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Thread: Cheap electric mandolin- Eastwood, Kentucky, Gold Tone, or... ?

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    Registered User SincereCorgi's Avatar
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    Default Cheap electric mandolin- Eastwood, Kentucky, Gold Tone, or... ?

    I'm looking for a cheap solid-body 4-string electric mandolin, mainly to use for very quiet practice. I found a local Kentucky which felt reasonably okay, but I thought I'd throw the question over to the collective knowledge of the MC emando forum- does anybody prefer one of these for a particular reason?

    (I like the styling of the Eastwood Warren Ellis but I am wary about Eastwood build quality).

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    Registered User LongBlackVeil's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cheap electric mandolin- Eastwood, Kentucky, Gold Tone, or...

    Ive never played their mandolins, but ive played eastwood electric guitars they were built pretty well imo
    "When you learn an old time fiddle tune, you make a friend for life"

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    Quietly Making Noise Dave Greenspoon's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cheap electric mandolin- Eastwood, Kentucky, Gold Tone, or...

    The newer Kentucky has a fixed bridge and a too-hot lipstick pickup that IMO needs to go. There is one on Reverb with the older adjustable bridge with intonatable saddles. Add a Wild Bill Lawrence pickup and a switch and you are good forever. Otherwise, I'd say look for an Epi mandobird. The build is a far better build in my experience.
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    Registered User MissingString's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cheap electric mandolin- Eastwood, Kentucky, Gold Tone, or...

    I have an Eastwood "mandocaster" which I bought pre-owned for about $350 with a nice rectangular case. I think the build quality (especially the neck) is quite good for what is less than a $500 setup new. Also, I've been able to easily buy (or assemble) strings as needed. I have an 8-string model.
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    Dave Sheets
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    Default Re: Cheap electric mandolin- Eastwood, Kentucky, Gold Tone, or...

    I have one of the Eastwood electric Mandolas, got it used. Construction isn't bad, particularly for the price. That seems to be the case with the Eastwood guitars I've played as well. The pickups are pretty uninspiring, but pickup swaps are easy. I put a pretty aggressive seymour duncan in mine for playing with a loud band. It is a fun instrument for the price.

    It did need setup work, particularly the nut slot depth. The frets were cleanly installed, and seem pretty level, it plays fine. The bridge is pretty good, a telecaster style bridge with no issues.

    If you are patient enough, you can find used Eastwoods pretty cheaply.

    The build quality isn't equal to a Mexican made Fender instrument, or a yamaha electric- those are my go-tos for inexpensive electrics. But neither of these make electric mandos. I'm not sure just what wood the Eastwood mandola is made out of, I chiseled out the pickup slot a bit to swap pickups- it was some sort of mahogany like wood- sapele? something like that, not alder or ash. A bit better wood in the body would help matters, but the price would go up accordingly.

    I'd buy one again, but do budget for better pickups, at least eventually.
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    Registered User SincereCorgi's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cheap electric mandolin- Eastwood, Kentucky, Gold Tone, or...

    Thanks everybody, this is really good stuff to know, especially about replacing pickups. So, Mandobird vs. Eastwood- who ya got?

  7. #7
    fishing with my mando darrylicshon's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cheap electric mandolin- Eastwood, Kentucky, Gold Tone, or...

    I like them all everyone has it own quality, I guess these days I like my mandobirds the most , but that changes from time to time
    Click image for larger version. 

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    This is an old photo, I'm missing a few like my Eastwood tele , red mandobird , a Northfield octave tele, a flying v , and a f style octave 5 string, a custom 8 string octave strat
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    Butcherer of Songs Rob Zamites's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cheap electric mandolin- Eastwood, Kentucky, Gold Tone, or...

    I’m loving my generic/unbranded Mandocaster:
    Click image for larger version. 

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    No idea what pickups these are, but they have good response over all 4 courses of strings.
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    Registered User colorado_al's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cheap electric mandolin- Eastwood, Kentucky, Gold Tone, or...

    I'd check out the JBovier ELS 4-string
    https://mandolins.ecrater.com/p/3194...ctric-mandolin
    Click image for larger version. 

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    I've owned the kentucky 300, Eastwood Mandocaster, Mandobird 4, and I like the JBovier better.

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    Americana in France? Daniel Nestlerode's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cheap electric mandolin- Eastwood, Kentucky, Gold Tone, or...

    Quote Originally Posted by colorado_al View Post
    I'd check out the JBovier ELS 4-string
    https://mandolins.ecrater.com/p/3194...ctric-mandolin
    Click image for larger version. 

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    I've owned the kentucky 300, Eastwood Mandocaster, Mandobird 4, and I like the JBovier better.
    Ohh! that's a rare bird these days!

    Daniel

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    Registered User colorado_al's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cheap electric mandolin- Eastwood, Kentucky, Gold Tone, or...

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Nestlerode View Post
    Ohh! that's a rare bird these days!

    Daniel
    Looks like Jeff has 2 left at $550

  13. #12
    Registered User vwfye's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cheap electric mandolin- Eastwood, Kentucky, Gold Tone, or...

    I love my Eastwood Warren Ellis Mando. I gig with it every week! Click image for larger version. 

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    Default Re: Cheap electric mandolin- Eastwood, Kentucky, Gold Tone, or...

    I can't compare with the Eastwoods from personal experience, but the Mandobird and the Blue Star Mandoblaster are both nice instruments and seem to show up used on a somewhat regular basis. The Blue Stars are made in Michigan by Bruce Herron. I corresponded with Bruce by email about a broken control plate on my second (or possibly third) hand Mandoblaster and he popped right out to his work shop and made me a replacement. Really a stand-up guy. I liked the Mando blaster because it was a great way to try out a 5-string with a decent instrument at a reasonable price. they also have individual saddles for intonation adjustment. The bird allows for saddle adjustment by tweaking both the bass and treble side of the saddle, but not individual strings.

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    Registered User SincereCorgi's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cheap electric mandolin- Eastwood, Kentucky, Gold Tone, or...

    Okay, reporting back: I ended up getting the Eastwood Warren Ellis 'mandostang'. It's pretty darn decent- the build feels solid and the electronics and knobs feel better than, say, those on a recent Mexican Fender I got. It does feel very small though - almost like a violin scale instead of a mandolin scale - and the fretboard feels flat and skinny, although hopefully familiarity will make me forget all about that. I brought the action way down and am debating adding a bone nut, although I can't imagine that would do much. The pickup sounds good for a cheap instrument. My only pet peeve, and I imagine this is common in e-mandos, is that the saddle screws scratch against my hand after lowering the action.

    Thanks to everyone for the advice.

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    Default Re: Cheap electric mandolin- Eastwood, Kentucky, Gold Tone, or...

    Quote Originally Posted by SincereCorgi View Post
    My only pet peeve, and I imagine this is common in e-mandos, is that the saddle screws scratch against my hand after lowering the action.

    Thanks to everyone for the advice.
    You're gonna have to grind down those saddle screws to make them shorter. It shouldn't be painful to play

    Len B.
    Clearwater, FL

  17. #16
    Registered User jim simpson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cheap electric mandolin- Eastwood, Kentucky, Gold Tone, or...

    I guess I'd have to put in a vote for the Gold Tone 4 string electric mandolin. I've owned 8, 5, and 4 string mandolins. So far I seem to prefer the 4 string.
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    Mangler of Tunes OneChordTrick's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cheap electric mandolin- Eastwood, Kentucky, Gold Tone, or...

    Congrats! Enjoy. Any pictures?

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    Registered User vwfye's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cheap electric mandolin- Eastwood, Kentucky, Gold Tone, or...

    Quote Originally Posted by SincereCorgi View Post
    Okay, reporting back: I ended up getting the Eastwood Warren Ellis 'mandostang'. It's pretty darn decent- the build feels solid and the electronics and knobs feel better than, say, those on a recent Mexican Fender I got. It does feel very small though - almost like a violin scale instead of a mandolin scale - and the fretboard feels flat and skinny, although hopefully familiarity will make me forget all about that. I brought the action way down and am debating adding a bone nut, although I can't imagine that would do much. The pickup sounds good for a cheap instrument. My only pet peeve, and I imagine this is common in e-mandos, is that the saddle screws scratch against my hand after lowering the action.

    Thanks to everyone for the advice.
    I love my Mandostang! I lowered the action and raised the E steing side of the pickup, but I dont have any issue with getting caught on any screws, etc...
    Oh, and I measured, the scale is the same as on my acoustic 8 string mandolin with the same width nut.
    Last edited by vwfye; Dec-12-2018 at 5:46pm.
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  21. #19
    Créateur des e-mandos Soundfarmer Pete's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cheap electric mandolin- Eastwood, Kentucky, Gold Tone, or...

    Quote Originally Posted by SincereCorgi View Post
    Okay, reporting back: I ended up getting the Eastwood Warren Ellis 'mandostang'. It's pretty darn decent- the build feels solid and the electronics and knobs feel better than, say, those on a recent Mexican Fender I got. It does feel very small though - almost like a violin scale instead of a mandolin scale - and the fretboard feels flat and skinny, although hopefully familiarity will make me forget all about that. I brought the action way down and am debating adding a bone nut, although I can't imagine that would do much. The pickup sounds good for a cheap instrument. My only pet peeve, and I imagine this is common in e-mandos, is that the saddle screws scratch against my hand after lowering the action.

    Thanks to everyone for the advice.
    Screws too high? .....rather than grinding down, easier to lok on ebay - those screws are going to be metric M3 so just buy some shorter ones.....plus, get stainless and you won`t have any corrosion problems.

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