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The Octofone 2.0

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The Octofone 2.0

Postby Mark Swanson » Tue Feb 10, 2015 12:50 am

Here are some photos of an "Octofone". This was an instrument that was originally made by Regal, in pre-WW2 times. it is meant to be played as an Octave Mandolin. I own one of the originals, and I re-designed it and here is version 2.0! It has cherry back and sides, A nice old spruce top and mahogany neck. The fingerboard and bridge are Osage Orange, which I baked according to one of the recent discussions here. It darkened nicely.
I am pretty pleased with the tone, it's bigger and louder than I expected, and I actually like the sound better than the wider and flatter octave mandolins I have built before.
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Re: The Octofone 2.0

Postby Mark Swanson » Tue Feb 10, 2015 12:52 am

I had an idea for a cool soundport insert...if I cut a round tube at an angle, I got a section that looked like this and I inlaid it into the soundport. I'll be doing this again!
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Re: The Octofone 2.0

Postby Mark Swanson » Tue Feb 10, 2015 12:54 am

The back and sides are tinted with a bit of tobacco brown. I did a slight burst on the back...the color looks blotchy here, but that is something the photo did. It doesn't look that way in person.
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Re: The Octofone 2.0

Postby Mark Swanson » Tue Feb 10, 2015 12:54 am

Thanks for looking!
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Re: The Octofone 2.0

Postby Bob Gramann » Tue Feb 10, 2015 9:54 am

Very nice! I like the shape, the coloring, everything I see. What kind of top curve do you have? Did you x-brace it? I recently did a fingerboard with Osage Orange the same way. I was very pleased with it.
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Re: The Octofone 2.0

Postby Hans Bezemer » Tue Feb 10, 2015 10:11 am

Mark, That's a very nice instrument.
Great that you took the design a step further.
Is there a 3.0 in the pipeline?
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Re: The Octofone 2.0

Postby Mark Swanson » Tue Feb 10, 2015 10:24 am

Thanks! I used a 15' radius on the top and back. 3.0? Not yet, this is the first 2.0 I have made, I'll stick with this for a while!
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Re: The Octofone 2.0

Postby Bryan Bear » Tue Feb 10, 2015 11:09 am

I like that a lot! How about a sound clip?

That soundport is all kinds of cool. What type of tube did you use (what is the material)?
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Re: The Octofone 2.0

Postby Mark Swanson » Tue Feb 10, 2015 12:10 pm

I'll put up some sort of soundclip soon...For the tube, I actually used a piece of shipping tube, some kind of plastic ABS or PVC. I painted it black. For the next ones, I think I'll get some carbon fiber tube from Dragonplate. The woven stuff would look great.
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Re: The Octofone 2.0

Postby Bryan Bear » Tue Feb 10, 2015 12:55 pm

I agree woven carbon wold look cool. What about wrapping a long strip of veneer (with glue) around a rod or pipe building up thickness like a roll of tape to form a short section of wooden pipe. Then cutting that on an angle. You could then, in theory, match any wood bindings you wanted to use. Or glue up a tube similar to a rosette stack, then instead of cutting out several flat slices, you cut them on the angle. If you had a simple repeating top perfling pattern you could match it. Both of those ideas are probably more trouble than they are worth; I'm just brain storming.

How did you go about matching the hole in the side to the section of tube?
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Re: The Octofone 2.0

Postby Patrick DeGreve » Tue Feb 10, 2015 1:16 pm

Very, Very nice Mark! I love it. I too would like to hear a sound clip. It is a beautiful instrument. I noticed some nice variation on the binding. Is it wood, or vinyl. I like the cherry very much. I am using cherry for the first time on a 3/4 size classical, now. The two toned bridge is also very nice. I am not familiar with the octofone, how is it tuned?
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Re: The Octofone 2.0

Postby Mark Swanson » Tue Feb 10, 2015 2:25 pm

Ok, here is a soundclip. It's a bit quick and dirty, and I got carried away at the end...but I was having fun!
https://soundcloud.com/markswansonmusic/octophone-20-soundclip
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Re: The Octofone 2.0

Postby Mark Swanson » Tue Feb 10, 2015 2:28 pm

And here is a photo of an original ad, from the 1920's.
I tune it as a regular mandolin, one octave lower. There are other ways to do it though.
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Re: The Octofone 2.0

Postby Hans Bezemer » Tue Feb 10, 2015 3:02 pm

Nice soundclip, (again) a really nice (sounding) instrument.
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Re: The Octofone 2.0

Postby Bob Gramann » Tue Feb 10, 2015 5:05 pm

That sound makes it worth building that instrument. Very nice! What is the scale length?
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Re: The Octofone 2.0

Postby Mark Swanson » Tue Feb 10, 2015 5:29 pm

Thanks, Bob! It's a 22 inch scale.
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Re: The Octofone 2.0

Postby Wayne Brown » Tue Feb 10, 2015 6:52 pm

Love the sound! Are plans forthcoming ?
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Re: The Octofone 2.0

Postby Mark Swanson » Tue Feb 10, 2015 11:04 pm

Thanks, I haven't thought about the plans. It's something to ask MIMF plans guru Jamie Unden about.
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Re: The Octofone 2.0

Postby Jason Rodgers » Tue Feb 10, 2015 11:07 pm

It's an Octofone renaissance! Very cittern/bouzouki-ish in sound.

I sure do like the warm color schemes you've been doing, especially with the Osage you've been incorporating into these mando builds (and you know how I feel about Osage).

Your stringed instruments give me warm feelings in general! Good work!
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Re: The Octofone 2.0

Postby Mark Swanson » Tue Feb 10, 2015 11:55 pm

Thanks, Jason!
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