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Thread: Fender Mandocaster in blue

  1. #1
    Americana in France? Daniel Nestlerode's Avatar
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    Default Fender Mandocaster in blue

    Hi folks,
    The new 'lectric arrived this morning while I was at the dentist having a crown and a filling replaced. Thanks goodness my mother-in-law lives next door and was able to sign for it!

    Pictures in the Photo section

    Arrived well packed and in an Epiphone gig bag, the kind that come with a Mandobird. D'Oh!

    Martin Stillion wrote about these mandos on his web site. So check it out for background.

    Condition:
    New with all that implies about factory made electric instruments. It needs a setup pretty badly. The string plane is not close enough to parallel to the neck plane. The nut is a touch on the high side too. And when I decide on a string gauge, I'll get this all settled and intonate it.
    The neck is nice and straight and has a satin finish which is very comfortable.
    The pickguard still had the plastic film on it, which I removed.
    The blue color is cool. But I can't fathom it. These instruments were rejected by Fender and left to languish in a warehouse, because of their ugly finish color. When I removed the pickguard I could see why they wouldbe rejected. The covered portions of the body are an odd greenish color, so I don't know if that's the color this will turn, if the greenish color is the result of contact with the pickguard, or if that's the color this instrument used to be. I guess time will tell.
    Nice pickup. 500k pots. Good wiring. Quiet as a church mouse when not being played. (Yay!) The E course is too quiet in comparison to the rest of the strings, but that's something that we all have to address with these instruments. I think Fender neglected to put a lug on the pickup, which would even the EM field and help balance the string response. I'll figure out how to take care of that in due course, soon.
    I do not like the hockey stick headstock, and the string tree is not only ugly its a pain in the butt. But I can live with it. I may dull the chrome on the string tree just to keep it from attracting the eye.
    I hate the bridge too. Who's genius idea was it to run two strings though one hole in the back of the bridge? Why do they have to contact the tension springs?

    I restrung with guitars strings I bought at the local non-GC store. The 11s, 16s, and 26s, worked fine, but the 40s could not both fit through the hole in the bridge. Their windings were too large. So, right now it's a 7 string instrument. Gotta order some mandolin strings.

    Playing it:
    It plays easily and fairly accurately despite the high action up the neck, and it stays in tune.
    Tuners work well enough, though a couple of them have weird glue resin on them. Comes off easily enough with a damp cloth.
    It's FUN! Fiddle tunes with flange through an amp!

    Sound:
    Sounds good even though the e course is weak. I gave the set screw a half a turn and raised up the treble side. It helped a bit. Going into the amp dry, it sounds as though I have maybe a little bit of phasing going on. The reverb on the amp comes off almost twice as strong from this instrument in comparison to my Mando(la)bird. It has a warm (for a mandolin) Stratocaster kind of tone. It's somewhere between the neck only setting and the middle only setting on the 5 way switch. Makes sense given the positioning of the pickup.

    Finally I throw caution to the wind and step on the over drive pedal. Sounds a little weird with just the overdrive, so I step on the flange too. Now it sounds kind of like a trumpet peaking the mic. Cool!

    The purpose of this little guy is to allow me to play 8 string mandolin in a standard rock band setting. It'll work perfectly, so I won't have to put a pickup in my Vessel F5 and I won't have to run anything through the PA!

    Conclusion:
    Fun to play. Sounds cool. Needs a setup. And at some point I'm going to replace the bridge.

    Daniel

    Co

  2. #2
    Registered User Mike Herlihy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fender Mandocaster in blue

    May I ask, where did you purchase it from?

  3. #3
    Americana in France? Daniel Nestlerode's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fender Mandocaster in blue

    I took a chance on a fledgling web business called Finger Lakes Guitars run by Steven Reynolds. I probably paid too much, but it is what I was looking for (an 8 string) and the '56s and '70s Mandocasters at Chicago Music Exhcange are $3000 and $2000 respectively.

    Daniel

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    Registered User jefflester's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fender Mandocaster in blue

    Quote Originally Posted by DNestler View Post
    I took a chance on a fledgling web business called Finger Lakes Guitars run by Steven Reynolds.
    So fledgling I can't find them. There's a Finger Lakes Guitar Repair run by a guy named Nate Clark.

    Do you have a link? Does he hae any of the 4-stringers?

  5. #5
    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fender Mandocaster in blue

    my FM 61 sE is decent, bolt on neck on those does make neck reset angle /height fussing with a lot easier
    glued in neck has the luck factor included , I got a good one .

    I upgraded the whole works , scratch plate replacement carries different PU, pots and better
    Switchcraft, jack.
    writing about music
    is like dancing,
    about architecture

  6. #6
    Americana in France? Daniel Nestlerode's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fender Mandocaster in blue

    Finger Lakes Guitars
    Steven has excellent feedback on ebay. I think he started this business because he got tired of paying ebay's percentage.

    No 4 stringers, but some interesting 8 stringers!

    Daniel

  7. #7
    acoustically inert F-2 Dave's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fender Mandocaster in blue

    Very cool, Daniel. I saw a four string the same color as yours on ebay some time back. I'd love to get one.

  8. #8
    Americana in France? Daniel Nestlerode's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fender Mandocaster in blue

    Thanks Dave, I would too!

    Daniel

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