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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Overclock your mandolin?

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Jethro Aberdeen - Posted - 01/02/2020:  14:34:16

Would anyone here do this to a less than satisfying mando to try to get more volume and chop? I'm thinking of doing to my Ephiphone mm50vs.

Overclock your mandolin?

What do you think?

MandoTom2 - Posted - 01/02/2020:  16:34:50

I'd never heard the term 'overclocking' before and I know outstanding luthiers and have worked in music stores for 40 years. That helped motivate me to watch this video.

He's planning on literally re-doing or re-building the entire instrument:

  1. "Profiling" the top and back. Seems like a good idea if you know how to do it and don't mind your mandolin coming that far apart, i.e., the top and back will obviously have to be completely removed from the instrument. Profiling is thinning the top and back to achieve greater top movement and ultimately greater volume. This is going to have to be done by a very experienced luthier who knows how to achieve the desired result. And, it is going to be a very time-consuming project, just this step of re-working the mandolin. This is going to result in 'cost, cost, cost'... If you don't mind paying for it, it will not add to the trade-in or re-sale value, but it may make you happier with your instrument.

  2. Replacing the fingerboard, the type of frets and the nut? He's only doing that to suit his own preferences. Replacing the plastic nut with a bone or simulated bone nut is not a bad idea and not that expensive to do in my area. But, the amount of work that's going into the neck is not going to affect the final sound much, in my opinion. Again, cost, cost, cost.

  3. Replace the tail piece? Not a bad idea. I love the enhanced sound from a higher quality tail piece. I did this very ting to a Gibson Mastertone (an early 70s model) and noticed an immediate difference to the good.

If you've got a buddy that is qualified to do this kind of work and you don't mind the investment. Especially noting that the improvement in the mandolin at any cost will not enhance the dollar value of the instrument, especially where insurance companies are concerned (assuming the instrument is covered by your home owners insurance in case of theft). I had a friend who bought a 1920s Gibson F2 that had been taken apart. The luthier screwed the job up. The top and back were not matched to the sides... No where close, you could see and feel it with your fingers. He still paid well over $3000 for the instrument. Even though he and I both loved it (It was his mandolin, but he wanted my advice) , ultimately, it got returned. Ya gots to be careful when choosing a luthier for this kind of work!

It's fun and personally satisfying to improve an instrument that you already own. It'll keep you playing it and enjoying it well into the future. You just have to balance where the cost of doing that much work to an average instrument will justify the cost and re-sale value of the instrument in question and whether you're that committed to it.

MandoTom2, 1/2/2020

Jethro Aberdeen - Posted - 01/02/2020:  17:34:04

If I understand the video, the guy only shaved both the top and bottom plates without removing them, he changed the fretboard with one radiused, the nut is a given, tailpiece okay,
I don't fancy the new color, but the before and after sound tests are suggestive of improvement. I wouldn't hire someone to do this work, I've repaired and refinished many instruments over the years and either I use the mm50 for display and a backup instrument when needed, since it is not worth much anyway and I just might overclock it.
It's a nice looking mandolin but even my wife says it's sound is tinny and irritating. So tomorrow I'm going shopping for a replacement in Toronto at the 12th fret music store since it makes more sense to buy here than out of country, and I'm ready for the next level. So wish me luck.

MandoTom2 - Posted - 01/02/2020:  18:31:37

I understand your situation, and I WISH I had luthier skills (minimal at best, set-up skill only, in my case)...

Yeah, if you're doing it, I think you'd enjoy the process of fixing it up...

And, like I said, not only the joy of doing it, but of having been involved in the process of fixing up and improving your own instrument...

I took an electric guitar I'd bought in early 2019 and turned it into an electric banjo...

Had to do some serious cutting to the neck to get it into the 5th string configuration.

Had a load of fun doing it, and because it was a $199 guitar, I didn't hurt myself too much.

I think I spent as much on the tools to do the job as I did for the guitar...

Lots of experimentation with tools.

I also learned how freakin' HARD, hard-rock maple is...


We busted a few saw blades on that stuff!

Me and an eager friend (music store owner, Landon Wisdom) fellow-shipped on this one...

Had a lot of fun doing it...



MandoTom2 - Posted - 01/03/2020:  02:37:26


You ought to take some BEFORE pictures or videos and let us know how it goes...

Looking forward to it...


Jethro Aberdeen - Posted - 01/03/2020:  13:23:34

I'm weighing this decision carefully, first I will put it up for sale locally then if all I get is low bids I'll scrape the top carefully and see what happens. Do my own before and after sound tests and post the results.

MandoTom2 - Posted - 01/03/2020:  23:27:56

You have our support...


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