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Thread: OM octave paired strings playability

  1. #1
    Registered User THart's Avatar
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    Default OM octave paired strings playability

    Love my new gbom but I'm finding plenty of challenges learning to play. For one, I had it set up for the G & D to be paired in octaves and I'm finding it hard to get good sound from the high string. The standard string is on top so that it's struck first. It seems that if I press straight down the thinner string doesn't make good contact with the fret by the time the thicker string has. If I angle my finger a bit I can get better contact but tend to dampen the next course. The strings are G, 46/24 & D32/20. Is this a common problem, operator error on my part? Or could it have to do with string sizes, spacing, the set up or other factors? I kind of like the sound (when I can get it clear) but I'm thinking of going to unison strings to see how that works out & sounds.

  2. #2
    but that's just me Bertram Henze's Avatar
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    Default Re: OM octave paired strings playability

    I'm a unison player and happy with it (always can get the octave pairing with appropriate doublestops), but
    I know that, for instance, 12-string guitars have the lighter string struck first on the downstroke.
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    Registered User spufman's Avatar
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    Default Re: OM octave paired strings playability

    Mine’s unison paired but I used to own an 8-string bass. On that, string height at the nut and bridge was lower for the octave strings.

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    Registered User zoukboy's Avatar
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    Default Re: OM octave paired strings playability

    If you want stick with the 8va pairs on G and D then I suggest you have a qualified tech look at it. Nut slots will need to be different for the higher string in the pair and the bridge saddle compensation has to be different for each string in those pairs (lower string further back, higher string forward).
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    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: OM octave paired strings playability

    Twelve-string guitars have the higher octave string where the pick strikes it first on the downstroke. I would think that having the heavier string first might well make the finger-string contact for the lighter string somewhat damped. When I "octave strung" my Octofone, I had the lighter strings set where my pick hit them first on the downstroke. You might, after some fiddling with the nut slots and bridge saddle, try reversing the strings in your octave pairs -- see if that helps...

    Octaved strings sound great for chording, but are a bit odd for melody playing. As you go from the third course to the second course in an ascending melody, the melody suddenly gets lower, since the higher-octave string in the third course is left behind. You can get used to it, but it is a bit weird.
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    Registered User THart's Avatar
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    Default Re: OM octave paired strings playability

    Thanks for the thoughts, I'll have to keep working at it. My impression is that it's not unusual for octave strung octave's to have the lower pitched string on top so it doesn't get too guitary sounding. I'm definitely going to have to give unison pairings a try at some point but that will require a different nut set up. Yes, currently the nut is cut deeper for the high strings & intonation seems good. No one would accuse me of having a natural aptitude for playing a musical instrument, that's for sure, but I have a son in law who does. Even though he's never played a mandolin before he sure can make it sound good so, yeah, I guess it's on me.

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    Registered User foldedpath's Avatar
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    Default Re: OM octave paired strings playability

    Quote Originally Posted by allenhopkins View Post
    Octaved strings sound great for chording, but are a bit odd for melody playing. As you go from the third course to the second course in an ascending melody, the melody suddenly gets lower, since the higher-octave string in the third course is left behind. You can get used to it, but it is a bit weird.
    Right, that's the reason I have unison pairs on my OM, because I play mostly melody not chordal backing.

    I remember from owning a 12-string guitar years ago, that playing fingerstyle melodies could generate a sort of automatic complexity in the tune with the octaves jumping around like that. It was intrinsic to certain New Age guitar styles.

    It doesn't work so well for the Irish/Scottish trad I'm playing now on my OM, because the octave jumps mess with the melody line too much. Delivering a clear melody line is central to this style. YMMV etc., but I think it works better for chord backing than melody.

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  9. #8
    fishing with my mando darrylicshon's Avatar
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    Default Re: OM octave paired strings playability

    I have a few octave mandolins, 4,5 and 8 string ones. I have one string up in octaves on the lower two strings, but it does take some time to get used to, once you do you can actually do a lot of different things, I sometimes down stroke the lower octane string only and sometimes up stroke the higher one using them as single strings to make a song, but I like unison on my octaves more, I just ordered a electric 5 string, can't wait to get it, but since it is being made I won't get it until next year
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    Default Re: OM octave paired strings playability

    After a few years with my unison strung Clark OM.... I've even changed my old Martin D12-18 to a 10 string with a Single E and A and unison string D,G,b,e...... have to say Like it much better and find it much more versatile.

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