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Mandolin for home recording project?

Discussion in 'Acoustic Instruments' started by S-L-A-C-K-E-R, Feb 18, 2009.

  1. S-L-A-C-K-E-R

    S-L-A-C-K-E-R Member

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    I'm working on an all acoustic CD for my wife. I had a thought of getting my hands on a mandolin and learning some easy chords to add some cool subtle accents to some of the songs. The thing is, I don't really want to drop a lot of money to buy a nice one and never really play it that much after the cd is done. The guitar keeps me busy enough already. I've seen some cheapo ones on musicians friend (75 - 150 bucks) and I wonder if they would sound somewhat decent at all for a home recording setup. It doesn't need to sound professional, but I don't want something that sounds like a toy or like crap either. Would I be wasting my money or are mandolins in that price range worth having around for that type of use?
     
  2. nmiller

    nmiller Drowning in lap steels Silver Supporting Member

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    Mandolins in that price range are almost always unplayable. You might be able to fix one up, but it probably wouldn't be worth your time.
     
  3. clemduolian

    clemduolian Silver Supporting Member

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    I bought an $80 Chinese made mandolin for my son when he went to college last year. Surprisingly good sounding and playable (intonation and action). I think you could use one for your project without a problem.

    Check out Mandolin Cafe (mandolincafe.com) and Jazz mando (jazzmando.com) for LOTS of free mandolin resources. ENJOY.

    MANDOLIN RAWKS!!!!!
     
  4. Lawn Jockey

    Lawn Jockey Member

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    Definitely doable. The biggest thing with cheap mandolins is a proper set-up.

    I also second checking out the Cafe.
     
  5. teleking36

    teleking36 Supporting Member

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    Epiphone MM50 is a great buy. Might need a little setup tweakage, but overall it's a decent mando for the money. You'll also be able to turn around and sell it without losing much money after you're done recording.
     
  6. Bryan T

    Bryan T Guitar Owner Silver Supporting Member

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    I agree, but don't get your hopes up with respect to tone. In my experience, you see a big leap in tonal quality when you get to the $500+ range. There is then another leap when you get to the $2K+ range.

    Perhaps you could buy a used Eastman and flip it when the project is done.
     
  7. Lawn Jockey

    Lawn Jockey Member

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    Yeah....completely. I left that "unsaid" because I figured it was a given.
     
  8. mwe

    mwe Supporting Member

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    You might want to consider the type of mandolin you're looking for. Most people associate mandolins with the f-hole, arch top variety used in bluegrass. Very good instruments for that type of music but the cheaper ones can be very unbalanced across the strings and difficult to record. A flat top, round hole mando might be better suited to your project. They have a sweeter, dare I say more folksy sound and you can pretty much use the same recording technique you're using for acoustic guitar. An added bonus is they're much easier to build so you can find a very nice handmade flat top for the cost of an entry level arched top. If you can land a Big Muddy/Mid Mo at a reasonable cost you'll have no trouble getting your investment back out of it. Just my two cents.

    Mike
     
  9. drive-south

    drive-south Member

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    I agree that a Mid-Mo or Big Muddy mando would be a much better investment, but he's talking $75 to $150. Mid-mos start around $300.

    I've got a Mid-mo M11 mando and an Mid-mo octave mando. Both excellant solid wood instruments. Mid-mo is short for "Mid Missouri Mandolin Co". but recently changed their name to "Big Muddy Mandolins". The instrument line-up is exactly the same. You can still find Mid-Mo's on EBAY. The mini-mo is a travel model with a bolt-on neck. I suggest you avoid this model and get one of their regular mandos (M0, M1, M2.etc).

    Here is a link to the Big Muddy site which appear to be under construction. Many of their models are not shown but are available if you call. You can order any model with a wider neck, and upgraded tuners.

    http://www.bigmuddymandolin.com/index.php

    drive-south
     

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