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Thread: The waiting begins: order in for Clark Octave

  1. #1
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    Default The waiting begins: order in for Clark Octave

    I don't post here much, but I have read through many of the threads here in CBOM over the last few years as I've been learning about and stoking my interest in octave mandos. I had one brief fling with a Lafferty that proved I do want one (and that the Lafferty was not the one). After many months of work stress -- working in IT for a public school during a pandemic -- I decided to give myself something to look forward to.

    Today (10/3/20) I got confirmation that my deposit was received by Austin Clark confirming my spot in 2021 for a new Clark octave mandolin.

    It's a large expense, but I believe that quality is worth it. The archtop guitar body is what I want, and Austin is not too far from me (I'm in SLC, he's in Boise) so I'll be able to pick it up in person. Hearing a few recordings by Sierra Hull and Dominck Leslie on their Clarks sealed the deal for me.

    I've got until next summer or so to finalize my decisions: color? cutaway? inlays? Only customization I'm looking at is a K&K pickup (Austin's a fan of them too).

    I'll do my best to update this thread throughout the build process so y'all can follow along. Just had to share my joy with some folks that would understand.
    Andrew Frink
    Phoenix Bluegrass, '23 Gibson A Snakehead, Weymann, Clark octave on the hoof

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: The waiting begins: order in for Clark Octave

    Took delivery of a Clark GBOM this Summer. Love it!

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    Registered User Mandobart's Avatar
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    Default Re: The waiting begins: order in for Clark Octave

    One of the big highlights of Wintergrass for me for the past several years is visiting with Austin Clark and Andrew Lowry and playing their superbly built instruments. I've played many of Austin's mandolins and OM's and you can't go wrong there!

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    Default Re: The waiting begins: order in for Clark Octave

    Didn’t have to wait for mine; I bought it from Tamco, I doubt you’ll be dissapointed. There’s a photo’ of Ted Eschliman around somewhere playing it whilst it was still in the shop.

    Probably best to let Austin fit the K&K. I had a local luthier friend fit mine and he managed to trash the tailpiece in the process, drilling out the hole for the socket. Don’t know which came off worse, the tailpiece or his hand - all I remember is the t/p flying across his workshop and him dissappearing to the bathroom to stem the bleeding.

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    Default Re: The waiting begins: order in for Clark Octave

    I'm really excited. Wasn't exactly holding my breath, but did get a nice little happy moment when I saw the email from Austin that my deposit had arrived.

    @Ray - Yikes! Always ups the ante when the story includes "stem the bleeding. I am going to have Austin put the pickup in, seemed the best way to go and he doesn't charge much for the extra work.
    Andrew Frink
    Phoenix Bluegrass, '23 Gibson A Snakehead, Weymann, Clark octave on the hoof

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    Default Re: The waiting begins: order in for Clark Octave

    Yes, it was a bit of a moment. He removed the tailpiece and held it under his pillar drill to enlarge the hole. Austins tailpieces are basically an L shaped piece of brass or bronze with an ornamental cap and the metal is somewhat more durable than youd expect. Anyhow, the drill kammed in the existing hole and he didnt let go of it quickly enough. Fortunately, the drill and tailpiece parted company and it shot across his workshop in the opposite direction to where I was standing.

    Austin made me another but was so apalled by the shipping costs, he reduced his price!

    My luthier friend, who was used to fitting K&K pickups in guitars, also found that it was difficult to hold the pickup pads in place whilst the glue sets and had to make a special tool to do this. I assume Austin fits them before either the back or top is fitted.

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    Chief Moderator/Shepherd Ted Eschliman's Avatar
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    Default Re: The waiting begins: order in for Clark Octave

    Austin built a tenor guitar for me on this model, a cutaway Cherry-colaburst 4-string. The only thing I might have done differently was add a Kent Armstrong Humbucker pickup. The K&K I chose would probably be better on an octave or for more general acoustic styles, but if you’re going to plug in, adding it now is a good idea.
    Of the three great instruments he built me, this remains my favorite.
    Ted Eschliman

    Author, Getting Into Jazz Mandolin

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    Default Re: The waiting begins: order in for Clark Octave

    I've become a big fan of K&K. So far I have their pickups on 2 mandolins, 3 guitars, and an upright bass. With the gigs I do having a solid pickup system solves a bunch of problems so it's a must. Definitely a bonus to have them put in when the instrument is built.

    So now I wait and ponder the important questions in life such as cutaway vs full body and color choices.
    Andrew Frink
    Phoenix Bluegrass, '23 Gibson A Snakehead, Weymann, Clark octave on the hoof

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    Default Re: The waiting begins: order in for Clark Octave

    Heard from Austin today, looks like he'll be starting my build in the next month or so. Very exciting!

    Now I have to choose cutaway or full body. I'm leaning towards the full body design but I'm swayable if anyone has a strong opinion. May purpose is for vocal accompaniment and some melody work.
    Andrew Frink
    Phoenix Bluegrass, '23 Gibson A Snakehead, Weymann, Clark octave on the hoof

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    Default Re: The waiting begins: order in for Clark Octave

    Opinion only............On the archtops I always think the full body looks "nicer/classier". The cutaway is for folks that actually need the room for playing on those frets more than occasionally. I also just cannot handle the sharp "horn" type cutaway. Just looks "wrong" to me. Regardless of any of that......congrat's. Is gonna be a fantastic instrument.

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    Default Re: The waiting begins: order in for Clark Octave

    Mine has a cutaway - the rounded type. It has a 12 fret neck so I do play up at that end fairly frequently. If you do decide you’d like one, it’s a bit late once it’s built. Also think about strings - I’m thinking of treating mine to a new set tomorrow. Austin’s tailpieces are designed to take ball ends and you can’t get an off the peg set with balls. I order custom sets from Newtone. Fortunately, they’re about 20 miles down the road from me.

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    Default Re: The waiting begins: order in for Clark Octave

    I love that green cutaway with the modern looking f-holes from his website. I'd probably go with the standard body but love that look.
    Northfield F5S
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    Default Re: The waiting begins: order in for Clark Octave

    I rarely go above the 12th fret on OM. On mandolin, I do because I am going for the even higher notes on a higher instrument. On OM, though, Im going for a richness and fullness of tone, which to my ear, starts getting lost beyond the 7th fret on the E string.
    still trying to turn dreams into memories

  16. #14
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    Default Re: The waiting begins: order in for Clark Octave

    Thanks all for the thoughts. I've decided to go with the full body (no cutaway). I do really like the look, and it occurred to me that I've done lead acoustic guitar work on a non-cutaway guitar for the last 12 years without complaint.

    Decision 1 done, a few more to go. Exciting stuff!
    Andrew Frink
    Phoenix Bluegrass, '23 Gibson A Snakehead, Weymann, Clark octave on the hoof

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    Default Re: The waiting begins: order in for Clark Octave

    I just saw a picture in the classifieds here of someone selling a full body Clark OM... took one look at the pic and knew I had chosen correctly.
    Andrew Frink
    Phoenix Bluegrass, '23 Gibson A Snakehead, Weymann, Clark octave on the hoof

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