View Full Version : Mahogany vs. Spruce top on Mid-Mo
I'm pretty sure I'm going to buy a Mid-Mo as my first mandolin. I like the look of the Mahogany M-11 and the ebony vs. rosewood fretboard (being a violin player), but I wonder how the hardwood top affects the sound. It's a long drive to Mandolin Brothers for a test drive, so I was looking for some input. Thanks. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/rock.gif
Santiago, those two mandolins will sound different. #Check out Videos of different (http://www.folkofthewood.com/page2518.htm#midmissouri)models at Folk of the Wood. #Search Folk of The Wood and compare with searches with other board sponsors before buying. #To my ears on those samples the all Mahog M-11 sounds way different than the Mapel Spruce M-0. More bass end. #With a choice like this think about what you want to play and ideally make the drive (after calling to see if they have both). #Hopefully real Mid-Mo owners will chime in (I'm sure they will). #This is a good place to start.
The M-11 will have a richer, more complex tone, but will not have the volume of the M-1. Depends on how you plan to use the instrument. If you play mostly alone or with a guitar that is not too loud, you would probably prefer the M-11. In a larger group you may want the M-1.
now what about comparing the M1 with the M2 or M3? thats where I am at right now in the MAS process. I like the idea of ebony bridge and fretboard but what about the difference between the mahogany,maple and walnut backs?
I was in the same position last summer, and decided to buy the M3. If you choose to buy an M3 you will not be disappointed. It is easy to play, and the walnut is beautiful. (Mike sure does some fine work!)
The only Mid-Missouri I ever owned was the M-2. If I got another Mid-Mo, it would be between the M-3 and the M-4 with a look at the M-0/M-1. The M-2 is too bright for me but may be great for classical.
As an M-0 owner, I can say that it has that great warmth and depth which mahogany offers while also having the added projection that a spruce top offers. Have not played an M-11, but many players prefer it's added warmth and complex tone. The M-3 (walnut) is nice, offering a bit more volume than the M-0/M-1 and being a bit brighter to my ears. I thought it was the best looking of the Mid-mo's , if that matters. I was just sold on the M-0, to the point that I just had to take it with me after I played it, even though I didn't have plans on buying anything that day! No buyer's remorse either, it was just "right" to own that bugger!!! Hopefully, when you play a few, you will find that one that is just right for you! Let us know how it goes.
Former mid-mowner Steve, reporting for duty...
My M-4's were definitely a step up in quality and sound over my brother's M-O. Louder, cleaner tone, more sustain, easier to play. He was jealous, but spent half what I did. Differences in fretboard, tuners and binding are more about cosmetics and protection. Changing the top and back woods leads to the real sound alterations. Never played an M-11, so can't be of help there. Of course, there are those who like the M-O best. There's no right answer, I guess.
I made the mistake of visiting Mandolin Brothers... Went in with the idea of trying out some mandos for future reference, but couldn't put the M2 down. Tried all of the Mid Mos, but that particular one spoke to me. To make a long story short, my wife forced me to buy it (okay, she merely suggested it). Nearly two years later, I like it even more. The moral of the story is: try them all if at all possible, and buy the one you can't leave behind.
I love the M-11. Set up with TI strings, it has a lovely complext one. Set up with JM-11 ("Jazzmando") strings, it is very loud and has lots of sustain. Elyxir strings work well too (still different sound).
Michael H Geimer
Here's (http://www.mandolincafe.net/cgi-bin/ikonboard.cgi?act=ST;f=12;t=30569;hl=mid) another thread discussing tone differences among Mid-mo's.
Hmmmmm, looks like I might have killed that thread by saying ... Go Mid-Mo!
I think the rich low end is important to me, which is why I'm leaning toward the M-11. I listened to the FOTW samples, but to me they reveal more abbut subtle differences in miking than in instrument tone. The highs on a few models sounded a little thin in models on FOTW.com, but you can't judge them from a recording as the high frequencies are particularly directional. I like the solid back from Mahogany, it's just new to me in terms of a top. In the guitar world it's largely spruce or maple. I hate driving to Staten Island, but Stan Jay's landmark is one of the few things that could drag me there... eventually.
I've just received my new M-0 yesterday, and have been playing it no end last night and today. Great instrument, and it's certainly plenty warm, deep and loud.
By the way, Mid Missouri offers an upgrade of ebony fingerboard and bridge. Love my M-4
Michael H Geimer
I find both the M-0 and the M-11 have a nice, full low-end. It's in the high-frequency side of things where they are most different. That's where the mahogany top of the M-11 comes across as warm and mellow and where spruce sounds bright and shiny.
In what types of situations do you see yourself playing with the Mid-mo? See, while the M-11 is my favorite of the two, its tone doesn't really stand out in a mix of instruments too well. It can sound quite dead in a busy context. I think its charm is a subtle charm that goes unnoticed in a crowd. (I have had similiar trouble playing my all-hog guitar in jam circles ... its best qualities sometimes fail to come through)
OTOH my M-0 cuts through and gets noticed in group settings, but then somedays I'll think it sounds too bright on its own.
FWIW ... chordal strumming sounds great on the M-0 and it can even fake a 'chop' sound. The M-11 is much more suited to single note lines, arrpegios, tremolo, etc. Chords don't ring out the same way on the M-11, and there is no hope of getting a 'chop' sound out of that guy.
M-0 = Day
M-11 = Night
Congratulations Martin! Enjoy your new Mid-Mo!
I agree with Benignus, the M-0 is very full and I would say rich on the low end. Quite bassy, especially on the first few notes of the G sring. And it does have somewhat bright highs. I always marvel at the ring of the E string, and I know I've mentioned that before, but it really is beautiful and rich to my ears! That may be common to oval hole mandos in general. I do feel the M-0/M-1 models are quite versatile, they seem to cross over to a lot of styles of music quite well, and have just enough punch to play a bit of bluegrass. Other models probably do as well, but this is the only one I've spent any real time with.
I'm going to play some sweet, Italian melodies on the Mid-Mo right now!!!
Its significant in the few years i've looked at this site I've never come across any seriously negative comment on mid-mos, I think they have developed almost the perfect flat-top mando which satisfies a whole bunch of criteria from volume, tone, playability etc to price and looks. A total feel-good mandolin
Whatever you get should make you happy.
I have a M1 with a wide neck and i've played the hell out of it. I play lots of fiddle tunes and old-timey stuff in sometimes really large sessions with massed fiddlers sawing away but it cuts through, it also has a nice sweet sound just by itself. I think all mando players should have a mid-mo just as a reminder that there is an alternative to the fetishism of the bluegrass mando world (that's not to say that I don't lust after an expensive F5 from time to time either!) I seen guys with big name F styles warily pick up my mid-mo and then just start happily smiling with the sound that comes out of it.