Ornaments on the Octave Mandolin

Ornaments on the Octave Mandolin

I’ve been sitting here practicing tunes on the octave mando for part of the night. (I play in GDAE)

I’m not sure if it’s just me… but when i do a triplet (especially on an open string) it seems to get lost in the resonance of the instrument.

Is there a way to make triplets clearer on the octave mando? Are they needed? (This is probably an open ended question) And does anyone know of some good recordings, websites, youtube videos etc?

Any help would be appreciated.

🙂

Re: Ornaments on the Octave Mandolin

Try slightly lifting your fretting fiinger, or lightly tapping with the finger above, right after the first note of the triplet--just enough to partially damp the middle note of the triplet. Takes some practice to get the timing right, but it can result in a crunchier ornament, more like a bowed triplet on fiddle or a single-button triplet on accordion.

Re: Ornaments on the Octave Mandolin

I’ve always found that ornaments don’t necesarily get lost but they certainly do fall off. With my bouzouki (not quite an OM but a similar problem I guess) I’ve tried carriage clocks, candle sticks, decorative tea pots from Dawlish Devon, Staffordshire statuettes, silver tankards and as soon as I pick the instrument up all these ornaments fall off. The answer might be nails or super-glue. I know how much we like our ornaments.

Re: Ornaments on the Octave Mandolin

I’m not particularly good on the OM/zouk, but when I play tunes on it at a session I try not to play it as if it were a tenor banjo i.e. I don’t go in for the usual triplets etc. I just don’t see the point in playing it as a much quieter banjo (particularly when I keep getting told my banjo playing is too quiet🙂).

Instead I tend to use open strings or multiple fretted courses at once when playing the OM. That’s just my personal preference, partly as I see the OM as a break from playing banjo.

As I don’t play the OM all that often outside of sessions, I tend to be happiest playing this way on a limited repertiore of tunes (mostly jigs). If I have to think too much about what to do with the extra fretting fingers I get tied up in knots.

Never have got to grips with playing accomp.

None of which really answers your question, sorry 🙂

- Chris

Re: Ornaments on the Octave Mandolin

The advice from tedium sounds good. I would add that you could try practising your triplets upstroke first and see if they sound the same. If you already do that, don’t forget that instruments like mandolins and guitars always sound better to somebody who isn’t sitting behind them. Maybe your playing is OK. Try sitting in front of a mirror or a wardrobe or some reflective surface that would catch the high frequencies from the pick.

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Re: Ornaments on the Octave Mandolin

It could be just time and practice that will sort it out. I play (at different times!) tenor banjo, mandolin, octave mandolin and guitar and I do find triplets a little easier on the single course instruments - guitar and banjo - but I certainly put them in on the mandolin family instruments too.

I might ornament tunes sometimes with chords (even just 2 or 3 strings) at times on mandolin too, rather than melody ornamentation because it adds emphasis quite effectively.

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Re: Ornaments on the Octave Mandolin

Krick - velcro in the answer

Re: Ornaments on the Octave Mandolin

Phantom triplets