2000s Eastwood Mandocaster Electric Mandolin

This is my friend Rick's Mandocaster and while it received a lot of use at some point, it seems to have been neglected a bit recently. It came in needing a good setup and he wanted a restring with flatwound strings, so that's what it got. I figured I'd do a mini-review in the process. Note that the soundclip is played through a Roland JC-22 amp -- about as clean as it gets in a tiny package.

I have to say that despite the so-so finishing and the so-so basswood(?) body, the build quality is actually pretty good on this instrument. The neck has remained straight (and not twisted) over time, the electronics all work as intended, and only the usual setup work was necessary to get it playing spot-on. I don't think it'd ever been adjusted before, either.

The downside of almost all Eastwood instruments, however, are their pickups. Sometimes (by some miracle), the oddness of the pickup choices actually make the instruments wonderful (as in the Warren Ellis plectrum guitar baritone tenor guitar), but mostly they're replacement bait.

My issue with almost all production electric mandolins of all stripes, however, is that mandolin players were certainly not consulted in the production of the instruments. If they had been, the builders would've all known that off-the-shelf pickups without individual polepiece adjustment are practically useless for electric mandolins. The high E strings will always be too quiet and the A strings will always be way too loud to the point of distraction. Such is the case with this mandolin. Oh well -- and good luck finding something to fit!

Nevertheless, as a platform to work off of, the price and build on this instrument really aren't anything to sniff about. I like the tone of the pickups, but they definitely need to be swapped-out to make this a nice little screamer.

My friend's addition to the instrument is the sticker while my addition are four mounting screws to accept loop-end strings. Most mandolin string packs (electric included -- nickel/stainless/flatwound chromium/whatever) come with loop-end strings while most electric mandolins use tailpieces meant for ball-end strings. It hurts my head!

So -- dumber is better, and these screws hold the loop-ends just fine. This has a pack of D'Addario FW74 flatwound mando strings on it.


Bill Arnold said…
So, does anyone make a single coil 4 pole pickup that could fit?