't bother replacing it."
Yes, I had forgotten about the zero fret (part of that "European sound" ... <GG>), mainly because the one on my pal's Gervais
is a good height...
Thanks for the reminder, Martin!
I think the Blue Moon stuff used to be marketed under the name of Gremlin by Hobgoblin, I bought a Gremlin mandola,took 3 returns to get one that played ! The cheap end ones are made in China