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Thread: Alvarez a1-e mandolin

  1. #1

    Default Alvarez a1-e mandolin

    I have an Alvarez A1-E mandolin that has no sound holes, but sounds pretty good acoustically. And if mic'd will have no trouble being heard with the other instruments in the band. But I specifically bought this mandolin to play it plugged in.

    Here's the problem; it sounds terrible plugged in. I have tried different amps, and adjusted tone controls but it still sounds very harsh on the higher frequencies. I have tried an EQ pedal and that doesn't seem to help. From my research, this seems to be a characteristic of the Piezo pickup, and can be improved by using some foot pedals. One that gets pretty good reviews is the Behringer ADl21. I know, I am one who frequently pooh-poohs Behringer equipment, but I have found some of their stuff to be pretty good.

    Has anyone else addressed this same issue with a Piezo pickup and found a solution; doesn't have to be the Behringer unit I mention. At this point I am just interested in improving the amplified sound.

    Thanks in advance for your thoughts.


  2. #2

    Default Re: Alvarez a1-e mandolin

    Tonedexter pre amp. There are a few Cafe threads commenting on it. I like mine quite a lot.
    Start slow, fade early

  3. #3

    Default Re: Alvarez a1-e mandolin

    Well yes, a Tonedexter would probably do the trick, but the OP may not want to throw money at the problem. So, what kind of amp are you playing through? Does the mandolin have a battery? If that is just a volume control, and you are plugging into a guitar amp, your problem is an impedance mismatch. Piezo pickups need an input impedance of 1 meg ohm to sound their best. The sound you describe is just what this mismatch sounds like. Regular guitar amps are designed for magnetic pickups.

    Do you have an acoustic guitar amplifier you can play through? These are designed for piezos, and most newer mixing boards have a hiZ switch. If you can try either, you should hear a smoother high end, but be aware that a bridge pickup is a compromise, you gain feedback resistance at the cost of brighter, harsher tone.

    If you can determine you have this mismatch, you can solve your problem with something as simple as a DI. Most pre amps for acoustic guitars will incorporate this function plus add gain, EQ, and maybe effects.

    Behringer has been making decent products lately. Not great but not the junk they used to churn out. Just look for a 1 Mohm input impedance.
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