I have a Kentucky 4-string electric that I play through a Line6 POD. I'm not interested in distortion or any dramatic effects, the only effect I dial in is a little slap-back echo, so the major difference to an acoustic mandolin seems to be the number of strings.
The Kentucky has a lipstick pickup closer to the neck position which gives it a slightly warmer tone than the Fender has, ideal for jazzy tunes if you roll back the treble a bit.
I recorded "All of me" once with an ukulele in mandotuning https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gsAdgzKw7SM and with my Kentucky electric https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a4OyoYOLW6I (at about 2:00)
I play exactly the same solo, it just sounds a little different, but not to much. ( and I use some pull-offs)
But it's the same with electric vs. acoustic guitars for me. I treat my Tele more like an acoustic, while others make theirs scream like a little baby.
The plus side is that the electric mandolin and electric guitar has the potential to be the most expressive instrument ever created,the down side is the amount of equipment you need,,amps,preamps,tube amps,,processors(wait till you mess with those)..desktop processors are incredible nowadays,,but what always bugs me is the fact that when playing electric instruments,the amount of experimenting you have to do,,,it's endless.i finally at one point said its too much money,take all that electronic money,buy a great acoustic instrument and spend your time actually practicing..an acoustic instrument either works or it don't,their isn't like a thousand variables to worry about..
Right now I am struggling with how horrible double stops sound. On acoustic I play a lot of double stops. On electric they come out twice as distorted as a single note.
So first I can't use my tremolo, next I have to abandon double stops. What is left that is mandolinny?
Perhaps NH is right, a single string electric mando is a small electric guitar with different tuning.
That doesn't mean that it isn't fun, its just not a mandolin.
Jeff..it is really more like an electric guitar..but that means it can do electric guitar things,,,like..wicked vibrato,slides,and speed..you can fly on a single string.on an acoustic mandolin,the pick hand is ,I'm not sure how to put it ,like it's stronger and more direct,in an electric you can loosen up the pick hand a little and actually do more things..instead of tremolo,,turn that action into speed runs,
And use that sustain to your advantage,you will have a blast Jeff...
Jeff,,,check out Bacorn guitars In the makers section.i think I'm going to order a mini Les Paul,,.you see these things? They are freakin awesome ,especially the price....
If you really want to blow your own mind,,here's something you just can't do on an acoustic mandolin...learn how to "sweep" pick..
Here's something else that's not been mentioned,,on the 5 string you can go to a lighter gauge string,,like 10's..and lower the action way down,,it might buzz a little when unplugged,but usually don't when plugged in( if the buzz is within reason)...loosen up on the right hand and you will be doing marvelous things on this instrument....
Although not a double stop, I play blues/rock shuffles on two strings and it sounds great on my 5 stringer. The amp affects the sound/tone much more than the mandolin. I was listening to a Tiny Moore recording of his Bigsby solid body mando. Tiny's tremolo sounded pretty good but mine doesn't sound that good. I'm guessing that familiarity with the equipment and refinement of technique will improve how my playing sounds.
I play double stops all the time on electric 4 string and to me it sounds fine....sometimes I'll use hybrid...pick and finger.... to sound the strings simultaneously or I'll play the double stops with quick alternate one string at a time picking...
I like to do a lot of sliding sixth note double stops like a country electric guitar would
Although possible on an electric string bending can be tricky because of the short scale length.
I also use a Fender Extra Heavy instead of a Blue Chip type pick.
Avoiding the ice pick in your ear sound can be tricky...I usually almost always have some reverb (not too much) and a bit of crunch. A quality tube amp is nice as is a 15" speaker. A smattering of delay can do wonders.
So how do you get around the double stops being a huge increase in distortion with a hint of the harmony intended. Or is that just a "style" thing about electric music I just have to get used to.
Even on the clean sounding settings, any time two strings sound together, a world of bees and hornets is unleashed. If you expect them and want them its great, but if all you want is a little harmony to imply a passing chord, it is hard to get used to.
Likely I have something set wrong.I don't know. (I am so new to this I guess I don't even know what is normal and what is a problem.)Sounds more like an issue with your amp?
An electric guitar friend of mine is coming over this weekend to play with my amp and all its presets and I will pick his brains.
Might be the pickup is too close to the strings. I have no problems with the sound of double stops bordering on distortion on my Kentucky electric.
Jason Annick plays a lot of double stops on his Saga electric, sounds just fine
Tone and volume knobs on the instrument itself also shape the sound and how the amp behaves significantly.
I found it. (Actually I was shown it.) The preset that gives a clean signal no distortion. And on that setting I can do my double stops and ringing open string harmonies and it sounds great.
Tremolo still sounds stupid, (insipid, like tremolo always sounds to me when played on a single string) but with so much sustain who needs it.
And my electric guitar friend said that after I am done with my honeymoon playing with everything, I will likely settle down with three or four settings, clean, clean with reverb, and some kind of angry distortion, and distortion with reverb. He said right now I should ''make every sound you can with that thing, and try and remember which ones you like and what you did to make it.''
Maybe you should tremolo double stops.That sounds OK to me on my electric mando.insipid, like tremolo always sounds to me when played on a single string
How "electric"? Therre's a big BIGdifference between playing a solidbody electric as a (substitute) amplified acoustic mandolin than as an ELECTRIC mandocaster (ala Strat, Les Paul or SG).Maybe you should tremolo double stops.That sounds OK to me on my electric mando.
I've used my Epiphone 8-string as an amplified acoustic, on occasions where I've busted a couple of strings on one of my Gibsons (with McIntire pickup). That works better if you plug into the soundboard rather than an amp.
But bluegrass licks on an electric into an amp, especially with some distortion..... sorry, it's an awful sound to my ear (imo).
As far as doublestops (and triplestops) on electric....it's done all the time on electric guitars, and a solidbody electric mando is just a small electric guitar in an alternate tuning.
It is a mandolin. Closer frets, different range, smaller neck. Smaller body. More treble in the tone. But I'm not going to convince anyone whose made their mind up.
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I wonder if I had purchased an eight string electric if the tremolo would sound better, and I think it would.
Double stop tremolo sounds ok, well a little lame with this particular amp setting.
But again tremolo is not really necessary with so much sustain.