When I bought my mandolin in 2013, I recorded some examples comparing it to my previous one. Now that I have an electric mandolin, I wanted to do something similar.

The acoustic mandolin is a Collings MT, and the electric is a Gold Tone GME-4. Here's how they sounded:

Chords
( acoustic mp3)

( electric mp3)

High riff
( acoustic mp3)

( electric mp3)

Low riff
( acoustic mp3)

( electric mp3)

High melody
( acoustic mp3)

( electric mp3)

Medium melody
( acoustic mp3)

( electric mp3)

Low melody
( acoustic mp3)

( electric mp3)



The acoustic has relatively worn J74 medium phosphor bronze strings, while the electric has the steel strings that shipped with the instrument. I mic'd the acoustic the way I would play it live: about 2" from the 15th fret, where the neck meets the body, with a Sennheiser e835s. With the electric I had the tone knob at 10 (no low pass) and connected it to the board via a MXR M222 on bypass (details).

Overall, for most of the kind of playing I do, I strongly prefer the sound of the acoustic. It's much more complex, especially in the high end. On the other hand, the electric offers some options for sounds that I can't get on the acoustic, especially when paired with the talkbox, and it sounds good enough clean that I would be ok playing that way some. For Free Raisins gigs, where I'm playing mandolin almost all the time, I'm definitely going to continue bringing my acoustic, and might additionally bring my electric when that wouldn't be too much hassle. For Kingfisher gigs, however, where I mostly play keyboard and when I do play mandolin expect to mostly use pedals, I think I'll probably bring only my electric.

(My view might change after hearing how the electric sounds at a dance. Sometimes what sounds best in isolation isn't a good fit with other instruments, or in the chaos of a dance hall.)

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You might experiment with a match EQ plugin. You record the same riff on both, and it will spit out a complex EQ curve to approximately match the acoustic’s tonality on electric. (There will probably be a pretty extreme treble boost.) I’ve gotten surprisingly good results making a piezo sound like a mic, using both FabFilter Pro-Q and Logic Pro’s stock one (but there are others). Granted a full electric with magnetic pickup may be less convincing, but it’s worth a shot.

In fact, I was curious, so here's your first electric riff match-EQed to the first acoustic riff:

Logic MP3: https://www.dropbox.com/s/ghsqfh9etpepk9a/logic.mp3?dl=0

The resultant curve: https://www.dropbox.com/s/o4p25md0q27zc96/logic.png?dl=0 

Pro-Q 3 MP3: https://www.dropbox.com/s/qotgjjjw9nc1r9u/pro-q.mp3?dl=0

Curve: https://www.dropbox.com/s/h7dj544ltumc6qg/pro-q.png?dl=0

Thanks! I do think your EQ makes the electric sound better and more like the acoustic, but not really enough? If I was going to only bring one of them, and wanted a clean sound the whole time, I would definitely bring the acoustic.

Oh sure, acoustic will always sound better, especially unplugged.This suggestion was just for when you'd already be using the electric. 

Though… why not mount a nice piezo to your acoustic, so you can run it through effects when needed but still get a clean acoustic tone? That way you don't have to bother with switching instruments.

I think the acoustic has a better sound, but the electric one has more groove.