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Thread: Modifying an A-8?

  1. #1
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    Default Modifying an A-8?

    In a recent thread on acoustic-electrics elsewhere on the forum the idea came up to add a magnetic pickup to the Godin A-8 AE mandolin in addition to its piezoelectric bridge element, conceptually producing a 'best of both worlds' scenario. Has that been done? I would be a bit surprised if it hadn't at least been discussed, though I don't recall it recently. (I did go back 7 or 8 pages and found nothing, so at least it might be worth revisiting today?)

    The A-8 is sort of an odd duck to me, as it's neither a solid-body nor an true acoustic-electric (is it a semi-hollow-body electric?), but do you fellows think it would make a good platform for a further hybrid modification?

    I imagine adding one of the popular magnetic pickups at the bridge position with a selector switch to choose between (or even blend with) the piezo bridge, with tone and volume controls for the magnetic added to the body. What do the experts think? What would it take to accomplish? It seems like there's quite a few A-8 owners around here who might be interested in what you electronics gurus have to say. Thanks.
    Last edited by Tim2723; Feb-11-2012 at 12:55pm.
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    Destroyer of Mandolins
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    Default Re: Modifying an A-8?

    Hmmm...60 views and no comments. BTW, I wouldn't be surprised if there were an electric mandolin somewhere with both kinds, but my question is A-8 specific: Has it or could it be done with the Godin? Thanks again.
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    Registered User Don Julin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Modifying an A-8?

    I have had these same thoughts..... I will wait and see if anyone knows any more about this.

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    Work in Progress Ed Goist's Avatar
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    Default Re: Modifying an A-8?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tim2723 View Post
    ...snip...I wouldn't be surprised if there were an electric mandolin somewhere with both kinds, but my question is A-8 specific: Has it or could it be done with the Godin? Thanks again.
    I'm sure it can be done on a Godin, because Godin offers this exact thing on the A8's six string cousin the A6.
    There is a custom version of the A6 called the A6 Ultra.
    I wonder if Godin would be willing to build a 'custom shop' 'A8 Ultra'?

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    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Modifying an A-8?

    Other Mod I considered .. an alternate signal routing , A/B
    using ... the 4 bridge pickups divided, to use thru a Guitar synth,
    or... mono to go thru the installed Preamp/EQ .
    [Have a couple solid body E mandos with synth access from RMC pickups]

    whats a thin enough magnetic PU for this scheme? 'monkey on a stick" De Armond ?
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    Default Re: Modifying an A-8?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ed Goist View Post
    I'm sure it can be done on a Godin, because Godin offers this exact thing on the A8's six string cousin the A6.
    There is a custom version of the A6 called the A6 Ultra.
    I wonder if Godin would be willing to build a 'custom shop' 'A8 Ultra'?

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Were I to attempt such a mod, my preference would be to add the mag PU at the neck as was done with the A6. My concern in adding a PU would be in compromising the sound from the obviously smaller chamber beneath the top.

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    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: Modifying an A-8?

    You might want to see about throwing a Shadow NanoMag pickup on a Godin ... it's a floating magnetic pickup with all the electronic goodies mounted in a pickguard, so no drilling required, other than such screw holes as you might need to drill to mount the pickguard. It would look really strange on a Godin, though.

    Chris Forshage, Ron Oates, Jon Mann (if I'm not mistaken), Joel Eckhaus and many others have built instruments that have both piezo "acoustic" pickups and magnetic pickups.
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    Crιateur des e-mandos Soundfarmer Pete's Avatar
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    Default Re: Modifying an A-8?

    I`m not sure how the Godin preamp would perform but a while back, I fitted a bouzouki with a magnetic pickup, wired it to one side of a 3 way mini toggle switch with the piezo in the other side then ran the output to the original preamp - a simple but very effective little unit by Dave Barnett (of Barnett Davies, the boutique amp builders).
    Whether it was down to the preamp or pure luck, the output from both the magnetic and piezo were nicely balanced so no reason that I can see why fitting a magnetic should be a problem......

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    Registered User CelticDude's Avatar
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    Default Re: Modifying an A-8?

    You might want to contact Jonathan Mann, as he makes instruments with both kinds of pickups, and has some kind of built-in preamp that balances the two. I have one of his hollow-body OM's with both a magnetic and a Fishman pickup, and really like the sound. He's also just a friendly guy who would probably enjoy talking about such a conversion.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Modifying an A-8?

    Quote Originally Posted by CelticDude View Post
    You might want to contact Jonathan Mann, as he makes instruments with both kinds of pickups, and has some kind of built-in preamp that balances the two. I have one of his hollow-body OM's with both a magnetic and a Fishman pickup, and really like the sound. He's also just a friendly guy who would probably enjoy talking about such a conversion.
    Hey CelticDude, I'm the guy who started the thread elsewhere on the forums that Tim was referring to. I was curious how the unplugged volume and tone is on your hollow body Mann OM. Does it sounds more like a quiet acoustic or more of an unplugged electric? Mann's instruments look like everything I'm looking for in a plugged in environment, but it would be an added plus if it had a decent unplugged sound.

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    Registered User Elliot Luber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Modifying an A-8?

    Mike Christian, who I knew years ago through Sam Ash Music Stores back when they sold mostly high-quality instruments, was among the first to stick a piezoelectric bridge pickup on a Guild solid-body guitar to give it hybrid electric/acoustic-type sound. I'm sure there have been a lot of experiments, particularly in the mandolin world where people have long sought a clean electric sound using piezos, etc. I'd be interested in hearing some of them here.

    I also get the impression that Godins (and Kentucy e300s like I play) are not popular in this discussion area because they undercut the high-end market. I find this funny because the Kentucky is extremely similar to the Saga kits people seem to love. To me, they're a necessary economic step before you can convince the wife you need a Mann, etc -- If you can't get your drivers license you'll never buy a Corvette.
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    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: Modifying an A-8?

    The Godin may undercut the high-end market somewhat, since it offers quality performance for under $1,000. I don't think the Kentucky undercuts the high-end market, since it doesn't perform like a high-end instrument.
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    Registered User CelticDude's Avatar
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    Default Re: Modifying an A-8?

    Hello Josh,

    My Mann OEM has a very nice acoustic sound unplugged. My first impression, in fact, on unboxing was "wow, nice acoustic sound". It is quieter than a straight acoustic. Not solid-body-electric quiet, but you could practice at night without disturbing your family.

    It sounds really nice thru an amp as well. I play it clean about 2/3 of the time, and it's still a really nice, acoustic sound with the gain kept down.

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    Default Re: Modifying an A-8?

    Just ducking my head back in to say thanks to all who responded!
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