It is true that there is no "Michael Kelly". It's just a fictional brand name like Betty Crocker or Uncle Ben. Morgan Monroe, however, is the name of a state forest in southern Indiana. That is 2 last names however, hyphenated, as in "Morgan-Monroe". No idea if there is a connection or not. Maybe the company people were looking for a trademark, heard the name of the state forest, and liked the way it sounded? Who knows? The "Monroe" part certainly evokes Big Mon.However, I would rank "Lafferty" ahead of "Morgan Monroe" and "Michael Kelly," both of whom I believe to be non-existent persons -- virtual luthiers?
Weber Custom Bitterroot F
Weber Bitterroot A
Fender Octave Mandolin
I know this is off topic but to answer the michael kelly question is the original owner of the company has 2 children Michael and Kelly.
Just to put any speculation to rest, Weber is not involved in any aspect of Dennis' new line.
Just wanted to let everyone know that they now have sound clips loaded on the website if you haven't listened to them yet. These mando's look and sound great and a name is just a name, listen to them, play them(if your near the shop) and if it meets your standards of what a "good" mando sounds/feels like then purchase it.
They look good. Kind of excited. I've been thinking of an upgrade for a long time.
"When I heard what Socrates had done on the lyre, I wished indeed even [I had done] that...but certainly I labored hard in letters!" - Cicero, "Cato the Elder on Old Age"
Weber Gallatin Mahogany F
19th Century Ferrari(?) Bowlback
Early 20th Century British Mandoline-Banjo & Deering Goodtime Tenor
1960s Harmony Baritone Ukelele
The Magic Fluke Flea Soprano Ukelele (in 5ths!)
1910 German Stradivarius 1717 copy, unknown maker
1890(?) German Stradivarius 1725 copy, G.A. Pfreztschner, maker
I love the house-branding idea. If it allows Dennis to make a slightly higher margin and not have to compete with other dealers selling the same instruments, then that's great. I really don't even care where they're made.
On the flip side, the whole thing reminds me of a marketing guy I used to work with, who during some slack time years ago decided to launch a fake company called "Find-A-Founder." He meant it as a joke, just to bring a little interest to the agency. Anyway, he went to a local junk dealer, found a couple of old portraits of really old dapper folks, brought them back to the office, then made up a history based on these two unknown guys. Fitted the frames with brass plaques identifying them as "Joseph Branch" and "Jeremiah Branch" and then wove this faux history into a local friend's retail business, making it appear that the 10 year old history of this grocery store actually went back 150 years. Then, just for giggles and kicks, he made a brochure advertising the "Find A Founder" business' services, complete with this "Branch Bros. Provisions" example off to the Wall Street Journal and waited for them to hopefully get the joke. They didn't, and instead wrote a scathing editorial on modern business morals that people would stoop so low as to invent a fictitious history to make their company sound like something it's not.
Are you implying that is what Dennis is doing? If that is not your point, then please enlighten me...
Due to current budgetary restrictions the light at the end of the tunnel has been turned off -- sorry about the inconvenience.
OK, in response to Gerry, without having been there, you may not see what his original intent was. Clearly anyone who sends a press release into a respected journal with a clearly and openly disingenuous business model can't be asking to be taken seriously. The amount of money this guy made marketing products you use every day eliminates money as a motive. Some guys just take their pranks to a different level.
As far as Bernie's question goes, a look at the mandolin store's website shows a picture from long ago of the Lafferty Family of Ohio, yet there's no connection between the actual makers of the mandolins and the photo, that Dennis is willing to share, at least. Personally, I have no problem with this, it's just a mood-setting photo and Dennis named his brand after the family. Big deal.
But, if Gerry is bothered by the guy who made up "Find A Founder" then he should be bothered by a photo on Dennis' site that doesn't necessarily relate to anything.
Again, I find the whole thing nothing more than marketing imagery, and no one is affected one way or the other.
Lafferty is a very common family name in central Ohio extending back to before statehood. The history of Marion County, Ohio (north central) makes reference to a Lafferty family that in addition to distinguishing themselves in the Civil war were also known for their musical efforts -- maybe this is the connection?
Last edited by Bernie Daniel; Jan-01-2012 at 5:28pm.
Due to current budgetary restrictions the light at the end of the tunnel has been turned off -- sorry about the inconvenience.
You gotta call 'em something. Could just as easily be "Smith", "Jones", "Lafferty" or for that matter "Eastman" or "Kentucky" if those weren't already taken. Some times a name is just a name.
There are literally dozens of piano brands on the market with various old family names having nothing to do with the actual pianos being built. Same for violins. It's been a common marketing practice for decades. Not a trick, not a con, not an attempt to defraud anyone. Just trying to come up with a cool and memorable name for the product.
The first man who whistled
thought he had a wren in his mouth.
He went around all day
with his lips puckered,
afraid to swallow.
--"The First" by Wendell Berry
What's in a name anyway?
Here's a picture of the peghead on my favorite mandolin.
Hello Fellow Pickers,
I'm very excited to announce that we now have our own line of mandolins "The Lafferty". These new mandolins are made here in the USA to our specifications. This project has been rolling around in my head for several years and the last several months, I finally made the time to bring this project to life.
I know the big question from many folks will be, where did the name come from? My great grandmother was a Lafferty and that's where my musical heritage came from and I thought it sounded like a good name for an instrument line. There's a picture hanging in the shop, taken around 1875, of the Lafferty family with a guitar and fiddle. The gentleman with the guitar is Henry Lafferty my great, great grandfather. That picture is on the top of the Lafferty mandolin page if you're curious. We currently have a flat top bouzouki, flat top octave, a basic A style with F holes and a basic F style with F holes. We hope to add a mandola and a deluxe F style early in 2012. See details below and on our website.
Our goal is to provide legendary customer service so that our customers not only become raging fans, but our friends. We promise to provide product selection, in-depth knowledge, and expert advice, with an attitude of helpfulness. For over 8 years we have been serving the acoustic instrument community. We thank you for you patronage and look forward to serving you in the future
There, I've done your homework for you. I don't believe this is top secret info meant for email list folks eyes only. A simple inquiry would probably result in this same info being provided to you by TMS. After reading this do you still feel your comment on what I need to be bothered about still stands?
Getting back to my original question: Are you implying TMS is pulling a fast one like in your friend's example? If the name of the new mando line inspired you to the point of using a public forum in drawing a comparison to a scam, yet you didn't take the time to check your facts, then I must also ask; Do you make a habit of calling out the integrity of people with well-deserved, stellar reputations without the knowledge to found it upon?
My point in this is: I know for a fact, Dennis, Brian, and The Mandolin Store are a huge positive factor in our world of mandolins. They have made my foray into the mandolin a much more enjoyable experience than it could have been. I have read many postings here from folks who have had similar experiences to mine. Are they perfect? I doubt it, but who is? Don't call folks like this out unless you darn well know what you're talking about.
Doesn't a scammer have to have a victim? If there was no intended victim there was no scam.
Had you really ready my intent on the post and follow up posts, you would see that I regarded it as nothing more than an unusual marketing program. To insinuate I am calling the Mandolin Store owners "scammers" is flat out wrong, and shows a compete misreading of my comments.
Are we still talking about Lafferty mandolins or what? So who makes them?
Thanks for your support?
1. Launch an affordable store brand. Works for Target, right?
2. Decline to say who one's USA maker is, thus creating, a little inexplicably, mystery and buzz.
No. 1 is a good idea. Best of luck. As for no. 2, I would say I don't care but I did read to the end trying to find out who it is. So ya got me.
"Practice every time you get a chance." -- Bill Monroe
"Style is based on limitation." -- John Hartford
'12 Duff F-5; '13 Collings mandola; '12 Collings MF
Straying even farther afield, but I find Charlie's friend's "joke" or "scam" or whatever, less invidious than, say, Washburn Guitars, whose links talk about "Guitars manufactured in Chicago since 1883. Washburn Guitars has built guitars in Chicago for working musicians for over one hundred years..." -- when Washburns are built in Asia, and have no connection with the old Lyon & Healy produced Washburn line, other than having acquired the nameplate.
To me, that's deceptive -- and not just a victimless prank, but an attempt to delude prospective purchasers into thinking that modern Washburns -- however good or bad they may be -- are the direct descendants of early-20th-century American-made instruments. Which they're not.
Getting back to the issue at hand, glad to have the "Lafferty" relationship cleared up. A real connection, albeit somewhat tenuous, does exist.
Gibsn: '54 F5 3pt F2 A-N Custm K1 m'cello
Natl Triolian Dobro mando
Victoria b-back Merrill alumnm b-back
Stradolin Vega banjolin
Sobell'dola Washburn b-back'dola
Eastmn: 615'dola 805 m'cello
Flatiron 3K OM
I have a hard time imagining how they could be making them in the US and selling them at those prices.
I'd love it if, at very least, he would confirm that he's not using prison labor.
1923 Gibson Snakehead A
Sooner or later somebody will spill the beans, it makes no sense not to. We all know the only way to keep a secret between two people is if one of them is dead, I can wait. Not until somebody dies of course, cause I might die first...
Maybe we should take up a collection and offer a bribe to Dennis' employees
Never Argue with an Idiot, they will just drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.
I assure you these mandolins are made in USA. A little money and a volume commitment can work miracles when it comes to getting a project done in an affordable manner. These are very good quality mandolins at a a very affordable price and that's what is important, not who built them for us. We have a confidentialty agreement with the builders - plural.
I plan to change a few things (tailpiece, tuners, and go to a flat fingerboard) on the standard A style to get the price down to $1499. The F style at $2499 will stay as it is - I think it's the best value out there at that price. This project is a work in progress and we'll make changes as needed in order to serve the mandolin community to the best of our ability.
Prison labor, I never thought of that but I really like where your heads at. I would like to develop the brand further and perhaps have an import version at some point but that's a bigger project..... Rome was'nt built in a day.
As for the name: I have told the story about my family all ready. No matter what I called it some people would not like it. I think The Lafferty has a nice ring to it and at the end of the day, I think most customers like it to based on the response I have received. It certainly sounds better than The Dennis or The Vance......at least to me - LOL.
The mandolin being given away on the Mandolin cafe is a monster sounding mando. I have a few of these out in the hands of very satisfied customers who I hope will do a review on this site as soon as they have an oppotunity.
The Mandolin Store
Webers are made in the USA for approx. the same price. Until recently or at least until near future Breedloves were less expensive.
I they agreed to purchase a certain quantity anything is possible.
30's Washburn Parlor
Various electric guitars, basses and amps.