Results 1 to 12 of 12

Thread: Regal octophone

  1. #1
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Rochester NY 14610
    Posts
    11,453

    Default

    During Bernunzio's big expansion sale, I bought this 1930's Regal Octofone today. Scale is just under 21 inches; birch sides and back, spruce top. The headstock has been repaired. John B's strung it with OM strings, but I may be experimenting in the future. Very light weight, bright sound, and a lot of projection; workmanship seems quite clean for what was obviously not a primo instrument 75 years ago.

    Interested in comments -- and in knowing if anyone's ever owned another Octofone, and if so, how he or she strung/tuned/used the instrument.

    Later: edited for spelling -- "Octofone" not "Octophone." What was I thinking?



    Allen Hopkins
    Gibsn: '54 F5 3pt F2 A-N Custm K1 m'cello
    Natl Triolian Dobro mando
    Victoria b-back Merrill alumnm b-back
    H-O mandolinetto
    Stradolin Vega banjolin
    Sobell'dola Washburn b-back'dola
    Eastmn: 615'dola 805 m'cello
    Flatiron 3K OM

  2. #2
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Arizona
    Posts
    642

    Default

    Looks like you got a fine deal on it as well.

  3. #3
    Registered User otterly2k's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Philadelphia
    Posts
    3,598

    Default

    cool Allen-- I've wondered about those... almost bought one a few months ago. But decided against the ebay gamble.
    Karen Escovitz
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Otter OM #1
    Brian Dean OM #32
    Old Wave Mandola #372
    Phoenix Neoclassical #256
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    If you're gonna walk on thin ice, you might as well dance!

  4. #4
    Andrew C. Jerman
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    IN
    Posts
    2,215

    Default

    Wow. Had I seen that I would have bought it. I have one in pieces at home that I have been taking dimensions from in order to build one. I really like the looks of the octofone. How does it play?

  5. #5
    Full Grown and Cussin' brunello97's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Ann Arbor/Austin
    Posts
    3,746

    Default

    Allen,

    I've seen a number of these go by on Ebay. Yours certainly looks in far better shape than the ones I've seen. The price seems quite good. Nice catch.

    Mick
    Ever tried, ever failed, no matter. Try again, fail again, fail better.--Samuel Beckett
    ______________________

    '05 Cuisinart Toaster
    '93 Chuck Taylor lowtops
    '12 Stetson Roadmaster
    '06 Bialetti expresso maker
    '14 Irish Linen Ramon Puig

  6. #6
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Westchester, NY
    Posts
    20,866

    Default

    Man, Allen, you got to stop before your signature gets longer than the Mandolin Cafe page.

    (I should talk....)

    Jim
    Jim

    My Stream on Soundcloud
    Facebook

    Playing lately:
    Ca. 1923 Washburn (L&H) Pro A -- Brentrup A4C -- 1915 Frank Merwin Ashley violin -- 1904 Embergher Type 3 -- 1937 Gibson L-Century -- 1939 Gibson L-00 -- ca. 1890s Fairbanks Senator Banjo

  7. #7
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Rochester NY 14610
    Posts
    11,453

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by (Celtic Saguaro @ June 05 2007, 16:37)
    Looks like you got a fine deal on it as well.
    Guess so -- I lucked out, living in a city with two excellent vintage instrument dealers, John Bernunzio and Dave Stutzman. Between them -- well, you can see the result below, and let me assure you, what I list are just my mandolins. There are also guitars, banjos, ukes, Autoharps, concertinas, etc. As they say, I can resist anything but temptation!

    John's having a big sale, to help finance his store expansion, and he dropped the price on the Octofone about $175. I had been thinking about it before, but when I saw the reduction, I went for it.

    He's also got a prototype Eastman mandocello that he says was made for the winter NAMM show in CA. When the chaos in his showroom caused by expansion is over, I may try to test drive it and post a report here. Not in the market to purchase it; it apparently lists around $2400. Here's a picture from Bernunzio's website.
    Allen Hopkins
    Gibsn: '54 F5 3pt F2 A-N Custm K1 m'cello
    Natl Triolian Dobro mando
    Victoria b-back Merrill alumnm b-back
    H-O mandolinetto
    Stradolin Vega banjolin
    Sobell'dola Washburn b-back'dola
    Eastmn: 615'dola 805 m'cello
    Flatiron 3K OM

  8. #8
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Rochester NY 14610
    Posts
    11,453

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by (thistle3585 @ June 05 2007, 17:02)
    How does it play?
    Kind of a narrow, deep, "banjo-y" neck. Action's a bit high up the neck, and the bridge is quite low, so there's not going to be a lot of adjustment possible. Still, within my fairly generous parameters for playability.

    Not a big sound from the small box, but very clear, with a lot of projection. Fret spacing similar to a short neck (17 fret) tenor banjo. Seems like it would be a better lead than rhythm instrument, in a band context, or useful for vocal accompaniment.

    Since I have a decent OM already, my Flatiron 3K, I'm considering doing some experiments with stringing, perhaps doing the lower courses in octaves. For now I'm taking it to jam sessions and sing-arounds, searching for its best role. For less than $200, I think it's an excellent instrument.
    Allen Hopkins
    Gibsn: '54 F5 3pt F2 A-N Custm K1 m'cello
    Natl Triolian Dobro mando
    Victoria b-back Merrill alumnm b-back
    H-O mandolinetto
    Stradolin Vega banjolin
    Sobell'dola Washburn b-back'dola
    Eastmn: 615'dola 805 m'cello
    Flatiron 3K OM

  9. #9
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Beautiful Lakewood, Ohio
    Posts
    5

    Default

    Hello! #I'm fairly new to the Cafe, advanced beginner (and likely always will be), but I love all things mandolin, I struggle with MAS, and have found great advice here!

    Calling all OCTOFONE players:

    Recently found a nice Octofone with a straight neck, dead flat top, clean frets, no cracks, good tone. #(Not as good a deal as Allen's, but inflation is everywhere!) #I know these were supposed to be "Eight Instruments in One" by changing the tuning, but wonder just how this could possibly work. #

    I'd like to play it as a Unison Octave (I love the 21" scale)- any string weight and type recommendations, given that I'd like the straight neck to stay that way? (I am partial to Thomastik-Infelds...and Single Malts! #Go figure...) #Just curious: any string weights that could be OM but feasibly tuned down to Mandocello without being floppy? #

    Also need to find a case, preferably hardshell, new or used - any suggestions?

    Thanks in advance! Gotta go hear Irish Music tonight!
    Mark Duluk
    Cleveland, Ohio
    1985 Kentucky KM 180-S
    1960 Otwin Octave Mandola
    Great-Great-Grandpa's Fiddle
    Old Hondo (Camping Mando)
    1978 Alvarez Dreadnought Guitar

  10. #10
    Registered User steve V. johnson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Bloomington, Indiana
    Posts
    3,839

    Default

    Congrats Allen and Marquis!

    I've handled two of these, one pretty healthy, the other unstrung and very cracked up, tho in one piece. #

    I was amazed at how light they are, and I both of these were offered to me but I passed, thinking that they were just
    too fragile for my hamfistedness.

    I saw a pretty healthy-looking one on eBay recently and I was a tad tempted, but still felt that fragility to be daunting.
    Maybe that's just me...

    I'll look forward to following your adventures with these so I hope you'll keep us up on the different configurations that you find for them.

    Thanks and congrats again,

    stv
    steve V. johnson

    Culchies
    http://cdbaby.com/Culchies
    The Lopers
    Ghosts Like Me
    http://cdbaby.com/Lopers1
    There Was A Time
    http://cdbaby.com/Lopers2

  11. #11
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Rochester NY 14610
    Posts
    11,453

    Default

    [1] They are light and fragile. I've had mine back in the shop twice, after an old headstock repair let go, and then the re-repair also let go.

    [2] Definitely a niche instrument, IMHO. I've strung mine as an OM with octaves on the lower two courses, hoping to reduce the tension on the neck and top by using lighter strings. The action is a bit high, and since the bridge is quite low, there's little adjustment room; the instrument's not worth a neck reset. My repair person says the neck block is small and made of a fairly soft wood, so I want to avoid too much string pull.

    [3] Right now, I'm mainly using it for vocal accompaniment, and a few instrumentals not at top speed. It works quite well as a different, "non-guitar" voice behind old-timey or Celtic songs. The octave lower strings give it a broad sound with a lot of overtones.

    [4] I took a first (unwound) string, which is tuned to E, and tuned it to D as a pair with the lower (wound) third string. Then I took a second (wound) A string, tuned it to G to pair with the lower fourth string. Works OK so far.

    [5] There's not a lot of angle over the bridge, so I have to play with a fairly light touch to keep the lower string of the fourth course from jumping out of the bridge slot. I may deepen the slot just a tad to avoid this problem.

    [6] I would recommend babying the Octofone a bit. It's lightly built, quite responsive, but I can foresee trouble ahead if I don't treat it gently. And as for a case: it came with a generic 75-year-old grey chipboard case, and is still reposing there. Someday I may slap together a coffin case for it.
    Allen Hopkins
    Gibsn: '54 F5 3pt F2 A-N Custm K1 m'cello
    Natl Triolian Dobro mando
    Victoria b-back Merrill alumnm b-back
    H-O mandolinetto
    Stradolin Vega banjolin
    Sobell'dola Washburn b-back'dola
    Eastmn: 615'dola 805 m'cello
    Flatiron 3K OM

  12. #12
    Registered User otterly2k's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Philadelphia
    Posts
    3,598

    Default

    After being curious seeing these around, I played one of these last summer and had the same impressions... very light, also rather fragile, light sounding as well, and I didn't think it would stand up to my hammer hand... so didn't pursue further. I do like the shape, tho, visually... they are interesting. If I had one, I'd use light gauge strings as I'd be concerned that it would cave under higher pressure.
    Karen Escovitz
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Otter OM #1
    Brian Dean OM #32
    Old Wave Mandola #372
    Phoenix Neoclassical #256
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    If you're gonna walk on thin ice, you might as well dance!

Similar Threads

  1. Old regal
    By Jim in forum Looking for information about mandolins
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: Jul-28-2008, 6:33pm
  2. Octophone (octave mando) on ebay
    By Brutus1999 in forum CBOM
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: Jan-07-2007, 3:53pm
  3. Regal
    By Jim Garber in forum Looking for information about mandolins
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: Sep-11-2006, 9:57pm
  4. Regal Octophone
    By thistle3585 in forum CBOM
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: Oct-19-2005, 5:20pm
  5. Regal Octophone
    By plunkett5 in forum Looking for information about mandolins
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: Sep-07-2005, 8:50am

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •