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Thread: Mandobird Regrets?

  1. #51
    Registered User bjc's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandobird Regrets?

    I had a mandobird for a while and other than getting the nut cut so that it would intonate correctly I made no mods and I enjoyed it. Then I got a 5-string Schwab and sold it through the Cafe...They'll pop up in classifieds...
    PeacE
    Brian

  2. #52
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    Default Re: Mandobird Regrets?

    did not care for the mandobird, sold it and bought the Gold
    Tone 4 string solid body electric for $300 new, very happy with this except for the weak pickup,took care of this with a preamp and now it sounds great

  3. #53

    Default Re: Mandobird Regrets?

    was wondering how the goldtone sounded . i like the look but prefer 5 string

  4. #54
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    Default Re: Mandobird Regrets?

    Quote Originally Posted by rico mando View Post
    was wondering how the goldtone sounded . i like the look but prefer 5 string
    i could not afford a JBovier 5 string,so i took a chance and ordered the Gold Tone.i can only compare it to the mandobird.i play acoustic mandolin in a band and sometimes we do a swing,jazz or blues tune.the guitarplayer switches from acoustic to es 335 electric and i play the Gold Tone.i plug it into a dbx tube preamp.we both play through the Bose
    L1 at all times and everything sounds fine.

  5. #55

    Default Re: Mandobird Regrets?

    I bought one of these because it was comfy to play (liked the radius on the fretboard) and I thought it'd be cool to run some crazy effects through a tiny little mandolin (all my buddies are leccy guitarists), soon found out the machine heads aren't worth bothering with, the nut is rubbish, cruddy single coil pickup isn't worth bothering with. These are serious flaws that SHOULD have been worked out BEFORE the instrument left the factory.
    I'm in the process of reworking mine (I'm a stubborn bugger and refuse to just throw away an instrument I paid good money for) so it's meant fitting TWO (obviously just one set ain't enough for the VIII, which mine is) of those gearless Steinberger machine heads, getting a guitar tech to fit two humbuckers (one flush up with the neck, the other flush up with the bridge) plus a switch to swap between 'em, managed to snap the plastic nut by trying to fit fatter strings (basically trying to get around the sound being a bit thready at the top end of the register) and of course if you actually plan to take the instrument anywhere you'll need a hard case which you'll need to customise yourself because there ain't no such thing as a hard case for the mandobird.
    On the plus side, the fret spacings on the neck are pretty decent, everything else can be either fixed/ altered/ improved until you get an instrument you can actually get a decent sound out of.
    Maybe I'm just old fashioned, but I tend to think if you buy an instrument brand new, irrespective of price, it's not an unreasonable assumption to think you're going to be able to play it then and there.
    I didn't find that with the mandobird, I like the look of it and I'm 90% sure that when I finish with all these modifications it'll be a sweet instrument but prepare yourself for a bad time getting to that point.
    Incidentally, I own and play an electric/ accoustic epiphione "A" style mandolin (sorry, forget which model) and it sounds great for the price.

  6. #56
    In The Van Ben Milne's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandobird Regrets?

    I gotta say the action fret size and board layout on my 'bird is propably my favourite out of all my instruments which includes two really nice instruments from reputable emando builders.
    With regard to the tuners i think they are a a little clustered even with stock pegs, but this of course inherent part of being mandolin no matter the brand. I really do enjoy the gearless tuners on this one.
    Hereby & forthwith, any instrument with an odd number of strings shall be considered broken. With regard to mix levels, usually the best approach is treating the mandolin the same as a cowbell.

  7. #57
    Different Text eadg145's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandobird Regrets?

    and of course if you actually plan to take the instrument anywhere you'll need a hard case which you'll need to customise yourself because there ain't no such thing as a hard case for the mandobird.
    Actually, Jody, you will be pleased to know that the Access Level 3 hard shell case fits the Mandobird perfectly. I got mine from Elderly. NFI

    cheers,

    David
    Think globally, bike locally.

  8. #58

    Default Re: Mandobird Regrets?

    MandoBird VIII
    Replaced the bridge to get the intonation correct. Upgraded the pickup, new strings .....now I play it daily.
    Strumming and picking up towards the neck gives a nice acoustic sound. For the $$$ loving it.
    thumbsup

  9. #59
    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandobird Regrets?

    Knowing I had a big performance coming up, I changed the strings on my MandoBird IV, putting on a set of ultralights I got from emando.com (Thanks, Martin!) that let me get a three-fret bend that goes a long way toward compensating for having no whammy bar. I also took the time to adjust the intonation, which I found surprisingly off. I think they really should have placed the bridge 1cm closer to the nut, as the mini-bridges are about maxed out in that direction. Anyway, it is a lot closer to being the way I want it than before, and while still not perfect, I felt a lot better about attempting to do this:


    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

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  10. #60

    Default Re: Mandobird Regrets?

    [QUOTE=journeybear;944652]I also took the time to adjust the intonation, which I found surprisingly off. I think they really should have placed the bridge 1cm closer to the nut, as the mini-bridges are about maxed out in that direction. Anyway, it is a lot closer to being the way I want it than before, and while still not perfect, I felt a lot better about attempting to do this:

    i have heard this complaint from others , i had bought 2 birds from my local store and i did have to adjust the nut height to get a proper Ab Eb Bb F the bridge placement was ok . but i think mine came from a different factory to be sold in canada . i can not remember where as i sold off both birds . i have no regrets about selling them as i am a born again 5 stringer

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    Default Re: Mandobird Regrets?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Milne View Post
    No regrets about my VIII here. - I'm glad the OP bit the bullet.
    a few simple mods and the birds can be a very decent backup/2nd Emando later on once you find the One. (admittedly I went a little ott but it sure has been fun.)

    Daniel, here's two mandobird headstocks I installed Steinbergers on.
    I will say they get a little tight for room on the stock VIII headstock, though I'm happy to put up with it, they do wonders at staying in tune so its basically string changes that can be fiddly. ..
    Those Steinberger tuners look sweet! I heard that those now come standard on new firebirds. Does it make it any easier to change strings?
    All 4 sting models I have seen come with fully adjustable barrel style bridges, while the 8 string model has a slightly adjustable bar style (depth & angle set together).
    If there is a radius to my fretboard, it must match the curvatue of the Earth, it's that flat. I've got an old trombone case for mine. (It's overkill, but was cheap).

  12. #62
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    Default Re: Mandobird Regrets?

    Trombone case - overkill - ya think?!? Mine came with a gig bag, which is just fine for now. Not much protection, but extremely portable, and right now that's more important.
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

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  13. #63
    In The Van Ben Milne's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandobird Regrets?

    With regard to firebirds, I think the Epiphones come with Steinbergers, while the Gibsons are reissues and retain the traditional banjo style tuners. The nicest thing is how accurate the tuners are, (40:1) from memory.
    Unfortunately they only come in sets of six... At least the numbers for two sets work out for a 4string and 8string. Once you're used to the restringing method, (directions are on the Stew-Mac site) they really are a joy to use.

    8 string bridges made by the cafe's own Andrew Jerman with individually intonatable courses are available from moongazer music.
    Hereby & forthwith, any instrument with an odd number of strings shall be considered broken. With regard to mix levels, usually the best approach is treating the mandolin the same as a cowbell.

  14. #64
    Créateur des e-mandos Soundfarmer Pete's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandobird Regrets?

    40:1 tuners?
    Yikes........what to do to stop the boredom setting in? ........maybe a peg winder made to fit a power drill

  15. #65
    In The Van Ben Milne's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandobird Regrets?

    Check them out, Pete, they operate in a completely different manner. To restring, you pull the string through, lock it off, trim it and wind it up. Hardly need to touch them once they're up to pitch and very accurate. Really no more annoying than the stock tuners

    Actually I have a mandobird regret, I have moved interstate and left my 'bird back in QLD in storage... (along with my HT5) oh how I miss them.
    Once I get it I'll be hankering to upgrade the pickup the your Humbucking model, but i'll hold the order until I know it's a bit closer to being possible. I think you only did the single coil when I got the current one, it does sound fantastic so no real hurry for now.
    Hereby & forthwith, any instrument with an odd number of strings shall be considered broken. With regard to mix levels, usually the best approach is treating the mandolin the same as a cowbell.

  16. #66

    Default Re: Mandobird Regrets?

    Quote Originally Posted by Soundfarmer Pete View Post
    40:1 tuners?
    Yikes........what to do to stop the boredom setting in? ........maybe a peg winder made to fit a power drill
    i have one of those drill attachments for peg winding , glows in the dark too . bought from stew mac

  17. #67
    ever the bad student Alfactor's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandobird Regrets?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ed Goist View Post
    I think I may start watching the classifieds & E-Bay for a Harmony Batwing!...That's the e-mando for me!
    Hi Ed, I drifted to this thread after considering a Kent electric. (I now have an active lead on a Mandobird) I commented there that I did once own and sell a Godin A8 -- a VERY nice handling instrument, but one that never let me feel part of the electronic action. I was fortunate afterwards to find a beater Batwing and grabbed it despite a bit of price gauge. It has been way more fun to play! All board comments about its inherent build qualities are true -- but it is still way cool and those little treble and volume knobs do make a difference. Get one and wail away!

  18. #68
    ever the bad student Alfactor's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandobird Regrets?

    OK, thanks to the comments, cautions, and sense of fun conveyed through this thread, I ordered and just my new Mandobird in the mail. I bought it so that I wouldn't disturb the wife or cats (questionable about whose criticisms are worse) but I think it will be on my shoulder whenever I play with my friends. Their take after night #1 was "when is a guitar not a guitar ... and how are you getting that sound?" I have followed advice here and placed orders for the Moongazer/Almuse pick-up and the Jazzmando strings. I haven't had this much fun since learning the 2-fingered C chord! I think I should be very afraid of a future when I see/ try a 5-string!

  19. #69
    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandobird Regrets?

    I had a problem the other night when the E string broke 2/3 of the way through the first set. At the break I got out an old one to replace it, but it could not would not cooperate. There is some sort of small piece of sheet metal inside there, that has to be pushed back or something for a string to be threaded through from the back then over the mini-bridge. A new string with a nice straight shape passes through OK; a used string whose end has been bent around a tuning post - not so much. I wrestled with this for the better part of a half hour to no avail, then gave up. This should have been an easy job, and would have been if I only had the right tool. Played the rest of the night with three strings - an interesting challenge, I suppose, but the guitarist's brother was in town and doing some video shooting. I doubt any of that is going to be usable. Anyway, I have no idea what that metal is doing there, but unless someone convinces me otherwise, I am going to take the axe apart and remove that. Seems like a serious design flaw to me.
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

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  20. #70
    Créateur des e-mandos Soundfarmer Pete's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandobird Regrets?

    One thing that might smooth the restringing (and reduce breakages at the bridge end)......If you have a Dremel or another such mini drill, blend into the hole and round off the base plate where the string angles over towards the saddle with a small rotary diamond file to remove any sharpness.
    Common Strat tremolo mod.
    Hope this makes sense!
    CheeryBye

  21. #71
    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandobird Regrets?

    Good thinking, but Dremel have I none. However, I discovered upon removing the bridge assembly that the holes that go through the body for the ball ends to anchor are drilled in the wrong place! Just slightly offset, mind you, but enough to cause the difficulty I described. I widened the hole a bit with the limited tools available (small screwdrivers), but I will have to borrow a drill to do this right, as I will likely run into the same situation when trying to replace a broken string with a used one at a gig. Unbelievable really - seriously shoddy workmanship. And this passed inspection, too. Inspector #7 is going to be hearing from me, soon.
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

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  22. #72
    Créateur des e-mandos Soundfarmer Pete's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandobird Regrets?

    Glad I`m not #7

  23. #73
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    Default Re: Mandobird Regrets?

    I wish you were! You seem to have your act together, and would never have missed such an obvious defect. The sticker on this says it was "100% inspected and set-up in the USA," which implies that two sets of eyes missed this. Yep - #7 deserves to get a bit of #2 for this.
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

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  24. #74
    Work in Progress Ed Goist's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandobird Regrets?

    Inspector # 7 has likely never played, nor even heard, an amplified Mandobird.
    He or she likely has no emotional investment in the instrument's quality.
    I bet this has never happened to one of Pete's mandolins, has it Pete?
    Pete, who inspects your mandolins for quality?...Oh wait, that would be you, wouldn't it?
    c.1965 Harmony Monterey H410 Mandolin
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  25. #75
    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandobird Regrets?

    Well ... it's still his job, and one would think whether holes in parts that are supposed to match up actually match up would be on the checklist! I don't expect much will arise from my complaint, since I am not the original owner nor does any warranty apply, but it would be beneficial for other potential buyers if the MandoBirdbrains would learn to be a bit more conscientious.
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

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