View Full Version : Schwab cubed
Here's a trio of Schwab electric mandolins. The two 5-strings are Deluxe models. The blond colored one with tortoise binding being considerable thicker and heavier than the sunburst. The 4-string is a Standard model of solid ash, very pronounced grain. Because there's no body binding the edges are rounded, and more comfortable to play IMHO. Individual Gotoh tuners are used. The bridge is a Stratocaster style cut down to 4 or 5 strings. The other hardware seems to be right off a Telecaster. The pick-ups were custom designed with Seymour Duncan specifically for Schwab emando's (although he now uses Bartolinni's). Each pick-up has a coil-splitter toggle switch so it can be used as a humbucker, or single-coil. And there's a three-way selector switch to choose either, or both, pick-ups. The necks have a slight radius with a shallow profile, very fast. The fretwork is outstanding, as is all the fit and finish.
Kevin refretted my mando a couple of years ago. Top-notch job! I was very impressed with his work and wouldn't hesitate to use him again.
I love these--was looking at the site recently. Are the maple topped ones capped over ash? I see that he sells both single coil and humbuckers in 4 and 5 string versions--very cool for builders. Lots of tone possibilities with the two pickups and coil cuts.
Yes, the maple tops are caps, but I couldn't tell you over what.
Apparently after the first batch of Seymour Duncans ran out the second lot would have been prohibitively expensive (which usually means they couldn't be bothered). So after a hunt, the Bartolinni's where chosen and Kevin tells me he prefers them over the old Seymour Duncans. I'm not sure what all else he's using these days.
Rono uses Bill Lawrence blade type pick-ups. Steve Ryder also has a full selection of emando pickups.
ash!! What a classic looking mando-tele on the right. man do I love that wood for electrics!
those look awsome
Oops! My bad--it was the Steve Ryder site that I saw the pickups on and not Schwab's. Hope I didn't confuse anybody.
Anyway, what pickup combinations do you favor with these?
Schwab's website says the scale length is 14.5 inches, but I'll let Lee957 answer your question, since he actually has a few.
Yes, the scale length is somewhat longer; 14-1/2" compared to the standard 13-7/8" or sometimes 14". The extra length allows the low C-string to vibrate better. On a standard scale it tends to "thud". You'll adjust to the extra length sub-conciously. (Note that Schwab's new "Michael Lampert" models use a standard scale length.)
I string 'em really light; 0.008", 0.012", 0.018"w, 0.024"w, 0.034"w. This allows a good bit of string bending. Bending a double course sounds nasty because the two strings won't bend equally and they'll be out of tune with each other which grates on your ears when amplified.
Personally I play the bridge pick-up as a humbucker and I play the neck pick-up as a single-coil. In the middle position the two pups together give a nice "quack".
These emandos sound best plugged directly into a good all-tube amp. Don't bother with those acoustic amps and don't bother with solid-state amps IMHO. The short scale means the strings don't vibrate very widely therefore they don't excite the pups as much as an electric guitar, hence their output is not as juicy. Therefore these will sound cleaner in the same amp that an electric guitar will get a snarly distorted tone. So, if your preference is for distortion then you'll need to use a naturally "dirty" amp with just a few watts so you can turn it up and drive those tubes. A Soldano Astroverb will do this in a heartbeat, or a Fender Blues Junior. Class A amps like a TopHat or a Vox will have a little bit of edginess to it. Or of course there's nothing like that good clean Fender tone. There's a world of possibility with these emandos.
I agree that a tube amp is best. However, I played my new electric through an amp modeler last night and was quite surprised at how cool it sounded using Vox, Marshall and Fender patches. It was run through the PA. Its a low volume gig and I can't really use an amp. For those who may be in a similar boat, the modeler is a ton of fun. My choice is the Genesis 3, as it will give sparkiling cleans in addition to the other more distorted flavors.
One of these days, I want to crank up my Pro Jr. on a gig though!
just saw one of these come up on ebay.....
No Lee, don't do it. Get a hold of yourself buddy. Hmmm, six days left. That brings us to.... Stop that right now! But the flame, the flame...!!
Lee, that's a relist - it recently didn't meet his reserve with an $895 bid. FWTW.
He admits dings and such and doesn't mention fret wear. $1100 seems like a rather hefty Buy-It-Now price since $1450 buys a new one. $895 was a fair offer and not a bargain. The $500 starting bid is an insult to the instrument though. I should place a "courtesy bid" out of reverance to a fine builder. Ooops, there I go again...