I’ve just completed the e-mando and I've been having great
fun playing it. We've put together a video to demonstrate it, but not being a
musician, I don’t think that I can show its true potential- you’ll have to use
Rather than spending too much time talking in the video,
I’ll give you my rationale behind this particular mandolin’s design here in the
Having seen a number of bands playing live, using poorly
amplified acoustic mandolins, I wanted to build something that a gigging mandolin
player could regularly use amplified, with the minimum amount of fuss. Or, of
course, any other player who wants to try a different voice.
I wanted the e-mando to look and feel like a mandolin rather
than a mini-guitar. So many of the solid body mandolins that you see are scaled
down versions of classic solid guitar designs and this look just isn’t for me.
The instrument is finished in Tru-oil and wax which gives a
wonderful tactile surface and enhances the natural beauty of the woods used.
Thinking that the e-mando’s player could be on his/her feet
for a couple of hours, ergonomics are an important consideration.
The top edge of the body is chamfered on both sides so that
there are not any sharp edges to dig into the left arm.
A 32mm thick body keeps the weight down to just under 2 kg and
comparatively light open gear mandolin tuners help to keep the mandolin
With the neck sloping backwards and a 20mm high bridge this
e-mando feels like a traditional mandolin to play.
The use of an end pin jack-socket means that the lead and/or
jack plug doesn’t interfere with the player.
The fingerboard has a compound radius and this coupled with
the wide evo fret wire and a Tru-oil "speed neck" makes for a very easy to play instrument.
I wanted the e-mando to offer great versatility without
overly sophisticated (and pricey!) built in electronics or the need to change
There are two pick-ups; one humbucker and a piezo. The
humbucker has volume and tone controls and a toggle switch to allow
series/parallel switching: a centre off position allows for the pick-up to be
completely turned off. These simple controls offer an amazingly wide tonal
The piezo transducer is mounted in the bridge, under the
saddle to give an approximation of an acoustic sound; a second toggle switch
allows this pick-up to be turned on or off. To get the best from this piezo it should be
used with an external pre-amp.
The out-put is via a stereo jack-socket and the use of a
Y-lead (supplied) allows the two signals to be treated separately.
Alternatively the jack socket is wired so that you can use a standard lead and
just use the output from the humbucker.
I’ve designed a tailpiece to take ball-end strings. Having a
magnetic pick-up means that nickel wound strings are required and I think that
in the UK there is a much greater variety of ball-ended strings to choose from,
compared to loop-end. I’ve made up a custom set of strings 11 to 36 using electric
guitar strings and feel that this range helps to balance the volume from string
to string. Buying custom strings is really easy from somewhere like
Stringbusters and this set cost around 6 quid to put together.
Well, I hope that the above coupled with the video gives you
a good in-sight in to the rationale behind this mandolin’s design.
As I said, in the video, this e-mando is currently (June 2013) for sale;
the price of £700
includes a stereo y lead and a semi-rigid gig-bag, mainland
UK shipping would be an extra £30. Alternatively, if you fancy having a custom
one built, I’m your man! Cheers!
PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS MANDOLIN HAS NOW BEEN SOLD
Labels: e-mando, electric mandolin, emando, for sale, Luthier, Nava