View Full Version : used Schwab: OK price?

Jan-04-2004, 2:00pm
Hi folks, I have a chance to buy a used Schwab five string for $1000. It seems to be in very clean shape. Does this seem like a reasonable price to you?

Jan-04-2004, 2:48pm
I think that this is a very good price. If a five-string is what you want, I'd jump on it!

Steven Stone
Jan-04-2004, 3:05pm
As a fellow Schwab owner. I concur with Micheal's assessment. Good price.They are great electric instruments. Very different from acoustic double stringed mandos.

Now if I could only play with one tenth of Micheal's ability I'd be a happy man http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif

Jan-04-2004, 11:26pm
I agree...sounds like a good deal. I don't own a Schwab but I recently purchased a used Ryder 4 string for $700 and I've been thrilled with it. It sounds great and is very well made. New Schwab's sell for a few hundred more than a new Ryder so $1000 for a used instrument sounds about right.

Kid Charlemagne
Jan-05-2004, 8:26am
I got a used 5-string Schwab off the MC classifieds for $1000. Best $1000 I ever spent on an instrument, and the instrument's great. $1000 is a great deal for one of these.

Go for it, man. In my opinion, Schwabs are everything they're cracked up to be.

Jan-05-2004, 5:18pm
Another Schwab owner checking in. A grand would be a fair price. What model is it? You might try checking with Ken Schwab to see if he has any used emando's for sale at the moment.

Michael, I'm a long-time Schwab enthusiast and was thrilled to see it featured on your recording. Very nice playing too!

Jan-05-2004, 7:50pm
Thanks. #I just love my Schwab(s)! I've been playing one for fifteen years...

Jan-05-2004, 10:51pm
I'm sold. I hope no one else gets it before I get paid next week ...c:/usedschwab.jpghttp://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/cool.gif

Jan-13-2004, 10:12pm
Hey Berkeley, give us an update. I know of a Schwab for sale around that price; I was wondering if it's the same one...

Jan-14-2004, 1:20am
Unfortunately still haven't gotten paid so haven't bought it yet. I'm really torn about whether or not to buy this one since I already have a different emando on the way! But it looks so nice, its for sale at http://www.philsguitars.com/other.html (Phil's Guitars in Seattle). I'm curious to know about the one for sale that you heard about...

Jan-14-2004, 12:31pm
Yes, it's the same one (black, 5-string SN#75). Only when I last saw it, it was at Guitarville in Shoreline. Guessing it's a consignment and the consignor didn't have any luck at Guitarville, so he took it to Phil's instead.

Never been to Phil's or even heard of the place before. Maybe I'll go take a look. Don't worry, I have no intention of buying this Schwab out from under you (if I had, I could've gotten it at Guitarville, although if memory serves they were asking a bit more for it).

Jan-14-2004, 12:42pm
If you are in Seattle and have the time to go take a look, I'd appreciate hearing your thoughts about it once you have seen it first hand. I know nothing of Phil's Guitars but found the link while searching for info on Schwabs. I'd like to know about the action and the fret wear on #75, and what type of pick ups it has. Anyways, I thought to post the link to where it is being sold because I'm not convinced I can realistically buy it when I have another emando in the pipeline...! I certainly does look like one heck of a nice emando. I may just get it anyways.

Jan-15-2004, 9:59am
I checked it out on Phil's website. It looks gorgeous; jump on it. I have three Schwabs and would like this one too. But three is enough (unless it sits there much longer, beckoning). The pick-ups are custom-made Seymour Duncans. The two little toggle switches are coil-splitters for each pick-up. The black three-way selector switch allows you to use either, or both of the pick-ups. This is a very fine mandolin for the price (from what I can tell forom the photos).

Jan-15-2004, 1:21pm
So Lee, it seems that in your view already having ordered an emando is not a strong enough reason not to buy it! Honestly, it is money that is holding me back, not desire to buy it. Hopefully in a few days that obstacle will be gone. I think some public health officials should close down this discussion board as it is the main transmission vector for the deadly EMAS ailment. I've come down with it in a bad way, and only a $1000 shot of Schwab vaccine will help me...
Could you say a bit about your 3 Schwabs? Like, finishes, nos of strings, pickup selections, etc.? Also, how long did it take to order each? (or did you buy them used?)

Jan-15-2004, 2:12pm
I purchased my Schwabs all about 5-10 years ago, all used. Two are five-string Deluxes, the blond top is considerably thicker (and very heavy). The four-string is the Standard model in solid ash, natural gloss finish with a pronounced grain. Personally, I like the ash because it has no body binding, hence the body edges are much rounder and comfortable. The quality of the Standard is on the same high level as the Deluxes, only the types of wood change. The fingerboards are excellent, a comfortable arch, and accurate fretwork, slender profile. The bridge is excellent, with electric-guitar type adjustable bridges, and string-thru-body design. The other hardware seems to be right off a Telecaster. The pick-ups shown were custom designed by Seymour Duncan working with the (then) Schwab brothers to come up with a good sounding emando pickup. The slightly longer 14-1/2" scale length takes very little getting used to. The extra length allows the low C note to get better tone and sustain, they tend to "thud" on regular shorter scale emando's.

Jan-15-2004, 2:29pm
Man, those are first class emandos. Really beautiful. Personally I like the one with the burst finish. Where did you manage to find them used? Was it on the classifieds on this board?

So there were two Schwab brothers, and now there are one? What happened? Has there been any change in the quality of the instruments since? Any recent Schwab purchases made by members of this board who could comment on him as a luthier, how long it takes to order an instrument from the fellow, etc. If I don't manage to get the mando discussed above, I may order one of them after seeing these emandos in your picture. I love the mini tele design.

Jan-15-2004, 3:40pm
Thank you. The mini-Tele emando is a popular design. I believe I found all of these at Elderly Instruments. I understand the one brother is no longer involved with the Schwab emando's; don't know why.
Steve Ryder also makes emando's and his own pick-ups, although I personally have never held one.

Jan-17-2004, 2:04pm
OK guys I just talked to Phil and bought the 5 string. I am really excited to get it, when I do I'll post a pic and give my thoughts about it.

Jan-17-2004, 3:38pm
Kevin Schwab (I called him to ask about this mando) described #75 as heavier and 'less refined' than his current production and noted that he has only made one mando with this particular combination of white binding with a black top.

Jan-19-2004, 11:08am
Good grab BerkleyMando. I was gonna buy it today if you didn't. I like the black/gold combination. I wonder if it's a "thick body" like my #089?
"Less refined"? Wonder what's that all about? Possibly just a sales pitch to sway you into buying a new one.
One hint for you; in humid weather the foam case lining can stick to the finish. I wrap mine in a towel or cotton sheet so it doesn't touch the foam.

Jan-24-2004, 1:49pm
I got the emando and had a little time to play with it last night. My first reaction is how solid the instrument feels: the neck, body, everything comes together pefectly and the action is flawless. The I noticed how much easier it is to play than my present acoustic mandolin...a real pleasure to play and very comfortable when played sitting too. The frets are fine although they seem a bit tarnished, any suggestions about that? Ditto with the brass bridge: seems totally fine although the brass is tarnished. A truly great emando. The sustain is fantastic: one hits a note and it hangs there sweetly. I'm not thrilled with the foam-lined case, though. I'd prefer some sort of shaped flight case with a posh interior. Thanks for all the suggestions.:)

Jan-24-2004, 4:41pm
I live just down the street from Phils Guitars (about 3 buildings down). My roomate was looking on their website and found saw that mando and told me about it and I went to the next day to see it, but it was too late, he already had shipped it out. I was curious as the only electric mandolin I've ever played is my Mandobird (which is a blast to play but I know there are better electrics out there). It's a new shop, been there a few months or so, and as the name implies it's mainly guitars, but they have one or two Martin mandolins which are pretty sweet. It's a good guitar shop (but unfortunately I'm not much of a guitar player!)

Feb-05-2004, 2:22pm
Berkleymando, find an old cotton bedsheet and line the case. Lay some masking tape across the fretboard so only the frets are exposed, then use some fine steel wool to clean up the frets. Get some fretboard oil and scrub at the ebony fretboard to clean it up too. Make sure each bridge saddle is postioned properly so the 12th fret harmonic plays at the same pitch as when it's fretted. But first put on a fresh set of strings. Buy singles. I prefer, 0.008", 0.011"., 018"w, 0.024"w, & 0.034"w. Now put it down long enough to post some photos and tell us more about it. What kind of amp you plugging into? What positions of the toggles sound best?

Feb-10-2004, 11:32pm
Hi Lee, I've been super busy so I haven't had as much playing time as I would have liked. I love the emando so far, it is beautiful, totally solid, well built, and super sweet sounding. I did visit my local music store and got appropriate stuff for the fret board, but I had not thought to do anything abrasive to the frets. What is the finest spec of steel wool? I would think the absolute finest type would be best since the idea is just to take a few microns of metal off. Anyways, once I took off the old strings and gently wiped down the ebony fretboard, it looked a lot cleaner. I'm smitten by the black finish and constrasting white binding with gold hardware. The new strings sound great. I ordered a set from emando.com and also have been buying ball end singles in various gauges at the music store down the street to experiment with different gauges of strings and tunings. Mostly just doing standard CGDAE but was trying out some open tunings too with a glass slide. Wow. I'm using a very limited practice amp for now, both because I can't drop a lot of cash on a new amp and also I live in a building where I do need to limit the noise a bit. Can't wait to bring the mando out and use it on a better amp to really let the thing loose. Anyways, the Schwab has such great tone: even unplugged the sustain is unbelievable and the action is perfect. It feels very comfortable to play for hours. I am still nowhere near the point where i have exhausted the possibilities of the tone control/coil splitters/pickup selection toggle, it seems like there's a whole range of incredible sounds available. The 5th string has been a bit of an adjustment. The other emando, that I ordered in December (due some time in the summer), will be a four string. All the best.

Feb-12-2004, 5:28pm
Glad to hear you're liking it. The black/gold scheme probably looks great live! What's the new one going to be?
Both my Fender "Mandocaster" and the four-string Schwab are tuned to the mandola tuning. For some reason I prefer the lower voicing on the electric 4-strings.

Feb-14-2004, 2:20pm
Hi Lee, the new one coming in the summer with be a Koa-topped MLS model with one Bartolini pickup. The slightly shorter scale, four strings, mahogony body, grained ivoroid binding and gold hardware.

Mar-28-2004, 1:46am
Interesting, this Phil in Seattle is selling another Schwab, this time and eight string:

http://www.philsguitars.com/elsolid.html (scroll down)


Mar-31-2004, 5:46pm
Whoa, fascinating red Schwab.
Notice how the width of the strings stays about the same from the nut to the bridge.
Looks like the big silver knob is volume and there's two little black toggle switches to split the coils. Is there a slider switch for the coil selectors. No tone control?
And the pick-ups look like the older Seymour-Duncan yet it's a recent Schwab. Fascinating indeed.

Mar-31-2004, 5:46pm
The price is no bargain, but fair if it's in really nice shape.

Mar-31-2004, 8:25pm
'Tis not a recent Schwab. I have played this one (felt pretty nice), and I believe I'm correct in thinking it was actually built while Kevin's brother was still making them.

Apr-01-2004, 1:15pm
Are the strings nearly parallel?
I understand that Kevin bought, the rights to use the name, the forms and jigs, and the last few S-D pick-ups and started up where Bro' left off. But I never knew whatever happened to Kevin's brother that stopped him from making mandolins.

Apr-01-2004, 2:03pm
Kevin's brother Bill died. I don't know when. A couple years ago I corresponded via E-mail with a guy who used to have some work done by either Kevin or Bill, or both, and he mentioned that Bill had passed away.

Apr-02-2004, 12:45pm
I'm sorry to hear that. He founded a fine tradition.

Apr-02-2004, 12:48pm
I hafta add that I've emailed mail Kevin several times over the years. He's always been helpful even though I've never bought any of my Schwabs new. Here's to long success, Kevin!

Apr-03-2004, 12:15pm
I just love my new signature model Schwab! It has a much more pronounced midrange, better sustain than before (even though it was already very good), and greater balance across the strings.
..and it's pretty easy on the eyes to boot!

Apr-03-2004, 8:57pm
Even though I can't play like Michael, if you squint a little my mandolin looks kind of like his signature model.

Apr-04-2004, 1:06am
That's also very easy on the eyes!