Mr. MacLachlan owns an electric mandolin he built in a workshop conducted by Welsh builder Tony Revell. He plays it occasionally with Sound of Islay in Glasgow.
These days Paul is known mostly as one of America's foremost swing fiddlers. He did, however, serve stints with Merle Haggard, the Gatlin Bros., and Asleep at the Wheel, doubling on fiddle and electric mandolin. Paul reportedly played an electrified Gibson A-style mandolin, and also owned a Roberts Tiny Moore model.
The Jethro Tull frontman is best known for playing the flute, but has also used an electric mandolin.
Remember the Orson Welles movie (and, later, radio show) The Third Man? Remember that gypsy-style theme music played on the zither? Well, believe it or not, Dave Apollon, one of the greatest mandolinists of the 20th century, made his own recording of that theme, played on, of all things, an electric mandola.
Bob is known primarily as a leading bluegrass player and teacher in Southern California. He also owns a 5-string Schwab electric mandolin, which he uses mostly for MIDI applications.
Former electric mandolinist with Australia's Elision Ensemble.
A multi-instrumentalist who has toured with Bob Dylan.
David lives in Georgia. He played fiddle with the Jerry Reed Band from 1981 to 1984, and sometimes used a Schwab electric mandolin. David recovered from a serious car accident—after being told he'd never walk again, he played his first post-accident gig in May 2000. Currently he plays with Atlanta's Blueground Undergrass.
Toronto-based Breit played electric mandolin on Cassandra Wilson's CD Traveling Miles, a tribute to Miles Davis. He has also toured with Wilson, and records for his own label, Poverty Playlist, both as a solo artist and a member of a band called Sisters Euclid.
Alastair lives in Scotland and plays both an acoustic mandolin and an 8-string solidbody electric.
On his LP Blackjack, released in 1976, the late, redoubtable Gatemouth was credited with playing the electric mandolin, as well as guitar, fiddle, viola, harmonica, and kitchen sink. Don't forget, Gate grew up not far from Tiny Moore.
Plays electric mandola with Boojum Twist, an Ithaca, N.Y.–based band.
Jon lives in Agoura, California, and plays a Roberts Tiny Moore 5-string. His interest in fusion has led him into a variety of styles; he writes: "I play a little bit of everything—bluegrass, metal, rock, some jazz and Frank Zappa (I learned Lumpy Gravy just the other day)."
Lead guitarist for Hootie and the Blowfish, Bryan reportedly owns a Chapman electric.
Mike plays a Washburn A, converted to 4-string electric.
An Indianapolis-based blues player, Mike plays a Schwab 5-string, a customized Kentucky 5-string, and the Harmony 8-string acoustic/electric formerly owned by Yank Rachell.
Carr is best known as a former member of Country Gazette, and for his duet recordings with banjoist Alan Munde. He is an instructor in the bluegrass program at South Plains College in Levelland, Texas. He has released a series of instructional videos, one of which, "Hot Mandolin Styles," includes some techniques for playing 5-string solidbody mandolin a la Tiny Moore. The video is available from Elderly Instruments.
Fiddler/electric mandolinist who plays Western swing with Kelly Clark and the Wild River Band in Houston.
The well-known blues/eclectic player has been stretching the boundaries of the mandolin for decades. He contributed some electric mandola to A.J. Croce's album That's Me in the Bar. I'm sure there are plenty of other Cooder electric mandolin tracks out there.
Plays with UK band Whorticulture.
Sims is the founder of swing band Harmonious Wail. Among his mandolins, until he sold it, was a Schwab 5-string electric. Check out the Harmonious Wail home page.
Legendary Cajun fiddler and leader of the band Beausoleil. Recorded a side project called Michael Doucet & Cajun Brew, on which both he and Niles Hokkanen played electric mandolin.
Chris plays with Bay Area experimental band Terra Nova. Among his many instruments is an electric cittern built by Fatdog.
Maine luthier Eckhaus, proprietor of Earnest Instruments, plays electric mandolin with the Pinetones, which he describes as "Maine's only Western swing/Italian band."
Stephen plays guitar, as well as a Fender electric mandolin, with the Guinea Pigs in Boulder, Colorado.
A fiddler, mandolinist, and composer who teaches at Mark O'Connor's summer fiddle camps. He plays an electric mandolin as a sideman on some Western swing recordings with Leon Rausch, Tommy Allsup, and Tom Morrell. These recordings also feature Buddy Spicher on electric mandolin and fiddle. Regarding his mandolin, Randy writes:
"It is a 1954 Gibson A50 that I had customized in 1980 by Dan Altillo of Topgear Guitar in La Mesa, California. He built the pickup and installed the volume and tone controls and the whole works. The pickup is made from a 1949 Telecaster pickup minus two of the magnets and wound with. 020 wire. That is as technical as I can get about it; I don't know a lot about the wiring side of things. It is strung up A-D-G-C using. 10-.20-.30-.46 gauge Dean Markley strings usually."
In other words, Randy's mandolin setup is nearly identical to Johnny Gimble's. In fact, if you check out this photo of Gimble you can see Randy peeking out from behind him.
You can order Randy's latest recording, The Boys in the Band, from Randy Elmore, P.O. Box 1462, Cleburne, TX 76033. CDs are $17 and cassettes are $12, which includes shipping and handling.
Matt occasionally played electric mandolin as a member of the experimental Amoebic Ensemble (since disbanded) in Providence, R.I.
A veteran on the Seattle mandolin scene, Jim was a founding member of the Seattle Mandolin Orchestra. He has played a Gibson EM200 with a Gary Price tailpiece in the Midnight Trio.
Dave plays a Fender FM-52E, as well as a Danelectro Jerry Jones 6-string bass, with Roy Heinrich and the Pickups, a honky-tonk band.
Based in Portland, Oregon, Jason plays Turkish and experimental jazz music. He's primarily an electric bassist, but also plays a Fender FM-52E.
Jim's electrics include an early '60s Gibson Florentine EM-200; a late '30s Gibson EM-150 with a Charlie Christian pickup; and a Roberts Tiny Moore 5-string.
plays an 8-string solidbody electric built for him by Semie Moseley at Mosrite.
A classical player from Washington, D.C., who has custom-built a few 8-string solidbody electrics (and occasionally plays one—but not for classical music).
Joel plays swing and Western swing with various groups in the Boston area. He plays the "Hampstercaster," a 5-string electric mandolin he built himself (his followup project is an octave model). He's the author of an electric mandolin article on MandoZine.
Aaron writes: "I play electric and acoustic mandolin for several bands in the Boston area: Boris McCutcheon, The SpringHill Rounders, and Bow Thayer and the Euphorians. I was taught by Jimmy Ryan."
A member of the now-defunct Bay Area string band Back Up and Push, John built and played some solidbody mandolins resembling the Roberts Tiny Moore model.
Stan plays jazz and Western swing on a couple of 5-string solidbody mandolins he built himself.
Based in the Kansas City area, Bruce is known primarily as an acoustic mandolinist with a strong classical bent. But he often uses a 5-string electric for "cheesy rock gigs," as he puts it, and combines it with a MIDI controller to compose music.
Played electric mandolin on Kate Wolf's album Gold in California. He's also the mandolinist for the Cache Valley Drifters.
Frank resides in Dubuque, Iowa, where he plays "country, bluegrass, and a little jazz" on a Gibson EM-150. He's also a fingerstyle guitarist.
Guitarist/electric mandolinist with Peter Gordon and the Love of Life Orchestra.
Plays with Thinking Fellers Union Local 282 from Oakland.
Roy Clark sideman who played a Schwab.
Peter has recorded with the dB's and Continental Drifters. He's also played electric mandolin and keyboards with REM and Hootie and the Blowfish.
The acclaimed guitarist for prog-rock supergroup Yes has performed with electric mandolin. (Some Yes freaks have reported that it's actually an electric mandola. Whatever.)
Played with Tennessee-based progressive art/pop/rock band Human Radio.
Mike writes, from Harrisville, Utah:
"I've been fascinated by the instrument ever since I first saw Tiny Moore playing his Bigsby at a fiddle contest back in the late seventies. I was later blown away by Ricky Skaggs' string bender solos on his Joe Glaser mandos. If your readers want to see Ricky playing his electric, they should check his Live in London video. It features a great mando solo on the last half of 'Don't Get Above Your Raisin'.'
"A number of years ago I was fortunate to find a used Schwab five-string at a local music shop. It has a red 'strat' style body (as opposed to a 'tele'), a highly figured curly maple neck, and an ebony fingerboard. I customized it by replacing the original humbucker with two Seymour Duncan humbuckers set up with single-coil splits. I'm running direct to the PA from a Digitech 2101 processor. What a fun instrument! Although I primarily play in acoustic ensembles, about once a month I get to perform with local country and rock bands. While this gives me my electric 'fix,' someday I'd like to form a western swing band and really focus on this great instrument!"
Plays guitars, Moog, and electric mandolin with a German band called M. Walking on the Water.
A noted experimental electric guitarist from the Bay Area, Kaiser records extensively, and reportedly has used electric mandolin.
Richie writes: "I play my acoustic Monteleone, the Schwab electric and a custom Flying Vee 'Vandolin' (I'm not kidding!), with Mark Cosgrove, former national guitar champ, in the Philadelphia area."
Plays fiddle, electric mandolin, tin whistle, and electric pipes with Celtic Brew in Germany.
After producing Emmylou Harris' Wrecking Ball album, guitarist/songwriter Lanois toured with her, playing electric mandolin on some songs.
Greg writes: "I play a Schwab 4-string and a Rigelcaster for a San Francisco Bay Area funk-jam band."
Guitarist/electric mandolinist for 1970s Italian rock group Il Volo.
One of popular music's most respected guitarists, British-born Lee also played some electric mandolin on LPs with his band Heads, Hands & Feet. He also contributed to Maestro Alex Gregory's new Another Millennium? CD.
Chris is from the UK and plays a Telecaster-shaped electric mando by Tony Revell. He writes: "I'm in a new band called The Family Mahone. They started life as Pogues sound-alike band, but after a year we're doing almost all original stuff, mainly songs about drinking in Manchester, which is where Mark (Radcliffe) the singer and drummer is from. It's a 6-piece band with drums, bass, acoustic guitar, mandolin, fiddle (Dave Russel from Full House), and accordion."
Fiddler/keyboardist/electric mandolinist for an early Asleep at the Wheel lineup.
Eclectic multi-instrumentalist Lindley plays just about everything with strings on it. To hear him on electric bouzouki, check out the track "Put Down the Gun" from Peter Case's album The Man with the Blue Postmodern Fragmented Neo-Traditionalist Guitar.
Bob plays with The Geezers in Concord, California. It's kind of hard to keep track of his instruments, but they have included a Rigel A Plus Deluxe.
Reportedly used a Kay electric on the first Hole album. Just makes you want to run right out and buy it, doesn’t it? (Actually, the instrument itself was offered for sale after the album came out, and passed through several sets of hands.)
Recorded with Chainsaw Jazz.
Known primarily as a classical player, Mair also plays electric with a Providence, R.I., band called Clean and Friendly. She owns a Flying V built by Neil Gladd, as well as a Washburn electric.
Evan is known primarily as a virtuoso duo-style acoustic player; he has also fronted a bluegrass band at Disneyland and is at least a former, if not a current, owner of a Schwab electric.
Brilliant multi-instrumentalist; member of the Modern Mandolin Quartet and Psychograss; has played electric with Darol Anger's jazz group Montreux. In addition to playing a John Knutson solidbody 5-string mandolin, Marshall also uses a Baggs pickup and a Crown microphone on his Lloyd Loar Gibson F5.
Ben is the proud owner of a Fender FM-60E 5-string and a custom-made Rattlesnake acoustic mandolin with a built-in pickup. He's studying at Roberto-Venn School of Luthiery in Phoenix, Arizona.
Swing fiddler/mandolinist who recorded with an electric mando on the CD Cactus Setup with jazz vocalist Rebecca Kilgore. If I'm not mistaken, James is the brother of guitarist/bassist/composer Molly Mason.
Steve works at Ifshin Violins in Berkeley, California. He's a mandolinist as well as a violinist, and does his electric playing on a Steve Ryder EM24.
Played on Bill Miller's album Raven in the Snow.
Has recorded with Minneapolis-based Celtic band rainTribe.
At 13, Donovan was already a bandleader with Oxford, Mississippi's Bush River Band, featuring his father, Barra, on rhythm guitar. Donovan's regional pro gigs in Mississippi have included the Mississippi State Fair, the Thacker Mountain radio program in Oxford, and Channel 9 in Tupelo. The band plays Beatles, traditional Irish, traditional Southern, jazz, Latin, and folk rock. Donovan has used an Alvarez mandolin with a Fishman pickup, but reportedly upgraded to a Weber acoustic with built-in electronics.
Tom plays 12-string guitar, washtub bass, and electric mandolin in an Arizona-based duo called the Amazing McNasty Brothers.
John writes: "I play the only J. R. Zeidler electric mandolin that I am aware of—Les Paul body shape, 1979 vintage. It has 5 strings and a single DiMarzio humbucker."
Buddy plays Western swing on a Gibson A-50 with a pickup he built himself. He lives near Las Vegas, Nevada, and plays all over the Southwest.
Known mostly for his powerhouse bluegrass playing with late brother Jim, but reportedly has recorded with a Kent electric.
Served for a brief stint as the electric mandolinist for UK folk/punk band The Levellers.
Best known as a country songwriter, Miller began his career playing electric mandolin in the Four Aces.
Former electric violinist/mandolinist with Canadian progressive rock trio FM. Has worked extensively with k.d. lang and done some production work for Barenaked Ladies.
Anthony owns a J. L. Smith 5-string electric. He writes: "I play jazz, blues and swing in Louisville, Kentucky, as well as slide guitar (pedal and lap). I play the mandolin through a Henriksen Covertible II amp...a beautiful, well rounded sound, with a lot of volume, if I need it."
Peter has owned a Gibson Florentine, an Earnest, and a Schwab (as well as many other mandolins). He's also worked for Rigel Mandolins and now owns New Millennium Acoustic Design (NewMAD), which makes carbon fiber mandolins.
Formerly with Col. Bruce Hampton and the Aquarium Rescue Unit from Athens, Georgia. He played a custom 5-string electric by Jim Bickerstaff, an Athens-based mandolinist and recording engineer, and also owned a 4-string by Kent Everett.
That's right, one of Ricky's long-haired pretty boy kids. Played some electric mando on Nelson's album Because They Can. I guess he played it because he could.
Known today as a songwriter and producer in his own right, Neuwirth was a member of Bob Dylan's Rolling Thunder Revue in the 1970s, and played electric mandolin on a few songs.
Cheap Trick guitarist Nielsen owns many custom instruments by Hamer, among which is an electric mandocello.
Jim lives in Madison, Wisconsin, and plays classic country with the Black Diamond Band, as well as Celtic, swing, Texas-style fiddle tunes, and bluegrass. He writes: "I have a handmade custom 5-string ash mando (by Marc Sean Price) with a pair of Bill Lawrence pickups and a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe tube blues amp—a combination that not only plays like a dream but has incredible quality of sound and an infinite number of voices. I have less than $1,500 in it—not bad for close to the best. I play with a classic country band and it has become my instrument of choice for most of our material. I get a big fat sound for the Western swing type stuff. Only draw back is the weight—about ten pounds—almost as bad as a banjo. I also play an EM-150 and an old F7."
Plays Celtic music with the Buddy O'Reilly Band in Athens, Georgia.
Mandolinist with the Pointless Brothers, from Alden, New York, Paul plays a Phoenix Ultra acoustic and a Stew-Mac 5-string electric.
Fiddler/electric mandolinist who plays Western swing with Kelly Clark and the Wild River Band in Houston.
Tom is a mandolinist who operates Flat Five Press and Recording Co. in Roanoke, Virginia. He sometimes contributes acoustic and electric mandolin tracks to recordings made at his studio, and has published an advanced music theory text for mandolinists.
Brendan writes, from Galway, Ireland: "I have recorded with Donal Lunny, Waterboys, John Prine, and a lot of top Irish acts. I play a newly acquired Godin A8, a Fender FM61SE, and a Paul Doyle mandolin, a lovely instrument. I am also having an e-bouzouki made by Andreas Köpke of Pendennis Instruments in Germany. His electric instruments are beautifully constructed and sound great."
Probably best known for his multiple appearances on "A Prairie Home Companion," Ostroushko has used a Schwab electric.
Plays with L.A. experimental rockers Lies Like Truth.
This L.A. studio ace has played guitar on tons of albums. He contributed some electric mandolin on Linda Ronstadt's Feels Like Home.
A former member of American Music Club, Danny plays guitar, banjo, and electric mandolin with Clodhopper in the Bay Area.
Plays a Blue Star Mandoblaster with a zydeco band in Santa Barbara.
Ted is the mandolin player with Big Blow and the Bushwackers, a didgeridu-based band out of Salisbury, Maryland. They have no guitar player. You can hear Ted on his 1972 Eko electric (built in Ricanti, Italy) on their 1996 Habagoola CD. In shows, Ted uses his Eko on a calypso medley, a Big Walter Horton blues tune, and a self-penned number, "How Many Miles to Babylon?" Ted makes no claim to authenticity and has a hell of a good time making ridiculously fun music at all-ages shows.
Blaine lives in Newfoundland, Canada. He writes: "I own a Vester acoustic/electric, which is comparable to the Fender FM-52E acoustic/electric model."
Born in Elkhorn, Kentucky, in 1935, Elster "Red" Ratliff started his professional mandolin career at age 15 with Buster Pack and the Lonesome Pine Boys, a bluegrass band, on WCYB. At some point, Buster and the Boys must have decided to branch out a little, because they recorded some rockabilly material where Red played electric mandolin. He later played with Hobo Jack Atkins, Kenny Baker, the Prairie Union Bluegrass Band, Breakwater Bluegrass, New Cut Road, and the Chicago Bluegrass Band. Red died on Sept. 3, 2000.
Chris plays a 5-string electric he built himself. He writes, from Prescott, Wisconsin: "I fit the bill of the type of guy who plays with a bunch of loud, amplified guitar and keyboard players. My acoustic mandolin (which I also built from scratch) does pretty good with a piezo pickup, but I have always wanted to try a true electric mandolin. The cheapest way for me to do it was to build my own."
Fiddler/electric mandolinist for popular Western swing revivalists Asleep at the Wheel.
Dij lives in Seattle. He writes: "I have been playing mostly 'lectric for a good while now. Lots of funk, rock & reggae style stuff. I use a McIntyre in my F, and a 40-year-old Eko pickup in my semisolid, but I'm buying a RichTone solidbody soon. I play through an old Morley bass wah pedal, with a Pignose for a preamp (and even a vintage Vox tonebender once in a while), all of which sound great on the 'lectric mando. I find sound FX designed for either bass or acoustic guitar usually sound best, though I've often had to tweak out some high and high-mid with an EQ (usually last in the chain before recording or preamping)."
Bluegrass hero and longtime Laurie Lewis sideman Rozum plays a 5-string Michael Stevens electric for one tune on his solo release, Jubilee.
John writes: "In the '80s, I played in a popular Seattle band called the Swingin' Swamis. It was a honky-tonk, jazz, and western swing band. I played a Roberts Tiny Moore 5-string and a Gibson electric Florentine through a Fender Twin. I've been playing in a honky-tonk/western swing/hillbilly band called Cash for Junkers in Missoula, Montana, since 1998, and i'm now using a Weber Yellowstone with a McIntyre Feather pickup. I'm currently using a Fender Acoustisonic Jr. amp, but I'm unhappy with it and am looking for a good used Peavey Reno 400."
Mandolinist/multi-instrumentalist for Missouri's Ironweed Bluegrass Band.
If you're a rabid Camper van Beethoven fan, you probably already know that Segel, former Beethoven frontman, has used an electric mandolin, among many other instruments. Even if you're not a rabid fan, now you know this anyway.
Experimental composer/player Sharp used an electric mandocello on a project called Revenge of the Stuttering Child with poet Ronny Someck.
Plays with The Bumblebees, a zydeco band in Bellingham, Washington.
Larry has played at Silver Dollar City in Missouri for 26 years. For amplified swing music, he has used a '30s Gibson A-50 with a pickup—tuned CGDA, like Johnny Gimble's mandolin—but also uses a white, solidbody 4-string mandolin with a Seymour Duncan pickup, built by Los Angeles luthier extraordinaire Danny Ferrington.
A contemporary Western swing player who has recorded with Ted Scanlon and the Desperados.
Plays with Heroes of the Aquatic Realm in Texas.
Guitarist, mandolinist, and founding member of The Ukrainians, a UK-based folk/punk band that sings all its songs in Ukrainian.
Monster Nashville session fiddler who picked up an electric mandolin for Tommy Allsup and Leon Rausch's three-volume Bob Wills tribute collection. Randy Elmore also played electric mando on these.
Guitarist for Celtic band Boiled in Lead, Stemple occasionally uses electric mandolin.
Before he started wearing a fringed motorcycle jacket and playing commercial country music, Stuart was a wunderkind mandolinist with Lester Flatt. He's still known to play a mean acoustic mandolin, as well as a Schwab electric.
John lives on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, where he's a mandolin dealer as well as a player. John's mandolins have included an E. F. Elliott, a Rigel, a 1966 Fender Mandocaster, a Spicer, an Epiphone Mandobird, and an Ovation.
Bluesman Suhler leads a trio called Monkey Beat. He plays primarily guitar and lap steel, but has used an electric mandolin.
The ex-Police guitarist owns an electric mandolin, according to a "gear list" posted long ago by some Police junkie. (No point in linking you to the list, which is no longer up.) Wherever Andy is, I hope he's pulling that thing out and playing it every once in a while.
A former member of Shadowfax and Human Drama, Szmadzinski is mostly a violinist, but has used electric mandolin.
Max writes: "I have a couple of Gibson EM-200s...one for me and one for my son. One is a 1954, judging from the pots, and the other is a 1962. I still think these may be the best electric mandolins ever made."
Annie plays with UK bands Phoenix and Wilderwood.
Sebastian plays a solidbody electric by German builder Thomas Dotzauer. His band is a trio called Well Done Triet; they play Deutscher Schlager (German pop) music.
Bob is a singer/multi-instrumentalist who plays electric mandolin on his recording In a Heartbeat.
Dan is a singer/multi-instrumentalist with emphasis on the multi. His release Honey Be There features some electric mandolin playing.
Known as a world-class bluegrass picker, Tony recovered from severe fasciitis a few years ago. He worked out with an electric as part of his therapy, because of the lower action and ease of playing compared to an acoustic.