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Author Topic: Got me one them Mandobird VIIIs  (Read 3920 times)

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Offline PhiddlePhartz

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Got me one them Mandobird VIIIs
« on: Jan 23, 2008, 03:20:57 AM »
Since I've been on the fiddle adventure for almost six months now it seemed like time to get another new instrument.   ;D  I'd been thinkin' mando but didn't really want to spend big bucks.  Then along came this scratch & dent, b-stock sale on the Mandobird VIII for really darn cheap. :)

It came today and is a very cool little instrument.  This is gonna be fun.   :afro:  It's got a little cachinggadera in the paint on the back corner but is in otherwise new condition with full warranty.  I've mostly been playing it not plugged in but I did put it into my POD guitar amp sim/processor for a bit.  Sounds pretty good on the clean sounds with some flange or chorus.  Not so good on death metal distortion settings.  :-\

Also plugged it briefly into my blackface Fender Princeton and that sounded good.  I didn't hear any of the "too quiet e-string" problem that's been reported with this instrument in the past.  I've got to spend more time with it plugged in but initial impression was that it sounded fine and balanced with good effect gotten from the volume and tone controls.  Overall set-up seems pretty good too.  I'll let the strings settle in a bit - or even wait for the new strings I ordered to arrive - to see if I need to mess with the intonation at all.  It's not bad as is.

Anyway, I threw on a pic for those interested.

Offline nhfiddler

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Re: Got me one them Mandobird VIIIs
« Reply #1 on: Jan 23, 2008, 04:59:54 PM »
Cute! Careful not to put the wrong instrument on your shoulder some dark and beery night.....

Offline PhiddlePhartz

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Re: Got me one them Mandobird VIIIs
« Reply #2 on: Jan 24, 2008, 06:59:31 AM »
Cute! Careful not to put the wrong instrument on your shoulder some dark and beery night.....

Hhhmmmm . . . now there's an idea.  Lemme grab another brew.



Offline muttonhead

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Re: Got me one them Mandobird VIIIs
« Reply #3 on: Jan 30, 2008, 10:27:16 PM »
Once I raised the 'E' side of the pickup (it's adjustable for height)
I got pretty good string balance except the D is a lot quieter than the G, and
especially the A. Even tried fitting a 'thicker' D.
I'm interested to know if you have the same problem.

I got a better pair of P-Bass pickups for mine but they aren't installed yet.
Having a bridge pickup should improve the sound when distorted I think.
Also thinking of going CGDA...

Offline PhiddlePhartz

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Re: Got me one them Mandobird VIIIs
« Reply #4 on: Jan 31, 2008, 01:56:22 AM »
The little bit I did play it plugged in it seemed that the strings were fairly well balanced.  I pretty much got this thing as a quiet practice instrument because my housemates have been very tolerant of me sawing away on the fiddle all evening every evening.  I honestly haven't been too worried about it's electric sound and just plink around on it very late at night or during the wee hours of the morning.

What has been bugging me is keeping it in tune.  I'll get it perfect and it sounds great for about two chords into a 3 chord progression.  It's either the strings, which I just got replacements for but haven't changed yet, or my biggest suspect is the nut.  As some strings go out of tune sharp I think they are binding in the nut slots.  I lubed them with a bit of graphite but I intend to work with the slots a little during the string change any day now.

More later,

Offline PhiddlePhartz

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Re: Got me one them Mandobird VIIIs
« Reply #5 on: Feb 19, 2008, 05:11:04 AM »
Thought I'd update my experiences with the little Mandobird.  I finally pulled off the OEM strings and the first thing that became apparent was that the tuning machines were all loose.  The nuts had not been tightened completely and the machines would pivot around a lot with the backside screw anchoring them.  Tightened those up and they feel much better.  Now that could have caused some of my tuning difficulties.  ::)

I cleaned up the nut slots a bit with some sandpaper and relubed them with graphite.  I'd like to work with them a bit more but I need some suitable files for nut work before I can proceed with that.  I also ran the sandpaper up and down the frets and wiped down the fingerboard with just the tiniest amount of lemon oil.

I installed the strings I got from emando.com.  They're his "normal", 11-15-26-40, set and are considerably heavier than the lightweight little suckers that were on there.  About like the jump from extra-lights to mediums in guitar strings.

Tuning them up they felt like quite a bit more tension, more stable, and put out a lot more sound.  Next was to plug in to the little StroboFlip unit for setting the intonation.  With the one piece, somewhat compensated bridge I was able to intonate the G and E strings spot on and the A & D strings indicate a bit flat.  Sounded much improved over the original setup.  Not bad at all, actually, but with the heavier strings I now felt the action needed to be a bit lower.  It was pretty low but I went another 1-2mm lower and re-intonated.  Everything, intonation wise, got a little closer this time and the action is quite nice.

Anyway, the net result is that the little MandoBird now tunes up much more easily and stays in tune.  Though the intonation is slightly off on the two middle strings it's only a tiny bit and the instrument sounds pretty well in tune.

Plugged into the amp for a bit too and it sounds fine.  The pickup is up pretty darn close to the strings and output seems even to me.  No glaring irregularities among strings.

All in all I'm happy with the improvement I got with the tuning and setup and the instrument is serving it's purpose of providing me with a quiet practice instrument when it's too late, or early, to wail away on the fiddle at full tilt.

Play on,

 




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