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Thread: Mandobird Regrets?

  1. #26
    Registered User Mandobart's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandobird Regrets?

    Update on this thread: my Mandobird VIII arrived today from Musician's Friend. I paid $199 for what was advertised as a used, very good condition instrument. Mine claims to be from Indonesia. When it arrived it looked new. I still can't find any wear marks, but I'm certainly not complaining. Thoughts so far, after ~ 2 hours with it - finish, feel, are all fine, and better than I expected for a $200 instrument. The bridge is not a "tunematic" style; as posted above you can only adjust the angle of the saddle and the action, can't individually adjust intonation for each pair of strings. So setting intonation is like doing it on an acoustic mando. As others posted, I have not been able to get the intonation perfect all the way up the neck. But, I can get it acceptable. The tone pot seems to have a bent shaft, there is a little wobble as it rotates, but it works fine. Sound through my old Peavey is pretty cool! The E pair of strings are definitely weak as also posted above, so I think a pickup upgrade is in order. Thank again everyone, gotta go play...

  2. #27

    Default Re: Mandobird Regrets?

    enjoy your bird and you can get replacement bridges that should help with intonation moongazer music i think has some in stock

  3. #28
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    Default Re: Mandobird Regrets?

    Gotta say I love mine, though I'm a hack, so we fit well together!! (I have a 4 string model, pretty good intonation, and no e string issues)...125 bucks plus shipping used but in new condition...
    Chuck

  4. #29
    Work in Progress Ed Goist's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandobird Regrets?

    Mandobart, congratulations on the new Mandobird!
    We'd love to see pics, and a video, too.
    Enjoy!
    c.1965 Harmony Monterey H410 Mandolin
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  5. #30
    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandobird Regrets?

    Didn't know the VIII didn't have the adjustable bridges - surprised at that. Both my IVs - one from Indonesia, one from China - have them. They were both from ebay and listed as used, though I didn't see any wear. I think one was from a music store, the other from a pawn shop, and their "used" rating may just have meant that they weren't technically new, having been hanging on the wall for a while. BTW, both have stickers saying they were inspected and set up in the USA, FWIW. Well, enjoy!
    Last edited by journeybear; Jan-04-2011 at 1:44am. Reason: inspecting in the USA
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  6. #31

    Default Re: Mandobird Regrets?

    The intonation was so far off on my VIII that I had to move the entire bridge assembly. Drilled new holes and everything. Other than that, the action was workable, I did a nicer job of leveling and crowning the frets than the factory did.

    I've also noticed a crackle over the amp if my fingers brush the pickguard. I'm guessing it needs some serious shielding.

    For me, this is a practice instrument, it's very quiet and I can listen and mix other tracks through my headphones. I don't perform or jam with it so I'm not expecting much. It works pretty well for me in this context.

  7. #32
    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandobird Regrets?

    Do you have a different emando for playing out and/or with others? I'm pretty happy with my IV though I know it's not perfect. Even so, it's a lot more like what I want than I had been using before, and I still haven't bonded with my Fender 5-string Mandocaster.
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

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  8. #33
    Phylum Octochordata Mike Bromley's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandobird Regrets?

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Moreau View Post
    My purpose for buying it was to have a "silent" mandolin so I don't bother the neighbors during late night practices. For that purposes it has served me well.
    Ditto for me, although I had to dicker over the price at the dealership....the g-strings were practically touching at the nut. A new slot fixed that. The screws holding the neck on were loose. The neck relief was such that you couldn't adjust the action lower without shimming the neck heel to angle the neck back. I do like the odd body shape for playing while seated. And for portability, tit fits in leftover spaces in overhead luggage bins on my long journeys overseas. Still needs some more tweaking, though.
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  9. #34
    Registered User Mandobart's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandobird Regrets?

    So I just just received my new fully intonable bridge yesterday from Moongazer. I'm travelling this week, so I won't have a chance to put in on for a week or so. The saddles are made of threaded rod, don't have any specific slots. Just wondering, do most people let the strings ride in the threads of the barrels, or do they file slots in each barell for the strings? Seems like potential for breaking strings just letting them ride in the thread roots.

  10. #35
    Registered User flatt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandobird Regrets?

    ... I don't own one ... but there's something that has been left out of all of these posts ... the Mandobird just LOOKS so cool! I wish I had one!

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Chris; London, England

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    + some guitars)

  11. #36
    Créateur des e-mandos Soundfarmer Pete's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandobird Regrets?

    Quote Originally Posted by flatt View Post
    ... I don't own one ... but there's something that has been left out of all of these posts ... the Mandobird just LOOKS so cool! I wish I had one!

    Click image for larger version. 

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    I must agree......loads of nice Firebirds recently in the Private Collection features in Guitar & Bass magazine - must confess, I`m sorely tempted to build a 5 string

  12. #37
    Americana in France? Daniel Nestlerode's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandobird Regrets?

    Definitely, a very attractive design. Whoever in Gibson/Epiphone thought up the Mandobird was having a very good day.

    Pete, if you do build one, use banjo tuners! My one complaint about the execution of the Mandobird, on a purely visual level, is the protrusion of the tuning machines beyond the headstock.

    Daniel

  13. #38
    In The Van Ben Milne's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandobird Regrets?

    No regrets about my VIII here. - I'm glad the OP bit the bullet.
    a few simple mods and the birds can be a very decent backup/2nd Emando later on once you find the One. (admittedly I went a little ott but it sure has been fun.)

    Daniel, here's two mandobird headstocks I installed Steinbergers on.
    I will say they get a little tight for room on the stock VIII headstock, though I'm happy to put up with it, they do wonders at staying in tune so its basically string changes that can be fiddly.

    I'd like to see Pete M do a neck thru non-reverse 'dola'bird...
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    Hereby & forthwith, any instrument with an odd number of strings shall be considered broken. With regard to mix levels, usually the best approach is treating the mandolin the same as a cowbell.

  14. #39

    Default Re: Mandobird Regrets?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandobart View Post
    Update on this thread: my Mandobird VIII arrived today from Musician's Friend. I paid $199 for what was advertised as a used, very good condition instrument. Mine claims to be from Indonesia. When it arrived it looked new. I still can't find any wear marks, but I'm certainly not complaining. Thoughts so far, after ~ 2 hours with it - finish, feel, are all fine, and better than I expected for a $200 instrument. The bridge is not a "tunematic" style; as posted above you can only adjust the angle of the saddle and the action, can't individually adjust intonation for each pair of strings. So setting intonation is like doing it on an acoustic mando. As others posted, I have not been able to get the intonation perfect all the way up the neck. But, I can get it acceptable. The tone pot seems to have a bent shaft, there is a little wobble as it rotates, but it works fine. Sound through my old Peavey is pretty cool! The E pair of strings are definitely weak as also posted above, so I think a pickup upgrade is in order. Thank again everyone, gotta go play...
    That's odd. I had it on good authority that the VIII was built in China and the IV was built in Indonesia. Normally it's origin is printed on the back of the headstock. To my knowledge, the mandobird never had a tun-o-matic bridge but always sported the hardtail style. That bridge has gone through some variations as they tried to source it from new vendors. The Kentucky KM-300E had a TOM bridge but that was discontinued when they moved the production of the instrument to a different plant within China.

    In regards to the replacement bridge from moongazer, the saddles are actually the ones manufactured for the Jaguar Jazzmaster. It appears to me that they went to a coarser thread about six months or so ago which clearly affected the amount of variance in the spacing. I think there are some good alternatives but are pretty cost prohibitive in my opinion. I'm actually surprised that the eight string bridges aren't more expensive as they are because Tom has to discard the springs and screws that come with the Jaguar saddles and replace them with longer ones.

  15. #40
    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandobird Regrets?

    FWIW (prolly not much) I have two IVs, one from Indonesia, one from China, according to the stickers (not printing) on them. Not saying things couldn't get swapped around, but that's what I've got.
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

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  16. #41

    Default Re: Mandobird Regrets?

    Quote Originally Posted by journeybear View Post
    FWIW (prolly not much) I have two IVs, one from Indonesia, one from China, according to the stickers (not printing) on them. Not saying things couldn't get swapped around, but that's what I've got.
    Is one significantly older than the other? I remember several year back that it was difficult to get a hold of one because the factory was back ordered on them for a long time. Then when they came in, there was a lot of complaints about the necks warped and people noticed that they were marked as being from Indonesia. This centered around the NAMM show in 05 and it was also right around the time that the tsunami hit.

    FWIW, I really do have better things to do than track the production of mandobirds, but I was approached about designing a new bridge for the eight string models which is why I've had a bit of interest in them. I think I'll go find a Loar discussion and cleanse my soul.

  17. #42

    Default Re: Mandobird Regrets?

    I just got an VIII and I believe the sticker says Indonesia.

  18. #43
    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandobird Regrets?

    Sorry, Andrew. Didn't mean anything, just offering my 2¢. Not hazarding a guess as to how or why any of this should be so, just that's what I got. Explaining the vicissitudes of the odd goings-on in the mando-world on the other side of the earth is a fools's errand. Don't blame you for running screaming to the door!

    BTW, Jim MacDaniel's been holding out on us. For a lark I went to his Zazzle storefront (as suggested in his signature) and found this T-shirt design.
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

    Furthering Mandolin Consciousness

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  19. #44
    Americana in France? Daniel Nestlerode's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandobird Regrets?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Milne View Post
    No regrets about my VIII here. - I'm glad the OP bit the bullet.
    a few simple mods and the birds can be a very decent backup/2nd Emando later on once you find the One. (admittedly I went a little ott but it sure has been fun.)

    Daniel, here's two mandobird headstocks I installed Steinbergers on.
    I will say they get a little tight for room on the stock VIII headstock, though I'm happy to put up with it, they do wonders at staying in tune so its basically string changes that can be fiddly.

    I'd like to see Pete M do a neck thru non-reverse 'dola'bird...
    Very cool. And much more inn keeping with the Firebird esthetic.

    Oops I was trying to reply to Ben and his pics of Mandobird headstocks.

    Daniel

  20. #45
    Créateur des e-mandos Soundfarmer Pete's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandobird Regrets?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Milne View Post
    I'd like to see Pete M do a neck thru non-reverse 'dola'bird...
    That`s an interesting thought.......might have a crack at a tenor (anything larger like an octave would have to be bolt on....only got a tiny workshop).

  21. #46
    Work in Progress Ed Goist's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandobird Regrets?

    Does the Mandobird VIII have a radiused fretboard?
    One would think it would, since it's an electric, but I can't find any reference to this anywhere.
    Thanks.
    c.1965 Harmony Monterey H410 Mandolin
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  22. #47
    Registered User Mandobart's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandobird Regrets?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ed Goist View Post
    Does the Mandobird VIII have a radiused fretboard?
    Hard to say, as I don't have any gages to measure. I could have checked a couple nights ago when I had the strings off to replace the bridge, but I didn't. If it is radiused, it is a greater radius (less curve) than on my Morris (based on visual comparo). Also has bigger frets, again don't know the size. Coupled with the light gauge stock strings, it is very easy to play. The nut slots do sit high, so I'm carefully filing down to lower the action on the first few frets

  23. #48
    Registered User Trip's Avatar
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    Smile Re: Mandobird Regrets?

    I got my mandobird 4 right here on the cafe a long while back and it had a great setup from the previous owner, neck is super skinny but feels great, original tuners hold a tune well, still have the plastic nut, crappy pickup, strung with Jazz mando/bird strings.... all i have done is change the pots, sounds great with the right effects, best $150 instrument I have ever played.....

  24. #49
    Registered User Darren Bailey's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandobird Regrets?

    I have the eight stringed bird and I'm happy with it. Even with a replacement pickup I have to turn the tone knob all the way if I want a strong E string. I think it looks the business and recorded it sounds great. I must admit I always play it through something - a delay, distortion or zoom pedal, but as that electrified sound was the whole reason I wanted a solid body mandolin I have no complaints.

  25. #50
    Registered User bjc's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandobird Regrets?

    I had a mandobird for a while and other than getting the nut cut so that it would intonate correctly I made no mods and I enjoyed it. Then I got a 5-string Schwab and sold it through the Cafe...They'll pop up in classifieds...
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