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Thread: American Made

  1. #1
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    Default American Made

    What are some good AMERICAN made mandolins for around $500?

    AMERICAN!!!

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    Registered User Dave Weiss's Avatar
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    Default Re: American Made

    Big Muddy

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    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: American Made

    Redline Traveler, if you count $685 as being "around $500."

    Shawnee Creek two-point, $550.

    Big Muddy M-0, $530 w/narrower neck.

    Other than that, you're into the used market. And you needn't shout "AMERICAN!!!" at us; we get where you're coming from. Of the sub-$500 mandolins, the overwhelming majority are Asian imports. Easier to find a US-made mandolin, than a US-made TV set. Zenith keeps one TV assembly plant going in Springfield MO (almost all its sets are assembled in Mexico), so it can claim to be the only manufacturer of "American made TV sets." Everything else comes on a boat across the Pacific...! (Or on a semi over the Rio Grande.)
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    Default Re: American Made

    Quote Originally Posted by allenhopkins View Post
    Redline Traveler, if you count $685 as being "around $500."

    Shawnee Creek two-point, $550.

    Big Muddy M-0, $530 w/narrower neck.

    Other than that, you're into the used market. And you needn't shout "AMERICAN!!!" at us; we get where you're coming from. Of the sub-$500 mandolins, the overwhelming majority are Asian imports. Easier to find a US-made mandolin, than a US-made TV set. Zenith keeps one TV assembly plant going in Springfield MO (almost all its sets are assembled in Mexico), so it can claim to be the only manufacturer of "American made TV sets." Everything else comes on a boat across the Pacific...! (Or on a semi over the Rio Grande.)
    Thanks Allen, and i wasnt trying to be rude, just getting the point across. The style im looking for is more like the Shawnee two point. An Fstyle with ff holes.

  5. #5
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: American Made

    The Shawnee Creek F-model is more money than you specified ($650), though that's still less than the Redline Traveler. The two-point has the f-holes you want, but no scroll. I think it's a handsome instrument, but have to confess I've never played and never even seen a Shawnee Creek "live." Their prices are surprisingly low for hand-carved instruments, and of course one has to wonder "how they do it." (Which is what I keep asking about those elaborately hand-inlaid Vietnamese instruments that go for $69 on eBay.)

    So I'd have to defer to anyone on the Cafe who's actually played one. But I will say that if Shawnee Creek mandolins are good instruments, their prices are astoundingly reasonable for US-made, solid-wood, hand-built mandolins.
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    Default Re: American Made

    This is where world economics unfortunately comes into the picture. Due to demand, you're not going to see mandolins cranked out like mass-market product, so we're not dealing with Ford-like factory production here.

    Part of that $500 covers dealer profit and shipping. Subtract the cost of materials and any company expenses, and you're looking at a pretty low hourly wage for an American builder. That's why Breedloves and Petersens start at around twice that price.
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    Default Re: American Made

    Siminoff kit and you make it yourself! It's challenging to ask for an American built carved top F style mandolin at a price point that doesn't put food on the table.

    Jamie
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    Registered User Rex Hart's Avatar
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    Default Re: American Made

    Zenith shut down it's Springfield operation about 10 years ago.
    Quote Originally Posted by allenhopkins View Post
    Redline Traveler, if you count $685 as being "around $500."

    Shawnee Creek two-point, $550.

    Big Muddy M-0, $530 w/narrower neck.

    Other than that, you're into the used market. And you needn't shout "AMERICAN!!!" at us; we get where you're coming from. Of the sub-$500 mandolins, the overwhelming majority are Asian imports. Easier to find a US-made mandolin, than a US-made TV set. Zenith keeps one TV assembly plant going in Springfield MO (almost all its sets are assembled in Mexico), so it can claim to be the only manufacturer of "American made TV sets." Everything else comes on a boat across the Pacific...! (Or on a semi over the Rio Grande.)
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    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: American Made

    Rex, thanx for the update. I was going by a journal article that was apparently somewhat "vintage." So, you can't buy an American-made TV set, right?

    But you can buy an American-made mandolin, and here's another option:

    FloodTone mandolins, made apparently in Las Vegas, prices running as low as $350, many options as to woods, construction etc. Curved tops and backs, remind me of the old Weymann mandolutes.

    Not a carved-top, f-hole instrument, such as ShotgunW evidently prefers, though.
    Allen Hopkins
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    Natl Triolian Dobro mando
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    H-O mandolinetto
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    Sobell'dola Washburn b-back'dola
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    Registered User JonZ's Avatar
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    Default Re: American Made

    I object to the question, Señor.
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    Default Re: American Made

    Quote Originally Posted by JonZ View Post
    I object to the question, Señor.
    Well, I'll be darned, never thought I'd agree with jonz, cool!

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    Registered User Onesound's Avatar
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    Default Re: American Made

    ... and RCA shut down their last US PictureTube plants in Scranton PA and Marion IN in the early '00s. Their receiver plant in Bloomington, ID was moved to Juarez Mexico a few years earlier. Zenith was bought out by Lucky Goldstar (S Korea) back in the '90s (if I recall) and RCA was bought from GE in 1987 by the French owned Thomson. No American built TVs for quite a long time actually.

    We're lucky that we still have several world class mandolin manufactures that are 100% American (not to mention all the terrific independent builders). Of course, we also have some wonderful builders who handcraft marvelous instruments in Canada, Europe and Australia.
    Cheers,

    Brian

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    Default Re: American Made

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Bunting View Post
    Well, I'll be darned, never thought I'd agree with jonz, cool!
    Muchos gracias!
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    Default Re: American Made

    Quote Originally Posted by JonZ View Post
    I object to the question, Señor.
    What's wrong with the question?

  15. #15
    Registered User JonZ's Avatar
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    Default Re: American Made

    I don't know if there is anything wrong with the question. I just thought it would be fun for me to object to someone else's question for a change.

    Plus, I wanted to see if I could get Mike Bunting to agree with me.
    Last edited by JonZ; Dec-07-2010 at 1:12am.
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    Quote Originally Posted by JonZ View Post
    I don't know if there is anything wrong with the question. I just thought it would be fun for me to object to someone else's question for a change.

    Plus, I wanted to see if I could get Mike Bunting to agree with me.
    Well now I take it all back!

  17. #17
    Registered User JonZ's Avatar
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    Registered User Jim MacDaniel's Avatar
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    Default Re: American Made

    Quote Originally Posted by Onesound View Post
    Of course, we also have some wonderful builders who handcraft marvelous instruments in Canada, Europe and Australia.
    ...as well as in South America, Japan, and New Zealand -- not to mention Israel's Arik Kerman.
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    Default Re: American Made

    Good vintage flat or canted top oval hole mandolins can be had in that price range, as well as the better bowlback mandolins.

  20. #20
    Talentless Hack Rick Cadger's Avatar
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    Default Re: American Made

    Limiting yourself to American-made instruments cuts out the majority of decent new instruments that would otherwise be in your budget.

    At the risk of a ham sandwich, if you would consider Asian instruments you would have quite a few very good options.
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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: American Made

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Cadger View Post
    ...At the risk of a ham sandwich, if you would consider Asian instruments you would have quite a few very good options.
    I don't care you you are, that's funny.

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    Registered User Lou Giordano's Avatar
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    Default Re: American Made

    I spoke to Mike (Shawnee Creek) a couple of days ago. He was very helpful. He is flexible on things like nut width as well. Mike is getting busy now with a number of recent orders. His mandolin is high on my MAS list.

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    bon vivant jaycat's Avatar
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    Default Re: American Made

    Am I the only one who thinks the American-made options listed above are, well . . . kind of unattractive looking?

    (and that comparisons to television sets are pretty irrelevant?)
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    Registered User Lou Giordano's Avatar
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    Default Re: American Made

    I don't know how to say this so I will not offend anyone. I truly don't want to do that. If I am out of line moderators, please dump this post.

    I'm 61 and I was unemployed for a year and a half and now consider myself blessed to have a part time job. I bought my Kentucky KM505, not knowing that I could get one of Mikes mandolins for a few bucks more. For me I don't care if Mike's work may not look as good as my 505. I would rather give my money to an individual than a corporation. It's desperate times. I would make that sacrifice to help someone. Just leftovers from my 70s Hippy mentality.

  25. #25
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: American Made

    There's nothing wrong with wanting to do buisness with a small guy vs. a big guy and there's nothing wrong with wanting to do business with a big guy vs. a small guy. That's not offensive, it's personal choice. There's nothing wrong with preferring one brand over another or one country of origin over another. That's personal choice. Where the conversation becomes a problem is when the conversation becomes politicized.

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