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help? Entry Level mandolin

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MMario 26 Sep 06 - 01:25 PM
oggie 26 Sep 06 - 02:25 PM
wysiwyg 26 Sep 06 - 05:38 PM
number 6 26 Sep 06 - 05:50 PM
number 6 26 Sep 06 - 05:59 PM
JohnInKansas 26 Sep 06 - 10:34 PM
wysiwyg 26 Sep 06 - 10:40 PM
MMario 27 Sep 06 - 01:24 PM
pattyClink 27 Sep 06 - 02:29 PM
GUEST,Jim 27 Sep 06 - 03:18 PM
GUEST,Jack Campin 27 Sep 06 - 03:20 PM
Sorcha 27 Sep 06 - 04:47 PM
JohnInKansas 27 Sep 06 - 06:04 PM
GUEST,punkfolkrocker 27 Sep 06 - 06:30 PM
Les in Chorlton 27 Sep 06 - 06:39 PM
Charmion 28 Sep 06 - 02:14 PM
JohnInKansas 28 Sep 06 - 03:11 PM
oggie 28 Sep 06 - 04:30 PM
GLoux 28 Sep 06 - 06:33 PM
wysiwyg 28 Sep 06 - 08:16 PM
JohnInKansas 28 Sep 06 - 10:22 PM
oggie 29 Sep 06 - 12:15 AM
Dave Hanson 29 Sep 06 - 03:56 AM
GUEST,doryman 12 Feb 11 - 08:49 AM
GUEST,jeff 31 Mar 11 - 10:57 AM
Crowhugger 01 Apr 11 - 09:08 PM
Leadfingers 02 Apr 11 - 09:00 PM
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Subject: help? Entry Level mandolin
From: MMario
Date: 26 Sep 06 - 01:25 PM

okay people - have a friend interested in an entry level mandolin - what would your recommendations be?

He is currently looking at a Lone Star or a Kentucky.


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Subject: RE: help? Entry Level mandolin
From: oggie
Date: 26 Sep 06 - 02:25 PM

Decide on a budget and go to a good music shop and play every mandolin in the price range, buy the one that sounds/feels right. If none of them feel right don't buy and repeat the exercise elsewhere. Seems a hassle but you I think it's the best way with most instruments.

oggie


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Subject: RE: help? Entry Level mandolin
From: wysiwyg
Date: 26 Sep 06 - 05:38 PM

Greg loves his 'tucky, can you bring your friend over to try it?

~S~


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Subject: RE: help? Entry Level mandolin
From: number 6
Date: 26 Sep 06 - 05:50 PM

Garrison (of Garrison Guitars St. John's Nfld.) has a pretty good entry level mandolin.

sIx


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Subject: RE: help? Entry Level mandolin
From: number 6
Date: 26 Sep 06 - 05:59 PM

I should add their mandolins have that Garrison fiberglass bracing with all wood body ... I've played one and seemed pretty good ... but stick with the lower end (entry level) models.

sIx


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Subject: RE: help? Entry Level mandolin
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 26 Sep 06 - 10:34 PM

Playing as many instruments as you have friends who'll allow it is posibly better even than going to merchants. You'll have at least a fair idea of how well instuments your friends are using are set up.

Although you're unlikely to find it at reputable dealers, if visiting a second-tier seller (esp. used instruments and pawn shop types) it's a very good idea to take a tuner and do at least a rough check of the absolute tuning. A favorite trick in the pawn shop and similar businesses is to "tune down" (I've found at least 5 semitones variance) so that the action feels very light, but when you get it home and tune traditionally you're playing a two-by-four with aircraft cable for strings - or so it seems. They can rely, usually, on ambient noise to cover the absence of "voice" at the slack tunings.

For a beginner, it's probably more important to get an instrument that "feels good" than one that "might sound better when you learn how." The choices of the expert players often are based on "loudness," "projection," and other arcane things you're not likely to wring out of the instrument at the beginning stages - so just sort of ignore them, at least until they explain (and convince you that they actually know) why they like their particular instrument.

I have one $150 plywood Chinese factory mando that's one of my favorite ones to play, and that compares quite favorably with my $--- Washburn. I have a $1700 F-style that I never play (of a brand mentioned above) because I don't need "that loud" and it's a lot harder to play aggressively enough to use what it does best (plays loud and ...).

John


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Subject: RE: help? Entry Level mandolin
From: wysiwyg
Date: 26 Sep 06 - 10:40 PM

Hardi says his Kentucky is no longer made-- mahogany sides are no longer available I think he said, in Kentucky's. However, your friend might want to be in touch with Dave Ruch, upstate New York Catter. He was looking for a mandolin very recently and might have seen or heard about something your friend would like. Dave is good about answering PMs and emails.

I'll add the usual endorsement to get a good used one instead of a cheap new one-- but temper that with Mudcatter Hogeye's experience of buying and modifying a cheap Chinese mando. It sounded great. Custom bridge and I forget what else he did.... I don't know when he was at Mudcat last though, or if his old email is still on my puder and if he's still there.

~S~


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Subject: RE: help? Entry Level mandolin
From: MMario
Date: 27 Sep 06 - 01:24 PM

Thanks - Any further comments?


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Subject: RE: help? Entry Level mandolin
From: pattyClink
Date: 27 Sep 06 - 02:29 PM

Just test-drive several before he buys. Paying close attention to the fingerboard and body as well as the sound. Mandolin fingerboards can be really tiny and he should be sure he's getting something that will be comfortable, not sardine-like. Mandolin requires a lot of finger pressure so unless he's an ironman, don't get one where the strings are set very high off the board. And, is it comfortable to hold in general, and does it sound good?


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Subject: RE: help? Entry Level mandolin
From: GUEST,Jim
Date: 27 Sep 06 - 03:18 PM

Check out this thread on Mandolin Cafe:
http://www.mandolincafe.net/cgi-bin/ikonboard.cgi?s=39ae1e268ccca276faf2ea2085bd5eb8;act=ST;f=12;t=37678


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Subject: RE: help? Entry Level mandolin
From: GUEST,Jack Campin
Date: 27 Sep 06 - 03:20 PM

These Romanian ones are nice:

http://www.hora.ro/pages/mandolins.htm

David Kilpatrick in Kelso (Scotland) used to import them to the UK but doesn't seem to have any at the moment.

Their domra might also be worth considering, it's like a single-strung mando and correspondingly quieter.


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Subject: RE: help? Entry Level mandolin
From: Sorcha
Date: 27 Sep 06 - 04:47 PM

Make sure the ends of the frets are smooth and the frets aren't too high. Also, make sure the nut isn't too high. Strings should be fairly close to the fingerboard.


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Subject: RE: help? Entry Level mandolin
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 27 Sep 06 - 06:04 PM

Depending on the musical background and intentions for use of the new mandolin, there is always the quandary about whether to get something cheap to learn on, and plan to get something better as(if) proficiency develops, or whether to try to get something good enough to last "forever."

Most people spend some time debating (with themselves) about the proper answer to this question, and some people simply agonize over it interminably.

The REAL ANSWER to the question of which way to go is:

                     IT DOESN'T MATTER.

The reason that it doesn't matter is that it is a forgone conclusion that

                     YOU WILL WANT ANOTHER MANDO,

usually about a year after the first one if good progress comes your way. You probably will buy another one - undoubtedly more expensive than whatever you start with, regardless of how good or bad the first one was.

Most people who recommend a particular "brand" as "best" are probably assuming that the new mando beginner will have the same talents and ambitions as the one making the recommendation. This usually isn't a very safe thing to assume without some knowledge of the person making the choices.

A different set of considerations probably should apply to a musician already accomplished on another instrument who wants to double (and perform) on mando as "another instrument," than would be applicable to a person with no stringed instrument experience starting from scratch for "personal pleasure" and with no professional ambitions. There are of course many variations between those two extremes.

John


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Subject: RE: help? Entry Level mandolin
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 27 Sep 06 - 06:30 PM

another vote for cheap Chinese mandos !!!!

a couple of years ago i bought a few nice quality budget mandos

on auction from a very good ebay seller..

safetywoman67 based in Arkansas (501) 679-3684


"We carry instruments with exceptional playablity. We strive to help people play their dream instrument.
Give us a chance to make your dreams come true.
God bless and have a wonderful day."


http://stores.ebay.com/Clarindas-Crafts-and-Music_W0QQsspagenameZL2QQtZkm


great value for money instruments and safe delivery from US to UK..


i've just checked her shop for the first time since..
but today there are only more expensive 'buy now' mandos advertised for sale..

when i purchased from her..
i took a chance on a couple of $50 or $60

rover rm-35's..

and was very pleased with the playability and tone..

both were easy to set up with low even action and accurate intonation.


i also got a Morgan Monroe entry level Beanblosson electric mando..

which again proved to be a very easily playable gig worthy mando..

[but the neck is just a bit too thin for my fingers..]


so yeah.. there are definitely bargain 'player' instruments to be found without too much difficulty.


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Subject: RE: help? Entry Level mandolin
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 27 Sep 06 - 06:39 PM

When you buy one, walk past it each day, if you have to stop and play it, it was a good buy. But cast your mind back, was their another with a brighter tone and a better action?

Think about the cost of 4 tyres for a car. Then go back and buy one that you cannot walk past, then kiss the one you love!


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Subject: RE: help? Entry Level mandolin
From: Charmion
Date: 28 Sep 06 - 02:14 PM

I have a Kentucky 260S, which is the very dark brown A-style they make with white binding. It has a bright, silvery singing sound and picks very well. It cost about Cdn$325 new, on sale at the Ottawa Folklore Centre, and is worth every penny and more. (I believe Elderly Instruments sells it for about US$250.) It is Kentucky's lowest-priced "professional" model, with maple back and sides and a spruce top. Made in China, of course. If that's what your friend is looking at, MMario, he'll have a good time with it -- if he's anything like me, of course (good point, JohnInKansas).

John is right about something else, too: after about a year and a half of hard work to learn to play, I bespoke another, far more expensive, handmade mando from a New Hampshire luthier. Will that be my last mandolin? Who knows?


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Subject: RE: help? Entry Level mandolin
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 28 Sep 06 - 03:11 PM

Charmion -

Although GAS is the better known syndrome, MAS is its less evil little cousin and is pervasive among mandolinists. MAS usually is less disabling than GAS because the really expensive objects of lust are so rare that you're unlikely to have a chance at getting one, so you can concentrate on the fine points and look for "a better bargain."

My informal observation based on conversations mostly with "less than professional" mandolinists is that the second mandolin is most likely to be put up for sale when the lust strikes. The second (first replacement) is usuallly purchased because of the notion that it will "solve some problem," but often creates new ones so that it never gets truly loved in the way of the first one, and by the third one a player usually knows enough to make more realistic evaluations of what makes a good (for them) instrument.

Your mileage may vary.

John


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Subject: RE: help? Entry Level mandolin
From: oggie
Date: 28 Sep 06 - 04:30 PM

I'm in the throws of MAS - seen a 1920's Gibson Snakehead which sounds gorgeous, trying hard to resist as it's in London (at London prices) and I'm not going back for a few weeks. Problem is I have the shop's phone number!

oggie


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Subject: RE: help? Entry Level mandolin
From: GLoux
Date: 28 Sep 06 - 06:33 PM

Keep an eye out for a 1930s-1940s Strad-o-lin. Some of them can be amazing.

There are two right now on eBay...$199 and $230...

-Greg


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Subject: RE: help? Entry Level mandolin
From: wysiwyg
Date: 28 Sep 06 - 08:16 PM

Greg saw an A-style Kentucky at Yale's in Sayre today, color black, similar bright tone to the one we have, for maybe $225. New or used, I dunno. Also another $199-ish A-style (dunno maker) and a F in stock, no further info. Yale's has a long and good rep as supporting all acoustic music, and bluegrass in particular. Owner Dave Yale is a gigging BG band member and repair/setup guy Mark Orshaw is too, from a long family line of musicians. I'd call 'em up and ask 'em to play these over the phone to get an idea of basic tone, and then maybe make the trip to check them out. These are good guys-- you can always say hello from me-- I'm the lady they fronted gas money to (to get home from their shop) several years ago! :~)

~S~


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Subject: RE: help? Entry Level mandolin
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 28 Sep 06 - 10:22 PM

Note the almost instant appearance of the panting, ranting, drooling, victims of MAS at the mere mention of the affliction. As with all of the IGHI class of deviant behaviours, there is no cure, and no one with a mandolin is immune.

John


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Subject: RE: help? Entry Level mandolin
From: oggie
Date: 29 Sep 06 - 12:15 AM

Not quite drooling yet - distance from the object helps.

oggie


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Subject: RE: help? Entry Level mandolin
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 29 Sep 06 - 03:56 AM

Any mandolin will play OK if it is set up properly, ie. bridge and nut slotted correctly, bridge in the correct position and at the right hight, and a decent set of strings.

eric


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Subject: RE: help? Entry Level mandolin
From: GUEST,doryman
Date: 12 Feb 11 - 08:49 AM

As long as your friend is getting all of this fine advice, don't forget the immortal words of Mr. Norman Blake:
"If you're going to play the mandolin, you're never going to be in tune, and you're never going to have any money."
And he would know.


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Subject: RE: help? Entry Level mandolin
From: GUEST,jeff
Date: 31 Mar 11 - 10:57 AM

Just make sure it has a solid top. Back and sides aren't so important at an entry level price point. The 'A' models w/F holes are generally a little more versatile, but for Celtic style cross picking I prefer the oval or round hole types.


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Subject: RE: help? Entry Level mandolin
From: Crowhugger
Date: 01 Apr 11 - 09:08 PM

It's so kind of the international criminal element to refresh old threads for us!
(And if any mud-elf should remove the above message, please remove this one too for it will make no sense at all by itself.)


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Subject: RE: help? Entry Level mandolin
From: Leadfingers
Date: 02 Apr 11 - 09:00 PM

I seem to be a 'One Off' Muso as I dont have ANY of the ?AS conditions other than having a decent spare just in case !
I worked up to a Gianni GBSMi then had Terry Docherty build me one twelve years ago . That will do me for a while .


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