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Thread: Quality Octave Mandolin?

  1. #1

    Question Quality Octave Mandolin?

    Iíve been recently interested in getting an octave mandolin and I was looking for some suggestions. The price range I am looking for Is up to $2,000. Iíve looked at the Eastman MDO605 but from what I could tell it only comes in that color and finish which I am looking for more options. Anyone have any suggestions of an octave in or around that level of mandolin? Thanks all.
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  2. #2

    Default Re: Quality Octave Mandolin?

    This looks like a pretty good deal: https://themandolinstore.com/product/deluxe-octolindo/

  3. #3

    Default Re: Quality Octave Mandolin?

    Get one from James at Red Valley Mandolins.

  4. #4
    My Florida is scooped pheffernan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Quality Octave Mandolin?

    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick Toole View Post
    Get one from James at Red Valley Mandolins.
    Gryphon has one at the top of budget: https://www.gryphonstrings.com/produ...e-mandolin-new
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    Registered User 22_frets's Avatar
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    Default Re: Quality Octave Mandolin?

    My "mandolin journey" started at the beginning of the pandemic (thought a new hobby would be a good idea). I bought a Red Valley octave mandolin from Gryphon. A "real" mandolin player/musician I have known for most of my life examined it and played it and said it was an excellent instrument. I have come to agree with this assessment. It has been trouble free, is a joy to play, and has a wonderful tone.

    Also, the folks at Gryphon were impressive and a joy to deal with. And the set up was perfect.

    Just my 2 cents' worth. Good luck in your search. Be sure to visit Mr. Wilson's website:

    http://www.redvalleymandolins.com

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  7. #6

    Default Re: Quality Octave Mandolin?

    Red Valley looks nice.

    Davy Stuart makes a great octave mandolin and is in your price range. His prices are listed in NZ dollars and there's a pretty favorable exchange rate. Highly recommend you take a look: http://www.stuart.co.nz/index.asp

    Bill Petersen is no longer building but his octaves are quite nice for the price and they pop up for sale pretty regularly.
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    My Florida is scooped pheffernan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Quality Octave Mandolin?

    Quote Originally Posted by sitarjams View Post
    I’ve been recently interested in getting an octave mandolin and I was looking for some suggestions. The price range I am looking for Is up to $2,000. I’ve looked at the Eastman MDO605 but from what I could tell it only comes in that color and finish which I am looking for more options. Anyone have any suggestions of an octave in or around that level of mandolin?
    $2K is an interesting price point in the octave market, a bit more than you have to spend for most independent flattops and a bit less than you need for most quality archtops:

    https://reverb.com/item/40122421-saw...-mandolin-2020

    http://emando.com/shop/8va/Flatiron_zouk2.htm

    https://reverb.com/item/56980586-nor...ctave-mandolin
    1924 Gibson A Snakehead
    2005 National RM-1
    2007 Hester A5
    2009 Passernig A5
    2015 Black A2-z
    2010 Black GBOM
    2017 Poe Scout
    2014 Smart F-Style Mandola
    2018 Vessel TM5
    2019 Hogan F5

  9. #8

    Default Re: Quality Octave Mandolin?

    Thank you all for the suggestions. The Red Valley looks really nice and I’ve been looking for videos to get an idea of how it sounds. I’m on the east coast so I can’t pop in and play it unfortunately. I’ll check out the other links too. Thanks again.
    Custom F5 Pomeroy mandolin
    Martin '68 D-28 Guitar
    Larrivee OMV-03
    Sitar(maker unknown)

  10. #9
    Registered User webber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Quality Octave Mandolin?

    If you can find a good deal on a used one, you're in the range for a Northfield flat top octave. Pheffernan posted a link to one on Reverb that's open to offers, so that's what I'd start with. There are Northfield dealers all over the US, so I'd check if anyone local to you carries them so you can play it before you buy.
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    Default Re: Quality Octave Mandolin?

    A Buddy of mine has a Red Valley octave that he got directly from James. He has a band with his wife called Kinnfolk. They have Facebook and Instagram accounts and there are loads of videos of him playing the octave there if it helps. Plus theyíre a fun duo to follow anyway and regularly stream front porch performances.

  12. #11
    Registered User Marcus CA's Avatar
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    Default Re: Quality Octave Mandolin?

    You might get a better sense of what sort of OM you want by taking a day trip to The Music Emporium in Lexington. They currently have an Eastman MDO305 in stock, which would let you see whether the Eastman body shape, neck profile, and nut width work for you. Iíve never played their 605, but Iím guessing that it would feel the same, but sound better. Others here can speak more knowledgeably about that. You also could phone TME first to see if theyíll be getting a 605 in stock in the near future.

    A trip there will also give you the chance to play Northfieldís NFO-FT2 (Northfield Octave - Flat Top 2), like what webber mentioned. Itís a GBOM, and itís a Northfield, so it will have a totally different feel. Itís also $3,150, which is significantly above the price point you gave us. However, to my ear, the higher price level is matched by a superior tone level, so youíd be getting sonic bang for your buck. Even if you canít afford it now, I think that it would be worthwhile for you to play it, since if you really like it, you can buy something else for now and then sell it later when youíre ready to upgrade. Northfield also makes the NFO-FT1, which has walnut instead of maple for back & sides, and is $200 less.

    Iíll also second Chuckís comment about Petersens. I bought a Level 3 used in 2009, and the Northfield I mentioned is the cheapest OM Iíve played that sounds slightly better ó- but not better enough to consider it as a significant upgrade. The Petersens I see advertised in the Cafť Classified are usually in the $1,200-1,500 range, but my sense is that there are only a few a year.

    If you decide to stretch your budget a bit, you might also talk to Richard Beard, a longtime builder in North Carolina. He makes tremendous mando family instruments, and his prices may still be under $3K.
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  13. #12

    Default Re: Quality Octave Mandolin?

    “ A Buddy of mine has a Red Valley octave that he got directly from James. He has a band with his wife called Kinnfolk. They have Facebook and Instagram accounts and there are loads of videos of him playing the octave there if it helps. Plus they’re a fun duo to follow anyway and regularly stream front porch performances.”



    Are they from around Roanoke, Va? I just looked them up and see they are playing there tomorrow. Although I live in the northeast I’m from Roanoke! A pretty cool connection. I was able to see his Red Valley and I enjoyed the sound and they are fun too. Thanks for the reply! I ended up going with the Red Valley. I pulled the trigger today! Here’s to a new baby for the family.
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  15. #13

    Default Re: Quality Octave Mandolin?

    Yes theyíre in Roanoke. I was there as well for 7 years until moving to Philadelphia in January. Itís a fun town with a good session, itís cool youíre from there! Hope you enjoy the octave!

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    two t's and one hyphen fatt-dad's Avatar
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    Default Re: Quality Octave Mandolin?

    I've owned a few custom, hand-made mandolins over the decades.

    Very happy with the Eastman MDO-305! I did put on thinner gauge strings - I think the D'Adderio mandola set?

    Just a great instrument! Well travelled and played a lot!

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  17. #15

    Default Re: Quality Octave Mandolin?

    I did recently purchase an Eastman Octave mandolin (which could easily be tuned as an irish bozouki) and I'm amazed at the quality for the price. Been a lot of fun playing with this thing over the course of the last couple weeks.

  18. #16
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Quality Octave Mandolin?

    I've been 40 years satisfied with my Flatiron "bouzouki," or long-scale octave mandolin. A giant "pancake" mandolin, like a Gibson Army-Navy on growth hormone. You have to like a longer scale -- but I do -- to play one. There are usually several on Reverb and other used-gear sites within a few months; prices seem to run from $1k up to just south of $2K, or in your stated price range.
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    Default Re: Quality Octave Mandolin?

    Quote Originally Posted by sitarjams View Post
    I ended up going with the Red Valley. I pulled the trigger today! Here’s to a new baby for the family.
    What's verdict on the Red Valley?
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  21. #18
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    Default Re: Quality Octave Mandolin?

    +1 for pancake octaves. I play a Bruce Weber Sage-1 octave mandolin. I have tried many other octaves and I would say they are "almost as good" for playing melody and rhythm in acoustic situations. For playing plugged in, I have a removable guitar electromagnetic pickup, goes into the sound hole.

    when buying a used pancake octave, pay attention: must have a truss rod and must have no distortions of the flat top.

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