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Thread: Seagull S8 Owners Thread

  1. #1
    Registered User stringsattached's Avatar
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    Default Seagull S8 Owners Thread

    Ok, time for all the owners and wanna bes to comment ,boast or complain about their experiences with this unconventional Mandolin.
    Does the electric version sound great ? Sound ok? Or, Sound bad ?
    What kind of comments do you get from people seeing and hearing for the first time ?
    Even non-owners who have given one of the 3 models a fair assessment should feel free to Pipe in with their comments .
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    Ken

    Eastman Fan

  2. #2
    Pittsburgh Bill
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    Default Re: Seagull S8 Owners Thread

    Played a non electric at Elderly. Better than travel mandolins I have owned. But outclassed by every other mandolin in the store.
    Keith Edward Coleman A style, oval hole Mandola
    Stiver A style (eagerly awaiting spring 2020 arrival)
    Weber Gallatin A Mandola "D hole"
    Kentucky KM-950
    Harley Benton A style (Spare canoe paddle)
    Rogue 100A (current campfire tool)

  3. #3
    Registered User Aaron Bohnen's Avatar
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    Default Re: Seagull S8 Owners Thread

    I tried a couple and found them surprisingly loud, certainly louder than I'd expected. I didn't find them particularly enjoyable though - they seemed a bit shrill, with little bass. The sound was a lot like "strings" and not much like "wood". Quite direct without much in the way of resonance or overtones to add complexity and character.

    Maybe it's just me but I didn't find them particularly relaxing or fun to play - although they seem very durable and the construction of the ones I saw was very good.

    I daresay this may be similar to the impression they've made on a few people - I recall a few threads on the same topic before. Actually, thinking back to those I'm not sure I've added anything new here! In any case I think some folk seemed to like them but the impressions I had seemed pretty common.

    Enjoy!

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    Registered User Ranald's Avatar
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    Default Re: Seagull S8 Owners Thread

    I have a Godin A8 that I'm very happy with -- I play blues and am not looking for the sweet tones that players of many other genres may prefer. However, when I've tried S8's (less expensive instruments), I haven't found that their sound attracted me. The size seems convenient, as one could fit into a suitcase. They're sturdy instruments too. However, when I try them out, they're not my favourites for the price. I suspect that the S8 is, as Cafe members pointed out to me, like my A8, actually an acoustic instrument with a preamp, rather than being a real electric mandolin.

    "What kind of comments do you get from people seeing and hearing for the first time ?"
    I suspect, it's similar to what I get for the A8, which is shaped like a small, electric guitar (and mandolinists generally get, to a lesser degree), "What's that?"

    Addendum
    : To clarify, Seagull is made by Godin, so I'm talking about the same company here.
    Last edited by Ranald; Jun-02-2019 at 12:05pm.
    Robert Johnson's mother, describing blues musicians:
    "I never did have no trouble with him until he got big enough to be round with bigger boys and off from home. Then he used to follow all these harp blowers, mandoleen (sic) and guitar players."
    Lomax, Alan, The Land where The Blues Began, NY: Pantheon, 1993, p.14.

  6. #5
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    Default Re: Seagull S8 Owners Thread

    I quite like mine. I have travelled with it a lot this year.

    I was lucky enough to go to a music seminar in Crete in March, and I felt that the Seagull was actually good enough to use at it.
    I was studying with a Spanish musician called Efren Lopez, and we were looking at music from Turkey and the Middle East as well as Crete and Bulgaria. I have to say that Efren thought it was a 'really cool instrument', as did several other people. As I often describe it - it's maybe not the best mandolin in the world but it's a very long way from being the worst! Very good playability and surprisingly loud. And honestly, I don't think the tone is bad.

    Judge for yourself. Here is me having a go at a middle eastern tune while I was in Crete.
    https://www.facebook.com/daggergordo...84503155/?t=20
    David A. Gordon

  7. #6

    Default Re: Seagull S8 Owners Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by stringsattached View Post
    Ok, time for all the owners and wanna bes to comment ,boast or complain about their experiences with this unconventional Mandolin.
    Does the electric version sound great ? Sound ok? Or, Sound bad ?
    What kind of comments do you get from people seeing and hearing for the first time ?
    Even non-owners who have given one of the 3 models a fair assessment should feel free to Pipe in with their comments .
    It's a very decent mandolin. Easy to carry around. The tone is pretty good, much better than I thought it would be. The action is a bit high but I got used to it. I own the electric model, and the its tone when plugged in sounds thin and trebly. It improved quite a bit when I rolled the tone knob down. Overall, when taken for its value, it's a pretty good mandolin.

  8. #7

    Default Re: Seagull S8 Owners Thread

    I’ve had one for three years and still play it quite often. It’s my favourite for casual living room picking or learning a new tune on. I find the tone quite warm and it’s comfortable to play. I sometimes take it to sessions but generally the lack of volume is an issue in the crowd I run with.
    I think the innovative design is a big plus. It’s set up right out of the box, the fixed bridge makes string changes simple, and the hardware is very good especially the tuners. Flat fingerboard isn’t my preference, but as I said it’s comfortable.

    Excellent choice for a good-quality travelling mando, backup or starter. I’ve never tried the built-in-pickup model but have mic’ed it or slapped a Dyn-M on the top with good results.

    Bear in mind, I’m a Celtic-style player with occasional trips to Old-Time-Town. This ain’t a bluegrass machine.

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  10. #8

    Default Re: Seagull S8 Owners Thread

    I just picked one up. It needs new strings, and I am wondering what Seagull puts on, or what others use. I am thinking a light gauge, not my usual J74s.

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  12. #9

    Default Re: Seagull S8 Owners Thread

    I have been playing a natural S8 for just over a year and I really enjoy it. It has a great tone for what I like and is constructed very well. The sound projects surprisingly well. There are some known quality control issues with the tuner buttons. One of mine cracked in half while doing a string change. The retailer contacted Godin and they shipped a whole tuner to me within a week.

    Regarding the recommended strings, I asked Godin the same question and this is the response I received: "Godin recommend regular light gauge strings from any solid manufacturer. Gauges .010 to .034 (or .036) would do fine."

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  14. #10
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    Default Re: Seagull S8 Owners Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by ottawa_adam View Post
    I have been playing a natural S8 for just over a year and I really enjoy it. It has a great tone for what I like and is constructed very well. The sound projects surprisingly well. There are some known quality control issues with the tuner buttons. One of mine cracked in half while doing a string change. The retailer contacted Godin and they shipped a whole tuner to me within a week.

    Regarding the recommended strings, I asked Godin the same question and this is the response I received: "Godin recommend regular light gauge strings from any solid manufacturer. Gauges .010 to .034 (or .036) would do fine."
    I certainly agree that the sound projects surprisingly well. It is louder than most mandolins I have played.
    As regards the tuner buttons, there are no issues with mine - indeed I find the tuners to be really pretty good.

    I use D'Addario J74s on it, like on all my mandolins. Seems fine to me. I should note that I find the tone has improved with time/use/travel. It's more mellow now.

    In general I think it's fine. Plays very well, plenty volume, pretty good tone, excellent for travel - and in fact not very expensive.
    I don't have a pickup in mine so I can't comment on that, but the acoustic instrument I have has been very useful to me.

    Again, people should bear in mind that I'm not looking at it from a bluegrass perspective.
    David A. Gordon

  15. #11

    Default Re: Seagull S8 Owners Thread

    I'm an intermediate player and have owned and exclusively played a Seagull S8 (Natural) for 6+ months now. It's my first mandolin so I don't have an instrument to compare it to. Here are my thoughts on it.

    Pros
    -Sounds lovely (I use D'Addario EXP74CM strings); I enjoy playing it a lot and have played with groups with 3 to 12 people. I've had no problems projecting enough sound when in a group.
    -It's pretty, and often gets looks and I often get questions since not many people have seen a two point mandolin before.
    -Not terribly expensive so it can be lugged around easily without too much headache.
    -Good solid construction; the luthier I went to told me that he was impressed and put it's construction above many of the $700 - 1000 models he sees.

    Cons
    -It has thin frets. I'm not sure which side of the camp I should be in when many higher end mandolins have larger frets. I recall it made a big difference for me with guitars.
    -Required professional set-up which cost about $100. It was difficult to play without having the action adjusted by a luthier.
    -Fret board is glued to the top all the way down which means there is no place to slip a strap string under the fret board. You either need to install a strap button, have the strap up by the tuners, or tightly tie it by the end of the fret board (it occasionally slips up on top of the frets).
    -The bridge nut isn't adjustable so I'll probably have to rely on truss rod adjustments between seasons.
    -After playing for months I find that I'm now having trouble where the E strings slip out of their notches during particularly heavy picking (upstroke, usually). I'll need to cut the notch lower to prevent this but since the nut has already been set up to the perfect action height, it may need to be raised again which is a headache I wasn't expecting. Will talk to the luthier.

    Overall opinion is that it's a great travel mandolin for the price. Nice and light and looks beautiful. I just wish it had an adjustable bridge.

    Question for the forum; do you think I should look into replacing the bridge? Wonder what would be a good option to match the look.

  16. #12

    Default Re: Seagull S8 Owners Thread

    The bridge is so specific and unique to the instrument, not to mention firmly glued in place, it is hard to conceive of a replacement unless there was a warranty-covered issue. The saddle (which you refer to as the bridge nut) is also unique in its factory-compensation—unless the bridge itself is damaged in some way, it would be the saddle you would replace when necessary (with an identical one). I’ve never checked if the saddle is glued in (unlikely) or very snugly slotted.

    There’s lots of room on that heel for a strap button; I expect to install one on mine this week when my Stew-Mac parts order comes.

    Koosh, it’s your first mando but not your last. I wouldn’t try to redesign it. The truss rod adjustment (diy) is one of the easiest ways to tweak the action, being non-destructive. Rather than get into modifications beyond a strap button I’d be saving and looking for the next one and contemplating questions like: f-hole or round-hole? Flat or carved top? Radiused fingerboard?

    To be clear I like my Seagull and haven’t adjusted anything in three years of owning it. It wouldn’t be my one and only.

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    Koosh 

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    Registered User stephl's Avatar
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    Default Re: Seagull S8 Owners Thread

    I am picking mine up this afternoon, I will let you know how it goes. I will have the accoustic version...

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    Registered User stephl's Avatar
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    Default Re: Seagull S8 Owners Thread

    and here it is, a beauty

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  21. #15
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    Default Re: Seagull S8 Owners Thread

    I just got mine today. I love it. This is just the sound I've been looking for. It is very comfortable to play. I got a tenor Uke gig bag for it and it fits perfectly. I'm impressed. I got the natural lighter colored one. I'm thinking of selling my Kentucky KM-171 and getting another of these S8s.

  22. #16

    Default Re: Seagull S8 Owners Thread

    Yep. Just something about the way it feels that I really love, and the sound is perfect for my playing these days (I barely take O'Neill's and Ryan's Mammoth off my music stand right now). Love my Yellowstone and my KM-950, but for the moment I keep going to the S8.

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    Default Re: Seagull S8 Owners Thread

    Here is a little tune I recorded last night. The quality isn't great because I just used my phone with a backing track on youtube. This is the S8. I love mine so far.

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  25. #18

    Default Re: Seagull S8 Owners Thread

    No, the bridge is not 'firmly glued in place'. Black part is set into the body, not movable, with posts to hold it in place. The white 'tusq' string contact bar is set into the black 'frame' and there is a hole in the black frame which you push in to push out the white part. I filed down the white part to adjust the bridge height. I think this type of bridge has better body contact and makes this type of instrument, similar to a bowl back/italian or Suzuki style mandolin, more resonant. The S8 is so resonant there is a damper at the tailpiece to remove resonance between the bridge and the tail (where the strings are looped on). I wonder how it would sound if I removed this dampener. It's a great instrument with the 'body through' neck (one piece), and strong dual truss rod. Neck is flat so takes a bit of getting used to.

  26. #19

    Default Re: Seagull S8 Owners Thread

    The sound of the S8 is full in the midrange; with different pick locations a lot of sound tonal colors are possible. It has a wonderful tenor sound when strummed up over the fingerboard area. It is not sweet and light (bluegrass style) but to my ear fairly gutsy, but not bassy either. A slightly larger body would give it more bass; I'd like to see that, but they might've had to compromise because the neck, head, and body, are one piece of wood. Great design like one of those django jazz acoustic guitars that have that type of bridge.

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    Default Re: Seagull S8 Owners Thread

    I bought one of these a few years ago and really like the feel and sound of it. I have the natural finish version, and you can see that the instrument is actually made of 3 blocks of wood, one that runs from the head, neck, and through the body, and 2 more for the wings. My guess is that they glue the 3 pieces together and run the assembly through a milling machine that carves out the body hollow and shapes the rest. Probably takes longer to string it than it does to shape it. Id love to see a video of the whole process.

  28. #21

    Default Re: Seagull S8 Owners Thread

    I don't own one or have I played one. I bought my first mandolin this past April. Didn't start giving it much playing time till about June. So about all I can offer are some thoughts.

    First I would own one just because of it's unique shape. This may be one of those that really opens up after a year or two of regular playing.
    2007 Indiana Scout
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    Plus a few lower end I have had for years

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    Default Re: Seagull S8 Owners Thread

    I recently had a pro setup on my S8 and boy, it is great to play now. I find myself reaching for my s8 more often than either of my two Kentucky mandolins lately. I have a KM-171 oval hole A Style and an KM-505 F hole one, and they are great, but there is just something that draws me to the S8. The tone is clear and ringing. It doesn't sound like any other mandolin I ever played (in a good way). Here is a sample of fooling around with Red Haired boy that I recorded on my phone this morning. I like it better than the one I posted before. I think you can hear the tone better.


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  31. #23
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    Default Re: Seagull S8 Owners Thread

    So I have been playing mandolin for a couple of months. I started with the Kentucky KM-150 and a couple of weeks later I got the Seagull S8 Burnt Umber. Although I was skeptical at first on the playability of the Seagull when compared to the Kentucky, now there is no comparison. The Seagull has better sound, is more fun to play and easier to use than the Kentucky. At the moment I use my Kentucky at work to practice during lunch hour, and my Seagull is at home where I practice in the evening. I am seriously considering getting another Seagull S8 to bing to work to replace the Kentucky KM-150. Keep in mind, there is NOTHING WRONG with the Kentucky KM-150, but the Seagull S8 is just more of a match for me.

  32. #24
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    Default Re: Seagull S8 Owners Thread

    And finally did it... I have the Seagull S8 burnt Umber for home, and now the Seasull S8 Natural for work (Lunch Hour) and as travelling companion...

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