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Don Rickert Musician Shop

Announcing the M-1B Venetian Series Chambered Body Electric Mandolin by D. Rickert

Posted by D. Rickert on

Introduction  Mando double final build

The M-1B Venetian Series Chambered 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 chambered-body 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 very much like a high-quality acoustic mandolin; however, it has the capability of achieving a clean acoustic sound, a more “electric” sound, or a combination.

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

Must use steel-core strings, as one of the two pickups is magnetic (like a small electric guitar pickup)

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


“Chambered” Western Red Cedar Body

  • The body core is Western Red cedar, a lightweight and darkly resonant tone wood. The body core is “chambered” (i.e. material removed) to meet the following goals
    • Keep weight to a minimum
    • Make room for internal electronics and wire routing (installed as well as potential options)
    • Control the way in which the bridge pickup interacts with the instrument such that the body is optimized for generating an output signal that is both rich AND intelligible to effect signal processors.
  • Like its cousin, the M-1A Venetian Series Semi-Hollow Body Electric Mandolin, the M-1B has no sound hole.


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


1/8” basswood, covered with a veneer of walnut, 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, 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 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.


M-1B Venetian Series Chambered Body Electric Mandolin has two pickups, a magnetic “neck” pickup and a multi-transducer piezo bridge pickup. Due to the advanced internal electronics, the player can use either of the pickups alone, or both pickups together.

  • Neck Pickup
    • Moongazer “Retro” single coil pickup
    • Moderate output (about 6kOhms)
    • This is a relatively “tame” pickup, similar to those used on jazz guitars, where balance and a mellow tone is a priority.
  • Bridge Pickup
    • 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.


The internal electronics are far more sophisticated than the M-1A. Installed inside of the instrument is a special advanced pre-amp that makes the relatively low impedance magnetic pickups (about 600 Ohms) and extremely high impedance piezo pickups (500,000+ Ohms) work together without damage to either pickup.

Externally, there are four controls.

  • A gain/volume control for the mag pickup
  • A tone control for the mag pickup
  • A gain control for the piezo bridge pickup
  • A 3-way toggle switch (mag only, piezo only, both)

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

Optional Accessories

  • 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
  • chambered
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