Mandolins - Where To Start?

Discussion in 'Acoustic Instruments' started by bug0711, Feb 2, 2008.


  1. bug0711

    bug0711 Supporting Member

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    I don't want to buy a cheapo now and have to buy another later. I'm just not too sure where to start, what to watch out for ...

    Any opinions would be most welcomed!


    BTW: Used or new, it makes no difference to me. It will be used in a band environment, so it'll have to be amplified (country/bluegrass/alt C)



    Thx.
     
  2. rosscoep

    rosscoep Member

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  3. googoobaby

    googoobaby Member

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    You might want to ask/look on Mandolin Cafe. What you're asking for is pretty wide open as the price ranges run from $20 eBay Gulag Specials to $250K Loars. There's also acoustic w/pickup versus purely electric, etc.
     
  4. Jon C

    Jon C Silver Supporting Member

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    I bought a $200 used Fender FM52e (elec. and so far it has been more than enuf for me... up a range I was curious about Mid-Missouri (now out of business?) but I'm sure there are others in the 500-700 range too.
     
  5. Steve Hotra

    Steve Hotra Silver Supporting Member

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    Play a lot of them, if you can.
    They feel different, much like guitars.
    Its takes time getting used to the neck, especially
    if you have large hands.
    If you plan on learning barre chords, try playing those as well.
    Mandolin Cafe is a great place to start looking.
     
  6. shadco

    shadco Member

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    I'd go Collings MT

    actually I did

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  7. googoobaby

    googoobaby Member

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    Mid-Missouri is now back in business as Big Muddy. Personally I think they're the only really good sounding low priced mandolins.

    My main mandolin is a (now out of business) Rigel G-110, which looks like a small Strat, but sounds great both acoustically and through its built-in piezo.
     
  8. Lawn Jockey

    Lawn Jockey Member

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    How much are you looking to spend.

    You can have an American builder make you a custom A style or a 2 point for less than $950.00.

    I've got some pictures of one of Howard Morris' 2 point that is currently selling for $950.00. It's stunning, and you'll not top the quality in an import.

    Don't give in to scroll envy.

    If you're interested, I'll post the pictures of the 2 point.

    ***NO FINANCIAL INTEREST***
     
  9. Lawn Jockey

    Lawn Jockey Member

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    Here's the pics of the Morris 2 point anyway:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    That's a lot of mandolin for the money. That's why he's building my A-5.
     
  10. Nanouque

    Nanouque Guest

    I bought a Weber Gallatin last week. I was looking at a Kentucky KM-1000. Weber is built in the states by http://www.soundtoearth.com.
     
  11. 62Tele

    62Tele Supporting Member

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    The National mandolns are extremely well made and sound amazing. Not really that reso - the common description is that they sound like a really good mandolin through a PA. The only thing they don't do as well as an archtop is chop, but they make up for it in other ways. You might want to listen to the clip on the National website. Turn it way up - the things are fierce loud.
     
  12. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    you can get decent-sounding all-solid imports (micheal kelly, eastman, kentucky) for $500 or less, so there's no reason to buy laminated anymore. bluegrass purists will insist on f-holes and f-style instruments, but a good f-hole a-style will hang all day long for less money. round-hole instruments are more popular with the folk-celtic crowd, as they tend not to cut through the wall of banjo as well.
     
  13. Nanouque

    Nanouque Guest

  14. bug0711

    bug0711 Supporting Member

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    Thanks for the info everyone. I'll be checking into all of the suggestions this week.

    I don't really have a budget set up for one ... I just know that I'd like it to get me through a few years of gigging before I'd want to upgrade.


    Any opinions on electronics with these instruments?
     
  15. JohnM

    JohnM Member

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    I picked up a Breedlove Quartz FF - great mando.
    As far as pickups go, mine came with a Shertler transducer, which sounds great for acoustic gigs, but is too sensitive for loud sound stages...my soundman was having a really hard time getting it in the mix before it started howling feedback.
    I ended up getting a Baggs bridge with the pickup element embedded in it...works great for loud gigs plus I still have the shertler inside to use on low-volume gigs. Best of both worlds.

    If you're looking for cheaper, I'd say Michael Kelly or Eastman, but both are very inconsistent. You just have to find a good one. The fishman built-in pkups sound ok but if you play hard they can crash and sound nasty.
    As far as A-stlye VS F-style, there is no difference in sound, although some will claim there is. You can get a lot more mando for the money in an A style. It's just a preference of style.
     
  16. moocow

    moocow Member

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    While all the mandolins mentioned are fine instruments, I think you will find that the JBovier mandolins will be your best buy. When compared to the Eastmans, Michael Kelly's, and Kentucky's, they are consistently coming out on top, with little price difference. Also, many JBovier ownersnot only play and love their mandolins, but they perform and sometimes record with them as well. Check out www.JBovier.net for testamonials, and to find a dealer near you where you can get your hands on one. The Jbovier Mandolins & More Store in KY offers a 48hr approval period as well, in case there isn't a dealer nearby. These mandolins are very affordable, and their quality is such that you may never need to upgrade, but don't take my word for it........
     
  17. Lawn Jockey

    Lawn Jockey Member

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    moocow is correct. I had a JBovier F-5 Vine until Saturday night when it sold on eBay to partially fund my Morris A-5.

    They are incredible instruments. Give Jeff at Mandolins & More in Walton, KY a shout. He is the designer of the JBovier line, and is responsible for getting this product to market. He's also a great player.
     
  18. bug0711

    bug0711 Supporting Member

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    The JBov sounds like it may be exactly what I'm after. I'm headed over to Elderly's this week to play everything on the walls there to get a feel for what I don't want, and then I'll go from there.

    Thanks to everyone for the input, any other opinions are much appreciated! And, please, more electronic talk! I have a really nice amp (Genz-Benz Shenendoah Pro) to run one through.
     
  19. Jon C

    Jon C Silver Supporting Member

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    cool... good news, thanks.
     
  20. Mike Duncan

    Mike Duncan Silver Supporting Member

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    How about the Godin A8?
     

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