View Full Version : Mandobird IV

Jun-05-2004, 3:27pm
Greetings, everyone. I am new to the board.

I have decided to buy an electric mandolin, and for my needs I think the Mandobird 4-string is my best bet. I live in New York City and I have checked many stores in town with no luck.

All reputable online vendors that I know of do not currently have the item in stock, and I was hoping to buy one soon.

Does anyone know where I can get a sunburst Mandobird IV for a reasonable price without waiting too long?

Ted Eschliman
Jun-05-2004, 5:00pm
Email me offline. I know a midwestern dealer who not only has these in stock, but is quite charming, talented, and good looking...

Okay, truth in advertising:
strike the "good looking..."

Jun-05-2004, 7:31pm
Before you buy, have you checked out the Kentucky 300E? I love mine, and the price is similar to the Mandobird. And just between you and me (I don't want to hurt Mandobird feelings), the 300E looks a lot better!

If you want to check it out:


Have a nice day

Jun-05-2004, 7:58pm
Thanks for the suggestion about the Kentucky!

Has anyone tried both?

Jun-05-2004, 8:20pm
I think a lot depends on what shape you like. The Kentucky looks like a mando, and that would appeal to a lot of mando players. The Mandobird looks funky and less mandolinish, which would appeal to others.

The Kentucky looks to be set neck, where the Mandobird is bolt on. The Mandobird I saw had no truss rod adjustment, but that shouldn't really be an issue on such a short neck provided it had the right neck relief. I've done some comparisons using various neck timbers, with and without truss rods, and the only timbers that moved under string tension were common old pine and Tasmanian blackwood, but in both cases adding a 6mm steel rod fixed the problem.

Welcome to the world of emandos!

Jun-06-2004, 1:18am
Thanks for the advice and the welcome! Cosmetics are not my concern. Are there differences in quality between the two in terms of sound and playability?


Jun-06-2004, 7:30am
Hi again

I've only played with a Mandobird that was in bits, so I can't comment on the sound or tone. It was seeing the Mandobird (plus the local price and lack of availability) that started me off with the Less Paul Very Junior and my other emandos. The mandobird looks good, the Epiphone (Samick) build quality is usually pretty good, and if you can get your hands on one the price is right. Hopefully we'll start some reviews of the Kentucky on here soon.

Jun-06-2004, 10:03am
Email me offline. I know a midwestern dealer who not only has these in stock, but is quite charming, talented, and good looking...


Okay, truth in advertising:
strike the "good looking..."

I think in the interest of truth in advertising we might consider striking more than just the "good looking". "Charming" is certainly in need of serious re-evaluation.

Ted Eschliman
Jun-06-2004, 10:27am
John, gimme a break.
I was hoping for two out of three...
But seriously, John was the one who came up with the idea of using a Seymore Duncan "P-bass" pickup to warm up my Mandobird tone. (He then graduated to a Bartolini...)
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and I like the borrowed "Thunderbird" classic looks of the Epiphone better than the "Paisley-on-steroids" look of the Kentucky.
All purely subjective.

Jun-07-2004, 10:44am
I haven't played the Kentucky, but found the neck of the Mandobird to be waaaay too small for comfort. Have you considered the Blue Star instruments? They're available at Elderly...

Taboot, Taboot,


Jun-08-2004, 7:46am
Interesting comment taboot

I've been making a few emandos with an eye to eventually selling some, and my early efforts with very square "C shaped" necks do feel better in my great big hairy paws than the finer/thinner/narrower ones. The ones I've made that match my cheap A style mando are just too slender for me to have much control over, especially around the first few frets.

Jun-08-2004, 9:47am
What neck dimensions are you going with at the nut? Are you putting much of a "v" in it. I am unhappy with the narrow nut width and small frets on my acoustic, so on the electric I am trying to weigh the relationship between neck width, neck thickness and fret size. Trying to find a happy medium.


Jun-09-2004, 9:16am
Hi thistle

>What neck dimensions are you going with at the nut?
31mm. I think they're standard plastic mandolin/banjo nuts. I'm off to buy a bone guitar nut blank tomorrow that should give me two usable nuts. The two necks I'm working on at the moment are a little bit narrower... around 28mm tp 30mm or so... and I'm looking to see how much difference the bone makes to the overall feel and tone.

>Are you putting much of a "v" in it.
On the narrow necks I am, but on the wider/chunkier necks they're very rounded with an almost flat bottom. I should buy a contour gauge and scan the shape for posting here. Maybe a job for next week!

>I am unhappy with the narrow nut width and small frets on my acoustic...
I'm using the Jim Dunlop narrow (6320) and medium (6230) frets. I kinda like the medium frets myself, but maybe that's because I'm primarily a guitarist. The Mandowinner I'm making at the moment will have about a 31mm nut and I've used medium (6230) fretwire. Pics to follow next week probably. I'm off for a weekend away as of tomorrow night to watch a footie game and visit a guitar factory!

Jul-01-2004, 9:29am
Musicians Friend gets them in next month. I was thinking about getting the Mandobird VIII because I am an eight string player. Tell us how it is when you get it. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/blues.gif

mad dawg
Jul-02-2004, 10:33am
Ted: what is the nut width of the Mandobird VIII's you are getting now? I saw on the Epiphone site that they measure 1.06", but I thought I once heard that EPI may have widened them up a bit. (Or am I thinking of the 4-string model, with 1.06" being the new wider width?)

Ted Eschliman
Jul-02-2004, 10:55am
Jim, I don't recall the one I saw in January having a different (wider) neck than the IV. But then these were prototypes--matter of fact, one of the IVs even had a Bartolini pickup on it. (I'll guarantee final version WON'T have that.)
Keep in mind this is all spec-ed out to "offshore" production, and alot can change midst communication over a (literal) ocean, and availability of a capable, but peculiar labor pool. That's also to say I would take ANY "estimated" arrival dates of even the most reptuable online vendors with a grain of salt.
Not to rain on anyone's parade, but the last batch of Mbirds we ordered took 11 months, and the VIIIs weren't even introduced until end of January of 2004.
Gibson/Ephiphone would rather delivery them truly "ready" rather than fast.