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Thread: Eastwood Airline solid electric mandola

  1. #1

    Question Eastwood Airline solid electric mandola

    Mine arrived the other day. I'm an intermediate mando player and just wanted something electric in a lower register so I can practise quietly when the kids are in bed as well as so that I can be heard when jamming with more rock-oriented friends. Just something to mess around with. Don't plan to play out professionally.

    There is a fair amount of buzzing on the C and G strings so I'll have it professionally set up.

    So a few questions.

    1. Does anyone have recommendations for string gauge if I'm likely going to be playing rock (and specifically looking to get as close to surf guitar/garage rock sound?)

    2. I'd seen some posts elsewhere about people just using 4 strings on these. For what I want to use it for what are your thoughts on just stringing it with 4? Pros/Cons?

    Haven't seen much talk on these forums about this instrument. Here is a link.

    https://eastwoodguitars.com/products/airline-mandola

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Registered User BoxCarJoe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Eastwood Airline solid electric mandola

    I love mine.
    I've been busking all summer (4 strings) and the feedback (from people) has been great.

    Emando.com sells normal, light and extra light gauges.
    Normal sounds the best but hurt my fingers.
    Extra light gives a electric guitar sound.
    Light is a good compromise of tone and play-ability.

    After a lot of back and forth 4 string was right for me.
    You can get jazzy with it and old time stuff works as well.

    Enjoy! It's a really unique sound.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Eastwood Airline solid electric mandola

    That looks like fun and a very cool instrument.
    Here's my spin on the string gauges. Your 18" scale length is very close to a guitar at the 5th fret which by coincidence is an A.
    I base this on the relationship with an electric guitar for an electric guitar "feel"
    A 1st strings: Light, .009, Medium (average) .010, Slightly heavier, .011, and Heavy, .012
    D 2nd strings: Light, .011 Standard, .012, Slightly heavier, .013, Heavy, .014 or .015
    G 3rd strings: Light, .015W if you can find it. Standard,016W or .017W, Slightly heavier and commonly available, .018W, Heavy, .020W
    an octave G-string would be .008 .009 or .010
    C 4th strings: Light, .032, Standard, .034, Slightly heavier .036, Heavy, .038
    an octave would be .011, .012 or .013

  4. #4
    Registered User Jonathan K's Avatar
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    Default Re: Eastwood Airline solid electric mandola

    I enjoyed my Airline mandola until I sold it. I had purchased it specifically to play surf music. I play guitar in a surf band now and regret having sold the mandola.

    To play surf, you must, of course, play flatwounds (and you must only play Fender gear ) I looked through my email and I believe this is what I strung the mandola with:

    D'Addario Electric Chromes Flat Wound .045
    D'Addario Electric Chromes Flat Wound .032
    D'Addario Electric Chromes Flat Wound .020
    D'Addario NYXL Plain .013

    In retrospect, I can't imagine why anyone would not string it with 4 strings. Maybe you need to adjust the pick up height, but I don't think 8 strings provide any benefit on a solid body electric mandolin family instrument.

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  6. #5

    Default Re: Eastwood Airline solid electric mandola

    Thanks for the quick feedback. So perhaps this is a dumb question but when using 4 strings does it matter which of the pairs you would use?

    And another question. Has anyone used Octave tuning on a mandola of this scale length (18)? With my interest in surf music I wonder if the lower register would work even better. And would Jonathon's suggested strings work well at that tuning also?

  7. #6
    Registered User mandolinstew's Avatar
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    Default Re: Eastwood Airline solid electric mandola

    I was thinking of trying octave tuning on mandola.Let us know if you do.

  8. #7

    Default Re: Eastwood Airline solid electric mandola

    18 inches is a shortish scale for an octave. I've done a lot of experimentation with electric short scales on guitars and basses. Every instrument is different. In the end, there are no firm rules and some instruments tolerate this sort of thing better than others. You'd get a better result using heavier strings and that would most likely require some work on the nut slots which may or may not require a nut replacement if you wanted to go back to mandola strings.

  9. #8

    Default Re: Eastwood Airline solid electric mandola

    I've been down this road, here is what I do, I only use four strings, and like to bend and use vibrato, basically they are electric guitar-like things.

    I have two of them, one strung as a tenor guitar (mandola) CGDA, and one string as an OM (GDAE).

    It is very dark, especially as an OM, I used an effects pedal to brighten things up, I did my own setup, here are the string gauges I used:

    mandola (11P, 15P, 26W, 38W) I like D'Addario NYXL wounds to brighten things a bit, tension is a bit higher on the top string cuz it was a bit weak.
    0.0110 in. 17.43 lbs
    0.0150 in. 14.44 lbs
    0.0260 in. 16.26 lbs NYXL
    0.0380 in. 14.70 lbs NYXL

    OM: (13.5P, 22P, 34W, 52W).

    0.0135 in. 14.73 lbs
    0.0220 in. 14.85 lbs
    0.0340 in. 15.29 lbs NYXL
    0.0520 in. 14.90 lbs NYXL

    As far as which slots to use I found a way I really like (and I've been playing on these heavily all year):
    - near the nut put them in the high slots except the low string which is spaced out more (in the far slot). This makes it easier to reach the low string without touching the next string.
    - on the bridge use all high slots, this avoids too great a string spacing on the low pair of strings as you move up the neck.

    I cut a new nut on one, and regret it, the strategy above really makes for a playable string spacing and you can restring back to 8 strings any time.
    Davey Stuart tenor guitar (based on his 18" mandola design).
    Eastman MD-604SB 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: THR-10, Sony XB-20.

  10. #9
    Registered User Toni Schula's Avatar
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    Default Re: Eastwood Airline solid electric mandola

    Quote Originally Posted by catfishsushi View Post
    1. Does anyone have recommendations for string gauge if I'm likely going to be playing rock (and specifically looking to get as close to surf guitar/garage rock sound?)

    2. I'd seen some posts elsewhere about people just using 4 strings on these. For what I want to use it for what are your thoughts on just stringing it with 4? Pros/Cons?
    Regarding 1: Same story here. So I restrung my Airline as octave mandolin. One octave below normal mandolin is in the same range like the guitar. And yes, mine is surf green ;-) Gauges which work for me are .014, .026w, .038w, .054w. The G strings might be heavier, they have a slight tendency of sloppiness. I use electric guitar single strings (pure nickel wound). I love to play it through a multi effects guitar pedal. See also below.

    Regarding 2: I love my 8 strings. Wouldn't it just be a funny tuned guitar missing two strings otherwise? And you never need to use a chorus pedal ;-)
    But try yourself! It is easy enough to switch between 4 and 8 strings and find out what you like the best.

  11. #10

    Default Re: Eastwood Airline solid electric mandola

    I ordered an Eastwood airline Mandola in early November. Although ordered next day delivery, it was not delivered by FedEx till the following week. It arrived with all 8 strings joined at the back of the bridges rather than 4 on the bridges and 4 from the intermediate holes on the back of the mandola. most of the bridge height adjusting allen screws were totally loose so they could drop out. All the strings buzzed badly, the intonation was terrible, and neither the tone or volume controls worked. I emailed them 7 times but received no replies, then sent a recorded delivery letter to which i also received no reply. I eventually ( nearly two weeks later) found a telephone number on Eastwoods 2018 website and was curtly told they were understaffed, although that did not seem to be the case when they took payment for the instrument. I arranged to send it back and received the same instrument backwhich they claimed had now been set up. On the instrument which came back the nut was so high I could not hold the strings down on the first fret, The volume and tone controls also did not work and apart from the C strings buzzing appallingly badly the intonation on the whole instrument was totally out. An appalling instrument and even more appalling service. I did get a full refund as promised but no apologies whatsoever. I have since ordered Belvoir Solid Electric 5 string mandolin which is a delight to play. My main instruments are a Capek A Style F hole Mandola, a Weber Gallatin A style F hole Mandolin, an Eastman octave mandolin and an Eastman F Style F hole mandola. all of these were fully set up before I purchased them so it is not as if I know nothing about quality instruments and how these should be set up. So if you might be inclined to consider an Eastwood Instrument think very carefully before parting with your money as my experience has been nothing but negative on every level!

  12. #11

    Default Re: Eastwood Airline solid electric mandola

    Broadsman -
    I am truly sorry to hear about the issues with both the instrument and our customer service. Me writing that these are both very much an exception to our norm does not erase your inconvenience and unhapppiness, but I am glad to read that the refund did finally come through.
    I've just signed up for an account here on M Cafe today for Eastwood to be more available for any issues/questions in the future.

  13. #12
    Registered User Jonathan K's Avatar
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    Default Re: Eastwood Airline solid electric mandola

    Hi! I have no doubt Broadsman had an unfortunate experience, but Iíve owned 3 Eastwood instruments so far (including the Airline Mandola) and Iíve found all of them to be good quality for dollar. The one time I corresponded with customer support resulted in a positive experience. I would continue to buy products from this company.

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  15. #13
    Registered User jparis51's Avatar
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    Default Re: Eastwood Airline solid electric mandola

    My wife and I have had similarly positive experiences with Eastwood. We own two of their guitars as well as a baritone guitar, and we just recently bought a great electric octave mandolin from them. They all benefitted from professional setups, but they sound great and we've always found their QC to punch well above their price points.

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