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Acoustic-Electric Mandolin

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  • Acoustic-Electric Mandolin

    Over the years I have owned several mandolins and each one have been cheap entry level ones like the Fender FM-100 and similar. That being said, I've decided to spend a little money on one and I'm kind of set on getting a acoustic-electric. Several were brought up, Loar, Michael Kelly, and a few others. So when I went to Nashville a couple of weeks ago, I played as many mandolins as I could.

    The one that really stuck out, to me anyway, was the Morgan Monroe MMS-9FE, it sounded better, played better, and when I plugged it into the a Fishman Loudbox Mini it sounded beautiful.

    I guess I'm just wondering if it was a fluke, I really haven't heard a lot about the Morgan Monroe and I'm just curious about anyone's experience.
    James Shannon Bussey & The Drunk Thirsty Cowboys

  • #2
    The Morgan Monroe's are an ok starter mandolin. The tops tend to be a bit thick and the poly finish is thick, so acoustically they tent to be less warm and dampened. There's plenty of import mandolins out there for under a grand, which is actually a lot of money when you think about it.

    Once you plug and acoustic instrument it, you have a game changer and a whole different ball of wax.

    I have heard really great things about the K&K twin internal pick up and that maybe worth taking a look at. The K&K mini is about 100 bucks and passive, so you would probably want to add a preamp to it. K&K makes a bunch of them.

    Last spring I added a second mandolin to my arsenal of instruments, and tried, what I ended up with is a Gibson F5G which acoustically sounded incredible. I tried a bunch of Webers out too and they were nice. The Weber and Collins mandolins have a more modern fretboard and might be more comfy, but the Gibson had the tone. The cost of the Gibson was not cheap, and is probably my most costly instrument ever.

    I'm still sticking a mic in front of it.

    I ordered an Epiphone MM 50 E, and it was not good. I actually bought it cause it had a built in pick up system in it. The pick up system was ok, but this confirmed in my mind that the Chinese should stay away from wood. Sent that back ASAP.

    I have only 2 mandolins in my lifetime, a Flatiron A model Performer that I got 25 years ago and now the Gibson F5G. I almost sent the Gibson back, cause the back was not flamed, but weird looking. So unique in many ways, I decided to keep it cause it sounded that good.

    My suggestion is always this, no matter what the reviews say or anyone else say for that matter. Play a bunch of instruments like you have done, and see what speaks to you. Even the most costly ones might need to be tweaked up a bit, played and seasoned up over time.

    I'm not sure what kind of music you play and need the mandolin for, but I have seen Willie watson twice this year and he never plugs in. Same with Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlins.

    Now with all this being says, I hit the Morgan Monroe site and damn if I didn't find this one sexy looking.

    Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase.

    Join Date: Aug 2001
    Location: N. Adams, MA USA
    Posts as of Jan 10th 2013: 82,617


    • #3
      Thanks for the response, I'll take your advice. I for sure want to check out the Michael Kelly Legacy Dragonfly before I make any decisions.
      James Shannon Bussey & The Drunk Thirsty Cowboys