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Mandolin Suggestions

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KateG 11 Mar 03 - 02:02 PM
GUEST 11 Mar 03 - 02:04 PM
Leadfingers 11 Mar 03 - 02:10 PM
Wesley S 11 Mar 03 - 02:13 PM
GUEST,GUEST SPOT UK 11 Mar 03 - 04:00 PM
Jeremiah McCaw 11 Mar 03 - 04:06 PM
Learchild 11 Mar 03 - 04:30 PM
Willie-O 11 Mar 03 - 05:36 PM
Willie-O 11 Mar 03 - 05:39 PM
KateG 11 Mar 03 - 06:59 PM
Steve-o 11 Mar 03 - 07:30 PM
catspaw49 11 Mar 03 - 07:49 PM
GUEST,Wesley S. 11 Mar 03 - 11:03 PM
JohnInKansas 12 Mar 03 - 01:51 AM
mooman 12 Mar 03 - 04:35 AM
Willie-O 12 Mar 03 - 07:22 AM
KateG 12 Mar 03 - 11:57 AM
Richard Bridge 12 Mar 03 - 12:53 PM
GUEST,Fifer 13 Mar 03 - 01:08 PM
Cluin 14 Mar 03 - 12:03 AM
GUEST 14 Mar 03 - 11:52 PM
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Subject: Mandolin Suggestions
From: KateG
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 02:02 PM

My husband has been playing an old Ditson "tater bug" mandolin as a learner and is actually getting quite good. I'd like to get him something a little nicer for his birthday...one you can hear for starters, and with a decent tone. The el-cheapo ones in our local music stores didn't sound as nice as the old Ditson and had intonation problems that drove us both nuts. I'm willing to part with a reasonable sum (though not gazillions for a Lloyd Loar original). Any suggestions?


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Subject: RE: Mandolin Suggestions
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 02:04 PM

A rough idea as to what you would consider a 'reasonable sum' would be helpful.


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Subject: RE: Mandolin Suggestions
From: Leadfingers
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 02:10 PM

You do not say where you are , U.K. or Stateside,which does affect the
options.If you have a maker at all local that is probably the best option,as hand built mandos are a lot better than mass produced.My
Docherty was well worth the nearly thousand pounds it cost me,but I
do get a fair amount of paid work, so it IS justified.A lot lower
down the scale,I have had very good reports of Crafter mandos,which do
not have bad electrics either.Best of luck either way.


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Subject: RE: Mandolin Suggestions
From: Wesley S
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 02:13 PM

Kate - As an owner of both Weber and Mid-Missouri I can saw that they are both good bargains and good mandolins. Give us some more info - esp about the type of music he'll be playing on it.


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Subject: RE: Mandolin Suggestions
From: GUEST,GUEST SPOT UK
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 04:00 PM

Hi to KateG
                Re mandolins - If you're in UK, go to The Music Room
in Cleckheaton Yorks,ask to see an Oakwood Teardrop Special for about £500 then buy it !!! I did just that and wouldn't swap it for owt!!(cept mebbe a Loar!!). Best of luck
                     Regards to all   SPOT


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Subject: RE: Mandolin Suggestions
From: Jeremiah McCaw
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 04:06 PM

Dunno about your price range, but Breedlove mandolins are worth checking out. One of the guys in my trio just got one (sort of a modified F-style in appearance); liked it better than any of the Webers he tried ('though the Webers are very good). Tone is excellent, projects very well. Worth a look.


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Subject: RE: Mandolin Suggestions
From: Learchild
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 04:30 PM

Dear Leadfingers, glad to hear from another of Terry's customers. My Docherty was a birthday present, and though it was only hundreds its a great joy to me. Wouldn't refuse a Sobell(?)though, if offered one.


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Subject: RE: Mandolin Suggestions
From: Willie-O
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 05:36 PM

Umm, it he likes the Ditson, but wants a flat-back style, he might like a Martin Style A. Martin mandolins are relatively affordable, and some Ditsons were actually made by Martin (using the Ditson label).

The Martin mando's are considered "folk" not bluegrass style. They are not terribly loud, but have a nice sustain rather than a punchy bluegrass sound. Good for Celtic tunes. And older ones are relatively affordable, as vintage Martin anythings go.

Round soundhole rather than F-style for that extra-sustain sound.
Old Gibson A's are available too, and one of these days I'm definitely going to get one.

As noted, it depends a lot what continent you are on! If it's North America, there are a lot of old Gibsons and Martins around.

W-O


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Subject: RE: Mandolin Suggestions
From: Willie-O
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 05:39 PM

oh, here's a good general information page I found:
http://www.jaybuckey.com/mandolin_guidlines.htm


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Subject: RE: Mandolin Suggestions
From: KateG
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 06:59 PM

Thanks for the tips!!! Mudcat is the greatest!

For those who requested more info:

We're in the USofA, New Jersey to be exact.

I'm willing to pay between $1,000 - $2,000 -- that is if I stop goofing off by looking at instruments and finish the project I'm working on, so I can get paid.

Musical tastes are highly eclectic: old-time, folk, gospel, blue-grass, celtic etc., etc. Possibly even jazz. I play mountain dulcimer, guitar and Irish flute; he does mando, harmonica and ocarina. The jams we participate in and host tend to start out fairly old-timey/gospel-y; but once the purists and beginners totter off into the night, ANYTHING GOES!!!! So I guess we're looking for versatility.


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Subject: RE: Mandolin Suggestions
From: Steve-o
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 07:30 PM

The best all-around A-style mandolin I ever played (tone, playability, volume) in the under $1000 class was a Parsons. It's made by Heartwood Music, which I believe is still currently operating. Might be hard to find, but maybe not.


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Subject: RE: Mandolin Suggestions
From: catspaw49
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 07:49 PM

Kate, don't forget to read through some of those threads at the top where many have commented on various mandos and thier playablity. With what you are willing to spend, you can get an excellent mandolin and the question then is getting the most for your dollar!

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Mandolin Suggestions
From: GUEST,Wesley S.
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 11:03 PM

Well, Kate if you live in New Jersey then you can't be too far from Mandolin Brothers on Staten Island. They will have one of the best selections of mandolins to be found anywhere on the planet - and some expert advice too. Why not plan a visit to New York and drop in on Mandolin Brothers { www.mandoweb.com } Let him play everything in the shop and wait for his eyes to light up. Then you'll know you have the right mandolin.

At the price range you're looking for I hope you'll have a chance to try out a Weber Bridger { www.soundtoearth.com }. It's what I own and to my ears it has the versitility he's looking for. But beauty is in the eye and ear of the beholder. Good luck.


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Subject: RE: Mandolin Suggestions
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 12 Mar 03 - 01:51 AM

Presuming that you're not intent on "surprising" him with the new mando, it's strongly recommended that he should "play before buy" to decide if you've (both of you) found what "fits" him. My own experience is that brand alone doesn't determine that a particular instrument is going to be the right one.

I've spent about $1300 for a very nice one that I thought I needed at the time, but I've been playing a $150 no-name Chinese "plywood special" almost exclusively for about the last three years, simply because it plays better and sounds better than any of the more expensive ones I have.

And when he tries them out - take a good tuner along. I've seen even reputable dealers who "accidentally" had all their display instruments tuned a half-step low to make the action feel "lighter." (And besides, it's real embarrasing to break a string if you try to tweak it into tune a little too high.)

John


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Subject: RE: Mandolin Suggestions
From: mooman
Date: 12 Mar 03 - 04:35 AM

Being a mando player for 40 years I could recommend a host of good makes. But, rather, I'd second Wesley's advice above and get yourself along to a good dealer like Mandolin Brothers where they will have a huge selection in your price range.

A "well-known name" make is not everything. Every good mandolin will have its own unique sound due to the combination of woods used, quality of build and a dozen other factors. If you try a lot of different one, I'm sure you'll find the one that sings out "buy me" whether this is a new Breedlove or Oakwood or Weber or a vintage Gibson, Martin or Lyon and Healy or other make. I personally play a 22-year old Chris Eccleshall A.5 that I have had from new and wouldn't swap for anything, not even Terry's (Leadfingers') Docherty which I have also played! (;>) (I also have a Docherty octave mandolin!). Having said that, an 1915-ish Gibson A.3 would be a welcome addition to the family!

Best regards,

moo


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Subject: RE: Mandolin Suggestions
From: Willie-O
Date: 12 Mar 03 - 07:22 AM

Given the additional info, I would definitely be looking at old Gibson A's. They have a certain je ne sais quoi...

Besides Mandolin Brothers, check out Charles Johnson's Mandolin World Headquarters in Richmond VA. Always a good selection of old Gibsons, and in fact you can get a Loar-era (1922 A-2) model within your price range. Happy hunting.

W-O


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Subject: RE: Mandolin Suggestions
From: KateG
Date: 12 Mar 03 - 11:57 AM

Thanks for all the input, we're planning a trip to Mando Brothers on Saturday, so that we can shop by ear!

Kate


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Subject: RE: Mandolin Suggestions
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 12 Mar 03 - 12:53 PM

I'm sure they are rare in the USA but in that price range for a big singing sound you ought to try a Hathaway - all the money in the music and little of kerfing and so on...

I play a Saga Kentucky flatiron and it bites, and with new strings, also barks - but does not really do "sweet", and my dealings with Saga have not been at all satisfactory.


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Subject: RE: Mandolin Suggestions
From: GUEST,Fifer
Date: 13 Mar 03 - 01:08 PM

Recently tried a TACOMA mandolin . the first time I had seen or heard one. Cutaway body,offset soundhole, nicely finished with a super action and beautiful tone. I believe they have a website you can visit for more details. It certainly impressed me!


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Subject: RE: Mandolin Suggestions
From: Cluin
Date: 14 Mar 03 - 12:03 AM

Hey, just don't get him one of those Applause/Ovation mandos.

They sound real nice and the pick-ups are great but the bridge just blew apart on mine. Looking at the wood used on it, I'm surprised it lasted as long as it did, with that assinine way they have of attaching the strings to the bridge. A bunch of holes drilled in-line perpendicular to the grain, and that's where she broke. Two days before the St. Paddy's weekend, thanks all ta fuck! Now I gotta scare up a loaner till I fix this one...

Though I guess it might have paid for itself (mine is an Applause) in the use I got out of it. Anyway, in the last couple of years, the action was creeping up due to the neck pulling away from the body at the heel. Another disadvantage of these models is the fact that you have to use barrel-end strings with them. They weren't all that nice to play for picking anyway, with the unison strings being too far apart and also too close to the other strings, all due to that stupid bridge system. I'm replacing it with a regular tailpiece and re-cutting a new nut to fix that, so maybe the accident will have a silver lining at that...

I still don't recommend them, and I only bought it in the first place because I got a great deal on it and needed it for some studio work at the time.


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Subject: RE: Mandolin Suggestions
From: GUEST
Date: 14 Mar 03 - 11:52 PM

Kate - Don't forget to let us know what you two ended up with....


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