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Thread: Guitar Bodied Octave Mandolins?

  1. #1
    Registered User jmkatcher's Avatar
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    Anyone have any experience with these?

    I'm relatively new to mandolin, but have found learning it to be straight-forward and enjoyable. While it's a superb instrument, I find it hard to sing along with as I play (I'm sort of tenor and I get drowned out). I've tried to teach myself guitar in the past, but while I enjoy the rich deep sound for accompaniment, don't enjoy playing it very much.

    It seems like a great solution would be a guitar-bodied octave mandolin, thus coupling the rich deep sound box with a fretboard that makes sense to me. Would this be a violation of nature's laws?




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    I know that Bill Bussman makes Old Wave OMs that are shaped like arch-top guitars. Never heard one.

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    I have both heard and played Bill Bussman's guitar octaves (Tim O'brien has a Nugget one). They are very nice instruments. I spent the better part of 3 or 4 hours at Bussman's booth at wintergrass just jamming on one (I hung around enough that people began to think I was his kid or something . Good stuff. The main advantage to these I see is the comfort factor. The long neck on a traditional octave mando in relationship to the size of the body makes it an unwieldy instrument and not very balanced. No such problem with the guitar octaves. I'd talk to Bill, I know he has spent a good deal of time refining his design since he built the one that I played.




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    Well...I'm waiting on the delivery of a guitar/bouzouki, a 25" scale 8 string tuned an octave below mandolin. I contributed much to its design so I'm kind of excited about getting it, likely within a month.

    Peace, Mooh.




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    Registered User jmkatcher's Avatar
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    Who are you getting it from and do you have any pictures?
    Also, could you tell me/us a little about its features?

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    A new luthier named Josh House (www.house-guitars.com) is building my guitar/bouzouki. He is an occassional guitar student of mine who took a building course and has built a few very fine acoustic guitars. To support him, give him some practice, and help him get started in this tough business, I ordered the guit-zouk and a guitar. The bouzouki will be walnut back and sides, cedar top, ebony board and bridge, purpleheart rossette, side port, smallish sound hole, Schallers, 25" scale, bone nut and saddle, and clear finish. It's well along now so I expect he'll deliver it in a month or so.

    I'm not sure I'd support every friend or student who starts building instruments, but this guy is young, talented and deserving. Besides, he was more than willing to do the job.

    I have a few pictures of the work so far, but I'll need to read up on how to post them. When there's more to show, I'll post them.

    Peace, Mooh.




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    I should mention that I haven't entirely decided how to string this thing. The lower two courses will be unison tuned initially (from the builder), but I know I'll be tempted to try them octave tuned. Anyone got ideas about this?

    Peace, Mooh.

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    Rick Felkel of Elloree Guitars will build you a nice looking octave mandolin based on a parlor guitar sized body for $550 + $100 case + $25 shipping. #Scale length would be between 22" and 23 5/8" depending upon wishes. #Neck width is 1 3/8". #Check out the 8 string parlor guitar in the center of this page: http://www.angelfire.com/la2/elloree/guitars.html

    Mark

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    Registered User BluegrassPhilfromFrance's Avatar
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    Yous should check www.pwcrumpco.com. Here is one of his octave mandolin, guitar shaped. Good luck. #
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    Just because you can, doesn't mean you should!

  10. #10
    Registered User BluegrassPhilfromFrance's Avatar
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    OOOPS, it looks like I've made a mistake ... confusion when I joined the image to the message. This is an Old Wave OM not a Phil Crump. Here is the Crump guitar bodied OM, sorry again
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    Just because you can, doesn't mean you should!

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    Cafe Linux Mommy danb's Avatar
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    Both Bill's and Phil's are very nice instruments. I played several of Bill's (guitar, teardrop, F-shaped) octaves, and also many of Phil's instruments. Not a dog in the bunch, and clearly top-drawer professional quality builders.
    The Mandolin Archive
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    isnt tim o briens bouzouki a guitar body?
    "A mando is a terrible thing to waste."

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    Yes, his is a Nugget custom made by Mike Kemnitzer, one of a kind as far as I know. Lately, Tim has taken to using a shorter scale, weird-bodied archtop octave made by Giacomel in Italy. I personally thought the guitar one sounded much better.

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    I agree with GUNNING regarding the sound of the Nugget. It is a 23 1/2" scale, and the 'new' Giacomel is shorter. That Nugget is truely awesome, kinda makes me want to make some.

  15. #15

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    The old wave CBOMS I've played have been top notch.

    I have a Guitar bodied Zouk...5 course from Graham McDonald...
    Top craftsmanship. He'll make 4 courses...

    Here's a pic or 2...
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    another...
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    Director of Operations - East Coast
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  17. #17

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    Great full sound from this instrument. I thought I'd go with 5 courses so I could really drive the arch top.

    Very happy with this instrument!

    I use it more of back-up than melody...
    25in Scale
    EAEbf# (whole step above DGDae)

    enjoy,
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  18. #18

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    Here's a link to more..

    http://homepage.mac.com/craigtoo/PhotoAlbum20.html


    thanks,
    craig
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    Well, I have taken the plunge. Mr. Michael Lewis who posts on this thread, has kindly agreed to make an octave mando for me in the guitar body style-details to be worked out as we go. It looks to be a very exciting project. With Mr. Lewis' permission, I hope to post progress reports on instrument and will probably seek help from folks on this site as to some of the design choices. I will post again when we get close to the start date which is at least months away.
    Richard Michaud

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    Registered User jmkatcher's Avatar
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    Cool! I have an OOO guitar bodied custom in progress right now from Phil Crump so I look forward to contrasting them.




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    Jim, What neck length are you having done and why? Are you having a pickup installed? How about tuners? Finally, what woods are being used? Rich
    Richard Michaud

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    Registered User jmkatcher's Avatar
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    (Assuming this is addressed to me, it's Jeff, not Jim )

    Scale length is 24"-ish, no pickup, tuners are high-end Gotohs, and it's being made from bubinga w/sitka top. My goal is to have something like a Martin 000-28 in aural richness & flexibility. It was a deliberate choice to get the flat-top sound instead of doing the archtop thing.

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    My apologies as to your name-Jeff not Jim. Thanks for the prompt response. Sounds great. When is the start or finish date expected? Are you looking more rhythm or lead sound? Do you expect the bottom strings to be in pairs or octaves?
    Sorry for so many questions but the information helps me in my decisions as to the Lewis octave mando to be built for me. thanks. Rich
    Richard Michaud

  24. #24
    Registered User jmkatcher's Avatar
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    Start date was sometime in June/July, end time hopefully before the end of the year, but it's art and I'll wait for art.

    I'm thinking more rhythm than lead, and intended for solo vocal accompaniment. Strung GDAE pairs. It's hard to say what it is, i.e. mutant octave mandolin or mutant tenor guitar. Probably a little of both. It's sure been a lot of fun to think through though.

    What are you provisionally having built?




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