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

  1. #1

    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
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    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?
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    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

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  5. #4

    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. 

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    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

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  8. #6
    Quietly Making Noise Dave Greenspoon's Avatar
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    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 "Feivel", Epi Mandobird IV, The Loar LM 370, Grandmom's solid mahogany teens bent-top, Baglamas 002
    Amps: Peavey Classic 30, Laney Cub 10, Fishman Loudbox 100
    Rigs: Main rig Grab&Go Acoustic

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  10. #7
    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    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

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  13. #9

    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

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