New here, been lurking on and off for quite a while. Got many questions, I hope you good folk may be able to answer.
Bought a cheap Chinese mando with potential and would like to improve it for a small outlay.
In my research here it would seem that a tone guard, an arm rest, and the right set of strings are going to be the things that make the biggest difference.
Plus lots of playing to open it up, of course.
WOULD THIS BE A FAIR ASSUMPTION? ANY OTHER SUGGESTIONS?
I started on a cheap tourist toy A style from Russia that wouldn't play past the 7th fret, but was enough to get started on.
I recently bought a Washburn M-120 Ritchie Owens (perhaps not much of a step up I know) for US$630 with K&K pickup and a Brekke bridge. It has the potential with a few tweaks to do what I need it to do, considering I already play Guitar, Bass, and Sax for a living.
I see myself using this instrument in a Union Station kind of style rather than in a bluegrass or celtic role. Love David Grisman but don't expect to be able to play much in this style for a long while.
I will probably use it mainly in an amplified context with a Baggs PADI.
Mandolin choice in my price range in Oz is pretty poor, even the best stores may only carry one example of a model and with import duty they are far more expensive than just the US$ to AUS$ conversion would seem.
My rational for buying the Washburn is that it's a brand a lot of people know and may be easier to sell later on, and it was about 1/2 price; for a fully solid Mandolin. The slightly wider dimensions also appealed to me.
I'm hoping the wood is good enough quality to open up with a lot of playing.
It will eventually need some fret work done in the 15+ fret area but realistically I won't be playing up this area in the near future and will work on it in stages.
I don't ever see myself spending $4000+ on a mandolin, (my USA Strat Plus is only worth 2k although my Bass and Saxes hover around this value.)
As a serious hobby Mando player would this instrument ever be worth a replane and refret, or should I just stick to the removable options previously mentioned and trade up in 12 months time. (or keep this one as a beater)
Thanks for any advice.