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Thread: Octave mandolin less-expensive choices

  1. #1
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    Default Octave mandolin less-expensive choices

    If I want to get an octave mandolin - which I do - and I don't have Northfield money - which I don't - what are my alternatives? What's out there for less than $800 new? Or is that a pipe dream?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Octave mandolin less-expensive choices

    The best I know of would be a used Trinity College. They're now $930 new, but with patience you should be able to find a used one for $800 or less.
    I've played a couple of them. They sound reasonably good. One could desire a little more projection, but you can't expect too much in that price range.

    Gold Tone runs in about the same price range. I haven't played one. Some folks say that Trinity College is a better instrument.
    New, the best price would be an Eastman, if you can find one. $800 is not a pipe dream yet, but it's close to the edge. It wouldn't hurt to eat more peanut butter and save a few extra dollars.

    You may have to wait for any of the new instruments I've listed-- they all seem to be out of stock in a lot of places.

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  4. #3

    Default Re: Octave mandolin less-expensive choices

    This is what I play, done some YT recordings, link below this link. I haven’t heard the other octaves but am very happy with mine. Of course it sounds very A type.

    https://www.hobgoblin-usa.com/local/...ctave-mandola/

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  6. #4
    Registered User poul hansen's Avatar
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    Default Re: Octave mandolin less-expensive choices

    Quote Originally Posted by BadExampleMan View Post
    If I want to get an octave mandolin - which I do - and I don't have Northfield money - which I don't - what are my alternatives? What's out there for less than $800 new? Or is that a pipe dream?
    I just bought this Hora from the original buyer and it's amazing value for money. The same goes for the Mandola and the Mandolin II i bought from them.

    The mandola and mandolin just needed intonation, that's all.

    The octave is electrical but I don't know if the pickup was installed at the factory but the strings were silly high. The bridge saddle had not been changed after insertion of the pickup. It was easily fixed though.
    At that price, anyone can afford a test of an Octave Mandolin.

    The factory sells directly to some countries. Just send mail, they answer in english.

    https://www.thomann.de/gb/thomann_oc...VhZ2UiOiJlbiJ9

    http://hora-factory.com/octave_mandolin.html
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by poul hansen; Apr-03-2021 at 3:18pm. Reason: spelling
    Kentucky KM-805
    Hora M1086 Portuguese II
    Hora M1088 Mandola
    Hora M1087 Octave
    Dean Tennessee Acoustic-Electric
    Richmond RMA-110-VS
    Noname (German?) mandolin

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  8. #5

    Default Re: Octave mandolin less-expensive choices

    Quote Originally Posted by BadExampleMan View Post
    If I want to get an octave mandolin - which I do - and I don't have Northfield money - which I don't - what are my alternatives? What's out there for less than $800 new? Or is that a pipe dream?
    Eastman MDO 305, get a set of mandola strings with it. Elderly has one on the way. Have them hold it for you.

    https://www.elderly.com/collections/...andolin-gigbag
    Gunga......Gunga.....Gu-Lunga

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  10. #6

    Default Re: Octave mandolin less-expensive choices

    My youngest son bought a Trinity College last year, and it’s a very nice Octave mandolin. We also tried a Gold Tone but were both very underwhelmed with it.

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  12. #7
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    Default Re: Octave mandolin less-expensive choices

    2 kinds of 'octaves'..

    Long Scale octaves are Irish Zouks .. (they fit in a Banjo case) light , long strings ..

    the other type will have have heavier strings and a Shorter scale ..
    writing about music
    is like dancing,
    about architecture

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  14. #8
    Registered User poul hansen's Avatar
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    Default Re: Octave mandolin less-expensive choices

    Quote Originally Posted by ColdBeerGoCubs View Post
    Eastman MDO 305, get a set of mandola strings with it. ...........
    Does that work? Why do it?
    Kentucky KM-805
    Hora M1086 Portuguese II
    Hora M1088 Mandola
    Hora M1087 Octave
    Dean Tennessee Acoustic-Electric
    Richmond RMA-110-VS
    Noname (German?) mandolin

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  16. #9

    Default Re: Octave mandolin less-expensive choices

    Quote Originally Posted by poul hansen View Post
    Does that work? Why do it?
    Gives it a much fuller sound, way more bass. Gave it some authority. I’ve tried the ‘blue’ EJ72 lights and the ‘orange’ EJ76 mediums. The 76’s definitely gave it a fuller sound but the difference wasn’t that noticeable over the 72’s as the difference between the stock strings and the 72’s was. Plus you’ll have to open up the slots in your nut and bridge for the 76’s, I did not have to for the 72’s but you still could. I also didn’t for the 76’s but I had some ringing with that set up.

    This thread is what made me try it and the difference is massively noticeable.

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/t...e-month-review
    Gunga......Gunga.....Gu-Lunga

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  18. #10
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    Default Re: Octave mandolin less-expensive choices

    EASTMAN MDO-305 can be bought new for under $800.00

  19. #11
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    Default Re: Octave mandolin less-expensive choices

    Quote Originally Posted by ColdBeerGoCubs View Post
    Eastman MDO 305, get a set of mandola strings with it. Elderly has one on the way. Have them hold it for you.

    https://www.elderly.com/collections/...andolin-gigbag
    I looked at Elderly's site. It's sold already!

  20. #12
    Registered User John Flynn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Octave mandolin less-expensive choices

    Just my two cents: The Trinity is nice, seems well made, very easy to play. It really lacks low end tone, but if you can use light mandola strings on it, that might help. Intonation may or may not be a problem with that.

    I had a Hora that was rebranded in the UK and then imported into the US. That one I had, had no truss rod, so the neck was like half a baseball bat. The tuners were awful and they did not have standard spacing for replacement. Also the top sank on it. But it was playable and sounded OK for the money. I would not buy one again.

  21. #13
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    Default Re: Octave mandolin less-expensive choices

    I would have a look at these APC Portuguese made instruments exported from Ireland. I haven't played one myself, but the reviews I've seen have been positive and I guess the guy does a reasonable job of setting them up before shipping. https://www.moloneymusic.com/Product...olins_Mandolas
    Steve

  22. #14
    Registered User RFluke's Avatar
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    Default Re: Octave mandolin less-expensive choices

    I have the less expensive Rathlin octave from Ashbury/Hobgoblin. I'm really enjoying it, but haven't got to push it with other instruments yet. I found some other threads before I got it that mentioned planning a luthier set-up with the cost of the lower tier instruments. I'm the 2nd owner, and the first owner did have some work done to it. I think that could be key.

  23. #15

    Default Re: Octave mandolin less-expensive choices

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve L View Post
    I would have a look at these APC Portuguese made instruments exported from Ireland. I haven't played one myself, but the reviews I've seen have been positive and I guess the guy does a reasonable job of setting them up before shipping. https://www.moloneymusic.com/Product...olins_Mandolas
    I purchased an APC last summer from Moloney Music in Ireland. It was a very nice instrument, but after a few months I realized it wasn't for me. I didn't like the scale length (21-1/2") so I sold it. I can recommend the fit and finish on these octaves, though, and Moloney Music is really easy to work with importing into the US.
    Click image for larger version. 

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  25. #16

    Default Re: Octave mandolin less-expensive choices

    Quote Originally Posted by BadExampleMan View Post
    I looked at Elderly's site. It's sold already!
    Call them and tell them you want one, they will hold the next in line for you and tell you when it will be there. Thats what they did for me when I got mine right before the 'Rona started.

    *edit - I just checked, it still says its coming soon so it probably hasn't been sold yet. Call them first thing Monday morning.
    Gunga......Gunga.....Gu-Lunga

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    Default Re: Octave mandolin less-expensive choices

    I was speaking to a friend who has played in mando orchestras and she said in her experience the fit-and-finish on the Eastmans is highly variable, even to flaws that affect the tone. Has anyone had a similar experience with them?

  27. #18

    Default Re: Octave mandolin less-expensive choices

    Quote Originally Posted by Rdeane View Post
    I purchased an APC last summer from Moloney Music...
    Click image for larger version. 

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    That’s a nice looking octave, I think I’d be tempted to keep it and try different strings, retune, and then always play with a capo at second fret.

    Whatever. The great thing about an octave is that you can use a capo.
    Actually I’d say that the capo is a must.

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    Default Re: Octave mandolin less-expensive choices

    Quote Originally Posted by BadExampleMan View Post
    I was speaking to a friend who has played in mando orchestras and she said in her experience the fit-and-finish on the Eastmans is highly variable, even to flaws that affect the tone. Has anyone had a similar experience with them?
    Over the last six or so years, including the ones I lost in a house fire a few years ago, I have personally owned three Eastman mandolins, one guitar, two mandocellos, two mandolas, and an octave mandolin, and I can say that is definitely NOT my experience. I have heard that was true of at least some Eastman products some years ago.

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  30. #20

    Default Re: Octave mandolin less-expensive choices

    I've had a Trinity College for 2-3 years now, and I love it. I tune it GDAE for melody playing, GDAD for chords (basically to use as a short-scale bouzouki.)
    If you search the archives, you'll find threads on intonation issues with the low G, and that's a fact. I can live with it.
    Dave
    -----
    Morris F-5
    Trinity College octave mandolin

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    Default Re: Octave mandolin less-expensive choices

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave_PA View Post
    I've had a Trinity College for 2-3 years now, and I love it. I tune it GDAE for melody playing, GDAD for chords (basically to use as a short-scale bouzouki.)
    If you search the archives, you'll find threads on intonation issues with the low G, and that's a fact. I can live with it.
    While I chose the Eastman for my OM, I have a TC zook with which I am very happy. Likewise, I owned a TC mandola which was very nice. Basically, I would say it comes down to which one you like -- the TC line, generally, seems well-suited to Irish and folk music.

  32. #22
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    Default Re: Octave mandolin less-expensive choices

    Carter Vintage just got one a few days ago and it's still in stock at $950. In the classifieds, too.

  33. #23
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    Default Re: Octave mandolin less-expensive choices

    Hi, for my two cents, or pennies as I'm over here in not so sunny Britain, I'd take a look at the Eastman MDO305. Not sure how much it is over the pond but its great value for the money.
    Just a dude with a mandolin.
    rossdoesbass.com - my website

  34. #24
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    Default Re: Octave mandolin less-expensive choices

    The Eastman is gorgeous and gets good reviews. Unfortunately it's seriously backordered everywhere I've looked.

  35. #25
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    Default Re: Octave mandolin less-expensive choices

    This Trinity College Tm-625 Octave, offered by Carter's on the classifieds here, is their highest spec octave. I have one and consider it excellent value at under a thousand dollars. It won't be as twangy as the flat-topped versions, more like the Eastman OM.
    Anglocelt
    mainly Irish & Scottish but open to all dance-oriented melodic music.
    Mandos: Gibson A2, Mike Black A4, Taran Springwell, Shippey Rosewood; TM and OM by J E Dallas (London) & Davidson.

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