View Full Version : List of 4/5 String Builders

Jan-13-2004, 10:20pm
Just wanted to see what's out there in terms of a quality 4 or 5 string emando....The MOST I could afford would be $2000...I've drooled over the eye candy section at the Cafe many a time, but I was wondering if I could get some opinions from my fellow posters on builders in this $$ range...Thanks

Jan-13-2004, 11:58pm
I'd talk to Roger Bacorn first -- I think his range is right around $2000.

But there are many answers to the question: Schwab, Ryder, Eckhaus, Russ Cudney, Ron Lira, Ron Oates (well, maybe not, considering your other post) ...

You might try clicking through the Builders list at emando.com and seeing what grabs you. Only a handful of builders (Stevens, Pentasystem, Rigel) are going to charge you much more than $2000.

Jan-14-2004, 1:07am
Any 8 string will work as a 4-string. A Blue star mandocaster comes in 4 or 5 string configs, and goes for something like $600 from Elderly Instruments. Lots and lots of makers have something for less than $2000, but I'd check out mrmando's recommendations in the above post. What kind of music do you want to play? What have you got now? These are important questions. I have to tell you, I have a vintage Gibson EM-200 that cost around $2000 that is an absolutely kick *** 8 or four string.

Jan-14-2004, 2:02am

In my disgruntled state of mind when composing my Rono post, I neglected to:

1. Thank you for your response
2. Thank you for running an excellent/informative emando website

Thanks for your suggestions regarding these other builders....I've heard very good things about Roger Bacorn (btw, any idea on the pronunciation of "Bacorn" so I don't butcher it when I call?)

Sincerely and more than just "that bitter Rono guy,"

Mike http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif

Jan-19-2004, 11:22am
The BlueStar Mandoblaster is without-a-doubt the best deal for the bucks in the ~$500 price category. The Schwab is much more refined and has two pick-ups but now we're pushing $1500. I've never played a Bacorn or Ryder; has anyone else??

Jan-19-2004, 11:47am
Here is one very very nice mando, made by Shick Guitars(Czech Republic).. I think, that there are to varietes of the mando: 8stringer(the sound is more acoustic) and the 4stringer.. enjoy http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif

Jan-19-2004, 3:06pm
Tres cool. Is there a neck pickup or is that just the end of the fretboard?

What are the 5 knobs for?

Does the builder have a Web site?

Jan-20-2004, 1:17am
I have a 4 string Ryder that I've been playing for about a year. I paid $700 used. I love it. It has both a lead and rhythm pickup (single coils arranged like a Fender telecaster), unlike the Blue Star Mandoblaster which only has the one pickup. It has a 3 way switch to select either pickup or mix them. The pickups are very quiet and have a nice solid tone. I think they're about $1100 new now. I recently purchase an octave mando version for $1300 from Ryder...it's due to arrive tomorrow and I'm anxious to give it a spin.

Jan-20-2004, 3:07am
The website of the Shick Guitars is there! (http://www.schickguitars.com). Regarding to the pickup - look at the topic "developing new bouzouki pickup" in CBOM - there is pickup, that was particullary designed by me, and is dedicated to all 8str. instrument with oval soundhole.. the pickup, used on that mando is very similar to my pickup, the only difference is, that my pickup is mountable to the end of the neck instead the body..

Jan-20-2004, 1:01pm
I am very happy with my Earnest Boomerang and highly recommend Joel Eckhaus as a builder. Here is the link:


A 5-string Boomerang sells for $1100. He has other models, too. All of them well within your price range.

Jan-20-2004, 6:15pm
I have the only Earnst Little Red Mandola in the world.

In my humble opinion Joel Eckhaus is about as good as you are going to get. I own two instruments from him and both are outstanding.

Only problem is he has such a back log of business, it can take 6 to 8 months to get your instrument.

Jan-20-2004, 6:21pm
Hey 4StringMania, can you post a picture of your Ryder emando; or point me to a similar one on his website? What model is it? What pick-ups did you choose? Tell us more...

Seth Rosen
Jan-20-2004, 9:15pm
Another Eckhaus/Earnest fan here. I've had my Junior Deluxe 5 string for 2 1/2 years and continue to be delighted with it. It has the best C string intonation of any 5 string I've ever played (and I played a bunch). The Mini-hum with coil tap gives me a wide range of tonal choices. Joel builds top quality axes that are well worth the price and the wait.


Jan-20-2004, 9:38pm
You guys rock! My acute MAS thanks you for all of your input! http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif

Jan-20-2004, 10:37pm

Sure...how do I add a picture to the post. I have a digital picture but can't figure out how to add it to the post.

Jan-21-2004, 12:27am
OK...I think I know how to add the picture now so here goes.

The Ryder 4-string electric mandolin (yellow) has two single coil pickups arranged like a Fender telecaster and a 3-way switch. The pickups are very quiet and have a beautiful tone.

The Ryder 4-string octave mandolin (sea green) has two humbucker pickups. It has Schaller tuners and an ebony fretboard. I just received it today. It looks and sounds awesome. I believe it's a 20" scale length so it's a bit of a stretch on the low end for scales, not as long as my tenor guitar though. I hooked it up to my son's Gibson tube amp and it sounds terrific.

attached image

Jan-21-2004, 12:56pm
Very nice! I like the sea foam.
Is it my eyes, or are the strings closer together on the octave?

Jan-21-2004, 8:59pm
The strings are a little closer at the top but about the same at the base. The photographs are a bit deceiving since the scale is different; the mandolin looks bigger than it really is relative to the octave mandolin.

Jan-22-2004, 1:56pm
Here's a good price on a Ryder 5-string:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws....y=10179 (http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=2374977760&category=10179)

Knock yourselves out.

Jan-28-2004, 6:20pm
Well, the eBay Ryder (see above) went for $498.99.

Not too shabby, considering that with the options listed it cost $945 new. Someone got a deal...

Feb-06-2004, 12:43pm
Someone else got an even better deal on a Bacorn 5-string (http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=3701174066&category=10179). Roger tells me the base price for this baby is $1250...