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Thread: Seagull S8 mandolin. I just got one.

  1. #26
    but that's just me Bertram Henze's Avatar
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    Default Re: Seagull S8 mandolin. I just got one.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dagger Gordon View Post
    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.
    That pretty much describes how I arrived at my own technique. The instrument is constantly suggesting what to do.
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  2. #27

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Bertram Henze View Post
    That pretty much describes how I arrived at my own technique. The instrument is constantly suggesting what to do.
    I get the idea of the chord leading the melody, more from guitar playing, and that of letting the octaves ring out. Although I know the open chords (from Irish bouzouki) I find I have too little room to finger more than a couple on my narrow mandolin neck. I guess I could try with a capo on bouzouki or tenor guitar...
    Anyway, thanks for taking the trouble to try and explain! Do you often play your mandolin outside in the snow...?
    "What's that funny guitar thing..?"

  3. #28
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    Default Re: Seagull S8 mandolin. I just got one.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tim N View Post
    Anyway, thanks for taking the trouble to try and explain! Do you often play your mandolin outside in the snow...?
    I play outside as long as it's not actually raining or snowing! I have a big firebowl thing I love to sit by at night and play.
    David A. Gordon

  4. #29

    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.
    Congratulations on your mandolin. I am pretty new at the mandolin, too--less than 6 months. But I've been playing the violin a long time, over 20 years, and I am finding the mandolin is a natural shift for a new sound.

    My first mandolin was also a Seagull S8, but I did not like it. It was very well made though it needed an adjustment. The bridge had to be lowered. I believe the frets are too high too and could be lowered, as well. Even after I lowered the bridge, I still found the action harder than some of the higher end mandolins I had tried.

    In the end, I sold the S8. I was looking for a sound that may be different from what many North American players are seeking. To me, the S8 sounded tinny and over bright. It might be well suited for blue grass or country. But I live in Nova Scotia and we play a lot of Irish and Scots music here, where warmth and sustain are much valued, and I was fascinated with the mellow, sweet sound of the German mandolins, too. I couldn't afford $5000 Canadian for a German made bowl-back mandolin but I found a superb alternative--the Kentucky 272. It had the warm, sweet sound and great sustain I was looking for out of the box. I changed the strings to GHS Silk & Steel and replaced the tailpiece with an Allen AR-2 and found that Inexpensive Dava Grip Tip picks with delrin tips give the almost string noise-free sound of expensive German Wolle picks, and now I have a setup I am very happy with.

    But the S8 can probably be modified in all kinds of ways, too. I really liked it's flat bridge. I think that's one of the reasons it has so much volume. And you can probably get all kinds of tonal character changes by changing the bridge material. I'm sure you'll have fun exploring its potential.

  5. #30
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    Default Re: Seagull S8 mandolin. I just got one.

    I hear you Cliff.

    I got the bridge lowered a bit on my Seagull as well, and it is easy to play now.

    I'm not going to pretend that it has the tone of my more expensive mandolins (Sobell and Collings), but I don't think it's too bad, as I hope my Facebook clip shows. You could perhaps say it is a bit tinny and bright, but as I get to know it I feel I am getting a better tone out of it.

    Anyway, it is not an expensive instrument and I do think it's pretty good value for money, as well as being really easy to travel with and very effective in situations like pub sessions.
    David A. Gordon

  6. #31
    Be Wild Zach Wilson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Seagull S8 mandolin. I just got one.

    The more I see them the more I want one.... I feel a case of MAS coming on.

  7. #32
    Registered User Mike Scott's Avatar
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    Default Re: Seagull S8 mandolin. I just got one.

    Sorry......none at A Sharp or Dusty. You’ll have to wait. Ha ha!
    Thanks, Mike


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  8. #33
    Be Wild Zach Wilson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Seagull S8 mandolin. I just got one.

    Those are my places. Are you in the PNW too? Go to those places?


    Update: just read your profile. Bend, OR. Right on!
    Last edited by Zach Wilson; Jan-05-2018 at 10:00pm. Reason: I figured it out

  9. #34
    Registered User MissingString's Avatar
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    Default Re: Seagull S8 mandolin. I just got one.

    Me too...how did this start?

  10. #35

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Dagger Gordon View Post
    Anyway, it is not an expensive instrument and I do think it's pretty good value for money, as well as being really easy to travel with and very effective in situations like pub sessions.
    Definitely a good value for the money, especially if that's the tone you're going for. No one can fault their construction--the S8's are solid and they look great. I do wish they'd shave the frets down a little and do a better adjustment of the bridge action, but all in all a great instrument.

    I am going to stick with my Kentucky 272 til I can (hopefully) one day find a classical German bowl or deep back at a price I can afford. Given the terrible exchange rate between CAN and the Euro, that may be a while.

  11. #36
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Seagull S8 mandolin. I just got one.

    I played one recently in a big box store near my house and surprisingly enough it was set up perfectly. It might have to do with how meticulous the store is. However, they usually don’t have their mandolins set up very well. And mostly they have Fenders or Epiphones. They have lots of Seagull guitars but this one was the only Mandolin.
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    Default Re: Seagull S8 mandolin. I just got one.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    I played one recently in a big box store near my house and surprisingly enough it was set up perfectly. It might have to do with how meticulous the store is.
    Hi Jim,

    Just to be clear, the Seagull was set up ok when I bought it, but I got my instrument maintainance guy to 'fine-tune it' if you like. I don't think that's unusual. I think the frets are absolutely fine and I like the feel of the neck.
    David A. Gordon

  13. #38
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    Default Re: Seagull S8 mandolin. I just got one.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cliff Seruntine View Post
    I was looking for a sound that may be different from what many North American players are seeking. To me, the S8 sounded tinny and over bright. It might be well suited for blue grass or country. But I live in Nova Scotia and we play a lot of Irish and Scots music here, where warmth and sustain are much valued.
    Hi again Cliff.

    I should maybe make it clear that I am not North American at all. I am Scottish, and like you Nova Scotians (where I have visited and performed) I play mostly Scottish and Irish music.

    I take your point about warmth and sustain, but I must admit that I was a bit surprised when you said that you are looking for a German bowl-back for playing Irish/Scots/ Cape Breton etc. That is very rare, in my experience.
    Is it perhaps more common in Nova Scotia?
    David A. Gordon

  14. #39

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Dagger Gordon View Post
    Hi again Cliff.

    I should maybe make it clear that I am not North American at all. I am Scottish, and like you Nova Scotians (where I have visited and performed) I play mostly Scottish and Irish music.

    I take your point about warmth and sustain, but I must admit that I was a bit surprised when you said that you are looking for a German bowl-back for playing Irish/Scots/ Cape Breton etc. That is very rare, in my experience.
    Is it perhaps more common in Nova Scotia?
    No, it's not common. In fact, I'd probably be the only person playing one for a hundred miles. But I fell in love with their tone upon hearing the classical playing of Caterina Lichtenberg. When I heard Lichtenberg play her wonderful mandolin, I thought: That kind of voice would go beautifully with some of the music we play around here. Can you imagine Lonesome Eyes or Farewell to Nova Scotia on a mandolin with that clarity and sustain?

    Happily, the way I have my Kentucky 272 setup, I think it sounds close, probably even warmer. In my very limited experience, well made, solid wood flat backs generally seem to be warmer than bowl backs. But you know how hard it is to make a good comparison from a recording. And I've only ever gotten to try fairly cheap inexpensive antique bowl backs. I'd love to get my hands on a good bowl back or deep back well made German mandolin to compare. One of these days . . .

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