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Thread: 4-string emando, what’s the best out there?

  1. #1
    Registered Muser dang's Avatar
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    Default 4-string emando, what’s the best out there?

    I have been doing a little more electric mando and I have a Eastwood octave electric and a Manndolin that’s a 5-stringer.

    I am having a hard time adapting to the 5-string, and while I use it sometimes I think a quality 4 string really has a niche.

    Not really interested in 8-string electrics. I want it to sound like a small electric guitar.

    I still want to keep the 5-string, and this is just the first phase of research.

    What’s your favorite 4-string electric?

    Dan
    I should be pickin' rather than postin'

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    Default Re: 4-string emando, what’s the best out there?

    I have a Mandobird 4 string that’s a ton of fun to play. They’re not as inexpensive as they used to be since they’re out of production (I got mine for $125), and they’re not the “best” out there, but so far it’s served my purposes. I use it in our praise band and church when I want a lead guitar sound but I already have 2 kids playing guitar. People are always shocked at the nastiness that “cute little thing” will produce with some OD or distortion.

    As I’ve moved up the food chain acoustically, I’m beginning to see the shortfalls of my electric gear, and will probably be upgrading amps and, maybe, moving up to a Mann 4 string electric at some point. That said, the upgrades would be for my enjoyment. I doubt the average listener would notice any difference running them through the same board.

    Good luck in your search!
    Chuck

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    Registered User tbown's Avatar
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    Default Re: 4-string emando, what’s the best out there?

    I owned a ‘64 mandocaster that had great tone. I ran it through my ‘63 Gretch twin. That was a killer 60’s vibe. BUT, I always found the neck to feel ‘tight’ (best descriptive word I could think of). It didn’t feel like a mandolin or a guitar. In the end, it wasn’t for me. So, off it went to fund my next phase of MAS.
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    Quietly Making Noise Dave Greenspoon's Avatar
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    Default Re: 4-string emando, what’s the best out there?

    It's never a question about best anything; it's about best spot on the value spectrum for you and your needs. Seeing that you have a Mann 5-stringer, I presume that there is plenty of room in the budget for quality instruments and/or upgrades.

    The four-stringers I've held through my catch-and-release policy include in order: Jerman #11 (a two point, retrofitted to gold hardware and really heavy), Kentucky KM-300E upgraded to a Wilde Bill L45S pickup (and bunches of internal shielding and wiring work by Andrew Jerman), and a NOS (shop display) Epiphone Mandobird IV (unscathed by my compulsive need to upgrade). Of all these, the Epi surprised me most for the fit and finish out of the box.

    Given what you've got, remember YGWYPF especially with down-cost, mass produced instruments. That said, I hear folks like their Bovier 4-string electrics but have never played one.

    I suggest a new or used Jerman or JL Smith four string if you are already not getting another Mann (like a double-cutaway SEM-4...yummy). Never played a JLS, but heard good things in general. Otherwise, sounds like you might be good for a new or used Rono "workingman's special".
    Axes: Rigel A Natural #1774 w/mods, Andrew Jerman Irwin-style 5 string electric "Stealie", Eastman 515, Shiro F-5, Crafter M85E, Dillion 335 style, Grandmom's solid-mahogany teens bent-top, Baglamas 002
    Boards: Acoustic Electric
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    Registered User John Rosett's Avatar
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    Default Re: 4-string emando, what’s the best out there?

    I have a 4 string mandola from Montana luthier Ryan Rukavina that I love. He winds his own pickups, and they sound great.Click image for larger version. 

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    "it's not in bad taste, if it's funny" - john waters

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    Default Re: 4-string emando, what’s the best out there?

    Not the "best" but I have no complaints about my Eastwood Mandostang. I particularly appreciate its 1 1/8" nut, IMO there is no reason it should ever be wider in a 4 string.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  12. #7
    fishing with my mando darrylicshon's Avatar
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    Default Re: 4-string emando, what’s the best out there?

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    I have a few different ones none are very expensive. I like all of them they all are a little different. When it comes to what you want , since you have a mann 5 string all mine except the Lou Mancuso one would be below what you may want. I would suggest a mann 4 string , thats if you like your mann 5

    Click image for larger version. 

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  14. #8

    Default Re: 4-string emando, what’s the best out there?

    I've owned about twenty electric mandos in my time – the one in my avatar, made in Japan by Acoustic World, is by far the best of 'em.

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    Default Re: 4-string emando, what’s the best out there?

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    I have a Ryder 4-string and a Yanuziello 8 string (shown above). The Yano is the bomb. Not cheap, but the build quality is above and beyond.
    Good Advice: Play before you pay, and know your product and your market.

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    Mandogenerator Mike Black's Avatar
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    Default Re: 4-string emando, what’s the best out there?

    I have one of the new Fender Mandocasters with the pickup replaced with an Almuse pickup and it's great.

    Honestly, when I want to play electric I tend to play a 4 string octave/tenor guitar. It's so much fun!Click image for larger version. 

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  20. #11
    Registered Muser dang's Avatar
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    Default Re: 4-string emando, what’s the best out there?

    Thanks for the responses, this is just what I wanted -some names I knew and some I had never heard of. I definitely enjoy my Mann 5-string but I am not completely in love with it. The feel is a little off from what I am used to but I am adapting to it.

    Dave - A double cutaway SEM-4 is my front runner but wanted to make sure I look around

    Mary - That is gorgeous!

    Mike- I completely agree with your octave electric statement, they are fun in a big way! Also - I like your work, they sound great online an I hope to play one someday soon.

    Dan G
    I should be pickin' rather than postin'

  21. #12
    fishing with my mando darrylicshon's Avatar
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    Default Re: 4-string emando, what’s the best out there?

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    Octave mandolins are lots of fun in the photo you can see a regular mandolin a octave and a regular guitar. I'm having an octave 5 string made it should be ready soon. I agree they are really fun , they fit right inbetween the guitar and mandolin but closer to the guitarClick image for larger version. 

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  22. #13
    Registered Muser dang's Avatar
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    Default Re: 4-string emando, what’s the best out there?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandobar View Post
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    I have a Ryder 4-string and a Yanuziello 8 string (shown above). The Yano is the bomb. Not cheap, but the build quality is above and beyond.
    I googled Yanuziello and WOW! That is some high end stuff, and it looks simply amazing!
    On the website it said the “Viceroy” was sent to TMS and it seems to look like that pic you posted Mary, congrats on an amazing instrument! I see what you mean about the price point, the only price I could find on the website was for a $10K guitar so I stopped looking... But wow! You aren’t kidding about “above and beyond” build quality.
    I should be pickin' rather than postin'

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    Default Re: 4-string emando, what’s the best out there?

    Fender is about to come out with a tenor telecaster.

    https://www.chicagomusicexchange.com...order/18725698

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    Default Re: 4-string emando, what’s the best out there?

    I've played a lot of electrics, and most of them were great. For the money, I highly recommend J.L. Smith. A mid priced instrument with excellent workmanship and sound.
    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.

  25. #16

    Default Re: 4-string emando, what’s the best out there?

    Hey guys, my name is Ben Liggett, and I'm a luthier for Bishline Banjos. I had to throw my hat into the ring since I just completed my first electric mandolin for a customer. We thought it turned out pretty classy, hope you all like it as well!


    liggettguitars.com/mandolin

  26. #17

    Default Re: 4-string emando, what’s the best out there?

    dang - have you tried your Mann with the low string removed? The low C really threw me off at first. Maybe try it as a 4 and see what you think of the instrument.

    I have a 5 string Fender electric that took a bit of getting used to but now I can't see going without it.
    VerneAndru.com | oKee.ComX

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  27. #18

    Default Re: 4-string emando, what’s the best out there?

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    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: 4-string emando, what’s the best out there?

    Quote Originally Posted by Liggett View Post
    Hey guys, my name is Ben Liggett, and I'm a luthier for Bishline Banjos. I had to throw my hat into the ring since I just completed my first electric mandolin for a customer. We thought it turned out pretty classy, hope you all like it as well!

    liggettguitars.com/mandolin
    That is a looker for sure! Gonna build any more? Have you considered doing a 5-string, maybe 14.5" or 15"?
    Emando.com: More than you wanted to know about electric mandolins.

    Notorious: My Celtic CD--listen & buy!

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  29. #20
    Registered Muser dang's Avatar
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    Default Re: 4-string emando, what’s the best out there?

    Quote Originally Posted by Liggett View Post
    Hey guys, my name is Ben Liggett, and I'm a luthier for Bishline Banjos. I had to throw my hat into the ring since I just completed my first electric mandolin for a customer. We thought it turned out pretty classy, hope you all like it as well!


    www.liggettguitars.com/mandolin
    Very cool! Interesting tailpiece, can you tell me what it is? And what pickups?
    I also like that you use natural woods and don’t want to paint them as you say in your bio.
    Thanks!
    I should be pickin' rather than postin'

  30. #21
    Registered Muser dang's Avatar
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    Default Re: 4-string emando, what’s the best out there?

    Quote Originally Posted by Verne Andru View Post
    dang - have you tried your Mann with the low string removed? The low C really threw me off at first. Maybe try it as a 4 and see what you think of the instrument.

    I have a 5 string Fender electric that took a bit of getting used to but now I can't see going without it.

    Well, I was coming to a similar conclusion and got a Mandostang to tide me over until I get something really cool. I can already tell I want to end up with humbuckers or something switchable, the single rail on the mandostang is just ok.
    I should be pickin' rather than postin'

  31. #22

    Default Re: 4-string emando, what’s the best out there?

    Quote Originally Posted by mrmando View Post
    That is a looker for sure! Gonna build any more? Have you considered doing a 5-string, maybe 14.5" or 15"?
    Thanks you! I can do any scale length really, I was just contracted to make a short scale octave version this time around.

    Quote Originally Posted by dang View Post
    Very cool! Interesting tailpiece, can you tell me what it is? And what pickups?
    I also like that you use natural woods and don’t want to paint them as you say in your bio.
    Thanks!
    The bridges are individual-string bridges by t4m (technology 4 musicians) based in Italy. They are a small batch machine shop, and their build quality has just been exceptional, so I use them a lot. The pickups are a calibrated set of Lollar Charlie Christian humbuckers. My customer wanted a "bluesy" sounding mando, so we tried to eliminate anything that would lead to a trebly instrument. Warm pickups, a shorter scale for an octave mando etc. It ended up sounding really good, I'll get a video up on the site soon.

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  33. #23

    Default Re: 4-string emando, what’s the best out there?

    Quote Originally Posted by dang View Post
    Well, I was coming to a similar conclusion and got a Mandostang to tide me over until I get something really cool. I can already tell I want to end up with humbuckers or something switchable, the single rail on the mandostang is just ok.
    You could probably fit a humbucker in the mandostang. If you're really adventurous you could route it for 2 humbuckers and really rock.

    After I got confused with my 5-string I spent some time with a tenor (which is what the lower 4 strings on a 5 are tuned to) to get a feel for the tuning in isolation. That really helped me making sense of the 5.
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  34. #24
    Quietly Making Noise Dave Greenspoon's Avatar
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    Default Re: 4-string emando, what’s the best out there?

    Quote Originally Posted by dang View Post
    Well, I was coming to a similar conclusion and got a Mandostang to tide me over until I get something really cool. I can already tell I want to end up with humbuckers or something switchable, the single rail on the mandostang is just ok.
    The spacing on the octave is far more conducive to a set of pickups. I've done upgrades or had builds that used Wilde Bill Lawrence L45S's, the Almuse Moongazer, and I believe Bartoloni. The Bartoloni and L45S were dual-rail. That said, the Almuse "P"Zouk might work for you as well, which takes you into a wholly different set of options.
    Axes: Rigel A Natural #1774 w/mods, Andrew Jerman Irwin-style 5 string electric "Stealie", Eastman 515, Shiro F-5, Crafter M85E, Dillion 335 style, Grandmom's solid-mahogany teens bent-top, Baglamas 002
    Boards: Acoustic Electric
    Amps: Fishman Loudbox 100; Rivera Clubster Royale Recording Head; Laney Cub 10 & Cab, Peavey Studio Pro

  35. #25
    Americana in France? Daniel Nestlerode's Avatar
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    Default Re: 4-string emando, what’s the best out there?

    I read on the cafe some time ago that Tiny Moore chorded like he was playing a mandola and solo-ed like he was playing a mandolin. It dawned on me at that point that a 5 string mandolin is just a short scale mandola with a cheater e string on top.

    Now go get a 5 string!


    Daniel

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