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Thread: FM-61SE Mods and Pix

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    Default FM-61SE Mods and Pix

    I found this 12 years young Fender FM-61SE with the typical neck set problem and asked my luthier to rout out the wood under the bridge so it sits flush with the top in order to lower the action and it worked. The neck was pretty straight to begin with.
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    Default Re: FM-61SE Mods and Pix

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ID:	83969To compensate for the weak E course & louder A course, I swapped out the factory single coil for an Almuse AFM61L (5.7k Ohms) that has adjustable pole pieces. There's more volume and the string to string response is more balanced with a lot less of the “ice pick” highs.

  3. #3
    In The Van Ben Milne's Avatar
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    Default Re: FM-61SE Mods and Pix

    Cool. I would have thought a shim in the neck joint would be less work than routing a pocket for the bridge, though it looks like a neat job. Pete makes awesome pickups.
    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.

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    Registered User PT66's Avatar
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    Default Re: FM-61SE Mods and Pix

    Does it have a set neck or a bolt-on?
    Dave Schneider

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    Default Re: FM-61SE Mods and Pix

    Quote Originally Posted by PT66 View Post
    Does it have a set neck or a bolt-on?
    It's a set neck and pretty chunky to boot. A little on the glossy side but I'm used to it after a few days. The pick up sounds really good. My luthier is very meticulous and he promised me I wouldn't notice the cut - he made a template of the cut out of plexiglass.
    I knew of the inherent neck set/high action problem and the weak E string that a lot of the e mandos share before I bought it but I was overcome by the 'thinline tele' style looks and thought it would be worth the experiment.
    The acoustic/unplugged volume didn't seem to be compromised by the cut as there wasn't much volume in the 1st place. The spruce top is pretty thick to begin with if you notice in the pictures.
    I just thought it was a good "fix" to share with anyone who has the same problem that that many of these FM-61's seem to have.
    The previous owner had electrical work done. I don't think all of the guts are factory original since the 1/4 inch phone jack is a switchcraft and the pots have that greenboard sticking up instead of those 3 plain 'tabs' & I'm not sure if the 500k Ohm pots are what Korea used. I've read that a lot of single coil instruments use 250k's as stock.
    Can any members like mrmando or mandroid know about this?
    Bob

  6. #6
    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: FM-61SE Mods and Pix

    Yes, a lot of lower-end Asian-made electrics will use 250k pots, which may not yield optimum results.
    Emando.com: More than you wanted to know about electric mandolins.

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  7. #7
    In The Van Ben Milne's Avatar
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    Default Re: FM-61SE Mods and Pix

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Grieco View Post
    It's a set neck
    Bob
    Regarding the neck shim, I had assumed these were bolt on...

    IME the higher value pots tend to suit the mandolins register, the 250k are fine on guitar, but tend to attenuate the HF a bit prematurely on mandolins.
    I would put more value on having the instrument play and sound better than keeping it factory original.
    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.

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    Default Re: FM-61SE Mods and Pix

    I thought it was the other way around according to:

    STEW MAC WEB SITE INFO:
    "250K vs. 500K
    Generally, 500K-ohm pots are used with humbuckers and 250Ks are used with single-coil pickups. You can use any value you like, but a 250K will give a slightly warmer tone than a 500K pot. The 250K pot bleeds off (attenuates) some of the high frequencies to ground."
    FROM SOME FORUM from a Google search : 250k vs. 500K pots
    "general "rule-of-thumbs": HB = humbucker SC = single coil
    1Meg = very bright sounding 1Meg = bright HB...shrill SC
    500K = bright sounding 500K = warm HB...bright SC
    250K = warm, vintage sounding 250K = muddy HB, warm SC
    the lower the value the less treble roll off"

  9. #9
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    Default Re: FM-61SE Mods and Pix

    Pardon my ignorance being a newb (especially at electric mandolins). What I thought is, that you would want the lower 250 value over the higher values to attenuate the edge off of whats already there on a mandolin not necessarily exaggerate it. Sort of like what a ribbon mic does vs. a small condenser?

    p.s. That hard to find, really tiny .035 hex wrench needed to adjust the bridge saddle set screws can be gotten from Micro-Tools via Amazon.

  10. #10
    In The Van Ben Milne's Avatar
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    Default Re: FM-61SE Mods and Pix

    I would think you would be reintroducing the weak e string issue with 250k.... I suspect this is the case with some of the mandobirds, one I modded had a 250k pot from the factory. Trims some high end een when wound right out.

    Those descriptions are relevant to guitars which of course don't have the higher register that a mandolin does.
    You are right about taking the edge off the HF, but 250k seems to do this somewhat prematurely, while 500k seems about right for having useful tone control.
    Last edited by Ben Milne; Mar-20-2012 at 6:28am.
    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.

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    Default Re: FM-61SE Mods and Pix

    FWIW, the factory FM-61SE pick up measures 4.59k as opposed to the 5.7k that's written on the underside of the Almuse AFM61L. It's hard to believe that only an extra 1.11k (due to either more winding of copper wire or a bigger/stronger magnet) is enough to give it that much more of a difference in tone and volume. I left the adjustable pole peices at the height they came of Pete's bench since the string to string balance is very even.

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