Advice on going Electric? Please.

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Advice on going Electric? Please.

Postby brig » Thu Feb 16, 2012 1:17 pm

Hello everybody, I am new to this site, and new to mandolins.

I am a bass player in a rock/blues band, but love mandolins and have just ordered a Morgan Monroe MMS-8 from the US, which I'm hoping will arrive any day now.
It will have been professionally set-up before being shipped, but as I want to use it in a live setting on the odd song in a rock-band situation, I am thinking of getting a Shadow SH925 pick-up for it, but my question is:
Is it a good enough pick-up, and once I have fitted the pick-up, which is in a height adjustable bridge, will I need to have it set-up again, or will it just be a question of setting the string action height?

Also, it will come with D'addario strings fitted, are they suitable for the type of music I hope to be playing, for example: Steve Earle's 'Copperhead Road' and Rory Gallagher's 'Going To My Home Town', which are a couple of songs I learnt on a Crafter mandolin which I tried for a couple of months.

Thanks in advance.
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Postby Ray(T) » Thu Feb 16, 2012 2:03 pm

Hi Brig & welcome to the forum.

I bought a 1915 Gibson mandolin some years ago with a Shadow pickup fitted. I've no idea how it sounded 'cos the first thing I did when I got it home was take it off! I believe that Shadow pickups are at the lower end of the market but providing you can get enough volume out of it (it may need some sort of pre-amp depending what you're plugging it into) it may be OK in a rock band situation.

Fitting the Shadow to a mandolin would pretty much negate the setup its coming with. (In my view a setup should relate to what the player wants rather than what someone on the other side of the pond thinks they might want - but that's another subject.) For starters, you will need to fit/shape the underside of the Shadow bridge to the top of the mandolin - not a job the average musician would want to take on. You may be lucky, the holes in the top of the pickup might be the same distance apart as your existing bridge and you may be able to use the top of one and the bottom of the other. If they aren't, you might want to check whether other pickups might fit more readily (e.g. Barcus Berry) or consider a stick on pickup; there are a few of them around.

As for strings, D'Addario are much the usual choice for mandolin but they do make several different sets. J74s (bronze wound medium gauge) are a popular choice but if, say, it comes with lights and you want to use mediums, that may also affect the setup.

Ray
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Postby brig » Thu Feb 16, 2012 2:27 pm

Ray(T) wrote:Hi Brig & welcome to the forum.

I bought a 1915 Gibson mandolin some years ago with a Shadow pickup fitted. I've no idea how it sounded 'cos the first thing I did when I got it home was take it off! I believe that Shadow pickups are at the lower end of the market but providing you can get enough volume out of it (it may need some sort of pre-amp depending what you're plugging it into) it may be OK in a rock band situation.

Fitting the Shadow to a mandolin would pretty much negate the setup its coming with. (In my view a setup should relate to what the player wants rather than what someone on the other side of the pond thinks they might want - but that's another subject.) For starters, you will need to fit/shape the underside of the Shadow bridge to the top of the mandolin - not a job the average musician would want to take on. You may be lucky, the holes in the top of the pickup might be the same distance apart as your existing bridge and you may be able to use the top of one and the bottom of the other. If they aren't, you might want to check whether other pickups might fit more readily (e.g. Barcus Berry) or consider a stick on pickup; there are a few of them around.

As for strings, D'Addario are much the usual choice for mandolin but they do make several different sets. J74s (bronze wound medium gauge) are a popular choice but if, say, it comes with lights and you want to use mediums, that may also affect the setup.

Ray

Thanks Ray, I thought that might be the case, and I agree with what you say about set-ups, in that it is an individual thing.
I nearly always do my own set-ups on my basses and guitars, and could probably do a reasonable job with a mandolin if I set my mind to it.
I guess my main concern is amplifying the mandolin, as I have tried
stick-on ones on my acoustic guitars, and they seem to magnify every little touch, and are very 'clicky' and thin sounding, that's why I was thinking about an under-saddle piezo type.
I do have a couple of decent pre-amps, so getting a decent signal from whatever I use shouldn't be a problem.
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Postby Ray(T) » Thu Feb 16, 2012 4:10 pm

Trouble is that there are stick on ones and stick on ones and you could probably buy a half decent electric mandolin for the price you'd pay for a good pickup. Personally, I prefer to use a mic.

I would start by trying to find a bridge top pickup which fits the bridge bottom you have (or are getting)
R
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Postby brig » Thu Feb 16, 2012 4:28 pm

Ray(T) wrote:Trouble is that there are stick on ones and stick on ones and you could probably buy a half decent electric mandolin for the price you'd pay for a good pickup. Personally, I prefer to use a mic.

I would start by trying to find a bridge top pickup which fits the bridge bottom you have (or are getting)
R

Thanks Ray, I will start doing some research on sizes etc, once I receive then mandolin.
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Re: Advice on going Electric? Please.

Postby Pritch » Fri May 31, 2013 8:27 am

It's probably a little late but I'm new to the forum and so have only just seen this post.

I use Fishman pickups and can highly recommend them. I paid £150ish for the M-200 and it gives an excellent sound.

http://www.fishman.com/products/view/m- ... lin-pickup

We also use the Fishman violin pickups in the band.
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Re: Advice on going Electric? Please.

Postby Dave Hanson » Fri May 31, 2013 2:15 pm

Don't know if they are still available, but when I need to get ' plugged in ' I use a stick on Schaller Oyster transducer which I bought for £8.50 25 years ago, it still works perfectly and sounds very good too.

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