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Lace Music Products Announces the Mando-Lace Pickup

By Lace Music Products
August 5, 2015 - 3:15 pm

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Lace Music Products Announces the Mando-Lace Pickup

Lace Music Products Announces the Mando-Lace Pickup

Cypress, Calif. — Lace Music Products has announced its latest pickup offering, the Mando-Lace, a passive easy to install pickup for mandolins.

This new pickup features patented Lace technology to bring out the most authentic reproduction of the strings through a magnetic pickup.

Alternative pickups for the most part are active in design and have an inherent difficult time in installation. Feedback and unnatural sound is also a common problem associated with the current types of pickups available today for Mandolin players.

The Mando-Lace pickup needs no batteries or other equipment to get installed. Installation takes only minutes and can be removed just as fast. A simple holding plate is sandwiched between the saddle and the bridge, placement of the actual pickup just above the bridge.

The patented Lace designed "compression magnetics" allows very actuate string to string output with excellent balance. Organic cork pads on the pickup then make a positive contact with the surface of the mandolin for ultra-secure placement. A heavy duty coax cable with a strap pin loop secures the cable while a high quality female jack is standard.

The design is simple, pure and elegant without degrading the playability of the mandolin. Output level is excellent and has a very high feedback threshold. Adding to the bullet proof design is the fact that it can be used with effects such as reverb or chorus.

Suggested retail is $149.99 with a street price of $99.99.

About Lace Music Products

Lace Music Products is a division of Actodyne General Inc., founded in 1979 by the late Don Lace Sr., an innovative electronics designer with a passion for solving problems using creative solutions. The company was started in the family garage and quickly grew to become one of the most respected companies in the music industry.

Additional information

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Reader Comments

jalanmiller
August 05, 2015 03:40 PM
Anybody have experience with this company's products?
PJ Doland
August 05, 2015 04:11 PM
Quote from jalanmiller: Anybody have experience with this company's products? End Quote

Ever play a Fender electric guitar made between 1987 and 1996?
jalanmiller
August 05, 2015 04:23 PM
Quote from PJ Doland: Ever play a Fender electric guitar made between 1987 and 1996? End Quote

Gotcha. I like the concept of this passive pickup. I'd rather never have to use one, but sometimes it's a better option than the brain damage.
oldwave
August 07, 2015 01:04 PM
I used one of their high gain picks in an electric mandolin custom build. Excellent sound. The magnetic pickup will not be very acoustic sounding but thats a sound all in its own. Good for blues I expect , might try one on my National
foldedpath
August 08, 2015 03:01 PM
Several years ago I had one of their Lace Dobro Sensor surface-mount pickups on a National Radiotone Bendaway (wooden cutaway resonator) guitar. It looked a bit like this new mandolin model, but I don't know how similar it is.

The Dobro Sensor was a passive single-coil design. On the one hand, it sounded pretty good for a Bluesy tone on that guitar, if not exactly "acoustic." On the other hand, it would start humming and buzzing if I brought it anywhere near a computer, or an electric fan was nearby. Typical passive single coil behavior. I couldn't tell from the Lace web site on this new pickup is single coil or a humbucker design, which would be more resistant to EM noise.

These days I use a clip-on mini condenser mic (DPA 4099) on my resonator guitar, for what it's worth. Magnetic pickups are good for controlling feedback on a very loud stage, but it's not a tone I especially want on a mandolin or acoustic guitar.
Don Grieser
August 08, 2015 04:08 PM
So how does this attach? There's some piece that slides between the saddle and bridge base and it clamps there? Can't really see it clearly in the video.

Might work for one of the bands I play in. Might not work if you have a pickguard on.
Lace Music
August 10, 2015 10:15 AM
Hi folks! Lace Pickups here... we just thought we'd chime in here and give anyone who's curious the chance to ask us some direct questions about our new mandolin pickup, or any of our other acoustic pickups, for that matter. smile
Lace Music
August 10, 2015 10:22 AM
Quote from oldwave: I used one of their high gain picks in an electric mandolin custom build. Excellent sound. The magnetic pickup will not be very acoustic sounding but thats a sound all in its own. Good for blues I expect , might try one on my National End Quote

Hi there, oldwave.

It's hard to get a good natural-sounding tone off an acoustic instrument with a magnetic pickup, but the fellow in production who invented this pickup did a pretty good job at getting the wind and the internal magnets just right to get the best sound possible.

We did most of our testing with an acoustic amplifier and a small PA system in house, but you can plug it into a direct box as well. One of our field testers became fond of using it with a small fender amp and some effects.
Lace Music
August 10, 2015 10:25 AM
Quote from foldedpath: Several years ago I had one of their Lace Dobro Sensor surface-mount pickups on a National Radiotone Bendaway (wooden cutaway resonator) guitar. It looked a bit like this new mandolin model, but I don't know how similar it is.

The Dobro Sensor was a passive single-coil design. On the one hand, it sounded pretty good for a Bluesy tone on that guitar, if not exactly "acoustic." On the other hand, it would start humming and buzzing if I brought it anywhere near a computer, or an electric fan was nearby. Typical passive single coil behavior. I couldn't tell from the Lace web site on this new pickup is single coil or a humbucker design, which would be more resistant to EM noise.

These days I use a clip-on mini condenser mic (DPA 4099) on my resonator guitar, for what it's worth. Magnetic pickups are good for controlling feedback on a very loud stage, but it's not a tone I especially want on a mandolin or acoustic guitar. End Quote

The new mandolin pickup uses the same cover/housing as the Dobro pickup, but the magnets and wind are totally different. It's a single-coil design that uses similar technology to our Lace Sensors for electric guitar, and it rejects most of the noise associated with single-coils in the same manner. We've toyed around with a dual-coil design but at the moment we've decided to go with the single-coil setup for ease of use and compact installation.
Lace Music
August 10, 2015 10:32 AM
Quote from Don Grieser: So how does this attach? There's some piece that slides between the saddle and bridge base and it clamps there? Can't really see it clearly in the video.

Might work for one of the bands I play in. Might not work if you have a pickguard on. End Quote

Here's how you do it:

1) Unscrew the pads from the metal tab on the bridge-facing side of he pickup.

2) Take the pickup and get it under the strings near the bridge, with the metal tab facing the bridge. Slide the metal tab into the gap on the mandolin's bridge between the saddles and the top-mounted bridge base, and then move it towards the E strings to get it centered.

3) Put the pads underneath the metal tab (cork side down), line up the screw holes, and screw the pads back on.

4) Situate the pickup cable out of the way, use the loop in the cable to hang off your lower strap button.

5) Plug an instrument cable into the female jack coming off the pickup, and you're good to go.

biologyprof
August 13, 2015 08:38 PM
Quote from Lace Music: Here's how you do it:

1) Unscrew the pads from the metal tab on the bridge-facing side of he pickup.

2) Take the pickup and get it under the strings near the bridge, with the metal tab facing the bridge. Slide the metal tab into the gap on the mandolin's bridge between the saddles and the top-mounted bridge base, and then move it towards the E strings to get it centered.

End Quote

What a great opportunity. Thanks for checking in with us. I received my Mando-Lace a couple of days ago after ordering it online through the Lace Music site. I also had some assistance form Jared of Lace Music via email. Helpful gent! Thanks.

First, don't believe the video. The video makes it look as though the pickup installs easily with one smooth insertion between the bridge and saddle. At least that's what I took away from watching it a couple times. Since my pickup came without instructions I wasn't concerned for I watched how to do it. I quickly discovered this wasn't the case. The rest was trial and error. However, after reading the helpful installation instructions above I do believe that I have it right, well, almost. Here's why:

In instruction #2 copied above you said that once the pickup was inserted through the bridge that you should "...then move it towards the E strings...". However, on the bottom of the pickup is an arrow and an instruction that says something like AFTER INSERTION SLIDE THIS WAY. The arrow is pointing towards the G strings. It is pointing away from the side that is attached to the cord. It doesn't seem to make any difference in the functions of the p/u for it can be moved in either direction.

Question: What is the recommended direction to do the slide? Is this slide related to the pickup's function or it is a locking mechanism making it more secure?

I'm attaching a couple pics of my setup and my bud, Benny. Note that when viewed from the side the feet of the pickup do not come in contact with the mandolin. If I install it with the feet resting on the mandolin then the pickup hits the underside of the strings. To prevent this I've temporarily shimmed it up by placing a piece of folded cardboard under the feet. Something isn't right and it's most likely my installation.

Question: After looking at the photos and reading my comments what needs to be done to achieve the correct positioning of the pickup on my instrument?

The pickup works! On my installation it's a little weaker on the E strings than on the others. But, it"s not nearly as bad as the weak E that I've experienced with other types of pickups such as those on the Mandobird and the Mando-Strat. I haven't gigged with it yet. I've just been playing around with it in the living room with my trusty LOUDBOXmini. First impressions are very positive for its intended use. I think that I'm going to be happy using this. My installation though is questionable. Anyone else try it?

Lace Music
August 17, 2015 03:56 PM
Quote from biologyprof: What a great opportunity. Thanks for checking in with us. I received my Mando-Lace a couple of days ago after ordering it online through the Lace Music site. I also had some assistance form Jared of Lace Music via email. Helpful gent! Thanks.

First, don't believe the video. The video makes it look as though the pickup installs easily with one smooth insertion between the bridge and saddle. At least that's what I took away from watching it a couple times. Since my pickup came without instructions I wasn't concerned for I watched how to do it. I quickly discovered this wasn't the case. The rest was trial and error. However, after reading the helpful installation instructions above I do believe that I have it right, well, almost. Here's why:

In instruction #2 copied above you said that once the pickup was inserted through the bridge that you should "...then move it towards the E strings...". However, on the bottom of the pickup is an arrow and an instruction that says something like AFTER INSERTION SLIDE THIS WAY. The arrow is pointing towards the G strings. It is pointing away from the side that is attached to the cord. It doesn't seem to make any difference in the functions of the p/u for it can be moved in either direction.

Question: What is the recommended direction to do the slide? Is this slide related to the pickup's function or it is a locking mechanism making it more secure?

I'm attaching a couple pics of my setup and my bud, Benny. Note that when viewed from the side the feet of the pickup do not come in contact with the mandolin. If I install it with the feet resting on the mandolin then the pickup hits the underside of the strings. To prevent this I've temporarily shimmed it up by placing a piece of folded cardboard under the feet. Something isn't right and it's most likely my installation.

Question: After looking at the photos and reading my comments what needs to be done to achieve the correct positioning of the pickup on my instrument?

The pickup works! On my installation it's a little weaker on the E strings than on the others. But, it"s not nearly as bad as the weak E that I've experienced with other types of pickups such as those on the Mandobird and the Mando-Strat. I haven't gigged with it yet. I've just been playing around with it in the living room with my trusty LOUDBOXmini. First impressions are very positive for its intended use. I think that I'm going to be happy using this. My installation though is questionable. Anyone else try it?

End Quote

Hi there, sir. A few things regarding your post.

The video that's out there was done by a 3rd party and does not show the step-by-step installation. The fellow that did the video had only verbal instructions from us and kind of improvised to make the pickup work for his personal instrument. In any case we apologize for any confusion. We'll be making a better video in the near future.

The instructions should read that the pickup has to be slid slightly towards the G strings, not the E's. That was a typo on my part which has since been corrected.

Most of the mandolins we tested this pickup on needed to have the pickup slid over to the G side. Every mandolin type is going to be a little bit different, so just play with the lateral position of the pickup until you achieve the string-to-string balance you desire.

As for your installation, your basic instinct for a shim quick-fix was correct, but we'll be shipping all Mando-Laces from here on (we've only done a handful of them so far) out with extra cork so that you don't have to do that. PM me your address or send it to info@lacemusic.com and reference this thread and we'll send you more cork in the mail.

This is valuable feedback on a totally brand new product, so thanks for the input and I'm glad you like it overall!
whopper
August 19, 2015 03:38 PM
//first post

I ordered one of these on Monday... Will report back on my experience after it arrives and I play around with it a bit.
Lace Music
August 20, 2015 12:20 PM
Quote from whopper: //first post

I ordered one of these on Monday... Will report back on my experience after it arrives and I play around with it a bit. End Quote

Thanks for the order! Let us know how you like it!
Don Grieser
August 20, 2015 06:27 PM
biologyprof: how much does the installed pickup dampen the acoustic sound of your mandolin?
whopper
August 25, 2015 10:13 AM
Quote from Lace Music: Thanks for the order! Let us know how you like it! End Quote

I installed it fairly easily on a Breedlove Crossover OO. I am new to the mandolin. I mostly play double bass, electric bass, guitar and banjo. That's why I got a cheap mandolin. The instrument sounds pretty decent IMO. But, I am hooked and will be upgrading soon.

Unfortunately, the bridge on this particular instrument doesn't have enough width in the slot area to slide the pickup into an exact center position. It's offset on the G strings side approximately 1 cm, maybe less. Perhaps the tongue on the pickup, for lack of a better word, could be slightly adjustable side to side as well.

However, the slightly offset position did not seem to adversely impact the response of E strings, or any of the others, when amplified. I have a slight ground issue with the end pin, but I am not worried, I can remedy that. Plus, I plan to permanently install the pickup with a end pin strap button.

I really like the sound so far. I do not plan on playing bluegrass, so a natural acoustic sound is not what I am looking for. I will be using this rig for old-timey music, alt-country, blues and folk. I was limited on time, so I plugged it straight into a Roland AC-60, rolled off most of the treble and boosted the bass and mids, engaged the shape button. I got pretty much the tone I was looking for, punchy and fairly warm. I had to crank up the gain quite a bit. A pre-amp is probably a good idea.

I also went straight into a passive mixer, rolled up the gain and listened through headphones. Grounding the end pin connection with my hand (I will fix that) and giving it a strum, I got an extremely clean sound that will be great for tracking.

Tonight, I am going to experiment a little more with a basic tube pre-amp and send the signal through my 57' Fender Tweed Deluxe clone. See what it sounds like through a vintage style tube amp (my sincere apologies to the traditionalists).

Don G., I did not experience much dampening, if any, when I played it acoustically with the pick up installed. But TIFWIW, I'm a newbie and it's a cheap mando.

I will report back. I am satisfied at this point. Like the possibilities.
Lace Music
August 25, 2015 11:00 AM
Quote from whopper: I installed it fairly easily on a Breedlove Crossover OO. I am new to the mandolin. I mostly play double bass, electric bass, guitar and banjo. That's why I got a cheap mandolin. The instrument sounds pretty decent IMO. But, I am hooked and will be upgrading soon.

Unfortunately, the bridge on this particular instrument doesn't have enough width in the slot area to slide the pickup into an exact center position. It's offset on the G strings side approximately 1 cm, maybe less. Perhaps the tongue on the pickup, for lack of a better word, could be slightly adjustable side to side as well.

However, the slightly offset position did not seem to adversely impact the response of E strings, or any of the others, when amplified. I have a slight ground issue with the end pin, but I am not worried, I can remedy that. Plus, I plan to permanently install the pickup with a end pin strap button.

I really like the sound so far. I do not plan on playing bluegrass, so a natural acoustic sound is not what I am looking for. I will be using this rig for old-timey music, alt-country, blues and folk. I was limited on time, so I plugged it straight into a Roland AC-60, rolled off most of the treble and boosted the bass and mids, engaged the shape button. I got pretty much the tone I was looking for, punchy and fairly warm. I had to crank up the gain quite a bit. A pre-amp is probably a good idea.

I also went straight into a passive mixer, rolled up the gain and listened through headphones. Grounding the end pin connection with my hand (I will fix that) and giving it a strum, I got an extremely clean sound that will be great for tracking.

Tonight, I am going to experiment a little more with a basic tube pre-amp and send the signal through my 57' Fender Tweed Deluxe clone. See what it sounds like through a vintage style tube amp (my sincere apologies to the traditionalists).

Don G., I did not experience much dampening, if any, when I played it acoustically with the pick up installed. But TIFWIW, I'm a newbie and it's a cheap mando.

I will report back. I am satisfied at this point. Like the possibilities. End Quote

Thanks for your report back!

The pickup's internal magnets are designed so that you can play with the pickup's center position a bit to get the desired string balance. In most cases the pickup wound up being a little off to one side, although on some mandos they sounded best centered. There's no one correct position. Dial it in by ear and then lock it down with the pads - that will be the best way to get it to sound right.

We test every one of our pickups on a tester rig before shipping and if one has issues it goes back. If you are unable to resolve this end pin grounding issue let me know.

Again, thanks for your reports and we look forward to hearing about your continued experience.
whopper
August 26, 2015 01:25 PM
I called an audible and did a slightly more permanent install. The bridge adjustment turn screws are larger than normal on the bridge and were touching the pickup when installed normally.

So, I took off the top part of the bridge, drilled a couple pilot holes into the bottom part and carefully screwed the pickup directly into the bottom piece using tiny wood screws and the gaskets provided. I had to grind off a little bit of the screws that went through the bottom of the saddle. Very easy operation (pics below). Remember, I have a cheap mandolin and I am not that worried about cosmetics or drilling holes in it.

The pickup is not horizontally level with the strings as a result, but it feels really solid and I am getting a similar, if not better, sound than with the normal install. It's a really full sound. Down the road, I may try to do something to mitigate the angle and get it a little more level, but I don't want to mess with the pickup too much. Maybe a little shim would work. Anyway, I am going to work with this configuration for a while. Fun process so far and I haven't damaged anything except for a broken string (evident in pics).


biologyprof
August 30, 2015 09:43 PM
Quote from Don Grieser: biologyprof: how much does the installed pickup dampen the acoustic sound of your mandolin? End Quote

Note To Lace Music: I received the extra cork pads. My temporary cardboard shim seems to be doing the job so I'll use the cork later. Thanks for that. I temporarily attached the pickup's cord and plug to the strap right at the end pin. It's still not to my liking. When I tuck the excess cord nicely under the strings behind the bridge it quickly drops down and just hangs below the bridge. Most likely I'll fasten it to something so that it stays put.

Don: I checked out your BillyHawks site and videos and I like your intro to Achin' In My Heart(?). It's a fun one to play. As for the dampening effect from the pickup I'd have to say that it does but only a little. I'm playing this pickup through a Baggs Para Di and into a LoudBox Mini. Between the settings on both I can dial in a pretty good acoustic sound but with low volume. Actually, the volume is turned up on the amp and the DI box but the gain is set only as high as I could go without buzzing or sounding distorted. Because of that this setup isn't very loud. I'm sure that larger amps will give more volume when needed. To date my experience with the Mando-Lace has been only in my living room. I haven't yet put it through a PA or larger amp. Perhaps others will be able to offer some input from their experience. Just to be clear, I said that my setup with the Mando-Lace gave "a pretty good acoustic sound" and it does IMO, BUT!...to my ear it still sounds like an acoustic mandolin played through an amp. That's not necessarily a bad thing.

Greg
Lace Music
August 31, 2015 05:39 PM
Quote from biologyprof: ...to my ear it still sounds like an acoustic mandolin played through an amp. That's not necessarily a bad thing.

Greg End Quote

That was actually kind of the intent. We wound the coil specifically to try to reproduce as natural a sound as possible with a magnetic pickup.
mandroid
September 01, 2015 02:40 PM
how is that different from winding the other pickups ?
own a Lace fender Gold .. in a 4 string solid body currently
Lace Music
September 03, 2015 06:30 PM
Quote from mandroid: how is that different from winding the other pickups ?
own a Lace fender Gold .. in a 4 string solid body currently End Quote

I'll have to ask the production staff member who invented it. He'd be able to give you a better answer than I. All I can tell you for sure is that he went through 4 or 5 different different iterations of the pickup just for the coils, and then it was a matter of getting the magnets and shunts right.

He'll be back next week, I can ask him then and report back. cool
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