Electric mandolin

Last updated
Electric mandolin (left) and traditional Mandolins.jpg
Electric mandolin (left) and traditional

The electric mandolin is an instrument tuned and played as the mandolin and amplified in similar fashion to an electric guitar. As with electric guitars, electric mandolins take many forms. Most common is a carved-top eight-string instrument fitted with an electric pickup in similar fashion to many archtop semi-acoustic guitars. Solid body mandolins are common in 4-, 5-, and 8-string forms. Acoustic electric mandolins also exist in many forms.

Contents

History

Electric mandolins were built in the United States as early as the late 1920s. Among the first companies to produce them were Stromberg-Voisinet, Electro (which later became Rickenbacker), Vivi-Tone, and National. Gibson and Vega introduced their electric mandolins in 1936.

In the United States, luthier/inventor Paul Bigsby began building solid-body electric mandolins (technically, they consisted of a solid wood core housing the electronics, with hollow wings forming the body) in 1949. His first one had ten strings and was built for Al Giddings. Bigsby's most famous mandolin, built in 1952, was owned and played by Western swing musician Tiny Moore. This instrument had five single courses rather than the more common four double courses, and was patterned after a similar instrument built by Jim Harvey of La Jolla, California, for a player named Scotty Broyles. Gibson and Rickenbacker introduced solid-body eight-string mandolins in the 1950s, [1] while Fender followed the single-course idea with its four-string version.

A related instrument, the Bahian guitar, was developed in Brazil beginning in the 1940s. Bahian guitars typically have a solid body and four or five strings tuned in fifths, but are considered to be electric versions of the cavaquinho rather than the mandolin which is why it's sometimes called electric cavaquinho (or cavaquinho elétrico).

Solid-body electric mandolins

Epiphone's Mandobird solid body electric mandolin Mandobird.jpg
Epiphone's Mandobird solid body electric mandolin

Both four-string single-course and eight-string double-course solid body mandolins have been produced by several makers, as well as five-string models combining the tonal ranges of the mandola and mandolin.

From 1956 to 1976, Fender produced a four-string version, the Fender Electric Mandolin with a body shape was based loosely on the Stratocaster, popularly nicknamed the "Mandocaster". In 2013, Fender reissued it as the Mando-Strat in both four- and eight-string models.

Gibson manufactured the EM-200 solid-body electric mandolin from 1954 to 1971. They recently produced a solid-body mandolin known as the Mandobird, based on the Gibson Firebird body and sold under the Epiphone label, in both four- and eight-string versions.

Eastwood Guitars manufactures a solid-body eight-string electric mandolin as the "Mandocaster" with a Telecaster-style body and two single-coil pickups, as well as a four-string Mandostang as part of their line of Warren Ellis-endorsed instruments.

Players

While the electric mandolin has increased in popularity along with its acoustic cousin, there are still relatively few recordings featuring it as a lead instrument on more than a song or two. The following artists have issued full-length recordings prominently featuring[ according to whom? ] an electric mandolin throughout:

Related Research Articles

The bass guitar, electric bass or simply bass, is the lowest-pitched member of the guitar family. It is a plucked string instrument similar in appearance and construction to an electric or an acoustic guitar, but with a longer neck and scale length, and typically four to six strings or courses. Since the mid-1950s, the bass guitar has largely replaced the double bass in popular music.

Electric guitar Electrical string instrument

An electric guitar is a guitar that requires external amplification in order to be heard at typical performance volumes, unlike a standard acoustic guitar. It uses one or more pickups to convert the vibration of its strings into electrical signals, which ultimately are reproduced as sound by loudspeakers. The sound can be shaped or electronically altered to achieve different timbres or tonal qualities, making it quite different from an acoustic guitar. Often, this is done through the use of effects such as reverb, distortion and "overdrive"; the latter is considered to be a key element of electric blues guitar music and rock guitar playing.

Leo Fender American inventor and founder of the Fender company

Clarence Leonidas “Leo” Fender was an American inventor, who founded Fender Electric Instrument Manufacturing Company, or "Fender" for short. In January 1965, he sold the company to CBS and later founded two other musical instrument companies, Music Man and G&L Musical Instruments.

Semi-acoustic guitar

A semi-acoustic guitar,hollow-body electric, or thinline is a type of electric guitar that was first created in the 1930s. It has a sound box and at least one electric pickup. The semi-acoustic guitar is different to an acoustic-electric guitar, which is an acoustic guitar with the addition of pickups or other means of amplification, added by either the manufacturer or the player.

Bigsby vibrato tailpiece

The Bigsby vibrato tailpiece is a type of mechanical vibrato device for electric guitar designed by Paul Bigsby and produced by the Bigsby Electric Guitar Company. The device allows musicians to bend the pitch of notes or entire chords with their pick hand for various effects.

Archtop guitar Type of steel-stringed acoustic or semi-acoustic guitar

An archtop guitar is a hollow steel-stringed acoustic or semiacoustic guitar with a full body and a distinctive arched top, whose sound is particularly popular with jazz, blues, and rockabilly players.

A vibrato system on a guitar is a mechanical device used to temporarily change the pitch of the strings. Instruments without a vibrato have other bridge and tailpiece systems. They add vibrato to the sound by changing the tension of the strings, typically at the bridge or tailpiece of an electric guitar using a controlling lever, which is alternately referred to as a whammy bar, vibrato bar, or incorrectly as a tremolo arm. The lever enables the player to quickly and temporarily vary the tension and sometimes length of the strings, changing the pitch to create a vibrato, portamento, or pitch bend effect.

Variax is the name of a line of guitars developed and marketed by Line 6. They differ from typical electric and acoustic guitars in that internal electronics process the sound from individual strings to model (replicate) the sound of specific guitars and other instruments. The maker claims it is the first guitar family that can emulate the tones of other notable electric and acoustic guitars. It also provides a banjo and a sitar tone. The Variax is currently available as an electric guitar, but modeling acoustic guitars and modeling electric bass guitars have been available in the past.

Tenor guitar Four-stringed guitar

The tenor guitar or four-string guitar is a slightly smaller, four-string relative of the steel-string acoustic guitar or electric guitar. The instrument was initially developed in its acoustic form by Gibson and C.F. Martin so that players of the four-string tenor banjo could double on guitar.

Outline of guitars Overview of and topical guide to guitars

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to guitars:

Headstock Part of the guitar which houses the pegs

A headstock or peghead is part of a guitar or similar stringed instrument such as a lute, mandolin, banjo, ukulele and others of the lute lineage. The main function of a headstock is to house the pegs or mechanism that holds the strings at the "head" of the instrument. At the "tail" of the instrument the strings are usually held by a tailpiece or bridge. Machine heads on the headstock are commonly used to tune the instrument by adjusting the tension of strings and, consequentially, the pitch of sound they produce.

A solid-body musical instrument is a string instrument such as a guitar, bass or violin built without its normal sound box and relying on an electromagnetic pickup system to directly detect the vibrations of the strings; these instruments are usually plugged into an instrument amplifier and loudspeaker to be heard. Solid-body instruments are preferred in situations where acoustic feedback may otherwise be a problem and are inherently both less expensive to build and more rugged than acoustic electric instruments.

Tonante, initially called Ao Rei dos Violões Limitada, is a Brazilian guitar manufacturing company founded in 1954 by the Portuguese brothers Abel and Samuel Tonante, who artisanelly built musical instruments, thirteen years after their arrival in the country.

Tanglewood Guitars

Tanglewood Guitars is an English manufacturer of stringed instruments, including electric, steel-string acoustic and classical guitars, bass guitars, banjos, mandolins, ukuleles, and guitar amplifiers.

Electric guitar design is a type of industrial design where the looks and efficiency of the shape as well as the acoustical aspects of the guitar are important factors. In the past many guitars have been designed with various odd shapes as well as very practical and convenient solutions to improve the usability of the object.

John Lennons musical instruments

John Lennon's musical instruments were both diverse and many, and his great fame resulted in his personal choices having a strong impact on cultural preferences.

Bahian guitar

The Bahian guitar is a Brazilian solid-body electric mandolin. It has either 4 or 5 strings, normally tuned GDAE and CGDAE, respectively, and has the scale of a cavaco.

Penco was a brand of guitars owned and manufactured by the Hoshino Gakki Co. in its factory of Nagoya, Japan. Ibanez guitars was another brand owned and manufactured by Hoshino Gakki. In the United States, Penco guitars were distributed by the Philadelphia Music Company.

The Fender Telecaster, colloquially known as the Tele, is the world's first commercially successful solid-body electric guitar. Its simple yet effective design and revolutionary sound broke ground and set trends in electric guitar manufacturing and popular music. Introduced for national distribution as the Broadcaster in the autumn of 1950 as a two-pickup version of its sister model, the single-pickup Esquire, the pair were the first guitars of their kind manufactured on a substantial scale. A trademark conflict with a rival manufacturer's led to the guitar being renamed in 1951. Initially, the Broadcaster name was simply cut off of the labels placed on the guitars and later in 1951, the final name of Telecaster was applied to the guitar. The Telecaster quickly became a popular model, and has remained in continuous production since its first incarnation.

References

  1. "5002V58". Rickenbacker.com. Retrieved 19 April 2021.
  2. "Blues mandolin man: the life and music of Yank Rachell" by Richard Congress year=2001 |publisher=University Press Mississippi |language=English |isbn= ISBN   1578063345 | ISBN   978-1578063345 |pages=80-81 |chapter=21 |quote="When electric come in, that was something new to me, so I played that. I plugged my mandolin up into it. It sound good, so I went to playing electric all the time, you know"