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Thread: Electric Octave Mandolin - Big volume swings

  1. #1
    Registered User mbruno's Avatar
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    Default Electric Octave Mandolin - Big volume swings

    Hey there

    So I just bought a John Mann 5 String OSEM. It's been fun to play so far, but I'm noticing a problem with the volume when changing the tone selector.

    When I received the mandolin (second hand purchase), the action was really high. I've since lowered the bridge as much as I can without getting a buzz (I may be able to lower a hair more, but not much). I was hoping that would help keep the volume flat between pickup selector and the push/pull tone knob - but no dice.

    I then raised the pickups as much as I could without hitting the strings (currently as high as they can go). There was a good overall increase in volume - but same issue with the big volume differences.

    I tried lowering the "hot" pickup and keeping the pickup that is associated with the lower volume the same height - but that didn't seem to do much (still big volume swings).

    Any suggestions about how to resolve this?

  2. #2
    Registered User Tavy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Electric Octave Mandolin - Big volume swings

    What do you mean by the "tone selector"?

    * If one pickup is hotter than the other, then yes, raising/lowering the pickups is the correct solution. But you do need to have the action sorted first, as correct pickup hight is dependent on action. This is a standard part of the setup procedure for electrics.
    * A quick look at Mann's website suggests the push-pull pots perform coil splitting: there is no cure for the change in volume you get here.... it's part of the nature of the beast... you're going from a "hot" humbucker to a much quieter but cleaner single coil. For that reason I prefer switching from series wired humbucker to parallel wired: the change in tone is much the same as going to a single coil, but you loose much less volume. There is an exception though: some folks will want to use that change in volume to overdrive the amp into distortion - ie play in single coil mode with the amp just below the point it distorts, then throw it into humbucker mode to push the amp into distortion. In that situation you get less volume change as the amp is on the limit already - just the added distortion.

    Hope that makes sense!

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  4. #3
    Registered User mbruno's Avatar
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    Default Re: Electric Octave Mandolin - Big volume swings

    Hi Tavy

    Sorry - should have said pickup selector. The bridge pickup is substantially lower in volume than the neck pickup (with the push-pull pot the same).

    I'll keep playing with the pickup height I suppose for the difference in the volume between the pickups.

    Good to know about the push-pull impacts - thanks for the info! That said, I own another Mann (8-string semi-hollow) which does have the volume drop too - but it's just not as much of a drop as in this case. I was thinking maybe there's something more to it (this is a 5 string solid body BTW). I like your idea about the volume on the amp though. I'll give that a whirl and see what happens.

    Thanks!!!

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    Default Re: Electric Octave Mandolin - Big volume swings

    Usually a bridge pickup is hotter to make up for the smaller amount of string movement at the bridge compared to the neck. If the two pickups are the same the volume would be less for the same space from pickup to strings. You might want to lower the neck pickup to try and balance out the two.
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