Officially Launched on November 17, 2010: Welcome to the Definitive Site on The Octave Mandolin ...
This site is being updated weekly ... Free Octave Mandolin Lessons, Video Samplers and general support are all being included over time. So please stay tuned here for frequent updates.
"The Octave Mandolin has a wondrous history that evolves around the Lute, Mandola and Mandolin. The word "Mandorla", which means Almond in Italian, was the first descriptive term used to describe the Mandola which of course was the forerunner of both the Mandolin and the Octave Mandolin. The Octave Mandolin has traveled through many configurations before arriving at its current iteration. It truly is a versatile instrument that can be applied to most any style of music ... This site will be covering every aspect possible on the Octave Mandolin, including its history, players, music, set-up and all the tools necessary to actualize its fullest potential. As a long-time exponent of the the Octave Mandolin, I have high hopes of bringing this site to its zenith on all levels ... it would be greatly appreciated to hear your input on what you'd like to see as part of its content ... please contact me through our Online Contact Form." Mickey Cochran
Special Announcement: Teachers, build your student base! If you teach Octave Mandolin, please e-mail us your complete contact information so that we may post it on our new upcoming page: "Octave Mandolin Teachers". We have been receiving many enquiries from those looking for Octave Mandolin teachers in their locality ... and, here's your opportunity to build up your Octave Mando Student Base. Please keep in mind, this is for those teachers who do teach "Octave Mandolin". Please submit to our Contact Form.
The Octave Mandolin is most popularly applied in Celtic genres, however, it also works well within many other styles including folk, Americana, ragtime, jazz and rock ... it also has immense potential as a solo instrument due to the lower extended range it offers. You can easily use the the D and G strings as a drone or with moving bass lines as support for melodies played on the E and A strings. Another approach to the Octave Mandolin, largely unexplored, is a fingerstyle apporach.
Keep in mind, the Octave Mandolin is not a Bluegrass Instrument; it is a unique instrument unto itself. It has its own voicings, its own body profile (due to its larger size), its own character and its own standalone history. Most importantly, you cannot think of the Octave Mandolin as a substitute for a Mandolin. Two totally different worlds.
It is not and never will be considered an instrument that can be plugged into a traditional Bluegrass ensemble. Bluegrass has its own traditions ... and from a purist point of view, and to ensure bluegrass remains true to its tradition, instruments that are not part of the original Bluegrass ensemble which originally consisted of 5-String Banjo, Mandolin, Dobro, Acoustic Guitar, Fiddle and Stand-Up Bass ... should not ever be considered seriously as part of this great tradition. Sure, for experimintal purposes, it can expand the horizons of a contemporary Bluegrass band, however, it should always be noted that it is not and will never be part of the traditions of Bluegrass. Notwithstanding, the Octave Mandolin still stands on its own within many other traditional settings ... such as Celtic, Ragtime, Jazz, Classical and Folk Americana ... I perform with the
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Octave Mando within all of these genres and find it really is overall still unexplored. Another area where the Octave Mandolin has been misinterpreted is the fact that it is not a Mandolin. Sure, the fingerboard language is the same as a Mandolin, but obviously, due to its longer scale length, it really is an entirely different instrument and really should be approached as such ... many songs I play on Mandolin do not transcribe directly to the Octave Mandolin (due to the stretch necessary to achieve the same playing position). Hence, arranging for the Octave Mandolin is another art form unto itself and requires a complete understanding of the possible inversions and most economic neck positions along with knowing which fingers to use for which notes. For instance, many times on a mandolin, you would use the third finger for the 5th fret noting, however, on Octave you would use your fourth finger for this same position.
With this site, and its accompanying online lessons, Books and DVDs ... hopefully, we'll be shedding light on how best to approach the Octave Mandolin and actualize its fullest potential as an independent, standalone instrument.
Purchase the Definitive Octave Mandolin DVD by Clicking Here!
We have a section of our online store dedicated to the Octave Mandolin... which includes our own publishing along with Mel Bay's ... Click Here to View these Octave-related instructional materials.
If you'd like to contribute ideas, or have questions about this site, please contact us by Clicking Here!