Results 1 to 13 of 13

Thread: Converting an accoustic or buy a solid body electric?

  1. #1
    Registered User Tim Logan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    Location
    Shutesbury, MA
    Posts
    23

    Default Converting an accoustic or buy a solid body electric?

    I know nothing about electrics - but am interested in learning. I have an extra Flatiron acoustic mandolin. How would one best convert it to electric and what is the difference between doing that compared to buying a solid body electric? Thank you in advance.

  2. #2
    Registered User DavidKOS's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    North CA
    Posts
    3,617

    Default Re: Converting an accoustic or buy a solid body electric?

    If you mean adding a stick-on piezo pickup, that is easy and won't damage the mandolin.

    If you want to use a magnetic pickup, you may have reason to do some carving or hole-drilling on that mandolin. think this one through carefully first.

    I would consider buying a solid-body if that is the tone color you want.

  3. #3
    Confused... or?
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Over the Hudson & thru the woods from NYC
    Posts
    2,109

    Default Re: Converting an accoustic or buy a solid body electric?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tim Logan View Post
    I know nothing about electrics ...
    Lesson 1: "Amplifying" an acoustic instrument, where you want it to sound the same but somewhat louder, is totally different from "playing electric", where you want to sound like Jimi Hendrix on mandolin.

    Now re-read David's post, realizing that "use a magnetic pickup" is a first step toward rock super-stardom. Maybe what you want, maybe not.

    If "playing electric" IS what you want, convert the Flatiron to cash and start researching the various strains of solid-body electric mandolin - you'll be able to buy several. (You'll find that, in some folks' opinion, single strings work better than paired courses, mostly for bending I suspect, and that 5 strings seem to be as popular as 4).

    If you simply want it a bit louder, skip the magnetic pickup and look at the choices of acoustic amplification. The downside is that there are many choices and even more opinions, so don't expect a quick answer without research, starting off with knowing what your specific goal is, and budget. Last that I looked, there was a Flatiron owners social group here, that may well have some experience w/ amplifying your instrument.
    Last edited by EdHanrahan; Nov-26-2017 at 11:34am. Reason: spell!
    - Ed

    "What our group lacks in musicianship is offset by our willingness to humiliate ourselves." - David Hochman

  4. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to EdHanrahan For This Useful Post:


  5. #4
    Registered User Tim Logan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    Location
    Shutesbury, MA
    Posts
    23

    Default Re: Converting an accoustic or buy a solid body electric?

    Hi Ed -
    That was a great post and most appreciated....taught me a lot. Searching solid bodies is what I want! Thank you.
    Tim

  6. #5

    Default Re: Converting an accoustic or buy a solid body electric?

    Here's how I "solved" that dilemma:

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	81358.jpg 
Views:	53 
Size:	196.7 KB 
ID:	162550

    The pickups and pots/switch have still not been replaced yet but they are on the "to do" list. I paid ~$215 delivered, cheap fun.

    Len B.
    Clearwater, FL

  7. The following members say thank you to lenf12 for this post:


  8. #6
    Quietly Making Noise Dave Greenspoon's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Leesburg, VA
    Posts
    819

    Default Re: Converting an accoustic or buy a solid body electric?

    Depending on your available budget you will find lots of options. IMO, the lower end mass market jobs often need a bit more work upon arrival. Many of them suffer from poor fit/finish, underwhelming tuners, and cheap bridges. That doesn't even begin to discuss the quality of the electronics, and build issues like finished cavities, etc.

    That said, my NOS Epi Mandobird IV was pretty perfect off the shelf. YMMV

    Solid 4's are great fun; solid 5's really extend your options for chordings and keys, and the solid 8 is going to have a more traditional mandolin sound than the single course axes.

    Be sure to explore the builders here on the cafe. You might well find the instrument you didn't even know you were dreaming of is waiting to be built for you. Welcome to the Plugged side of the Mandolin world!
    Axes: Rigel A Natural #1774 w/mods, Andrew Jerman Irwin-style 5 string electric "Stealie", Paul Newson custom blonde SCW "Feivel", Eastman 515, Crafter M85E, Dillion 335 style, Grandmom's solid-mahogany teens bent-top, Baglamas 002
    Boards: Acoustic Electric
    Amps: Fishman Loudbox 100; Laney Cub 10

  9. The following members say thank you to Dave Greenspoon for this post:


  10. #7
    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Outer Spiral Arm, of Galaxy, NW Oregon.
    Posts
    15,544

    Default Re: Converting an accoustic or buy a solid body electric?

    a Magnetic Pickup installed on a mandolin with an acoustic sound chamber , classic example Gibson EM 150,
    will have a different sound than one with a solid body..
    writing about music
    is like dancing,
    about architecture

  11. #8

    Default Re: Converting an accoustic or buy a solid body electric?

    I'd suggest starting with deciding exactly how you intend to use electrification.

    For example, if you're in a loud rock band where volumes will cause feedback problems, then you're into magnetic pickup and solid-body territory. If you're looking for more of an acoustic tone in a medium volume setting, say a church, the piezo becomes appealing.

    I went both routes - the acoustic in my avatar has 2 piezos mounted under the top ala K&K and a floating magnetic pickup at the end of the fretboard. I can toggle either or both on and have separate volume controls giving me a pretty flexible instrument. I even have a setting where each pickup comes out it's own channel so I can put them through different effect chains.

    For purely rock gigs I have a semi-hollow Fender FM60E that works great in loud settings.

    Figure your needs and go from there I say.
    VerneAndru.com | oKee.ComX

    - ---==< V >==--- -

  12. The following members say thank you to Verne Andru for this post:

    JL277z 

  13. #9
    Registered User Tim Logan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    Location
    Shutesbury, MA
    Posts
    23

    Default Re: Converting an accoustic or buy a solid body electric?

    Quote Originally Posted by Verne Andru View Post
    I'd suggest starting with deciding exactly how you intend to use electrification.

    For example, if you're in a loud rock band where volumes will cause feedback problems, then you're into magnetic pickup and solid-body territory. If you're looking for more of an acoustic tone in a medium volume setting, say a church, the piezo becomes appealing.

    I went both routes - the acoustic in my avatar has 2 piezos mounted under the top ala K&K and a floating magnetic pickup at the end of the fretboard. I can toggle either or both on and have separate volume controls giving me a pretty flexible instrument. I even have a setting where each pickup comes out it's own channel so I can put them through different effect chains.

    For purely rock gigs I have a semi-hollow Fender FM60E that works great in loud settings.

    Figure your needs and go from there I say.
    Verne -
    Your input is really appreciated and good advice! hank you so much.
    Tim

  14. The following members say thank you to Tim Logan for this post:


  15. #10
    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Outer Spiral Arm, of Galaxy, NW Oregon.
    Posts
    15,544

    Default Re: Converting an accoustic or buy a solid body electric?

    Yes , up in the equipment section is the conversations about vibration of the soundboard pickups , acoustic enhancement

    the other , more the topic here is magnetic pickups that generate their signal from magnets with coils of wire around them,

    and the string vibrating in the magnetic field fluctuates the signal..


    there the bridge moving on an acoustic adds some resonance, but the electric sound is different

    from the Piezo electric chip, wiggled, so making electrons move..





    ......
    writing about music
    is like dancing,
    about architecture

  16. #11
    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    11,640

    Default Re: Converting an accoustic or buy a solid body electric?

    Unless your Flatiron is one of the recent imported F-styles from China, don't do anything that permanently alters it. No extra holes to screw down a pickup, install a jack or pots, etc.

    U.S.-built Flatirons are sought after, and are worth more in original condition. If that's what you have, convert it to cash or trade it for an electric rather than modifying it.
    Emando.com: More than you wanted to know about electric mandolins.

    Notorious: My Celtic CD--listen & buy!

    Donaldson Wood Thormahlen Andersen Old Wave Bacorn Yanuziello Fender National Gibson Franke Fuchs Aceto Three Hungry Pit Bulls

  17. #12
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    No. California
    Posts
    792

    Default Re: Converting an accoustic or buy a solid body electric?

    Basically, the only reason to put a pick-up in any acoustic instrument is to free yourself from a fixed microphone. Since you originally said that you have an "extra Flatiron mandolin," I agree with those who have suggested that you sell it. You should be able to get enough from that to get one of these:
    http://www.manndolins.com/em--4-5-8.html

    Personally, I prefer an 8-string electric to a 4-string one. The 8-string has a definite mandolin sound to it, whereas the 4-string sounds more like you're playing the upper frets on an electric guitar.
    still trying to turn dreams into memories

  18. #13
    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Outer Spiral Arm, of Galaxy, NW Oregon.
    Posts
    15,544

    Default Re: Converting an accoustic or buy a solid body electric?

    seems another ... , separating monitor EQ, from pickup, notched to cut feedback ,


    but playing into a microphone, into the house mix, which facing away from you,
    wont need those EQ notch compromises...







    writing about music
    is like dancing,
    about architecture

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •