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Thread: Comparison/impressions of Guitar Body OMs?

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    Registered User Joe Dodson's Avatar
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    Default Comparison/impressions of Guitar Body OMs?

    Curious to know people's impressions, comparisons, etc. of the current crop of guitar body OMs that are hitting the market lately. I have a Pono MND-20 that sounds great, but I find the 23" scale length to be unwieldy. I mostly pick it up for fiddle tunes when there's too much guitar in the mix. I'm curious to know folks' general impressions of the comparatively new offerings from Northfield or the Octolindo scholar/artist line.

    I played one of the flattop Northfield GBOM's a couple of years ago, and kind of wish I'd bought it. I think it was Sitka and mahogany, but that's a guess. I've never had a chance to play any of their archtops or an Octolindo. They don't really show up in the shops around here, so any thoughts at all would be of interest.

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    Registered User urobouros's Avatar
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    Default Re: Comparison/impressions of Guitar Body OMs?

    I have a Northfield flattop GBOM with Sitka & Walnut that I love. I like the 20" scale of my Weber OM but it doesn't have the resonance of the longer scale. I've never played a 21" scale for comparison but the Northfield is effortless
    2020 Northfield Big Mon
    2016 Skip Kelley A5
    2011 Weber Gallatin A20
    2013 Collings Mandola
    2021 Northfield Flattop Octave Mandolin
    2019 Pono Flattop Octave
    Richard Beard Celtic Flattop
    And a few electrics

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    Default Re: Comparison/impressions of Guitar Body OMs?

    If you like your Pono you can keep your eyes open for the shorter scale model. I certainly enjoy mine with the tenor size body and 21" scale!

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    Default Re: Comparison/impressions of Guitar Body OMs?

    I had a Northfield spruce/walnut flattop. Tried to like it very much. Then sold.
    The reason was that it couldn't beat a tenor guitar for clear resonant sound with tons of sustain and couldn't beat a carved OM for throaty loud bark.

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    Registered User DougC's Avatar
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    Default Re: Comparison/impressions of Guitar Body OMs?

    I've had a Pono 21" short scale Octave Mandolin for a few years and I can't imagine the longer scale for fiddle tunes. Although the instrument was Rosewood and sounded very nice on chords, I'd get a mahogany for the clarity and projection, esp. playing in a group setting.

    If you have the money, I'd jump on that Brian Dean 21" octave mandolin in the classifieds.
    Decipit exemplar vitiis imitabile

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    Registered User urobouros's Avatar
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    Default Re: Comparison/impressions of Guitar Body OMs?

    I recently picked up a Pono MND-30HC & really dig the shorter scale. It has a slightly tighter feel vs the Northfield & a little brighter tone. I waffled between the Pono & Northfield offerings when deciding on my first GBOM & haven't ever regretted going with the Northfield. Now having the two to compare side by side, I don't think you can go wrong with either.
    2020 Northfield Big Mon
    2016 Skip Kelley A5
    2011 Weber Gallatin A20
    2013 Collings Mandola
    2021 Northfield Flattop Octave Mandolin
    2019 Pono Flattop Octave
    Richard Beard Celtic Flattop
    And a few electrics

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    Default Re: Comparison/impressions of Guitar Body OMs?

    I played a Girouard 20 inch GBOM right after playing a 22.5 or 23 inch scale NF GBOM (pretty sure both were spruce and maple) at TME just before the world shut down back in 2020. Iíd previously had a Weber spruce/hog arch top A style OM with a 22.5 inch that I loved the tone of (and it was a rhythm machine), but the longer scale made melody work difficult and I eventually sold it.

    Man, going to the shorter scale length was a revelation for me! They both sounded very good, but the playability on the Girouard was amazingly better (because of the scale length, they were both well set up). I should have bought the Girouard right there, but it had a little dust on it and was hanging high on the wall so I figured I was good to sleep on it for a day or 2 and order it from home. Thang sold the next day, lol. So Iím now the happy owner of a Weber 20 inch arch top f hole A style OM.

    Havenít played any Ponos or flat top GBOMs yet. Like you, Iíve never seen one in any of the shops around here (or even at Lowe Vintage, whoís about 1.5 hours from me, but I browse their inventory fairly often).
    Chuck

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    Registered User Marcus CA's Avatar
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    Default Re: Comparison/impressions of Guitar Body OMs?

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Dodson View Post
    I played one of the flattop Northfield GBOM's a couple of years ago, and kind of wish I'd bought it. I think it was Sitka and mahogany, but that's a guess. I've never had a chance to play any of their archtops or an Octolindo. They don't really show up in the shops around here, so any thoughts at all would be of interest.
    I played an NFO-FT2 at Gryphon yesterday, which sounded really good. It had an Italian spruce top with maple back and sides. They also had an FT1, which has the same top but walnut back and sides, but I didn't try that one out.

    This is where personal taste is going to come in. I really don't like the tone of the archtop GBOM's with f-holes, so the resonance of this instrument with its circular soundhole was much more to my liking. Also, its wood combo is basically the same (Italian, instead of Sitka) as my Petersen's, which I love.
    still trying to turn dreams into memories

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    Registered User webber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Comparison/impressions of Guitar Body OMs?

    I picked up a Northfield flattop on Friday, with the Italian Spruce top and Michigan Koa (maple) back and sides. What made me fall in love with it was the endless resonance and sustain! It's exactly the kind of sound I look for when playing on my own. I traded a Martin 0-28 VS for it, and was surprised by how much more sound I got out of the Northfield despite the smaller body size. I may look at replacing the clear plastic pickguard with a nice matte tortoiseshell to match the binding...
    1913 Gibson F2 (Blacktop)
    2022 Big Muddy Mandola (M-16, Ziricote back and sides, Adirondack top)
    2022 Kentucky KM-120 (Elevated fretboard conversion)
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    Registered User Joe Dodson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Comparison/impressions of Guitar Body OMs?

    Webber - Is that the one that was at Fiddler's Green? I drove all the way out from Houston to look at it, and I was very tempted. Gorgeous mandolin. Congrats!
    Last edited by Joe Dodson; Jul-30-2022 at 1:04pm. Reason: reasons

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Comparison/impressions of Guitar Body OMs?

    From what I see capos are legal in OM World. If you have a 23” scale at least for the moment capo up a bit.
    Jim

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    Registered User foldedpath's Avatar
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    Default Re: Comparison/impressions of Guitar Body OMs?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    From what I see capos are legal in OM World. If you have a 23” scale at least for the moment capo up a bit.
    Right, the Capo Police won't bother someone with on OM or 'Zouk. Of course you might have to use different string gauges if you want to stay in GDAE or GDAD tuning when capo'd up a bit.

    FWIW, my hands are large enough to play most tunes in first position on my 22" scale Weber OM. I like the sustain of the longer scale. But I do use a capo for a few things to make the fingering easier in keys that require closed fingering for partial or full harmony within the melody line.

    Capo 2nd fret works well for tunes in B dorian, for example. Capo 3rd fret for tunes in G dorian, Capo 4th fret for tunes in F# dorian. I even have a modified capo that leaves the bottom string pair open when capo'd at the third fret For G dorian. Nice fat G note on the bottom while making the fingering easier for the rest of the tune.

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    Registered User webber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Comparison/impressions of Guitar Body OMs?

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Dodson View Post
    Webber - Is that the one that was at Fiddler's Green? I drove all the way out from Houston to look at it, and I was very tempted. Gorgeous mandolin. Congrats!
    It was!! I love the sonic brightness of spruce, but I am not a fan of how pale spruce looks au naturale–#when I saw this one custom-ordered with a dyed (aging toner? not sure) spruce top, it felt like it had been waiting for me. On a side note, I buy pretty much all my instruments from Ben at Fiddler's Green. His customer service and attention to detail are second to none. I got my F5S from him, too!

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    1913 Gibson F2 (Blacktop)
    2022 Big Muddy Mandola (M-16, Ziricote back and sides, Adirondack top)
    2022 Kentucky KM-120 (Elevated fretboard conversion)
    1940s Kay Banjolin
    1930s Martin Style 0 Ukulele
    1920s Vega Senator Plectrum Banjo (GDAE octave mando tuning)

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