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Thread: Duncan Custom Mini Humbucker for Mandolin Experience?

  1. #1

    Default Duncan Custom Mini Humbucker for Mandolin Experience?

    Does anyone here have any experience with one of these?

    http://www.seymourduncan.com/product...andolincustom/



    I'm getting my Mandobird setup redone - tuners, nut, frets, pickup, shielding - by the good folks at Chuck Levin's. A 1/4 pounder Seymour Duncan p-bass pickup was recommended from what they regularly stock but they said they'd be happy to insert whatever I'd like. I'm thinking that a Duncan pickup designed specifically for a mandolin might be a better choice.

    The sound I am going for is a clean sound, I'd rather dirty the sound up with effects than have an inherently dirty sounding rig. My rig:

    Mandobird
    Lifelines Line cables (single ended ground)
    Custom Built powersoak
    Fender Hot Rod Deluxe (I only use the clean channel)

    Within the next 6 months I'm going to retube and re-speaker the amp to clean up the sound even more. I'm a long time fiddle player and have a pretty good ear for tone and articulation.

    Thanks!

    ALB
    His mother gave him a choice: the accordion or judo.

  2. #2
    Americana in France? Daniel Nestlerode's Avatar
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    Default Re: Duncan Custom Mini Humbucker for Mandolin Experience?

    Wow. Cool.
    You're tweaking my MAS.

    Sorry, I'm no help though.

    Daniel

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    Default Re: Duncan Custom Mini Humbucker for Mandolin Experience?

    Yes. I ordered one of these from Seymour Duncan for my Mandobird VIII. It's a killer pickup and I highly recommend it. Not inexpensive, though.
    Bob Kirkland
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    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: Duncan Custom Mini Humbucker for Mandolin Experience?

    It isn't quite "lipstick on a pig," but can you explain the rationale for making all these changes to the Mandobird rather than simply buying a higher-grade instrument?
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    Registered User rockies's Avatar
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    Default Re: Duncan Custom Mini Humbucker for Mandolin Experience?

    As a suggestion you may want to talk to Lindy Fralin at www.fralinpickups.com, he made me a custom mandolin pickup for my homemade electric and it sounds great, clean and mellow and I'm using eight strings.
    rockies
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  6. #6

    Default Re: Duncan Custom Mini Humbucker for Mandolin Experience?

    Thanks, Rockies, that looks like a good source! If I can be forward, how much did you pay for it? What type of pickup is it?

    ALB
    His mother gave him a choice: the accordion or judo.

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    Registered User rockies's Avatar
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    Default Re: Duncan Custom Mini Humbucker for Mandolin Experience?

    I can't remember what I payed for it but don't believe it was a great amount, I think it was about $100 cdn plus but not sure. Talked to Lindy and told him the sound I wanted, he asked for info like string type and guages and believe it was to wound to 7k ohm impedance with separate alnico poles to mellow the sound. The mandolin was carved from a solid block of engleman spruce 1-1/2" thick, solid in the center with hollowed out upper and lower bouts much like a Gibson ES-335 guitar (this was to mellow the tone). A maple 1/8" thick back was put on for wear as the spruce is soft. Neck was carved from a block of maple.
    In an electric instrument don't hedge on the pickup, it is your main source of sound to the amp.
    Anyway I got just about exactly the sound I was after, I didn't want a high pitched guitar sound but a good as possible amplified mandolin sound and I think the pickup was a good part of that. Sorry for rambling.
    Dave
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    Default Re: Duncan Custom Mini Humbucker for Mandolin Experience?

    I had Seymour Duncan do a custom for me. It was their lil' 59 strat humbucker with a tele top(for the mando string spacing) with 4 pole pieces. It sounds great and has adjustable pole pieces so you can balance the strings. Lindy was a dead end for me and sugested a lipstick type which was not what I needed at all. I think the ability to adjust the balance of the strings is paramount.

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    Registered User Ken Olmstead's Avatar
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    Default Re: Duncan Custom Mini Humbucker for Mandolin Experience?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shelby Eicher View Post
    I think the ability to adjust the balance of the strings is paramount.
    That can be a VERY desirable feature.

    That Duncan looks sweet! Humbuckers usually have a higher output which means they will distort at a lower volume. When I put the HB in my Kentucky it was exactly what I was looking for soundwise but it does distort things easier. The major benefit for me was a THICK, noiseless sound. Very pleased. If I owned a mandobird, that Duncan would be the pickup for me! The suggestion of a higher grade instrument is also something to consider. I do understand that you have the mando already and a couple hundred bucks will take it where you want to go....lot cheaper than a different mando. Good luck, I would love to see a picture once it is installed!
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    Handle Of Science UnityGain's Avatar
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    Default Re: Duncan Custom Mini Humbucker for Mandolin Experience?

    Oh man. I want that. I'd love to get a adjustable pole peice humbucker in my mandobird VIII. But then I'd still be stuck with that giant uncomfortable neck. If only it wasnt $160, I'd get it right now but I think I'm going to wait it out and get a better emando. It just makes more sense. Still, its very tempting.
    Gotta start sometime, might as well be now...

  11. #11
    Luthierus Amateurius crazymandolinist's Avatar
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    Default Re: Duncan Custom Mini Humbucker for Mandolin Experience?

    Quote Originally Posted by mrmando View Post
    It isn't quite "lipstick on a pig," but can you explain the rationale for making all these changes to the Mandobird rather than simply buying a higher-grade instrument?
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  12. #12

    Default Re: Duncan Custom Mini Humbucker for Mandolin Experience?

    Thanks to everyone for their input on my mando's output (lol). I think I'll get in touch with Lindy Fralin about getting a custom wound pickup for my mandobird. I think I'll probably get in touch with the folks chez Duncan to see what they suggest and go with with the one that makes the most sense to me.

    From what I'm reading about the tone of humbuckers vs. single coil pickups, I might be more interested in the sound a single coil produces. I use single ended cables and am getting the bird shielded so hopefully those will cut down on background hum. I'm also willing to trade a lil' background noise for a better (to me) tone.

    I know what sound I'm looking for but am not exactly sure how to get there (yet!). I'll trust whatever the pickup maker suggests is the best idea.

    I definitely agree that the pickup is an item in the rig's chain of equipment that should *not* be scrimped on, Dave. And actually, $150 for a pickup is small change when you've been playing fiddles all your life...now that's an expensive instrument! (Hell, I spent almost twice that on a tuner for the damn things...)

    I'll look to get adjustable pole pieces in my pickup, Shelby, that's a good point. I'd like to be able to shape the response on my own. One of the things that pisses me off the most about the bird in its current set up is the uneveness of the strings. The G goes on forever and the E is barely heard, the A and the D sound nice though. I'm probably going to restring it as a mandola at some point and the thicker strings might require a tweaking.

    ALB

    PS--Regarding putting lipstick on my pig, mrmando, I'm not sure that's the type of pickup for me but I'll let you know if I do end up going with one.
    His mother gave him a choice: the accordion or judo.

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    Default Re: Duncan Custom Mini Humbucker for Mandolin Experience?

    Quote Originally Posted by allezlesbleus View Post
    Does anyone here have any experience with one of these?

    http://www.seymourduncan.com/product...andolincustom/



    I'm getting my Mandobird setup redone - tuners, nut, frets, pickup, shielding - by the good folks at Chuck Levin's. A 1/4 pounder Seymour Duncan p-bass pickup was recommended from what they regularly stock but they said they'd be happy to insert whatever I'd like. I'm thinking that a Duncan pickup designed specifically for a mandolin might be a better choice.

    The sound I am going for is a clean sound, I'd rather dirty the sound up with effects than have an inherently dirty sounding rig. My rig:

    Mandobird
    Lifelines Line cables (single ended ground)
    Custom Built powersoak
    Fender Hot Rod Deluxe (I only use the clean channel)

    Within the next 6 months I'm going to retube and re-speaker the amp to clean up the sound even more. I'm a long time fiddle player and have a pretty good ear for tone and articulation.

    Thanks!

    ALB
    Hey,

    You are barking up my tree!!

    I have spent most of my adult life with a bow, live in the DC metro area, and
    now play electric mando as well.
    I have never taken an instrument to Chucks, but I've bought a few things from them over the years. I even tried out the Zeta five string there before
    buying a five string from Eric Jensen. I play an EM-5 from Jon Mann, and
    after installing an L45S pickup from Bill Lawrence, I'm happy with the sound
    of this mando.
    What style of music do you play?

    -vince

  14. #14

    Default Re: Duncan Custom Mini Humbucker for Mandolin Experience?

    Howdy Vince,

    I play a little bluegrass, some Irish, but mostly Swedish fiddle. I do jam band kind of stuff on the bird. And I've got a Martin mando that I pick out fiddle tunes on.

    The guy I got the bird from had just got a Mann 5 string which instantly rendered the bird completely useless to him. Excellent mando, that thing made the bird sound like rubberbands stretched on a shoebox.

    I might want a solid bodied fiddle at some point, I've got a pickup on one of my acoustic fiddles but it really feeds back when the volume levels get interesting.

    ALB
    His mother gave him a choice: the accordion or judo.

  15. #15
    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Duncan Custom Mini Humbucker for Mandolin Experience?

    A stacked humbucker is set into the top of the A50 4 string conversion i bought, completed.

    It's a smaller hole than those would be, needing.. warm Jazzy tone is what I like.. Cgda strung..

    Those, offered as a floating pickup so as not needing 2 ears on both sides to mount it would be a + to my eye.

    though a ES 335 looking acoustic electric 4 string would push a few desire buttons, too.
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  16. #16

    Default Re: Duncan Custom Mini Humbucker for Mandolin Experience?

    Update: I called over to Lindy Fralin's and spoke with Ivan there. We talked for a bit and he told me that I should remove the existing pickup from the bird and send it to them so they could either rewind the existing pole pieces or use it as a template to make one that would drop into the existing body without unnecessary routing. I mentioned that I was interested in adjustable pole pieces and Ivan said that might make an entirely custom made pickup more likely.

    He told me to include a letter outlining what I liked and didn't like about the existing pickup, the sound I was looking for, the gear I'm playing through, etc.

    I'll let all y'all know how it goes.

    ALB
    His mother gave him a choice: the accordion or judo.

  17. #17
    Handle Of Science UnityGain's Avatar
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    Default Re: Duncan Custom Mini Humbucker for Mandolin Experience?

    let us know what he says, because he might very well end up building two because I might want one too. So might others. Adjustable pole peices is one of my requirements as well. Drop in to mandobird sounds wonderful. keep us posted.
    Gotta start sometime, might as well be now...

  18. #18

    Default Re: Duncan Custom Mini Humbucker for Mandolin Experience?

    Lordy, did I get a weird practice amp today:

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...m=320324670045

    You gotta love anything that uses an old Soviet SET tube with a Hammond power transformer. Ultra clean signal path too.

    ALB
    His mother gave him a choice: the accordion or judo.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Duncan Custom Mini Humbucker for Mandolin Experience?

    how did it go?
    did you change the mandobirdpickup to a seymour duncan?

    btw. what amp was it? the ebay link is dead now

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Duncan Custom Mini Humbucker for Mandolin Experience?

    just a word to say the Duncan Custom guitar pickup is truly one of SD's finest. A pickup that can cleanly, clearly, proudly, and powerfully say for the instrument "I am here!" So if you are looking for a mandolin version, I highly recommend it, especially into a Fender amp. Sounds like you just found another amp that may be the vehicle, which may be a determining factor.
    Both Fralin and Lawrence make excellent pickups. My experience is limited, never having used a pickup by either, but I have tried many a SD, and many were good, but the Duncan Custom takes top honors to my ear. I use one in my Cajun dance band. Holds it's own in the fray.

  21. #21

    Default Re: Duncan Custom Mini Humbucker for Mandolin Experience?

    I bought one of the Seymour Duncan Custom Humbuckers for my Mandobird IV. However, it looks to me like installation is going to require a lot of routing. And the bolt mounts reach almost to the edge of the raised part of the Mandobird body.

    I asked the Seymour Duncan folks for any assistance they might be able to provide, since when I bought it they told me it would work with a Mandobird. However, they have been unresponsive.

    Has anyone tried this installation? How did it work out and did it end up butchering the instrument? Maybe pictures?

    Thanks tons.

  22. #22

    Default Re: Duncan Custom Mini Humbucker for Mandolin Experience?

    Your best bet is to get a quality cut routing template and use a flush cutting bit making several shallow passes. Seymour Duncan should be able to provide you with a drawing that you can use to make the template. If not, you might check StewMac and see if they have one premade for that size pickup.

    The other thing you can do is return it and get an Almuse pickup from Pete Mallinson. I have a couple on their way too me and am anxious to check them out.

    Andrew

  23. #23

    Default Re: Duncan Custom Mini Humbucker for Mandolin Experience?

    hey if its not to late for my two cents i would recommend one of steve ryders humbuckers with a coil splitting/tapping switch. the best of both worlds single coil or double at the flick of a switch. have them in mine and its great. the mando bird pick up is not all that bad though for the price.

  24. #24

    Default Re: Duncan Custom Mini Humbucker for Mandolin Experience?

    Quote Originally Posted by thistle3585 View Post
    Your best bet is to get a quality cut routing template and use a flush cutting bit making several shallow passes. Seymour Duncan should be able to provide you with a drawing that you can use to make the template. If not, you might check StewMac and see if they have one premade for that size pickup.

    The other thing you can do is return it and get an Almuse pickup from Pete Mallinson. I have a couple on their way too me and am anxious to check them out.

    Andrew
    I would consider returning it, but when I contacted Seymour Duncan, both by phone and email, they have been unresponsive.

  25. #25
    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Duncan Custom Mini Humbucker for Mandolin Experience?

    If you Got it, and changed your mind, an add in the classifieds will certainly find it a new home ....

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