View Full Version : Mandola, OM, Tenor Guitar . . .

Brad Weiss
May-01-2004, 6:43am
I'm thinking about adding something to my small stable of strings, and wondering what you folks thinks might work best in an acoustic jazz setting. #I know John McGann is keen on the octave and I'm inclined towards it (if I can actually find one...) But the range (and size) of the Mandola and the tone of the tenor have their appeal.

Any advice appreciated (and I hope it's ok to use this forum for my query)

Jim M.
May-01-2004, 11:54am
Get all 3 http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif

They all have their own distinct sound, and I'm sure you can find different uses for them. I had an OM and tenor guitar, sold the tenor, now I miss it and want another. Also, I'm sure I'll order a mandola some day or pick one up if I see an irrestible one.

May-01-2004, 4:00pm

I own a mandola and an OM...so I feel like I can speak to those...For me the OM works better in a small ensemble, because they have the tendancy not to project too well, the middle register seems to cut through the best (which is in mandola country)...and I love mine...but the Mandola for Blues/Folk seems to have a grittier sound and cuts through more...my solos get noticed more...but like I said I have both and have no plans on getting rid of either anytime soon...

Ted Eschliman
May-01-2004, 4:39pm
The notion that all three are unique and different couldn't be more dead right.
I gave up my Octave, because I thought I'd have to break "new ground" introducing it to a jazz ensemble, and opted for the purchasing the tenor from a charming West Coast gentleman. (And no, Jim M., I'm not selling it back to you!...)
The tenor really has an established role in "main stream acoustic swing" (now if that isn't an oxymoron...); if you are playing that genre, it would be your path of least resistance.
However, having said that, ironically, I think since there are more cottage makers out there, on Octave might actually be easier to find than a decent priced tenor.

Pete Martin
May-03-2004, 12:24pm
Tenor! Very under rated/appreciated instrument.

May-03-2004, 9:20pm
As the owner of a mando, dola and octave, I would say the real is not which one, but which one first. I have been looking at tennors on ebay. Me? A problem? I DON'T THINK SO DEAR. Right now I would say an octave first but tommorow I might say somthing else. Anyway let us know what you get. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/cool.gif http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/coffee.gif

Brad Weiss
May-04-2004, 7:26am
Thanks for the input everybody! I'm leaning towards a tenor (for now,,. maybe a mandola down the road...) But then, as Ted says, they seem a bit tought to find. I have seen rather inexpensive older Harmony archtops- and I'm inclined towards an archtop, for no really good reason. #This may be the path of least resistance- since my skills don't really warrant a major expenditure. #But if anyone has even better ideas, I'm all ears.


Pete Martin
May-04-2004, 11:27am
Try both flat tops and arch tops. A good flat top to look for is a Regal with a spruce top. Shouldn't cost much and many of these sound quite good. Also I recommend a spruce top rather than the mahogany tops. Ring much better and you can hear every note better.

Daniel Nestlerode
May-09-2004, 7:20pm
I know I'm a little late on this, but...

1) Lowell Levinger (AKA Banana) runs vintageinstruments.com and has a raft of great tenors (more than three) http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif Surf here: Vintage Instrumetns (http://www.vintageinstruments.com/tenors.html)
2) I own a mandola, have played and listened to OM's and tenors. Of the three, my own preference for Jazz would be the tenor guitar. It has the capacity (IMHO) of greater subtlety, and subtlety is a Jazz sine qua non. But a musician can choose his or her own "voice," so the choice is really yours to make. Use your gut. What makes your playing distinctive? On what instrument are you most comfortable? Stick with what makes you happiest.


May-11-2004, 11:19pm
What style jazz? Before Eddy Lang everyone had a tenor banjo in the rhythm section.
Then all the banjo players got a tenor guitar to keep their jobs, when band leaders all wanted an Eddy Lang in their band.