Acoustic-electric mandolin offers great tone at any volume.
by Teja Gerken
August 18, 2015
An innovator in acoustic-electric guitar design, Canada’s Godin Guitars has expanded its thin-body line over the last several years to include a wide variety of non-guitar instruments, including ukuleles, ouds, cavaquinhos, basses, and this A8 mandolin we had a chance to check out.
The A8 shares its fundamental construction concept with other Godin A-series instruments. Its hollow body is routed from a solid block of mahogany and capped with a fully braced, solid spruce top. The neck is also made of mahogany, and is bolted to the body with four bolts, like a Fender-style electric guitar. The fingerboard is ebony, with pearl-dot position markers, and the A8 has a traditional metal tailpiece, traditional adjustable bridge design, and open-geared tuning machines.
Godin has long used RMC pickups for many of its models, and the company also chose this high-end option for the A8. Consisting of a separate brass saddle with built-in piezo sensors for each pair of strings, the RMC offers high output and excellent string separation. A custom onboard preamp with controls for volume, treble, mids, and bass is built into the bass side of the top’s upper bout. Output is via a standard ¼-inch jack.
The A8 is easy to play, with a feel not unlike that of a standard acoustic mandolin. It also has enough acoustic volume and tone to be satisfying to play without plugging in, but played through an amp (we tried a variety of AER and Fishman amps), the A8 showed its real strength, offering a great sound with a reasonably acoustic quality and no sign of feedback at virtually any volume level. This instrument could be a game-changer for players who struggle with the task of making their mandolin heard in a loud band setting.
Peghead Nation co-founder Dan Gabel took the A8 for a spin, and in this video, he demos the instrument played through a Fishman Loudbox Mini.
SPECS: Cutaway body. Solid spruce top. Chambered mahogany body. Bolt-on mahogany neck. Ebony fingerboard and adjustable bridge. 13⅞-inch scale. 1⅛-inch nut width. Gold open-gear tuning machines. RMC electronics. Made in Canada. $895 list. godinguitars.com
Comments and Discussion
But at 4.34 the mandolin sound distorts despite all the faders being at the midpoint.
i saw another clip on youtube and the distrotion was also a feature. Is there any remedy for this?
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