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Thread: Vantage Mandolin

  1. #1
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    Default Vantage Mandolin

    Hi,

    i'm very keen to learn the mandolin. I have seen a Vantage teardrop shaped mandolin at a second hand store and wondered if anyone knew of the make or if they are any good- or what i should look at when picking up a second hand instrument. I know from guitar to check if the neck is straight, the action is good and there are no cracks, but beyond that, i am lost with Mandolin.

    thanks

    Rob

  2. #2
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vantage Mandolin

    Here's an old thread on Vantage mandolins, apparently produced by Matsumoku (a now-defunct Japanese company) in Korea. From what was written four years ago, they appear to be pretty standard Asian-import products, playable if properly set up.

    Depending on your price range, the factors you might want to consider in buying a "learner" mandolin are:
    1/ Solid wood vs. plywood (solid is better)
    2/ Carved vs. heat-pressed top and back (carved is better)
    3/ Hand-carved vs. machine-carved top and back (hand-carved is [probably] better).

    You can tell a lot from the printed specs, which may well be accessible on-line if you're buying a new or recently-built mandolin. If it says "spruce top" but not "solid spruce top," it's plywood; if it doesn't say "carved," it's heat pressed; if it says "carved" but not "hand-carved," it's machine-carved. Not universally true, but close enough.

    Now, the most important thing, beyond what you already know about condition, is that the instrument be properly set up -- what you're getting at by saying "the action is good." There are a lot of potential tweaks in setting up a mandolin, so if you buy that Vantage at the second-hand store, where presumably they know from nothin' on set-ups, it would make sense to take it to a shop where they can do a pro set-up. Adds to the cost, but makes it much better to play.

    Wouldn't hurt, if you have a mandolin-playing friend, to bring him/her along, just to get a more experienced perspective. Of course, then you're somewhat captive to his/her particular likes-dislikes, but you might avoid a really bad purchase. Also, you can search the Cafe posts for "first mandolin" or "beginner mandolin," and get tons of information and opinions on particular models out there. And do identify a reasonable budget range for your purchase -- probably at least $250-300 -- and play only instruments you can afford. Playing high-priced mandolins, then finding that the ones that fit your budget don't sound as good or play as well, is a way to get frustrated fast.
    Allen Hopkins
    Gibsn: '54 F5 3pt F2 A-N Custm K1 m'cello
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    Victoria b-back Merrill alumnm b-back
    H-O mandolinetto
    Stradolin Vega banjolin
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    Eastmn: 615'dola 805 m'cello
    Flatiron 3K OM

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Vantage Mandolin

    Hi Allen,

    thanks very much for a very informative and positive reply. I have found it very useful. I really appreciate the advice.

    regards

    Rob

  4. #4
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vantage Mandolin

    Rob ––
    Good luck! Let us know what you end up getting...
    Allen Hopkins
    Gibsn: '54 F5 3pt F2 A-N Custm K1 m'cello
    Natl Triolian Dobro mando
    Victoria b-back Merrill alumnm b-back
    H-O mandolinetto
    Stradolin Vega banjolin
    Sobell'dola Washburn b-back'dola
    Eastmn: 615'dola 805 m'cello
    Flatiron 3K OM

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