Austin Clark has been a top-level builder of mandolin family instruments for many years, and his guitar-bodied octave mandolins don't come cheap, partly because the back is fully carved as well as the top. A new example like this GOM (Guitar Octave Mandolin) sells for $5800, so the obvious question is why this super clean used example is only $3500. The answer isn't something you're likely to spot, even with close inspection, but Clark repaired a crack near the headstock after this instrument was damaged in shipping many years ago. It wasn't a break but a crack, and the maker repaired it so well that we wouldn't have spotted it if the previous owner hadn't kindly pointed it out.

The circular figure in the top near the bridge, btw, is just the result of some natural figure in the spruce grain, similar to bear claw, that is accentuated by the carving. Since Clark used highly transparent stain to achieve the shading on this instrument the coloring made the figure more obvious.

Austin Clark's octave mandolins are easier than other octave mandos for regular mandolin players to adapt to because of the short (20 1/4") string scale and a neck that isn't that much bigger than what you'd find on a mandola. As a result it's easy to add a rich deeper voice to arrangements, and the double-string growl of the G and D strings is a tone you just can't get by covering those parts with a guitar. This octave mandolin is a lot of fun to play, and of course a guitar player who didn't want to learn the tuned-in-fifths tuning could change the string gauges just a bit and tune it like the top four strings of a guitar.

Comes with the custom Cedar Creek case shown, which is also in near perfect condition.

stock no. 55198

ModelGOM, Guitar-Body Octave Mandolin w/Cutaway
TopCarved spruce
Back and sidescurly maple, carved back
Frets to body12
Nut width1 3/16"
Scale length20 5/8"
Bridge materialebony
Fretboard Materialebony
Neck materialcurly maple
ElectronicsK & K passive
BracingX pattern
Total frets17
Serial No88