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Thread: So, thinking about an octave oval hole

  1. #1

    Default So, thinking about an octave oval hole

    I am looking for shorter-scale, octave oval hole, and I realize a Weber is the perfect archtype of what I described - if a used one shows up I would consider it.

    The trinity college one at TMS also looks like a nice budget approximation, 20 3/8 scale, oval, and sounds decent. I am a fan of flat-tops anyway. But it doesn't sound as good as the Weber (listening to multiple internet vids of both).

    I am looking for a warm dark sound, something that could be used as a martin guitar substitute really. I can't play guitar worth beans, but my mando skills are steadily improving and I am thinking I could give a credible showing on an octave with a little practice.

    I have heard recordings of the TC with normal strings and with flatwounds, definitely it gets into the ballpark of what I want, the flatwounds sound better to me, but maybe a bit too dark, I suppose a pointier pick could compensate there.

    The TC bridge is broken from what I read, just plain wrong if you use three courses of wound strings.

    Never played a flat fretboard before either, need to head over to Gryphon, they have a flat fretboard mandola I would probably get a feel for it there.

    Next up in the price range are the lafferties, the mahogany one sounds better to me, closer to what I want. But assuming a used weber is around $2500ish, and the lafferty is $1700, I am thinking I should just hold out for a weber. Lafferty is 21" scale too, not as favorable as the other two.

    TMS has a bunch of ponos, that look like small guitars, and have a 21.5" scale length, so I am thinking no for those.

    Are there any other options out there?
    Red Valley AM Mahogany (custom pancake) on order...
    Trinity College TM325 Octave Mandolin.
    Eastman MD-605SB, MD-604SB, MD-305, all with Grover 309 tuners.
    Fender Mando-Strat, Godin A8. Tin Guitar travel mandolin.
    Zoom G3 for all my plugged-in signal processing.
    Amps: QSC-K10, DBR-10, THR-10.

  2. #2
    Registered User spufman's Avatar
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    Default Re: So, thinking about an octave oval hole

    If you haven't already tried playing a longer scale octave, don't necessarily dismiss the option. The longer strings (my Weber is 23.5) ring very nicely. Either way you'll be stretching.
    Blow on, man.

  3. #3
    Registered User THart's Avatar
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    Default Re: So, thinking about an octave oval hole

    NFI but ther's a beautiful looking Cricket Fiddle f style octave in the classifieds https://www.mandolincafe.com/ads/134877#134877 (the builder is actually Tom Jessen by the way not Dan) It doesn't say but I think the f is 20" scale. It has the redwood top like the one he built for me (but mine is a GBOM with a 22" scale) I love those redwood tops, has that warm, dark tone. Worth looking at imo. Good luck finding the one for you!

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  5. #4

    Default Re: So, thinking about an octave oval hole

    The sound you describe is a pretty good description of Nick Apollonio's instruments. You might want to give him a call.

  6. #5
    Registered User Eric Hanson's Avatar
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    Default Re: So, thinking about an octave oval hole

    I have been SUPER curious about Afanti Instruments. They can be found on Ebay. I have a mandolin that I believe came from this shop (bought it second or third hand from eBay. No name nor label, but exactly the same appointments and appearance.)
    True, it did need some setup, but it is quite a mandolin. My luthier took the time to check it with a thickness gauge. It measured out at Loar specs.
    Makes me want to buy one of their octaves to check it out.
    Last edited by Eric Hanson; Feb-12-2019 at 9:12pm. Reason: Web link did not apear correctly
    Eric Hanson
    Click #016/ Born on 2/29/08 - Sold to the next Conservator of this great mandolin!
    The search has ceased! (At least for now)
    Collings A-Style

  7. #6

    Default Re: So, thinking about an octave oval hole

    My two cents worth, look into a longer scale. And don't go with the Trinity if you already have the Weber on your mind. I used to own a Trinity, and it just ended up being the gateway to a longer scale octave. What kind of music do you like to play? And why do you think you need a short scale? I don't have large paws, but I can do the G chop chord shapes on the mando, with hardly any room to spare. I can just barely manage the 22 3/4" scale of my Crump OM when playing melodies in the first position. For backing and rhythm playing, you want the sustain that a longer scale will bring.

    With the price you are looking at for a used Weber, you could get a nice used flat top octave from one of the many custom builders around. You just have to be patient and wait for one to show up.
    Collings MT-O
    P.W. Crump OM-III
    Bun in the oven: Girouard A Oval

  8. #7

    Default Re: So, thinking about an octave oval hole

    So, investigating the budget option from TMS a bit more first (Trinity College TM-325 octave mandolin):

    This vid gets pretty close to the sound I am looking for, a bit boomy (lighter strings maybe could fix), but the dark sweet tone is there. I think that's within EQ range, might have to thin out the low end a bit (that's not a problem I would complain about acoustically). But I plan to perform with a pickup.

    I think what's important about that article is the string gauges used to get that tone, I suspect the mic is bass-heavy though. Many other videos of the TM-325 had a nasty nasally quality to them, sounded slightly like a harpsichord. But this one had very usable tone.

    They used a plain A string since the bridge is compensated for plain A's, that gets around the bridge problem, and the sound is right. I like light gauge strings as a general rule so that will work for me.

    https://jakewildwood.blogspot.com/20...-mandolin.html

    I can use flatwounds on the G and D strings if they are too bright, or leave the bronze if they aren't. TMS only has a 48 hour return policy though, so I get to take it out of the box, and either love it, or return it immediately, makes me a bit nervous. But I have never bought a mandolin from them I didn't like so far. I'll probably call them up and talk about it a bit first.

    I'll need to buy some nut files to match the new string gauges, I am pretty picky about my setups and sometimes like to cut my own nuts, new instruments are always fun for me. :-)

    Ok, so it seems the TC can work, will ruminate over it for a bit before I pull the trigger though.
    Red Valley AM Mahogany (custom pancake) on order...
    Trinity College TM325 Octave Mandolin.
    Eastman MD-605SB, MD-604SB, MD-305, all with Grover 309 tuners.
    Fender Mando-Strat, Godin A8. Tin Guitar travel mandolin.
    Zoom G3 for all my plugged-in signal processing.
    Amps: QSC-K10, DBR-10, THR-10.

  9. #8

    Default Re: So, thinking about an octave oval hole

    I don't need an octave mando right now but I've been kind of intrigued by this one:
    https://reverb.com/item/16585846-tri...andolin-w-ohsc

    It was Trinity Colleges attempt at an upscale arch top octave mandolin. They were priced around $1500 new. They couldn't really compete at that price. Probably too close in price to the Webers and Petersens of the time. (By the way if you find a used Petersen that's what I would recommend).

    I wouldn't pay anywhere near $1500 for one but here's one in mint for the same price as the entry TC. Arch top gives a more focused sound but maybe less of a resonant strum. Worth a look anyway
    Northfield NF5S
    Bayard Guitar bodied octave mandolin
    Gernandt Irish Bouzouki
    Crump B1 Bouzouki
    www.singletonstreet.com

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