Flirting with the 5-string mandolin (again)
Hey all, I know there are a bunch of threads similar to this, but bear with me.
I mostly play 8-string acoustic mandolin. (That's already a lie; I guess my main mandolin in my band these days is a Nat'l RM1 with hot plate. I digress). A few years back, I had a 5-stringer made custom by Mann. It was truly a thing of beauty, made to my exact specifications. Trouble was, I just never dug the sound of it. I'm too much of a journeyman to suss out whether or not it was the instrument that didn't jibe with me, or if -- perish the thought -- 5-string electric mandolin just wasn't my thing. Hoping I'd get a change in tone, I swapped out the rail pickups for strat-style pickups. It still didn't mesh with my ear; the tone always sounded kinda "farty" or "flabby" to me. No offense to Jon, his instruments are incredible crafted. This thing was gorgeous, and had a fantastic feel to it. But ultimately, I decided to part with it.
Cut to now: I've been taking jazz guitar lessons and really, really digging it. Been applying my lessons to the mandolin, and I want a sound that's a little, well, jazzier than my current arsenal of lil' hatchets. Something that could handle some gypsy jazz or western swing. Always been a big fan of Tiny Moore, but yeah, any instrument modeled after his is a little out of my price range. Despite previous experience, I'm into the idea of a 5-string, maybe a 4-string. The old Fender Mandocasters are sexy as hell but a little too pricey (and did they only make 4-strings?)...the newer FM-60E's have a pretty decent look (I'm not nuts about the f-hole) and can be nabbed for fairly cheap. And then another part of me has always craved an 8-string Harmony batwing, even though I know it's a different sound.
Since I broke the bank on the Mann, I'm leery of spending too much. Around 800-1300 seems more responsible, especially since it's unlikely I'll be playing this style of music live anytime soon. I could maaaaybe save up for a vintage Mandocaster, but if I'm going to spend that much money, I could instead get two electric mandolins (a 4- or 5-string and an 8-string). MAS personified, over here.
Of course, getting my hands on any of these instruments to test them out is part of the really great, totally-not-frustrating challenge.
If anyone has suggestions or thoughts, I'm all ears. Thanks in advance!
Gibson F9 2002
Gibson A2 1922