Re: When is it time for a new mando?
Any time I see one I like. I've done two "impulse buys" this year, Eastman DGM-1 and Martin Style A. But I am a seriously disturbed person, whose example you should not, repeat, should not emulate.
Seriously, the time to consider buying an upgrade instrument, which is what you're talking about, is when you feel you've exhausted the potential of your current mandolin, and a new, better instrument would provide you with additional musical opportunities and options. When you say to yourself, "This Shmergel mandolin has taken me as far as it can, and now I need something better to increase my musical potential."
Or, if you see something you like...
Gibsn: '54 F5 3pt F2 A-N Custm K1 m'cello
Natl Triolian Dobro mando
Victoria b-back Merrill alumnm b-back
Stradolin Vega banjolin
Sobell'dola Washburn b-back'dola
Eastmn: 615'dola 805 m'cello
Flatiron 3K OM