I noticed another Fender on ebay today http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...tem=3705119595
looks like a nice one.
Looks good Uncle Ken,
It seems that I remember Sam Bush playing one like that.
I didn't know he played electric. I used to watch New Grass Revival in the early 70s when I was in college at Indiana U. I think he played a Givens back then. I noticed he has a Gibson model named after him so he must play that now. I checked your website Justin, do you also play electric in your band?
Big mystery why Fender won't make a reissue of the "mandocaster". I couldn't even get their Custom Shop interested. That one's in particularly good shape and has the bridge cover. Do we hear $1600?
There was a picture of a pretty baby blue Fender Custom shop mandocaster at the last NAMM, I take it you've asked them about it?
I've emailed Fender's Custom shop and received no reply. That was back around the time when they released their new electric mandolin models. Fender didn't seem to be taking their electric mandos very seriously. For some, a case was not even available. None were of the same high quality, or with the radiiused fretboard, as the mandocaster. Oddly, they were being marketed under their acoustic instrument division. I still know of no builder reproducing the contoured body; the way it molds around your belly and the well-rounded edges are organic too. I didn't know about the blue one at NAMM.
Funny you should mention the NAMM show ones. They used my 64 as the model. A friend of mine works there so I drove over one day and they took measurements and lots of pictures after taking it apart. I went to the show and he had made 4 of them using different colors. The custom shop stuff sells off right away there so it's hard to get the stuff at the show. He wasn't able to copy the tailpiece cover which is usually missing on ones out there. You can probably find a good original one if you're patient. It only took me 29 yrs. to get mine. I started looking out for one back in 75.
Sam kind of switches it around. I know like on his Glamor and Grits CD he has some electric. I saw him and John Cowan along side Reese Wynans and Byron House Saturday night here in Nashville. Sam played An old Gibson Firebird Guitar all night. They were doing blues stuff. It was freaking awesome. Duckbutter is the band.
When I perform with Mark Wills I do play an Epiphone Mandobird. Of course I try to switch it up. For instance this weekend I am performing with The Jim Hurst Band. I will be playing acoustic. Probably my Flatiron Festival-A. Anyway, I added some tour dates on my site. So if I'm in the area come out. Talk to yah latte.
Uncle Ken, I'm amazed Fender needed to copy a privately own mandocaster. They didn't keep their own original plans?
I started doing consulting work for them back in the early 80's when they were at the original Fullerton factory which was an enormous building. Since then they've moved everthing several times. Alot of the old molds and forms are lost or are just buried somewhere. They found the form for the mandocaster neck. The tailpiece cover die is missing but they said it might eventually turn up. They sometimes borrow or buy old instruments especially if they are doing a reissue just to match the color. It's good to find one that's been in a closet for 30 years.
Lee, Epiphones mandobirds are listed under their bluegrass division... Bill would love that I'm sure!
What many not be aware of is the fact that Mandocasters ARE now available from Fender.
However, having said that, you have to understand that Fender Dealerships have a sort of "division within a division." The category Mandocasters fall under are Fender "Custom" Dealers.
Not all Fender dealerships have this access, as Fender requires a commitment to a certain applicable stock level of this unique custom-made product to have access to this division of the Fender franchise. Basically, you'd order one custom built (to your own specs) from this class of dealers, and within 60-90 days you'd have your axe.
If you were seeking more information like price, options, etc. your best bet would be to contact Fender to find out your nearest Fender "Custom" Dealer is.
In my long range M.A.S. strategy, I'm aiming for a sea foam green with white perloid pickguard.
Since this thread started, yet another one has popped up for sale on Ebay from Australia. The item no. is 3707267943
a) Do you know how many of these special Fender dealerships exist? I've inquired at the big megastores here in LA and none of them have any idea what I'm talking about. Well, at least the metalhead behind the counter doesn't know, LOL.
b) When are you going to become one of these dealers? C'mon, Dietze can sell a few thousand relic strats! Mando Cafe needs a "Direct Connection" to Fender Mandocasters!
That australian one looks a little beat up plus I don't think I'd want to buy one from that far away. Gruhn's in Nashville have two listed in excellent condition but they're asking $1800 which seems high to me. Although it's interesting that people will pay $10,000 and up for an old tele or strat that they built thousands of but these go for far less even though they only made a few hundred. I guess there isn't much of a market for these.
Here's one of my favorite Sam Bush pics, from Nashvilleportraits.com:Originally Posted by (J Clark @ Feb. 24 2004, 11:12)
I have tried SO hard to like these man'lins, being a dyed-in-the-wool Fender guy all my life, but I just can't make it with 'em. Over the last 25 years, I've owned two: a fifties anodized 'guard, maple-neck; and a sixties, rosewood board. Can't stand the tone; way too bright and piercing! Don't get me wrong: when playing my Tele, I spend more time on the bridge p.u., than the other. But for short, high-pitched strings, the p.u. has got to be up at the end of the fingerboard. A sensible redesign of the Fender eMan'lin would be to eliminate the top 6-8 frets (yeah, the ones that are too close together to even use!), and get that p.u. in the region of the 24th fret. I built mine out of the frustration of not finding any commercially available alternatives (I'll try to post a photo of it)
A dissenting view,
too many strings
I would think the amp would have a lot to do with that tone. I'm using a late 60's vibrolux with the oxford 10s. It sounds pretty fat. I also flatpick the strings fairly close to the fingerboard and also use a pick made of delrin. I've also used a blackface super in the past which sounded pretty good with these. It doesn't seem that much brighter than my old strat using the bridge pickup. It does seem to require a completely different style of playing and choice of notes than when I play my regular acoustic mandolin though.
Unc-an amp would be hard pressed to get a fatter tone than the '53 Bandmaster (15" spkr) shown in the above photo. I will admit, I got close to a usable tone with the mandocaster (as you call 'em) into a tweed Deluxe maxed. I concur with all you say in terms of technique and style, but the fat tone I get with the man'lin I made (all mahogany construction, h.b. p.u. near the fingerboard) has me spoilt, and I can't get close to it with the Fender. What a shame, 'cause the Fender looks so damn cool!