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Not so good Mandolin

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Steve Latimer 24 Mar 99 - 02:10 PM
Songbob 24 Mar 99 - 03:54 PM
take 24 Mar 99 - 07:11 PM
Mudjack 25 Mar 99 - 05:29 PM
Les B 26 Mar 99 - 01:14 AM
GUEST,Steve 20 May 13 - 05:34 PM
Brakn 20 May 13 - 06:55 PM
JohnInKansas 21 May 13 - 12:52 AM
Richard Bridge 21 May 13 - 01:07 AM
cooperman 21 May 13 - 04:30 AM
PHJim 21 May 13 - 04:27 PM
GUEST,Ian G 21 May 13 - 04:45 PM
PHJim 22 May 13 - 12:04 PM
Peter K (Fionn) 22 May 13 - 09:30 PM
JohnInKansas 23 May 13 - 04:25 AM
GUEST,Lavengro 23 May 13 - 04:54 AM
GUEST,Doug 04 Jun 13 - 09:44 AM
Acorn4 04 Jun 13 - 11:49 AM
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Subject: Not so good Mandolin
From: Steve Latimer
Date: 24 Mar 99 - 02:10 PM

A woman I work with is looking for a decent starter Mandolin. Is it possible to get something of reasonable quality in the $150-$200 U.S. Range? Any suggestions, either new or used. Bluegrass is not quite as popular here in Central Canada as it is in the States, therefore there don't seem to be a lot of Mandolins to choose from.


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Subject: RE: Not so good Mandolin
From: Songbob
Date: 24 Mar 99 - 03:54 PM

Try looking in at the Ebay musical instrument auction page for used mandos, or some of the other on-line sellers. I know some new ones can be had (Musician's Friend, AMS, Elderly Instruments, etc.) for around $200, so use ones may be found for less.

Here's the URL for Ebay's Instruments page:

http://listings.ebay.com/aw/listings/list/category619/index.html

I probably have the URLs for some of those others, too:

Musicians' Friend:

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/

AMS:

http://www.promusician.com/

Elderly Instruments:

http://www.elderly.com/UIL.htm

Good luck.

Bob Clayton


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Subject: RE: Not so good Mandolin
From: take
Date: 24 Mar 99 - 07:11 PM

some korean maker made cheap mandolins. recently i played korean violin maker's brand new $150 mandolin, tear drop shape like a-50, and surprised its cost performance. i don't know more detail about the maker and if it is available in the us or not. try ask your musical instrument dealer about korean source new mandolin. the key point is that the maker is making violin or not. guitar maker: aria's mando also made in korea and have so-so price. hope this helps.-takeo.


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Subject: RE: Not so good Mandolin
From: Mudjack
Date: 25 Mar 99 - 05:29 PM

You will have to stay in the "used" area to find anything playable for that kind of money. Be sure to know new prices before jumping into a used import. Another possible site to check out is a So/Cal based cyber market is Music Recycler.Com, good hunting and good luck, it's out there, you just have to be a little patient. Jack Mos/Fol


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Subject: RE: Not so good Mandolin
From: Les B
Date: 26 Mar 99 - 01:14 AM

I bought an A-model, Oscar Schmidt off the wall, new, for $100 US, some years ago. It's got a plywood top, but an extremely good sound. I had been looking for a cheap mando for several years and just picked this one up to noodle a bit. I bought it immediately! I took this mando to a big western campout and was jamming around the fire late one night when a guy from several campfires away came over and asked to examine it. He really looked it over and told me he couldn't believe it was a Schmidt. Turns out he was a worker of some sort in the Flatiron Shop in Bozeman, MT (before they moved). I think the point is, all grades of instruments have their highs and lows. If you keep looking, you might find the best one out of the factory that day!


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Subject: RE: Not so good Mandolin
From: GUEST,Steve
Date: 20 May 13 - 05:34 PM

I bought a Galveston F- Model mandolin on E Bay and am very pleased with it. It has a good action and a good tone. I bought it for a spare while my Gibson A-1 is being restored


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Subject: RE: Not so good Mandolin
From: Brakn
Date: 20 May 13 - 06:55 PM

14 years. Is this a record?


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Subject: RE: Not so good Mandolin
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 21 May 13 - 12:52 AM

I have three mandolins, including one "F-Style" that claimed to be a "bluegrass" manodolin, and that took me for about $2300 (US) total. I haven't played it in years.

I've played quite regularly on the other two, both "A-style." One is a midgrade(?) Washburn that came at about $350 quite a few (25?) years ago but that probably is quite representative of "something really respectable" at a fairly reasonable low-end price. The other is a "Chinese(?) plywood A-Style with "Lotus" on the peghead that I got for around $250 (new) somewhat later (8-10 years back?).

As I got a $150 fiddle (Chinese) at about the same time as the "lotus" mando, I dont' have to base the opinion on a single sample, but can say that at beginner level, and probably a little beyond, the good Chinese instruments are of consitently good quality. Setup, and of course strings appropriate for what - and how - a person plays are very important, assuming that the basic quality is there, but with any instrument you sort of have to learn what works to get the setup you like.

VERY GOOD MANDOs, tend to increase somewhat in price, so if you're looking for an economical entry used instrument at reasonable prices bargains may may be hard to find among the real "name brands." "Good enough" used instruments quite probably will sell at about the same price they had when new, if you're buying from a "music shop" that can actually give advice on what you're getting, and as long as they haven't been seriously abused.

While I haven't checked what's available now - I'm maybe 7-8 years behind since the last serious look? - a target price of around $250 would seem more likely to be what would get an instrument that would be satisfying for several years - fairly easily - although with some "searching" and with someone to advise on what you're paying for it's not unreasonable to hope to come in a little lower.

Just don't listen too much to the echo when someone speaks the "brand name." Listen to the instrument when you - and/or somebody else - makes it sing to you. Most important - pay attention to what it feels like in the hands that will play it. (With allowance for a little setup, if you have someone to help with what's needed.)

John


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Subject: RE: Not so good Mandolin
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 21 May 13 - 01:07 AM

Sounds vary. What works well for accompaniment of English or modern "folk-alike" songs (I'd suggest an Army and Navy style) may differ from the rounder sound more suited to "celtic" (the guru of which is Hathway, very reasonably priced at about £700), or the "bark" that old timey and bluegrass players prefer (think model-A or F-style).

Sound is the most important thing. Trust your ears.

Intonation is sortable by a good tech - bridge location is easy to sort on most mandolins, with the aid of say a Petersen tuner. But there is a big but. If fret spacing is wrong (which is rare) that is unfixable, and if nut location is wrong that is hard to fix but nut adjustment sort of like Buzz Feiten can work. Saddle compensation may be more radical than you expect to need.

Action on a mandolin can usually be sorted at saddle or nut - but beware some mandolins do not have truss rods so if the neck progression is wrong it can be problematic.

Making a mandolin pluggable can be tricky - many stick-ons or undersaddles give too much body thump and although you'd expect to be able to get rid of it with eq'ing out everything under 300Hz it does not seem to work, so getting one that is factory pluggable may be a good move.

Oh, and avoid anything from Saga Musical Instruments of San Francisco like the plague - I have one of their Kentucky flatirons which came with a lifetime guarantee to the first retail purchaser (me!) and when the top cracked along its length they flatly refused to honour the guarantee because I was outside the USA. That sort oc cynical dishonesty should be discouraged.


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Subject: RE: Not so good Mandolin
From: cooperman
Date: 21 May 13 - 04:30 AM

We just got a Washburn M1S second hand(A shape with f holes). I'm amazed by the great tone and volume. Solid spruce top, pressed though not carved and nice sunburst finish. From China but can't fault it. This one is nicely set up but I understand new ones come with a loose bridge so some set up is required. I expect playability and sound can vary so best to buy ready set up from a shop and give it a try.


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Subject: RE: Not so good Mandolin
From: PHJim
Date: 21 May 13 - 04:27 PM

I was once visiting my sister in Calgary and had left my mandolins in Ontario. I visited a music store and bought a "Beaver Creek" A style f-hole mandolin for about $125. This was not a high quality mandolin, but it played very easily with good intonation after a minor set-up. I brought it home and strung it as a high strung mandolin (octave G and D courses) for blues and jug band tunes. It certainly didn't play or sound like my other mandolins, but at one tenth the price, I wouldn't expect it to.
I no longer have this mandolin. I gave it to a kid who wanted to learn to play. It was a well made Korean beginner's mandolin that will not discourage a beginner.


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Subject: RE: Not so good Mandolin
From: GUEST,Ian G
Date: 21 May 13 - 04:45 PM

Gretsch New Yorker at under £200. Made in China [?]'Roots' series, Standard model in sunburst. Great action, intonation, sounds fantastic, looks good, better than a lot of expensive mandolins I've tried and I'm not scared to take it to a session and play it. Trust your ears.


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Subject: RE: Not so good Mandolin
From: PHJim
Date: 22 May 13 - 12:04 PM

I've seen those Gretsch mandos that Ian mentioned and they are nice for the money. Much nicer than the Beaver Creek, but more expensive. If you can find one, fork over the extra few bucks (quid, Euros...) and go for it.


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Subject: RE: Not so good Mandolin
From: Peter K (Fionn)
Date: 22 May 13 - 09:30 PM

Bizarre: a natter about not-so-good mandolins, seamlessly spanning 14 years, and only Brakn so much as bats an eyelid. Surely material here for a J B Priestly "time" play. Will any of the early posters pass this way again? And how have their relationships with the mandolin progressed, if at all, in the intervening years?


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Subject: RE: Not so good Mandolin
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 23 May 13 - 04:25 AM

I'll confess that I noted the gap, but figured there's always someone who needs to get started with a new one.

(And besides, complaints about "old stuff" are beginning to be sort of personally insulting - no matter how true they are. A decade or two is only an instant, when you can't - and don't need to - remember what you were doing ten minutes ago.)

John


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Subject: RE: Not so good Mandolin
From: GUEST,Lavengro
Date: 23 May 13 - 04:54 AM

Don't know if this will help? I have absolutely no association with this store whatever.

http://www.hobgoblin.com/local/sales/310/mandolins/


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Subject: RE: Not so good Mandolin
From: GUEST,Doug
Date: 04 Jun 13 - 09:44 AM

I have a Hondo Mandolin Company (1969) in great shape. I don't know how old it is, but when I bought it in 2000 it was called "vintage mandolin". The articles I've read about this instrument say that Hondo Mandolin Company 1969, as it is on the headstock, was formed around 1999. There were Hondos before that and I'm pretty sure this is one of the earlier ones. This one was made in America of spruce top and maple back. The back and top may be plywood with a veneer, I'm not sure. The purfling or binding is actual, not painted, as you can see the difference and a seam through the laquer. It's not visible but if you check the shine across a light, you can see that the binding was applied, rather than painted on. Binding is probably plastic. Inside the wood is very clean and there is corner blocking for reinforcement. This I know to be a quality of a better instrument.
This mandolin is an A body with a sound hole like an acoustic guitar, rather than f-holes. It has a good, thick sound, even on old, rusty strings. I've played it maybe 20 times since I bought it in 2000.. mostly campfire get-togethers.
Why all the information?
Money is tight and I was just sacked a couple weeks ago.

If anyone is interested in this instrument, please email me, call me or send me a text and I will be happy to respond with pictures, audio clips and whatever else you may wish to make your decision. I will ship to anyone in the world, once proceeds are received.

The cost?

Sit down..

$75 american dollars.

Yes, that's right.. $75 Dollars U.S. plus actual shipping costs can net you this nice, vintage mandolin.

The instrument comes in a paper hardshell case and will be boxed and padded and insured.

Doug Vernon
5754050360    USA
New Mexico
emhartain@aol.com

This is a real and serious offering.

I also have a Hohner brand dreadnaught acoustic guitar.. all mahogany top sides and back. It is for sale as well, also $75 plus shipping charges.


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Subject: RE: Not so good Mandolin
From: Acorn4
Date: 04 Jun 13 - 11:49 AM

Friend of mine got one for £5.00 from a charity shop - played on a track on one of my CDs and it sounds great.


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