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Thread: 4 string octave mandolin

  1. #1
    Registered User PT66's Avatar
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    Default 4 string octave mandolin

    Has anyone ever heard of an octave mandolin (flat top Irish bouzouki shaped) with just 4 strings instead of 4 pairs? Or would it be a tenor guitar?
    Dave Schneider

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    Registered User urobouros's Avatar
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    Default Re: 4 string octave mandolin

    The Octolindo comes in a 4 string model. I had a Kala tenor guitar with a 23" scale that I tuned to GDAE but found the G would be pretty floppy. The distinction between a tenor guitar and an OM, to me at least, is just scale & tuning.
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    Registered User PT66's Avatar
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    Default Re: 4 string octave mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by urobouros View Post
    The Octolindo comes in a 4 string model. I had a Kala tenor guitar with a 23" scale that I tuned to GDAE but found the G would be pretty floppy. The distinction between a tenor guitar and an OM, to me at least, is just scale & tuning.
    I guess it was a different body shape I was thinking of. I have three tenor guitars. Click image for larger version. 

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    And an octave mandolin. Click image for larger version. 

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    What about the OM body with the tenor guitar neck 23 inch scale) tuned like the OM?
    Sort of like this only a bigger body.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Dave Schneider

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    Default Re: 4 string octave mandolin

    "octave mandolin with just 4 strings". not sure too many customers for such. a guitar-body one (flat top or f-hole) would be identical to a tenor guitar, already available factory made (kala, recording king, old harmonys). then, for what use? in my experience, they sound and play nice, maybe good for recording, definitely good for practice and playing at home, but they do not cut it in noisy places (celtic sessions, bluegrass jams, unplugged busking). just not enough oomph, not enough bark and chop.

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    Default Re: 4 string octave mandolin

    There’s a youtube video somewhere of Eli West playing an OM with four strings (along with Cahalan Morrison). I once tried it on my Clark but wasn’t impressed.

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    Default Re: 4 string octave mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by Ray(T) View Post
    There’s a youtube video somewhere of Eli West playing an OM with four strings (along with Cahalan Morrison). I once tried it on my Clark but wasn’t impressed.
    If you just take 4 strings off then you have a 4 string instrument braced for 8. Of course it won’t sound too good. But if braced for 4 it should be as good as any tenor guitar.
    Dave Schneider

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    Registered User PT66's Avatar
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    Default Re: 4 string octave mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by mandocello8 View Post
    "octave mandolin with just 4 strings". not sure too many customers for such. a guitar-body one (flat top or f-hole) would be identical to a tenor guitar, already available factory made (kala, recording king, old harmonys). then, for what use? in my experience, they sound and play nice, maybe good for recording, definitely good for practice and playing at home, but they do not cut it in noisy places (celtic sessions, bluegrass jams, unplugged busking). just not enough oomph, not enough bark and chop.
    I don’t build with selling in mind. I build what I am inspired to build. I don’t do normal very well. I let others do copies of what is already done.
    Dave Schneider

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    Registered User PT66's Avatar
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    Default Re: 4 string octave mandolin

    I was at a bluegrass jam just yesterday with my KayKraft style tenor guitar tune like an octave mandolin and felt I was doing just fine. I don’t play leads or solos anyway.
    Dave Schneider

  9. #9
    Tucker the Mandolinist TuckerTheMandolinist's Avatar
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    Default Re: 4 string octave mandolin

    Besides electric Octave Mandolins, I don't think I have ever heard of a 4 String OM/Irish Bouzouki-shaped tenor guitar. Shouldn't be too complicated to build though.
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    Default Re: 4 string octave mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by PT66 View Post
    If you just take 4 strings off then you have a 4 string instrument braced for 8. Of course it wonít sound too good. But if braced for 4 it should be as good as any tenor guitar.
    This one - https://www.youtube.com/watch?app=desktop&v=XVJ5abWnCNc - didnít sound bad but, as I said, I wasnít impressed.

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    Default Re: 4 string octave mandolin

    @PT66, right, I agree, tenor guitar (and by extension, your proposed 4-string OM) do quite well on rhythm. it's taking a solo break that leaves me desiring for "more".

    I wish you the best in your new build. would be awesome if you create an instrument that is closer to mandolins than to guitars. in punch, in chop, in bark.

  12. #12
    Registered User PT66's Avatar
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    Default Re: 4 string octave mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by mandocello8 View Post
    @PT66, right, I agree, tenor guitar (and by extension, your proposed 4-string OM) do quite well on rhythm. it's taking a solo break that leaves me desiring for "more".

    I wish you the best in your new build. would be awesome if you create an instrument that is closer to mandolins than to guitars. in punch, in chop, in bark.
    I am not really into bluegrass. I’m an old folkie. I’m not looking for punch, chop or bark. I like balance, volume and sustain.
    Dave Schneider

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