View Full Version : Playing rock on CBOM

Dec-02-2004, 10:57am
I ask often myself a question without find answers.

With the mandolin you can play very fast for solo (little instrument)

The Guitar solo, using the range beetwen the strings (in fourth no like in fifth like us.) so can play different solo for guitar

How can adapt solo in rock music on my octave mandolin ? ( i must play pentatonic scales ? on the high or the bottom of the neck ? ....so)

I think it's easier for someone who know playing guitar but when you don't know playint this instrument, and just CBOM.

How start ?

Dec-02-2004, 11:50am
Good question; I (guitarist) leapt from mando to an OM quickly
(much MUCH too quickly). My thought was that the voice and body size of an OM would translate well in the rock style.
But I failed, mostly because I hadn't gotten the basics down properly. I'm back to regular mandolin, but I still think you're on the right track.

Dec-02-2004, 3:08pm
I've been playin my octave in a a sort of 60s-70s rock band - we do Hendrix, CSN, Neil Young, the Band , Santana, Allman Bros, Beatles, Birds, Zepplin, Jefferson Airplane, 10 Years After, ZZ Top

I'll admit , even with an effects pedal - it is very diffcult ( at least for me) to get the exact sound like the classic 60s-70s guitar- especially string bends - just aint the same on coursed instrument

so I just try to do what I know - and it seems to work - my only problem is I find myself using the same runs for different tunes, hard to find a good balance.
I honestly don't think the audience pays much attention to individual lines in a solo, but any musician would pick up on that pretty quick, and any constructive critism would be justified.

sometimes I don't do a lead solo and just try to rock out on the rythmn - Crazy Horse style
which is fun for the performer, but maybe not all that the audience was expecting

I guess pentatonics are good place to start,

and really - just play along with some blues ( John Lee Hooker, BB King, Otis Rush ect...) and it should be all you need for most rock

be who you know you are

Dec-02-2004, 4:26pm
But have you got some "tips" for improvisation up the neck, goods ? like this but for octave mandolin ?



Dec-02-2004, 5:15pm
Tips for improvisation, tips for improvisation

that is tough one-for me anyway

like any scale - the shapes stay consistant no matter where you play them, just the root note changes -

this really just takes time and not so much mental memorization but finger memorization - not sure if you grok.

so if you can play a G scale or a pentatonic

the scale is the same for C, just start on the 5th fret - instead of the open G string- and so on.

I was asked to play a latin piece with a lot of high register stuff - 15th fret and what not-

I really just had to walk my hands up and down that part of the neck for a few hours -slowly- and then it all came together, so to play up the neck I think scales are like excersise for the overwieght - there just ain't no other way. But I could be wrong

I find certain double stops on guitar ( Stevie Ray type stuff - who I now realize has a lot of Chuck Berry in his playing), don't sound the same on mando even though the interval is correct- haven't solved that one yet

also tremolo doesn't always work in "rock" but mando's ( except for Freshwaters!) don't have that guitar sustain - unless you use some sort of effect pedal.
So I try to stay away from tremolo - but it works if used sparingly, most people just aren't expecting it in "Wild Thing"

Folks like Jesse McReynolds and Frank Wakefield - do a lot of picking within chord shapes - make the chord ( ussually somewhere up the neck) and pick and move your left hand fingers around it a little, this isn't quite as bravado as rock seems to lean to, but it adds color.

probably not what you want to hear - but soloing and improvising - to me are very much like prayer - is something that should be very personal- should come from the heart - the gut ( listen to BB King slay 50,000 people with one note)-
I always remember these guys who could play Carlos or Hendrix - note for note
but to me it always sounded a little stale, a little plastic to me, and others have agreed.
But the other day I was listening to Otis Rush do "I can't quit you babe" and figured out that Jimmy Page pretty much stole the lead - line for line from Otis - but it ain't stale at all on Zep's recording.
So rock loves the tonic and the 5th, root your lines there,
and rock loves wild finger play - so practice

play how you want to play
be who you know you are.

and really Niles, (McGann as well) is the guy to talk to for this, maybe he can weigh in, he may even have some old posts or links already in place, but I'm sure he has a lot more technical stuff to offer.

Dec-03-2004, 5:47am
also tremolo doesn't always work in "rock" but mando's ( except for Freshwaters!) don't have that guitar sustain

That's good I've got a Freshwater Octave Mandolin http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif

Thanks for advice. I think there is a lot of things to do with this instrument !

thanks for the advice :cool:

Dec-03-2004, 8:41am
You'll hear some occasional octave mando/bouzouki being used in some of the Jethro Tull albums (Songs From The Wood) and on some David Lindley/El Rayo-X records.

The thing to always keep in mind is the function of the part or the instrument you want to replace or emulate with the OM. Scale length, tuning, and whether you've got it strung up in octaves or unisons all factor into what is physically feasible or sonically pleasing. #If you've got it octave-strung, start messing with vintage McGuinn/Byrds stuff like "Mister Tambourine Man", "Turn Turn Turn"

I've used OM in rockabilly stuff, palm muting on bass line riffs, or Berry shuffles can sound 'right'.

The underlying principles of improv are pretty much the same regardless of the instrument, whether it's sax, elec guitar, organ, or whatever. It's the way they are applied, and to what degree and the balance between techniques/ideas which produces stylistic (genre) trends.

Re: Learning solos note-for note. Nothing wrong with it at all.... learning through imitation. #Think of the solos as "etudes"; they become "studies" which help give you a insight into the mental thinking processes of other players, and provides a framework for you to absorb new vocabulary, work on your dynamics, phrasing etc. #You might as well get some technical fluidity in those areas before worrying about putting in the creative element. #The problem is with copying, is that a lot of folks can't/won't transition beyond the replicated solos; it should be a transitional "process" goal. #OK, you replicated a hammer and a saw and a screwdriver - but that doesn't meant you've built a table, bookshelf or a house.

Niles H

Dec-06-2004, 9:44am
What is your electric cbom, men ?

I want to do mine and use EMG SA pickup. do you think it's a good idea ?


Dec-07-2004, 6:52pm

is really a prototype - so the neck is modified stock guitar, which can be challenging stretch wise - but so far so good
the low end is great, dark and grungy - unique

here is a little sound texture I put together using the ezouk, a yamaha 12 string and a drum machine-
my first foray into electric mando space

Undertow (http://www.stormymorning.com/hippie/undertow.html)

(ok so the drum machine is a little cheesy- working on that)

the high end is a little thin - I still have to get the action and gages where I like them

I'm not sure what the pickups are but they are quite hot, and have real nice "Hendrix style haze" which was exactly what I was looking for.

so far I really like it, but if I had the money would probably push for a better neck, although I could always bolt a different one one - maybe someday.


Dec-08-2004, 4:48am
Interesting Tim. Great work. Your tuning is in CGDAE ?

Just one other question : how make bends on CBOM (like Gilmour (Pink Floyd) use a lot)
I'm looking for answers on the mandolin websites and didn't find.

Sorry for this newbie question

Dec-08-2004, 8:00am

I rarely venture out of standard
although the 12 string is in drop D

bends are difficult on coursed stringed instruments

big problem is getting them to bend exactly together
without crossing them or such

still wroking on that

Dec-09-2004, 11:58pm
Zouk Rock

I like the tuning ADAD for Zouk rock....you can get some really nice bluesy slides (frets 3 and 5 let's say) and then drop down a half step to 2 and 4th fret and you are in kinda of partial DADAG tuning and it sound great. Lot's of modal chord oppurtunites. Put a capo on the second fret and Key of E awaits. A favorite rock key

I also like when I'm in a key that requires a capo. The string tension just feels better and it's easier for palm muting rythmic stuff...for me anyway.

Jan-24-2005, 8:48am
Play to the instrument's strengths - if you want a guitar sound, play guitar.

My first CBOM was an octave tuned solid body Hullah bouzouki. So, for free, you have filthy power chords straight out the box, and can (more easily than not http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/laugh.gif ) send your audience into the pits of despair with the graduated discord of a slow bend if you fret to let the outside (of the bend) string slip closer to its course mate.

If you don't want the discord, try lighter guage strings - you'll have to fret more accurately to play anything in tune, but by the same token its easier then to keep an even pressure on both strings (downside of course is that it takes more lateral shift to produce the same tonal shift). I have my GDA 10 string strung this way (straight fifths, CGDAE)

Jan-24-2005, 7:28pm
Think music first and instrument second.

OM is an excellent instrument to rock out with...but when you say rock, which of the 968 sub-genres do you mean?

The tuning lets you get the rock guitar staple of power chords very easily.

Hendrix, Beatles, King Crimson, you name it- you can do it on OM. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/blues.gif

Richard Singleton
Jan-25-2005, 9:39pm
For interesting folk rock OM, check out Lief Sorbye's playing in Tempest. He plays a doublenecked, OM/mando electric.

Jan-31-2005, 5:53am
Rock on an OM / CBOM? Definately! And definately out there. Whether amplified or not, rockin' on a big mando is a trip. To me, one of the most interesting and twisted groups is the Mando Mafia on their Get Away # (http://www.midcontinentmusic.com/detail.cfm?Catalogid=1941)Album. What these guys do with the Kinks, Apeman is worth the price of admission. To hear three (3 !!!) mandolin family instruments and an accordian simply rocking out is a trip. The rest of the album is a lot of fun if you're into Funk String Band stuff.