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Thread: Is a sub-$1,000 new American made Mando Available?

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    Default Is a sub-$1,000 new American made Mando Available?

    I'd love to hear everyone's comments on whether new, American-made mandolins priced less than $1,000 are available.

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    Moderator JEStanek's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is a sub-$1,000 new American made Mando Available?

    Welcome to the Café. Look for the occasional classified ad from Howard Morris for an arch top carved mandolin at ~$1k. There are a variety of flat top makers in the US as well Red Line Traveller, Gypsy, Big Muddy, Arches that meet or are close to your break point. Vintage Martins, some Vintage Gibsons, Breedloves can be found used for sub $1k too.

    You could help us if you told us what you wanted to play and what you wanted your mandolin to look like (A or F, ff holes or oval, etc).

    Jamie
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    Default Re: Is a sub-$1,000 new American made Mando Available?

    several Flat tops easily meet that criteria, if that meets with your needs..

    Builder direct saves money too, rather than thru Dealers needing to add some costs for their operating expenses.
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    Registered User banJoe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is a sub-$1,000 new American made Mando Available?

    Yes, several. The only carved top that I am aware of is an A style from Howard Morris. The others are flat top mandos and you can find them from Arches (Chris Baird), Big Muddy (formerly Mid-Mo), RedLine Traveler available from RedLine Acoustics (is that right?) Gypsy Mandolins, Floodtone Mandolins, Pomeroy intruduced a flat top last year. Probably many, many more that I have failed to mention or am unaware of.

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    Default Re: Is a sub-$1,000 new American made Mando Available?

    Breedlove OF and OO carved are close, but a little over $1K.

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    Default Re: Is a sub-$1,000 new American made Mando Available?

    These are all useful responses - thank you. I'm absorbing as much info as I can to make a wise choice on my next mandolin. I already know it has to be american-made, and I like the f style with f holes. I'm learning on a very cheap model, but plan to upgrade in the next few months. Train's Hey Soul Sister song with ukelele made me buy the mandolin. And a night at the Purple Fiddle in Thomas West Virginia, listening to the Whiskey Rebellion (banjo, fiddle, bass, guitar and mandolin) sold me on bluegrass after many, many years of rock and pop. Incredible music.

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    Registered User jimbob's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is a sub-$1,000 new American made Mando Available?

    Just my opinion, but I would not rule out a used mandolin. You have a good (better) chance of finding a used one for +/- $ 1000 vs. a new one.

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    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is a sub-$1,000 new American made Mando Available?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chili View Post
    I already know it has to be american-made, and I like the f style with f holes.
    Likely need to come up with more cash then , those bits add to labor and material costs.

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    Registered User Josh Kaplan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is a sub-$1,000 new American made Mando Available?

    Howard Morris has an A5 mandolin for sale in the classifieds now for $850, if you can live with an A-style with f-holes. Very nice mandolins. I have one and like it very much.

    Josh

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    Default Re: Is a sub-$1,000 new American made Mando Available?

    I'd suggest looking at a Flatiron A model, used. I love mine and also have much higher priced mandolins, but my Flatiron is very capable of what I need out of a mandolin.

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    Registered User David Rambo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is a sub-$1,000 new American made Mando Available?

    You can also check out Thomas Jessen"s site: http://www.cricketfiddle.com/mandolins.htm I have one of his A's.
    "Put your hands to the wood
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    Joe Grant and Al Parrish (chorus from The Music in the Wood)

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    Default Re: Is a sub-$1,000 new American made Mando Available?

    You may have a hard time finding an F-style F holed USA model for under 1000. There may be one out there, but I haven't heard of it yet.

    There are some pretty nice A styles you can find for about that price with F holes. Maybe not the look you're wanting, but they'll have all the tone...

    You may find some pretty nice imports in your preferred style (an Eastman 815 just popped up), but I understand and applaude your desire to support a luthier closer to home!
    Chuck

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    Default Re: Is a sub-$1,000 new American made Mando Available?

    there's a Nashville-made (Gibson shop) Flatiron in the classifieds right now for just over a grand. NFI, but interesting. . .

    f-d
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    Default Re: Is a sub-$1,000 new American made Mando Available?

    There's a Breedlove FF in the cafe classifieds here - $1100. It's used, but it's an a F style (or at least Breedlove's take on it) with f-holes. As someone else already mentioned, its going to be tough to find an F with f-holes in your price range, but the Breedlove is probably as close as you'll get. NFI on my part, by the way.

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    Default Re: Is a sub-$1,000 new American made Mando Available?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chili View Post
    I already know it has to be american-made, and I like the f style with f holes.
    In that case, I think that the answer to your original question is "no." In fact, I'm not sure that you can find a
    • new
    • American-made
    • f-style
    mandolin for under $1,500, although others may know of one that I don't. (The Breedlove Quartz FF is the cheapest that I know of that meets all three of your criteria, but they usually go for $1,600+ new. There is a used one in the classified for $1,100 right now. NFI)

    For $1K, though, you should be able to find something that fits two of the three. Happy hunting!
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    Purveyor of Sunshine sgarrity's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is a sub-$1,000 new American made Mando Available?

    What's wrong with a Kentucky KM1000 if you have to have an F5?? Or how about a used Gibson A9 or Flatiron A-style if you must have "American made"? The Breedlove FF models I've played have also been nice and a used one should be about $1k.

    As far as getting a new American made F5 for under $1000.......not gonna happen. And if you do find it I'm relatively cerain it will require some good set up work to make it playable.

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    Default Re: Is a sub-$1,000 new American made Mando Available?

    There's Shawnee Creek Mandolins. Haven't really found much information about them other than the website. Anyone have any experience with them, or have heard anything about them?

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    Default Re: Is a sub-$1,000 new American made Mando Available?

    I think there are probably plenty of hobby builders or small shop builders in the States who make F style F hole mandolins but they don't get as much press here because there volume of production is lower. Figure 100-200 hours per instrument figure at least $200-300 in materials and tooling costs even at optimal costs that turns into $7/hour take home. That's why I'm suggesting these would be from hobby builders more than from builders making a living off their ~ $1K F style with F hole instruments.

    Jamie
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    Default Re: Is a sub-$1,000 new American made Mando Available?

    Quote Originally Posted by Marcus CA View Post

    For $1K, though, you should be able to find something that fits two of the three. Happy hunting!
    I won't say absolutely, but I kind of agree. If you could flex on any one of those three criteria you willl have a much better chance of finding something, and something good, for under $1K.
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    Registered User Patrick Hull's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is a sub-$1,000 new American made Mando Available?

    Bryan England. May come close. You might also check out Bulldog mandolins. I would seriously look at England.

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    Cultural Infidel Dave Greenspoon's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is a sub-$1,000 new American made Mando Available?

    Welcome to the Cafe! Like many other folks, I feel that a grand spent on a quality A style is a far better purchase than a grand spent for a strap-hanger on the bass side of your instrument. In othe words, you'll get far more axe for the cash. If the A5 works for you, and you have to have a new instrument, and you're not smitten with a case of scrolliosis, then see if Andrew Jerman would be willing to do something for you. I know that he's best recognized for his electrics, but he's done the A5 before. He's a great guy to do business with, and a regular here on the Cafe.

    If A5 works for you and it doesn't need to be brand new, put out a "wanted" in the classifieds for a Rigel A. The A Natural is an economy model of the A+, most notably by not having the piezo electric pick up installed. It's a little different than most builds in that the sides are radiused (curved outward) instead of flat, but they are great mandolins. This model is really built to be a bluegrass oriented axe, but it is highly versatile and can do it all, and do it well. I've gotten nothing but compliments over the last 7 years for the tone and volume from mine. An A Natural should be easily obtained for less than $1k.

    Good luck on your search, and have a great time when you find your new mandolin!

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    Default Re: Is a sub-$1,000 new American made Mando Available?

    Quote Originally Posted by jimbob View Post
    Just my opinion, but I would not rule out a used mandolin. You have a good (better) chance of finding a used one for +/- $ 1000 vs. a new one.
    Agree. Although I never really think about selling something in the future when I buy (although I am not above picking up a piece of gear because it will make good trade bait), one advantage to buying used is resale. Buying a new piece of gear is like buying a car - it depreciates the minute you walk out the door with it and you can take a real beating if you decide you ant to sell it or trade it in.

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    Registered User Jim MacDaniel's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is a sub-$1,000 new American made Mando Available?

    If you don't mind loosing the scroll, there is a Breedlove OF ("O shaped" A-style with F-holes) in the classifieds for only $800 (classified # 39538).

    There is no pic in the listing, but here is a representative pic:
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    Default Re: Is a sub-$1,000 new American made Mando Available?

    Mike Dulac(sp?) of Mid-Missouri, now Big MuddY mandolins, sells his mandolins to folks exactly like you... Beginners who want a decent sounding mandolin but not wanting to pay well over a thousand for a "bluegrass style" mandolin. His are wonderfully well built mandolins. Mine has taken a real beating because I am legally blind and am frequently bumping it into things. I have calculated that after the five years I have owned and played it my hourly cost is roughly 15 cents per hour of playing time. And that includes a re-fret a couple of years ago. I don't think you can go wrong with a Big Muddy.... I also understand he stands by his mandolins after you buy one.

    The other mandos suggested may be fine too,,, but my own experience is that Big Muddy is a terrific mandolin for the serious but financially challenged player, as you describe yourself.

    And by the way, Dulac is a bluegrass player himself and plays his own Big Muddy in bluegrass jams.
    Bart McNeil

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    Default Re: Is a sub-$1,000 new American made Mando Available?

    I'd go with the $800 Breedlove OF in the Classifieds (as pictured above).

    You'll really get a lot of bang for your buck.
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