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Thread: Fender FM-60E Opinions?

  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    kittery point, me

    Default Fender FM-60E Opinions?

    how is this emando? anyone have/used one?

  2. #2
    Registered User Skunkwood's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Silicon Valley

    Default Re: Fender FM-60E Opinions?

    I had one, but the 5th string never stayed in tune. Admittedly, this was my only 5 string. I've gone back to playing an 8 string Eastwood Mandocaster, because I found that the sound of a single strings was too much like guitar when I played in a group with it. The FM-60E was reasonably well built for the price, the action was great. If I had kept it I would have started changing out the pickups, but I do that with most electric instruments.
    - Skunkwood

  3. #3

    Default Re: Fender FM-60E Opinions?

    try gauges .050/.040/.026/.015 on you acoustic and tune to cgda . this will give you some idea of its sound as far as heavy c string

    i have one .it works great i removed the plastic covers off of my pick ups (and other mods )and its not bad but there are better pickups available for it. the issue that i have seen is that the heavy c string has very different tone/flavour which is unbalanced to what your used to in mandolin. when jacked in clean the heavy string can warble a bit when struck hard .

    but if you are using lots of effects then it is not noticeable and the extra bottom end sounds great . helps if you keep light gauge strings on the gdae ,keeps the instrument sound balanced some what

    when i first bought it i could not get used to the heavy c string sound and it took a few years to warm up to it. i do not think it is for everyone. it makes the mandolin very non mandolin like truthfully and you may want to consider it as a different instrument .
    i have a ryder 5 string(which i play instead of my fender now) that is 1/2 an inch longer ,this helps with the heavy c string sound but it is still far from that tight string mandolin pop you get from a four string.

    this is my 2 cents; i could go on much longer but if you are good with intonating and mando set up you should be able to make one work well for you . better models of five strings mando's are available at good prices and you will most likely upgrade eventually if you did buy and liked the fender.

  4. #4
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Silver Spring, MD

    Default Re: Fender FM-60E Opinions?

    I have one and like it. I also had to put a pretty heavy C string on, don't recall the guage. It plays well and sounds good enough for my purposes, which include occasional use in a western swing band.

  5. #5
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jun 2008

    Default Re: Fender FM-60E Opinions?

    Great instrument, needs a little customizing. The ability to change the intonation separately for each string is much better than the bridges on the mandobird, or some of the electric acoustics out there. Sustain is almost as good as a solid body electric. If I were to upgrade, it would be a custom made solidbody with parts of this mando used in the assembly.

    First thing was to change the gauge of the C string to .064 gauge wound, which is a Bass guitar string, but it put enough tension on it to keep it as C. Otherwise, tuning it was tedious, and the pitch of the string would vary as it was playing.
    (amplitude of wave changed tension on the string, and as the amplitude of the wave settled the tone would change, blah blah, I am sure there is a scientific article about it, and some old time acoustic guitar players like that sound, but on one string on an electric, it S+^@ed)
    To use the .064 I had to knotch the nut. Next, a set of strap locks. The 1/4" jack needed replacing, but that was easy. Finally, I decided to put an EMG 81 active single coil in it, a bit of work, but worth it. This requires a battery, a new jack, new pots, etc. I love it.
    Someday I will put a new set of grover tuners on it. I know this sounds like a lot of work, but how many emandos have adjustable intonation and that kind of sustain.
    The bands I have played with have all thought it is a cool little instrument. (I also play harmonica) THis is not my grandfather's mandolin, and it will never sound like an 8 string unless you process it with a delay that sounds acoustic. I run it through a digitech 200 pedal, somet\imes sweetand pure, sometimes overblown. I have a nice F style case it fits in. Oh, am learning slide on this now.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Fender FM-60E Opinions?

    Hey folks - I just picked up one of these and need some help sussing out strings for it. It came with the lower 2 strings both the same guage and tuned to G. I'd like to replace them all with a fresh set and could use some guage suggestions as well as type of string, i.e. nickel/phosphor bronze/flatwound/etc.

    Any and all suggestions welcome.

    PS - for those that have one, I see it doesn't have an adjustable truss-rod and was wondering if this posed any problems. | oKee.ComX

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  7. #7

  8. #8

    Default Re: Fender FM-60E Opinions?

    I also own a Fender FM 60 E. The previous owner made some smart modifications. As stated earlier he changed the C string to the heavier gauge mentioned previously, moved the pick up selector switch to between the tone and volume knobs and also changed the pick ups. The original placement of the selector switch was not well thought out (IMHO). Originally it was placed below the bridge pick up, which to me seems a good place to run into it when you're playing. It's late and I can't remember who made the pick ups that were installed on mine, but they have a much warmer tone than the standard set.
    As to the instrument itself; These aren't, at least what I would call, a "custom built" insturment. For me the neck is to thick and the instrument is a little too light. For what I paid ($300.00) it's a very nice instrument, especially with the modifications already done. I do prefer this one to the Kentucky KM 300E because the tone is richer. I can't compare neck thickness because the Kentucky I own is only a 4 string. I think the big problem on the factory instruments was the low C string as was already pointed out. Once that's fixed you'll have a nice electric.
    It's amazing to me just how many good midrange electric mandolins are now available. When I bought my first one I felt pretty cool to have found it. Now there's a lot more to choose from. If you can only have one electric I would recommend saving your money and buying a custom built mandolin. There are many excellent builders these days and considering the work that goes into building one by hand they're very reasonably priced. Now, if you can have MORE than one, the Fender is a nice addition to your aersonal!!

  9. #9

    Default Re: Fender FM-60E Opinions?

    Thanks everyone.

    This one just kinda "followed me home," if you know what I mean. I really didn't know what to expect until I unboxed it yesterday.

    The neck is a pretty good profile for me. It sits between my reso-mando, with a much more substantial neck, and my Paris Swing JJ that has a more traditional, sans-v, profile. My 3 gripes with it are the lack of truss-rod, the gloss finish on the back and the fact it is a set-neck. That said, the neck looks to have almost a perfect relief to it, so as long as it doesn't shift over time the truss-rod shouldn't be an issue. I can always simulate a mat finish on the back with a bit of sandpaper. The set-neck thing has to do with adjusting the neck angle - which could be a bit more - but I should be able to compensate with some minor surgery to the saddles.

    I'm pondering the electronics. First thing I have to do is determine if the pickups hum-cancel in the middle position. If not I can get the polarity on one of them reversed so they do and see how that sounds. The mando is electronically noisy, so I'll have to shield the electronics cavity and do a bit of rewiring.

    I like having a pickup-blend, master-volume and tone pots on multi-pickup instruments. I could add another pot between the volume and tone by moving the output jack to the edge like a Les Paul. That would free-up the pickup switch which could be rewired to series/parallel or out-of-phase depending on what sounds the best.

    I've never considered a 5-string electric mandolin before, so I have to figure out how I will use it which should dictate the type of strings/etc. I'll be needing. I'm tempted to get some flatwounds and take it the jazz route but could do rounds and use it for more rock/blues stuff. Just pondering ATM. I don't think it will ever be a significant collectors piece, so modding it into a player shouldn't be an issue.

    Any other ideas/suggestions/views? The more the better. Anyone know the history on these? | oKee.ComX

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  10. #10

    Default Re: Fender FM-60E Opinions?

    they are easy to mod so have fun .

  11. #11

    Default Re: Fender FM-60E Opinions?

    Is that GK out? Very sweet!

    I have a Roland GR-33 that I use with a couple guitars. Never considered it with a mando ... hmm ... What saddles/pre system are you using?

    Are those the stock pickups with covers removed? | oKee.ComX

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  12. #12

    Default Re: Fender FM-60E Opinions?

    i am using graphtech ghost saddles and hexpander midi interface . i plug it into a axon ax-100 .yes those are the original pick ups minus the covers .

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