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Thread: Indiana BM-5 electric?

  1. #1
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    Default Indiana BM-5 electric?

    Anybody out there tried one of these? I'm toying with the idea of getting an electric mandolin, and for the money I want to put into it right now, the 3 I've been looking at are this one, the epi mandobird, and the Kentucky 300e.

    There's plenty of info on this forum regarding the mandobird and the Kentucky, as well as demos of both on YouTube. So I have a pretty good idea of what I'd get there.

    If you've tried the Indiana, I'd be interested in reading how it did as far as action, and ablility to tune/stay in tune. How was the sustain with the pickup? How bad was the feedback problem if any? Thanks.

  2. #2
    Cambridge Mandolinist Daniel Nestlerode's Avatar
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    Default Re: Indiana BM-5 electric?

    I've never heard of this brand until you mentioned it. I wonder if they're made ins the same factory as Saga (Kentucky, et al) instruments.

    But some characteristics of instruments cross brand and body types:
    Hollow body instruments have less sustain than solid body instruments, and they're more prone to feedback. The trade off is a rounder, sweeter tone, and a more acoustic-like articulation at low volumes.

    I play with a full band (bass, drums, congas, trombone, guitar) so I prefer solid body instruments because they make feedback a non-issue.

    One more thing: the better the acoustic properties of the BM-5 (BM? Really? Anyone else old enough to know what BM stands for?) the more likely you'll have a feedback issue.

    Daniel
    Last edited by Daniel Nestlerode; Mar-09-2009 at 1:38am.

  3. #3
    Andrew C. Jerman
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    Default Re: Indiana BM-5 electric?

    I believe that is made by the same company that makes Morgan Monroe and Bean Blossom instruments. They are located in Indianapolis, IN and have their product built in Korea. Regardless, I don't recommend them because they have taken a standard acoustic mandolin and modified it to make it electric. The structural integrity of the instrument is at risk once you cut the pickup hole, which often includes cutting through the tone bars, and the top will start to sag over time. I've seen this happen on a number of instruments like this.

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    Default Re: Indiana BM-5 electric?

    Quote Originally Posted by thistle3585 View Post
    I believe that is made by the same company that makes Morgan Monroe and Bean Blossom instruments.
    Loos like the same instrument to me:

    Indiana:


    Bean Blossom:

  5. #5
    Registered User dandhr61's Avatar
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    Default Re: Indiana BM-5 electric?

    I think we can add the Fender FM-52E to that list, same thing i think w/o headstock binding

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    Default Re: Indiana BM-5 electric?

    Quote Originally Posted by dandhr61 View Post
    I think we can add the Fender FM-52E to that list, same thing i think w/o headstock binding
    Maybe the same pickup, but definitely a different headstock shape and a different pickguard shape and different knobs (the latter two obviously easily changed).


  7. #7
    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Indiana BM-5 electric?

    Still can come out of the same contract manufacturer, the contract specifications were different, thats all .
    substantially the same.

    The fact that the pickguards are screwed onto the top, indicates that you should not hold your breath , awaiting an acoustic tone.
    Fender uses a ply laminate top, on the 52E, which given a hole gets cut for the pickup, seems a reasonable choice , top veneer of mahogany or similar on the other .

    type of pickup format, Strat or Tele neck sort means you can buy something else and put it in there.
    a pickup not chosen for low price point , by manufacturer also chosen for low cost.
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  8. #8
    Registered User dandhr61's Avatar
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    Default Re: Indiana BM-5 electric?

    I did some looking on emando.com and found lots of mandolins like this, the aria and rouge and New York Pro are the same is the fender and the aria looks more like the BM-5. I think all these things are coming out of the same shop using diffrent head and pg templates/knobs etc. to fool the casual player.

  9. #9
    Luthierus Amateurius crazymandolinist's Avatar
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    Default Re: Indiana BM-5 electric?

    I have a 52e, and I love the pickup. Absolutely noise free, sounds exactly the same plugged in as it does unplugged, and when you turn the tone up it has a really nice harsh Fendery tone that strat and tele fans will recognize. It has a decent amount of volume too. Obviously not saying one can compare it to a Schwab or anything, justr saying it's a nice lil mando. If they made a mando with real wood and stuck that pup in it it'd be great.
    "The Beauty of Grace is that it makes life Unfair" - Relient K

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    Default Re: Indiana BM-5 electric?

    I've played both the Kentucky 300-E and own a Mandobird. The Kentucky was probably the better overall in terms of quality, but you just can't beat the mandobird price and vibe...I've played a Fender 52-E that was set up well and actually had pretty good tone considering the limitations noted with woods, installation of electronics, etc, but I haven't played an Indiana.

    All are obviously inexpensive instruments, but like with guitars, you get more quality for the money in solid body.

    If you want an "electric" sound, I'd go for the Kentucky or Mandobird (got mine for under 200 bucks from California including 2nd day air off the Classifieds here...I'm in NC). If you want an acoustic you can plug in, then the Indiana may not be a bad one to try, though know that you're getting a cheap instrument that may have issues (as with the Fender, Bean Blossom, etc). All of them will require set-up...as long as you're OK with those factors, go for it...my 'Bird is a cheap instrument that required set-up, but I'm very happy with it, particularly given the price tag. Note that I'm a fan of inexpensive instruments as long as you can get them playable...you can always upgrade later and keep the first one as a beater, kindling, or whatever...
    Chuck

  11. #11
    Luthierus Amateurius crazymandolinist's Avatar
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    Default Re: Indiana BM-5 electric?

    Ha, good point. I can't wait to swap my 52e for a better instrument, but it'll always be close to my heart, kinda like that first car.....
    "The Beauty of Grace is that it makes life Unfair" - Relient K

    "THEY'RE HERE!!! THEY'RE HERE!!! the Albino Brain Chiggers!" - Harry from 3rd Rock

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    Default Re: Indiana BM-5 electric?

    This is all great stuff. What I'm drawing from this is, for the money, if I've already got a decent acoustic, take the same money as is being asked for the Indiana and invest it in a good acoustic pickup.

    So, the mandobird seems to be extremely popular. Anyone have experience with both it and the Kentucky 300e? How do they compare?

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