View Poll Results: Electric Practice Instrument

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  • 4 string

    3 30.00%
  • 8 string

    7 70.00%
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Thread: Thoughts on electric practice instrument

  1. #1

    Default Thoughts on electric practice instrument

    Hi friends,
    I now live in an apartment surrounded on four sides by neighbors. My SO leaves the house at 5 in the morning so I have time to practice after that before I go to work. I'm thinking to minimize noise of practicing on electric mandolins that I can run through an amp and into my headphones (virtually silent) to keep the peace with everyone. I'm looking for perspecitves on getting a 4 string practice instrument (Helllloooo Kentucky KM300), but worry that it won't accomplish my primary goal, which is to improve my accoustic playing. The other option would be an 8 stringer like Eastwood or something more budget oriented. Open to hearing from folks who have played a 4 string electric extensively and whether the experience translates between that and a normal mandolin. For reference, my primary instrument is a Breedlove OF that I absolutely love.

  2. #2
    working musician Jim Bevan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Thoughts on electric practice instrument

    Practising a 4-string electric acoustically will maintain your acoustic chops better than plugging in and using headphones will.

    Not as much fun, however...

  3. #3

    Default Re: Thoughts on electric practice instrument

    I know you are mostly joking, but my main concern is 4 vs. 8 strings. If I practice with an 4 string instrument, will it translate to an 8 string instrument.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Thoughts on electric practice instrument

    I tried that.......nope. Two different animals with the right hand.

    But, that lead me to finger style on four strings. Which lead to going strictly to four strings (converted mando, mandola, tenor guitar). Am now struggling to use a pick again on four strings so as to be heard when playing with others.

    YMMV. But beware of bad rabbit holes.

  5. #5
    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
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    Default Re: Thoughts on electric practice instrument

    Quote Originally Posted by Thereelbobbyd View Post
    If I practice with an 4 string instrument, will it translate to an 8 string instrument.
    Yes. Fingering is the same. Feel may be different, and sound of tremolo etc. But consider how you would use this from time to time as actual instrument r/t just practice device. My personal experience has been pretty iffy with electric 8-strings, difficulty of maintaining exact tuning of pairs being a hurdle. My vote is for single string, as it enables string bending.
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

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  6. #6
    working musician Jim Bevan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Thoughts on electric practice instrument

    Quote Originally Posted by Thereelbobbyd View Post
    I know you are mostly joking, but my main concern is 4 vs. 8 strings. If I practice with an 4 string instrument, will it translate to an 8 string instrument.
    I wasn't joking, I've been doing it for years, and never had any difficulty going from single electric to double acoustic strings.

    And ya, playing an electric acoustically does help with not going off into electric guitar style territory (playing lightly, thinking that I have lots of sustain etc).

  7. #7

    Default Re: Thoughts on electric practice instrument

    See, I think the 4 string electric as an instrument of its own is more appealing than an 8 string electric, but it will mainly be a novelty/practice instrument for me. (who knows though, maybe someday I'm in a cover band and get to break it out *shrugs*)

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Thoughts on electric practice instrument

    After a set up and truss adjustment, my 8 string Eastwood works well for quiet practice, and feels right. I don't plug it in if I am trying to be quiet, I just use the acoustic sound. Plugged in sound is OK.
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  9. #9
    Registered User urobouros's Avatar
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    Default Re: Thoughts on electric practice instrument

    I find an 8 string electric is closer to an acoustic than a 4 string electric. I also find they both feel too much like an electric to sufficiently help with my acoustic playing. The 4 string is easier to bend for sure but the 8 string electric tension makes bending doable. Whether they're desireable is another question according to my wife
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  10. #10
    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
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    Default Re: Thoughts on electric practice instrument

    I've never participated in one of these polls before, so I don't know what's the usual thing, or not. But is it customary to express an opinion and NOT vote? Is this still helpful for the pollster? I'm guessing that so far there should be added to the totals two 4's and one 8, with one decidedly undecided. That's based on my interpretation of opinions expressed, which aren't needed for voting, AFAIK. Good luck with this!
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  11. #11
    Gummy Bears and Scotch BrianWilliam's Avatar
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    Default Re: Thoughts on electric practice instrument

    The poll isnít visible on the mobile layout.

    Although I play a 4 string, I voted 8 string because I assume it would be most similar to your acoustic.

    Still, 4 strings is better than no strings

    Enjoy the early morning shredding!

  12. #12
    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Thoughts on electric practice instrument

    Godin A8 have a closed sound chamber but no sound hole & when you do plug them in they sound nice..
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  13. #13
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    Default Re: Thoughts on electric practice instrument

    Did you search/read threads about mutes? The cheapest one is a rolled up washcloth under strings at the bridge which isn't really that fun to play but you can adjust the diameter and level of muting.
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  14. #14

    Default Re: Thoughts on electric practice instrument

    I have a Fender 5-string emando that's a 4 with a low C (or a tenor with a high E). It's built like a thinline Tele so as a semi-hollow it doesn't have much acoustic volume.

    Primary difference I've found between a 4(5) and an 8 is with the tremolo. Because the 8 has dual courses you don't have to be as accurate with your picking to get a sustained tremolo sound as you need on a single course 4 or 5. The 4(5) forces me to concentrate harder on tremolo and triplet technique which actually makes me better when I go back to the 8. It also carries over to guitar. Other than that I've not found much playing technique difference.

    I really like the Fender for travel. Unlike an acoustic it's pretty rock solid so it takes knocking about (in a case) better. I like not having to worry about it. It's loud enough to work on chops in a quiet area. I have a couple Vox Amplugs that I use when I want an amplified tone - their Lead model is particularly nice for doing super high-gain stuff.
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  15. #15
    Registered User lowtone2's Avatar
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    Default Re: Thoughts on electric practice instrument

    You say your primary goal is to improve your acoustic playing, so of course the practice instrument should be as close to that as possible. Eight strings is a whole different animal from four, and for both hands, not just the right.

  16. #16
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Thoughts on electric practice instrument

    As gtani7 says check into using a mute on your Breedlove. Unless you have a real need to also have an electric, save your money. Of course many of us are looking for reasons to get new toys.
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