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Thread: Overclock your mandolin?

  1. #1
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    Default Overclock your mandolin?

    Anyone here consider overclocking their less than warm choppy sounding mandolin like this guy? I might give it a go on my Ephiphone mm50vs.

    https://youtu.be/fbbbLzpSTew

    What do you think?

    kevin

  2. #2
    The Amateur Mandolinist Mark Gunter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Overclock your mandolin?

    First I've heard of "overclocking" a mandolin ... and I suppose I'd have to watch a 22 minute video to find out? Unless you'd be willing to clue me in here ...
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    Default Re: Overclock your mandolin?

    I always play videos at 2x speed if I can with captions until the sound tests. Anyway the guy took an Epiphone mm50 and shaved the top and bottom plates with tap tuning without removing them, upgraded the fretboard, the tailpiece and refinished all surfaces, colored purple, not my taste but different.

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    Default Re: Overclock your mandolin?

    I would never pay someone to do this, but I could do it myself. I've repaired and refinished a number of instruments, and since my mm50 is of low value anyway I think it might be a good idea to do it.
    I'm buying another mando soon anyway and the mm50 would be a back up of sorts, depends on how it turns out. The most intriguing part of the video is the sound tests after the modification, worth a listen.

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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Overclock your mandolin?

    It's actually called re-voicing. It's not a new concept.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Default Re: Overclock your mandolin?

    I'll do some more research

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    Default Re: Overclock your mandolin?

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeEdgerton View Post
    It's actually called re-voicing. It's not a new concept.
    I've heard of re-voicing before, but never gave it much thought/ really knew what it was.

    Overclocking??? Even in the YT description the poster wrote "We revoiced an Epi".

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    Default Re: Overclock your mandolin?

    Well, it's an interesting project for a progressing student of lutherie, since you already have the Epi,and don't mind risking the instrument. But for someone else it might make more sense to start with a better grade white mandolin rather than to have to strip the finish and fingerboard off an Epi.

    Jethro, if you decide to re-graduate, refinish, and refret your own mandolin, you've got nothing to lose except whatever you paid for the instrument. You'll learn a lot, and with luck, it will turn out well. But try and do a better finish job than the youtube shop. French polished shellac or a violin style oil varnish might be a good choice if you've got some finishing experience.

    "Overclocking?" Where the h--- did they come up with that term??


    But for those who don't want to do the work themselves, and are thinking about sending an Epi to a competent luthier to have this work done, it's really not a very practical idea.

    A ballpark estimate to re-work the $650 Epi mandolin in the manner shown in the video would be $500-$700 for a new fret board without binding, perhaps $400 - $800 at least to re-graduate the plates [even if you don't take it apart and work on the tone bars], another $150 - $200 for a hand carved nut and saddle, another $100 for an Allen tailpiece, $60 - $100 for tuners, maybe $800 - $1000 for a good refinish job [and the refinish on the youtube mandolin was not good] . . . that's $2000 to $3000 work on a $600 mandolin. And prepare to pay quite a bit more if you live in California or near NY City.

    You're getting into the same price range as a used Collings, or a plain Northfield, or an upper-line Eastman AND something else . . . And then, if you decided to sell it somewhere down the road, you could at least recover a good portion of your investment. Nobody will pay $2600+ for a re-worked Epiphone.

    Of course, the F-5 that we now know as Sam Bush's "Hoss" got the same treatment, but that's a different story.
    Last edited by rcc56; Jan-03-2020 at 12:21am.

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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Overclock your mandolin?

    For those that might be unaware of the term over-clocking it's a computer related term that basically means you're running a component (such as a CPU) at a higher clock rate than it was specified to run. In the early days of the 486 processors you could buy the processor to run at higher or lower speeds. The price of the CPU was based on the speed it ran. Your motherboard also had a switch that allowed you to set the speed. All of us that were in the industry would buy the cheaper CPU and attempt to run it at the faster rate. Sometimes it worked sometimes it didn't. Since those days it has become somewhat of an art form for computer geeks that exceeded anything we early geeks ever thought possible. How this gets applied to a modified mandolin I have no idea.
    Last edited by MikeEdgerton; Jan-03-2020 at 8:24am.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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  11. #10
    The Amateur Mandolinist Mark Gunter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Overclock your mandolin?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jethro Aberdeen View Post
    I'll do some more research
    Also check "mando voodoo" while researching
    Technique, theory and fun, fun, fun. I love playing, studying and sharing MUSIC.
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    Default Re: Overclock your mandolin?

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeEdgerton View Post
    For those that might be unaware of the term over-clocking it's a computer related term that basically means you're running a component (such as a CPU) at a higher clock rate than it was specified to run. In the early days of the 486 processors you could buy the processor to run at higher or lower speeds. The price of the CPU was based on the speed it ran. Your motherboard also had a switch that allowed you to set the speed. All of us that were in the industry would buy the cheaper CPU and attempt to run it at the faster rate. Sometimes it worked sometimes it didn't. Since those days it has become somewhat of an art form for computer geeks that exceeded anything we early geeks ever thought possible. How this gets applied to a modified mandolin I have no idea.
    I figured he was trying to "coin" a new hip term for improving something's performance, applying it to any such act. Maybe it's already a thing and just hasn't caught up with a guy my age.

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    Default Re: Overclock your mandolin?

    If I could over-clock my fingers and my brain I'd consider it. Beyond that it's easier when you know the terminology.

    I haven't been hip in decades.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  14. #13
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    Default Re: Overclock your mandolin?

    There are people who do some good work regraduating the tops of old student grade fiddles, which tended to be overbuilt. It's not really that hard to take the top off a fiddle (if it was made with hide glue) and since those old student fiddles were overbuilt and are now well aged, there are some people getting decent results, at modest cost. There is no need to refinish the fiddle, so the cost is low.

    But I don't see this being a commercially viable approach on mandolins, one might as well just buy a good small-maker mandolin rather than pay to have a cheap instrument rebuilt. As a DIY project, why not? But if you are doing DIY, why not just build from scratch or from a kit? Not much difference in the amount of work involved really.
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    Default Re: Overclock your mandolin?

    Randy Wood and others have been re-graduating older Gibson mandolins that weren't from the golden era for decades.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  16. #15
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Overclock your mandolin?

    Quote Originally Posted by rcc56 View Post
    A ballpark estimate to re-work the $650 Epi mandolin in the manner shown in the video would be $500-$700 for a new fret board without binding, perhaps $400 - $800 at least to re-graduate the plates [even if you don't take it apart and work on the tone bars], another $150 - $200 for a hand carved nut and saddle, another $100 for an Allen tailpiece, $60 - $100 for tuners, maybe $800 - $1000 for a good refinish job [and the refinish on the youtube mandolin was not good] . . . that's $2000 to $3000 work on a $600 mandolin. And prepare to pay quite a bit more if you live in California or near NY City.

    You're getting into the same price range as a used Collings, or a plain Northfield, or an upper-line Eastman AND something else . . . And then, if you decided to sell it somewhere down the road, you could at least recover a good portion of your investment. Nobody will pay $2600+ for a re-worked Epiphone.
    That is what I thought. I know the recording was not ideal though it obviously sounded much better than originally, I was not too impressed by the look of that thing and I am sure a nice Collings MT like the one I played last week would blow it out of the water.
    Jim

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    Default Re: Overclock your mandolin?

    I agree with your thoughts and thank you for throwing in... If I decide to do it I would leave the fretboard and tuners and tailpiece alone and just shave the top in increments. The top is very thick I'll have to measure, I'm sure the reason it's unresponsive. I just bought a Eastwood 615 today which is now my player so this one is either going to be sold to a new player or heading to my workshop.
    Kevin

  18. #17

    Default Re: Overclock your mandolin?

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeEdgerton View Post
    For those that might be unaware of the term over-clocking it's a computer related term that basically means you're running a component (such as a CPU) at a higher clock rate than it was specified to run. In the early days of the 486 processors you could buy the processor to run at higher or lower speeds. The price of the CPU was based on the speed it ran. Your motherboard also had a switch that allowed you to set the speed. All of us that were in the industry would buy the cheaper CPU and attempt to run it at the faster rate. Sometimes it worked sometimes it didn't. Since those days it has become somewhat of an art form for computer geeks that exceeded anything we early geeks ever thought possible. How this gets applied to a modified mandolin I have no idea.
    OK, that explains why I never heard of it!

    I get it, like removing the "governor" on an old school (lawn mower engine-powered) minibike.......we had a kid in the neighborhood with an 8 horsepower Briggs mini bike with the governor removed and he was always faster than the kid with the brand-new Yamaha 125.....which should defy conventional wisdom -- but I was there!

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    Default Re: Overclock your mandolin?

    No offense to anyone involved, but using that term here just sounds dumb to me. I get what they are trying to say, but there's no computer chip in there.

    I certainly don't see the benefit to pay someone to do this. As a DIY project? Sure. However, this still won't address the issue that the tone bars are most likely 3/8" wide and 1/2" high throughout. It might sound slightly better, but not worth the effort IMHO.

  20. #19
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    Default Re: Overclock your mandolin?

    If it came to me, the first thing I would do would be to look at the tone bars with a light and a mirror.

    The problem with "doing it right" and taking the mandolin apart is that it can be very difficult to remove a back without incurring damage, especially on modern instruments; and more especially on a mandolin because of the size of the neck block. You have to weigh the difficulty of taking the instrument apart against the labor of refinishing the instrument if you regraduate from the outside. Also, keep in mind that it is not easy to accurately measure thickness on an assembled instrument unless you have a Hacklinger gauge, and they are expensive.

    But you still might want to take on the project as a learning experience. Even if the tone bars are huge, reducing the thickness of overbuilt tops and backs will still yield an improvement in the tone of the instrument.

    If you're really serious about learning more about the craft, you can go the whole way and pull the back. The experience can be worth it, but only if you expect to incur some cosmetic damage. If you do pull the back, it would be to your benefit to discuss the project in person with a highly experienced repair person.

  21. #20
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Overclock your mandolin?

    Yes, learning experience, not an earning experience.
    Jim

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    Default Re: Overclock your mandolin?

    Thank you all for your thoughts, I will proceed methodically if I tear into it

  23. #22

    Default Re: Overclock your mandolin?

    Overclocking a chip, over-revving a B&S and over-thinning a mandolin all may have similar results! Without instrumentation or experience, might one go the other way and stick little weights on the top and see which areas worsen more than others, and concentrate shaving away in those areas?

  24. #23

    Default Re: Overclock your mandolin?

    Despite all the explanations I have no idea what the OP is talking about.

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