In this post, I’ll be discussing the electric mando-guitar and the various options you have if you’d like to purchase an one of these instruments.
Although I don’t own an electric mando-guitar, I do own the electric-acoustic F-6 Mando-Guitar from Goldtone.
I’d love to add a fully electric mando-guitar to my instrument collection one day.
And I’ve decided to document my research as I’ve looked into various options for this instrument.
But in this article, I’ll be focusing specifically on the electric mando-guitar and breaking down the tone, feel, and sound for many of them.
Without further ado, let’s dive into our discussion about the fully electric mando-guitar.
An Overview of Mando-Guitars
If you’re new to this instrument, the mando-guitar is a hybrid between a guitar and a mandolin.
The body and physical properties of the instrument are more closely related to the mandolin.
And the guitar aspects come from the way the strings are tuned: EADGBe, just like a guitar except up one octave (as if you were capoing a standard guitar on the 12th fret).
Tuning the instrument like this allows guitar players to seamlessly transfer their guitar knowledge to the mando-guitar while playing in the tonal range of a mandolin.
(You can read a more in-depth guide on mando-guitars here.)
Acoustic and acoustic electric mandolins as well as mando-guitars typically come in either an F or A-shape body.
If you read my post that discusses mando-guitar bodies, you will understand the difference between these two body shapes.
Electric mando-guitars don’t quite fall into the same mando-guitar body categories.
Instead, they usually just look like miniature electric guitars.
Their solid bodies also typically make these instruments heavier than their acoustic and electric-acoustic counterparts.
Electric instruments have obvious appeal because you can plug them into an amplifier and get a louder sound.
Though the style of music typically played on a mandolin or mando-guitar is quieter and softer, amplifying it can help it pop in the mix!
Or, you may just want to shred in a higher tonal range.
Regardless, this is a fun instrument to consider.
The GoldTone Electric Mando-Guitar
Like I mentioned in other posts about the mando-guitar, GoldTone is the most popular mando-guitar manufacturer.
The company makes beautifully carved and designed mando-guitars.
A visit to their mando-guitar page will show you that GoldTone offers a variety of these instruments as well as many other guitar hybrids.
Their GME-6 is a solid body all-electric mando-guitar that looks like a miniature electric guitar and is featured in the video above.
Just like an electric guitar, it can certainly be played unplugged but will have almost no volume to it.
The whole kick of the instrument comes from plugging it into an amplifier.
This is an interesting electric mando-guitar option, and the look of it is very cool in my opinion!
Also, this is one of the only six-string electric mando-guitars I know of.
So if you’re after a fully electric six-string mando-guitar, this is one of the most popular options.
The 12-String Eastwood Electric Mando-Guitar (AKA the Mandocaster 12)
This next mando-guitar is very interesting.
The look of it mimics the look of the electric mando-guitar we just looked at from GoldTone.
But this instrument has some differences to it.
The woods used in this instrument mimic the woods in Fender instruments — this explains the “caster” part of the mandocaster tagline since Fender is famous for its telecasters and stratocasters.
The body is alder and the neck is maple with a rosewood plank on top.
This instrument is also different from the Goldtone option in that there are two pickups on it.
As a result, a player can switch between the two pickup options with a pickup selector.
This gives more range and option to the sound.
The pickup switch is actually a three-way: you can pick between the neck, bridge, or a mix of both.
Of course, the sounds of these pickups are only audible when playing through an amplifier.
This is the only way to hear the proper tone that comes from pickups.
Another main difference in this instrument is a 12-string version unlike Goldtone’s six-string discussed above.
Interestingly enough, Eastwood only makes a 12-string mando-guitar.
But the comparison to the strings of a bass, which are related to the guitar, is there!
Check out the page for more specs.
The instrument costs $640.
The 12-String Phantom Electric Mando-Guitar
The next electric mando-guitar we’ll look at is the one by Phantom Guitars.
These are interesting little instruments that again remind me of Fender Stratocasters a lot.
The reason I say so is the sunburst paint job as well as the single coil pickups.
That said, the instrument uses exactly that: single coil pickups.
Remember what we said was the general tone of single coils? Warm and clear.
As far as the woods used in the manufacturing, I don’t see any information on the website.
But there are buying options that you can pick where it can come with a “rosewood bound neck.”
Remember the tone principles of rosewood?
That’s right! Also rich and warm with a lower end to it.
It makes sense that these instruments would have warmer principles to them since it is such a high pitched instrument.
Again, these instruments come exclusively in a twelve-string option.
The Phantom instruments also come with two pickups, giving a player more tonal options just like the Eastwood option.
These instruments are also domestically made in the United States — they come from Oregon.
On the website there is also a buying option where it comes with a tremolo, or a “whammy bar.”
I’m sure you can get a wide array of interesting sounds with that!
As far as price point goes, these Phantom instruments are more expensive.
The instruments are offered for anywhere between $999 and $1099 depending on the tremolo, tailpiece and case.
With a case, there is a shipping surcharge of another $50.
The Deusenberg Electric Mando-Guitar (AKA the Mando 12-String)
Deusenberg Guitars is a European instrument company located in Germany.
Their slick website goes over nearly every aspect of their Mando 12-string.
(Deusenberg is anoter brand that makes only a 12-string mando-guitar.)
What I find interesting about these instruments is the physical design.
These European instruments definitely look similar to a Les Paul guitar while others seem modeled on Fender guitars by contrast.
Another difference between the body of this instrument and others in this list is that it is semi-hollow, meaning it can also be played acoustically.
Plus, it has a humbucker pickup attached to the bridge.
This is the only mando-guitar I know if with a humbucker!
This instrument also has two pickups — it seems as though the neck pickup is a single coil.
As far as wood is concerned, it has a mahogony body and maple neck.
The mahogany body draws heavy influence from Les Paul instruments.
They describe the humbucker pickup (which they call the “Little Toaster”) as bright and clear.
On the website, they write that the tone of it can “break open the gates of heaven.”
It’s very interesting to see a bright high-pitched instrument paired with a brighter sounding pickup.
Mind you, the mahogany wood plays a big factor in warming up the tone.
As far as pricing goes, I found a retailer near me selling one for about $3,000.
It must depend on different local dealers and what they offer them for.
Seems like a very cool instrument to check out!
The Vox Electric Mando-Guitar (AKA the Octave Twelve and the Mini XII)
I’ve discussed this instrument in greater detail in my post about the Vox mando-guitar.
Like I mentioned in the post, the instrument definitely mimics a strat.
It uses two single-coil pickups, which a player can switch between.
It is another instrument that only comes in a twelve string option.
But its strings and tuning are actually closer to a mandolin than a standard 12-string tuning interval.
Each string is tuned identically to its pair instead of a standard 12-string tuning interval of strings 6 – 4 with pairs tuned in octaves and strings 3 – 1 tuned in identical pairs.
In this way, the tuning is more similar to a mandolin where each string pair has an identical tuning.
The rarity of the instrument means that it often has a particularly high price (usually in the thousands of dollars).
However, you can likely acquire a Vox Mini XII (the 1998 – 2001 relaunch of the Octave 12), for three figures.
The 12-String Teo Mando-Guitar
Terry Ousley, the owner of Teo Guitars, hand-makes each order he receives in Indiana.
As far as pricing goes, Terry was selling the base model of his 12-string electric mando-guitar for $685 the last time I reached out to him.
However, you can reach out to him directly via his website for up-to-date pricing.
As you can tell, this is one of the more affordable 12-string options in this list.
Plus, if you’re like me, you enjoy supporting small businesses like Terry’s when you can.
I encourage you to consider this instrument if you’re looking for a 12-string electric mando-guitar!
Check out the video above for a demo of the Teo mando-guitar’s sound.
These are the available commercial options I know of for the electric mando-guitar.
If you know of others, let me know in the comments!
I’d love to research them and add that information to this post.
Do you own an electric mando-guitar or are you wondering which is best for you?
Let me know in the comments!