Page 1 of 4 1234 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 85

Thread: Mandobird Regrets?

  1. #1
    Registered User Mandobart's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Washington State
    Posts
    2,775

    Default Mandobird Regrets?

    I've been wanting an electric mando for some time now. It looks like there are deals to be had on the epiphone mandobird right now. I have a lower end mandolin and a mid-range OM that don't get much play now that I have a nice hand-built custom version of each. However, I don't regret the cheaper instrument purchases. They are still fun to pick and take on camping trips or out Christmas caroling in the cold and wet.

    So, I'm thinking of a mandobird, but wondering if any of you more experienced e-mando players have been there, done that, and have regrets on the purchase? I've searched through the threads on this forum and the electric social group and haven't found this specifically addressed. Thanks!

  2. #2

    Default Re: Mandobird Regrets?

    Have one. Like all inexpensive factory instruments, it will need a setup and I'd ditch the plastic nut for some bone. Now that really good pickups are available to put in it (Almuse), I have no complaints. The only thing I might do is get a 2-humbucker mando for a different sound, but you're talking triple the price or more there. If you can solder at all, you'll be fine.

  3. #3
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Northeast Ohio
    Posts
    234

    Default Re: Mandobird Regrets?

    I own a 4 string, purchased off ebay (because I couldn't find a used one locally). Turned out to be stamped "USED" on the back of the head stock, (a B-stock, or resold instrument). I complained to the seller who gave me a partial refund, but I ended up spending more than that getting it set up to be playable. Found out too late that they are infamous for quality control issues on this model. If I did it again I would spend more up front for a custom built, search one out & play it first or get an iron clad return policy. All three if possible.

  4. #4
    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Key West
    Posts
    11,806
    Blog Entries
    2

    Default Re: Mandobird Regrets?

    I love my MandoBird. Even though I know it would be improved by some modification along the lines of what schlegel advises, this is so many steps up from what I had been using that it's a genuine thrill to play it. I do put it through some effects: EQ/gain pedal, a Yamaha Rex50 that I got in 1988, for distortion (fattening) and reverb (sustain), and a Morley volume-wah, and the sound I get through these is pretty flexible. That is, I get to do a lot of stuff without changing the settings, just through musicality. Now, *I* know - because I have greater familiarity with the instrument and its capabilities than does the audience - that this could be better. And when I get to the point that I am playing serious venues and making serious recordings - where closer listening makes imperfections more readily apparent - I am going to have to do more serious tweaking, or make a step up altogether. But for now, I am really enjoying it. Just being able to make a three-fret bend is such a gas!

    BTW, I also have a Fender five-string which I have not taken to, somehow. But it did come with a gig bag, which I use for my acoustic Gibson A. And so far, no one has tried to steal it. Maybe Fender's mandolin reputation is helping.
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

    Furthering Mandolin Consciousness

    Blues Mando Social Group
    Gibson Mandolins Social Group
    North Florida Mandolin Players Social Group

    The big blowhard in his conch shell blowing championship form

  5. #5
    Registered User Mandobart's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Washington State
    Posts
    2,775

    Default Re: Mandobird Regrets?

    Thanks everyone for the input. Sometimes I can see the future...hm, looks like I'll buy a mandobird, later upgrade with Almuse pickup, later get a custom build electric...

  6. #6
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Northeast Ohio
    Posts
    234

    Default Re: Mandobird Regrets?

    They show up on the MC classified on occasion, you could always post a wanted ad. You might be fortunate and come across one that's already been dialed in and upgraded for close to the cost of new. Now all you need to decide is 4 or 8 strings. Well, then there's the question of amplification and effects, you gotta have some of those, esp. distortion/overdrive etc... It's nice to have choices!

  7. #7

    Default Re: Mandobird Regrets?

    i actually bought 2- 4 string birds . i had no major issue's with them though i have heard of horror story's . not sure if we get a different batch here in canada . had to lower the action at the nut . and whatever scale they used for cutting frets i think they might have been a hair off so you never could get dead on accurate intonation up the neck. i had routed out a second pickup and put in 2 bass pick ups . it was ok but the volume was low. any how they make a great cheap work horse that you do not have to worry about getting stolen on road . but as far as upgrading it at a total cost of approx $500 for the mando once finished) i would recommend you could buy better mando that already has the better gear for a little more.

  8. #8
    Work in Progress Ed Goist's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Northeast Ohio
    Posts
    6,001
    Blog Entries
    3

    Default Re: Mandobird Regrets?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandobart View Post
    I've been wanting an electric mando for some time now. It looks like there are deals to be had on the epiphone mandobird right now. I have a lower end mandolin and a mid-range OM that don't get much play now that I have a nice hand-built custom version of each. However, I don't regret the cheaper instrument purchases. They are still fun to pick and take on camping trips or out Christmas caroling in the cold and wet.
    ...snip...
    Hi. Is the lower-end mandolin nice enough to consider adding a pick-up system to it?
    If you took what you planned on spending on the Mandobird, and instead spent that electrifying the lower-end acoustic you might end-up with a better playing 'electric' mandolin. Plus, it could still serve as an all-occasion or practice acoustic.
    Just a thought.
    c.1965 Harmony Monterey H410 Mandolin
    "What a long, strange trip it's been..." - Robert Hunter
    "Life is too important to be taken seriously." - Oscar Wilde
    Think Hippie Thoughts...
    Gear: The Current Cast of Characters

  9. #9

    Default Re: Mandobird Regrets?

    Quote Originally Posted by rico mando View Post
    but as far as upgrading it at a total cost of approx $500 for the mando once finished) i would recommend you could buy better mando that already has the better gear for a little more.
    $500?!!! I spent about $100 after purchase....300 total

  10. #10
    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Key West
    Posts
    11,806
    Blog Entries
    2

    Default Re: Mandobird Regrets?

    BTW, these seem to show up on ebay pretty often for about $125-150. Musicians Friend lists them for $200, $250 for the eight-string.
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

    Furthering Mandolin Consciousness

    Blues Mando Social Group
    Gibson Mandolins Social Group
    North Florida Mandolin Players Social Group

    The big blowhard in his conch shell blowing championship form

  11. #11
    Registered User Robert Moreau's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Tokyo, Japan
    Posts
    146

    Default Re: Mandobird Regrets?

    I have an 8 string Mandobird.

    It needed a bit of work to fix the intonation (the neck was a bit warped). It also needed the standard set-up work to fix the action.

    It's fun to play, and, I think, a good deal for the money, but if I were to go back in time I think I would buy a better quality instrument. My purpose for buying it was to have a "silent" mandolin so I don't bother the neighbors during late night practices. For that purposes it has served me well.

    Rob
    Eastman 515
    Lafferty Octave Mandolin
    Epiphone Mandobird
    music is the poetry of the air

  12. #12
    Registered User Mandobart's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Washington State
    Posts
    2,775

    Default Re: Mandobird Regrets?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ed Goist View Post
    Hi. Is the lower-end mandolin nice enough to consider adding a pick-up system to it?
    If you took what you planned on spending on the Mandobird, and instead spent that electrifying the lower-end acoustic you might end-up with a better playing 'electric' mandolin. Plus, it could still serve as an all-occasion or practice acoustic.
    Just a thought.
    Good thought Ed, but I already have done that with piezo pickups, and what I'm wanting now is a full-on solid body electric for playing in a couple of rock & blues bands I jam with. Can't get enough volume without feedback on my electrified acoustic instruments, and I really don't want to fill one of them with foam or something.

  13. #13
    Work in Progress Ed Goist's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Northeast Ohio
    Posts
    6,001
    Blog Entries
    3

    Default Re: Mandobird Regrets?

    Yep, sounds like you need a true electric...
    You know...
    I have a really nice amp and several effects pedals that I haven't even touched since getting a mandolin...
    I think I may start watching the classifieds & E-Bay for a Harmony Batwing!...That's the e-mando for me!
    c.1965 Harmony Monterey H410 Mandolin
    "What a long, strange trip it's been..." - Robert Hunter
    "Life is too important to be taken seriously." - Oscar Wilde
    Think Hippie Thoughts...
    Gear: The Current Cast of Characters

  14. #14

    Default Re: Mandobird Regrets?

    I tried the 4 string and sent it back--action and intonation were too far off for me to fool with. For just a little more money, the Eastwood Mandocaster looks a lot nicer.

  15. #15
    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Key West
    Posts
    11,806
    Blog Entries
    2

    Default Re: Mandobird Regrets?

    I do have one regret. On a few occasions, while playing on the street - and I do mean with the wah-wah and through an amp, obviously live music - people have asked me, "What is that, Guitar Hero?" I understand they are comparing in what passes for their minds the general size of what they are seeing with what they recall of the game gear, but this has strings, frets, no little buttons, and NO COMPUTER!!! Really, people! So my regret is that the designers didn't somehow make it look more like a real instrument than a toy. My musician friends recognize immediately that it looks like a scaled-down Explorer, which is cool, but they are vastly outnumbered by the yahoos - I'm sorry, the general public - and particularly, the guys-who-have-had-a-few-and-now-must-show-off-for-their-girlfriends segment of the population. GRRR!

    Oh, and as someone mentioned - the nut. It does stand up just a bit high and have sharp corners. I filed down the point so it doesn't hurt so much, but its height is just a bit distracting.
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

    Furthering Mandolin Consciousness

    Blues Mando Social Group
    Gibson Mandolins Social Group
    North Florida Mandolin Players Social Group

    The big blowhard in his conch shell blowing championship form

  16. #16

    Default Re: Mandobird Regrets?

    Quote Originally Posted by Schlegel View Post
    $500?!!! I spent about $100 after purchase....300 total
    so you kept the original tuners and did not install a second high end pick up . i spent 300 on two hand wound humbuckers with pick up rings alone for one mando i built, not including shipping( best mando pickups i have heard yet .thank you mr ryder). and a really good set of high end tuners can run to 100 easily . i am really not big on grovers myself. i guess it comes down how far you want to upgrade . then if you can't do the work yourself there is another expense.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Mandobird Regrets?

    Ok, that makes sense. I guess I think of that much work as going beyond upgrade into total customization. I agree if you might do that much alteration, why not start with a better mandolin. there's some J Boviers with 2 humbuckers (floor models) up for 550, for example. But for what I spent, I think it's hard to beat.

  18. #18

    Default Re: Mandobird Regrets?

    i agree that your smaller upgrade makes a huge improvement ( and more sense)to the bird and its not worth doing much more to it. i was just considering how much it would cost to customize the bird to equal a higher end emando .and what the financial difference would be . some mandos seem expensive until you consider the quality of the hard ware and electronics and exotic woods.

  19. #19
    Registered User Santiago's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Long Island, NY, USA
    Posts
    3,892

    Default Re: Mandobird Regrets?

    Get in the game now. Improve it as you can. Start saving for a better instrument, because the more you play it, the more you'll want the serious instrument. I'm still in the starter electric phase, but by the time I can afford the custom, I'll be more than ready for it. But if I tried to convince the wife about the custom first, I'd still be playing only acoustic.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Mandobird Regrets?

    I played a mandobird for two years with a blues band,,, no problems at all after I lowered the nut just a tiny bit and set the intonation. Decent neck (just a tiny bit clunky), good sound after processing with some light distortion and compression. The only mod I made was to change the pots, and that didn't make much of a difference. I eventually built a new body for it, but just because I was bored. If I hadn't decided to go the 5-string route, I'd still be playing it regularly. Not fancy, but certainly gets the job done.

  21. #21
    Different Text eadg145's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    California, USA
    Posts
    494

    Default Re: Mandobird Regrets?

    I've been inside three Mandobirds now, so I know a bit about them. Build quality is hit-or-miss, depending on the factory where it was built. (The Korean was the best right out of the box.) The four-string version works best, as they use individual saddles for the strings so setting intonation is easier and more precise (minus any fretboard issues you might have.) I also thought the pickup on the four string version sounded better. If you're going to play with a lot of effects and particularly distortion, then I think the four string would be fine.

    Any of them seems to need tweaking. Just make sure the neck is mounted straight, and you've got something to work with. Upgrades are easy on this instrument.

    Now on the eight-string model they had to make some compromises, particularly on the bridge. It's one piece straight across, with two screws to adjust the angle/intonation. The stock pickups on the ones I've played were quite weak on the "E" string in particular, and a bit on the "A". HOWEVER, Pete Mallinson (Almuse) makes a replacement pickup (MB8) for the Mandobird VIII that is not expensive, installs easily, and sounds GREAT! (Think late 60's early 70's Gibson SG guitar.) I made this upgrade on my Mandobird VIII and I am very pleased. I can play clean and get a nice twinkly mandolin sound, or crank it up and get a very nice SG-like distorted sound.

    I may post more on my adventures inside the Mandobirds at another time. I have a zillion pictures documenting the work.

    I think you can go either way here and be pleased: a Mandobird IV for distorted rocking, or a Mandobird VIII with the Almuse pickup for an all-around electric instrument. Both are easy entries from a cost standpoint. Just be sure the neck is set right, and you'll have something to work with.

    Enjoy!

    cheers,

    David
    Think globally, bike locally.

  22. #22

    Default Re: Mandobird Regrets?

    well everybody heard about the bird. bird bird bird .bird is the word . bird bird bird . the bird is the word . well have you heard about the bird. bird bird bird the bird is the word. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZThquH5t0ow

  23. #23
    Registered User John Flynn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Richmond, VA
    Posts
    7,917

    Default Re: Mandobird Regrets?

    I regret buying mine. Despite a professional setup, a pickup upgrade, all new wiring and pots and JazzMando Mandobird strings, I never cared for it, about half because I became convinced that a 4-string, solid-body electric mandolin is just not a good concept and half because I just didn't think the Mandobird is a good design or well built. Just MHO, because the OP asked.

  24. #24

    Default Re: Mandobird Regrets?

    Hi John: Your humble opinion is certainly as relevant as any of ours I too think the 4 string emando is a rather curious concept... but it is interesting and I have had lots of fun with it. BUT,, add a 5th string and its a whole new world

  25. #25
    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Key West
    Posts
    11,806
    Blog Entries
    2

    Default Re: Mandobird Regrets?

    I think it's a good entry-level emando. It's entirely possible that my feelings for it are tempered by my not being an entry level player, so with my effects and general know-how I am able to get it to sound pretty real without trying too hard. You may want to modify it or put that money toward a swankier axe further on down the road, but for getting your feet wet in this river you can't beat the price. My next step in this area is more likely a decent 8-string rather than a snazzier 4-string, because I really do want that ringing double string sound. But I know I will be sacrificing the string bending to have that, and I am rather fond of this capability. Of course, I could be mollified with a whammy bar ...
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

    Furthering Mandolin Consciousness

    Blues Mando Social Group
    Gibson Mandolins Social Group
    North Florida Mandolin Players Social Group

    The big blowhard in his conch shell blowing championship form

Posting Permissions

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