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Thread: hot rod rogue.

  1. #1

    Default hot rod rogue.

    just bought the $49.99 special A style Rouge mandolin from musicians friends. was just wondering what I could do to this little cheap jem to make it sound better on the cheap. will also be picking up a case when they run that sale again.

  2. #2

    Default Re: hot rod rogue.

    I think if you get a descent setup so play-ability is good and use it for fretboard practice and chops you won't be disappointment.

    For acoustic you're into polishing turbs territory. I found shaving internal bracings on a plywood Johnson F-style did help with the tone but it was never going to be close to even a cheap solid build.

    That said, one of the strengths of a plywood build is they are less prone to feedback when amplified so you can bolt a pickup to the top ala Gibson EM-150 and have a great little player on the cheap:

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  3. #3

    Default Re: hot rod rogue.

    good morning Verne, how the hell did you get inside of a mandolin with f style holes ?. if I do anything to make an improvement I would like it to be low $$$$ & easy like a bridge or maybe tuners, if that.

  4. #4

    Default Re: hot rod rogue.

    Quote Originally Posted by mandolin tony View Post
    ... wondering what I could do to this little cheap jem to make it sound better ...
    Don't pick too close to the bridge. Instead, move your picking hand just a little bit further up towards the neck. You'll get a sweeter tone there.

    Whereas picking too close to the bridge can produce a more harsh, tinny, strident sound, which is probably not the sound you're looking for. When I first got back into mandolin a few years ago, I'd forgotten about that, and had to sort of re-discover it again.

    P.S.: I have one of those $50 Rogues too (purchased from a different store though), bought it about 2 1/2 years ago as a temporary thing to plunk around on, found that it wasn't as bad as I'd thought it would be, so I'm still using it. FWIW, some recordings of it, of varying quality, can be found at my YouTube page.

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  6. #5
    en kunnskapssøker James Miller's Avatar
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    Default Re: hot rod rogue.

    Get it set up. The nut will probably have to be taken down quite a bit if it was at anything like mine. Then you get to play with the saddle and intonation. You don't want any space underneath the saddle where it fits the top. The one I had gotten had the tiniest bit of air on the lower side, and occasionally would get a buzz at the bridge. Was not so bad so left it that way.

    Putting on a set of D'Addario medium strings will REALLY make it stand up and be heard. The OEM strings are carp. Then you get to break in the strings and develop them callouses on your fingers - them medium base strings will chew & gnaw on your fingers. Could go with Light strings if you fear the G string ... they really get gnarly on the fingers for beginners ... which does not look like you're a beginner by any means, but the base strings are rough to break in.

    That's about all I learned from the one I had. Had a soft heart and gave mine to a missionary couple that came from Madagascar. The man played a split neck classic guitar and wanted something for his wife. He played my Weber and liked it, so I gave him the Rogue.
    Last I heard they are wanting me to come over and put the Light strings on, as his wife's lil' skinny fingers aren't taking to the Medium strings.

    Showed them my Seagull S8 today and they were wanting to try that one. I slipped out the side door and made haste for home!
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  8. #6

    Default Re: hot rod rogue.

    thanks JL277z, I am looking at a solid tail piece from China for around $16.00 plus if I can fine an inexpensive slotted ebony bridge I think I my have something good to knock around on in the park. as for tuners I guess I will wait to see how they are when the mandolin gets here.

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  10. #7

    Default Re: hot rod rogue.

    cafe member Rob Meldrum did up an excellent step by step document on setting a rogue mandolin. If you PM him he'll send it on.

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/s...by-Rob-Meldrum

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  12. #8

    Default Re: hot rod rogue.

    massage sent, does anyone here have an slotted ebony bridge they would like to sell ?.

  13. #9
    Registered User DavidKOS's Avatar
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    Default Re: hot rod rogue.

    Somehow I traded a few mandolins and wound up with a plywood top low end F hole Rogue.

    I put on new strings, adjusted the bridge for height and intonation, fixed the broken nut (which oddly was cut OK), stuck a foam damper under the tailpiece, and it plays and sounds pretty decent for a mandolin that retails for somewhere around 50 bucks. The frets were fine, too.

    Does it have as good of a tone as a carved top instrument? No.

    Is it surprisingly good for the money (in my case about 25 bucks)? Yup.

    But it did need a good setup.

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  15. #10

    Default Re: hot rod rogue.

    mandolins on the cheap. I think you win with $25.00 Dave.

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  17. #11
    Registered User DavidKOS's Avatar
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    Default Re: hot rod rogue.

    Quote Originally Posted by mandolin tony View Post
    mandolins on the cheap. I think you win with $25.00 Dave.
    I've spent more on a couple fancy picks.

    It had a decent hardshell case, too.



    Oh - I took off the pickguard, not because I don't like pickguards, because this one was pretty flimsy.

    I'll probably use it as a beach mandolin or sell it if I run across someone in need of a cheap instrument.

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  19. #12

    Default Re: hot rod rogue.

    dam I think the case is worth more than the mandolin, good score my friend. you are the mandolin master.

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  21. #13
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    Default Re: hot rod rogue.

    Calton case, Waverly tuners, Tonegard, McClung armrest, Sully strap when you're done under the hood.

  22. #14

    Default Re: hot rod rogue.

    Quote Originally Posted by mandolin tony View Post
    good morning Verne, how the hell did you get inside of a mandolin with f style holes ?. if I do anything to make an improvement I would like it to be low $$$$ & easy like a bridge or maybe tuners, if that.
    Good morning Tony. I had added a couple piezo pickups under the soundboard and installed a 1/4" jack along the edge similar to a Les Paul. Unscrewing the jack plate gave me enough room to get a file inside to work on the "tone bars," a term I use rather loosely for these types of instruments. Working at it incrementally I improved the sound about 100% over what it was, but still no where close to a solid top instrument.

    If I was you I'd grab some sandpaper and try seating the bridge properly to the top before spending a bunch of cash. That should give you a nice big boost to tone and volume. Rob's book may go into how to do that, otherwise google is your friend.

    If the tuning machines are holding tune, i.e. no slippage, then they should be fine. New machines won't do anything to improve tone IMHO.

    Since most of us spend more time working on our chops than actually performing, something like a Rogue should work great for woodshedding as long as the fretboard and action are setup properly.
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    Registered User Randi Gormley's Avatar
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    Default Re: hot rod rogue.

    ditto the idea to double check the nut -- mine was way, way too high. I have my rogue at work now so the other musicians in the room (rock-and-rollers) can play with it and they like the plinky sound and the fact that it's (comparatively) heavy so they can bang it. it's a fun instrument even as it stands. With mine, the frets were in place, the tuners hold well and I have no problems with the tailpiece. it was just the nut and making sure the bridge was well settled and in place.
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  26. #16
    Registered User DavidKOS's Avatar
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    Default Re: hot rod rogue.

    Quote Originally Posted by mandolin tony View Post
    dam I think the case is worth more than the mandolin, good score my friend..
    I think I bought the package for the case.

  27. #17

    Default Re: hot rod rogue.

    Watch the video on the Rosa Stringworks Workshop you tube channel. He bought one just to check it out as he teaches mandolin and the subject of cheap starter mandolins come up. Bottom line was that it's not throwing your money away. A good setup will make it play good enough to learn on.
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  28. #18
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    Default Re: hot rod rogue.

    Good thread. Yes, I used three Rogues as demos when writing my ebook on how to set up a mandolin. After setup they played well and sounded pretty good. Others have said it and I will echo the statement: a very good player on a well set up Rogue will sound way better than a mediocre player on a super-great mandolin. Practice, practice, practice!

  29. #19
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: hot rod rogue.

    Quote Originally Posted by mandolin tony View Post
    just bought the $49.99 special A style Rouge mandolin from musicians friends. was just wondering what I could do to this little cheap jem to make it sound better on the cheap. will also be picking up a case when they run that sale again.
    I think that MF should change the name Rogue to the French-sounding Rouge and maybe make a red-finished model. More people mis-type this brand name than Gisbon and Giroohard combined.
    Jim

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  30. #20
    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: hot rod rogue.

    Quote Originally Posted by mandolin tony View Post
    good morning Verne, how the hell did you get inside of a mandolin with f style holes ?. if I do anything to make an improvement I would like it to be low $$$$ & easy like a bridge or maybe tuners, if that.
    those are manufactured to take the pickup with a hole through the top.. they add a ring around the hole inside . ...

    before the body is glued up.. they're going for about $1200 these days,,

    you, going cheap, get a stick on piezo pickup , and a carpenter (clamp on) jack ..
    you can even remove it when you decide to get a better mandolin..



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  31. #21
    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: hot rod rogue.

    this is good too https://www.rogue.com/ its a river in southern Oregon
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  32. #22
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    Default Re: hot rod rogue.

    This thread has made me feel better about all the things I've done to my Rogue RM 100A. A few of the things I've done that actually improved the tone are: Removed the finish from the top, which is very difficult to do. I used epoxy finish remover which worked the best but took many applications and much scraping. Note the wood grain under the original black finish. Of course I did a complete set up but the nut was not too bad to start with. The bridge did need to be fitted as there was obviously no attempt to do that by the Rogue factory. Other things I did were: Made a new pick guard from mother of plastic tortoise shell, replaced the pick guard hardware, replaced the tuners taken from a Kentucky KM-272. Note that the Rogue comes with individual tuners which are not standard spacing as most more quality mandolins. I had to plug the old tuner post holes and drill new ones, so I had to refinish the face plate and thus the new inlay. I added small abalone side position markers on the neck, under-cut the extension to make it look cool, replaced the original heavy, clunky tail piece and added a heal cap for fun. It is a very nice playing mandolin and sounds better than when it was all original. The tail piece, pick guard material and position marker dots are from StewMac.
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  33. #23
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    Default Re: hot rod rogue.

    Quote Originally Posted by mandroid View Post
    this is good too https://www.rogue.com/ its a river in southern Oregon
    This may come as a shock to some but Musicians Friend was at one time a Southern Oregon based company. That's where the name came from.

    Musician's Friend was founded in 1983 by Rob and DeAnna Eastman. Newly married, the Eastmans financed the start-up with a $5,000 loan from Rob's parents and ran the business out of their suburban California garage. Eventually relocating headquarters from San Diego to a dairy barn in Southern Oregon, Rob and DeAnna, along with brother-in-law, Al Dinardi, grew the business into a prominent direct marketer of music gear.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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