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Thread: Information on Fender Mandocasters

  1. #1

    Default Information on Fender Mandocasters

    Hi folks! I thought I might pick up a Fender Mandocaster for a little variety, and I'm asking for any input you might have for models or years to look for (or look out for!). Does anyone have any information on these instruments and which are the more desirable models or years? Anything to consider while shopping?

    Thanks!

  2. #2

    Default Re: Information on Fender Mandocasters

    Quote Originally Posted by Jordan S. View Post
    Hi folks! I thought I might pick up a Fender Mandocaster for a little variety, and I'm asking for any input you might have for models or years to look for (or look out for!). Does anyone have any information on these instruments and which are the more desirable models or years? Anything to consider while shopping?

    Thanks!
    Well…the 4-string Mando-strats from late 50s/early 60s go for a couple of grand, give or take. I’ve never played one but they look virtually identical to the ones that came out about ten years ago, we’re made in Indonesia or Malaysia, and cost about $300 brand new. I got one of the letter and had fun with it for a couple of years. The 4-string is an odd duck. They can be a lot of fun to rip out the tunes on with whatever effects you fancy, great fun for Ye Olde Celtic Folk-Rock. But many Mando players find them rather un-mandoly.
    The reissue ones have increased in value some because they were dirt cheap, but decent, and not made for long. The most obvious weakness is that they often have a weak-sounding e-string, so a pickup upgrade is common.

    Having had that experience, I’d be more interested in a solid 8-string version, those Fenders exist but seem relatively rare.
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    Mandoline or Mandolin: Similar to the lute, but much less artistically valuable....for people who wish to play simple music without much trouble —The Oxford Companion to Music

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  4. #3
    working musician Jim Bevan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Information on Fender Mandocasters

    I've owned five of the old ones (counting a strange Seafoam Green Korean reissue) – the best one is one of the later ones, a '66 or so (but I did upgrade it a little by installing a '50s anodized aluminum pickguard). It has a rosewood neck, is the most playable of the lot, and seems to have the strongest and most balanced-sounding pickup.
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    Default Re: Information on Fender Mandocasters

    Let’s start by getting the name right! Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong but the early models were known as “Mandocasters” (but not, I believe, officially by Fender) and those released in the 21st Century were “Mandostrats” (and called that by Fender).

  7. #5
    working musician Jim Bevan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Information on Fender Mandocasters

    Fender never used nor protected the word "Mandocaster", but that's what everybody called them.

    Eastwood started using it, and legally protected their right to do so. I had a converstation with them where I told them that I thought that they had no respect for tradition, and they pretty much accused me of being a Luddite. In my frustration, I registered the domain mandocaster.com just so they couldn't.

    I've retired, I'm countin' my pennies, and I will be letting the domain expire. Anyone want to take up the fight?
    mandoscales.com
    technical exercises for rock blues & fusion mandolinists
    free downloadable pdfs & mp4 backing tracks

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  9. #6
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    Default Re: Information on Fender Mandocasters

    Thanks for that. So what exactly is the o/p looking for?

  10. #7
    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: Information on Fender Mandocasters

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Bevan View Post
    I've retired, I'm countin' my pennies, and I will be letting the domain expire. Anyone want to take up the fight?
    Hi Jim! Yeah, I might. Shoot me an email or PM.
    Emando.com: More than you wanted to know about electric mandolins.

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  11. #8

    Default Re: Information on Fender Mandocasters

    While Fender emandos are held in high acclaim by many I don't share the sentiment.

    The original 4-stringers don't have much of a mandolin tone and that single-coil pickup is weak and noisy. They are also heavy - that's a solid block of wood hanging around your neck so that also takes some adjustment. The recent reissues basically replicated the originals, warts and all. They were relatively cheap when in circulation but have gotten expensive since.

    There was a period in the 90s when Fender had a line of electric mandolins made for them in Korea. The 2 of interest are the 5-string FM60E and the 8-string FM61SE. Both are semi-hollow builds, like a Telecaster Thinline, so are very light relatively speaking, and very well built.

    I have a FM60E that I like quite a bit. They take a bit to get set up but once that's done they are great electric mandolins.



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