Results 1 to 21 of 21

Thread: octave mandolins

  1. #1

    Default octave mandolins

    are they for people with small hands? which do y'all prefer? Eastman, gold tone, Trinity college? can't spend more than $900 on an octave mandolin

  2. #2

    Default Re: octave mandolins

    I acquired two today. Well, two arrived today A pono, guitar shaped, and an Eastman, A-style shaped. They are very different sonically as their shapes would explain. Both were acquired used. The Pono came with an aftermarket K&K pickup while the Eastman is only acoustic. The Pono came with a gorgeous hardshell case, but the Eastman comes with a gig bag only.

    The neck shapes are also different. Fuller yet thinner on the Eastman. The Tones on the Eastman are more focused, but the tones on the Pono are lusher... bottom line, if possible for you, try them out in person!

  3. #3

    Default Re: octave mandolins

    Eastman is bright, TC is darker, both play reasonably well, bridge on the TC is compensated for lighter strings (PS on top two courses), I got mine to sound pretty good.

    For me OM's were a gateway to tenpr guitars, but not everybody goes there.
    Trinity College TM325 Octave Mandolin (converted to 4-string tenor guitar).
    Eastman MD-605SB, MD-604SB, MD-305, all with Grover 309 tuners.
    Eastwood 4 string electric mandostang, 2x Airline e-mandola (4-string) one strung as an e-OM.
    DSP's: Helix HX Stomp, various Zooms.
    Amps: QSC-K10, DBR-10, THR-10, Sony XB-20.

  4. #4

    Post Re: octave mandolins

    Quote Originally Posted by Tony21 View Post
    are they for people with small hands? which do y'all prefer? Eastman, gold tone, Trinity college? can't spend more than $900 on an octave mandolin
    Thankyou for your advice. I don't live close to a big shop that sells a wide variety of instruments. I'm leaning toward the Eastman so far. I have a mando made by them. I wish I could try them out first. I guess living in a small town does have disadvantages.

  5. #5

    Default Re: octave mandolins

    thanks kurth83

    - - - Updated - - -

    where did ya get the 2 that you bought mojocaster?

  6. #6

    Default Re: octave mandolins

    Also, I don't think the size of the hand is all that much of an issue... as much is your ability to play with your pinky.

  7. #7
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    NC
    Posts
    3,854

    Default Re: octave mandolins

    I find 20 inch scale instruments much more comfortable to play than 22.5 and up. I’ve got large hands but not long fingers. My pinky is pretty functional, but the shorter scale helps me out a ton.

    Of course, Sierra Hull and Sarah Jarosz are tiny and they do just fine, but I’m a mere mortal...
    Chuck

  8. The following members say thank you to CES for this post:


  9. #8
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Norfolk, VA
    Posts
    601

    Default Re: octave mandolins

    Two thumbs up for the Eastman MDO305. I've had mine for about two years now, measures 21" scale. Once I developed my skills using my little finger the octave mandolin opened up a new musical world for me. The tone of mine is full and rich and satisfying. I replaced the tuners on mine with Grovers (same set as used for mandolin). I play the octave more than the mandolin these days. The Eastman comes with a fabric gig bag only. I would like to find a nice hard shell case for it but no luck so far.

  10. #9

    Default Re: octave mandolins

    One of the skills to learn with the Octave is to be able to move your whole hand up the neck to a new position in one, quite aggressive, fast and extremely precise movement, arriving with your hand in a certain shape... and then back. And like tremolo, it takes quite a while to get it right.
    Freedom on the fretboard is the reward. I’m still working on it.

    Another skill is ‘knowing’ where you are on the fretboard without looking, all notes memorised -where are all the roots?

    If you look at vids of Sierra Hull and others, bouzouki players too, when they want to move to a new position, they really go for it and they practice these single movements with a metronome over and over again. (Eyes closed)

    -of course if you are a complete beginner or depending on the type of music you are going to be playing, then you may want to learn different skills first.
    Hand size? -maybe a small hand can accelerate faster than a large heavy hand?
    But at the end of the day it’s the players determination, motivation and confidence that will have a huge effect.

    Octave Mandolin? I prefer A style, with a rich sound on each individual note lower sustain, lower ‘ringing’, more like a mandolin and the older looking the better.
    Last edited by Simon DS; Dec-12-2019 at 2:06pm.

  11. #10

    Default Re: octave mandolins

    The Eastman next to the Pono for size comparisons... and because nobody likes a thread without pictures

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	79155127_560827531372427_4619098766908063744_n.jpg 
Views:	64 
Size:	167.6 KB 
ID:	181887

  12. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to mojocaster For This Useful Post:


  13. #11

    Default Re: octave mandolins

    I have a tenor guitar with 23” scale, an octave mandolin with 20” scale and formerly owned the Eastman with 21.5” scale. The 20” is absolutely easier to play melody and fiddle tunes if that’s your goal. You do sacrifice a little punch because the shorter strings are under less tension, but it’s not an issue depending on the style of music you play. Enjoy!

  14. #12

    Default Re: octave mandolins

    Quote Originally Posted by Algreen View Post
    I have a tenor guitar with 23” scale, an octave mandolin with 20” scale and formerly owned the Eastman with 21.5” scale. The 20” is absolutely easier to play melody and fiddle tunes if that’s your goal. You do sacrifice a little punch because the shorter strings are under less tension, but it’s not an issue depending on the style of music you play. Enjoy!
    Hi Algreen - Looks like you're a lefty, unless the video is flipped. I'm also a lefty and looking to buy 20" scale OM. Seems like you're happy with the Pango, yes?

    I didn't think the Eastman was available in a lefty version. Did you just get a righty and string it backwards?

    Not aware of too many lefty options on the market. Weber makes them but they're pretty pricey. I actually have a custom lefty Weber Yellowstone mando that I'm happy with but it cost $6G. Don't think I wanna spend that kinda $ for an OM.

  15. #13
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    40.1646° N, 74.2083° W
    Posts
    23,492

    Default Re: octave mandolins

    Any A style mandolin like instrument can be changed to a lefty with a new nut and a new bridge top. The fretboard side dots will be on the wrong side of the neck. F styles don't convert as well because they look a little unusual upside down.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  16. #14

    Default Re: octave mandolins

    Even if you have small hands you can still play the Octave well. It’s just that your style has to be different.
    I’ve had it about ten months now and play my Octave as though it’s a huge mandolin, partly through laziness -I don’t want to have to learn different fingering when I get a mandolin. Looking back at some of the vids I’ve done, my fingering has changed, though I not sure if it’s for the better! Am considering scrapping the pinky and work on position changing...

    Another more usual style is a bit like guitar and bouzouki, and involves more often rapid hand movements up and down the fretboard.


    Neck width is also something to consider when you go to try them out with friends or in the shop.
    Last edited by Simon DS; Feb-27-2020 at 5:54pm.

  17. #15
    Registered User Aaron Bohnen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2019
    Location
    Vancouver, BC
    Posts
    45

    Default Re: octave mandolins

    My OM has a 23.5" scale and I don't have long pinkies - so it can be tough to play melody in first position at speed. The upside is it has beautiful tone and sustain. After a while it dawned on me to stop trying to pick so many notes and let the strengths of the long scale shine. Basically to play up the big tone and play down the fast finger work.

    So I now think of the OM as a very different instrument to the regular mandolin and don't approach it the same way at all.

    Interestingly the mandocello basically demands this changed perspective. I'm pretty sure Mike Marshall has made that suggestion about it a few times - to play fewer notes and let the strength of the instrument speak for itself.

    This point of view has made playing the longer-scale OM a lot more fun too!

    Enjoy!
    Gavin Baird F4 & F5
    Weber Octar
    Gibson K-1

  18. The following members say thank you to Aaron Bohnen for this post:


  19. #16
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Columbus, GA
    Posts
    1,252

    Default Re: octave mandolins

    Eddie Blevins in Blountville, TN, made an f-style octave for me and I couldn't be happier. I got to choose the hardware. I also included a K&K pickup and chose a Tru-Oil finish. Since cases for OMs are virtually non-existent, I had a case made at Cedar Creek while Eddie was building the OM. Cedar Creek shipped it to Eddie and he filled it up and sent the whole thing to me.
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	20180814_210715a.jpg 
Views:	38 
Size:	126.0 KB 
ID:	183858
    David Hopkins

    Breedlove Legacy FF; Breedlove Quartz FF
    Gibson F-4, (1916); Blevins Octave Mandolin, 2018
    McCormick Oval Sound Hole "Reinhardt"
    McCormick Solid Body F-Style Electric;
    Recording King Resophonic Mandolin; Slingerland Songbird Guitar (c. 1939)

    The older I get, the less tolerant I am of political correctness, incompetence and stupidity.

  20. #17

    Default Re: octave mandolins

    Quote Originally Posted by DHopkins View Post
    Eddie Blevins in Blountville, TN, made an f-style octave for me and I couldn't be happier. I got to choose the hardware. I also included a K&K pickup and chose a Tru-Oil finish. Since cases for OMs are virtually non-existent, I had a case made at Cedar Creek while Eddie was building the OM. Cedar Creek shipped it to Eddie and he filled it up and sent the whole thing to me.
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	20180814_210715a.jpg 
Views:	38 
Size:	126.0 KB 
ID:	183858
    Beautiful F Style. How does it play?
    Loar LM-370

    “The music is not in the notes, but in the silence between.” ― Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

  21. #18
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Columbus, GA
    Posts
    1,252

    Default Re: octave mandolins

    Quote Originally Posted by DocT View Post
    Beautiful F Style. How does it play?
    Great! For years, I only played standard mandolins so it took a while to get used to the greater distances as I moved up and down the fingerboard. I'm certainly no Justin Moses but I'm gettin' pretty good with it.

    While Eddie has been making mandolins for years, this was is first octave (S# OM-1). He did a dynamite job! The tone and sustain are outstanding. Of course, it cost a little more than a standard mandolin, but it was worth every penny.

    Like I mentioned earlier, OM cases are hard to find. I got in touch with Cedar Creek for a custom case and, using their web site as a guide, designed my own case (case color, hardware, hardware colors, lining, etc). Eddie and Cedar Creek got together with the OM measurements. They shipped the case to Eddie. He finished the OM, packed it in case and "Fedexed" to me. I had an octave mandolin with a quality case designed specifically for the instrument.

    Furthermore, while it was being built, Eddie kept me apprised of the progress including sending pictures. He always answered email promptly. I don't regret for a moment buying it.

    (I am in no way affiliated with Eddie Blevins other than being a customer.)
    David Hopkins

    Breedlove Legacy FF; Breedlove Quartz FF
    Gibson F-4, (1916); Blevins Octave Mandolin, 2018
    McCormick Oval Sound Hole "Reinhardt"
    McCormick Solid Body F-Style Electric;
    Recording King Resophonic Mandolin; Slingerland Songbird Guitar (c. 1939)

    The older I get, the less tolerant I am of political correctness, incompetence and stupidity.

  22. The following members say thank you to DHopkins for this post:


  23. #19

    Default Re: octave mandolins

    Quote Originally Posted by DHopkins View Post
    Eddie Blevins in Blountville, TN, made an f-style octave for me and I couldn't be happier. I got to choose the hardware. I also included a K&K pickup and chose a Tru-Oil finish. Since cases for OMs are virtually non-existent, I had a case made at Cedar Creek while Eddie was building the OM. Cedar Creek shipped it to Eddie and he filled it up and sent the whole thing to me.
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	20180814_210715a.jpg 
Views:	38 
Size:	126.0 KB 
ID:	183858
    Jeepers, what a looker! Not that I need to tell *you* that

  24. #20

    Default Re: octave mandolins

    Quote Originally Posted by DHopkins View Post
    Great! For years, I only played standard mandolins so it took a while to get used to the greater distances as I moved up and down the fingerboard. I'm certainly no Justin Moses but I'm gettin' pretty good with it.

    While Eddie has been making mandolins for years, this was is first octave (S# OM-1). He did a dynamite job! The tone and sustain are outstanding. Of course, it cost a little more than a standard mandolin, but it was worth every penny.

    Like I mentioned earlier, OM cases are hard to find. I got in touch with Cedar Creek for a custom case and, using their web site as a guide, designed my own case (case color, hardware, hardware colors, lining, etc). Eddie and Cedar Creek got together with the OM measurements. They shipped the case to Eddie. He finished the OM, packed it in case and "Fedexed" to me. I had an octave mandolin with a quality case designed specifically for the instrument.

    Furthermore, while it was being built, Eddie kept me apprised of the progress including sending pictures. He always answered email promptly. I don't regret for a moment buying it.

    (I am in no way affiliated with Eddie Blevins other than being a customer.)
    Great story !

  25. #21
    My Florida is scooped pheffernan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Fort Lauderdale, FL
    Posts
    2,989

    Default Re: octave mandolins

    Quote Originally Posted by ekalabacos View Post
    Not aware of too many lefty options on the market. Weber makes them but they're pretty pricey. I actually have a custom lefty Weber Yellowstone mando that I'm happy with but it cost $6G. Don't think I wanna spend that kinda $ for an OM.
    How about half that figure?

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/ads/151400#151400
    1924 Gibson A Snakehead
    2005 National RM-1
    2007 Hester A5
    2009 Passernig A5
    2015 Black A2-z
    2010 Black GBOM
    2017 Poe Scout
    2011 Passernig F5
    2018 Vessel TM5

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •