JBovier "EMC" Customer Review
Electric Mandolin Review:
by Ed Goist, February 25, 2011
My mandolin was part of the first batch of electrics made by JBovier for their dealers early last year. Overall appearance is classic & outstanding! This mandolin's overall look (sunburst over black, tortoise pickguard, maple fretboard, chrome knobs and tuners) just speaks to a classic, high-end vibe. Moreover, the hardware (including the knobs and the PU switch) is very sturdy and cleanly installed.
Appearance/Fit/Finish/Mojo Rating: A+
Playability is remarkable! Four things combine to make this electric mandolin delightfully easy to play. These include:
* Gently radiused maple fretboard with large frets. The radius and the frets make chording (especially barre chording) easy and accurate.
* Single strings instead of courses, and a comfortable 1 1/8" nut width. The single strings make for easy fretting, while the nut width allows for both comfortable chording, and doable single finger double stops.
* The string-through body and the Tele-like bridge with adjustable saddles make for wonderfully comfortable string tension.
* A very fine set-up with low (but buzz-less) action.
Finally, the only concern regarding playability was the proximity of the pick-ups to the strings. This caused some pick-click for about the first 30 minutes of playing until I was able to adjust the angle of pick attack. However, this is certainly not a major issue, and after adjusting the pick angle was not a problem at all.
Playability Rating: A
After I had gotten to know the EMC 'un-plugged', it was time to plug her in to my Line 6 Spider III 75 amp and give her a go...
My immediate impression was how user friendly all of the electronic are on the EMC-4. The pots and PU switch are sturdy and easy to get to and use. Additionally, the two pickups, the PU selection options, and the impressive sweep on the tone control combine to give the player a remarkable variety of electric tones.
Both pick-ups seems quite responsive and slightly hotter than average. I like the heights of the two PUs, with the bridge PU just under the strings, and the neck PU set just slightly lower than the fretboard.
Where the EMC really shines, though, in my opinion, is in the 'both' or 'Humbucker' pick-up position. One gets a wide range of tones, no hum, and clean, quick response in this setting...
I have a feeling this will be my favorite pick-up position on this great electric mandolin.
Electronics Rating: A
Overall, I'd have to say that this electric mandolin has substantially surpassed my expectations. Fit, finish, appearance, vibe, playability and electronics are all excellent.
I decided to go with the JBovier EMC-4 because I thought it would be a good mid-level, first electric mandolin. I assumed going in that I'd want to upgrade to a custom built e-mando fairly soon after getting the feel for an electric. However, after seeing, playing and hearing my EMC-4, I can't imagine wanting or needing another electric mandolin.
This thing is sweet...And more importantly it feels just right and at home under the fingers. It's a keeper!
Overall Rating: A