View Full Version : Carved Top Octaves

Jul-07-2004, 6:55am
Do any of you play a carved top octave? Like the Webers? I've been checking out a Weber Gallatin octave, seems pretty nice. Sounds good too, but I was wondering how they compare to the flat tops like Trillium, Sage, Stewart, etc. Anyone have experience with these types of instruments? I know the looks are non-traditional, but I kind of like them. Any thoughts? http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/rock.gif

Jul-07-2004, 10:08pm
Well - I play a Sawchyn AO-2 which is a remarkable playing and sounding instrument. It also looks amazing! The tone seems to be more compressed, resonant and much Louder than any flat top octave I've owned or played. This is an extremely long scale at 610mm (24inch) and it responds best if played in GDAd tuning - at least with my hand size and skill set.

Peter Sawchyn's (http://www.sawchyn.com/)web site is worth exploring - go to mandolins then to the AO-2 then AK-2. Mine is closer to the length of the Mando Cello with it's body size but a slightly shorter neck. Rather than try to explain the playability - the sound difference is one of quality and complexity of overtones and resonance. You can play very soft, subtle sounds and be heard. You can also hear my mistakes more readily.

I've only played one Weber octave - in a store and it wasn't set up very well ... nothing to really compare.

When it's returned from Peter (- truss rod problem - a first for both him and me) I'll post a picture or two with a matching A2 he made for me. These are both dark pumpkin tops with amazing grain in the top and back and sides. Incredible workmanship and sound.

Jul-08-2004, 1:51am
I've never played a Weber Octave. #But the Stuart is top. (22in scale)

As to comparing arched to flat top, I'd say that the carved top has more "thwump" to the sound and the range of Dynamics is greater. #More control over the sound.

But a flat top can really BOOM on chords and be loud, with more sustain. #Like Dervish.

For melody I prefer the carved top sound. Like Roger Landes.


Jul-08-2004, 7:58am
Thanks for the info guys, and Dolamon: please do post the pictures of yours when you get a chance. I'd love to see it.