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Thread: Plugging In

  1. #1
    Registered User irishman's Avatar
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    Default Plugging In

    Hello all.
    Ive been way from playing for a while. Kids, Career took off, etc. But life has taken a turn for the good, and the stress is gone, the weight is comming off, and I figure its time to start playing again.

    I love my Mid-Mo, but id like to plug in a bit. I have been reasearching the Mandobirds, and for $200 for the 4, and $250 for the 8, they both seem like decent inexpensive instruments, that you can later upgrade the pickup.

    Does anyone have any suggestion between the 4 and the 8? Do they only have replacement pickups for the 8 string (VIII)?

    Also, if there is anyone who has already set one up, but may have buyers remorse, I wouldnt mind talking business.

    Thanks,
    Doug

  2. #2
    '`'`'`'`'`'`'`'`'`'`' Jacob's Avatar
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    Default Re: Plugging In

    Almuse offers 4 and 8 string pickup upgrades for Mandobirds.

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    Registered User Mandobart's Avatar
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    Default Re: Plugging In

    I have had the Mandobird VIII for a little over a year. You can likely find one for about $200. I upgraded to an Almuse pickup and Moongazer bridge, and replaced the nut with bone. I use the Jazzmando strings. I really like it. I can rock it, play blues, use some distortion and reverb, or go for a clean sound to sound more like (but not completely like) and 8 string acoustic. I asked the same exact question before buying mine (Mandobird regrets)

  4. #4
    Registered User irishman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Plugging In

    Well for what its worth, I picked up a Mandobird VIII today, from Musicians Friend, for $250, with $50 of free accessories (tuner, some cords, etc). I have heard they are being discontinued, due to cost reductions at the factory. So it was now or never! Im sitting here anticipating the arrival with 0% buyers remorse which is odd for me. I usually second guess myself. It will be my first electric, and im very excited.

  5. #5
    Registered User irishman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Plugging In

    Im thinking about getting the Almuse pickup. I have rudimentary soldering experience. How complicated is the replacement? I cant find any instructions on Almuse.

  6. #6
    Créateur des e-mandos Soundfarmer Pete's Avatar
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    Default Re: Plugging In

    Greetings Irishman - thanks for pointing out the lack of info....I`ve uploaded a page with some tips on pickup replacement which I hope will make some kind of sense.
    http://www.almuse.co.uk/instructions.html
    Cheers,
    Pete

  7. #7
    Registered User irishman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Plugging In

    Quote Originally Posted by Soundfarmer Pete View Post
    Greetings Irishman - thanks for pointing out the lack of info....I`ve uploaded a page with some tips on pickup replacement which I hope will make some kind of sense.
    http://www.almuse.co.uk/instructions.html
    Cheers,
    Pete
    Pete,
    Thanks so much for responding.

    So you have several pickups available:

    MB8: Not sure what type of sound this is for.

    MB8L: Fixes the weak E string and is for country/blues/bluegrass.

    PhatBird 8: Slightly Distortiony Blues and Rock

    MB8CTS: A dual switch Pickupthat requires replacing the volume with a mini push/pull volume pot switch.

    MB8HC: A Humbucker that requires replacing the volume with a mini push/pull volume pot switch.

    I have a Schecter Guitar that has dual humbuckers with a push/pull volume pot switch that turns them to single coils. I like the growly humbucker sound, and then the clear tones of the single coil.

    Is this the same in the Mandobird MB8HC? What kind of tone does it put out.

    Also is it a collosal pain in the rear to replace one of these? The .pdf helps, but a video or a step by step with photos would be fantastic.

    Also your US shop "moongazer music" does not seem to have all these options in shop. They only have the MB4 and MB8, both of which do not have a lot of description on your website. At a minimum, I would want the MB8L Which fixes the E string

    Do you have any forums for your products?

  8. #8
    Market Man Barry Wilson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Plugging In

    I would say play it and see. you might just be pleased with the way it sounds as is.

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    Registered User irishman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Plugging In

    Quote Originally Posted by Pipeous View Post
    I would say play it and see. you might just be pleased with the way it sounds as is.
    Fair enough, however it does have a notoriously weak E string, as said many times here in the forums. Do you have a Mandobird Pipeous? How do you like the stock sound?

  10. #10
    Créateur des e-mandos Soundfarmer Pete's Avatar
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    Default Re: Plugging In

    Greetings Irishman,
    It would appear that Moongazer lists the basic model as MB8 and I list it as MB8L (same pickup so only 4 options at the moment). I`m not sure where you were looking but all four options are definitely listed on the Moongazer site.
    Both the 4 wire pickups deliver a noticable boost in volume.......can`t really comment on the tone comparison with a Schecter since we`re talking emandos but generally speaking, a low impedance pickup has a smoother frequency response....crank up the turns and there`ll be more output at the expense of the top end (so same principle as your guitar).

    I wouldn`t say that wiring up a switch is a collosal pain although a well maintained soldering iron tip is needed....there are six terminals all packed within the space of a thumbnail and if the joint is not executed quickly, then the heat can build up in the tags.....then the plastic body of the switch can start to melt
    I did try making a video with the gold Mandobird but cinematography is not my best asset.......damn silly webcam kept getting in the way....falling over etc........(so I`d best stick to mandolins) but the forum idea may be worth looking into.
    Cheers,
    Pete.

  11. #11
    Registered User irishman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Plugging In

    The Mandobird 8 arrived in the mail today. Man its fun. Its like having a little electric guitar. Ive put it through a VOX tube amp and can get all kinds of growly sound out of it. I do agree the E string is weak. I have to hit it twice as hard for it to register. Im going to try lifting the right side of the pickup up slightly as described in other posts.

  12. #12
    Registered User Elliot Luber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Plugging In

    Buy a Kentucky 300e from The Mandolin Store and pop in a Bill Lawrence set of rails (like I did, NFI), and you're in the game.
    Eastman 605 and Kentucky 300e mandolins.

    Member, Long Island Mandolin and Guitar Orchestra
    Visit my YouTube page

    (Formerly known here as Santiago)

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    Default Re: Plugging In

    Quote Originally Posted by irishman View Post
    The Mandobird 8 arrived in the mail today. Man its fun. Its like having a little electric guitar. Ive put it through a VOX tube amp and can get all kinds of growly sound out of it. I do agree the E string is weak. I have to hit it twice as hard for it to register. Im going to try lifting the right side of the pickup up slightly as described in other posts.
    I would never stand in the way of a person playing around with their pickups. That said, I have one of the early Mandobirds and have been through pretty much every practical mod including messing with the original PU, changing pots, going in with another MC member on a set of Bartolini PUs, and finally settling on Pete's PU. His is the only one I am aware of that offers real balance across all four strings.

  14. #14
    Registered User irishman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Plugging In

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Borzelleri View Post
    I would never stand in the way of a person playing around with their pickups. That said, I have one of the early Mandobirds and have been through pretty much every practical mod including messing with the original PU, changing pots, going in with another MC member on a set of Bartolini PUs, and finally settling on Pete's PU. His is the only one I am aware of that offers real balance across all four strings.
    So im planning on picking up the mandobird pickup. Just to let anyone who is interested know, taking a tip from this board, I unscrewed the right hand pickup screw about a quarter of an inch and shimmed the side of the pickup up. It COMPLETELY stops the weak E string. E-string is loud and clear now. So while I will still pick up the Almuse MB8, the mando is a lot of fun.

    Ive spent the last half hour rockin out some Dark Side of the Moon.

  15. #15
    Registered User Elliot Luber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Plugging In

    Enjoy it!
    Eastman 605 and Kentucky 300e mandolins.

    Member, Long Island Mandolin and Guitar Orchestra
    Visit my YouTube page

    (Formerly known here as Santiago)

  16. #16
    Market Man Barry Wilson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Plugging In

    Just filed my income tax. I see a mandobird in my near future as well :D

  17. #17
    Registered User Terry Allan Hall's Avatar
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    Question Re: Plugging In

    Wonder how a Mandobird would sound w/ a P-90, like this one:



    Great sounding p/u, IMABO.

  18. #18
    Créateur des e-mandos Soundfarmer Pete's Avatar
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    Default Re: Plugging In

    I`m willing to bet that would overhang the raised up centre of the Mandobird.........

  19. #19
    '`'`'`'`'`'`'`'`'`'`' Jacob's Avatar
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    Default Re: Plugging In

    Click image for larger version. 

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    It would, indeed.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Plugging In

    It seems to me that many of the less expensive emando pick-ups weren't designed for the mandolin's GDAE tonal range. You'll hear the high-E string lacks volume and presence. Some emando pick-ups use a bass guitar pick-up for convenience to make a 4-string emando instrument. These can sound pale or uneven across all four strings. Plus I find the string spacing on a bass guitar bridge is too wide for an emando.

    Some guitar amps also seem to exhibit similar weaknesses when adjusting the bass/mid/treble control knobs while playing an emando. The "treble" range of the guitar amp's knob wasn't designed to adjust the mandolin's treble range. Same trait can often be attributed to the mid & bass knobs too.

    My preference is a 4-string emando tuned like a mandola; CGDA, because the lower tonal range seems more compatible with guitar designed pick-ups and amps. Unfortunately, often the string's bridge can't be relocated far enough back for use with the larger strings being tuned a fifth lower. The five string emadno's bridges are set-up well in that respect, but I find the high E-string just doesn't mix well due to the pick-up and amp, as said up at the start.

    I'm anxious to play a Ryder emando and/or pick-up that's been set-up as a 4-string CGDA emando.
    Wye Knot

  21. #21
    Market Man Barry Wilson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Plugging In

    I ordered a mandobird, should be here next week and I allready saved the moongazer link.

    Hey Pete, which pick up is going to give the closest acoustic representation? I just play mando on a % of songs so want it to sound mando. I play in a rock/blues/country band doing the usual; copperhead road, losing my religion etc.

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