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Thread: 5-string solid body electric--advice?

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    Default 5-string solid body electric--advice?

    I've been itching to get a 5-string solid body electric mando for ages and am considering the Gold Tone GOLD TONE GME-5. Does anyone have experience with this model? Or alternatives to consider? Am trying to keep it around 4 bills.
    Thanks!

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    Default Re: 5-string solid body electric--advice?

    try getting a used one . some people never get the hang of a 5 string and might be willing to sell

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    String-Bending Heretic mandocrucian's Avatar
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    Default Re: 5-string solid body electric--advice?

    Just do a conversion on a 17"-19" scale mini Strat (or other solidbody shape) guitar. Just remove the lowest (bass) string and bridge saddle (if individual saddles for each string), and maybe the tuner to eliminate rattle. That's all you need to do except to restring it with gauges suitable for the tuning you want . An electric 5-string mando is just a small electric guitar with a different tuning.

    mini-strat conversion on bench (right), was originally a 19" scale, but was shortened to 17".

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    Oval holes are cool David Lewis's Avatar
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    Default Re: 5-string solid body electric--advice?

    A five string solid body mandolin is not a mini guitar except you might get some structural similarities.

    The playing style is different. The role is different. Don't think you can take your guitar technique or acoustic mando technique and adapt.

    My advice is find a five string JBovier. I have a four string and it's marvellous and a but cheaper than your budget.

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    Default Re: 5-string solid body electric--advice?

    A five string solid body mandolin is not a mini guitar
    Yes it is. A five string solid body mandolin is not an acoustic mandolin except you might get some tuning similarities.

    When Albert Collins capoes up the neck at the 9th fret of his Tele....he's playing an electric mando (in open minor tuning). When Richard Thompson played on my Fender 4-string....it was ALL electric guitar technique and vocab, and it sounded fantastic.

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    fishing with my mando darrylicshon's Avatar
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    Default Re: 5-string solid body electric--advice?

    5 strings are fun , i agree buy a used one, or convert a mini guitar. i have a mini flying V that i left 6 strings but tune it like a mandolin
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    Default Re: 5-string solid body electric--advice?

    Watch for used Fender 5 strings. They are out there and show up in the classifieds. I found mine at the philadelphia guitar show.

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    Registered User Jon Hall's Avatar
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    Default Re: 5-string solid body electric--advice?

    I recently bought a new GME-5. I'm satisfied with it. I'm spending some time in the woodshed with it before I ever take it to band practice. I'm playing it through a Peavy 15w Viper amp while in the woodshed but I'm going to buy a Roland 40w Cube to perform with this summer. As far as the discussion about a soild body mando being a small electric guitar, I agree with Niles. From what I can tell it's contribution to the music is identical to a solid body electric guitar.

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    Default Re: 5-string solid body electric--advice?

    Quote Originally Posted by David Lewis View Post
    A five string solid body mandolin is not a mini guitar except you might get some structural similarities.

    The playing style is different. The role is different. Don't think you can take your guitar technique or acoustic mando technique and adapt.

    My advice is find a five string JBovier. I have a four string and it's marvellous and a but cheaper than your budget.
    Quote Originally Posted by mandocrucian View Post
    Yes it is. A five string solid body mandolin is not an acoustic mandolin except you might get some tuning similarities.

    When Albert Collins capoes up the neck at the 9th fret of his Tele....he's playing an electric mando (in open minor tuning). When Richard Thompson played on my Fender 4-string....it was ALL electric guitar technique and vocab, and it sounded fantastic.
    This seems to be a difference of structure & role--but I'd have to agree that a 5 string solidbody mandolin is rather like a mini guitar--with a different tuning.
    One might play it differently (or not) but the structure is pretty much the same.

    My 8 string/4 course solidbody Mandobird is structurally very similar to a mini guitar--perhaps with a smaller neck, but I choose to learn how to play it as a mandolin as opposed to a mini guitar--but I could do that and even use a guitar tuning, but I wanted to learn mandolin.

    It's like the time on a guitar forum someone posted that a 12 string is a completely different instrument--no it's a very similar instrument--but there are differences in how it's normally played.
    Would it save you a lot of time if I just gave up and went mad now?

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    Default Re: 5-string solid body electric--advice?

    Niles, so you lopped off the bottom 2" of the neck and drilled new screw holes?

    How is the intonation--I would think that would be tricky to get just right...?

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    Default Re: 5-string solid body electric--advice?

    Niles, so you lopped off the bottom 2" of the neck and drilled new screw holes?

    How is the intonation--I would think that would be tricky to get just right...?
    One year when I was teaching at Augusta I asked Wayne Henderson to help modify it. He (reluctantly) scooped the end of the fingerboard, put in fatter/higher fretwire for the 2nd (not the 0th fret) and put in a nut behind the zero-th fret. He also switched a neck position marker (or two) so it would have the same 3-5-7-10-12 locations as a mando (which I was so used to seeing). I have a capo putting downward tension on the strings behind the nut.

    Intonates fine, though more extreme bending pitches a minor 3rd or major 3rd (maybe even a 4th on the low strings) can knock the particular string out of tune. The heavier the strings, the better the tone (the SRV rule), so I stopped using the slinkier gauges. Would rather have to work harder on the bending ad keep a fat tone.

    I don't really refer to this an "electric mandolin" or "electric mandola" except perhaps on a recording credit. At home I (and my wife) either call it "the 5-string" or the "wolf guitar". The latter is due to the custom paint job (my portrait and a couple of wolves) I had done back in the early 80s as a mojo enhancer.

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    ISO TEKNO delsbrother's Avatar
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    Default Re: 5-string solid body electric--advice?

    Someone once wrote a book about those things.. Wish it was still in print.

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    Default Re: 5-string solid body electric--advice?

    Due to range considerations, I'd lean towards an actual 5-string mandolin/mandola over the conversion. But the idea of a quickie conversion of the 3/4 strat (22.5") to a tenor guitar is intriguing and I intend to pursue this. Many thanks to all, esp. Niles H., for so much useful info.

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    Default Re: 5-string solid body electric--advice?

    and NB .. the 5ths dont have to be CGDAE or GDAEB .. AEBF#C# is an option too, etc.
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    Default Re: 5-string solid body electric--advice?

    I use GDAEA (octave down from mando)

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    Default Re: 5-string solid body electric--advice?

    those 2 A's an Octave apart?

    I strung my P5 Pentaula Heavy* and use a GDAEB, the strings when bought were lighter and the

    AEBF#C# was the tuning then..
    * 60.. etc. it's actually a pretty short scale
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    String-Bending Heretic mandocrucian's Avatar
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    Default Re: 5-string solid body electric--advice?

    those 2 A's an Octave apart?
    Yeah, prefer the 4th interval on top instead having a high B. Works better not tuning it as high from the string gauge/breakage standpoint. Also, gives you some different doublestop bending positions.

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    Registered User Perry's Avatar
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    Default Re: 5-string solid body electric--advice?

    Definitely a mini guitar in a different tuning. Many of the things great about an acoustic mandolin are not available on an electric mandolin. For example the driving rhythmic percussive chop.

    So if you are a mandolin player you get to play electric guitar without learning how to play the guitar!

    Of course the tuning in fifths does have it's own sound and idiosyncrasies....generally I find an electric guitar to be much more flexible. I just happen to play much of my repertoire on mandolin though I have transferred quite a bit to guitar in recent years.

    And a big plus about electric mandolin is that just like in the acoustic world an electric mando plays nicely with a guitar in the band.

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    Default Re: 5-string solid body electric--advice?

    I'm not looking for versatility--basically wanting something for your basic Tiny Moore/Paul Glasse sort of thing, so CGDAE is preferred. I have electric guitars for extended low end. But I am enjoying all the different comments and suggestions.

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    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: 5-string solid body electric--advice?

    Fan fret would be a bonus , say 16" on the C. 13 7/8" on the E ..
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    Default Re: 5-string solid body electric--advice?

    I recently sold a Mann SEM-5 (more $$$ used than a Gold Tone GME-5 new) because it was too similar to electric guitar and I wanted more of a mandolin sound with double course strings. I think that's the main difference between 5 string and 8 string electric mandolins. They sound totally different whereas a 5 string electric mandolin can sound surprisingly similar to a 6 string electric guitar. They are different tools for different sounds and they're all good, just not the same.

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    Default Re: 5-string solid body electric--advice?

    Yes, I have an old Japanese Kentucky all-solid woods with K&K pickups. I've used it as 8-string and as 4-string. I've heard a good bit of Bob Wills (Tiny Moore/Johnny Gimble) and Paul Glasse, and the single string sound which is surprisingly similar to 6 string electric guitar is exactly what I'm looking for. In a CGDAE tuning.

  24. #23

    Default Re: 5-string solid body electric--advice?

    Quote Originally Posted by mandroid View Post
    Fan fret would be a bonus , say 16" on the C. 13 7/8" on the E ..
    I tried a tenor with fanned frets and found it very, very difficult to finger most basic chords. IMHO the concept works well for bass guitar, but not so well for instruments tuned in 5ths.
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  25. #24

    Default Re: 5-string solid body electric--advice?

    So what kind of string gauges are you guys using on the five-strings? I've just started working on a 18" GDAEB job.

  26. #25
    Oval holes are cool David Lewis's Avatar
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    Default Re: 5-string solid body electric--advice?

    What I love about the five string is that it has a greater range than a six string guitar. I should get a five.

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