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Thread: If your spouse just green-lighted an electric mando ...

  1. #1
    Registered User johnsoba's Avatar
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    Default If your spouse just green-lighted an electric mando ...

    óand you sometimes sat in with a loud electric band, playing Neil Young, for instance,
    óand you had around $1,000
    What would you do? Solid body or semi-hollow body? 4 or 5 (or 8) strings? Pickup(s)? What should I be careful of or stay away from?
    Iíve never had one before and I can get loud enough amping my acoustic, but . . . .

    Summit Artist V mandolin #384 (2011)
    R.L. Givens A5 mandolin #151 (1978)
    Ramsey Woody banjo #1104 (Appomattox years)
    Martin 000-18 guitar #218946 (1967)
    unlabeled 1860s? parlor guitar, ice cream cone heel
    Sebastien Kloz fiddle (1734, authenticated)
    GFI Ultra pedal steel guitar (2000)

  2. #2

    Default Re: If your spouse just green-lighted an electric mando ...

    If your acoustic can play loud enough without feeding back, I would get something very different and have both. So, a four or five string solid body item.

  3. #3
    Registered Muser dang's Avatar
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    Default Re: If your spouse just green-lighted an electric mando ...

    If you need it to sound kinda like a mandolin, the 8 string version is probably best - the single string versions seem to sound more like a small guitar. Which is fine if thatís what you want. I have a 4-string and a 5-string and I am not as good as I had hoped I might have been with the 5-string. I can get around but itís not as easy to jam on the 5-string; I think it would take more time then I have committed.

    The E string on an electric mando can be weaker then the other strings, make sure all strings are balanced in volume before you buy. The amp can be an issue too, not all amps seem to handle the mandolin range well, but this is very subjective.

    If you know what you are doing having all the pickup options and switches are really useful. If youíre like me there was a learning curve to this and I ended up getting a simple 4-string Eastwood Mandostang to help me understand the basic setup better. It has 2 knobs and one pickup. After several hours with that I could manipulate the push-pull pots on my Mann 5-string better and my tone vastly improved.

    That said, now I think I want a 4-string mando with all the features of my Mann fiver.

    If you havenít, check out the e-mando sub forum. Lots of good info on this subject there.
    I should be pickin' rather than postin'

  4. #4
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    Default Re: If your spouse just green-lighted an electric mando ...

    I agree with David that if your acoustic's loud enough when amp'd, you might want to try something different. If you did want an acoustic/electric, the Godin A8 seems well regarded and would fit your budget. That one is supposed to actually sound like an 8-string mando. Since you seem to already have that covered, I'm back to the suggestion to do something different, which for me is a 5-string. I have 3 reasons for that:

    1. The 8-string solid body emando (Epiphone Mandobird) to me sounds too much like a 4-string electric guitar, so if you go that route, you may as well play 4 or 5 strings. My experience here seems to differ from Dang - I made it a point to get an 8-string because I wanted a mando sound, and was disappointed that when plugged in, it still sounded like a guitar.

    2. Given that it sounds like an electric guitar anyway, if you go with single string courses, you get the electric guitar type benefits that it's easier to play, and you can bend strings a lot easier.

    3. Getting a low C string is way cool. As Dang implied, it takes some extra work to get good at it, but it's lots of fun.

    I found a used Bluestar Mandoblaster for less than half your budget, and I think Elderly used to sell new ones for about $550(?), but it's not clear if new ones are available. Blue Star has a facebook page but their web link doesn't appear to be active.
    https://www.facebook.com/pages/categ...9721241060470/
    I'll also note that Bruce Herron (Mr. Bluestar) is a really nice guy - I exchanged a couple of emails with him and he made me a replacement for a broken control plate for that instrument.

    I have been lusting after the Mann SEM-5, but that won't fit your budget unless you can find a good used deal. I haven't been able to justify it since I'm just tinkering with the 5-string. The SEM-5 has a nice electronics setup, and also the one inch longer scale should reduce the floppiness that some don't like on a 14" C string, while still keeping to a mandolin-like scale length for playability.

    Good luck with your search and have fun!

  5. #5
    Registered User GrooverMcTube's Avatar
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    Default Re: If your spouse just green-lighted an electric mando ...

    If my wife gave me the green light on an electric mandolin, I would be inhabiting another universe because it ain't happenin' in this one...

    However, since she doesn't consult with me before she buys another pair of shoes, I don't need to get her pre-approval for mandolin-related purchases (easier to plead for forgiveness than ask for permission).

    I am considering the Eastman El Rey. 8-strings, semi-hollow with f-holes (like a Gibson ES-335). The Mandolin Store is accepting pre-orders for $1039 (NFI). All the cool kids want one, be the first on your block to get one! Then report back here as I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one Jonesing for one of these.

    Here are the specs:

    – Top: Solid Maple
    – Back/Sides: Solid Mahogany with center Block
    – Lollar Custom Mando Humbucker
    – Handmade Ebony pickup ring
    – Volume/ Tone Ebony Knobs
    – Inlays: El Rey Thumbnails

    The emando.com guy reviewed it here. It was mentioned that it isn't very loud acoustically (which for those of us whose wives don't want to hear the shrill notes of a mandolin view as a selling feature) but feedback-resistant owing to the center block. MAS continues on its inexorable course.

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    Registered User MoreThanQuinn's Avatar
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    Default Re: If your spouse just green-lighted an electric mando ...

    If I were in your shoes (this is just for me personally), I might look for an electric tenor guitar. You can have it tune the same as an octave mandolin, so you'll be familiar with all the shapes and fingerings, but it'll have the low end of a nice electric guitar.

    I always come back to this video of Sierra Hull. The first instrument she plays is too cool. Definitely not within budget, but it serves as inspiration for whatever acquisition syndrome you've got going on...


    Anyways, I'd be looking at some of the Gibson electric archtop tenors...
    2016 Martin TEN515 Tenor Guitar
    2018 Poe Scout #76

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  8. #7

    Default Re: If your spouse just green-lighted an electric mando ...

    How about a pair of Eastwoods. Mando + tenor for example. Their airline mandola is fantastic too. If you want a mandolin sound get 8 strings, if you want more of a guitar sound, get 4.
    Trinity College TM325 Octave Mandolin (converted to 4-string tenor guitar).
    Eastman MD-605SB, MD-604SB, MD-305, all with Grover 309 tuners.
    Eastwood 4 string electric mandostang, 2x Airline e-mandola (4-string) one strung as an e-OM.
    DSP's: Helix HX Stomp, various Zooms.
    Amps: QSC-K10, DBR-10, THR-10, Sony XB-20.

  9. #8
    Quietly Making Noise Dave Greenspoon's Avatar
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    Default Re: If your spouse just green-lighted an electric mando ...

    1. A new 5 string commission from Andrew Jerman.
    2. The new Eastman El Rey mandolin has my interest.
    3. A used Jonathan Mann SEM5 always will grab my attention.

  10. #9

    Default Re: If your spouse just green-lighted an electric mando ...

    I'd get an eight-string so it still has the mando flavor and a solid body so it doesn't feed back.

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    Default Re: If your spouse just green-lighted an electric mando ...

    Quote Originally Posted by kurth83 View Post
    How about a pair of Eastwoods. Mando + tenor for example. Their airline mandola is fantastic too. If you want a mandolin sound get 8 strings, if you want more of a guitar sound, get 4.
    I've been playing my Airline mandola as a 4 string and getting a lot of compliments. It just feels better to me.

  12. #11
    Registered User johnsoba's Avatar
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    Default Re: If your spouse just green-lighted an electric mando ...

    You folks are the best. You've given me all kinds of excellent advice and I appreciate it! You've made me think especially hard about the following: 1) Do I want to sound like another electric lead guitar in a band that has two already? 2) Do I want to sound like a mandolin, taking leads wih this band? 3) Is my current set-up feeding back? 4) How does it handle effects pedals?
    I'll naswer these questions, tell you what your thinking suggests to me, and ask if I've understood you.
    #3 and4 although I can get all the volume I need without feeding back (baggs radius pickup and baggs para di pre-amp), distortion pedals don't work with all the resonance of my mandolin
    #2 not particularly since even now when it's cranked high it doesn"t sound that much like a mandolin
    #1 i can play electric guitar solos for that matter, except i sold my electric guitar and I seemed to be playing uninteresting "in the box" type leads, and i like the idea of playing in the mandolin's high register, scale length, so no mandola or tenor guitar although intiguing suggestions--and Sierra Hull, well...!---using the shapes and patterns that i already know
    SO, here's what I'm going to look for based on your advice. Please tell me if I'm hearing you or missing some points:
    solid body 4 or 5 string
    get lucky with a used Mann or commission a Jerman or a Bluestar

    Summit Artist V mandolin #384 (2011)
    R.L. Givens A5 mandolin #151 (1978)
    Ramsey Woody banjo #1104 (Appomattox years)
    Martin 000-18 guitar #218946 (1967)
    unlabeled 1860s? parlor guitar, ice cream cone heel
    Sebastien Kloz fiddle (1734, authenticated)
    GFI Ultra pedal steel guitar (2000)

  13. #12
    Registered User johnsoba's Avatar
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    Default Re: If your spouse just green-lighted an electric mando ...

    Three interesting electric mandolins tht fit my above thinking, I think.

    Here's a used Jerman http://www.crossroadswood.com/forsale.html



    And here's a Girouard one-off? https://reverb.com/item/25590605-gir...lin-2009-blond


    And what about this Dubova? more of a wood-worker? Doen't identify the pickups, i don't think.
    ttps://www.etsy.com/listing/221976409/custom-electric-mandolin-dubova-handmade?gpla=1&gao=1&&utm_source=google&utm_mediu m=cpc&utm_campaign=shopping_us_a-books_movies_and_music-music-musical_instruments-other&utm_custom1=0237473d-4a3e-460f-b4b9-94a3065a52e7&utm_content=go_1843970629_71423479842 _346397762092_pla-314262776627_c__221976409&gclid=CjwKCAjw6vvoBRBtEi wAZq-T1eA9vT1Vt3c96tuGGPdOnV6Lq2HGMlPMa233i8ZMMVRmtcGOY LbH_hoCdeEQAvD_BwE

    Summit Artist V mandolin #384 (2011)
    R.L. Givens A5 mandolin #151 (1978)
    Ramsey Woody banjo #1104 (Appomattox years)
    Martin 000-18 guitar #218946 (1967)
    unlabeled 1860s? parlor guitar, ice cream cone heel
    Sebastien Kloz fiddle (1734, authenticated)
    GFI Ultra pedal steel guitar (2000)

  14. #13
    Registered Muser dang's Avatar
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    Default Re: If your spouse just green-lighted an electric mando ...

    Quote Originally Posted by johnsoba View Post
    Three interesting electric mandolins tht fit my above thinking, I think.

    Here's a used Jerman http://www.crossroadswood.com/forsale.html



    And here's a Girouard one-off? https://reverb.com/item/25590605-gir...lin-2009-blond

    ...
    That Jerman is an octave mando, 21inch scale, just in case you didn’t see that....

    That Girouard looks interesting! Kinda pricey for not a lot of options but that thing is a looker for sure!

    What amp are you using?
    I should be pickin' rather than postin'

  15. #14
    Registered User johnsoba's Avatar
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    Default Re: If your spouse just green-lighted an electric mando ...

    Sheesh. I missed ALL that on the Jerman. I've been looking at so many, mt mind is blurring. Thanks for telling me!
    I'm just plugging into the band's system at present. All I've got at home is an acoustic amp (Fender Acoustic 200).

    Summit Artist V mandolin #384 (2011)
    R.L. Givens A5 mandolin #151 (1978)
    Ramsey Woody banjo #1104 (Appomattox years)
    Martin 000-18 guitar #218946 (1967)
    unlabeled 1860s? parlor guitar, ice cream cone heel
    Sebastien Kloz fiddle (1734, authenticated)
    GFI Ultra pedal steel guitar (2000)

  16. #15
    Registered Muser dang's Avatar
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    Default Re: If your spouse just green-lighted an electric mando ...

    I was just using a 10watt practice bass amp with my emando, it wasn’t good, but it was acceptable with some pedals involved.

    I heard some local guitar players and looked into what they were doing (cause I really liked the sound) and they didn’t have any pedals at all, just a guitar into an amp. So I took my Mann into a shop and found something I loved the sound of, been experimenting on getting the tone I want with just the amp and the mando, and it is going quite well. (Fender hot rod deluxe IV)

    The tube guitar amps seemed to fatten up my otherwise thinner sound, I would roughly compare it to an overdrive and a compression but there does seem to be more to it then that.

    I found this journey to be a bit finicky compared to acoustic mando, small things make a big and sometimes unexpected difference. I wanted to like just using the pedals, but found the amp more satisfying in the tone department. I got my 5-string Mann before I knew what to do with it. My mandostang education was worth the lower price and simple setup.

    If someone asked me about emando and didn’t have any qualifiers I would say try a mandostang and a tube amp. That’s where my tone started to get to a level I was happy with. YMMV!
    I should be pickin' rather than postin'

  17. #16
    Registered User johnsoba's Avatar
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    Default Re: If your spouse just green-lighted an electric mando ...

    Excellent info. I haven’t thought much about Chinese—that’s what the Eastwood mandostang is, I assume—but will take a look.

    Summit Artist V mandolin #384 (2011)
    R.L. Givens A5 mandolin #151 (1978)
    Ramsey Woody banjo #1104 (Appomattox years)
    Martin 000-18 guitar #218946 (1967)
    unlabeled 1860s? parlor guitar, ice cream cone heel
    Sebastien Kloz fiddle (1734, authenticated)
    GFI Ultra pedal steel guitar (2000)

  18. #17

    Default Re: If your spouse just green-lighted an electric mando ...

    I had a 5 string Bluestar mandoblaster and it was one of the most fun instruments I’ve played. If you Google mandoblaster a few used ones should show up for sale at various locations, or go with commissioning one.

  19. #18

    Default Re: If your spouse just green-lighted an electric mando ...

    This:

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/ads/141376#141376

    In the MC classifieds now for $500 (NFI). Please buy it before I do

    Len B.
    Clearwater, FL

  20. #19
    fishing with my mando darrylicshon's Avatar
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    Default Re: If your spouse just green-lighted an electric mando ...

    With $1000 you could get 2 cheaper ones maybe a 4 string mandobird and a 8 string one should be able to get both under 1kClick image for larger version. 

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  22. #20

    Default Re: If your spouse just green-lighted an electric mando ...

    Quote Originally Posted by BoxCarJoe View Post
    I've been playing my Airline mandola as a 4 string and getting a lot of compliments. It just feels better to me.
    That's what I did too, it sits nicely between a guitar and a mandolin and I love the 18" scale. I restrung one as an OM too but haven't had much time to play with it yet.
    Trinity College TM325 Octave Mandolin (converted to 4-string tenor guitar).
    Eastman MD-605SB, MD-604SB, MD-305, all with Grover 309 tuners.
    Eastwood 4 string electric mandostang, 2x Airline e-mandola (4-string) one strung as an e-OM.
    DSP's: Helix HX Stomp, various Zooms.
    Amps: QSC-K10, DBR-10, THR-10, Sony XB-20.

  23. #21
    Registered User mandolinstew's Avatar
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    Default Re: If your spouse just green-lighted an electric mando ...

    Check out four five and eight string electrics.

  24. #22
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    Default Re: If your spouse just green-lighted an electric mando ...

    Quote Originally Posted by kurth83 View Post
    That's what I did too, it sits nicely between a guitar and a mandolin and I love the 18" scale. I restrung one as an OM too but haven't had much time to play with it yet.
    I requested they make a 5 string. That would be awesome.
    Unlikely they would comply.
    If the nut was a little wider I would try to convert mine but I think it's too tight.

  25. #23
    Registered User johnsoba's Avatar
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    Default Re: If your spouse just green-lighted an electric mando ...

    Thanks again, all! Just bought a used mandostang for $325, shipping included.
    https://reverb.com/item/25973215-eas...lis-mandostang

    Summit Artist V mandolin #384 (2011)
    R.L. Givens A5 mandolin #151 (1978)
    Ramsey Woody banjo #1104 (Appomattox years)
    Martin 000-18 guitar #218946 (1967)
    unlabeled 1860s? parlor guitar, ice cream cone heel
    Sebastien Kloz fiddle (1734, authenticated)
    GFI Ultra pedal steel guitar (2000)

  26. #24

    Default Re: If your spouse just green-lighted an electric mando ...


  27. #25

    Default Re: If your spouse just green-lighted an electric mando ...

    Quote Originally Posted by johnsoba View Post
    Sheesh. I missed ALL that on the Jerman. I've been looking at so many, mt mind is blurring. Thanks for telling me!
    Shameless self promotion but there will be about 6 instruments, currently on the shop page in the white, posted on the for sale page. Just saying.

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