A brand that has some top-selling best guitars available feels comfortable around making great string instruments. So it was expected that Seagull’s journey into mandolin industry is effective. Their Seagull S8 mandolin is quite adaptable in itself. Although it was not unexpected that they made a decent mandolin, but it is surprising how they came up with such a decent mandolin with no earlier history. Seagull has been known for variable design and this instrument is the reflection of that. With a new look that gestures to tradition without being limited by it, it’s a mandolin that gets attention.  

Does it sound in the same as it looks?  Discover your answer by reading the in-depth review of this 5-stars mandolin.

Seagull S8 Mandolin SG, Natural Natural
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Anatomy 

Design

When you are looking for a new instrument, the construction should be the main priority. This includes a few details that you need to remember.  

This instrument is a sleek, which is polished curved and dual cutaway. The strong Sitka spruce top with overlay maple body offers a solid and durable construction.  

You might expect this thin, delicate-looking model to be toyish, easily cracked, but you will be amazed once you get it how well this instrument is developed and rigid. The hand-finished maple neck experiences the body of the mandolin while providing it considerably more durability and solidness.

You will find Rosewood fingerboard with white dots inlays on the head of the neck. The semi-gloss consumed umber finish makes the look of this instrument classic. This complete finish not only provides looks but also better tonality. In this 5-stars mandolin review, we have found it is additionally accessible with a natural finish to have your pick. 

Playability

That non-traditional shape of this instrument cases it to feel unique in the hands. The slimmer design allows you less room on the soundboard. Most mandolin trainers would advise you not to rest your hand on the soundboard, yet that doesn’t prevent a few players from doing it. If you cannot prevent from doing it, don’t worry! You will discover the mandolin simpler to hold with a strap. Most mandolin players prefer to use a strap, so this won’t be an issue. 

The wider fretboard will benefit any individual who finds the standard mandolin fretboard to be a little tight. If you are a guitar players or like to play with thick fingers will find this mandolin comfortable.

The dual cutaway design makes playing high up the neck quite simpler. The frets 12 to 15 are considerably more accessible than on a standard A-style and better than most F-styles. Overall, these features make this 5-stars mandolin an incredible mandolin for soloing. 

We find this instrument easier to set up with the truss rod. Setting up the action with the truss rod is particularly significant because the instrument’s bridge is not adjustable in contrast to numerous mandolins. You can list both the bridge and the nut to cut the action down, but that would be useless.

The open-gathered tuners are simple to adjust and keep their tune well. The compensated saddle is a decent touch that helps pitch. And the frets? They are fashionable and well placed and intonation was spot on. 

Tuning

While playing the this 5-stars mandolin, you will come across that it’s loud. The curved soundboard makes this an incredible mandolin for jams. It is shockingly loud compared to its slimmer body. Some portion of that can be credited its tone, which is high-end heavy.

However, this hand finished instrument is not the best mandolin for soft songs nor subdued playing. In the absence of low end, the tone is not that rich or complex. If you are seeking for a mandolin to play alone may find it thin. Since it projects very well in jams, we recommend this mandolin to any bluegrass or Irish/Scottish/Celtic players. The volume and splendid tone make this 5-stars mandolin ideal for the melodic playing of a solo. The classical players who play solo might find it an incredible travel instrument. 

Seagull S8 EQ Electric

And here comes a version of the Seagull S8 mandolin with a pickup fitted, the S8 EQ. It includes an on-board dynamic pickup/preamp system, which means it doesn’t need an outer preamp or DI box to plug into a PA system. It’s a piezo pickup, indicating that it delivers a natural sound projection. Seagull has put electric guitar-style control knobs on a great deal of its acoustic-electric instrument, including the S8 EQ mandolin. These are non-traditional instruments and some people may not like the look. 

Despite standing out a bit from the soundboard, these 5-stars instruments aren’t very meddling that won’t affect most playing styles.  These instruments also don’t appear to have a lot of impact on the acoustic tone. Eventually, it’s up to you if you’re a fan of the looks or not. The two knobs are for volume and tone. The volume is self-explanatory and the preamp system delivers a solid and loud signal.

The tone quality gives some limited EQ techniques. It adjusts from a rounder, boomer, bass sound to a pleasant bright tone. However, you may require more knobs and may clutter up the front to get more control over the tone. And this is sufficient control for a pinch that you can always adjust the tone with an EQ pedal. 

The overall tone quality is natural enough to pass when connected. It will not overwhelm you but not very fake. If you are really worried about a natural tone, no pickup will do the work. But remember to use a mic if you go for no pickup.

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Sleek & solid build
  • Solid sitka spruce top
  • Great appearance
  • Decent price
Cons
  • May take some time to settle in
  • Tusq nut is not the best material

Seagull S8 Mandolin Review (FAQ)

Does the Seagull Mandolin have an adjustable truss rod in the neck?

  • There is what seems to be a truss rod cover on the face of the peg head but it is below the strings so we have not removed it to see beneath. We see no sign of a truss rod while seeing in the sound hole. The neck is part of the back – design and seems to be very strong. Overall, the S8 appears very well made.

Does the S8 purchase include a gig bag or case?

  • In Canada, they provided a fitted bag for another $49. It can even be found on Seagull’s site. It features a handle, removable shoulder strap, two outer pockets, and a name tag holder on the carry side.  

Is it hard to learn to play the mandolin?

What is easier to learn banjo or mandolin?

  • Due to fewer strings, both the mandolin and the banjo are usually viewed as easier to learn than the guitar. You might feel banjo is a mandolin to learn than the banjo just because the banjo plays much faster. 

Why does a mandolin have 8 strings?

  • Since mandolins are much lower than guitars, the strings on a mandolin create higher-pitched notes. Every mandolin comes with four pairs of strings that are tuned to a separate note.

How long do mandolin strings last?

  • The durability of the strings depends on the brand/model of the strings, how much you play them, and the weather. We would say it gets 4-6 weeks out of uncoated strings, about 8-10 weeks out of coated and about six months or longer out of T-I’s.

Do you strum or pick a mandolin?

  • You can practice strumming over different strings till you feel confident doing it. Try to hold the pick tightly for a more metallic sound.

Who is the best mandolin player?

  • These mandolin masters are amazing:
  • Bill Monroe 
  • Chris Thile 
  • Jethro Burns
  • David Grisman 
  • Dave Apollon 
  • Jacob do Bandolim
  • Yank Rachell 
  • Mike Marshall

credit: Cam Gaylor

Final Verdict

Seagull is a trustable name for offering a unique 5-stars instrument at reasonable price points. This mandolin is a very much constructed mandolin with a mix of both classic and inventiveness. While you find in our Seagull S8 mandolin review that this mandolin doesn’t have the most complex tone, but it performs well than the other mandolins at the same price point.

Furthermore, if you are searching for an electric mandolin, this 5-stars instrument EQ is an excellent choice. Regardless of whether electric or acoustic, Seagull has made a decent job with the S8 line. It’s perfect as a travel mandolin with a satisfactory tone and a lot of volumes to stand its ground in a bluegrass band or Irish session.

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