Electric Mandolin Wiring and Pickup Options
This page covers:
My default pickup choice is Seymour Duncan's Cool Rails. This pickup has no pole pieces to misalign with a 4 or 5 course instrument, and delivers a clear smooth and natural tone.
I've also used the Seymour Duncan Hot Rails which is more appropriate for those that want a pickup that will overdrive the amp into distortion.
For those that want a jangly surfer-dude sound, then a lipstick pickup would be a cool choice.
For short neck (17 fret) mandolins, I can fit either one or two pickups, likewise for longer scale instruments. For "long neck" (22 fret) mandolins and shorter mandolas or OM's there may only be room for the one pickup - you would need to enquire about that with the specific details if this is something that interests you. Note that bridge pickups on mandolins tend not to get too much use: generally speaking mandolins are more than bright enough already, plus the top e-strings move so little that close to the bridge that they tend not to drive the pickup terribly well. On the other hand, blending two pickups on longer scale instruments can sound extremely nice indeed.
Cool Rails pickup on a short-neck / 17 fret 5 string:
Hot Rails pickup on a long neck / 22 fret 5 string:
Two Cool Rails pickups with blend option (initial tunes at the start are with the two pickups blended together):
Wiring and Selection Options.
I wire each pickup into a 2 or 3 way toggle switch, which provides the following options:
In addition to the wiring selection switch I fit volume and tone controls as standard on the single pickup models - see below for a description of the tone control options.
For dual pickup models, there are a rather large number of ways they could be wired, and I'm happy to accommodate whatever the client would find most practical. The default choice would be to provide a neck/bridge/blend toggle switch, plus independent volume controls for the two pickups.
I normally fit a treble-cut tone control as standard. However, I have also used bass-cut controls where needed, and more recently a "wide range" control which cuts treble in one direction, and bass when you turn in the other direction. Note that the wide range control requires a slightly deeper body than I normally use, so I need to know in advance when this is required.
You can see/hear the wide range control in use on this instrument:
Please contact me here, if you see anything you're interested in.