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Thread: Seagull S8 mandolin. I just got one.

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    Default Seagull S8 mandolin. I just got one.

    I just bought a Seagull S8 mandolin. There was a thread here a wee while ago which got closed down where people didn't seem especially keen on it, but I think it is amazingly loud for its size, is well built and sounds and plays very well.

    It is an unusual shape. It will fit comfortably in my carry-on backpack and leave plenty room for a change of clothes and a couple of books etc, which to me seems to make it an ideal travel instrument.
    But it's BETTER than than!

    Here is a very informative and clearly filmed review of one by Bob Thomas, who used to play guitar with Scottish folk band Silly Wizard. Bob knows his stuff.

    https://www.amazon.com/Seagull-S8-Ma.../dp/B01BU71R7Q.

    I'll try to post a clip of me playing it soon.
    David A. Gordon

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    Default Re: Seagull S8 mandolin. I just got one.

    Congratulations, and happy NMD.

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    Default Re: Seagull S8 mandolin. I just got one.

    That looks and sounds like a worthwhile addition to the stable. I look forward to you posting a clip.

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    Default Re: Seagull S8 mandolin. I just got one.

    I just bought one for a very good price at a pawn shop.Itís in excellent condition and came with the gig bag.Iím very happy with it and it has become my new travel mandolin.

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    Default Re: Seagull S8 mandolin. I just got one.

    How does the S8 compare with other mando's in the $300-$400 range? I've been looking at it and either a Eastman MD404 or a Breedlove Crossover OO.

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    but that's just me Bertram Henze's Avatar
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    Default Re: Seagull S8 mandolin. I just got one.

    Looking forward to that clip, too. The iguitarmag reviewer sounded quite good already (and did I hear a Scottish accent?) With it being loud, I wonder how that is balanced across the spectrum.
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    Default Re: Seagull S8 mandolin. I just got one.

    Yes Bob is from Edinburgh.
    Silly Wizard started off with a very young Johnny Cunningham (Phil's brother) plus guitarists Gordon Jones and Bob.
    I always enjoyed their second album - Caledonia's Hardy Sons. Bob is a good guitarist.

    The mandolin is indeed well balanced and easy to play as well as being loud.
    To my mind it is at least as good as an Eastman or a Breedlove, but I'm not comparing them because what attracted me to the Seagull as much as anything else is its size and shape. I wanted something as small as that and was amazed at its volume, sound and playability.
    David A. Gordon

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    Registered User Eric Platt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Seagull S8 mandolin. I just got one.

    Played one of these this past weekend. Will probably give it another spin this weekend if things work out. Definitely has a good tone. Probably would not work in my band, where they want a mandolin with more bass. Otherwise it should fit in about anywhere.

    Also agree that it's loud. Should fit in quite nicely at a jam session.
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    Default Re: Seagull S8 mandolin. I just got one.

    I don’t believe it’s fair to compare the Seagull with the Eastman, the Breedlove, or any other carved top instruments. The Seagull is a flat top. And like all flat top mandolins it will be midrange biased, while any carved top instrument will have more bass and treble with more of a midrange scoop. Apples and oranges. That midrange bias is part of the reason it sounds “loud”. That’s because we humans hear the midrange more easily than the extremes of the audio spectrum. So, is midrangy is what you’re looking for, this could be what you want. Pancake/Army Navy style flat tops have a similar sonic signature. I would put the tone of the S8 in that same group.
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    Default Re: Seagull S8 mandolin. I just got one.

    Good point multidon. Im intrigued by the S8's shape but cant get my hands on one locally.
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    Default Re: Seagull S8 mandolin. I just got one.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dagger Gordon View Post
    I just bought a Seagull S8 mandolin. There was a thread here a wee while ago which got closed down where people didn't seem especially keen on it, but I think it is amazingly loud for its size, is well built and sounds and plays very well.

    It is an unusual shape. It will fit comfortably in my carry-on backpack and leave plenty room for a change of clothes and a couple of books etc, which to me seems to make it an ideal travel instrument.
    But it's BETTER than than!

    Here is a very informative and clearly filmed review of one by Bob Thomas, who used to play guitar with Scottish folk band Silly Wizard. Bob knows his stuff.

    https://www.amazon.com/Seagull-S8-Ma.../dp/B01BU71R7Q.

    I'll try to post a clip of me playing it soon.
    I think these are really cool mandolins. Great review as well: thanks for posting that. I like the hollow tone a lot, lends itself well to older sounds. Great seeing people think outside the box like Seagull has here. Does the world really need another carved-top, F-hole, sunburst Gibson copy?
    ...

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    Default Re: Seagull S8 mandolin. I just got one.

    I was the one who started the earlier post. It did not suit my needs after a while but I haven’t sold it because it makes a great camping instrument. Good luck with yours, I put lighter weight strings on so it’s a little easier to play.
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    Default Re: Seagull S8 mandolin. I just got one.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cochiti Don View Post
    I was the one who started the earlier post. It did not suit my needs after a while but I haven’t sold it because it makes a great camping instrument. Good luck with yours, I put lighter weight strings on so it’s a little easier to play.
    Cochiti, did you find the tone changed at all when you moved to lighter strings? I'm thinking of trying it myself.
    Sometimes it takes a bit of trial and error/experimentation to see what works best with a new mandolin.

    I flew down to London last weekend. I had the Seagull in my backpack with a few clothes and books as planned. Worked fine. I put an oven glove round the head for extra protection, but I may look for a slightly longer pack that is still ok for carry-on luggage.

    While in London I went to a good session in Howl At The Moon in Hoxton on Sunday afternoon. The Seagull carried pretty well in what was quite a noisy situation. It's a useful wee instrument. Not the best in the world, but a very long way from being the worst.
    I think I'm going to find it quite useful.
    David A. Gordon

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Seagull S8 mandolin. I just got one.

    Funny, I played one about a week ago at a chain store near here that usually has decent guitars bit not much in the way of mandolins. I was pretty impressed by the little guy -- I played the same model as in Bob Thomas' review above. I don't know that I need one at all but if I found one for a much lowered price I might consider it. Very impressive for a small mandolin. Only think I thought that the bridge bass was not ebony but some sort of black Graphtech material.
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    Default Re: Seagull S8 mandolin. I just got one.

    I played one about 4 weeks ago at Musikhaus Beck in Dettingen Germany . Unusual shape but great sound for such a thin bodied mandolin . I decided for the Gretsch New Yorker with the mahogany body ,great for jigs and reels

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    Default Re: Seagull S8 mandolin. I just got one.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dagger Gordon View Post
    Cochiti, did you find the tone changed at all when you moved to lighter strings? I'm thinking of trying it myself.
    Sometimes it takes a bit of trial and error/experimentation to see what works best with a new mandolin.

    I flew down to London last weekend. I had the Seagull in my backpack with a few clothes and books as planned. Worked fine. I put an oven glove round the head for extra protection, but I may look for a slightly longer pack that is still ok for carry-on luggage.

    While in London I went to a good session in Howl At The Moon in Hoxton on Sunday afternoon. The Seagull carried pretty well in what was quite a noisy situation. It's a useful wee instrument. Not the best in the world, but a very long way from being the worst.
    I think I'm going to find it quite useful.
    Actually, when I changed the strings it reduced the sound quality quite a bit. It’s kinda tinny now. I’m so used to my Collings that I find the seagull difficult to play. No radius makes a big difference too. It has its place in the camping world I think.
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    Default Re: Seagull S8 mandolin. I just got one.

    I'm going to get the version with the pickup built-in for my next mandolin!

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    Default Re: Seagull S8 mandolin. I just got one.

    Latest developments:

    I felt the bridge was slightly high and so I got my instrument maintenance guy to shave a bit off it.

    This has produced a big improvement in both tone and playability (which of course are not unconnected). I had been feeling a certain stiffness in my neck after playing it, which I thought probably meant I was having to work a bit too hard. I like the strings to be level with the neck all the way up and this was not the case until we took a bit off the bridge.

    I have to say that it is surprising how much impact a fairly small adjustment like that seems to make. The action didn't look bad by any means, but I thought there was room for improvement. So I feel I should give a word of warning if you are thinking of doing the same thing, that you should not shave too much off the bridge, and ideally get someone who knows what they're doing to do it.

    But now it is playing much better. I am very happy with the sound and how well made it is, particularly for the very modest price.

    Incidentally Conchiti, I also have a Collings and so I do understand the comparison you make between the two. Of course, the Collings has an adjustable bridge (unlike the Seagull) so it is easier to get it exactly how you like it.
    David A. Gordon

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    Default Re: Seagull S8 mandolin. I just got one.

    I just picked up one as well, and I quite like it. Makes a perfect mando to keep next to my desk at home, and will be nice for traveling, camping, and use as a spare. I like that it's not a standard Gibson-esqe shape too.

    Mine has an annoying ring on one of the A strings however -- the part of the string from the nut to the tuning machine vibrates when you hit the open string, very noticeable. Not sure what I can do to fix it, but I've got to figure out something.
    Andrew Frink
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    Default Re: Seagull S8 mandolin. I just got one.

    Quote Originally Posted by drooartz View Post
    Mine has an annoying ring on one of the A strings however -- the part of the string from the nut to the tuning machine vibrates when you hit the open string, very noticeable. Not sure what I can do to fix it, but I've got to figure out something.
    Possibly a nut slot issue? I had a similar noise that turned out to be a poorly cut nut slot. First, I'd just change the string(s) and see if that auto-corrects it.

    Cool looking mando - I'd like to have one for travel someday.
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    Default Re: Seagull S8 mandolin. I just got one.

    I have owned an S8 for 18 months now. It's still my backup, but it is a very well-thought out and unique instrument. For example, Seagull didnt get the memo that mandos dont have fixed bridges, so they glued it down and you can take off all the strings at once without repositioning the bridge.
    I am surprised at the comparisons with Eastman volume; my #1 is a 505 and is _tons_ louder. Which is in accordance with the dictates of physics; it still has a rather small sound chamber. But large enough to be a real instrument, not a "travel mando", altough that was what I bought it for.
    I bought the S8 because I figured it would fly more handily than the Eastman, but that isnt a factor for me any more, Westjet doesnt care which mando I bring.
    Nowadays I bring it as backup to every gig, because switching to it (even including slapping the Dyn-M on it) is a lot quicker than changing a broken string on the Eastman.
    It is substantially cheaper than anything in the Eastman line, even the 300 series, let alone the 404 or 505, so really apples and oranges on that front. Since LaSiDo mostly makes guitars, who knows how long this model might be around, but I can see it being one which us oldtimers reminisce fondly about a couple of decades from now.

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    Default Re: Seagull S8 mandolin. I just got one.

    Quote Originally Posted by 40bpm View Post
    Possibly a nut slot issue? I had a similar noise that turned out to be a poorly cut nut slot. First, I'd just change the string(s) and see if that auto-corrects it.
    After a bit of reading on the issue, my guess too is that it's a bad nut slot. String change didn't help, so I'll deal with the nut one of these days.

    Another plus for me is that it's such a nice match for my other Seagull. The first decent guitar I ever owned is a Seagull I bought new in 1995, on payments from a local music store as I didn't have much money. Still have that guitar, it's my spare now and lives next to my desk at home always ready to go.

    Andrew Frink
    '23 Gibson A, Phoenix Bluegrass, Seagull S8, Kentucky electric, Weyman

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    Default Re: Seagull S8 mandolin. I just got one.

    Here is a clip from my Facebook page of me playing the Seagull S8

    https://www.facebook.com/daggergordo...7459270712795/
    Last edited by Dagger Gordon; Jan-02-2018 at 4:13am.
    David A. Gordon

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    Default Re: Seagull S8 mandolin. I just got one.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dagger Gordon View Post
    Here is a clip from my Facebook page of me playing the Seagull S8

    https://www.facebook.com/daggergordo...7459270712795/
    I love that style of playing! I'm learning to play Irish tunes on Mandolin in a normal picking way, but you seem to pe pretty well strumming out that melody, getting a really full sound. I haven't seen much Irish Mandolin playing - is that a recognised technique, or something you've invented? I'm probably displaying my ignorance here....
    "What's that funny guitar thing..?"

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    Default Re: Seagull S8 mandolin. I just got one.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tim N View Post
    I love that style of playing! I'm learning to play Irish tunes on Mandolin in a normal picking way, but you seem to pe pretty well strumming out that melody, getting a really full sound. I haven't seen much Irish Mandolin playing - is that a recognised technique, or something you've invented? I'm probably displaying my ignorance here....
    Hi there, Thanks a lot for your kind comments.

    I'm actually trying to work out how best to answer.
    First off, I am Scottish rather than Irish, although it is certainly an Irish tune, and I do not think I have an Irish technique.

    I do think about chords when I play, and if I play a melody where a part of the tune has notes which are mostly in the chord for G for example, then I may well basically play the G chord as I pick the melody out of it, as it were. It's kind of difficult to explain in print like this. I always use open strings wherever I can, again bearing in mind what melody notes/chord possibilities are in the tune. This greatly adds to the volume and fullness of the sound.

    At its simplest, I would say that if you play a note on the fifth fret of a string, it will always be an octave higher than the open string below it (ie the note of the fifth fret on the top string is A, which is an octave higher than the open A second string etc). So it is fairly easy to strum both of the strings as you play the melody. I would hardly ever only play the fifth fret without also playing the 'supporting' open string below.

    I basically worked it out myself how to play this way.

    Thanks again,

    Dagger
    David A. Gordon

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