View Full Version : High dollar mandos
I dont have any stats on this, but in a brief overview, there seems to be alot of really top drawer stuff listed on there. Its certainly none of my business why folks sell these things,but I cant help being curious.
My skanky little narrow mind tells me that if I owned a $5000.00+ mando, I would hang on to it for dear life.
It's called MAS. Those affected by it always want to try something else, and many of us gotta sell a mando to buy a mando.
or a boat or a car...
Or my liver, which is available, PM me.....
or daughter's college tuition.
My skanky little narrow mind tells me that if I owned a $5000.00+ mando, I would hang on to it for dear life.
After selling several high-dollar mandolins and working my way up the scale of high-dollarness, I finally have the two mandolins which I'll be hanging on to. Gibson Varnish Fern and Collings MF5-V Deluxe. Now, I'm just waiting on my turn at a Hilburn.
Please dont misunderstand me folks. Its not a case of sour grapes. I would love to be dealing in mandos at that level.
Its just that fooling with guitars for several years, a $2000.00 Martin is a pretty serious piece of equipment. But the casualness in which these mandos are offered for sale still messes with my head.
" Yo! Wanna buy my mando? $16,500.00. Have a nice day. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif "
Wait a minute.SIXTEEN THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS?
I just cant get used to those numbers,but its a fun ride. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/mandosmiley.gif
There seems to be a type of person that orders a high end mandolin and realizes it will take a couple of years at least before it arrives. This type of person may have more than one high end mandolin on order at any one time, so when one is ready to be delivered he has to sell what he is playing currently to pay for the new one. He may well have to sell the new mandolin to pay for the next new mando, even if he really wants to keep it. These folks are termed "catch and release" mandolin buyers. It is most probable that this is what drives some of the activity of the classified ads.
These folks are termed "catch and release" mandolin buyers.
Hah! I was called a "catch and release" collector of old Gibsons (I've had about a dozen different ones in my day, only kept 2.. er so far..). Interesting to see where this terminology comes into the language from.. obviously it's a fishing term, but funny to see it applied to instruments.
I've never actually bought something high-end without intending to keep it.. but in defense of the catch & release guys, tastes can shift over time, and often you are wowed by a new instrument. In my case, lots of trial & error recently has very strongly cemented in my mind what my personal preference is now..
Trial and error sums up a lot of "catch & release" buyers, Dan, good call. The first two or four of mine were just that.
Well, thats interesting and one dimension I certainly had not thought of. I suppose that could apply, to some degree, up and down the whole food chain.
I had to sell my Brentrup for a big tax bill, and believe me if there was any other way, but with six kids and unexpected expenses that year I had no choice. I also had to sell my Rose for my daughter's wedding + I have three more daughters to go and one is talking engagement - ouch ! Maybe I should just give up playing and be a listener.
Hmmmm I guess I'm a catch and realease kind of guy with most everything- instruments for sure. I've owned maybe 100 different guitars, banjos, mandos etc. with maybe 15 in residence at any one time.
Motorcycles, houses...everything but wives...:sleepy:
As some wise philosopher once said, "you are only really renting these." Yes, you pays your money, you takes your chances and your mandolins, but you can't take it with you.
I like the idea of catch and release. It sort of puts that hunt for the perfect mandolin in the same category as a sport.
Then again, I went thru quite a few fiddles until I found the one I settled on and play solely for about the last 15 years aor so. I have a small arsenal of mandolins that I continually come back to as the (more or less) keepers.
Over the last few years I got into accumulating bowlbacks to explore that aesthetic. I have too many at the moment but have learned much about what to look in the sector.
I used to trade instruments all the time. It was a side hobbie beyond actually playing them. I stopped that about 10 years ago, and have spent more of my free time playing, instead of hunting for another.
I have to confess missing the hunt, and the excitement of a "new" instrument, and to be honest, I feel a bit of that pull again. Anyone want to trade for a Washburn A? smile
the silly professir
I wouldn't trade my Phoenix for a Loar.
"Catch and Release."
I'm stealing that one...
I would trade YOUR Phoenix for a Loar! http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif
I'm pretty much cut from the same cloth as JGWOODS and feel real comfortable with the style. Been trading hobby things around for 25 years or more. I've gone through dozens of banjos(and own one that's never to be released), same number of guitars and am into a few dozen mandos with no "can't live without" model in lot. Currently trying to sell a couple of mid-range F models to fund some biking ventures. Once you get into the mindset of trading, it becomes second nature.
steve V. johnson
There is the thing that, often, the only way to experience what some of these things do is to buy them, esp for those of us in rural or remote areas. I did a lot of trading in audio gear (online, since about '93) to equip my studio, so when I returned to playing I was used to doing research on specs and prices, and I applied that to instruments. With some planning I was able to go from real general experiments in instruments at real low prices, to having a 'trading fund' that allowed me to experience some much nicer stuff to figure out what I wanted from a custom instrument. Now that I have my main instruments happily set for me, I'm less susceptible to MAS/GAS/OMAS (tho not immune!!!).
I know some folks who didn't stop with That One Instrument, but who keep their fund at a pretty high level and continue to rotate the stock. I can't do that just now (saving for The Return To Ireland!), but I plan to build up a fund again, so that I can figure out what some other nice instruments are about, one at a time and for up to a year each. My first taste of this was a retired guy who had planned for 30 years to be able to have a different classic sports car each year. I think his fund was something like ... $12k. He wasn't buying collector cars, but drivers. When I met him I had no idea that such a thing could be done!
I, too, am still amazed at what prices some mandolins command, but if it gets me down I just go talk to Tom Sparks who builds deca-mega-buck violins and cellos for the classical players (and teaches violin-making at Indiana University). A few lessons in listening to $60,000 violins, both recent and centuries-old, restores some sort of perspective.
When I was about to begin gigging, I made an informal survey of what the real pros playing guitar in Irish traditional music were playing. The very top of the value scale seemed to be a Sobell at a nominal $3500, tho the player said that he hadn't paid that. Most of the instruments were in the $2k - 3k range, and were not at all fancy, just good, solid tone machines, and no particular brand or luthier was vastly more popular than the others. A quite diverse array.
So I wonder if a survey of pro mando players, not the superstars (who can buy and insure a collector piece and hire security folks to guard it), would show a similar moderation in instruments and price ranges?
Finally, I wonder if there is a better time of year to put a five-figure mando up for sale...? Do festivals or seasons of the year mean anything to all these high-end instruments showing up? Often tax season shakes out some good stuff of all sorts... <GG>
(who won't sell his homely '36 Kalamazoo mando)
There is no doubt that each mandolin is unique, though one may look just like the next, each has it's own feel and response. Cycling instruments through your life if you can afford it is a great way to sift out the ones that light your fire and let the rest find their way to other pickers. The important thing to keep in mind here is that the instrument that suits you may very well not suit the next picker and visa versa.
I say spread 'em around. Buy all you want. We'll make more! http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/wink.gif
Its just that fooling with guitars for several years, a $2000.00 Martin is a pretty serious piece of equipment.
HUH? 2K will not buy me any of the Martins I wouldn't mind owning! http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif
If anyone can find me a new HD-28v or D-28GE or D-28 Marque or any vintage Martin dread dated BEFORE 1960 for $2K please let me know I'll be all over it! http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/mandosmiley.gif
On the subject of "catch and release", this is the sole reason that I bought the Breedlove KO from the classifieds last week (albeit not a "high dollar mandolin"). I've always wanted to play one, it looked to be in great shape, and the price would likely be recoverable at some point in the future. Regarding local music stores, I would drive around in vein (with the associated gas dollars) and still not be able to play one. If I want to check out Epiphone or Kentucky, then I can shop local. Even Eastman requires me to drive to Fredericksburg and back (over a 100 miles - i.e., $10 bucks in gas and a few hours). Catch and release is more fun. . . .
Years ago, way before we ever opened our music store in 1990, I was finding myself going thru WAY too many instruments - guitars, banjos, mandolins...
I was telling a much older and more experienced player about it, asking me if I might have a "problem" in constantly looking for the "next" instrument and trading all the time...
'Do you want to be the "wino" or the "wine taster"? A wino buys his favorite bottle over and over and drinks of it until drunk... but a wino only sips of different wines, always looking for the next taste...'
I took that as a green light to keep going... eventually evolving my collecting into our present-day store.
Luthiers today all are familiar with the concept of their best customers trading off instrument they may have waited years to get.
It is done for any number of reasons:
"Wine Taster" Syndrome (known as MAS)
Opportunity to move sideways or upward
Selecting a different sound or feel
It is NOT the customer that is happy with his one mando who pays the luthier's bills... it is the person who buys and sells 6 or 8 of them...
- Greg Boyd
House of Fine Instruments
And i'm glad to be the dog who picks up the scraps that fall from the wine taster's table! http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/wink.gif
For me, the "release" part is getting hard. I use a couple of tests.. one is "what do I play the least" or "which one spends the most time in it's case".. another thing I do is try to compare anything new to something old and see if I like it better or if it's really different. At the moment I'm up 1 because of a good buy that came up, I'm about to shift a few more to pay for ones I ordered. I just love lining them up in little rows.
It would sure be nice to have a "wine society" eh, buy some fine mandolins and ship them around (or hand them off) inside the club. I keep getting hand-pandled (like panhandled, but where they hand you leaflets, product samples, etc) by a "vintage car club" where I work- you pay XX a year and get to occasionally borrow old ferraris or porsches for the weekend. Pay a little more, get the fancier stuff.. etc. I guess that's a cost-limiting scheme for guys with Car Acquisition Syndrome.
J. Mark Lane
It would sure be nice to have a "wine society" eh, buy some fine mandolins and ship them around (or hand them off) inside the club. ...
Uh...hello...is anybody home there?
I think we've already got a "club", it's called the classifieds. #I think the notion of catch & release is pretty much on the mark. #And like Dan, I find the release part is getting harder. #I just sold my Lawrence Smart mando. #I wasn't using it much so I decided that it could go. #Call it "sellers remorse" or whatever, but I already miss it.
Now let's see here, what was the original premise of this thread? Here's a stack ranking of the top 10 high-priced mandonlins as listed right here on the clasiifieds in the past year:
Builder Style Year Description (Short) Price Date Listed
Gibson F 1924 F-5 Fern (Lloyd Loar, Mar 31 1924) $135,000.00 10/5/2004
Gibson F 1925 F-5 $105,000.00 12/30/2004
Gibson F 1923 F-5 (Lloyd Loar, S/N 73675) $90,000.00 4/24/2005
Gibson F F-5 Fern (S/N 90448) $80,000.00 3/15/2005
Gibson F 1933 F-5 $61,500.00 5/23/2005
Gibson F 1928 F-5 Fern (S/N 87367) $50,000.00 9/28/2004
Gibson F 1929 F-5 Fern $46,500.00 1/2/2005
Nugget F F-5 (S/N 100) $28,500.00 5/9/2005
Gilchrist F F-5 (S/N 505) $26,000.00 4/10/2005
"I would trade YOUR Phoenix for a Loar!"
That is precisely why it is mine.