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Thread: Rio Grande Mock 4 Pickup for Gibson EM200

  1. #1
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    Default Rio Grande Mock 4 Pickup for Gibson EM200

    I recently joined the e-mando crowd after seeing a beautiful Gibson EM200 on our classified. Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	177450 Have had it for a couple months now, and have played a couple gigs so far.

    9/10 stars, with the *only* issue being the P90 pick-up. It is what it is, a vintage 4-pole single coil with a steady 60hz hum (...doesn't help living between three TV stations).

    And so, have begun to wonder if a more modern pick-up might help the situation. Specifically looking at the Rio Grande Mock 4 Pickup. I intend to message the maker for dimensions (and perhaps they will know if it fits the EM200 cavity).

    I live near Mike's Music, a veritable museum of vintage gear, so getting the work done professionally is not an issue. Also, this EM200 is 'players' condition, so I'm not worried about originality.

    Thoughts? Other pick-up suggestions? Questions about the EM200... bring it on. Let's gear up!

  2. #2

    Default Re: Rio Grande Mock 4 Pickup for Gibson EM200

    Great looking mandolin Michael. Nice score!! I would be strongly inclined to see if the 60 Hz hum could be drastically reduced or eliminated altogether using better grounding, shielding p/u and control cavities, i.e. faraday cage, copper foil under the pick guard, judicious use of parametric EQ, etc. Your local guitar tech may have some other ideas and recommendations typically used on electric guitars. Maybe some power conditioning to clean up the RFI.

    I dig the vintage look of the P90 and would reserve the Rio Grande p/u as a last ditch solution. imho. Good luck and let us know what you decide.

    Len B.
    Clearwater, FL
    Last edited by lenf12; Jun-11-2019 at 9:27am.

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    Americana in France? Daniel Nestlerode's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rio Grande Mock 4 Pickup for Gibson EM200

    I have been digging ever deeper into electric instrumentation and amplification this past year. I agree with Len. If your very good looking EM200 is electrically stock then there may be things you can do to reduce the noise.

    My Arrow has a Kent Armstrong on it. Pretty quiet. But my board and amps get noisy in certain poorly shielded/wired rooms. Might be a good idea to examine your full signal path.

    Daniel

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  6. #4
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    Default Re: Rio Grande Mock 4 Pickup for Gibson EM200

    It does seem to be the original electronics, and have been impressed with the knobs: clean sounding and satisfying to turn, tone cap is subtle and useful. They do like to be used, and it sounds fantastic cranked through a tube amp. Held the volume no higher than 8 during last gig, until the singer sang "...and the wind begins to howl!" then rolled it WOT and let it rip.

    Hooked up a Zoom MS70 CDR and am using their ZNR Noise Gate algorithm to manage the quiet parts for the moment, but shielding is absolutely a solution to be explored. Thanks to all!

  7. #5

    Default Re: Rio Grande Mock 4 Pickup for Gibson EM200

    If it’s still a single coil, and there’s no info on their site, you’ll have the same issue with the new pickup.

    Steve Ryder makes a stacked humbucker. Don’t know it’s dimensions.
    Play it like you mean it.

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  9. #6

    Default Re: Rio Grande Mock 4 Pickup for Gibson EM200

    Are you running phosphor bronze G and D strings? It looks to be from your picture. If so, replace them with nickle steel strings which will give a stronger magnetic signal to increase the signal to noise (S/N) ratio. It could help as well.

    Len B.
    Clearwater, FL

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    Default Re: Rio Grande Mock 4 Pickup for Gibson EM200

    Good point! The current strings are a nickel medium set from emando.com. The setup from The Music Emporium was perfect, so I asked about the strings and ordered sets to spare.

    Only issue is the high e being a bit quiet, due to a slight offset from the pole. Pole is set very high, but still weak. Not sure I want a strong/strident E, so I'm just pondering things really.

    Absolutely digging this mandolin!

  11. #8

    Default Re: Rio Grande Mock 4 Pickup for Gibson EM200

    Email Pete at Almuse. He'll set you up with a humbucker that will drop right in. He has come up with a design that eliminates the weak E string issue. Keep the original in the event that you sell the mandolin.

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  13. #9
    Quietly Making Noise Dave Greenspoon's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rio Grande Mock 4 Pickup for Gibson EM200

    +1 for Pete at Almuse.
    Axes: Rigel A Natural #1774 w/mods, Andrew Jerman Irwin-style 5 string electric "Stealie", Eastman 515, 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

  14. #10
    Créateur des e-mandos Soundfarmer Pete's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rio Grande Mock 4 Pickup for Gibson EM200

    Quote Originally Posted by lenf12 View Post
    Great looking mandolin Michael. Nice score!! I would be strongly inclined to see if the 60 Hz hum could be drastically reduced or eliminated altogether using better grounding, shielding p/u and control cavities, i.e. faraday cage, copper foil under the pick guard, judicious use of parametric EQ, etc. Your local guitar tech may have some other ideas and recommendations typically used on electric guitars. Maybe some power conditioning to clean up the RFI.

    I dig the vintage look of the P90 and would reserve the Rio Grande p/u as a last ditch solution. imho. Good luck and let us know what you decide.

    Len B.
    Clearwater, FL
    I agree about shielding....... If the coil is easily removable from the cover, lining the cover with copper snail tape and soldering a tag to the output ground wire will make a heck of a difference. I always do this when making pickups with removable covers (Strat pickups etc.)

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  16. #11
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    Default Re: Rio Grande Mock 4 Pickup for Gibson EM200

    Hey there everyone, Happy Friday to you all! Bumping this back up to share what seems to be the ideal solution for the hum issue: EHX Hum Debugger. Works perfectly with no tone changes that I hear. Downside is the large size, and that it requires its own wall-wart adapter.

    Played an outdoor gig last weekend using the LoudboxMini with just the 'dirt' pedals, and had no trouble with volume or tone, keeping up with the PA and reaching the far ends of the Swim Club grounds.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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  17. #12

    Default Re: Rio Grande Mock 4 Pickup for Gibson EM200

    Great looking rig Michael!!! And I do love the Loudbox Mini. Glad it's working out for you. How about a short sound bite with the dirt please

    Len B.
    Clearwater, FL

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  19. #13
    Registered User John Van Zandt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rio Grande Mock 4 Pickup for Gibson EM200

    If the Rio Grande that you’re looking at has anything in common with my various RG pickups, it will
    be a dandy!

    John
    Kentucky KM-380

  20. #14
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    Default Re: Rio Grande Mock 4 Pickup for Gibson EM200

    Thanks Len! The Loudbox Mini is a recent addition after joining a new band. Guitarists uses one, and after a couple gigs it was obvious, since it can power the mic'd rig and the electric. Have heard not to use a dirt box with this amp, but after dialing in the EQ to match the Vox it takes pedals just the same.

    Not sure if the Cafe hosts files large enough for a short vid. We'll see... happy to share if so.

  21. #15
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    Exclamation Re: Rio Grande Mock 4 Pickup for Gibson EM200

    I'd say a guy like Steve Ryder would custom wind a stacked humbucker to order,
    to be sure it will fit , by making him aware of the space you have measured..

    Making a whole new scratch plate gives you the option of a side by side coil humbucker too ...



    ...
    Last edited by mandroid; Aug-25-2019 at 2:33pm.
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