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Amplifying a mandolin

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Whistle Stop 03 May 00 - 01:17 PM
BlueJay 03 May 00 - 01:33 PM
Lady McMoo 03 May 00 - 04:11 PM
Sailor Dan 03 May 00 - 04:55 PM
Jon Freeman 03 May 00 - 05:55 PM
Songster Bob 04 May 00 - 01:26 AM
BlueJay 04 May 00 - 09:51 AM
Mooh 04 May 00 - 10:26 AM
BlueJay 04 May 00 - 02:31 PM
Whistle Stop 04 May 00 - 03:08 PM
Mooh 04 May 00 - 03:10 PM
Mooh 04 May 00 - 03:22 PM
BlueJay 04 May 00 - 04:00 PM
Rick Fielding 04 May 00 - 04:23 PM
BlueJay 04 May 00 - 05:11 PM
GUEST,Brigid in the mountains 04 May 00 - 05:13 PM
Rick Fielding 04 May 00 - 06:30 PM
Chris/Darwin 05 May 00 - 07:36 AM
Mooh 05 May 00 - 08:32 AM
Whistle Stop 05 May 00 - 08:56 AM
Wesley S 05 May 00 - 10:09 AM
Mooh 05 May 00 - 10:26 AM
Whistle Stop 05 May 00 - 11:08 AM
BlueJay 05 May 00 - 01:00 PM
Richard Bridge 05 May 00 - 05:41 PM
Rick Fielding 08 May 00 - 12:18 AM
Wesley S 08 May 00 - 08:58 AM
GUEST,jmandomac 08 Aug 09 - 11:50 PM
Peace 08 Aug 09 - 11:58 PM
Mooh 09 Aug 09 - 09:35 AM
Richard Bridge 09 Aug 09 - 01:54 PM
Stringsinger 09 Aug 09 - 03:25 PM
GUEST 09 Aug 09 - 08:18 PM
Peace 09 Aug 09 - 08:25 PM
Bluegrassman 09 Aug 09 - 08:25 PM
GUEST,jeff 10 Aug 09 - 02:01 AM
GUEST,jeff 10 Aug 09 - 02:10 AM
Mooh 10 Aug 09 - 01:25 PM
GUEST,lottarope 23 Apr 10 - 07:53 PM
GUEST,Zach 16 May 10 - 09:40 AM
GUEST,Zach 16 May 10 - 09:42 AM
Phil Cooper 16 May 10 - 09:53 AM
Richard Bridge 16 May 10 - 12:15 PM
Leadfingers 16 May 10 - 04:29 PM
buddhuu 16 May 10 - 07:08 PM
buddhuu 16 May 10 - 07:17 PM
Zen 16 May 10 - 07:29 PM
buddhuu 17 May 10 - 04:42 AM
Dave Hanson 17 May 10 - 05:05 AM
mandotim 06 Sep 10 - 01:50 PM
GUEST,RAy 12 Sep 10 - 05:41 AM
mandotim 13 Sep 10 - 03:04 AM
GUEST,Whistle Stop 13 Sep 10 - 08:31 AM
Mooh 13 Sep 10 - 08:57 AM
GUEST,Ray 13 Sep 10 - 01:15 PM
GUEST,Adrian D. 14 Jul 11 - 11:18 AM
Willie-O 14 Jul 11 - 05:48 PM
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GUEST 19 Jul 11 - 09:34 AM
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Subject: Amplifying a mandolin
From: Whistle Stop
Date: 03 May 00 - 01:17 PM

I'm looking for some input on amplifying the mandolin for performance. I'm primarily a guitar-player, and I have a lot of experience with the options for amplifying an acoustic guitar -- from playing into a number of different microphone types, to stick-on soundboard transducers, to the various piezoelectric under-saddle bridge pickups, to magnetic pickups, to internal condenser microphones. Currently my favorite on-board, feedback-resistant option for guitar is the Fishman Rare Earth humbucker with the internal condenser mike mixed in, through a SansAmp Acoustic DI; it ain't perfect, but it balances the competing considerations out pretty well in my estimation.

On mandolin, the available options seem more limited, especially if you don't want to do major alterations to your instrument. At the moment I use a Fishman piezoelectric bridge pickup through a small preamp. I'm not thrilled with it -- the brittle piezo tone is not really something I care for, and the integrated pickup/bridge saddle amplifies a lot of extraneous handling noise. Can anyone out there share their experiences (pro or con) with other options?

For what it's worth, I play an old (1953) Martin style 2-15; it's an archtop mandolin with f-holes, what would be called an A-style if it were a Gibson. It's a pleasant sounding instrument with lots of sentimental value (it was given to me by my father, who passed away last year). It has a higher arch than a Gibson -- more along the lines of the arched top on a fiddle. And obviously, I don't want to do any cutting. Please let me know if anyone has any advice. Thanks.


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Subject: RE: Amplifying a mandolin
From: BlueJay
Date: 03 May 00 - 01:33 PM

The finest, IMHO, is Pick-Up The World, for all acoustic instruments. I have several. click here BlueJay


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Subject: RE: Amplifying a mandolin
From: Lady McMoo
Date: 03 May 00 - 04:11 PM

I don't care for piezos any more either on guitar or mandolin and I have tried most types. Now I use a standard Shure SM 57 for everthing. Takes a bit more care to avoid feedback and I can't leap around anymore like I used to (that must be a great relief to everyone!) but I'm much happier with the sound. Instruments? Eccleshall A5 mandolin and Lakewood M-18 guitar if that's any help.

Peace,

mcmoo


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Subject: RE: Amplifying a mandolin
From: Sailor Dan
Date: 03 May 00 - 04:55 PM

Bluejay;

Do you have and knowledge of how these pickups work with a Banjo. I have a bad habit of playing without picks and a friend of mine keeps telling me to amplify the instrument. Having read a number of threads here on the cat regarding pickups I am not sure of what kind of pickup to use. and using the blue clicky thing I have read the ads for it and it sounds interesting.

Appreciate any help, advice thoughts on the subject


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Subject: RE: Amplifying a mandolin
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 03 May 00 - 05:55 PM

Thinking of amplifying them, I got to play a solid electric last year and quite enjoyed it. Has anyone else tried one?

Jon


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Subject: RE: Amplifying a mandolin
From: Songster Bob
Date: 04 May 00 - 01:26 AM

I tried a "Woodpicker" on my guitar (D-28) and it sounded pretty good. I have a stick-on pickup on one mandolin, bot a Woodpicker, and it's not bad, but only so-so (another "A model," but by Harmony). I may try the woodpicker on the mandolin soon, since I've taken it off the Martin guitar. The woodpicker has a block of dense wood on top of the pickup, and it doesn't seem to feed back as much as the other one I have. I'd seriously give one of them a trial, since they ain't 'spensive (I got mine on Ebay for $18, but I think they're normally around $40 or so.

Bob Clayton


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Subject: RE: Amplifying a mandolin
From: BlueJay
Date: 04 May 00 - 09:51 AM

Sailor Dan- While I haven't directly heard Pick-Up The World ona banjo, I've heard it works well. I have them on my guitars and I've never found anything that works so well on my autoharp. This really is a new technology, with an absolute natural sound as opposed to most pick-ups. On the web page, look in "Tech Notes", where they detail how to mount them on banjos for best results.


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Subject: RE: Amplifying a mandolin
From: Mooh
Date: 04 May 00 - 10:26 AM

Anyone give me an idea as to the cost of the Pickup the World item? I couldn't find mention of it on their website.

Also, I've been using Mini-flex internal mics, hard-wired, in my 6 and 12 strings, but just a 57 or whatever so far on the mandolin and baritone. I would like to get rid of all external stuff, except the preamps which I prefer to have on the floor, footcontrolled.

I'm impressed with the Fishman magnetic/condensed mic thing when balanced well, but I can't afford them for all my guitars.

Peace, and thanks. Mooh.


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Subject: RE: Amplifying a mandolin
From: BlueJay
Date: 04 May 00 - 02:31 PM

Mooh- Check the catalog section of Pick-Up the World's website. The prices are there. Mostly $110, except for multiple and stereo systems for the studio, and on very large instruments such as the Grand Piano. On the mandolin, they're placed outside, either on the bridge or just behind thebridge. You said, "I'd like to get rid of all external stuff". If you mean you want a pick-up mounted internally, I think that would be pretty tough for ANY kind of pick-up, for the mandolin, unless you're willing to pay a luthier who may have to remove the top to install it! BTW, I'm probably the only Mudcatter who has ever heard of Pick-Up The World, because it's a local company, and is brand new. But I truly believe there is no finer pick-up made today, and certainly none anywhere near as versatile. Check out their web-site further. These things are truly revolutionary. BlueJay


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Subject: RE: Amplifying a mandolin
From: Whistle Stop
Date: 04 May 00 - 03:08 PM

Thanks, everyone, for your suggestions. BlueJay, the Pick-Up The World sounds like it's worth checking out; I hadn't heard of it before, so I appreciate your bringing it to my attention. And mcmoo, I think you're right that standing still in front of an SM 57 is still a good way to go. Thanks again to all.


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Subject: RE: Amplifying a mandolin
From: Mooh
Date: 04 May 00 - 03:10 PM

BlueJay, I'll look again, thanks. I was having trouble with reaching a variety of things yesterday, computer wise, so maybe (just maybe) it wasn't me. Btw, miniflex makes a mandolin model that goes inside, perhaps via the f-hole, then mounts on the integral endpin jack, like the guitar models.

Peace, Mooh.


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Subject: RE: Amplifying a mandolin
From: Mooh
Date: 04 May 00 - 03:22 PM

BlueJay, Ah, there it is! I got the whole site this time. I may give it a try, though in Cdn funds plus taxes and so on, it won't be a cheap experiment. I've still got some shopping around to do...Thanks again. Mooh.


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Subject: RE: Amplifying a mandolin
From: BlueJay
Date: 04 May 00 - 04:00 PM

Mooh- No they are not cheap. But they are the next generation of musical instument pick-ups. Fishman and Baggs probably already have their teams of lawyers trying to figure out how to squash these guys, or at least imitate them. BlueJay


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Subject: RE: Amplifying a mandolin
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 04 May 00 - 04:23 PM

Blue Jay. I've spent almost 10,ooo bucks(!!!) over the last 30 years trying to find a good source of amplification for the five or six instruments that I usually take to festivals or clubs. I've bought virtually every "state of the art" system (currently using a very expensive Fishman combo-set up) and have found each one to be marginally better than last year's "hot item". They still STINK though! The difference between my De Armond sound hole pick-up (purchased 30 years ago) and my current "Rare Earth" pickup is probably about 10%. Yes, it's better, but only to a musically trained ear...and that's not really indicative of the folks we play for...so it becomes a personal issue. I'm not sure why..but I think from what you've said, and the little I've read on their website, that this company may very well be on to something. Jeezus, I hope so.

What kind of guitar do you have? Where do you put the pickup? Do sound people seem happy with it? (that's a biggie) Where is the company located? Do you know if they have a Canadian distributor, or do you know of any specific performers who've used these on the road? Lots of questions, I know, but this has gotten me excited...something just rings true about this.

Rick

If you want to e-mail me, it's:

rfield@interlog.com

Thanks


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Subject: RE: Amplifying a mandolin
From: BlueJay
Date: 04 May 00 - 05:11 PM

Rick- The difference is that this a totally new material, with a frequency response exceeding the best studio mikes. The reproduction of natural sound, is dead on, whether it is on mandolin or upright piano or hammered dulcimer. Pick-Up The World is located in La Veta, Colorado, and there are no international distributors at this point. Pick-ups can be purchased via their web site, www.pick-uptheworld.com.
I use them on my Guild six and twelve strings, plus autoharp, with excellent results. The pick-up is only about 1 mm in thickness, comes supplied with thin mounting tape which can be repositioned several times. On my guitars, I just have it positioned right behind the bridge on the outside. It works a little better if you mount it internally, and is permanent. But if it's externally mounted, you can peel it off and stick it on your friend's cello. I'll e-mail you with more info. BlueJay


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Subject: RE: Amplifying a mandolin
From: GUEST,Brigid in the mountains
Date: 04 May 00 - 05:13 PM

as regards the mandolin. I have a round-backed italian mandolin as old as the hills. As we play often in public, our wizzard sound man has been eating his hair out to get me electrified. The biggest obstacle being my lack of fluid funding.! However another of our group who plays the flute has the cutest little clip on microphone which she doesn't need when he plugs her into his system, and as a make do, clipped it onto my mandolin( in the hole ). It worked beautifully!!!!!! Though someday i will get myself a real bit, though the profis say there is no need to start rebuilding bridges!!:::::::::Brigid


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Subject: RE: Amplifying a mandolin
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 04 May 00 - 06:30 PM

Thanks BlueJay. I'm going to check the website out thoroughly.

Rick


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Subject: RE: Amplifying a mandolin
From: Chris/Darwin
Date: 05 May 00 - 07:36 AM

The problem with any pickup is that it is amplifying sound coming from only one small part of the instrument.

When you mike say, a mandolin, you are listening to a mixture of soundboard and body, maybe even a bit of strings as well. A Fishman or Marcus Berry or whatever is listening only to the bridge. Sure, much of the sound coming from the strings passes through the bridge on the way to the soundboard, and from the soundboard to the body of the instrument (and back). But you must by definition lose something along the way. That means that, no matter how good the technology, the pickup is never going to sound as natural as a miked instrument.

Having said that, I found over the years that miking was not practical in many of the halls (tin sheds) that we played in. A pickup is needed to reduce feedback problems.

For my Washburn Jethro Burns mandolin I used a Marcus Berry bridge pickup played into a "Passac" preamp.

The Passac was unique in being tuneable. You went through a procedure to tune the preamp to the body resonance of the instrument. This had the effect of re-creating the natural body resonance of the instrument, and gave the most natural sound I have ever heard out of a mandolin. It also reduced feedback. Many fine players in Australia (e.g., Andrew Clermont) have used Passacs from the day they came out, and have sworn by them for years.

I use another Passac on my guitar, with a slimline bridge pickup, and many sound engineers have told me that my guitar produces the most natural acoustic sound they have ever heard.

Unfortunately, I believe Passac were bought out, and the preamps are no longer available; I certainly haven't seen them in shops for years. I am hanging onto mine like grim death!

Incidentally, I have run a Browns Acoustic in my banjo ever since they came out, without a preamp, and it is very good.

Regards
Chris


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Subject: RE: Amplifying a mandolin
From: Mooh
Date: 05 May 00 - 08:32 AM

Hi all,

Sorry, for being so long winded, my question is at the end...

Let's keep this discussion going! Since I first started playing guitar, so long ago, I've wanted to amplify the thing. Even to my immature teenage ears the sound of the soundhole pickups of the day was so bad that it kept me from gigging/jamming like I wanted. There was a time when I rarely even played acoustic in public because an electric was just so much easier to amplify. Now however, I really want to perfect the acoustic approach, and there are some agreeable sounding pickups, if you are ready to concede that every pickup adds its degree of colouration.

I have researched this topic until I've come to the conclusion that FOR MY EARS (emphasis, I'm not shouting) I prefer a good soundhole pickup (RareEarth is great, though I've got a D'Marzio humbucker that's okay) combined with a good microphone. I'm not a fan of piezos under the saddle at all, elsewhere may be okay in a pinch, but then I'd likely elect to use an external mic. Ideally, a good (and expensive!) vocal mic in a good room with a good soundperson can't be beat, but the reality is I can't afford this luxury most of the time, and for the cost of such a mic I could get two to four acoustic guitar systems that would work for me. The current Rare Earth with attached microphone seems to be the best out there at the moment, but given my cash crunch I'll not be able to afford one, not to mention three.

Outside of the obvious concern for realistic sound, is the ability to tailor that sound to the room. I do not find onboard preamps satisfactory because they are hard to control on the fly and are often too inaccurate. Subsequently I use a volume pedal (currently a George Dennis) and an EQ/preamp (Boss) when I plug in, but with a mic I'm at the mercy of the soundperson. Again, with the suitable cash, I'd get a small (I like the Mackie) mixer for my own stage use to plug all instruments into and then be in control of my sound regardless of the mic or pickup source. The side benefit is better control over my monitor sound, another grief.

I like a magnetic pickup in the equation simply because it can help reinforce difficult frequencies, depending on the room, avoid feedback, and when called upon can be a great source for FX that aren't designed for mics or other pickups (like distortion).

The trick is to balance the various signal sources to get the most realistic sound, or in truly crappy conditions, get the best compromise. If I'm not mistaken, Ken Brown and Don Ross are among those who use the submixer idea and I gotta say they both have great acoustic sound.

The Pickup the World product and support is interesting, and I'd like to hear it used. Is anyone in southern Ontario using it? Can I get it from a Cdn distributor? Has anyone got a good recording of it? I'd rather hear it live to make a judgement, obviously. And last, will anyone out there just pity me enough to send me one for free? (Okay, okay, I know and I'm sorry.)

The last solution is to turn off all the electricity and truly return to our acoustic (and pre-industrial age) roots.

Peace, Mooh.


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Subject: RE: Amplifying a mandolin
From: Whistle Stop
Date: 05 May 00 - 08:56 AM

I agree on all points, Mooh. The acoustic sound is the best, but since we live in a powered society, we need the electronics for a lot of what we do. I play out about once a week, and can only do that with amplification. Since I have a band playing with me, and we sonetimes bring things up to pretty serious volume levels, the "stand in front of a microphone" approach doesn't tend to work well for me. I need an on-board pickup system of some type.

It's also worth noting that the guitar (this started as a mandolin thread, but a drift in this direction is okay with me) is a pretty quiet instrument compared to some others, particularly if you're fingerpicking or doing single-string leads. Depending on the makeup of the ensemble you're playing with, you may need some subtle amplification just to be heard, even if you're collectively playing at low volume levels.

I agree with you absolutely about the shortcomings of under-saddle piezoelectric pickups -- I can work the EQ all day to minimize the harshness, but when all is said and done I just don't like the sound. Again, the best reasonably-priced rig I've come across so far is the Rare Earth Blend (with the internal condenser mike) through an active DI of some kind -- currently I use the SansAmp Acoustic DI. I play some nice instruments, and prefer to do minimal alterations on them, so I don't like the onboard controls that you have to install by cutting a hole in the side of your guitar. And I agree with you that a lot of them don't have the sensitivity or subtlety that I'm looking for anyway. As I said above, my arrangement isn't perfect, but it gives me a reasonably authentic tone, good feedback resistance, and flexibility, all without breaking the bank.


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Subject: RE: Amplifying a mandolin
From: Wesley S
Date: 05 May 00 - 10:09 AM

While we're at it I'd like to hear what everyone is using as far as an amp is concerned. We rarely amplify so I've been using my old Fender Champ left over from my electric days. One of our guys has a Crate amp but I've been looking at Fenders. And I have a good friend who plays fingerstyle guitar who loves his Strawberry Blonde { that's an amp }.

We're playing in a church this weekend and we were going to use a mic for each of the instruments { 4 } and a mic for each singer. We eventually decided to play in a semicircle with only 2 mics and step up for solos. Much easier in this location and we'll probably sound better too because we can hear each others harmonies.


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Subject: RE: Amplifying a mandolin
From: Mooh
Date: 05 May 00 - 10:26 AM

I've liked the new Fender acoustic amps, but am currently using a pair of 50 watt Yorkville powered monitors, designed for P.A. use. They are much more "hi-fi" than an electric guitar amp. They also double well as regular monitors and can be "daisy-chained". They don't have enough tone control but my outboard system supplies enough. They also accept a mic cord directly, as well as a 1/4 inch phono plug. As they have two angle positions, they are easily set up so I can hear and/or be heard. For small gigs, they are sometimes all that's needed, sans P.A.

My only regret with these are that I didn't get the 100 watt version, because once in a while I need to amplify others as well. Btw, I even play electric bass through them sometimes.

Other ideas?

Peace, Mooh.


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Subject: RE: Amplifying a mandolin
From: Whistle Stop
Date: 05 May 00 - 11:08 AM

I currently own and use a Carvin AG100D acoustic guitar amp. Carvin is a US company that is mail-order only (except for a couple of stores in southern California). The amp is solid state, 100 watts RMS, with three channels (one of which accepts an XLR as well as standard 1/4-inch phone plug), and onboard digital effects (reverb, chorus, flange, echo) adjustable on all three channels. Single 12-inch speaker and an adjustable tweeter.

So how's it sound? Not great, but that's true of most of the "acoustic guitar" amps I've tried. There's marketing hype, and then there's reality, I guess. I bought this amp based on a glowing review, a decent company reputation, and the fact that it had most of the features I wanted. Can't say I'm terribly impressed with the thing, but I only use it as an on-stage monitor -- my "out-front" sound comes from the PA (Mackie board, QSR power amps, JBL mains).

I hear good things about the Fender SFX series, which has a second speaker in a separate portion of the cabinet facing sideways -- it's intended to simulate a stereo setup, while retaining the all-in-one combo amp configuration. The reviews say it really does the trick, but of course the reviews for the amp I currently have were pretty good also.


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Subject: RE: Amplifying a mandolin
From: BlueJay
Date: 05 May 00 - 01:00 PM

I use a keyboard amp, a 100 W TOA. I was advised that I could play everything through it, from autoharp to mandolin to guitar to bass. Plus it has four inputs, and a microphone jack. It doesn't have all the effects that some amps have, but it sounds real clean. I used to have an old Music Man tube guitar amp, which would have been great for rock guitar. But it didn't sound very good with acoustic instruments, and it didn't handle the bass very well. BlueJay


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Subject: RE: Amplifying a mandolin
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 05 May 00 - 05:41 PM

The Yorkvilles are reputed to be a bit harsh, but the new cheap GBP300 Marshall acoustic is getting great write-ups. If you want a natural sound like your instrument (if your pickup can reproduce it) use an old valve PA head (typical 6 channel 100 watt thing - carry two because one is bound to blow up a valve) and build your own speaker cabinet. Value for money the truest 12" 100 watt cheap cone I have heard lately is the Eminence Alpha 100 (about GBP 35), and for tweeters I am amazed by the transparency of the Motorola Powerline 400 watt piezo tweeters - and cheap too (about GBP 11 each and you need no crossover)


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Subject: RE: Amplifying a mandolin
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 08 May 00 - 12:18 AM

Before the advent of "Acoustic" Guitar amps, a keyboard amp was the way to go. I played a couple of small "Crate" amps a few weeks ago and was pretty amazed at the sound. Lots of little bells and whistles too.

Rick


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Subject: RE: Amplifying a mandolin
From: Wesley S
Date: 08 May 00 - 08:58 AM

Our guitar and banjo player has a 60 watt { I think } Crate amp and has been very happy with it. Nice natural sound too.


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Subject: RE: Amplifying a mandolin
From: GUEST,jmandomac
Date: 08 Aug 09 - 11:50 PM

I installed a McIntyre feather underneath the top , behind the bridge, on my Ratliff RA5, and drilled for the end pin jack. ( Use an omni-bit for drilling the hole and you'll thank yourself and me) Since I now play in a band ( Two Foot Level ) with drums, and I also play an electric mandolin, I needed to devise a way to amplify both instruments without having to just go direct with my acoustic.
   So I built an acoustic style amp and run my acoustic through a BBE Acoustimax pre-amp pedal, to an A/B splitter and to my amp. The A/B splitter is to send one signal to two channels, I set the channel 3 on my amp hotter than 2 so I can have a boost for leads. Since you can't back off a mic for rhythm and step in for lead it's great to have two volumes to work with. You can also use a volume pedal or clean boost pedal to achieve this.
   With a good pickup such as the one I mentioned or one from Pickup the World, and a good pre-amp like the BBE Acoustimax, or Lr Baggs, and an amp designed for acoustic instruments ( tube amps color the signal to much for it to sound natural ) you can dial in a sound that is at least close to how you mandolin sounds. It will almost always sound better through a mic, but if you need to play over drums then you gotta amplify, and try to amplify it right.                Peace jmandomac


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Subject: RE: Amplifying a mandolin
From: Peace
Date: 08 Aug 09 - 11:58 PM

Why amplify?


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Subject: RE: Amplifying a mandolin
From: Mooh
Date: 09 Aug 09 - 09:35 AM

Wow, old thread!

Still not too impressed with available choices, however I've settled on using mostly K&K pickups when I have to plug in, and a Sennheiser condenser mic whenever I can. Even as recently as a folk festival on Friday night I refused a DI and the subsequent offer of an SM57 in favour of my Sennheiser. No sound issues at all.

Peace, Mooh.


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Subject: RE: Amplifying a mandolin
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 09 Aug 09 - 01:54 PM

But if you want to be a bit more adventurous get a Mandobird or a Mandocaster, put some hotrails humbuckers in in place of the single-pole pickups, and with the aid of a selection of pedals and a Vox or Marshall guitar amp the world is your sound palette.


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Subject: RE: Amplifying a mandolin
From: Stringsinger
Date: 09 Aug 09 - 03:25 PM

Schertler PU may be the best but not better than a good mic (though at high levels, it feeds back).


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Subject: RE: Amplifying a mandolin
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Aug 09 - 08:18 PM

I am a little puzzled with all the fancy pickup names and numbers mentioned on this thread. I see some of the finest British mandolin players frequently throughout the UK, Notably Terry Hymers with the New Essex Bluegrass Band, Robin Wallace with the Scottish bluegrass band Longway and Joe Hymas who plays with Monroes Revenge bluegrass band and many other fine bluegrass bands wanting a top class mandolin in their midst. None of these artists use pick-ups, each preferring to use the microphone to capture the true sound, just a thought.


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Subject: RE: Amplifying a mandolin
From: Peace
Date: 09 Aug 09 - 08:25 PM

I feel that way about guitar. The trade-off is consistent volume of sound versus the sometimes 'wavering' sound if you use the mikes to pick up the guitar sound.


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Subject: RE: Amplifying a mandolin
From: Bluegrassman
Date: 09 Aug 09 - 08:25 PM

Oooops, that last post was from me, cookie reset :)
Bluegrassman


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Subject: RE: Amplifying a mandolin
From: GUEST,jeff
Date: 10 Aug 09 - 02:01 AM

Spent many years trying different configurations for acoustic amplification and have arrived at these two systems for both guitar and mandolin. Both have LR Baggs transducers pickups. The mando is mounted IN the bridge and the acoustic IS the saddle. The guitar has a 3 band eq w/shape, presence and volume controls. For the mando I use a Boss inline BASs 10 band eq w/t high slider pulled all the way down. Then I mix the eq as if the 2nd slider were the high end. Set the volume knob halfway on the eq and control the volume w/my hands. My amps are a Fender Sidekick 35 daisy-chained w/a Crate 50W SSt bass amp w/1 twelve. Use a DOD A/B stomp box for switching from guitar to mando. And a stomp tuner post A/B switch w/a mute switch for tuning. The amps are set pretty flat w/a little bass up and the high end cut a little and the mids at about 2...very low. A touch of reverb on the Sidekick. This gives me a good clean stage sound and I


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Subject: RE: Amplifying a mandolin
From: GUEST,jeff
Date: 10 Aug 09 - 02:10 AM

run a di off the bass amp to the pa and pan it to the opposite side of the mains. Works real well and I don't have alot of fb problems at all. We run only vocals w/a little kick/snare thru the monitors just to keep evryone on time.

Don't know why, but the bass inline eq sounded better w/t mando than a guitar eq, so I decided to give it a try.

Sorry about the split post...it's late. :-l


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Subject: RE: Amplifying a mandolin
From: Mooh
Date: 10 Aug 09 - 01:25 PM

From: Richard Bridge - PM
Date: 09 Aug 09 - 01:54 PM

"But if you want to be a bit more adventurous get a Mandobird or a Mandocaster, put some hotrails humbuckers in in place of the single-pole pickups, and with the aid of a selection of pedals and a Vox or Marshall guitar amp the world is your sound palette."

I don't play solid-body electric mandolin with magnetic pickups, partly because I don't have one, partly 'cause I double on electric guitar anyway, and partly 'cause my mandolin needs tend towards acoustic music and tones. Nonetheless, I dig the suggestion, and am willing to venture down that road sometime. Thanks.

From time to time I've plugged in for a sort of threshold signal, and mic-ed for additional tone, volume, and complexity of timbre. Most everytime I plug in it's into an acoustic amp with a balanced line out to the PA. The Yorkville AM150 works fine for this.

Peace, Mooh.


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Subject: RE: Amplifying a mandolin
From: GUEST,lottarope
Date: 23 Apr 10 - 07:53 PM

anyone out there who has used both the kk and baggs radius? I have a micheal kelly that needs upgrading, so i'ld like the electronics to be removeable. I play with an acoustic group and then with some friends who are real loud. I'm tired of getting drown out with the loud bunch but need to be versitile because with the other group i really want that mando sound not a little electric guitar.


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Subject: RE: Amplifying a mandolin
From: GUEST,Zach
Date: 16 May 10 - 09:40 AM

I'm brand new to the idea of amplifying myself, for I've played for fun in my basement, and have never needed to be herd. I'm starting to play with some friends now and i won't be loud enough.

My friends giving me his SM 57 but i'm need to be cleared on what amps to get. I have the xlr to quatar inch jack cord. would I go out and get a standard acoustic guitar amp to plug it into?


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Subject: RE: Amplifying a mandolin
From: GUEST,Zach
Date: 16 May 10 - 09:42 AM

lmao thanks to anyone who answers me, just realized this is a very old forum!


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Subject: RE: Amplifying a mandolin
From: Phil Cooper
Date: 16 May 10 - 09:53 AM

You might be surprised. I don't have much experience plugging in mandolins. I do plug in my guitars and cittern with a highlander SA mic installed. But I usually just go straight in to the PA channel.


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Subject: RE: Amplifying a mandolin
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 16 May 10 - 12:15 PM

You are probably better going direct to the PA with your SM57, but do not use an XLR to jack, use an XLR to XLR to minimise mains-borne hum. Of course if you need to hear yourself you will then need to be mixed into the monitor and at that point you are dependent on the soundman to achieve audibility without feedback.

I reckon you are better with an undersaddle. Brian Rodgers built me a new bridge for my (acoustic) Kentucky Flatiron mandolin with a B-band undersaddle and endpin mounted preamp - it's a VERY tight fit, but it is very hot and fairly true. Use the 80 hz shelf on the mixer to reduce thump.


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Subject: RE: Amplifying a mandolin
From: Leadfingers
Date: 16 May 10 - 04:29 PM

IF you are just needing 'Sound Augmentation' , rather than Lead Instrument in a Ceilidh (OR Rock) band and hence have no Feedback worries , Microvox are very good - Website


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Subject: RE: Amplifying a mandolin
From: buddhuu
Date: 16 May 10 - 07:08 PM

I think you may need some extra steps before going to PA.

I have played medium sized indoor and outdoor gigs with amplified mandolin, and I would say that feedback control is essential. Straight to PA hasn't cut it for me in some situations.

Most piezo pickups for mandolin - bridge or stick-on bug - are very prone to "pick thud". Microphones (the best option for good sound/tone and faithful reproduction of acoustic sound) are prone to feedback.

If you're going to plug into a PA then I'd suggest a good preamp/DI box - something like a Fishman ProEQ Platinum or Baggs Para Acoustic. Both of those have phase switches and notch filters which do a very good job of controlling feedback.

Instead of, or as well as, the preamp, a good acoustic amp is a real benefit. I recommend the Marshall AS50D, or the 100 watt version in the same range. Great little amps which feature the same feedback-busting measures as the two preamps I mentioned above. The preamps and the Marshall amps also have XLR inputs and phantom power. Your SM57 would plug straight in.

Another mic worth checking out is Shure's PG81. A reasonably priced, small diaphragm condenser mic. Great for mandolins - I use one regularly.

Hope you find what you need.

As for mics,


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Subject: RE: Amplifying a mandolin
From: buddhuu
Date: 16 May 10 - 07:17 PM

Doh...

Ignore the "as for mics" bit. It's just left over debris from an edit...


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Subject: RE: Amplifying a mandolin
From: Zen
Date: 16 May 10 - 07:29 PM

Depending on which mandolin I'm using, these days either a Microvox powered instrument condenser mic with preamp (it's a modified viola mic that clamps onto the edge of the instrument with the mic positioned over the treble side f-soundhole on my A5 style) or a Shure SM57 (more often with the flattop). These either through my Yamaha StagePas 300 mini-PA or Ashdown acoustic amp (via XLR-XLR in both cases) according to the gig and then on to bigger PA if necessary. I now much prefer the sound of a mic for the mandolin.

I don't like the sound of piezo pickups on the mandolin anymore (although the PUTW 27 transducer I used to use had quite a good sound).

Zen


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Subject: RE: Amplifying a mandolin
From: buddhuu
Date: 17 May 10 - 04:42 AM

I had a Microvox mini mic years ago. I liked it, it had good sound, but I kept hitting the mic with my picking/strumming hand and I eventually broke it. :-(

Mics for me too. Piezos sound dreadful without a preamp... and even with one they don't sound as good as a nice mic. Feedback can usually be sorted out with a bit of perseverance.


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Subject: RE: Amplifying a mandolin
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 17 May 10 - 05:05 AM

I've used a ' Scaller Oyster ' stick on transducer for twenty odd years, it sounds good and works as well as the day I bought it.

Dave H


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Subject: RE: Amplifying a mandolin
From: mandotim
Date: 06 Sep 10 - 01:50 PM

There was a question about using the K&K pickup; I play mandolin in a bluegrass band, and I use the one with the pair of small transducers and an endpin jack. I plug into an active DI box, and an XLR cable then goes to the Mic amplifier on the desk. The only problem with this setup is the lack of volume control for solos, and I don't much like footpedals, so I'm experimenting with a Shure Beta57A as an instrument mic in conjunction with the pickup. There doesn't need to be much gain on the mic, which minimises the chance of feedback, and I just move closer to the mic if I need volume over and above the pickup.
The K&K is sweet; fairly natural sounding (for a transducer) and easy to install in a mandolin with a bit of forward thinking and lots of cotton thread to stop things falling inside prematurely. With the mic as well, it's a really good overall sound; we play through a couple of Bose L1 towers, and this seems to match well with this arrangement. The Dobro player and banjo player do much the same thing.
Tim


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Subject: RE: Amplifying a mandolin
From: GUEST,RAy
Date: 12 Sep 10 - 05:41 AM

Forget SM57's and get one of these - http://www.dpamicrophones.com/en/products.aspx?c=Item&category=118&item=24346 - (assuming you have access to phantom power) they sound great and stay a constant distance from your instrument.
Ray


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Subject: RE: Amplifying a mandolin
From: mandotim
Date: 13 Sep 10 - 03:04 AM

DPA mics are good, but expensive, and don't fit on my Rigel which has radiused sides. If knocked while playing almost any mandolin, they fall off. Staying a constant distance from my instrument was what I was trying to avoid, using distance from the mic as a volume control. Also; the Beta57A is a very different beast from an SM57.


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Subject: RE: Amplifying a mandolin
From: GUEST,Whistle Stop
Date: 13 Sep 10 - 08:31 AM

I just dropped by the Mudcat to see if there are any interesting threads; saw this one about amplifying a mandolin, and figured it would be worth reading. Was surprised to find out that I started the thread back in my Mudcat-cruising days.

I still haven't found the perfect solution to my decade-old dilemma, but thankfully I mostly play in lower-volume settings these days, and using an outboard mic (a Shure SM-81 in my case) is less problematic than it used to be.

Thanks again for all your valuable input over the years.


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Subject: RE: Amplifying a mandolin
From: Mooh
Date: 13 Sep 10 - 08:57 AM

For several years now I've used a Shatten Design soundboard transducer, into a preamp or mini mixer, into the PA, with prayers for decent monitors. Sometimes, and it's rare, I get to add a condenser mic, in which case I run them both through the mini mixer which sits beside me so that I can balance the outputs.

Peace, Mooh.


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Subject: RE: Amplifying a mandolin
From: GUEST,Ray
Date: 13 Sep 10 - 01:15 PM

1. That's a particular problem with Rigels, mandotim - I used to have difficuty keeping a carpenter jack on an old Ibanez where the top and bottom tapered towards the side.

2. There's now't wrong with an SM81; one of their better small diaphragm condensers.


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Subject: RE: Amplifying a mandolin
From: GUEST,Adrian D.
Date: 14 Jul 11 - 11:18 AM

I have heard that one of the best amps out there for any string instrument is the AAD Cub by Phil Jones. Its very small and quite lood too. You can find them on the web all that is said about it is good. I am sure it would be a great mando amp.


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Subject: RE: Amplifying a mandolin
From: Willie-O
Date: 14 Jul 11 - 05:48 PM

I have never really been happy with a pickup sound on an acoustic mandolin--although Richard is right, you can run it through a bunch of effects, have a lot of fun and make very cool sounds. (The late Willie P Bennett had a mando setup like this with Fred Eaglesmith, it worked in that context!) I have gone that route...but...

A year or two ago I invested $200 in a Shure SM-137 condenser mike, and it has just made my amplified life a whole lot easier. (There are two settings; you set it to the less sensitive one for live performance). Would recommend that item to anyone who doesn't like pickups, or doesn't like messing around with cables. I play it in noisy pubs, no FB issues.

Another keeper is my Peavey Ecoustic 112 amp--great sound really with full EQ on each channel. I can run the SM137 through it if I don't have a full PA. I see there's a newer generation of Ecoustics, the 208 has 2 8-inch speakers in a more compact package, which I would like to try out, but at about half the price, it lacks the professional features of the 112--doesn't even have direct outs.

All in all, the SM137 is the best piece of sound gear I've picked up since the Ecoustic (about ten years ago).

W-O
Whatever works!


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Subject: RE: Amplifying a mandolin
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 15 Jul 11 - 04:37 AM

I use AKG Perception 150 condenser mics for mandolin and guitar - like W-O I run them with the 10db roll-off for live gigs, but full-sensitivity for recording. Great little mics, small and a great sound. Maybe wouldn't work very well in a loud electric band, but excellent for unplugged, PA-amplified, work.


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Subject: RE: Amplifying a mandolin
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Jul 11 - 09:34 AM

Colin J......age old problem.......the best I have found. Home made stick on made from a doorbell.    run thru a small base amp that has a presence control(very important...this presence control, takes away the harsh sound) I mike the amp and run the sound thru the PA. This gives me the best , most natural sound.    The most vol.   and a monitor so I can hear myself.


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