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Thread: Recommendation for an electric?

  1. #1
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    Default Recommendation for an electric?

    Hey folks!

    Newbie over here trying to get in some practice time in the evenings while the fam is asleep. I've got a Eastman 304 that I love lots, but even an A-model with an oval hole seems far too loud for them to sleep through. I'm looking around for a used solid body electric mando on the lower end of the price scale just so that I can fit in more practice time without disturbing them. Could anyone give me a recommendation?

    Cheers,

    Zack
    Last edited by zakry3323; Feb-12-2020 at 6:23pm.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Recommendation for an electric?

    Maybe it would be more helpful to tell me what not to get? I'd like to avoid having a review like, "I bought this piece of junk on Amazon and it was made of plastic and arrived full of bees!"

    In my price range I'm looking at Mandobirds, Eastwoods, Mandocasters...and I'm seeing some options from a company called MORTone that I'm not familiar with. Also very open to older instruments that are no longer produced. I know enough from looking at reviews to stay away from anything that says "Stagg" or "Savanna" or "Lucky Penny" or the low-quality Deans.

    Is there really such little difference between these low enders that it's really not worth discerning what's better and what's not?

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Recommendation for an electric?

    I've got an Eastwood Airline Mandola. Low price high quality.

    The mandos look very tempting.

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  5. #4
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    Default Re: Recommendation for an electric?

    Thanks very much for your input, I really appreciate it!

    I'd be very happy to get higher quality, but I'm not expecting it in my price range. Heck I don't even care if the electronics work, it just needs to be quiet and hold tune so I can practice at night. A mandola might even be right up my alley.

    Eastwoods look great, I'll be looking into them for sure!

  6. #5
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    Default Re: Recommendation for an electric?

    Thinking hard about this guy. I always wanted a thunderbird, plus it has grovers.

    https://reverb.com/item/31380347-epi...obird-iv-black

  7. #6
    Registered User Ranald's Avatar
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    Default Re: Recommendation for an electric?

    I'm happy with my Godin A8. Technically, it's an acoustic mandolin with a built-in electronic pickup. It's solid and long lasting, with a better sound than many mandolins of the same price, but it's heavy compared to my acoustic mandolin (though light compared to my banjolin). You may be able to get a used one for a good price in the Cafe ads or elsewhere.

    https://godinguitars.com/product/a8-mandolin-natural-sg

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5wwE9qTvMw0
    Robert Johnson's mother, describing blues musicians:
    "I never did have no trouble with him until he got big enough to be round with bigger boys and off from home. Then he used to follow all these harp blowers, mandoleen (sic) and guitar players."
    Lomax, Alan, The Land where The Blues Began, NY: Pantheon, 1993, p.14.

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  9. #7
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    Default Re: Recommendation for an electric?

    Thanks Ranald! I'll keep my eyes peeled for a Godin. I haven't played one myself but I only hear good things about them!

  10. #8
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    Default Re: Recommendation for an electric?

    The Godin still has significant volume when played unplugged, might not be what you want for late night quiet practicing. Most videos are plugged in, this guy is not, and doesn't look to be playing all that hard:


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  12. #9

    Default Re: Recommendation for an electric?

    Quote Originally Posted by zakry3323 View Post
    Thinking hard about this guy. I always wanted a thunderbird, plus it has grovers.

    https://reverb.com/item/31380347-epi...obird-iv-black
    I am a fan of the Epiphone Mandobird 4. Especially if you upgrade the pickup with an Almuse.
    Looks like that one is located in France, so shipping might not be cheap.
    Best, Stevo

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  14. #10

    Default Re: Recommendation for an electric?

    You could stuff a sock or similar material in the oval hole of your 304.

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    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: Recommendation for an electric?

    Quote Originally Posted by OldSausage View Post
    You could stuff a sock or similar material in the oval hole of your 304.
    Or a pet ferret.

    Eastwood also has some standard mandolins, such as the Mandocaster and the Ricky. I don't know whether you prefer 4 strings or 8.
    The Godin is great but may be too loud. There are 8- and 4-string versions of the MandoBird and the Fender MandoStrat; there's also the Fender FM61Se 8-string from years ago.
    Emando.com: More than you wanted to know about electric mandolins.

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  18. #12
    Quietly Making Noise Dave Greenspoon's Avatar
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    Default Re: Recommendation for an electric?

    Look for a used Kentucky four stringer or a Crafter a/e (Ovation style).
    Axes: Rigel A Natural #1774 w/mods, Andrew Jerman Irwin-style 5 string electric "Stealie", Eastman 515, Eastman El Ray, Crafter M85E, Dillion 335 style, Grandmom's solid-mahogany teens bent-top, Baglamas 002
    Boards: Acoustic Electric
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  20. #13
    Registered User Ranald's Avatar
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    Default Re: Recommendation for an electric?

    [QUOTE=jefflester;1757104]The Godin still has significant volume when played unplugged, might not be what you want for late night quiet practicing.


    Sorry, Zakry, Jeff is right. The Godin is loud even when played unamplified, which is usually one of its virtues but would make it unsuitable for your purpose.
    Robert Johnson's mother, describing blues musicians:
    "I never did have no trouble with him until he got big enough to be round with bigger boys and off from home. Then he used to follow all these harp blowers, mandoleen (sic) and guitar players."
    Lomax, Alan, The Land where The Blues Began, NY: Pantheon, 1993, p.14.

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  22. #14
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    Default Re: Recommendation for an electric?

    Cheers folks! Looks like I've got lots of options now!

    And I never tried stuffing anything into the Eastman to see how much it dampens the projection. Great idea, I'll give it a shot!

  23. #15
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    Default Re: Recommendation for an electric?

    Quote Originally Posted by zakry3323 View Post
    Cheers folks! Looks like I've got lots of options now!

    And I never tried stuffing anything into the Eastman to see how much it dampens the projection. Great idea, I'll give it a shot!
    If that isn't enough they make rubber and felt picks for bass players that won't give you much volume. The felt may glide better on the strings than the rubber, but both for quiet practicing will work. Also turning your pick to a very steep angle will quiet you down alot.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

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    Default Re: Recommendation for an electric?

    I have a mandobird I was able to pick up way cheap on CL. I like it pretty well but one common complaint is that the pickup is super quiet on the e string. I replaced it with one from these guys and problem solved.

    http://www.almuse.co.uk/mandolin_pickups_mandobird.html

    There are some threads about pickup upgrades around.

    It is pretty quiet not plugged in and maybe you will never plugin so no need for a pickup upgrade then.

    Cheers

  25. #17

    Default Re: Recommendation for an electric?

    If you're okay with a mandola and four strings, check out some electric tenor ukuleles. My daughter has a Risa tele copy. It's probably more than you want to spend (as new), but I'm very impressed with it. (Unfortunately, she hasn't let me string it up properly!)

  26. #18
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    Default Re: Recommendation for an electric?

    I got the Eastwood 'Warren Ellis' mandolin about a year ago. The quality is pretty good, especially if you're comfortable adjusting saddle heights and stuff like that. It doesn't really feel like an acoustic mandolin- the scale feels a little longer, the neck is narrower, the single strings behave differently, and your right hand position has to be a little different and more guitar-like. Having said that, it's just fine for practicing scale patterns and chord voicings and grunt work like that.

  27. #19
    Registered User Tom C's Avatar
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    Default Re: Recommendation for an electric?

    Many electric mandolins dont have a break where the bridge is. No neck angle. This makes the feel a lot different and I wouldnt use it in a bluegrass genre or playing style.

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  29. #20
    Registered User Elliot Luber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Recommendation for an electric?

    I bought a Kentucky e300 and put a Bill Lawrence pickup into it to replace the old lipstick pickup. It was an simple changeover and sounds great now.
    Eastman 605, Strad-o-lin, and Kentucky 300e mandolins.

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  30. #21

    Default Re: Recommendation for an electric?

    There are several solid-bodies at www.reverb.com for well under $500. For your purposes, they should all be fine.

    You might end up getting a setup locally, but that shouldn't discourage you.

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  32. #22
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    Default Re: Recommendation for an electric?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom C View Post
    Many electric mandolins dont have a break where the bridge is. No neck angle. This makes the feel a lot different and I wouldnt use it in a bluegrass genre or playing style.
    This is an excellent point, thank you! I'm mostly interested in folk, and I haven't developed really ANY kind of playing style as of yet, so hopefully I'll be ok?

  33. #23
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    Default Re: Recommendation for an electric?

    Quote Originally Posted by Elliot Luber View Post
    I bought a Kentucky e300 and put a Bill Lawrence pickup into it to replace the old lipstick pickup. It was an simple changeover and sounds great now.
    I'm not sure that plugging in will at any point be a necessity for me, but it's nice to have options! Which design did you go with?

  34. #24

    Default Re: Recommendation for an electric?

    It is probably out of your price range, but I got the Eastman El Rey for exactly this purpose and it is great. Really quiet, but still able to be heard and feels like an acoustic mandolin (albeit much heavier). It is fun to plug in too

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  36. #25

    Default Re: Recommendation for an electric?

    Wheat about The Loar Professional? Any count?
    Loar LM-370

    “The music is not in the notes, but in the silence between.” ― Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

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