Friday, February 14, 2014

Electric Mandolin – Why The Hell Not?

Blue Star Mandoblaster
Electric mandolin is definitely a niche instrument, but there are few options out there.  Bruce Herron makes his Blue Star Mandoblasters for a reasonable price of about $650 as sold through Elderly.  You can also order from Bruce directly.  It’s a little known fact that he does custom work – emandos and octave emandos – and seems eager to build you the electric mandolin of your dreams for a fair price.
JL Smith emando
Another maker of electric mandolins is JL Smith.  His instruments are considered to be about as good as you can get, with certain spec models starting at $699.  There's also a guy named Ron Lira of Honest Ron’s Guitars.  Ron’s emandos have a good reputation and start at about $750. 
Honest Ron Lira mandolin
Rob Collins of hand-crafts a model of electric mandolin that has a very clean, natural look.  He’s located in Hebden Bridge, England but his prices are comparable to US builders, even with the exchange rate.  If you’re willing to spend more than $1,000 it’s worth taking a look at Jonathan Mann’s Manndolins.  He makes some hollow, semi-hollow and solid body emandos you can drool over (don’t literally drool on them).

Rob Collins
Mann EM-4 solid body
There are many more builders of electric mandolins, and you can find most of them listed on

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