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Thread: Electric mandolin - who's interesting?

  1. #26
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    Default Re: Electric mandolin - who's interesting?

    Quote Originally Posted by Southern Man View Post
    Andrew Hendryx does some nice tunes on electric.
    Andrew Hendryx new release "Widening Circles" has, to me, a bit more latitude than many others that feature electric mandolin. It's undoubtedly mandolin. His style and tones are purely electric, with good use of effects, but he doesn't sound like a guitarist, if you ask me.

    If you have time to really go down the rabbit hole, check out the players list on emando.com. For something pretty far out there, check out Maestro Alex Gregory, "13 Jokes for Heavy Metal Mandolin". I can't say I like it at all, but I have to say it's interesting.
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    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: Electric mandolin - who's interesting?

    My favorite e-mando recording is still John Kruth's The Cherry Electric
    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000001U63...t_mus_ep_dpi_1
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    Default Re: Electric mandolin - who's interesting?

    I second the Eva Scow suggestion - she's fantastic on the electric mando...and I'd add Isaac Eicher to the list
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    Default Re: Electric mandolin - who's interesting?

    Quote Originally Posted by mrmando View Post
    My favorite e-mando recording is still John Kruth's The Cherry Electric
    No kidding! I'll have to tell him - we talk all the time. Maybe I'll listen to it first, though.
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

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    Default Re: Electric mandolin - who's interesting?

    Thanks for all those suggestions guys, that's given me a lot to listen to. After a quick scan through some clips, I understand the comments about many excellent mandolin players going into guitar mode when they pick up a 4 string electric mandolin. That takes nothing from the quality of the playing, but it's interesting that happens - I guess we've all heard so much rock guitar that it's hard wired in there.

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    Default Re: Electric mandolin - who's interesting?

    I don't think it's so much that the music made by electric mandolinists tends to sound like electric guitars, it's that it sounds like rock music - which for decades has been chiefly made by electric guitars. It's still rock music, but it's being made on another instrument. If the music is being played on a single-string mandolin - which is preferred by many in the field, as it's a lot easier to bend notes - it's going to sound like a guitar. There's no getting around it. The musician is replicating the music he or she has heard, which was played on guitar. Conversely, if someone plays electric 12-string, would it be fair to say the music being played sounds like an electric mandolin? Because that is this same assumption turned around.

    One of the things I heard back in my formative years that really got my mind going was Eric Clapton's work on the Cream song, "Dance The Night Away." This is the only time Eric has ever recorded using an electric 12-string. It blew my mind then; it continues to blow my mind now. That is the sound I wanted to be able to produce, if I only could. That is what an electric mandolin should be able to sound like. Not only does his guitar have that ringing sound, he's using massive amounts of tremolo masterfully.

    The song starts with a figure played on 6-string. In the third bar the 12-string is overlaid upon that. Is that ever a magical sound! The solos are on the 12-string. The final one, in particular, beginning at 2:45, really moves me. If that doesn't sound like an electric mandolin, then I don't know what we're talking about.



    And I'm not saying, nor do I mean to imply, that playing a single-string electric mandolin is somehow falling short of such a worthy goal. It's not. It's still rock and roll. Saying it sounds like an electric guitar is sort of missing the point. Well, now that I think about it, it's rather obvious. Metal strings stretched over magnetic pickups through an amp - that's rock and roll. But for decades, that sound has been produced by guitars. If it's produced by an electric mandolin, it's still rock and roll, it's just being played on a different instrument. I've heard Bela Fleck put his electric banjo through a similar process. Does that sound like electric banjo, electric guitar, or rock and roll? What would it sound like if an electric violin were played with a pick instead of a bow? Rock and roll!
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    Default Re: Electric mandolin - who's interesting?

    Without having analysed it to any great extent, journeybear, I'd say that at least some of the electric mandolin tracks above sound like electric guitar because the musicians are playing the same note patterns they'd play on electric guitar in their chosen style of music, on an electric mandolin. That doesn't reduce the quality of the music in any way, but (without yet having listened to all of the suggestions above, I'm getting there...) I think I'm just looking for something different.

    I agree with your comments on the Cream track above, and it's very useful because there's a parallel with those 12 string guitarists (acoustic and electric) who play the same things they'd play on a 6 string, and those who treat it as a different instrument. If you listen to Roger McGuinn playing his Rickenbacker 12 on 'Three Miles High', some Leo Kottke acoustic tracks, or the French 12 string acoustic guitarist Michel Gentils (who treats a 12 string as an instrument with 10 different pitches available across any fret), they're doing something different and unique to the 12 string. It's possible out of neccessity, given bending strings electric lead style isn't easy on a 12, but neither is it on an 8 string mandolin?
    Last edited by maxr; Jun-04-2021 at 12:39pm.

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    Default Re: Electric mandolin - who's interesting?

    I feel that with half the string length, doubled strings are an obvious way to go. Eight is not enough, though. Here's a couple of tunes with my Almuse 10-string, a Beck cover and an original, from my "Tailwind" release.

    https://soundcloud.com/twtunes/missing-clip

    https://soundcloud.com/twtunes/don-quixote-clip
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    Default Re: Electric mandolin - who's interesting?

    Thanks Tom, very nice - OT, and a question perhaps for discussion elsewhere, but my experience of extended range instruments like 5 string fiddles, cellos and violas, is that often they're great as electrics (like your 10 string electric mandolin), but the acoustic version lacks something compared to the standard 4 sting fiddle or whatever. Maybe that's because the acoustic version might need more development to optimise the body size and shape for those pitches and string tension. How do 10 string acoustic mandolins compare to 8 stringers?

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    Default Re: Electric mandolin - who's interesting?

    Thanks for listening.

    The key is body size, in my experience. Tom Buchanan's acoustic 10-string is 14.25" scale but substantially larger than his 8-string mandolins. A smaller body does have more acoustic focus in the smaller range, but who performs without at least microphones these days?

    Here's a CD's worth of solo acoustic 10-string.

    https://tomwright1.bandcamp.com/album/5-x-2-2
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    Default Re: Electric mandolin - who's interesting?

    I was always out for sounding like an electric guitar, steel etc on electric mandos (4, 5 or 8 string) more than a "mandolin". Well, always into sounding like non-mando instruments on acoustic mandolin as well. It's all in the vocabulary, articulation, and attack.


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    Another from the Cajun Brew sessions. Fender 4-string
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    Default Re: Electric mandolin - who's interesting?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Wright View Post
    Thanks for listening.

    The key is body size, in my experience. Tom Buchanan's acoustic 10-string is 14.25" scale but substantially larger than his 8-string mandolins...
    I guess that might correspond to the internal volume difference beween a 4 string violin and a viola with a larger body and low C string frequencies to deal with. I have a 5 string C G D A E 16" body viola, and that works pretty well across the range although it's a fairly modest Chinese workshop instrument rather than a named luthier.

    Here's a CD's worth of solo acoustic 10-string.

    https://tomwright1.bandcamp.com/album/5-x-2-2
    Great, thanks for that, very nice. In relation to the Bach 6th cello Suite - I read a theory that Bach played a now archaic bowed instrument like a large viola or very small cello tuned C G D A E. That might explain how user friendly the easier (less difficult?) movements of the Suite are on a 5 string instrument a high E string. He uses quite a number of repeating finger patterns that are relatively easy to find. 4 string cellists with a high A string are often playing well up in the dusty end of the fingerboard, where tuning is difficult. I was a very average cellist, but with a 5 string cello tuned C G D A E (but an octave down from viola), I could play the easier movements of the 6th - I'd have had no chance whatever with a standard tuning 4 string.

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    Default Re: Electric mandolin - who's interesting?

    Bach on 5-string mini-cello (redundant?)

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    Default Re: Electric mandolin - who's interesting?

    I was going to write something then thought maybe I was repeating myself.

    Sure enough, from 2016:

    Quote Originally Posted by Bren View Post
    I was lucky to see two good solid body electric mandolinists in the 70s and 80s:

    Dan del Santo (and his Professors of Pleasure) playing at various bars and clubs around Austin in 1978

    Sam Bush (yes, him) playing with the Newgrass Revival at St Kilda Palais in Melbourne, Australia in 1980 or 81.
    As well as doing their own bit, they also played as Leon Russell's band in that show (which also included The Amazing Rhythm Aces).
    Sam was bending strings on the solid body and generally playing like an electric guitarist.

    For his acoustic mandolin, he used the pickup for rhythm and background playing and stepped up to the mike for solos.
    Bren

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    Default Re: Electric mandolin - who's interesting?

    Quote Originally Posted by maxr View Post
    If you listen to Roger McGuinn playing his Rickenbacker 12 on 'Three Miles High', some Leo Kottke acoustic tracks, or the French 12 string acoustic guitarist Michel Gentils (who treats a 12 string as an instrument with 10 different pitches available across any fret), they're doing something different and unique to the 12 string. It's possible out of neccessity, given bending strings electric lead style isn't easy on a 12, but neither is it on an 8 string mandolin?
    Hey max, you're 5 miles short of the full Byrds there.


    You mentioned Leo Kottke - he covered it on 12-string.
    Bren

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    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: Electric mandolin - who's interesting?

    Quote Originally Posted by journeybear View Post
    No kidding! I'll have to tell him - we talk all the time. Maybe I'll listen to it first, though.
    John is well aware of my fondness for his music. What a guy!
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    Default Re: Electric mandolin - who's interesting?

    For me, it works very well for jazz, because any instrument that can play lines, any melodic instrument, is great for jazz and fits right in. For rock, again for me, it’s less convincing. The best an electric mandolin can do in rock is imitate the guitar. Some people do that very well, but there’s nothing unique to the electric mandolin that makes it better or even much different from guitar.

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    Default Re: Electric mandolin - who's interesting?

    Journeybear, you are my new hero! Love the videos from the Real Malloys. I would dearly love to find a group like that to work with.

    Many folks, and sadly this includes many musicians, tend to pigeon-hole instruments into certain genres. If I had a nickel for every time someone said, "Oh a mandolin, so you must like bluegrass." Actually I really dislike a lot of bluegrass, thank you very much. I'm a lot happier and more at home with the Rolling Stones than anything Mr. Monroe played.

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    Default Re: Electric mandolin - who's interesting?

    Quote Originally Posted by trodgers View Post
    Journeybear, you are my new hero! Love the videos from the Real Malloys. I would dearly love to find a group like that to work with.

    Many folks, and sadly this includes many musicians, tend to pigeon-hole instruments into certain genres. If I had a nickel for every time someone said, "Oh a mandolin, so you must like bluegrass." Actually I really dislike a lot of bluegrass, thank you very much. I'm a lot happier and more at home with the Rolling Stones than anything Mr. Monroe played.

    My MandoStrat was made by Fender, to look like a Fender and ... guess what, it sounds like a Fender. Crank up the reverb tank!
    Why, thank you! I think you are my new hero. I feel like I've been beating my head against the wall a bit, and not being understood. So I appreciate your appreciation.

    I've said it before, I'll say it again, because as obvious as it seems to me, it doesn't seem to be making an impression on everyone else - electric mandolins and electric guitars produce sounds using metal strings stretched over magnetic pickups which send a signal to an amplifier. They're essentially the same, although generally speaking electric guitars have the advantage of much more technical expertise devoted to their advancement over the years than electric mandolins, which thus lag behind. I suppose there are amps and effects and pedals and all manner of gear specifically designed to accommodate the unique characteristics of electric mandolins, and if so, I'll bet they've been discussed at length hereabouts. I've put in the time tweaking my gear to get pretty darned close to the sounds I want - though I do apologize for some of what you may have heard in the videos I've posted, which are all several years old - and even though the frequency range of the mandolin denies it access to a fair portion of what guitar-oriented equipment can deliver, I try to do the best I can with it.


    The Real Malloys was a good little band for a good long time. I wish there were better videos, or at least more. I did find a few more on the web, but I don't want to keep posting them. I will make one exception , though, because even though it's a fragment, it may have the most fully realized rock sound that was captured on video. It's from a performance at a folk club on the mainland, where the guitarist had played as a solo a few times. Not sure they were ready for the full-throttle whammy we threw them. The clip is the second half of our encore. It was shot by a fan of his, which explains why the focus was on him, not the guy burning it up on electric mandolin.

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    Default Re: Electric mandolin - who's interesting?

    The tuned in 5th's family has been unfairly put into certain little boxes by the general public. Guitar players seem to have no identity crisis going from a classical instrument to a Martinesque dreadnaught, over to a Les Paul or super Strat, then picking up a resonator or Dano Baby Sitar to wrap up the evening. Applause all the way around. Show up with a mandolin, and the average audience member thinks "Hee-Haw."

    I showed my Fender Tenor Tele to a hometown guitar-god and he though it was a messed up short scale bass. By the time I convinced him it wasn't, he had deduced that it "might be OK for slide."
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    Default Re: Electric mandolin - who's interesting?

    Right? Pigeonholed. Almost always. I've been asked so many times, "So what do you play?" And I rattle off nine genres, and watch their jaws drop. "But I thought it was just bluegrass, or maybe country?" I know people are limited to what they have experienced, and mandolin doesn't get much exposure to the general public beyond those two genres, but ... geez! It's like any instrument - you play the music you want to play on the instrument you can play. You just have to figure out how.

    There have been some instrumentation innovators in rock, for sure, and the 60s, decade of innovation, had a few. Ian Anderson may not have been the first to play flute in a rock context - there was at least Andy Kupferberg in The Blues Project - but he sure took it front and center. There were a few rock violinists - Jerry Goodman, David LaFlamme, Charlie Daniels, some, David Lindley played that tasty stuff on The Youngblood's "Darkness, Darkness." It wasn't till the 80s that Weird Al Yankovic showed the world how to rock the accordion. But somehow, rock mandolin took longer to come around. It got used in rock songs, but as an acoustic instrument. Well, I guess Seals And Crofts. You know, I never knew that Dash Crofts was playing mandolin until much later, and I mean this century.

    I think rock mandolin's time has come, and it's high time!
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    Default Re: Electric mandolin - who's interesting?

    Quote Originally Posted by journeybear View Post
    I don't think it's so much that the music made by electric mandolinists tends to sound like electric guitars, it's that it sounds like rock music - which for decades has been chiefly made by electric guitars. It's still rock music, but it's being made on another instrument. If the music is being played on a single-string mandolin - which is preferred by many in the field, as it's a lot easier to bend notes - it's going to sound like a guitar. There's no getting around it. The musician is replicating the music he or she has heard, which was played on guitar. Conversely, if someone plays electric 12-string, would it be fair to say the music being played sounds like an electric mandolin? Because that is this same assumption turned around.

    One of the things I heard back in my formative years that really got my mind going was Eric Clapton's work on the Cream song, "Dance The Night Away." This is the only time Eric has ever recorded using an electric 12-string. It blew my mind then; it continues to blow my mind now. That is the sound I wanted to be able to produce, if I only could. That is what an electric mandolin should be able to sound like. Not only does his guitar have that ringing sound, he's using massive amounts of tremolo masterfully.

    The song starts with a figure played on 6-string. In the third bar the 12-string is overlaid upon that. Is that ever a magical sound! The solos are on the 12-string. The final one, in particular, beginning at 2:45, really moves me. If that doesn't sound like an electric mandolin, then I don't know what we're talking about.



    And I'm not saying, nor do I mean to imply, that playing a single-string electric mandolin is somehow falling short of such a worthy goal. It's not. It's still rock and roll. Saying it sounds like an electric guitar is sort of missing the point. Well, now that I think about it, it's rather obvious. Metal strings stretched over magnetic pickups through an amp - that's rock and roll. But for decades, that sound has been produced by guitars. If it's produced by an electric mandolin, it's still rock and roll, it's just being played on a different instrument. I've heard Bela Fleck put his electric banjo through a similar process. Does that sound like electric banjo, electric guitar, or rock and roll? What would it sound like if an electric violin were played with a pick instead of a bow? Rock and roll!

    I have never been able to get much beyond Baker and Bruce, mainly Baker, on that one. And, oh yeah, they're going for some kind of Roger McGuin effect on top...back to Baker.

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    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
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    Default Re: Electric mandolin - who's interesting?

    Uh-huh. Eric Clapton, guitar god, imitating anyone. Please!

    I don't know what you expect an electric mandolin to sound like. I think this is one excellent example. Trilling a double-string instrument into a high register - there it is.

    I guess you're more interested in jazz than I, and I'm more interested in rock than you, and we may never agree about this. To each his own, and vive la difference. But keep an open mind. Mandolins can rock, for real.
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

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    Default Re: Electric mandolin - who's interesting?

    Come on, you know that was Byrds-influenced, at the least. Clapton made his bones imitating, and building on, other people's guitar styles.

    But I agree on our comparative tastes. Perhaps I can nudge you towards the true gold, or vice versa.

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    Default Re: Electric mandolin - who's interesting?

    Quote Originally Posted by mandocrucian View Post
    I was always out for sounding like an electric guitar, steel etc on electric mandos (4, 5 or 8 string) more than a "mandolin". Well, always into sounding like non-mando instruments on acoustic mandolin as well. It's all in the vocabulary, articulation, and attack.


    A New Orleans style treatment of a Michael Hurley song with both the F4 and the Wolf Guitar (hybrid 17" scale 5-string). Meant for a Hurley tribute album which never got released.
    https://soundcloud.com/user-64352297...got-to-find-me
    Finally had a chance to listen to some of this tonight. What a joy to click on this and find Ann Rabson and Gaye Adegbalola on the track. Love those Uppity Blues Women!

    Too much fun. Thanks for sharing!!!
    “Like winds and sunsets, wild things were taken for granted until progress began to do away with them. Now we face the question whether a still higher ‘standard of living’ is worth its cost in things natural, wild and free.” -- Aldo Leopold

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