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Thread: Paracho elite roma mandoin

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    Default Paracho elite roma mandoin

    Has anyone played one of these before? I love the look but I dont think they have a truss rod so I am not sure if it would be worth getting. How important is a truss rod in a mandolin? http://parachoelite.com/mandolin2.html

  2. #2
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Paracho elite roma mandoin

    They build a bunch of these in Mexico. I don't think the presence/absence of a truss rod is the crucial issue. If you keep the strings light, you should be OK on a well-constructed instrument with properly seasoned wood and the neck correctly attached. Not saying that the Paracho Elite Roma doesn't meet these criteria, but -- consider the price, $200, and the fact that it's the product of a "cottage industry" with construction spread among a bunch of homes and shops.

    Hundreds of thousands of mandolins were built before truss rods came in around 1920, bowl-backs and other types, and they were mostly OK, if not asked to handle too-heavy strings. You may well do fine with the Paracho, but if you can get a chance to try it first, that would make a great deal of sense.
    Allen Hopkins
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    Full Grown and Cussin' brunello97's Avatar
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    Default Re: Paracho elite roma mandoin

    I may be one of the few folks here that actually has a Paracho-built mandolin that he is happy with (I hope to hear from others.) I bought one about five years ago-the "Venice" model. (Though I always like the looks of the "Roma" and associated it more with Roma, TX than Roma, IT--both places I like to visit.)

    Playability was a bit rough at first, mostly because of the poor set up. I replaced the nut and bridge and have kept light gauge strings on it, though the finish on it probably strengthens the neck as much as any truss rod would. It plays very smoothly now, a little boomy but just fine. The neck fits my hand very nicely. The intonation is surprisingly good and the tuners work very well. My only complaint is the fret material is quite soft. I've had to dress them a few times. I should just replace them altogether some day soon. I think I paid $68 for mine new, and I have a hunch you can find a better price for a Roma than the $199 list, particularly on the ebay. I play mine every day while waiting for my coffee. No other way to put it except that it is a nice mandolin. The price definitely provoked some angst. Some folks have lamented here that these are hit-or-miss in quality. Would I take a risk on one of these over some Mitch McTucky model from far distant shores? You betcha.

    Mick
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    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Paracho elite roma mandoin

    Mick's hands-on experience is worth 250% of my theorizing, IMHO. I would, however, point out that he's replaced the nut, replaced the bridge, dressed the frets "a few times" (and may replace them), and now has "a nice mandolin" that cost $68 new and probably has significantly more buxx into it in terms of retro-fitting.

    Still think it would make sense to play one first, but at least you're not laying out a major amount, and it sure is a neat-looking instrument.
    Allen Hopkins
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    Sobell'dola Washburn b-back'dola
    Eastmn: 615'dola 805 m'cello
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    Full Grown and Cussin' brunello97's Avatar
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    Default Re: Paracho elite roma mandoin

    Okay, full disclosure: before meeting my wonderful wife I dated una Michoacana for awhile and have fond memories of the area, which may temper my judgement. You are right, Allen, if I wasn't able to do that type of basic set-up work myself, I probably would be humming a different tune about these. But all of that is pretty straight ahead work for those with even a bit of chutzpah and a few tools. Having those things done in a proper shop would certainly have lapped the purchase price more than a few times over.

    These folks also offer a nice range of bajos sextos which I have long wanted to add to the posse. Your advice to 'try first' makes very good sense.

    Mick
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    Default Re: Paracho elite roma mandoin

    Its probably similar to my Johnson bouzouki. When I got it, it was unplayable. But after a luthier worked on the nut, filed down the bridge, dressed the frets, and a total of $150.00 worth of stuff its great. So $350 plus $50 (the luthier cut me a deal because of his first time seeing one) and I have a great low action, great intonation bouzouki. Set up is a must for the lower priced instrument.

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    Default Re: Paracho elite roma mandoin

    Some of the luthiers in Paracho (I'm thinking of the serious classical guitar builders) make some very nice instruments. It's conceivable that some day they will be competitive in the handmade mando market.

    (Hey, Mick--did you ever check out the Pericutin volcano, not too far from Paracho? It's an interesting excursion.)

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    Default Re: Paracho elite roma mandoin

    (Hey, Mick--did you ever check out the Pericutin volcano, not too far from Paracho? It's an interesting excursion.)[/QUOTE]

    Yes, I have driven around Michoacan a bit and been to see Paricutin and drove up over the mountains to Guanajuato. A great trip. I remember seeing a movie about Paricutin when I was a kid and how fast it grew and always wanted to visit. Did you get a guitar there? I thought Paracho was a nice town and worth supporting sobre todo cuando tanto trabajo se envํa al extranjero. Me gusta mucho la mandolina. Siempre me hace feliz a jugarlo.

    Mick
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    Default Re: Paracho elite roma mandoin

    That looks remarkably like a Lone Star Roma. I had a Lone Star Venice (slightly fancier version of their Roma). The set up out of the box was awful and the tuners were a little slippy. It was a pleasant enough looking instrument for my first mandolin.

    Jamie
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    Default Re: Paracho elite roma mandoin

    Aren't the Lone Star instruments made in Paracho? Robert at folkmusician.com seems to say so. I've seen a variety of Latin American string instruments (guitarron, cuatro etc.) with the Lone Star label.

    Answering my own question: website says "LoneStar Guitars is now Paracho Elite Guitars."
    Allen Hopkins
    Gibsn: '54 F5 3pt F2 A-N Custm K1 m'cello
    Natl Triolian Dobro mando
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    Stradolin Vega banjolin
    Sobell'dola Washburn b-back'dola
    Eastmn: 615'dola 805 m'cello
    Flatiron 3K OM

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    Full Grown and Cussin' brunello97's Avatar
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    Default Re: Paracho elite roma mandoin

    Quote Originally Posted by JEStanek View Post
    .... It was a pleasant enough looking instrument for my first mandolin.

    Jamie
    I wish my car had as durable of a finish

    Mick
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    Default Re: Paracho elite roma mandoin

    It was durable. ;-) I think for the money, it was OK if you got better tuners on it. Once I got a clue and had mine set up it was comfortable to play. I personally struggled as it had neither fretboard or side dots. It was my first mandolin, after all. I finally painted some on the side to help me out. I ultimately gave it to a teenage nephew who showed some interest. You always remember your first mandolin.

    Jamie
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    Default Re: Paracho elite roma mandoin

    Quote Originally Posted by JEStanek View Post
    It was durable. ;-) I personally struggled as it had neither fretboard or side dots. It was my first mandolin, after all. I finally painted some on the side to help me out. Jamie
    I forgot about that. I did get some MOP dots from Stewart McDonald and put them in. (I can hear Allen laughing now.....) My tuners seem to hold just fine. I think they are Ping brand, if I am not mistaken. I guess I have been the lucky one with it, perhaps balancing some of the funky karma of some of my less fortunate mandolin purchases. It does seem like some kind of automotive or gym floor clear coat on it. I'm not inclined to try any 'random hippie sanding' on it but wonder how much tone is being smothered in polyurethane. And what kinds of mystery wood it is all made of.

    Mick

    BTW, Allen, it was a Lone Star bajo sexto that I tried out. Like Quasimodo, I had a hunch this was the same crew.
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    Default Re: Paracho elite roma mandoin

    Mine had (as advertised) cedar top and rosewood and sycamore back and sides. I got mine for $120. If I could find one used (under $80) with decent functioning tuners, it might be fun. However, I have plenty of much nicer mandolins and if I add anymore it will be mandola, resonator or banjo. I have a great flat top.

    Jamie
    There are two things to aim at in life: first, to get what you want; and, after that, to enjoy it. Only the wisest of mankind achieve the second. Logan Pearsall Smith, 1865 - 1946

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    Default Re: Paracho elite roma mandoin

    Mick,

    I got my first classical guitar there (in 1975, not an expensive or particularly fine instrument) and my current favorite classical was made there (but I didn't go there to get it).
    Living in Texas I read and hear many news stories about life in Mexico these days. I'm in no hurry to go back given the present volatile climate. And Michoacan is right next to Guerrero, one of the hotspots of trouble.

    Mike

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    Full Grown and Cussin' brunello97's Avatar
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    Default Re: Paracho elite roma mandoin

    Yeah, Mike, I hear you. I have a lot of family from down in Laredo and NL. We've kept our house in Austin and spend as much time as we can there-just got back from SA. The news across the border is pretty grim. We used to do a lot of work out in Juarez but that was back in the 90s which seems like an eternity ago. A lot of sadness down there and it hurts because I know the border country well and have so many friends. That said, a colleague just returned from Mexico City and had a wonderful trip. He's German (as is my wife) and was blown away by the hospitality. Aren't we all? Here's hoping for a return to some peace and prosperity. That is if we could stop buying drugs and selling guns and turn our attention back to the guitar and mandolin trade. I don't play guitar all that much any more but would love to get one from the other Mich.

    Mick
    Ever tried, ever failed, no matter. Try again, fail again, fail better.--Samuel Beckett
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