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Thread: Electric Mandolin - Mandocaster

  1. #1

    Electric Mandolin - Mandocaster

    Hi,

    Has anyone here ever built an electric mandolin similar to a Fender Mandocaster? I would like to give it a try but am a bit clueless on the building of the neck, any thoughts on where to search for ideas? What I was initially thinking is taking a telecaster drawing and scaling it smaller, would this make sense?

    Thanks,
    Robert

  2. #2
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    As long as the cut away was large enough,I see no reason why it wouldn't work.

    It never made sense that Fender made their mandolin with only 4 single strings. That would sound less like a normal mandolin with traditional stringing.

    By the way: double strung instruments like the lute were double strung because it was hard to make strings that were accurate in diameter (and mass) for their entire length. Stringing double tended to minimize the out of tune sounds that a single strung instrument would make.

  3. #3
    Thanks George......

    Robert

  4. #4
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    If you need plans,Stewart MacDonald sells plans for the Gibson F5 mandolin. I only ever built 2 mandolins. What you could do is just take the parts of the plan you want,like neck dimensions,fret scale,etc. Add that to your Fender body.

    I saw a mandolin someone had made being played in a music store. It had a Strat shaped body that was made of 2 pieces of stacked wood. Both the top and back pieces had been hollowed out and glued together. It sounded quite good. At least the guy playin it was very happy with it. I can't recall if the top was arched or not.

  5. #5
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    Here's a thread on building the Mandocaster. The plans were purchased here.
    “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness..." - Mark Twain

    Diapers and Politicians need to be changed often... Usually for the same reason.

  6. #6
    Thanks again everyone (especially Julie for the build link as I had not discovered that web site).

    Robert

  7. #7
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    Great find,Julie!! But,I advise using 8 strings if you really want that true mandolin sound. It's a MUST. You'll have to elongate the Fender shape peghead. Or change it. DON"T SACRIFICE authentic tone,just to keep what was a rather ill conceived idea of having only 4 strings in the first place. You will end up with just a high pitched guitar sound.
    Last edited by george wilson; 07-10-2017 at 9:37 AM.

  8. #8
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    Sometimes I wonder why Fender does what they do but then I think if the first mandolin put in my hands was a Mandocaster, I might have actually tried to learn how to play it! The 8 stringed one humbled me severely.
    “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness..." - Mark Twain

    Diapers and Politicians need to be changed often... Usually for the same reason.

  9. #9
    What has my interest in the Mandocaster is that it is a solid body mando. I never gave the 4 vs 8 strings much thought until you folks mentioned it, more things to ponder...... Ha, I play pedal steel so the more strings is usually a good thing (except my 12 string universal is a challenge at times).

    Robert

  10. #10
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    Bill Monroe repopularized the mandolin,specifically the Gibson F5. He was wanting Gibson to grant him a royalty on their sales,like Les Paul and several other players had. He was at the desk of the President of Gibson when he was refused.

    He took out his pocket knife,and said "This is my mandolin,and I can do to it whatever I please". He took his knife and gouged out the Gibson name,and threw it onto the president's desk !

    He was a rough old guy with his instrument anyway. He took broken glass and scraped the tops of his mandolin thinner,to make them sound better. Then,he took shoe polish to "restore" the APPEARANCE of the sunburst finish. At least to those in audiences not sitting TOO CLOSE!!! And,I mean old vintage F5's,worth huge amounts of money today.

    I built one F5 for a man in the 60's. They are more trouble than a violin physically,to make. Mine was made from scratch.
    Last edited by george wilson; 07-15-2017 at 8:08 AM.

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