New to the OM, some initial thoughts

  1. artilleryo
    ve been playing mandolin for a few years now, and after hearing an Octave played at an Irish session a while ago, decided it might be cool to learn how to play one.

    I mentioned it to my wife, who turned her UAS toward finding me one for my birthday recently. I ended up with a used Dieter Kennaquhair OM.

    Some initial thoughts:
    -I still stumble on songs that I can play fine on my regular mandolin and I've not spent a lot of time on chords yet.

    -My left hand needs to be looser on the octave. It should probably be looser when I'm playing my regular one too, but the shorter scale may mask some deficiencies in technique.

    -Bach's Bouree from 3rd Cello Suite sounds amazing on an octave.

    -For reasons I don't understand, playing slow is more natural on an octave.
  2. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    The main differences you will find, I think, are the longer scale on the octave which means that your fingering may alter from the more normal 2-frets-per-finger of the standard mandolin - though many players still use this basic fingering on the octave too. The other thing is the lower string tension when you are picking, so you might find that you are altering your technique for this too.
    Playing more slowly may be because the octave has more sustain so can afford to let notes last longer on it, which may well give you the feeling of playing slower.
    They are great fun to play, whatever you have to do to get comfortable on them!
  3. perrindargan
    I've been playing mandolin for a while and started with the octave a little less than a year ago. To me, there are two primary technical differences:

    1. The left hand is more difficult when chording and when playing a melody because of the scale length. However, you end up expanding your chord vocabulary by learning new (mostly open) shapes, and playing the melody on the longer scale length is incredible exercise for mandolin--jumps and reaches that used to seem hard on the regular instrument very quickly become easy.

    2. The right hand is less difficult because of the lighter string tension.

    One other observation: when you're playing a melody try sounding a drone string. It adds great depth and resonance, and to my ear it works really well with Celtic or any derivative style.

    Regardless, it's a blast.

    Just the idle thoughts of a rookie.
  4. artilleryo
    I'll have to try the drone. My wife and I are working up a version of The Bear Dance. She on uke, and right now I like it best on the OM. The drone should sound nice with the minor key.
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