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Sage Wisdom

"Good improvisation communicates harmonic progression melodically. Effective melodies manipulate harmonic content through the use of guide tones and preparatory gravity notes, masterfully woven in systematic tension, release, and transparent harmonic definition."



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July 29, 2010 | Introducing the new Dual Humbucker emandos from JL Smith Mandolins

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We first brought you news of South Carolina Telecaster junkie John Smith in an April 2009 article. We were fortunate to take possession of a delectable Sea Foam Green 5-string electric mandolin, and continue to enjoy running through a Fender Blues Junior tube amp. Though the US builder pretty much specializes in the one Tele body style, he continues to finesse the electronics in quest building the ultimate electric sound.

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His latest efforts have yielded a new Dual Humbucker Model, available in both 4- and 5-string with matching Kent Armstrong Mini-Humbuckers (one of our favorites!) after fielding voluminous requests from his customers for a double switching set-up. He notes, "They are aestheticaly quite pleasing on my particular style emando's, and worked out very well when fitting. It was like putting 5 quarts into a gallon, but I was able to get adequate room between the pickups, to give a very distinct variation in tone, from neck position to bridge. Adding the 3-way selector switch worked out well, with enough room, as not to interfere with hand position while playing. The selector switch works out real well, for quick switching from Rhythm to a brighter Lead when needed."

He continues, "The Kent Armstrong pickups are very hot, and have "V" bar Alnico magnets, which offer even volume across all strings with very quick response. Having four conductor leads, they offer a wide range of wiring options as well." The woodsmith will continue to offer the option of EMG Select Humbucker, which has won praise from many of his rabid clientele over the years.

The hand crafted instruments remain an incredible bargain price for a custom US build.

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Read JazzMando Review: JL Smith 5-string Electric Mandolin (sound clip available!)

Builder's Website JL Smith Mandolins

JL Smith custom pickguard
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Posted by Ted at July 29, 2010 7:48 AM


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