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Thread: Mann mandolins?

  1. #1

    Default Mann mandolins?

    Hello all,

    I've been bitten badly by EMAS. First a Mandobird IV, then a Godin, (and amps of course), and now I'm looking at a Mann SEM 8.

    I haven't been able to find much info about them anywhere, not even here on the Cafe.

    I would appreciate your opinions on them. Playability, fret size, amount of radius on the fretboard, tone from the pickups, (I mostly play clean with reverb), and anything else you can tell me. For example, I can't tell how the bridge is compensated from pictures/videos I've seen.
    But I already know that they are gorgeous and I want/need one!

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Registered User chasray's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mann mandolins?

    Are you aware of his website www.manndolins.com? He has info about fret size, etc. of his various models. A great guy to work with who makes great stuff.

  3. #3
    Registered User chasray's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mann mandolins?

    And he has a youtube channel MANNDOLINS Mann

  4. #4

    Default Re: Mann mandolins?

    Thanks chasray, somehow I missed seeing the specs on the website, and one of the videos gave me a good look at the bridge.

    Still would like opinions of people that have one. Can you get a clean tone out of it? Hard to tell with video audio quality.

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    Default Re: Mann mandolins?

    I've had both the SEM and the EM. They were wonderful instruments, but like a dummy, I moved them on to new owners. Mine were both 5 strings. Tone was very clean if wanted, but I'm usually on a reberb kick with my electrics. I don't think you can go wrong with a Manndolin.
    Chief. Way up North. Gibson 1917 A model with pickup. JL Smith 5 string electric. 1929 National Triolian resonator mandolin with pickup. National RM 1 with pickup. Ovation Applause. Fender FM- 60 E 5 string electric (with juiced pickups). 1950's Gibson EM-200 electric mandolin. 1954 Gibson EM-150 electric mandolin. Custom made "Jett Pink" 5 string electric- Bo Diddley slab style. Jay Roberts Tiny Moore model 5 string electric.

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    Default Re: Mann mandolins?

    Don’t own one, but they have a very good reputation ‘round these parts. If I ever play my Mandobird enough to really get bugged by its shortcomings, a Manndolin will be high on my list of potential upgrades...

    Also, if you tell him what you want he can probably tweak specs for you if needed...
    Chuck

  7. #7
    Registered User chasray's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mann mandolins?

    I have an EM- 4 that I'm very happy with. Yes, I can get a clean tone out of it.

    http://www.manndolins.com/em--4-5-8.html

  8. #8
    Registered User chasray's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mann mandolins?

    I have the hollow body, which I prefer. But I can't speak about the solid body.

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    Registered User Pete Martin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mann mandolins?

    Owned several Manns and all were top notch instruments. I currently play an EM5.
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    Registered User spufman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mann mandolins?

    I have the hollowbody Octave 8, and it's a really nice instrument. Looks, plays and sounds great. Mine has the Dimarzio rail pickup plus the piezo bridge, with pull-up switch for series on the humbucker. I'd certainly buy it again, so there's my opinion for ya!
    Blow on, man.

  11. #11
    Registered User clem's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mann mandolins?

    Jonathan is a great guy and builds quality instruments. You can get a lot of different tones and sounds from his instruments, because he uses quality components/parts and he cares about craft and playability. I owned his 5 string "baritone/OM" (tuned low-G to high B) and gigged with it a bunch. Great cleans and plenty of output from driving an amp and or pedals.
    Last edited by clem; Jan-16-2019 at 9:50am. Reason: word change

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    Default Re: Mann mandolins?

    I have an EM-8, which I bought used a few years ago. I generally play it clean with a touch of reverb when I play through an amp. I've run it through a PA without a reverb, and it comes through just fine. My first electric mando was a Fender FM61-SE. and the Mann was a serious upgrade! I've never been introduced in the Mandocaster type of e-mandos because I want that double-course sound. The Mann has one pick-up, but it has two settings (through a pull-up, push-down knob). One setting has a bit more attack than the other. You can play it unamped, and you'll get some low-volume acoustic tone from it. It's fine for playing at home on my own, but it doesn't have enough volume to play unplugged with others. The fretboard has a very slight radius. All in all, I certainly agree with clem that "he cares about craft and playability." My only complaint is that the jack comes out the bottom of the instrument, so when I play sitting down, the cord goes between my legs, to the amusement of my buddies.

    Here is a video that I did a while ago, running the EM-8 through an Ibanez Troubadour amp. I have no idea how the tone of the EM-8 compares with SEM-8's, but I'm sure that if you contacted Jonathan, he'd be happy to take you beyond the visual differences.

    still trying to turn dreams into memories

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  14. #13
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    Default Re: Mann mandolins?

    I own quite a few Mann mandolins. Jon is an excellent builder and a very kind person. He works hard to try to make your instrument do what you need it to do and his workmanship is superb. I love my SEM mandolins and have one 8 string tuned with octave split (Skeeter tuning) G and D strings. It just sparkles through a good amp. But also take a hard look at the EM models Jon originally designed. For playability, I love my EM's. I have them in 4, 5, and 8 string...solid, semi hollow and hollow. Each gives a very different sound. The SEM gives you two pickups, but you would be surprised at the variety of sounds you can achieve with the single pickup EM's. Good luck and I hope you acquire a Mann mandolin soon. I think you will really enjoy it, whichever model you choose. The reason I have so many of Jon's instruments is that they all sound great and really play well. One just was not enough...And it is an absolute pleasure to work with Jon.

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