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User reviews on Mandolin products

moosers's review (Washburn - M6SW)

By moosers, 17/12/2010
The Washburn M 6SW is a mandolin with a Florentine cutaway design. It's made out of a few different woods, with the top being solid spruce, a maple neck, and an ebony fingerboard. It's got no electronics in it as it's strictly an acoustic, but this is going to be the case with most higher quality mandolins anyway. It's a very sleek mandolin both in terms of look and feel.


The overall playability of the Washburn M 6SW is very high. It's a very fun instrument to play regardless of the model you're playing, and this one really jumps it up a notch as it's very easy on the fingers. The shape is slender, even for a mandolin, and has a really cool look with a single cutaway. Getting a nice sound isn't hard if you know how to play, as it's all in the fingers with this one since it's only acoustic.


The sound of the Washburn M 6SW is really nice overall, as it's got a crisp sound to it which transfer well for recording. I recently did some tracks with this mandolin when a client at the studio where I work brought it in. I got to play with it a little bit on the side, but wasn't the one playing it when we were recording. We tried out a Coles 4038 ribbon mic on it just to get creative, and the results were actually quite good. The dark quality of the Coles blended nicely with the higher end based Mandolin and was especially good due to this nice Mando. It's vibrant to say the least...


The Washburn M 6SW is a great mandolin from an unlikely source, as I would never have thought Washburn to make a fine instrument like this. While not the cheapest mandolin on the market, in general you're going to have to pay a little bit for quality and that's what you're going to get with the M 6SW mandolin. I'd only recommend checking it out if you're an experienced player, as there are plenty of cheaper options out there for those just getting started.

moosers's review (Gold Tone - GME-6)

By moosers, 29/09/2011
The Gold Tone GME-6 is a very unique instrument - it's a mini six string electric guitar that is very reminiscent of a mandolin. I don't own this instrument, but I'd like to in the very near future! I played it at a local guitar shop and was very impressed with it's sound. I don't know where this is made, but it's got a maple neck and fingerboard and has a single stacked humbucking pick up.


Playing the Gold Tone GME-6 was really fun! I don't have the biggest hands in the world, so as a guitar player it's great to feel like I do! I also play mandolin, but this is a different sound, although certainly reminiscent. It's very easy to play if you know how to play guitar, unless you've got huge hands, which then you might have a little more trouble with this, although it seems like the frets are bigger than a mandolin at least. It sounds good plugged in, but there's only a single pick up with tone and volume control.


I'm pretty much in love with the way the Gold Tone GME-6. In fairness, I don't have much of a frame of reference with this kind of mini six string electric guitar, as this is the only one of it's kind that I can remember using. While I've yet to have the chance to record with this, I'm definitely considering buying one to call my own. It's such a cool sound and would be great playing solo guitar and singing. I haven't used it with any effects, but I'm eager to experiment!


The Gold Tone GME-6 is an incredibly cool instrument, especially for fans of both electric guitar and mandolin, as it seems to land somewhere in the middle. Personally I'm excited to be able to pick up one of these for myself as I think it could open up some doors. The price is more than reasonable, and Gold Tone has a pretty strong reputation. If you're into unique stringed instruments, definitely check out the Gold Tone GME-6!

Great instrument, somewhat troublesome electronics. (Epiphone - MM-50E Professional)

By Eroachguitar, 03/10/2012
When my boss's old epiphone mandolin finally became so fragile that it could no longer be used on tour, we acquired a new Epiphone MM-50E to fill the void left by an instrument that had served him well for many years.

The MM-50E is naturally finished out of Sitka Spruce, with a maple neck, and simple appointments such as cream binding on the neck, headstock and body, and a beautiful ornamental inlay in the headstock. It boasts 23 frets set into 14 inch scale rosewood with simple dot inlays, and a 1.06 wide genuine bone nut.

Hardware is simple but elegant, comprised of vintage-style inline tuners with pearloid buttons, adjustable rosewood bridge, and chrome-finished string anchors with snap-off cover.

amplification is provided courtesy of a NanoMAG pickguard-style pickup and preamp system, with individual volume, bass, and treble controls. Individual string output levels are controlled via miniature trim pots on the pickguard.


Right out of the box, the MM-50E plays decently well. This one required a setup, but most of them do. String spacing is comfortable, unlike cheaper mandolins, which can have their strings too closely spaced. The Nut was adequately cut and polished, allowing the mandolin to be properly intonated throughout the length of the scale, and allowing string vibration to resonante sufficiently throughout the instrument.

It's also worthy to note that one should buy a specialized jack-tightening tool, as accessing the inside of the Mandolin is virtually impossible. The jack tends to come loose from time to time, and tightening it with a standard wrench can cause the jack to turn, to the point of breaking the wiring inside, and then you're truly screwed. Stewmac sells several models of these jack tighteners that prevent this from happening.


The MM-50E plays decently well unplugged, but most people purchase it for its amplified capabilities, which is where the NanoMAG pickup comes under scrutiny.

The individual controls for Bass, Treble, and Volume are quite nice on the NanoMAG. However, we typically leave them wide open and control EQ and volume through an LR Baggs Para-Acoustic DI unit, which works beautifully.

Physically, the pickup portion of the NanoMAG is poorly designed, using a threaded wheel to support one end of the pickup, and raise or lower its height. I found that very little adjustment was capable without the wheel coming off completely, and having to be carefully re-attached.

Another issue with the NanoMAG pickup is noise. It generates buzz and hum in the upper frequencies that is nearly impossible to completely eliminate, so our FOH engineer tries to gate it off as best he can. I would elect to bypass the EQ/Preamp circuit of the NanoMAG if I could, as I suspect this has a lot to do with it the noise.

When properly set up, the MM-50E produces a nice, full, rich sound through the sound system, with good note separation and warmth.


The Epiphone MM-50E is a reasonably professional instrument, and has served us well on tour for over a year now. It hasn't been without its issues (such as the noted pickup problems), but we've been able to deal with them. It's unfair to compare the instrument to vintage or high-end mandolins, but for a modern, production model mando, it is a very good instrument, nicer than most Fender or Ovations I've played.

Perhaps in the future Epiphone can improve on their pickup system.


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