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Thread: Best Bluegrass Mandolin

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    What in your opinion is the best bluegrass mandolin for any level of player?.Gibson,Breedlove,Rigel,or whatever brand you might think is best for the purpose of Bluegrass music.

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    ....are we gonna open up this can of worms?.....there are so many makes and styles out there..what works for you may not work for me....the "Best" is in the eyes of the Beholder...

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    Registered User jim_n_virginia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by (newmando7 @ May 30 2004, 01:17)
    What in your opinion is the best bluegrass mandolin for any level of player?.Gibson,Breedlove,Rigel,or whatever brand you might think is best for the purpose of Bluegrass music.
    The one I have in my hands...wanna buy it? #

    just kidding....

    This question is like asking...."which truck is best for 4-wheeling"

    There is just too many makes and models out there to give a clear answer, and besides sound is so subjective. What sounds like heaven to one sounds terrible to another. I would suggest to keep reading Mando Cafe and keep an eye out and see what other bleugrass players are using and utilize the search functions on this forum and read older threads on this subject.

    SOON you will form your OWN opinion as to what is the best bluegrass mandolin. #




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    Registered User Atlanta Mando Mike's Avatar
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    An easier question to answer would be what are the most expensive bluegrass mandolins. Price isn't subjective. Gibson Loyd Loars fetch over $100,000. Monteleons, Dudenbostels, Nuggets and Gilchrists fetch over $20,000. You have alot more makers in the $8,000-$10,000 range (Brentrup, Gibson master models, lawrence Smart, etc...) and alot more in the lower ranges that are still very good.
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    Registered User John Flynn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by
    the "Best" is in the eyes of the Beholder
    Scotti: Those are my sentiments exactly, but you have to admit that a predominance of the "beholders" on the board here take a pretty narrow view on this. It seems to be "Best in the eyes of the beholder, as long as it is an F that woofs like a Gibson." Could it be a solid body electric? A Mid-mo? I don't think so. Could it be an import? I wouldn't care, but some others clearly do. When specific models/brands get mentioned, like some of the ones newmando7 suggested, all of a sudden the beholders get real opinionated.

    Here is my answer: For production mandolins, Gibson is the de facto standard. As far as tone and social acceptability in bluegrass you cannot go wrong there. Flatirons are also pretty cool if you can find one used. The Webers are good also. I love Breedloves and Rigels and I think they are fine in bluegrass, but they don't fit the traditional mold and some others don't like them for bluegrass. I personally own a Rigel, BTW, and I do play it for bluegrass. F-holes seem to be preferable to oval holes, F-styles seem to be preferable to A-styles. Assuming you are buying new and want it right away, for under $500, I would look at Kentucky, under $1,000 I would look at Michael Kelly, under $3,000 Gibson, Weber or Collings. If I were only playing bluegrass, personally I would buy a Collings. If you are open to used or custom, that is a pretty big ocean. Make your best deal.




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    My 1998 Flatiron F-5 Special!!

    Seriously though there's a ton of them out there in all brands and shapes. For the "visual" effect, hardcore traditionalist will say that only and F-style will do, but that's baloney in my book. I'd say find the one that sounds the best for your group and your style of playing and damn the rest.

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    Registered User evanreilly's Avatar
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    Best Blue Grass mandolin: the model played by Bill Monroe & Ricky Skaggs. Hands down!!!
    July 9th, 1923 model Gibson Master Model.

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    OK Evan, what's the 'best' flavour of ice cream? #

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    I love Goodall guitars. # I think they are the best! #But, #my nextdoor neighbor says his jumbo maple Taylor is the best there is. Then again my friend with a band thinks his Martin D16 is the best there is. #It's whatever works the best for you. #I wonder if other folks think like this: #A guitar repairman told me years ago that we are all always looking for the perfect guitar or mandolin. #He said we are really never done looking for the best sounding instrument. #It seems when we find the perfect one after a few years we may find one the blows the socks off the old favorite. #I know this had happened to me. #I bet it happens to other folks on this board like Scott, #Big Joe and even Charlie Derrington. I don't know, #maybe when you are lucky enough to have a Loar F5 it will all stop but I don't think so. #Because those folks will not always want to take that mandolin out so it will start all over again to find the perfect backup mando. #All I know is this: #American insturments are the best in the world and there are so many to choose from now. #Now the great search is harder than ever but man, #what fun! # Nick
    ntriesch

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    ...and you all know that my BRW #6 is the best mando for me

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    Thank you everybody for your opinions as that is what my question was,what in YOUR opinion is the best Bluegrass Mandolin.I did not want to have a negative effect on this post just interested in peoples opinions.My current mandolin plays fine for my level I just don`t think that it has the sound that I am looking for(or maybe my fingers aren`t making the sound I am looking for)But thank you all!!!!!!!!

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    Registered User Coy Wylie's Avatar
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    newmando7,

    Though it has been stated in many, many posts, the only way to find the mando that has the tone you are looking for is to get out and play as many as possible.




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    The proper specific question would be "..best Blue Grass ice cream...". That would be whatever flavor ice cream Bill Monroe used to get the sound he wanted in the Blue Grass Music. #Personally, I don't know what that flavor is, probably vanilla.
    But I do know for a fact what flavor mandolin Monroe used to get the sound he wanted in the Blue Grass music. #That is not a matter of conjecture. #Gibson #73987 is the sound of Blue Grass mandolin.

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    Speaking of specific questions, Evan, why not go back and read newmando7's original post?

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    Registered User evanreilly's Avatar
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    Sure: Gibson brand mandolins <G>

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    OK, we're on the same page. Wouldn't part with my F-5 for anything!

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    Whats the best mandolin? Hummm??

    Whats the best icecream?
    Whats the best car?
    Who was the best President?
    Who was the best baseball player?

    There is, and will continue to be many answers to those qustions. However, when it come to the mandolin, you will never be able to go wrong with a Gibson.

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    I figure as long as the Gibson love-fest is going on here, somebody should say a bit in the opposite direction. I have played quite a few Gibson F-5 mandos (several for a good while, and about 15 different new and used ones at Wintergrass) and there wasn't one that I would put head and shoulders above any of the other fine companies out there, and I would actually say that most in my experience have been worse (points fingers in the direction of a Gibson Fern with a very sharp, overextended, and hand-gashing MOP nut at wintergrass). Just my opinion I know, but in terms of production mandos Collings seems to have the most consistent quality I've seen - minus the glory and tradition of the glowing MOP "the gibson" on top. But regardless, if you spend a few grand or more on a mandolin, you will get a great instrument - 'nuff said.

    Just my two cents all too late at night.
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