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Thread: Weber "Sweet Pea" mandolin

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    Still learning Taylor and Tenor's Avatar
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    Smile Weber "Sweet Pea" mandolin

    Does any own a Weber Sweet Pea? Do you like how it plays? What don't you like about the instrument?

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    Moderator JEStanek's Avatar
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    Default Re: Weber "Sweet Pea" mandolin

    I had a Weber Sweet Pea. I got it maybe 4 years ago. What I liked. The integral tailpiece was nice, the build quality was great, the neck shape was good, the tuners held well, it had a nice treble-y voice. It was small and went with me easily.

    What I didn't like was the lack of volume and bass (but these are too be expected considering the small body size). Even with the small body size it still sounded good enough for playing by myself. A full size mandolin isn't that much bigger. Maybe for air trips or what have you the sweet pea would work packed inside checked luggage. Ultimately, I didn't need it and didn't play it for over a year so I sold to a guy going to Ireland.

    I think if you do a lot of packed travel or honest backpacking it's a great little mandolin. Mine had become a tool I wasn't using. No regrets for owning or moving it along. I'll say this, I preferred it to the Martin backpacker soundwise and for the better tail piece.

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    Registered User John Flynn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Weber "Sweet Pea" mandolin

    I've played a few in stores. I find they are the devil to get in tune, they sound tinny and the neck is way too thin for my liking. On the plus side, as has been said, they are well built and an innovative design.

    I have to pack a mandolin inside checked baggage a lot, so having a travel mando is a must for me. I much prefer my Mederios travel mandolin, which is just a bit larger than the Sweet Pea. However, if anything were to happen to that, I would probably buy a used Sweet Pea and get it professionally set up with T-I strings. T-I's tend to take the tinniness out of the little critters.

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    Registered User man dough nollij's Avatar
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    Default Re: Weber "Sweet Pea" mandolin

    I have one, but it's dead. The top caved in last year down here in Antarctica. I don't think it was a build quality issue-- I think the brace let go from chronic lack of humidity.

    I really liked it for quiet practicing around the house. Don't expect to kill any banjos with one-- they're pretty quiet. I think mine had a really nice tone, though.

    I tried to fit mine inside a standard soft-sided carryon bag, and it was about an inch too long to fit in there diagonally. There is no hard case option for them that I know of, which is pretty strange for a travel mandolin.

    I found that they fit nearly perfectly in a 3/4 size violin hard case, with room for extra stuff. I would highly recommend that if you're going to be travelling with one.

    Happy Pickin',

    Lee

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    Free Spirit Aran's Avatar
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    Default Re: Weber "Sweet Pea" mandolin

    Thread resurrection.....

    Off to Thailand again which involves hot weather and rickety tiny boats that sometimes capsize (it happened in January) and........ well last time I so missed having a mandolin and there was some really groovy jam opportunities that I had pass on aswell... Not this time I'm thinking.

    Was thinking of bringing my old Morgan Monroe beater... but to be honest it's not really that great sounding and a little bit too big....

    Is there a good sounding and LOUD travel mandolin out there????

    Gonna try a sweetpea in TAMCO in November if Trevor still has one but I'm open to suggestions..
    Mando: Weber Bitteroot

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    Default Re: Weber "Sweet Pea" mandolin

    Size wise a Flatiron pancake would probably fit your bill (the Montana made ones), but they're fairly lightly built. They have great oval hole tone/volume, but aren't f-hole mandos by any stretch. Great reviews on here recently about Redline Travellers as well, though I haven't played one. Ovations are pretty rugged and make great travel mandos, but again are primarily made to be plugged in. My beater guitar is an applause that's a piece of junk but nearly indestructible, and it does what I need it to. My Mandobird works well for travel, also, as it's pretty rugged and cheap to replace if something does happen, but without an amp you're left to quiet practice for the most part.

    Of course, the ultimate travel mando is the Mix carbon fiber, but those are pricey compared to the models above. When I get to a point where I can spend what I want on a travel mando and not have it be an issue, a Mix is the direction I'll go.

    Also of note, you can usually find Rover a-styles for 129-139 USD...set up well they can sound decent, and you're not out a lot if you get ducked again...
    Chuck

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    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Weber "Sweet Pea" mandolin

    I brought my Leo, a 13" scale wee Mandolin on my last adventureistic Bike tour , cant say its really loud, reducing the size of the soundboard cant make it louder, But it was only 20" long , so no excuse to not take it , got a thickly padded bag made up ,
    Loud criteria would favor a Banjo-mandolin, durable and the Mylar head would be too.
    off the shelf: Goldtone .. A banjo Uke restrung to a GDAE tuning ?
    Elderly has several Cast aluminum banjo Ukes .. talk about a durable travel option,
    only the Skin Head is the weak link..

    A good frequent flier travel mandolin, without a doubt, one of them Mix of Carbon Fiber ..

    A more compact weather proof travel mandolin like a Carbon Fiber sweet pea could carve out a small , unique niche in the mandolin market place , though may be too small a segment to have any returns on investment .

    {anyone have need for a big tax write-off ?, I am currently unemployed .

    Yea, It's good .. get up to $3600 and a conventional Gibson-ite A shape [6K 'F']
    and the Mix Mandolin can do a great job at home and abroad .

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    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Weber "Sweet Pea" mandolin

    How much smaller than a regular mandolin does a "travel" mandolin have to be?

    If you want something loud and durable, you could consider one of the brass-bodied resonator mandolins sold under different names (Johnson, Republic, Recording King). "Good sounding" -- not so much. However, you could drive nails with them; a bit heavy, though, which militates against the "travel" designation. Martin used to make, doesn't any more, a Backpacker mandolin, which was small and tiny-sounding, can't vouch for the ruggedness. Used ones are around for sale.

    I'd just get a decent cheap mandolin, probably plywood, off the used market for a couple hundred buxx -- one that you wouldn't mind losing overboard if your ferryboat capsized. Or, as suggested above, a cheap used banjo-mandolin. Plenty of those around. Your jam partners won't like you, but you'll definitely be loud. Plastic banjo head for sure.
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    Registered User 8ch(pl)'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Weber "Sweet Pea" mandolin

    Actually, a Mid Missouri (Big Muddy) is quite small. The headstock is just big enough for the tuners, it doesn't waste any space there. I would say it is likely at least an inch shorter than most mandolins. Then, it comes with a 13 inch violin scale option. That will knock almost anotheri nch off the length.

    If I wanted a new, travel instrument, this is what I would think of. An F hole is not the thought here, since the thread addresses a Sweet Pea.

  10. #10
    Registered User John Flynn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Weber "Sweet Pea" mandolin

    NFI, but if I were in the market for a travel mandolin, I would seriously consider this recent entry into the market:

    http://www.selkiestrings.co.uk/micro%20mandolins.html

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    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Weber "Sweet Pea" mandolin

    Interesting John .. wonder if you use a screwdriver to tune it ?, semi acoustic means you gotta haul the battery powered amp around too ..
    Risa Stick Is another Headless plug it in to hear it 4 string that is even thinner ..
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    Registered User John Flynn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Weber "Sweet Pea" mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by mandroid View Post
    Interesting John .. wonder if you use a screwdriver to tune it ?, semi acoustic means you gotta haul the battery powered amp around too ..
    Risa Stick Is another Headless plug it in to hear it 4 string that is even thinner ..
    The tuners are friction fit "zither pins" like you might find in an autoharp or a hammered dulcimer. There are four holes, one for each string, in the back of the instrument, near the tailpiece, that accept a removable tuning key. Unlike the Risa, though, this one does have an acoustic sound chamber, so the amp would be optional. FWIW, in a quiet room by myself, I can hear my Risa just fine without an amp. I imagine with a sound chamber and steel strings, this "micro mandolin" might actually put out a decent amount of sound.

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    Registered User Eric Hanson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Weber "Sweet Pea" mandolin

    Is there anywhere in the states to try one the Micro-Mandolins?
    Eric Hanson
    Click #016/ Born on 2/29/08

  14. #14
    Registered User John Flynn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Weber "Sweet Pea" mandolin

    The micro mandolin builder posts on the Cafe' occasionally. I got the impression that he makes those to order and just started building them, so I would guess there aren't too many of them anywhere. I would PM him or contact him through his website and find out though. If you do get to play one, let us know. FWIW, he posted that he may offer it as a kit sometime next year.

  15. #15
    Registered User Eric Hanson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Weber "Sweet Pea" mandolin

    Thanks!
    I'll send him a message and see what I can find out.
    Eric Hanson
    Click #016/ Born on 2/29/08

  16. #16
    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Weber "Sweet Pea" mandolin

    Oh Man 1:1 tuners on inelastic steel short strings are such a PIA to tune ,
    but oh well autoharps and pianos cope some how..

    I tried a Nice Vega Melody banjo with friction pegs , and found it so fussy to tune that I gave that one back,
    converted an 8 string to 4 with geared tuners instead ..
    OTOH elastic nylon strings and friction tuners are fine...
    writing about music
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