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Thread: Best acoustic electric mandolin for the money

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    Registered User mandosonthemarsh's Avatar
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    Default Best acoustic electric mandolin for the money

    Best acoustic electric mandolin for the money for under $500...any thoughts?

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    Destroyer of Mandolins
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    Default Re: Best acoustic electric mandolin for the money

    Different question. An Ovation Celebrity MCS148 in used condition, or new without a case.
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    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best acoustic electric mandolin for the money

    ... if 70/30 which part is most important ? the acoustic or electric part ?
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    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best acoustic electric mandolin for the money

    Or the under $500 part?
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    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best acoustic electric mandolin for the money

    See parallel current thread from the same OP; many of these questions will be answered...
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    Default Re: Best acoustic electric mandolin for the money

    IMHO, the Ovation mandolin sounds really good plugged in (I have the MCS-148).
    Unplugged, it sounds more like a small acoustic guitar (sweet to my ears), not like a mandolin which typically sounds louder.
    If you play mostly with an amp, Ovation will fit your preference. I have played many AE mandolins, and still find Ovation sounds best plugged in, no humming, no feedback.
    Also the Ovation has a wider fretboard (and of course the nut is wider) making it easier to play (at least for me).

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    Registered User TDMpicker's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best acoustic electric mandolin for the money

    Why not buy a regular mandolin and add some good pickups?
    Terry
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    Celtic Bard michaelpthompson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best acoustic electric mandolin for the money

    Quote Originally Posted by TDMpicker View Post
    Why not buy a regular mandolin and add some good pickups?
    Cuz then you're trying to make it work after the fact instead of using something that was designed that way from the get go. You could just as well say, "Why not buy a solid body electric and hollow it out?"

    NOTE: Some exaggeration used in the above snide reply. But the point is, an A/E was designed to do both from the beginning. Attempting to make an acoustic instrument play plugged in always features compromises and difficulties. Otherwise, why do purists insist on a microphone in preference to a pickup? Why do people fight for good sound from a pickup and endlessly discuss placement and type and feedback control and whether it goes outside or inside and whether you're compromising the integrity of a classic instrument with foreign electronic parts?

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    Celtic Bard michaelpthompson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best acoustic electric mandolin for the money

    P.S., count another vote for the Ovation MCS148. I love mine.

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    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best acoustic electric mandolin for the money

    I don't know of any decent acoustic/electric mandolins currently on the market with a new retail price of less than $500.

    You may be able to get a used Godin A8 for around $500.

    The Ovation MCS148 stinks in my opinion; the USA-made MM68 is a good instrument but costs more than $500. The new MM68AX is made overseas and reportedly is no better than the MCS148.

    You might find a used Fender FM62SCE for less than $500.

    I haven't tried the Rigel-licensed Gold Tones but they look nice. More than $500 new, but you might score on a used one.
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    Default Re: Best acoustic electric mandolin for the money

    <spam removed by Moderator>
    Last edited by Ted Eschliman; Aug-11-2013 at 1:53pm.

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  13. #12
    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best acoustic electric mandolin for the money

    That Kentucky isn't an acoustic/electric.

    I did get hold of a Gold Tone Rigel knockoff after writing the above post ... it was no Rigel but it was OK for the money.
    Last edited by mrmando; Jul-30-2013 at 1:03pm.
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    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best acoustic electric mandolin for the money

    magnetic pickup electric senses the string motion, in a magnetic field,

    so on a less resonant mandolin it may be adequate. a downplay on the acoustic part.


    Even those gets better if you replace all the electric parts once you get it.
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    Registered User Mike Bunting's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best acoustic electric mandolin for the money

    Quote Originally Posted by michaelpthompson View Post

    NOTE: Some exaggeration used in the above snide reply. But the point is, an A/E was designed to do both from the beginning. Attempting to make an acoustic instrument play plugged in always features compromises and difficulties. Otherwise, why do purists insist on a microphone in preference to a pickup? Why do people fight for good sound from a pickup and endlessly discuss placement and type and feedback control and whether it goes outside or inside and whether you're compromising the integrity of a classic instrument with foreign electronic parts?
    No they are not. Outside of the Mix CF mandos, all the E/A's I've seen are just inexpensive mandos with a low-grade pickup stuck on it. People fight for good sound from an add on piezos because all piezos sound crappy and only intensive massaging of the signal produces anything near an acceptable sound. The goal of an A/E or a mando with a piezo is to achieve a louder acoustic tone and even at best it is merely a compromise.
    Mike
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    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best acoustic electric mandolin for the money

    And in an acoustic instrument , the pickup, piezo-electric slice, hears what it's attached to ..

    thick and less resonant tops are different than thin resonant ones ,
    but the thick ones are cheap to mass produce.

    and so the low end plays it safe, and saves cost to be turned into margin up the sales chain.
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    Marbhna Luimni Eddie Sheehy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best acoustic electric mandolin for the money

    +1 for the MCS148 - +2 if you can get an MM68 at a good price...

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    Default Re: Best acoustic electric mandolin for the money

    The little Ovation electric mandolins are hideously ugly, but man do they sound good plugged in... not bad acoustically either. If you compare the MCS148 and the MM68 plugged into an amp, you will not be able to tell the difference (the MM68 is definitely better acoustically)... used 148's are available and inexpensive.

  19. #18
    Registered User Jim Ferguson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best acoustic electric mandolin for the money

    I've played the Ovation mm68.........very nice sound & playability plugged & unplugged.
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    Default Re: Best acoustic electric mandolin for the money

    biller99,
    I complete agreed with your remark.
    The little Ovation electric mandolins are hideously ugly, but man do they sound good plugged in..
    The plug in part is the reason why I bought the MCS-148 (I paid 240$ from a pawn shop on Ebay, almost new), paid 60$ for setup and 40$ for a hard case, total 340$.
    However,all friends of mine found the Ovation very nice looking because they never look at the back of the instrument, only at the face, that makes me feel good as I own one. They don't know much about mandolins except the A-style shape.
    Showing an A-style: of course, it's a beuatiful mandolin
    Showing an F-style: look nice, but not normal !!! whatever that means (I guess they have never seen it before).
    Showing the Ovation: very cute, like a tiny guitar !!!

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    Default Re: Best acoustic electric mandolin for the money

    Quote Originally Posted by kkmm View Post
    biller99,
    I complete agreed with your remark.

    The plug in part is the reason why I bought the MCS-148 (I paid 240$ from a pawn shop on Ebay, almost new), paid 60$ for setup and 40$ for a hard case, total 340$.
    However,all friends of mine found the Ovation very nice looking because they never look at the back of the instrument, only at the face, that makes me feel good as I own one. They don't know much about mandolins except the A-style shape.
    Showing an A-style: of course, it's a beuatiful mandolin
    Showing an F-style: look nice, but not normal !!! whatever that means (I guess they have never seen it before).
    Showing the Ovation: very cute, like a tiny guitar !!!
    Hello from France
    Bought a MCS 148 brand new in 2010. Very glad of it. The bowl is robust enough not to be afraid of scratches etc... I take care of my music instruments but I don't want to awfully upset if something happens. I wanted to have a A/E mando so it.s ok with the MCS148. I am lee the mando beginner I was in 2009 so I can notice the quality of several instruments. I could test some excellent mandos at Gryphon Palo Alto during my vacation stay in California for the 2013 M Symposium. Thises mandos were incredible. But for the moment I stay with mine for the balance and convenience. Thi tiny guitar like mando made me feel a little weird in the 2012 and 2013 Santa Cruz symposium. But nobody saw something wrong with this. Jesse Cobb tested it.... Ican notice that acoustically speaking it seems to be softer than the others. But it has to do also with the strings, with your strength, with your pick, and with the very spot your strike the strings. On another Ovation guitar I noticed that as well: differences of sounds according to the very millimeter you pick... More than with a regular guitar or mando.
    More to come?
    Greetings from the Riviera...

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    Default Re: Best acoustic electric mandolin for the money

    sorry for the typos
    I don't want to awfully upset = I don't want to be awfully upset
    I am lee the mando beginner I was =I am less the mando beginner I used to be
    Thises mandos were incredible =These mandos were incredible
    --
    I started in Apr-2009 with a €90 Stagg M50E. Soon I realized the poorness of acoustic sound. But the pick up was interesting. Sold it 2 years ago.
    Then in Sept-2009 I bought in Montreal Archambault a Kentucky A-model KM-174 which I go one keeping in Montreal at my daughter's. Nice instrument. All solid and light. Glad to use it when in Quebec...
    And today? Some people say that the Ovation MM 68 isn't worth the higher price than the MCS168??
    Best from France...

  23. #22
    Long , Strange Trip Jim's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best acoustic electric mandolin for the money

    + one for the Ovation, 148 will do, 68 even better. Non mandolinists think they look cool , traditional mandolinists not so much. If plugging in is what you must do then the Ovations sound best. I still Mic mine, along with the plug in , to get a bit of acoustic tone. It may sound like "a little guitar" but it is still more resonant than just a piezo p/u even with a good pre-amp. That allows me to use mic proximity to raise volume for breaks.
    Jim Richmond

  24. #23
    Registered User Santiago's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best acoustic electric mandolin for the money

    I think a big factor is the type of music you'll be playing. If you want to play jazz or rock or blues, you may want a different choice (though you are price limited). If you want the sound of an amplified acoustic instrument for folk or BG or classical, you may want the Ovation or the amplified acoustic instrument. There are no hard and fast rules, you can play any music on any instrument, but it will impact your sound. Many people seem to like Ovations though.
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    Default Re: Best acoustic electric mandolin for the money

    I have an Ovation MCS-148 and it sounds great amplified. I also had a few other traditional A-style mandos with built in pickup (acoustic/electric, all between 150 to 250$) and if the EQ is set right, they do sound very acoustic when plugged in.
    However, I sold all of these only keep the Ovation which sounds the best plugged in and also has a very solid feel (solid construction, tapered neck). One downside is the Ovation could be hard to setup by oneself as it has a fixed bridge (which comes in handy and make strings replacement extremely easy). I had to spend 60$ for its setup by a professional luthier.

  26. #25
    mandolin slinger Steve Ostrander's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best acoustic electric mandolin for the money

    used Godin A8
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