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Rogue FM-80E Acoustic-Electric Mandolin

Sound Quality

It's hard to make a mandolin sound horrible, at least accoustically. This one sounds ok unplugged, a little weak on the G and D strings, but overall not too bad. Plugged in, the pickup sounds tinny and not the least bit accoustic. I ran this through my zoom 505 processor's accoustic guitar simulator with surprisingly good results. With a bit of tweaking, it sounded very natural. Lately I've been getting a lot of grounding problems with the pickup, so a direct box with a ground/lift switch would be helpful.


I have had this mando for two years of extensive playing (almost every day) and touring. The frets have worn down, which is normal for any instrument, and I've had a few problems with the electronics--I've had to resolder a few connections on the output jack. It's always nice to have a backup, but the only backup I would recommend for this instrument is a spare SM-57 or other mic just in case your electronics decide to break. Or you can do like I did and keep your amp mic on a boom and swing it up to the mandolin. This is a cheap POS mandolin, but I've put it through hell and it still meets my needs.

General Comments

I've been playing mandolin for 2 years, guitar for over 10. I picked this mando up because it came with electronics and a case for under $200. If it were stolen, I would look into a few other A/E mandolins, but would probably get this again. If you're looking to start playing mandolin but don't want to buy a Sam Bush custom mando (around 6K), you're a guitarist who wants to add some mando, or a mandolin player who wants to go electric, I would recommend this instrument, especially if you have an accoustic simulator. If you're as good as Sam Bush, you're not even looking at rogue instruments to begin with.

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