View Full Version : Old Wve octave mandos...

Kid Charlemagne
Apr-05-2004, 9:21am
Well, that ol' MAS is beginning to rear its ugly head again (I think it's the springtime or something). #In any case, I've been considering expanding my instrumental repertoire beyond the mandolin to the octave mandolin.

I'm fortunate enough to have #311 of Bill Bussmann's C# mandolins (picture here (http://garnet.acns.fsu.edu/~tgb6469/mando4.jpg)), which I received last June and which is playing sweeter and sweeter every day. #So I trust the man's craftsmanship, and he's great to work with.

I'm curious, therefore, not only about who plays the octave (and what you think of it as an instrument in general, in terms of relative level of difficulty to mandolin) , but also who's got one of Bill's, and what you think of it.

Apr-05-2004, 4:29pm
I have one and I love it. It's beautiful and sounds great. It plays very easy.

I've had it a couple of years. Although I play mandola most of the time, I like playing the octave when I can. If it were not so great, I would probably sell it because I don't play it as much as I should. But everytime I get ready to sell, I just can't let it go.

Also, the few times I've played out, I've used it to accompany a guitarist. That sounds cool and it's a real conversation piece.

I have the oval hole. What's really nice about this for me is that I can mount a Fishman Rare Earth pickup in it. It sounds great live/amplified. I think it is a 20.5" scale -- I'm too lazy to get up and measure it right now (but I will). That is a good compromise for melody and chording.

Of course, you already know how great Bussmann's instruments are. You won't be disappointed with his octave.


Apr-06-2004, 5:00am
I've played a few Old Wave's at Zoukfest. #Wow... great instruments. #(not to mention workmanship). #

My daily driver now tho is a Stepehen O. Smith 23 in. scale OM (Zouk). #Scale length and neck shape (width, thickness etc.) are the main factors (IMHO) that contribute to playability.

Before I got the SOS I played a Davy Stuart 21in. scale. #I can say without hesitation that Davy understands exactly what an OM neck should be like for someone that plays melody. #It fits perfectly in my hand. of course...YMMV...

as far as relative difficulty to mando...hmmm ...I find the main differences to lie (as you might expect) in the left hand...there may be more shifting depending on your fingering technique. #Small quick notes like hammer on / pull off runs are for me more difficult. You use the open strings more as well because closed chording like you can do on a mando is very limited due to the reaches.(the evil closed G chord on a mando is impossible on an OM).... I like to add nice open string drones to my playing and subsequently, I find myself retuning the OM depending on the set I play. #GDAE #GDAD #AEAE #Something I don't do on a mando...

On the right hand, playing ornamentation differs in that the string tensions/mass etc. are different on the OM and it takes a different feel to get the sound I like.
On mando, I am slowly migrating to a thicker pick (1MM Clayton) to gve me the full round Bell tones that I LOVE to hear from the Lebeda. #Whereas on Zouk/OM I prefer the Clayton Ultem 072. #The lighter pick on the OM adds that "snap" (some refer to it as "Spling") that brings the percussive tone from the instrument.

overall, I'd say that its not harder than the Mando..but it certainly is different.