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Thread: What's the use of an e-mando?

  1. #1
    _________________ grandmainger's Avatar
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    Unhappy

    No flames please, ignorant person wishing to satisfy curiosity.

    My understanding of the accoustic mandolin is that part of the beauty of the sound comes from the paired-strings concept.
    Why would one use a 4 string e-mandolin as opposed to a standard electric guitar? How (and why) does the sound differ?

    I've never seen or heard an electric mando, so I really have no clue, please enlighten me.

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    Registered User John Flynn's Avatar
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    I have often asked myself the same thing. I have tried 4 and 8 string electric mandos and they do not float my boat. I actually want to like them. It seems like a great idea, but the reality just kind of leaves me flat.

    If I wanted to go electric again, I would get a Strat. about like the one I traded off a couple of years ago. I can make a lot better noises through an amp on a 6-string. Also, I listen to a lot of different kinds of music, from old-time to rock to opera and I can't think of a single piece of music I like that either has a single course electric mando in it, or which IMHO, could have been improved by adding one. But I would love to have my mind changed on that.

    However, I figure:
    > Different strokes for different folks, it's all good.
    > Not every mando player is also a guitar player, so it would be an option for mando-only players who want to go fully electric.
    > The fretboard layout of the mando is unique and it may offer some possibilities that I haven't thought of, although as I said I have yet to hear an example.

    If anyone has any compelling examples of single course work online, I'd love to hear them. Like I said, I really do want to like these instruments, but I haven't come across a reason yet.




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    There aren't a ton of examples to draw from i.e. not as many players as electric guitar, but the master was Tiny Moore.

    Listen to The Bob Wills Tiffany Transcriptions (Rhino) or track down the Billy Jack Wills CD- when you'll hear it, you'll know. If you play both guitar and mando, you "think" differently on mando due to the tuning- each has it's own sensibility. I'm assuming you don't play western swing, but check it out, good music is good music!

    Most of the Blood Oranges stuff is out of print, but if you track any down, Jimmy Ryan plays some great emando; bluegrass rooted rock type stuff. He also has a solo CD http://www.jimmyryan.org/
    John McGann, Associate Professor, Berklee College of Music
    johnmcgann.com
    myspace page
    Youtube live mando

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    Well, it's much easier to play up high on a mandolin since it's tuned higher.

    On an 8 string you get the double course sound.

    Guitar and mandolin are tuned differently, so why learn a new tuning if you don't have to? And take advantage of the mandolin-ness of the tuning.

    Guitar players are a dime a dozen, why add to the glut?

    Chord structure isn't always the same and sounds different. Why sound like a guitar?

    I admit to preferring a double course electric over a 4 or 5 string...it's more mando.

    Why go electric? More gear, and gear is good.

    Peace, Mooh.

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    _________________ grandmainger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by (Mooh @ Jan. 17 2005, 13:44)
    Well, it's much easier to play up high on a mandolin since it's tuned higher.

    On an 8 string you get the double course sound.

    Guitar and mandolin are tuned differently, so why learn a new tuning if you don't have to? And take advantage of the mandolin-ness of the tuning.

    Guitar players are a dime a dozen, why add to the glut?

    Chord structure isn't always the same and sounds different. Why sound like a guitar?

    I admit to preferring a double course electric over a 4 or 5 string...it's more mando.

    Why go electric? More gear, and gear is good.

    Peace, Mooh.
    Thanks for all the replies. I stand enlightened.

    The fact that the mando is tuned higher slipped my mind, and indeed, why learn guitar when you know mando!

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    Don't forget there are twelve string guitars out there too; acoustic and electric.
    Go here and you can hear Michael Lampert play a Schwab 4-string electric mandolin.
    http://www.michaellampert.com/
    Wye Knot

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    I once had a solid-body electric that I purchased for practicing at night and at work through headphones, but I never really (emotionally) connected with it so I eventually sold it.



    Estne volumen in toga, an solum tibi libet me videre?

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    I wouldn't mind having an 8-string solidbody electric to practice at home, unplugged.
    Mandolins:
    Mid-mo M11 (#1855)
    Ovation MM68 (#490231)
    New flute CD:
    Wellsprings 2: Joyful!

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    Just listen to Paul Glasse's recording of Airmail Special! That will explain everything.

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    Registered User Trip's Avatar
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    some great talking head somewhere said, there is something unique about being unique.....I have some songs that I do with my band that are done with electric mando, but instead of using it as a lead instrument its all processed chords...some songs Im leaning into a wha pedal on leads.......creates some cool spaces...I could reproduce it on a guitar easily, but I choose to be a bit off the common path....and a band like String Cheese Incident can absoluely show anyone the value of single course emando

    StrangerString Band.com

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    Hi grandmainger

    Octave guitar (around 400mm scale length) is another option for the higher tuning, and you can use normal guitar chords, although anything above the 7th fret tends to get a bit crowded!

    I started experimenting with solidbody mandos partly because I enjoyed the higher pitched sound and the chord shapes in the mando's "5ths" tuning actually let me get my fat fingers into position a whole lot easier than guitar tuning. Having said that I made a 5 string emando for a fellow Aussie and from the spare neck I'm making a 380mm scale kind of octave guitar tuned DGBE because there's enough room to fit guitar chord shapes. It's all harmless fun!
    Rob - Jupiter Creek Music - Australia

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    Registered User frankseanez's Avatar
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    Here's a few more reasons:

    Little hands.
    Growing up playing violin.
    Wanting to get a guitar-like sound from a mandolin.
    Not wanting to learn how to play guitar.
    Lovin' those fifths!

    Frank

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  14. #13
    Is there a "talent" knob? taboot's Avatar
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    For me the simplest answer to this is always the always reliable "why not?" Just becuase electric guitar is a more widely known instrument, perhaps a more storied instrument, it doesn't follow for me that when I want those kinds of sounds, I should switch to the guitar. In many ways, I think the sustain and note bending abilities of the electric guitar resonate with us becuase they're reminiscent of the human voice (like horns.) Veeeery different from acoustic guitar, different effects are acheived, and I like having the same flexibility offered to me as a mandolinist.

    Was that convoluded enough?

    Christian
    Christian McKee

    Member, The Big North Duo
    Musical Director, The Oregon Mandolin Orchestra

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    Registered User Dave Hicks's Avatar
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    I got an electric last year. I decided on a 4 string to allow string-bending. Bends are possible on an 8 string, but physically harder, and don't sound good (to me at least) because the two strings bend to different pitches.

    Also, 4 strings rather than 4 courses makes it a little easier to get my pudgy fingers to go where they should.

    The tradeoff is that I find it somewhat harder to tremelo.

    D.H.[B]

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    wood butcher Spruce's Avatar
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    A 4-string electric mando is a wonderful thing to hear through an outboard Fender tank reverb unit into a Twin Reverb, twinned with a Mosrite guitar and Danelectro Baratone, all playing fiddle tunes (cranked) in that good ol' surf style...

    Billy in the Green Room and Blonde-Haired Boy are on the setlist...
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  18. #16
    String-Bending Heretic mandocrucian's Avatar
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    To paraphrase Louie Armstrong (or was it Duke Ellington?):
    "If you've got to ask, you'll never know."

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  20. #17
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    And for a vintage East Coast surf vibe you can't beat the lush reverb and vibrato (not tremelo) from a '70's Ampeg G12.
    With a good set of vacuum tubes to tame the hum, a Fender Vibrolux Reissue is a unique amp too.
    Wye Knot

  21. #18
    wood butcher Spruce's Avatar
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    These are wonderful electric mandolin amps as well.....

  22. #19
    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Bruce, is that beauty one you built yourself?

    Don't rightly recollect whether I'd seen it before...
    Emando.com: More than you wanted to know about electric mandolins.

    Notorious: My Celtic CD--listen & buy!

    Donaldson Wood Thormahlen Andersen Old Wave Bacorn Yanuziello Fender National Gibson Franke Fuchs Aceto Three Hungry Pit Bulls

  23. #20
    wood butcher Spruce's Avatar
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    Yep....
    I built about 8-10 Alembic inspired e-mandos back in the '70s, both 4 and 8-strings...

    David Gans (of "Dead Hour" fame) just sent me some pics he took back in '78...

    Here's one of me in the skinnier days...
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  24. #21
    ISO TEKNO delsbrother's Avatar
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    COOOOOOOOOOL! Do you know where they all are today? (IOW any chance of one turning up on the 'bay?)

  25. #22
    wood butcher Spruce's Avatar
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    The only one I've ever run into was at a vintage guitar shop in Post Falls, Idaho...
    I think it's still there, as it was not for sale....

    I only signed them under the back-plate, so you'd have to dig into the instrument a little bit to see who made it...

    It would probably sell on ebay as a "weird electric ukulele by unknown maker"...

  26. #23
    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    This one sorter reminds me of Bruce's:


    But I'm not saying it is one of Bruce's. It probably ain't.
    Emando.com: More than you wanted to know about electric mandolins.

    Notorious: My Celtic CD--listen & buy!

    Donaldson Wood Thormahlen Andersen Old Wave Bacorn Yanuziello Fender National Gibson Franke Fuchs Aceto Three Hungry Pit Bulls

  27. #24
    wood butcher Spruce's Avatar
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    Same Alembic-inspired concept....

    That design is incredibly easy to build, by the way, if anyone is interested in whipping up their own e-mando...

  28. #25
    ISO TEKNO delsbrother's Avatar
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    Um.. Yes. :P

    What did you use for the pickup? Wind-yer-own, or the ever-popular 1/2 P bass setup?

    Darrell

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