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Thread: Electric mandolin.

  1. #1

    Default Electric mandolin.

    I have to buy an electric mandolin. In your opinion, which F-shaped electric mandolin is the best?

    1) Ortega RMFE100AVO
    2) Eastman with amplification mounted by them?
    3) EPIPHONE MM 50E PROFESSIONAL VINTAGE NATURAL
    4) Godin A8?
    5) Or something else?

    Thank you

  2. #2

    Default Re: Electric mandolin.

    i would not go with godin , had two poorly set up , low quality control

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Electric mandolin.

    Of those listed would go with Eastman or Godin (especially if you can find one from a Cafe sponsor, ie, well set up). Other considerations include Ovation, Rigel, and Zeta. Ovations aren’t great acoustically but shine plugged in (and very hard to feedback). Zeta and Rigel are at a bit higher price point but will sound better unplugged (I really like my CT-110). I also used to own a Fender FM 62-SE that was also not very good acoustically but functioned pretty well as a plug-n-play mando.
    Chuck

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    Default Re: Electric mandolin.

    Is anyone familiar with the Eastwood mando caster advertised here?

  5. #5
    Registered User Ranald's Avatar
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    Default Re: Electric mandolin.

    I'm very happy with my Godin A8, which more knowledgable folks at Mandolin Cafe tell me is not really an electric mandolin, but an acoustic mandolin with a pre-amp. It plays well un-amped. Here's Eva Scow with hers. If the links don't work, search YouTube for "Eva Scow/ On The Sunny Side of The Street".

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P031...hannel=EvaScow

    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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    Default Re: Electric mandolin.

    The Eastman ERM El Rey Electric Mandolin is the best one that I've played and owned so far. But in the end I still prefer a pickup or mic on my acoustic.

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    Registered User urobouros's Avatar
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    Default Re: Electric mandolin.

    I'd second the Zeta if it's in your budget.
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    And a few electrics

  10. #8

    Default Re: Electric mandolin.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ranald View Post
    I'm very happy with my Godin A8, which more knowledgable folks at Mandolin Cafe tell me is not really an electric mandolin, but an acoustic mandolin with a pre-amp. It plays well un-amped. Here's Eva Scow with hers. If the links don't work, search YouTube for "Eva Scow/ On The Sunny Side of The Street".

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P031...hannel=EvaScow


    The worrying thing is that Godin no longer produces the A8 mandolin.
    If the mandolin is good why not make it anymore?
    Does anyone know why?

    Thank's

  11. #9

    Default Re: Electric mandolin.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nashville View Post
    The Eastman ERM El Rey Electric Mandolin is the best one that I've played and owned so far. But in the end I still prefer a pickup or mic on my acoustic.
    I know my observation will be wrong. However, this model does not convince me as, not considering the sound, however, it physically resembles an electric guitar too much.

  12. #10
    Registered User mbruno's Avatar
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    Default Re: Electric mandolin.

    Personally, I would suggest the Eastman of the one's you listed. Though note that Eastman's can vary a lot from one mandolin to another in the same class - so if possible, I'd suggest playing a few Eastman's before buying "the one"

    The big question - why do you want an electric mandolin?

    If it's to play a mandolin at gigs where you need to be amplified sometimes - go with an acoustic mandolin and mount a pickup inside. It's more versatile that way as it likely sounds fine acoustically too so you can use a mic when possible and usually you get a better mandolin for the money. I usually go with Twin K pickups installed by a pro.

    If you want to play more electric stuff (like Yonder Mountain style) - go with a solid body electric mandolin if you can. This would eliminate the feedback issue completely and they sound great plugged in. I have a Jon Mann 5 string I love for this purpose.
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  14. #11

    Default Re: Electric mandolin.

    Quote Originally Posted by mbruno View Post
    Personally, I would suggest the Eastman of the one's you listed. Though note that Eastman's can vary a lot from one mandolin to another in the same class - so if possible, I'd suggest playing a few Eastman's before buying "the one"

    The big question - why do you want an electric mandolin?

    If it's to play a mandolin at gigs where you need to be amplified sometimes - go with an acoustic mandolin and mount a pickup inside. It's more versatile that way as it likely sounds fine acoustically too so you can use a mic when possible and usually you get a better mandolin for the money. I usually go with Twin K pickups installed by a pro.

    If you want to play more electric stuff (like Yonder Mountain style) - go with a solid body electric mandolin if you can. This would eliminate the feedback issue completely and they sound great plugged in. I have a Jon Mann 5 string I love for this purpose.
    I have to play with amplified mandolin because I have to play on mp3 bases. Mandolin and mp3 base amplified in an audio system.

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    mandolin slinger Steve Ostrander's Avatar
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    Default Re: Electric mandolin.

    Quote Originally Posted by mandolinita View Post
    The worrying thing is that Godin no longer produces the A8 mandolin.
    If the mandolin is good why not make it anymore?
    Does anyone know why?

    Thank's
    Iím gonna say that not enough people bought them?

    I had an A8 for a while. It was okay, but I will say that the sound was not as good as an acoustic mandolin played into a mic. I ended up putting piezo pickups on my acoustic mandolins. Kind of a trade off, just like the A8. I felt like the A8 preamp imparted something into the sound that didnít agree with me.

    A couple years ago I bought a mando with a Shadow pickup. Again, I felt like the preamp imparted something into the sound that didnít agree with me. I ended up swapping it out for a piezo.

    All things being equal, you canít beat the sound of an acoustic mandolin or guitar played into a good mic. But I move around far too much on stage to be locked into the sweet spot that the mic gives. So, itís a compromise, like so many things in life.
    Livingí in the Mitten

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    Default Re: Electric mandolin.

    Since nobody else asked, what kind of music are you amplifying? What sort of tone are you looking to approximate?
    What I play
    2021 Skip Kelley Two-Point
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  18. #14
    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Question Re: Electric mandolin.

    A premium F5 , since you find that important and have the builder add a built in pickup for an electric signal output..
    writing about music
    is like dancing,
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  19. #15
    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Electric mandolin.

    Godin gone , RMC in Berkeley Made the electric parts I have a 5 string with RMC Pickups (for sale)
    writing about music
    is like dancing,
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  20. #16
    Registered User mbruno's Avatar
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    Default Re: Electric mandolin.

    Quote Originally Posted by mandolinita View Post
    I have to play with amplified mandolin because I have to play on mp3 bases. Mandolin and mp3 base amplified in an audio system.
    I'm not really following - what's the mp3 bases? Like playing along with a track in an amplified system?

    I amplified my acoustic mandolins all the time for gigs. If you're trying to just get louder with the mandolin, then I would go with the best acoustic mandolin you can afford and have a pickup installed professionally. It'll help you keep the mandolin sound the best. In addition, you'll probably want to look into some pedals to help compensate - an eq, reverb, and compressor are generally what I use. If you're recording, the plugins will probably be fine. If you're playing live, I like LR Baggs for the eq and compressor. Reverb has a lot of great options (I use Strymon but there's so many good ones).
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  21. #17
    Registered User Ranald's Avatar
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    Default Re: Electric mandolin.

    Quote Originally Posted by mandolinita View Post
    The worrying thing is that Godin no longer produces the A8 mandolin.
    If the mandolin is good why not make it anymore?
    Does anyone know why?

    Thank's
    That was news to me, but the folks at Godin tell me you're right. Who knows why companies make business decisions? Godin is a guitar company. Maybe they weren't selling enough A8's -- they never made it easy to get information. Good luck with your search. You're getting good advice here.
    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.

  22. #18

    Default Re: Electric mandolin.

    What do you think of Ortega RMFE100AVO?

  23. #19
    Registered User jefflester's Avatar
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    Default Re: Electric mandolin.

    Quote Originally Posted by mandolinita View Post
    What do you think of Ortega RMFE100AVO?
    Pretty new builder. It's quite possible no one here has ever played one.

  24. #20
    Registered User Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    Default Re: Electric mandolin.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mitch Stein View Post
    Since nobody else asked, what kind of music are you amplifying? What sort of tone are you looking to approximate?
    You beat me to it.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by mbruno View Post
    I'm not really following - what's the mp3 bases? . . .
    Yeah, I was wondering that, too.
    Gibson A-Junior snakehead (Keep on pluckin'!)

  25. #21
    Registered User Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    Default Re: Electric mandolin.

    Tell us more about what you're trying to achieve. (I don't know what "MP3 bases" means) Do you want an electric mando, or do you want an acoustic mando with a pickup?

    The mandos you listed seem to be acoustic mandolins with onboard pickups.

    IF ACOUSTIC:

    Don't get a mandolin with a pickup that's butted up against the neck. Your pick will click on the pickup. That was what my first mando had, and the clicking rendered it practically useless.

    I had an internal K&K installed in a later mandolin, and it sounded good. My current axe has a JJB external pickup. Ugly, but like the K&K, it sounds good. If your axe isn't a collector's item, an internal or external K&K or JJB might make sense.

    LR Baggs also makes a nice (though pricey) external pickup. And if money's no object, check out Fishman's website.

    IF ELECTRIC:

    Consider an eight-string solid-body. (Four- and five-string electrics just sound like tenor guitars.) A solid-body eight-string keeps the mandolin's signature double-course sound but resists feedback.

    AND:

    What's your budget? If it's limited, why get an F when you can get a comparable A for less? Or a flattop. For instance, you can get an all-solid wood Big Muddy for well under a grand, including onboard pickup.

    So, in short, #5: Something else.

    PS: I just read mbruno's post. It looks right-on to me.
    Last edited by Charlie Bernstein; Nov-11-2021 at 10:42pm.
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  27. #22
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    Default Re: Electric mandolin.

    I don't get it - those just seem to be cheap acoustic mandos with pick-ups. If you want an electric mandolin I'd suggest going to emando.com and seeing what he's got listed. Also, there is a section of the Cafe dedicated to electric mandolins. If you just want an acoustic with a pick-up then buy the best acoustic you can and have someone install a pick-up. As everyone will no doubt tell you here, if you are looking to buy a cheaper instrument then you want to look for an A model. Cheap F models generally kind've suck. You get more bang for your buck with cheaper A models. Unless you're planning on playing through a PA or amp and want a DI, then I don't see why you would really need a mando with a pick-up. Maybe you want to run it through some effects pedals? Also, what are mp3 bases?

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  29. #23
    Registered User mbruno's Avatar
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    Default Re: Electric mandolin.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ranald View Post
    I'm very happy with my Godin A8, which more knowledgable folks at Mandolin Cafe tell me is not really an electric mandolin, but an acoustic mandolin with a pre-amp. It plays well un-amped. Here's Eva Scow with hers. If the links don't work, search YouTube for "Eva Scow/ On The Sunny Side of The Street".

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P031...hannel=EvaScow

    I haven't listened to Eva Scow before (though I think she appears on Tone Poets, so maybe I have haha). She's great and the mando sounds really nice with the light reverb on it. No doubt it's a great electric mandolin, but I suspect since there's no sound hole, it likely sounds like an Ovations unplugged. Though if you say it sounds great, I have to take your work for it as I never heard/played a Godin mandolin before. I may have to look a little more now since I mostly play plugged in these days

    Quote Originally Posted by mandolinita View Post
    The worrying thing is that Godin no longer produces the A8 mandolin.
    If the mandolin is good why not make it anymore?
    Does anyone know why?

    Thank's
    Not sure specifics, but they don't advertise any mandolins on their site anymore. I actually didn't even know they made mandolins - never even seen one in the wild haha. Godin likely they just stopped making mandolins altogether. The market for mandolins in general is pretty small compared to other instruments and the market for mid to high end electric mandolins is even smaller than that. For a company like Godin Guitars that has a solid line of instruments, I'd suspect that the main driver was the returns for their mandolin weren't as good as their other instruments so they ceased mandolin production in favor of better returns.

    I wouldn't put too much stock into them not making it any more. Lots of instrument makers discontinue models or cease production on a line of instruments for carious reasons. Three things I'd focus on - does it sound good, can you afford it, and will you play it? If it's yes all the way, then go for it! If you do buy it, a nice plus is usually the instrument will increase in value as it gets rarer
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  30. #24
    Registered User Ranald's Avatar
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    Default Re: Electric mandolin.

    Re: Post 23

    The Godin A8 is a hollow instrument, but with no sound hole. For its price range, I think it's a pretty good instrument. When I try out other mandolins in stores, I always come away feeling that I like my A8 more than other more expensive magazines that I tried. However, my main interests are blues and ragtime, so I'm not in synch with the majority here. I'm not a mandolin sophisticate either -- I'm sure there are people with more sophisticated ears who are aware of shortcomings that I might miss.

    I contacted the Godin company in the "Chat," and an employee told me they no longer make the A8. However, they still make their Seagull acoustic mandolins, which are less expensive than the A8's, but, in my opinion, not as good.

    I'm not recommending the Godin's over other mandolins, just (in Post #5) letting the OP know about my experience with the A8. I think Eva Scow argues the case better than I do.
    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.

  31. #25

    Default Re: Electric mandolin.

    I'm undecided between:
    1) Ortega RMFE100AVO
    4) Godin A8

    Thank's

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