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Fender MandoStrat Solidbody Electric Mandolin

By Fender Musical Instruments
January 22, 2013 - 8:45 am

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Fender MandoStrat Electric Mandolin

Fender MandoStrat Electric Mandolin

Scottsdale, Ariz. — The classic Fender electric mandolin returns as the new Mando-Strat. This highly distinctive and charmingly diminutive instrument evokes the Fender electric four-string mandolins of the 1950s and '60s, with an updated and improved design for modern players.

The distinctive shape and chiming tone of Fender's late-'50s electric mandolin are back, with features including a solid alder body, 13.78" scale, "C"-shaped maple neck with 24-fret rosewood fingerboard, and specially designed pickup with volume and tone controls.

Other features include a vintage-style bridge with chrome plate made on the actual machine used to produce the original parts half a century ago, three-ply tortoise shell pick-guard, vintage-style tuners, and chrome hardware.

Specifications

Additional information

Fender MandoStrat demo video

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Reader Comments

JimRichter
January 22, 2013 11:15 AM
Ordered mine. having owned an original mint condition '63, I'm glad to see a reissue as the originals have gotten price prohibitive. I liked my '63 but couldn't justify keeping it when the vintage value appreciated significantly.
Rodney Riley
January 22, 2013 11:27 AM
Quote from JimRichter: Ordered mine... End Quote


Great!!! Looking forward to some you-tube videos Jim... smile
Jim Bevan
January 22, 2013 12:14 PM
Any ideas what the "updated and improved design for modern players" might be?

So, will the old ones now be called "Mando-Strats" too, or do you think the Mandocaster nickname will continue to be used?
keebler
January 22, 2013 12:26 PM
no 8-string ver?
Rengate
January 22, 2013 03:07 PM
This is awesome and long overdue. I wonder if there's any chance of a 5-string version.
Mike Black
January 22, 2013 03:39 PM
Quote from Jim Bevan: So, will the old ones now be called "Mando-Strats" too, or do you think the Mandocaster nickname will continue to be used? End Quote

I'd still call it a Mandocaster.
richardbradford
January 22, 2013 04:06 PM
...this could be fun, the Musician's Friend, Guitar Center and Music123 all list the MandoStrat for the same price, $299.99. Musician's Friend states they'll "Price Match",
Guitar Center states, "Guaranteed Lowest Price" and Music123 claims, "See a better price? We'll beat it". Is this one of those Zen koans I've hear about or am I having a flashback to one of my philosophy courses?smile. Regardless, looks like a fun little axe.
journeybear
January 22, 2013 06:47 PM
Wondering whether to start kicking myself for spending nearly 3x the Musician's Friend price :disbelief: for my Ryder EM-44. I'm very happy with it, of course, and it does have two pickups, and the jack is in the side, but the Mandocaster - I mean, MandoStrat - has the classic, classy Fender style, and (presumably) sound. Next time I go to Miami, a trip to the Guitar Center is in order for some comparison shopping. Hmmm ... whistling Will a MandoTele be far behind? :confused:
sgarrity
January 22, 2013 07:31 PM
Want, want, want........but I'd need to buy an amp too
F-2 Dave
January 22, 2013 07:46 PM
May just have to get me one. Wish they offered one in blonde. Maybe someday.
journeybear
January 22, 2013 08:09 PM
I imagine if the initial runs sell well enough, more options will become available. Like a whammy bar. smile
John Eischen
January 22, 2013 09:18 PM
Pre-ordered yesterday from Guitar Center. I've wanted one for 40 years or so.
tkdboyd
January 22, 2013 09:44 PM
I am on the "notify me when it is available" email list...Maybe I should change that to Purchased, Send as soon as possible? Had thought about an solid body mando for a while now, this price point and "name" hard to pass up.

Since Mr. Richter is getting one, I won't volunteer a video or an audio clip :-)
Perry
January 23, 2013 09:36 AM
Very tempting to pre-order especially at that price. But wondering what the intonation and general playability will be like? I may be too used to my Schwab 4 string to settle for less. Looking forward to some real world reviews.
mtm
January 23, 2013 10:35 AM
yes, tempting to pre-order ... I was going to wait for reviews from a few cafe members who are at NAMM and said they would be seeing/playing it on Friday ... stay tuned....

so, remind me again, beside it being "Fender", the reason to get this over numerous similarly priced emandos is.....
journeybear
January 23, 2013 11:06 AM
... presently nonexistent. I suggest you follow your own advice and wait for reviews.
Don Stiernberg
January 23, 2013 01:48 PM
Is there a truss rod in the re-issue?
Dave Hicks
January 23, 2013 02:02 PM
The demo sounds pretty good, but I think I'll stick with my Ryder EM44 as well - it has a pretty similar body shape but (to my eye, anyway) is a bit more graceful.

D.H.
lukmanohnz
January 24, 2013 08:05 AM
Quote from mtm: ... numerous similarly priced emandos is..... End Quote
I'm not well acquainted with the emando world. I'd greatly appreciate suggestions for comparably priced emandos that offer similar value to the Fender. I was leaning toward buying one of these, but your post has me wondering if I should shop around more before pulling the trigger...
mtm
January 24, 2013 10:08 AM
I'm no expert on emandos, but, for example ... there's the Epiphone Mandobird IV, which seems to be difficult to find new (per my google just now) but lists for $199 at 'themusiczoo.com' (and many on eBay for ~$150), and then there's the Morgan Monroe MMT-1E (8 string) for $260 at 'instrumentalley.com' and many on eBay, and the Kentucky km-300E for $300 at 'musicians friend.com'. FYI, in response to a recent query by me about "why this fender", it was the "fender-ness" of it. And in agreement with another poster, "I want it, but I don't know why".....
rico mando
January 24, 2013 11:25 AM
Quote from mtm: "I want it, but I don't know why"..... End Quote sounds like the beginning of a country song
Darryl Wolfe
January 24, 2013 03:31 PM
Must have, but needs to be one of my pastels....fiesta red ...coral pink...foam green
Spruce
January 24, 2013 10:19 PM
Quote from Darryl Wolfe: Must have, but needs to be one of my pastels....fiesta red ...coral pink...foam green End Quote

Yep, with a matching peghead...

Spruce
January 24, 2013 10:21 PM
A few more...

Ron McMillan
January 24, 2013 10:27 PM
Apart from the Fender name (the same name that, when it is on acoustic mandolins, is a by-word for entry-level rubbish), I can't see the attraction of this attempt by the company to cash in on a popular old model.

From a wholly personal perspective, a mandolin 'has to' have eight strings. I am very tempted to get an electric 8-stringer, and we are really quite spoiled for choice. I am reliably informed that the Revelation RTM is good value for money, and easy to modify/upgrade with pick-ups and other components from Almuse in England or Moongazer in the USA.

Pete at Almuse makes beautiful looking customs (in 4, 5 and 8-string versions) that are very reasonably priced, and electric specialist custom builders like Jonathan Mann and Ian Weston offer great quality work that is surely going to make the Fender look and sound like what it is - a cheap, mass-produced instrument.

I'm hoping 2013 sees me get an electric, and depending on finances, it will surely come from one of the above sources. Whatever happens, I will definitely be ignoring the brand hype going on over this 'new' model.

ron

p.s. Interesting wording on the headstock in one of Spruce's photos: 'Designed and Backed by Fender'. To me that suggests 'made by another company that has nothing to do with Fender'
mrmando
January 24, 2013 10:34 PM
Ooh... Indonesia...

So, this thing looks like it has a contour on the front...
Spruce
January 24, 2013 10:47 PM
Quote from blueron:

From a wholly personal perspective, a mandolin 'has to' have eight strings. End Quote

Well, then what brings you to this neck of the woods?? ;)

Quote from mrmando: Ooh... Indonesia...

End Quote

Yeah, but it ain't bad...
The fret-end dressing sucks, but I could fix that in 5 minutes...

It played fine...
The pickup kept getting in my way, but it probably would on a vintage Mandocaster too...
(I didn't get to plug it in--maybe tomorrow).

The maple looks pretty authentic, although with the worm-track it could be Chinese wood...

The fingerboard is some porous dark wood of a nebulous species, and would never pass muster...

It was too heavy...

The alder did indeed look like alder...

I dunno...
I'd pay a bill-and-a-half for a dinged up one in 2-3 years in a heartbeat...
If I've waited 40 years to get one, I can wait a bit longer... ;)
rico mando
January 25, 2013 10:52 AM
Well at least there is a $300 set of replacement tuners for the old mandocasters .
journeybear
January 25, 2013 11:06 AM
Quote from blueron: From a wholly personal perspective, a mandolin 'has to' have eight strings. End Quote

Nahhh. Single strings allow for great flexibility when bending notes. Also, as I recall from my EM-150, if the double strings were the slightest bit out of tune they sounded annoying through the PA. I agree one loses that characteristically mandolinny sound (much to be desired), but it is still a lot of fun to play.

Quote from blueron: 'Designed and Backed by Fender'. To me that suggests 'made by another company that has nothing to do with Fender' End Quote

Yes, I caught that too. Seems like a built-in disclaimer.

My biggest issue is with the saddles. How in blazes can you intonate when two different strings are on one saddle? What were they thinking? (I think they were not.) You cannot put that saddle on an instrument and expect it to be considered a serious instrument.
rico mando
January 25, 2013 11:18 AM
Quote from journeybear:

My biggest issue is with the saddles. How in blazes can you intonate when two different strings are on one saddle? What were they thinking? (I think they were not.) You cannot put that saddle on an instrument and expect it to be considered a serious instrument. End Quote

If you use the factory string gauges from the 60's it intonates quite well . but the strings end up so light that you have to use a very light touch
rico mando
January 25, 2013 12:39 PM
Quote from rico mando: If you use the factory string gauges from the 60's it intonates quite well . but the strings end up so light that you have to use a very light touch End Quote

For clarification a bridge with very little room for adjustment or string gauge choice is not desirable . just because it is possible to make it intonate, does not mean I am inferring that you would find the play-ability in any way satisfactory . I am in agreement with Journeybear - You cannot put that saddle on a emando and expect it to be considered a serious instrument.
Dan Margolis
January 25, 2013 01:04 PM
I've mentioned this before, so forgive me if you've heard it from me. I had Armadillo Machine shop in Austin make me compensated saddles for my old Fender emando. Tele players do this all the time. He didn't have my instrument to measure so he used my measurements and did a swell job for not much money. If he had one in hand I'm sure that he could do even better. Behold:

journeybear
January 25, 2013 02:15 PM
Hmmm ... I guess that would work, though careful precise measurements would have to be made beforehand to get the angles right and make sure the intonation for each string would be spot on. I am still leery of that approach, and prefer each string be independent. That's how they are on my Ryder EM-44, and that's how they are on my reissue MandoCaster. It just makes sense intuitively to do it that way. I would think the guitar gurus at Fender would know this, and I also think there would be plenty of these parts sitting around a factory stockroom or warehouse. I'm baffled by this. It hardly seems a valid area to be looking for cost -cutting (my theory for a reason for this). I really enjoyed being able to spend a litle time (OK, it was almost an hour) with my Ryder and Boss TU-3 tuner and mini-phillips-head and dial in the intonation. I'm glad this is working for you, though. I just wish Fender had attended to this pre-production.
Jacob
January 25, 2013 02:29 PM
[COLOR="#B22222">These bridges[/COLOR] at Moongazer Music might be worth a look.
delsbrother
January 25, 2013 03:27 PM
Were the saddles threaded rod in the originals? Was there word of a case?
JimRichter
January 25, 2013 03:31 PM
I really don't understand the naysayers. We each have personal likes and dislikes. Though it may not meet your high demands, there is no need to disparage it. Admittedly, though I have always thought the mandocaster was one sexy animal, there is a one trick pony aspect to it. That's why I couldn't justify holding on to my vintage one when the prices went through the roof ($2500 vintage? my gosh). However, they do play well and do the high strung tele sound quite well. As far as it needing 8 strings to be a mandolin, I can understand that rationale because I've had it too. However, if you wish to become picky, there are many who would say an emando--regardless of string count--is not a mandolin. I've definitely thought that. I do not look at the emando like a mandoilin and tend to play it differently (more from an electric guitar point of view). I've never heard "traditional" fiddle tune type mandolin playing on an emando that sounded good to my ear. Again, that's only my viewpoint and not a condemnation of anyone who chooses to do it.

Now, as far as the Indonesian Fender instruments go, I wouldn't sell them short. I recently bought a Squire 60's 'surf' strat (60's features with lipstick pickups) as a backup guitar. That guitar, which I bought off the shelf at Guitar Center, is one of the best sounding Strats I've owned. It also plays very well, had a good fret dressing (though don't all leave that way), and most importantly, is a strong guitar. This was a $275 guitar. Some of the Fender stuff from Indonesia is quite good and gives those with little green a much better product than some of the dross Fender used to produce in Korea.
Spruce
January 25, 2013 05:07 PM
Quote from journeybear:
My biggest issue is with the saddles. How in blazes can you intonate when two different strings are on one saddle? What were they thinking? (I think they were not.) You cannot put that saddle on an instrument and expect it to be considered a serious instrument. End Quote

Well, a '51 Blackguard Tele is probably one of the most serious instruments on the planet... ;)
mtm
January 25, 2013 05:49 PM
Just wondering, as one who is STILL considering getting it, based on the "fender-ness", relatively low cost, and excitement it has generated... what level of support can one expect from Guitar Center? I think a local shop can order it for me ... perhaps for a few $ more, and I'd think the locals would give more support. Input?
Spruce
January 25, 2013 06:03 PM
What kind of "support"?
Fret dressing, nut-work, compensation, or ??...
If I ordered one of these, I would expect to be able to do that work myself.
It's pretty easy to do, and is the way to go if you want it "right"...

I dunno...
If a local shop said they'd set it up properly and do those things that will need to be done to it as part of the deal--and you're unable to do it--then I guess go local...

Unless you're lucky, these will not be "great" out of the box...
FL Dawg
January 25, 2013 08:09 PM
Quote from mtm: what level of support can one expect from Guitar Center? End Quote

Wait, was that a serious question? smile)

You'd be lucky if they can find the correct case/bag that it shipped from the manufacturer with.
journeybear
January 25, 2013 08:27 PM
Quote from Spruce: Well, a '51 Blackguard Tele is probably one of the most serious instruments on the planet... ;) End Quote

It figures. Out of the thousands of models and millions of electric guitars built, there would have to be some built this way. It would be mathematically impossible for it to be otherwise. smile) I still think it's a mistake. And I would like to think some advancements have been made on the thinking about this approach during the intervening years.

In looking for an example, I found this. Not sure if it's a '51, but it does have the doubled-up bridges. And interestingly, the bridge for the D and G strings has been modified to include a slant.
Spruce
January 25, 2013 08:39 PM
Quote from journeybear: And I would like to think some advancements have been made on the thinking about this approach during the intervening years. End Quote

I can usually dial in a Tele with it's stock saddles...
A mando might be tougher...

These are great if you want to get it perfect:
Jonathan Reinhardt
January 26, 2013 08:36 AM
yes, intonation with those Fender brass saddles can be set quite closely to accurate. perfect? I don't think intonation can be set perfectly on most instruments. I have tried compensated saddles and individual saddles on my Tele. I always go back to the original vintage bridge barrel saddles. one way to fine tune them is to find and set a correct string height for the instrument where intonation is close to correct, and then adjust each string height (either side of each saddle). there are screws. for those who wish to wield a file, they can adjust height of the barrel tops (string specific) that way as well, but I have not ever found it necessary.

perhaps on the mandolin bridge, 5ths tuning rather than 4ths will create more of an issue. but it is probably correctable, as it's been used for years, by many musicians. that $20 compensation repair was a bargain, considering the amount some hardware costs these days.
Dan Margolis
January 26, 2013 10:15 AM
Quote from Dan Margolis: http://www.armadilloguitar.com/shopping/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=2_5&products_id=47

This is a link to the shop that made the compensated saddles for my original Fender emando. The picture on his site is of my mando. In fact, I took it! He charges $20 plus shipping. I've mentioned this several times before, but if someone can ever hand him a Fender to measure in person, he might be able to spec the angles even a little better. For that matter, he could make a four-saddle bridge for a Fender emando. No financial interest with Armadillo. Nice guy. End Quote

I wrote this in the other Fender emando thread. This is almost the only thing I write about these days.
Spruce
January 26, 2013 08:08 PM
A couple vintage examples I ran into today...
This is the finest one I've ever seen:

Verne Andru
March 15, 2013 09:17 PM
Quote from Spruce: I'd pay a bill-and-a-half for a dinged up one in 2-3 years in a heartbeat... End Quote

I'm certainly with you on this one!

Gibson recently stopped production of their Mandobird, so this is the only one available from one of the major's, if that's important.

While I know many of you yearn for yesteryear, I'd like to have seen Fender "fix" the issues everyone is complaining about - i.e. the saddle, pickup and pickup angle.

Would a "fixed" version appeal to the vintage-heads out there? No.

Would a "fixed" version appeal to all the wanna-emando players out there? Absolutely.

I'd venture to say there are more of the latter than the former and, if it were my call, I'd produce an instrument that had the highest potential for sales, not one that appealed to a select group of propeller-heads.

I believe Eastwood has legal rights to the "Mandocaster" name - hence the "Mando Strat."

PS - IIRC Samick owns the only factory in Indonesia. They've been producing instruments for many decades now and can make a mighty fine piece when they put their minds to it.
opie wan
November 26, 2013 03:54 AM
I just want to go on record as saying I'm really enjoying my cheap ass fender electric mandolin. There's a fret problem at the base of the neck on the G-string (1 spot) and if I'm careful it disappears. I tried it through a little fender deluxe amp and it think its awesome. It's my first electric mandolin. I think I might want a Ryder now..... but I'm not sure why.

Does it have a truss rod? It came with an Allen wrench that would appear to be for a truss rod but I can't see the spot. Perhaps under the back plate?

The thing holds a tune very well. It sounds nice... and out of the box it doesn't play so bad. I got it for 268. Used....as in a shop demo....

PS..... anybody know where I can get a proper case for this thing?
dan in va
October 05, 2014 04:58 PM
Didn't see an answer to Don Stiernberg's and opi wan's truss rod question. i took the neck off the new reissue today and found the truss rod was relaxed (a good thing for shipping) and very functional. The case Fender sells is a gig bag for their acoustic mandolin, and it doesn't fit so great, but it's usable.

Overall, i would say it's worth the price. There are some fine details that are addressed with the small shop offerings, but i don't mind doing a little tweaking to get it up to speed. The little Allen head adjustment screws in the threaded string saddles are a bit high, but some shorter new ones can be had, stock ones filed down, or shim the neck. The pickup is very adjustable and sounds better than i was expecting (Roland Micro Cube). The neck pocket is snug and accurately cut. i was pleasantly surprised to get the intonation acceptable. It gets a thumbs up for the amount of Fender vibe you get for the money, which is kind of like the Gibson vs. small shop relationship. i would choose this new Fender over the Epi Mandobird that found a new home after getting the mandocaster.

While a Sea Foam Green or Fiesta Red would be nice, my druthers would be the maple neck/skunk stripe with blonde swamp ash body and gold pick guard. AVO frets and gold hardware might be a nice touch, too.

BTW, does anybody have any ideas for a bridge cover?
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