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Freshwater Mandolin

GUEST,JB 22 Mar 06 - 02:00 PM
Bert 22 Mar 06 - 02:40 PM
mandotim 22 Mar 06 - 06:07 PM
GUEST,John from Tarneybackle 23 Mar 06 - 07:09 AM
Big Mick 23 Mar 06 - 09:32 AM
Sir Roger de Beverley 23 Mar 06 - 02:26 PM
Rob Naylor 05 Apr 10 - 04:42 AM
theleveller 05 Apr 10 - 10:18 AM
Rob Naylor 05 Apr 10 - 11:33 AM
GUEST,SteveT 05 Apr 10 - 02:19 PM
GUEST 08 Apr 10 - 08:30 AM
theleveller 08 Apr 10 - 09:22 AM
buddhuu 08 Apr 10 - 09:24 AM
Rob Naylor 22 May 10 - 04:20 PM
GUEST,John McGhie 14 Dec 15 - 06:57 PM
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Subject: Folklore: Freshwater Mandolin
From: GUEST,JB
Date: 22 Mar 06 - 02:00 PM

Just wondering if anyone can give their opinions on the quality of Freshwater mandolins.

I am particularly interested in a 10-string version with a bulilt-in pickup and would appreciate any opinions or experiences.

Thanks

JB


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Freshwater Mandolin
From: Bert
Date: 22 Mar 06 - 02:40 PM

I'd prefer a saltwater mandolin. Not too many canals about nowadays to use a freshwater one.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Freshwater Mandolin
From: mandotim
Date: 22 Mar 06 - 06:07 PM

I have an early Freshwater mandolin, made from black walnut and spruce, in a sort of 'acoustic stratocaster' shape. It's got a sweet tone, and is easy to play. It's a flat top, and seems to prefer fairly light strings to produce that ringing, celtic tone. I don't play it much, as I prefer heavy strings and a Rigel, but it's a fine instrument. Fit and finish are excellent, and the pickup is very good (a passive Headway). Alternatives at roughly the same price are Fylde, Moon, Hullah. More expensive; Sobell. If you want a carved top, go for an old Gibson A or a Rigel. Not many 10 strings about though. Trevor at wwww.theacousticmusicco.co.uk is something of an expert on 10 string mandolin/mandolas, and he usually has a few in stock to try (He's in Brighton). Personally, I always think a 10 string is compromised, and prefer a mandolin and a separate mandola tuned to CGDA.
Tim from Bit on the Side


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Freshwater Mandolin
From: GUEST,John from Tarneybackle
Date: 23 Mar 06 - 07:09 AM

I used to use a Feshwater - fairly heavy instrument but a nice tone.

Moved onto a Fylde Touchstone - great tone and volume.

Jimmy Moon makes good mandolins and mandola's.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Freshwater Mandolin
From: Big Mick
Date: 23 Mar 06 - 09:32 AM

Can't speak to the mando, but I have a Freshwater Bouzouki and love the quality of the work, design and tone. It has onboard electronics and they are wonderful. All in all, I am very satisfied with the instrument.

On the flip side, David does not have a very good on time record in my experience. He will usually (again, in my experience) tell you that you can have the instrument in a reasonable amount of time, but you should use a factor of three. I believe this is because he is over his head in terms of the number of instruments he can produce. He does his best to handbuild them, but it slows him down.

All the best,

Mick


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Freshwater Mandolin
From: Sir Roger de Beverley
Date: 23 Mar 06 - 02:26 PM

I have played a Freshwater mandolin for about eight years now and people still come up and comment on how mellow the tone is. When I bought it I went the shop and played every make and model of mandolin that they had and the Freshwater was the one that appealed to me.

I'd certainly go for another if I ever change this one

Roger


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Freshwater Mandolin
From: Rob Naylor
Date: 05 Apr 10 - 04:42 AM

I've just ordered an octave mandolin from Dave Freshwater (as if learning the guitar wasn't a big enough challenge on its own!)

I've had several long chats with him on the phone (including one yesterday...does the bloke never stop working?) to get the specs exactly right.

He's quoted me 12 weeks delivery. I asked him several times if that was realistic, given that he has a reputation for "slippage" on delivery times, but he assured me that although there have been problems in the past, he's currently delivering in that time frame. Anyone got recent experience of delivery on Freshwater instruments?

BTW: he must be getting on a bit. when I mentioned that my sister lives in Findhorn, he told me that as an army Engineer in 1952, he nearly drowned in the bay. That's got to make him almost 80...77 at least.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Freshwater Mandolin
From: theleveller
Date: 05 Apr 10 - 10:18 AM

I used to have a Freshwater cittern that Dave made for me. It was a trifle in the crude side but had a huge tone - in the end I sold it when I bought a Fylde which was more subtle and had a sweeter tone. Having said that, his instruments are great value but, on the delivery side, the 12 weeks qoted ended up being 9 months. The range of excuses was truly amazing - still, you have to remember that Dave is now in his 80s so it's a wonder he's still doing it at all.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Freshwater Mandolin
From: Rob Naylor
Date: 05 Apr 10 - 11:33 AM

The Fylde instruments look great, but a bit beyond my price range. I looked around quite a bit before settling on Freshwater as (hopefully) delivering a good compromise between perfection and cost.

Fingers crossed on the delivery, but it sounds as if my original idea of making it my Christmas present for 2010 might end up being not far from the reality :-(


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Freshwater Mandolin
From: GUEST,SteveT
Date: 05 Apr 10 - 02:19 PM

I have a second hand Freshwater Octave mandola. I'm a hopeless musician but find the action and tone brilliant and people are always saying they love the tone of it (but not necessarily my playing!). I'd recommend Freshwater any time.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Freshwater Mandolin
From: GUEST
Date: 08 Apr 10 - 08:30 AM

It seems like the consensus is that they're good value for the money.

Now it's just down to speed of delivery. He managed to access my credit card account PDQ, so I'm hoping (!!!) that this is a general indicator of overall efficiency (though I'm not holding my breath).


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Freshwater Mandolin
From: theleveller
Date: 08 Apr 10 - 09:22 AM

I know that Dave stopping supply instruments to USA customers, so the process might have speeded up. When I first discussed my cittern with Dave he said that making an instrument was like giving birth - I didn't realise that he meant it would take 9 month's gestation. Still, he's a lovely bloke and I used to ring him regularly, mainly so that my wife and I could guess beforehand what the excuse would be that time. We had everything from 'the power's been down here' to 'I'm having problems with my chickens' to 'I've been waiting for the vet to come to put down a sick feral cat that I've caught'. It was worth waiting just for the amusement value.

On the quality front, he uses good materials and builds well, but the finish may not be quite as slick as a more expensive instrument (for instance, the string spacing at the nut on my cittern was a little eccentric and there were gaps where the binding met the body). Overall, though, excellent, playable instruments - I know several people who have them and love them, and it's always fun to compare 'Dave stories'. Let us know who it goes!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Freshwater Mandolin
From: buddhuu
Date: 08 Apr 10 - 09:24 AM

Not sure if it's bad form here to mention other boards, but there is quite a bit about Dave F and his instruments on a certain mandolin forum. (Mod: please delete if I shouldn't have mentioned it)

Consensus seems to be: nice work, not very loud, historically some delivery delay issues. His octave mandolins in particular seem to be well regarded by their owners.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Freshwater Mandolin
From: Rob Naylor
Date: 22 May 10 - 04:20 PM

Well, having ordered one, and being quite sure that I won't see it for some months, I found one for sale on Ebay (12 years old), and stuck in a single bid at the reserve price, just for the hell of it. Astonishingly, no-one else bid and I got it.

It arrived Thursday.

It looks nice, with a spruce top and mahogany sides. Very close inspection reveals that one of the tailpiece string holes is slightly out of alignment, the bridge is very slightly off-centre to the body and, if you run your hands around the side, there is a slight "flattish spot" on the upper curve (over-sanding when finishing?). Not too impressed with the quality of the nut and the silliest piece of poor workmanship is the use of a steel screw to hold one of the brass strap buttons (brass on the other one)...which I checked was original.

However, these are niggles (though if the one I've ordered has a flat spot and/ or an off-centre bridge it'll be going back!). The beast is MUCH louder than I'd expected and has a great ringing tone, with bags of sustain...even though the strings on it are ancient. Action's slightly high, but very slight. I may sand the base of the bridge insert down a bit when I put new strings on it.

It's surprisingly easy to play, considering I've never touched anything with a GDAE tuning before. I've already learned a bagful of chords, got Ashokan Farewell down pat, plus a too-slow version of St Anne's Reel and managed a couple of "authentic sounding" celtic-style improvisations (I find improvising on the guitar VERY hard).

The thing was a bargain. If the one I've ordered new sounds/ plays as well I'll be very happy...I'll compare the quality and sound of both when it arrives and either sell the least satisfactory of them or (more likely!) keep both and use this one for those away trips (camping, climbing) where the fact that it was cheap won't have me worrying about it the whole time I'm away.


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Subject: RE: Freshwater Mandolin
From: GUEST,John McGhie
Date: 14 Dec 15 - 06:57 PM

Sad to report that Dave Freshwater passed away earlier this year (2015). If you have a Freshwater instrument then hang on to it as there won't be any more.


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