c.2006 Robson Octave Mandolin

This glorious octave mandolin was built by my friend Dick Robson in Hancock, VT. It was in the workshop for a fret level/dress and setup just to get it to peak performance.

His take on a carved-top octave mando places the soundhole right up under the fretboard extension and the 23" scale puts that bridge right in the sweet spot of the top. This fella has x-bracing and sounds a lot warmer and fuller than most carved octaves that I've had the chance to play. It really puts it out as well!

Nice bound headstock with birdseye maple veneer on its face. Also check out that inlaid swallow and abalone circle! Nice!

The board is ebony and the frets are standard StewMac banjo/mando frets. Dick keeps his octave strung in "octave" tuning like a bouzouki which gets a lot of ring and jangle like a 12-string guitar out of it. He (curiously) strings the bass string first which mellows out that jangle, however.

Isn't that a great rosette?

I popped a few string muting grommets below the tailpiece to cut down on ringy overtones, though it sounds great either way.

Nice tailpiece...!

Remember the birdseye veener at the headstock? Well... both the back and sides are flamed, curly, birdseye maple as well. This stuff is hecka-pretty.

The nut-area of the headstock actually reminds me of a Gibson banjo.

More absurdly-pretty maple on the neck...

See how much string clearance from the top there is? This is great for heavy-handed strumming.

...and the maker's mark...

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