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Don Rickert Musician Shop

Announcing the M-1A Venetian Series Semi-Hollow Body Electric Mandolin by D. Rickert

Posted by D. Rickert on

Introduction  Mando single pickup final build

The M-1A Venetian Series Semi-Hollow Body Electric Mandolin is one of 8 mandolin family instruments designed and made by D. Rickert Musical Instruments (available at the Don Rickert Musician Shop). The current lineup includes:

  • Two mandolins (14” scale)
  • Two “mezzo” (5-string 17” scale) mandolins
  • Two 5-string octave mandolins (22.5” scale)
  • Two 5-string mandocellos (25.5” scale)

General Description

This is a single course (4-string) performance level semi-acoustic electric mandolin. Its design is inspired by the mandolins produced by Stromberg-Voisinet from 1920-1930 and sold under many brand names (it has a very classic look).

It looks, plays and sounds very much like a high-quality acoustic mandolin.

Key Dimensions

  • Body length: 12.5”
  • Body width at lower bout: 10”
  • Average body depth: 1.5”
  • Scale length: 14”

Number of Strings

  • Single course (4-string)
  • Double course (8-string) effect is achieved digitally (See “Intended Use” below)

Why Single Course (4-strings) Instead of Double Course (8-strings)?

  • Electric mandolins are generally single course because they are easier to play.
  • Single course mandolins generally have a lot more “punch” and power.
  • Single course mandolins can be tuned and played as ukuleles.
  • Having closely spaced double courses produce unpredictable overtones, harmonic as well as inharmonic, depending on how closely tuned the two strings in each course are. This introduces much unpredictability with respect to use of external effect signal processors.

Type of Strings

  • Standard Mandolin Strings
  • Synthetic core (e.g. nylon) strings, such as ukulele strings

Target Users

  • Professionals
  • Seriously Committed Advanced Amateurs and Part-Time Performers

Intended Use

  • Live performance, ranging from living rooms to coliseums, where a focused, yet rich and natural acoustic sound (without feedback!) is required
  • Flawlessly driving special effects, particularly octave splitters, harmonizers, “anti-chorus” (unison doubling where the duplicate note is detuned by several cents…a very small amount…simulates the sound of two instruments playing), is required


  • “Semi-Hollow” Western Red Cedar Body
    • Semi-Hollow means that the body core is fully chambered, such that it is almost like an acoustic instrument with thin bent sides. This instrument, because it is essentially hollow, uses some bracing on its top; similar to the type of bracing pattern of an acoustic mandolin.
  • One big difference from a fully acoustic mandolin is that there is no sound hole on this one.


  • Sitka spruce
  • Either natural spruce or clad in flamed maple or quilted maple veneer


1/8” basswood, covered with a veneer of walnut, plain maple, flamed maple, quilted maple or sapele mahogany, bonded with epoxy resin (will not “bubble” or de-laminate). There are two access panels, composed of ABS, located on the lower bout.


The exposed Western Red cedar sides are veneered with walnut, plain maple, flamed maple, quilted maple or sapele mahogany, bonded with epoxy resin (will not “bubble” or de-laminate).

Binding and Purfling 

Both top and back have black or ivory white binding. The top also has the model's signature alternating black and white stripes.


Traditional Italian oil varnish. The default is a medium golden brown with reddish highlights. A popular alternative is a blonde finish, as shown in the accompanying images.


  • A “Soloist” bridge saddle pick by Barbera Transducer Systems. Unlike the cheap and common “under-the-saddle” type pickups, the Soloist saddle is the pickup, comprised of 4 discrete transducer units, one for each string. The pickup saddle is built into a traditional flattop mandolin bridge.
  • This pickup is very resistant to the “clicking” noise often associated with mandolins with piezo pickups.


  • There is a single gain control, which would normally be dialed to a neutral setting. Since the instrument is designed with professional performance in mind, all sound shaping is assumed to occur externally. Installing an on-board EQ unit would defeat the purpose of compatibility with effect signal processors, many of which must be “first in the chain” (before any EQ).
  • There are two ¼ inch jacks located on the back of the lower bout.
  • We do offer an on-board stereo headphone mini-amp as an option.

Standard Accessories

  • Tuners
    • Gotoh, sealed gear, oval knob
    • 16:1 ratio
  • Tailpiece
    • D. Rickert Crescent graphite and ebony tailpiece
  • Internal stereo headphone amplifier
    • Volume knob mounted adjacent to the instrument gain knob
    • 1/8” stereo jack mounted on instrument back adjacent to the two main instrument output jacks
  • Flamed maple or ebony wooden binding
  • Purfling on back of instrument
    • Front always has purfling and binding. Standard configuration has binding only on the back
  • Special veneering
  • Special varnishing
  • D. Rickert
  • Don Rickert
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  • semi-hollow
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