View Full Version : Telecaster Octave Mandolin

Geoff B
Jun-29-2009, 4:08pm
So in a fit of inspiration over the last few weeks I was able to bring this baby to life. The motivation was that I'm needed to play more electric parts in our band, but i really don't want to go back to playing guitar (everyone plays guitar!). So I wanted a deeper voice, but familiar phrasing and chords. Octave-mando was the answer.

It has a basswood body (basswood it smells like cheap imports--but it is very light, which is nice), a maple neck, maple fretboard. The scale length is 21". I fashioned the bridge out of some 1/8" angle aluminum, then got some cheap fender style saddles from guitar center. The humbucker was one I've had sitting around, then I added volume and tone knobs.

Sound is really nice! Very rich and full, just about what I was looking for. But the 21" scale does take some getting used to! No chop chords here! With the new sound must come new styles, so it will sound like an electric guitar, but function as a mando. Once I can put a song together I'll link a Youtube video.

Jun-29-2009, 4:29pm
That really looks cool. I like the amber finish and the very Tele neck. Crank it to 11, turn up the gain and play Whiskey baby!

Brandon Flynn
Jun-29-2009, 5:10pm
I look forward to the video!

Geoff B
Jun-29-2009, 5:17pm
As you wish sir, although volume was around 2, because it totally clipped the computer microphone!
dig it here:
Whiskey Before Breakfast (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SNG08Kk4Fe8)

I am aware that this is far from what it's suppos'd t' soun like, but here goes!

Tripp Johnson
Jun-29-2009, 5:18pm
That's really cool!

Jun-29-2009, 7:08pm
I was only kidding, but whew that was cool. Kind of a rockabilly-bluegrass kind of thing. It is interesting to see it on you for scale. Looks completely different somehow. I would love to drop by and grab some measurements.

How did you finish it?

Geoff B
Jun-29-2009, 7:28pm
Come by anytime, Matt!
I stained the wood yellow, sealed with shellac, did a tint coat or two with amber, then topped with lacquer. I'm not set up to spray in my shop, so I just used the aerosol cans and did all finish work outside. Found a burn-through spot this morning, looks like I set it down on a rag with something that ate the lacquer away, so i'll need to fix that.

Or, I may go ahead and distress it a little, telecasters just look better when they've been beat up, IMHO. Distressing is a skill, and as such, I am intrigued to try it, although I usually side with the folks who ask why? Maybe I'll just walk it into walls and counters, for a few days, drop it in the garden and play it after I change the oil. Then I'll drop it flat on my belt buckle a few hundred times, drop a lit cigarette in various places, and put sandpaper on my left hand and play it without stings... hmmm... this is sounding like fun!

Jun-29-2009, 7:35pm
Very cool. I was just thinking how I'd love an eom the other day. Nice work!

Dave Ashby
Jun-29-2009, 9:06pm
Nice job, Geoff. It has a unique but uasble sound. Good amp too. Remember: Friends do let friends play Peavey.

Breedlove OF mandolin (Rachel Alexandra)
Gold Tone CC Irish Tenor banjo (Roxanne)

Talking about music is like dancing about architecture. - Steve Martin

Jun-29-2009, 9:56pm
I dug it. That was pretty cool. Whiskey before Surf.


Jun-29-2009, 11:07pm
Ooh, niiiiiice. I like the tele deluxe/custom vibe it's got going for it too. I'll take one in black, with two pickups, and Keith Richards cigarette burns. :)

Jun-30-2009, 8:48am
Come by anytime, Matt!

Or, I may go ahead and distress it a little, telecasters just look better when they've been beat up, IMHO.

Just give it to your kids for a few days.

Patrick Hull
Jun-30-2009, 1:49pm
I like it a lot. Great job. I have a dumb question, what would be the difference between this instrument and an electric tenor guitar?

Geoff B
Jun-30-2009, 2:24pm
From my understanding, the tenor guitars are tuned CGDA. I have zero experience with them, but I've read that in various places, and that they CAN be tuned GDAE. I guess it could be called a tenor too, though...

John McGann
Jul-01-2009, 8:42am

For those looking for a production model, check out Joel Eckhouse's work at Earnest Instruments. (http://www.earnestinstruments.com/)

The Tenorcaster 'tenor tele' is really great, I borrowed one for a gig a few years back and it is a fantastic instrument at a great price.

Jul-01-2009, 9:26am
Jon Mann (http://www.manndolins.com/electric_manndolins.htm) also offers up a 4 or 5 string Octave that looks really nice. Some day I'll get one to match my EM-5.


Keith Owen
Jul-01-2009, 3:59pm
Man that thing sounds awesome

Jul-01-2009, 8:30pm

I had been meaning to e-mail you and let you know how much I have enjoyed #19 (a.k.a. "Birdie") in its first year of life. Might as well go public with the shout-out. I had it in a local store to try out strings, and played it next to a Collings F5 - there was no comparison (the store clerk said the Collings was still "tight," but I could tell mine had a much more open and complex sound). I haven't played it as much as I want, as the Sedentary Ramblers have got me beating on the '17 Gibson for our Old Time music.

Anyway, I do think that your Octave is way cool, and I've been wanting to play something electric. Next time the money truck backs up I may ask you to make a matching pair - octave and standard. That would at least look impressive, even if I can't play either of them.

I also dig the deep sound to this. Yet it seems easy to distort. What kind of pickup(s) do you use on it, and how easy is it to manipulate for effects?



Geoff B
Jul-01-2009, 10:09pm
Hey Jim! I've been meaning to get in touch with you, but the e-mail I have of yours doesn't work anymore. I'd love to catch up privately, if you wouldn't mind e-mailing on your info to me again.

The humbucker is a standard 6 string one, not even sure of the maker. That makes this sound more like a Les Paul than a Telecaster. Very meaty, very thick sound, which I like a lot. Yes, it does respond to distortion very well (had the gain up a little in the video).

Thanks for the kind words on #19, I was thinking recently about when I got to see it last fall and thought how nicely it is coming along. I'd put it up against any Collings I've heard, I'm glad you agree! Take care, it's great to see you around here again!

Jul-04-2009, 1:06pm
very cool...electric mando is alot of fun...and it certainly catches people's attention...ive got an 8 string mandobird that i love to crank to 11 when im frustrated with my regular mando playing and i get the urge to rockout abit. you did a nice job on making that!