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grandmainger
Jan-17-2005, 1:39am
No flames please, ignorant person wishing to satisfy curiosity.

My understanding of the accoustic mandolin is that part of the beauty of the sound comes from the paired-strings concept.
Why would one use a 4 string e-mandolin as opposed to a standard electric guitar? How (and why) does the sound differ?

I've never seen or heard an electric mando, so I really have no clue, please enlighten me.

John Flynn
Jan-17-2005, 6:57am
I have often asked myself the same thing. I have tried 4 and 8 string electric mandos and they do not float my boat. I actually want to like them. It seems like a great idea, but the reality just kind of leaves me flat.

If I wanted to go electric again, I would get a Strat. about like the one I traded off a couple of years ago. I can make a lot better noises through an amp on a 6-string. Also, I listen to a lot of different kinds of music, from old-time to rock to opera and I can't think of a single piece of music I like that either has a single course electric mando in it, or which IMHO, could have been improved by adding one. But I would love to have my mind changed on that.

However, I figure:
> Different strokes for different folks, it's all good.
> Not every mando player is also a guitar player, so it would be an option for mando-only players who want to go fully electric.
> The fretboard layout of the mando is unique and it may offer some possibilities that I haven't thought of, although as I said I have yet to hear an example.

If anyone has any compelling examples of single course work online, I'd love to hear them. Like I said, I really do want to like these instruments, but I haven't come across a reason yet.

jmcgann
Jan-17-2005, 7:14am
There aren't a ton of examples to draw from i.e. not as many players as electric guitar, but the master was Tiny Moore.

Listen to The Bob Wills Tiffany Transcriptions (Rhino) or track down the Billy Jack Wills CD- when you'll hear it, you'll know. If you play both guitar and mando, you "think" differently on mando due to the tuning- each has it's own sensibility. I'm assuming you don't play western swing, but check it out, good music is good music!

Most of the Blood Oranges stuff is out of print, but if you track any down, Jimmy Ryan plays some great emando; bluegrass rooted rock type stuff. He also has a solo CD http://www.jimmyryan.org/

Mike Crocker
Jan-17-2005, 7:44am
Well, it's much easier to play up high on a mandolin since it's tuned higher.

On an 8 string you get the double course sound.

Guitar and mandolin are tuned differently, so why learn a new tuning if you don't have to? And take advantage of the mandolin-ness of the tuning.

Guitar players are a dime a dozen, why add to the glut?

Chord structure isn't always the same and sounds different. Why sound like a guitar?

I admit to preferring a double course electric over a 4 or 5 string...it's more mando.

Why go electric? More gear, and gear is good.

Peace, Mooh.

grandmainger
Jan-17-2005, 8:06am
Well, it's much easier to play up high on a mandolin since it's tuned higher.

On an 8 string you get the double course sound.

Guitar and mandolin are tuned differently, so why learn a new tuning if you don't have to? And take advantage of the mandolin-ness of the tuning.

Guitar players are a dime a dozen, why add to the glut?

Chord structure isn't always the same and sounds different. Why sound like a guitar?

I admit to preferring a double course electric over a 4 or 5 string...it's more mando.

Why go electric? More gear, and gear is good.

Peace, Mooh.
Thanks for all the replies. I stand enlightened.
http://www.cs.niu.edu/graphics/lightbulb.gif
The fact that the mando is tuned higher slipped my mind, and indeed, why learn guitar when you know mando! http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif

Lee
Jan-17-2005, 9:18am
Don't forget there are twelve string guitars out there too; acoustic and electric.
Go here and you can hear Michael Lampert play a Schwab 4-string electric mandolin.
http://www.michaellampert.com/

mad dawg
Jan-17-2005, 11:00am
I once had a solid-body electric that I purchased for practicing at night and at work through headphones, but I never really (emotionally) connected with it so I eventually sold it.

glauber
Jan-17-2005, 11:28am
I wouldn't mind having an 8-string solidbody electric to practice at home, unplugged.

hotclub
Jan-17-2005, 5:05pm
Just listen to Paul Glasse's recording of Airmail Special! That will explain everything.

Trip
Jan-17-2005, 5:31pm
some great talking head somewhere said, there is something unique about being unique.....I have some songs that I do with my band that are done with electric mando, but instead of using it as a lead instrument its all processed chords...some songs Im leaning into a wha pedal on leads.......creates some cool spaces...I could reproduce it on a guitar easily, but I choose to be a bit off the common path....and a band like String Cheese Incident can absoluely show anyone the value of single course emando

StrangerString Band.com (http://www.strangerstringband.com)

Mastersound
Jan-18-2005, 6:34am
Hi grandmainger

Octave guitar (around 400mm scale length) is another option for the higher tuning, and you can use normal guitar chords, although anything above the 7th fret tends to get a bit crowded!

I started experimenting with solidbody mandos partly because I enjoyed the higher pitched sound and the chord shapes in the mando's "5ths" tuning actually let me get my fat fingers into position a whole lot easier than guitar tuning. Having said that I made a 5 string emando for a fellow Aussie and from the spare neck I'm making a 380mm scale kind of octave guitar tuned DGBE because there's enough room to fit guitar chord shapes. It's all harmless fun!

frankseanez
Jan-18-2005, 7:20am
Here's a few more reasons:

Little hands.
Growing up playing violin.
Wanting to get a guitar-like sound from a mandolin.
Not wanting to learn how to play guitar.
Lovin' those fifths!

Frank

taboot
Jan-18-2005, 10:45am
For me the simplest answer to this is always the always reliable "why not?" Just becuase electric guitar is a more widely known instrument, perhaps a more storied instrument, it doesn't follow for me that when I want those kinds of sounds, I should switch to the guitar. In many ways, I think the sustain and note bending abilities of the electric guitar resonate with us becuase they're reminiscent of the human voice (like horns.) Veeeery different from acoustic guitar, different effects are acheived, and I like having the same flexibility offered to me as a mandolinist.

Was that convoluded enough?

Christian

Dave Hicks
Jan-18-2005, 12:13pm
I got an electric last year. I decided on a 4 string to allow string-bending. Bends are possible on an 8 string, but physically harder, and don't sound good (to me at least) because the two strings bend to different pitches.

Also, 4 strings rather than 4 courses makes it a little easier to get my pudgy fingers to go where they should.

The tradeoff is that I find it somewhat harder to tremelo.

D.H.[B]

Spruce
Jan-18-2005, 1:03pm
A 4-string electric mando is a wonderful thing to hear through an outboard Fender tank reverb unit into a Twin Reverb, twinned with a Mosrite guitar and Danelectro Baratone, all playing fiddle tunes (cranked) in that good ol' surf style...

Billy in the Green Room and Blonde-Haired Boy are on the setlist...

mandocrucian
Jan-18-2005, 1:41pm
To paraphrase Louie Armstrong (or was it Duke Ellington?):
"If you've got to ask, you'll never know."

Lee
Jan-18-2005, 1:47pm
And for a vintage East Coast surf vibe you can't beat the lush reverb and vibrato (not tremelo) from a '70's Ampeg G12.
With a good set of vacuum tubes to tame the hum, a Fender Vibrolux Reissue is a unique amp too.

Spruce
Jan-18-2005, 2:29pm
These (http://www.ggjaguar.com/b-12xt.htm) are wonderful electric mandolin amps as well.....

mrmando
Jan-18-2005, 4:19pm
Bruce, is that beauty one you built yourself?

Don't rightly recollect whether I'd seen it before...

Spruce
Jan-18-2005, 5:41pm
Yep....
I built about 8-10 Alembic inspired e-mandos back in the '70s, both 4 and 8-strings...

David Gans (of "Dead Hour" fame) just sent me some pics he took back in '78...

Here's one of me in the skinnier days...

delsbrother
Jan-18-2005, 5:51pm
COOOOOOOOOOL! Do you know where they all are today? (IOW any chance of one turning up on the 'bay?)

Spruce
Jan-18-2005, 6:08pm
The only one I've ever run into was at a vintage guitar shop in Post Falls, Idaho...
I think it's still there, as it was not for sale....

I only signed them under the back-plate, so you'd have to dig into the instrument a little bit to see who made it...

It would probably sell on ebay as a "weird electric ukulele by unknown maker"...

mrmando
Jan-18-2005, 7:15pm
This one sorter reminds me of Bruce's:
http://emando.com/images/builders/No_Names/NoNameFlame5string.jpg

But I'm not saying it is one of Bruce's. It probably ain't.

Spruce
Jan-19-2005, 11:33am
Same Alembic-inspired concept....

That design is incredibly easy to build, by the way, if anyone is interested in whipping up their own e-mando...

delsbrother
Jan-19-2005, 4:51pm
Um.. Yes. :P

What did you use for the pickup? Wind-yer-own, or the ever-popular 1/2 P bass setup?

Darrell

Spruce
Jan-19-2005, 5:45pm
The latter, and it works just fine.....

taboot
Jan-21-2005, 5:38pm
I can't believe I missed a post talking about doing fiddle tunes as surf tunes... How to the rhythm instruments approach it? If they chop, how can you tell it's surf? Can you help me imagine this a bit?

Christian

Spruce
Jan-21-2005, 6:06pm
Are U familiar with surf music, taboot?

Imagine the instrumentation on a tune like "Penetration" or "Mr. Moto" ("Pipeline" will do) with the double low-string dada dada dada dada on rhythm guitar, maybe another rhythm guitar doing single up-strokes on the chords, a simple bass line, trashy drums, and the key to the whole deal, a single-coil guitar (Strat, Jazzmaster, Mosrite or the like), preferably with a whammy bar, but definitly plugged into a Fender Tank reverb unit (that's a must!!) into a big clean amp like a Twin or the like, laying down the melody with little or no frills...

You can play any melodic tune with this lineup, and the surf kings of the guitar did back in the day. #"Miserlou" is what, a Greek folk tune from 1928? #I've heard the Ventures and other groups play things like "Perfidia" and "Caravan", and turn them into the surf hits of the day...

Take something simple like "Billy in the Lowground"...
Play it with the above lineup with a "Mr. Moto" attitude, nice and slow emphasizing the melody, and you're gold...

The Mandobird or the like works well as the lead instrument too, but don't forget the tank reverb...

This was the first music I ever played, having grown up in SoCal listening to Dick Dale and the Deltones in the early 60's, and learning the ultra-fast tremelo that is common in the genre.

That's the reason I picked up the mandolin in the first place, was because of all that tremelo...

jmcgann
Jan-23-2005, 2:09pm
Other good reasons-

you can play voicings otherwise difficult to impossible on the guitar...

Playing a 5ths based tuning makes you "think different" and play different kinds of lines than the guitar tuning...

You can knock birds out of midflight on the high strings http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/rock.gif

Trip
Jan-23-2005, 11:15pm
We do Dick Dale's Pipeline as a latenight jam during our shows.......usually on acoustic though.....but I just got my Mandobird and practised with it for the first time today and broke some new ground....its gonna get sick
Theres a live version on my website if you want to check it out #StrangerStringBand.com (http://www.strangerstringband.com) #look on the downloads pages

taboot
Jan-24-2005, 10:36am
My familiarity with surf isn't what it should be. And that's funny, since my parents turned me on to most of the good old rock that I love today, and somehow left out all the surf that they used to listen to. Oh well... I used to play Walk Don't Run with my old band, with my guitarist on the screaming Tele, but it just never occured to me to set fiddle music in that context. I personally love the idea, since my band-mates always want to play more fiddle-y, old timey stuff, and I always wanna rock more. Perhaps both objectives can be acheived! Thanks for the spark!

Christian

Spruce
Jan-24-2005, 12:03pm
"My familiarity with surf isn't what it should be."

Surf music is kinda funny that way...
It's real heyday was pre-Beatles and a couple years into the British Invasion, and it's popularity was back in the days when there were regional hits.

I remember vividly scanning the AM dial in SoCal and hearing "Let's Go Trippin'" by Dick Dale on 3 stations at the same time, and yet, if you lived in Bakersfield or Omaha, you probably never even heard the tune...

Of course "Pulp Fiction" and other sources have given the genre a new life....

taboot
Jan-24-2005, 1:45pm
That's always struck me about it, too. My parents were my major sources for the great rock music of the 50's through the late 60's, and even though they listened to lots of surf (being California kids, both of 'em,) that piece of their listening faded competely with time. Now I listen to it, and seems like it was bigger than it often gets credit for in terms of its influences on later music...

Christian

delsbrother
Jan-24-2005, 5:47pm
I posted this elsewhere in the emando group but thought you guys might get a kick out of it too:

I'm absolutely killing myself over missing this show! (http://www.dekedickerson.com/images/guitargeekfest2.jpg)

Evidently Dick Dale came on and played a bit with Nokie Edwards. Arrrgghh! You http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/sleepy.gif you http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/mad.gif!

Joel Glassman
Jan-25-2005, 12:31pm
>My understanding of the accoustic mandolin is that part of the
>beauty of the sound comes from the paired-strings concept.

This is true. Part of the beauty of the electric mandolin is
the sound of a pick-up played thru an amp. The fact that it sounds
superficially like an electric guitar is not a negative thing.
I think it sounds better than an acoustic mandolin in certain settings.

>Why would one use a 4 string e-mandolin as opposed to a standard
>electric guitar?

You would use an electric mandolin if you wanted to express
yourself using a mandolin, rather than a guitar. I play rhythm
guitar to learn about music, not to perform using it.
I play solos on mandolin because I know the instrument.

How (and why) does the sound differ?

The sound differs due to the tuning/string intervals, pickup,
pick-up placement, string tension, etc.

Kid Charlemagne
Feb-03-2005, 9:57pm
For me, it's simply a matter of practicality. #I played the violin from the first grade on (I'm nearly 28 now). #When I started playing guitar, the tuning wasn't at all intuitive to me. #Although I've learned to handle myself all right on the guitar, I picked up the mandolin much more quickly, and consider myself better at it after two and a half years than I was after nine years on the guitar.

The electric mandolin lets me play electric riffs on an instrument that I don't have to even think about where the fingers go. #It's just natural to me, and it lets me play at speeds and with a dexterity that I can't match on the guitar.

Hell, I can play the solo from Steely Dan's Kid Charlemagne on my electric mandolin. #I can't touch it on my guitar.

Yellowmandolin
Feb-06-2005, 5:24pm
How are chords handled on an emando? I wouldn't think you would be able to chop in the BG way. Do you do a lot more open chord postions and let them ring? I don't know what the tension is like on them, so... what do you do?

taboot
Feb-07-2005, 11:29am
I play a lot of longer-ringing two and three string combinations when playing rhythm. Notes sustain so much longer, even without any kind of overdrive, that I spend alot of time playing single notes on the G and D strings. In fact, unless we're really rocking, I rarely feel compelled to venture above my A string when playing electric rhythm. Specific to the right hand, we do some "slam-grass" kind of stuff, and then I'll pop back to the bridge pick-up, and chop as I normally would with a little added slapback. Then you can get that percussive attack without getting drowned in too much noise...

Christian

Kid Charlemagne
Feb-07-2005, 11:49am
How are chords handled on an emando? I wouldn't think you would be able to chop in the BG way. Do you do a lot more open chord postions and let them ring? I don't know what the tension is like on them, so... what do you do?
You have to remember that, like the difference between playing an electric guitar and an acoustic guitar, the emando has to be played in a very different way from the acoustic mandolin. There is sustain present that doesn't exist with an acoustic, and so while you can mute the strings and get percussive sounds out of an emando, "chopping" as such is of limited value.

Playing an emando in a group setting can be tough, because it's sometimes hard to find a spot in the groove for the unique voicings that the mandolin's chords have when compared to a guitar, which is your major competition in such a setting. You really need something like a rhythm guitar or keyboards to hold down the typical rock root notes, since the mandolin won't do it in quite the same way, and may end up sounding a bit tinny, shrill, and unnecessary.

Honestly, if you're not figuring on playing rock or jazz with an emando, you might be better off with a good acoustic.

Lee
Feb-07-2005, 4:30pm
Taboot, if you find yourself rarely straying above the A string you might want to try re-stringing your emando as a mandola. With the lighter gauge strings usually used on an emando the low C resonates just fine on a mandolin scale length.

taboot
Feb-07-2005, 5:18pm
I've thought about that, but I go back and forth so much between solo and rhythm modes, and would desperately miss the E string when soloing.

Christian

Yellowmandolin
Feb-09-2005, 3:19pm
Honestly, if you're not figuring on playing rock or jazz with an emando, you might be better off with a good acoustic.
Yea...I have a Gibson F5-G right now but am playing in rock band on the weekends. I thought the extra sustain might be an issue if I wanted to chop. But I guess the only reason I was trying to chop in that setting was because open chords are not as loud and don't cut through.

Kid Charlemagne
Feb-09-2005, 5:58pm
I'm jealous of your Gibson. I have a nice Old Wave that I wouldn't part with, but I've always lusted after a Gibson F-style.

As far as your emando goes, if you're playing with a rock band, my guess would be that you're probably making at least some use of a few effects with your instrument, right? I've found that some overdrive and a touch of echo/delay in the signal really helps those chords to ring out.

If you're actually playing in a rock setting, I have trouble imagining that a chop would serve you very well, since as I understand things the chop was initially used as a substitute for a percussion section.

What sort of emando are you playing? Pickups/wiring make a lot of difference in what rings out or doesn't. My Schwab has dual humbuckers with separate coil taps, so I can get either a single- or double-coil performance out of them. Truth is, though, that I rarely switch off of double, since the single-coil sound is a bit more tinny and nasal than I can usually use in a rock setting.

I've played around a lot with getting a good sound that can at least sort of fit in with what an electric guitar would produce, and have found that the neck pickup, switched over to double coil, with the tone rolled about halfway back, gets as close as I'm likely to get with my instrument. Combined with some overdrive/distortion, some modulated delay, and sometimes a bit of tremolo, I can get a decent rock sound out of my rig. But it does take some work to work it out, and it seems to be very instrument/hardware-specific.

Yellowmandolin
Feb-10-2005, 7:09pm
I actually don't currently own an emando, just in the market. The chop doesn't sound too bad in reality, just a little out of place. We already have two distortion/overdiven guitars so a clean sound works ok. I have tried to use some effects on my Gibson through a Shertler pickup, but for some reason, it just doesn't work.

pklima
Feb-11-2005, 11:15am
The chop doesn't sound bad but it performs the same function generally taken care of by the snare drum in a rock band. So unless you don't have a drummer the chop is best used sparingly.

John Bertotti
Feb-16-2005, 7:27pm
I'm wanting surf music now. Thanks Spruce, any chance you made any recordings of the mando? John

Josh Brown
Jan-17-2013, 1:08am
Ha! I'm so glad I stumbled across this thread. I was given an electric mandolin about a year ago and during all that time I never once thought "What can I do with this?" - I just played it like any other mandolin (which is wonderfull enough), and it was litteraly only a few days ago when I really started thinking about taking advantage of that pickup. That prospect kinda scared me because I honestly don't know the first thing about the role of electronics in music - I've always been a kinda a folksy folk. But y'all got me inspired so I'm gonna go study my face of now & come 3 weeks time I'll have a video up of me making some crazy sounds :mandosmiley:

I'M OFF ON MY NEXT ENDEAVOR! THANK YOU KINDLY EVERYONE.

mandopulu
Jan-27-2013, 2:24pm
Awesome!! I hadn't seen this thread at all, but happen to have an electric mandolin, which I love :)

Have fun with the experimentation - I play my mandobird mostly late at night when everyone else is sleeping - it's not exactly silent, but it's quieter than an acoustic instrument. I don't always amplify it, but when I do, I've got had great results with an iPad + an iRig attachment.

Wupeide
Feb-13-2013, 7:00am
Guitars are absurdly big and and heavy... why not play a 5 string (or even 4 string) electric mando? Smaller, lighter, strings in 5ths makes more sense. Easier to play high up in the register as well. Mandolins are versatile. You can play a traditional bowl back, a bluegrass F or A, an electric... why play guitar, that's a better question!

vwfye
Feb-14-2013, 3:43am
Tonight I played my new 4 string solid body through my digitech to an old Univox tube amp in our practice set. After 5 songs everyone in the group couldn't believe the difference the e-mando made over my acoutic/electric did. We have 6 pieces and I usually play fill and alternate chords in support and this worked great. That and the fact that people can't figure out what I am playing makes it a grand time!

Elliot Luber
Feb-16-2013, 11:47am
Here's why I love my emand...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cgwIY2zOE30

Darren Bailey
Feb-16-2013, 12:02pm
"What's the use of an e-mando?"
Good question. I usually use mine for making music.
Other than that it is a much more suitable home-protection unti tthan a guitar which is likely to hit the ceiling as you swing it (much the same principle that Ninjas used with the design of their shorter swords).
Other than that, you could use it to wave down buses or if it's highly polished reflect the sun off it and shine the light into a neighbour's window and see how long it takes for them to react - you simply repsond by saying you were playing your e-mndo and wasn't aware of the glare.
I did once use the e-mando as a paddle but restrict this to ball pits as water will sometimes interfere with the electronics.

jumppin james
Feb-23-2013, 11:26pm
An e-mando with a headphone amp makes motel room stays a bit more fun. And, if you need a metronome, the dripping faucet in the Motel 6 bathroom can be useful, although you may need to see several rooms before you decide on a tempo you like for the night.

Terry Allan Hall
Aug-29-2013, 7:59pm
No flames please, ignorant person wishing to satisfy curiosity.

My understanding of the accoustic mandolin is that part of the beauty of the sound comes from the paired-strings concept.
Why would one use a 4 string e-mandolin as opposed to a standard electric guitar? How (and why) does the sound differ?

I've never seen or heard an electric mando, so I really have no clue, please enlighten me.

Prefer 8-strings...4/5 stringed e-mandos sound like electric guitars to me (not that there's anything wrong with sounding an electric guitar, if that's your bliss :mandosmiley:).

My e-mando bliss needs doubled strings, though. :cool:

Londy
Aug-29-2013, 8:00pm
No flames please, ignorant person wishing to satisfy curiosity.

My understanding of the accoustic mandolin is that part of the beauty of the sound comes from the paired-strings concept.
Why would one use a 4 string e-mandolin as opposed to a standard electric guitar? How (and why) does the sound differ?

I've never seen or heard an electric mando, so I really have no clue, please enlighten me.


Only one answer: FUN!!

Jim Garber
Aug-29-2013, 8:37pm
Ah, yes, the revival of an 8-year-old thread.