Mandobird 8 Upgrade Pickups


The MB8 is a direct upgrade from "P Bass" type pickups fitted to Epiphone Mandobirds (and numerous other makers) with an 11mm pole spacing.

The MB8L gives a warmer, more balanced tone and string response to compensate for the "weak E" commonly found when guitar based pickups are used. The 5.5k wind is slightly hotter than standard resulting in an output boost. With the L magnet configuration, this pickup is ideal for blues / country / jazz style playing.

The "PhatBird 8" design was inspired by the classic "P90" single coil and features a larger, shallower coil wound to 8.8kOhms giving a slight increase in output (around 3db RMS). The "Phatbird" puts out a more mellow tone with a hint of roughness and distortion - best suited to Blues and Rock.

The MB8CTS is for those who prefer the transparency of a single coil but would like a boost at the flick of a switch. This 4 wire tapped single coil has a DC resistance of 3.6kOhms on the first part and an additional 5.3kOhms on the secondary wind giving a sizable jump in output when both coils are in use - tonally, less raucous than the "Phatbird" but still with plenty of output.

The MB8HC is a 4 wire humbucker with each coil wound to 4.0k which opens up a range of switching options - particularly useful is series/parallel wiring giving a noticeable boost when switching from rhythm to solo. The image (top right) of the control cavity shows a standard mini push/pull volume pot switch installed ( use with HC and CTS variants).

Adjustable pole pieces give the potential for fine tuning the string balance and to minimise feedback, the MB8 is resin potted. These "half a P Bass" pickups are also ideal for any similarly equipped E-Mando with a string spacing of around 11mm.

Please note, some Mandobirds have hole spacings as wide as 64mm and but filling and re-drilling should not be necessary since the lugs on the cover are not full depth and the screw holes are slightly oversized.


"Fitting the pickup in the cavity was straight forward enough. It only went the one way anyway because of the routing for the cable under the scratch plate..The output is much improved, and the sound has a much warmer tone than before. String balance is also much better. Thanks again for this. ".

Paul Jerome, Havant UK, Dec 2009

Just put the pickup in, and wanted to let you know how pleased I am.  The response was easy to even out, and I really like warmer tone.   Massive upgrade from the standard p-up.

Kailo Schlegel, Palmyra VA. USA.

Thanks so much for making this pickup!  The tone is really great and the balance is superb!  My Mandobird sounds like it should at long last. I plan to convey my satisfaction on the Mandolin Café board tonight, as well. Thanks again for a fine job.

Geoff Orr, Charles Town WV. USA.

Holy Cow!!!
This pickup is just what the Mandobird VIII needs. The sound is quite clear and sharp, and relatively even across the strings. It also has a LOT of output relative to the pickup that came with the Mandobird VIII. The sound reminds me a lot of a Gibson SG guitar (sharp, clear highs). You can play very LOUD without distortion. This would probably be great for someone playing in an electric band and competing with other electric instruments in the mix. If you add distortion at the amp, the instrument screams. I'm already delighted with the range of sounds. The pickup plays well with the volume and tone controls, and really makes the Mandobird a serious instrument.

David Heffer, Rochester NY. USA.













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Download technical .pdf here (416kb) for dimensioned drawings and wiring details.