View Full Version : 'lectrification

Feb-26-2005, 12:33pm
The combination of extensive Back to Back listening and an impending tax refund have got me thinking about electrics - since I don't sound like Jethro on my faux two-point Rigel R-100, maybe I could not sound like Tiny on an electric mando! Anyway, the current under 2K choices are: an Oldtown, a Wendler elctroCoustic, or a Schwab Lampert model. Does anyone have any experience with any/all of these models? Please let me know before my wife spends the tax refund on new furniture - furniture! we've got a perfectly good floor!

John Rosett
Feb-26-2005, 2:21pm
if you want to sound like tiny (well, you know...) you should probably get a 4 or 5 string. if you can find a roberts tiny moore maodel mandolin, that would be closest. those are great sounding mandos. i don't know how much they cost, but paul lestock's "jazzbo" mandolins come in 4 and 5 string models. one of those with a floating pickup would be a great jazz axe.
i haven't been able to try any of the mandolins that you mentioned, but the wendler is the most interesting one to me. it seems like you could get a more mandolin-like sound out of it than the others.
good luck, john

Feb-26-2005, 3:57pm
go to www.emando.com. A couple of the emandos you have listed are reviewed there, I think. Good luck trying to find a Roberts for sale. You should also check out the emando section here at the cafe. I own a number of good emandos, and I'll just say something that I always say: If you buy an 8 string emando, you can always take off 4 of the strings and play it like a 4 string emando to see if you get the results you're looking for.

Feb-26-2005, 5:28pm
Of course I'm very, very biased, BUT, I do love my Schwab.
It's so easy to play, and I think that it sounds great.
I have played the Roberts, and while I think that it was not so eay to get around on, it had a very solid jazz sound. In any case, there was only one Tiny Moore!

Feb-26-2005, 8:11pm
Hey, michaell, if I had a mando model named after me, I'd say nice things about it too! I want a Schwab too, one of these days... But there are so many great emandos out there.

Feb-28-2005, 2:37am
Well I have a Schwab Lampert model , not bearing my name (!), and I can state that it is a really sweet player and has a comfortable feel and excellent intonation. Can't go wrong with any of Kevin's creations. He's a talented builder.

Pete Martin
Feb-28-2005, 12:08pm
I had one of builder Jay Roberts Tiny Moore model mandolins. It sounded very good, but needed a LOT of set up work to play easily.

Feb-28-2005, 1:37pm
Under 2k, there are dozens of choices available to you, ranging from excellent (Schwabs, Ryders, vintage Fenders) to the not-excellent (recent Fenders, Epiphones...) Consider what you want in terms of electronics, number of strings and look over the *fantastic* directories of builders at www.emando.com. Pop by the electric section of this page when you've got it narrowed down and start asking questions... Also, it's good to start thinking about your direction in terms of amplifiers, they are easily as responsible for tone as your instrument itself.

Mar-01-2005, 3:13pm
I "3rd" the Schwab endorsement; I have a Lampert model too (4 string). One of the many things I like about the Lambert model is that the scale length matches most acoustic mandos. Many electrics mandos have a slightly longer scale length. It makes it easier to go back and forth between the two.

The Schwab plays wonderfully. BTW a side benefit of an electric is that you can rehearse unplugged and make almost no noise. Another side benefit that I have found is that after playing the electric my "touch" gets a bit lighter on the acoustic and that's a good thing.

Fender is now making a really expensive custom shop Mandocaster but I can't see it being as thoughtfully put together as the Schwab. I could be wrong though.

I don't really agree with the 8 strign to four string assessment. The nut would be a bit off kilter. Personally I don't think double courses sound right through an amplifier.

just my .02

Mar-01-2005, 3:40pm
The new custom re-issue Mandocasters are reputed to be excellent instruments, just pretty overpriced. For what they're asking, you can get one of the originals...


Mar-01-2005, 7:35pm
Or instead of the Custom Shop mandocaster you can get a pair of Schwabs...perhaps a 4 and a 5 string http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif

FWIW my friend has a mint fifties Mandocaster (with hang tags) and I thought it always felt pretty darn nice until I got my Schwab....

the new custom shops may be much nicer then the old original mandocaters which are great for vintage appeal but the pick-ups are kinda shrill sounding...see Sam Bush's...he's got a replacement pick-up in his

Apr-19-2005, 1:33pm
I live in the Twin Cities, so checking out Kevin Schwab's instruments was pretty straightforward for me. He's an affable, down-to-earth guy, and open and eager to make customers happy (he recently did a remarkable job of fixing the action on an F-5 for me).

I wasn't prepared for just how much FUN an electric would be, and the MAS hook sunk deep that fateful morning. I ordered up a 4-string - my left hand really didn't know what to do with the 5th one - though, in retrospect, I don't hear many players playing chords, and the extra range could be interesting. He offers a range of scale lengths, too; mine is on the long side, almost mandola-like, which I find comfortable. These are things I hadn't thought about, that you might want to ponder. Another afterthought: the strings are under much less tension than my acoustic mandos, and you can hear bends in the notes much more readily - it really is a different kind of instrument, which makes sense when you think about it. I think my non-electric playing has improved as a result, though.

I happily endorse Kevin's craftsmanship, which speaks for itself, really. His #100 (pix are on his web page) has the truest, smoothest, easiest action of any stringed instrument I've ever held.

Jerry M.

Apr-19-2005, 4:56pm
It is absolutely a different instrument. I think in many ways, a more subtle instrument, though with amps and effects, it can be made to produce sounds that are infinately less subtle than an acoustic mandolin...


John Rosett
Apr-19-2005, 5:58pm
you really haven't lived until you've played fiddle tunes with a wah-wah pedal.