View Full Version : Advice on Mandolins under $1000

Feb-17-2006, 12:20am
I am looking to buy the best mandolin I can find for under $1000. #I understand that this will be determined by many factors. #I will be playing several different styles and am looking for advice on what you feel would be a good all around mandolin. #Thanks for your help.

Pedal Steel Mike
Feb-17-2006, 3:51am
There is a used Rigel A natural in the classifiedds for $875

Feb-17-2006, 7:17am
You can get a lot of mandolin for $1000 if it is set up properly. You will probably need to do the research yourself on each intrument you are considering. Also, ask for the type of strings you prefer to be installed. A new set of good strings will make you evaluation more useable and it will cost you minumally to have this done in advance.

Steve Perry post on this site and is an Eastman dealer. IF you decide on an Eastman you might want to contact him. I think that there are several style around $1000.


Baron Collins-Hill
Feb-17-2006, 7:18am
find a used Gibson A9. i got one for well under a thousand and it is the best purchase ive ever made. definitely go for an a style in any case, your not going to to get near the amount you would with an a if you got an f in that pricerange.


Feb-17-2006, 7:41am
I bought a Rigel A+ Deluxe and a Janish A5 ... both in your price range. But there are plenty of alternatives.
The recommendations given above are worthy of consideration. To paraphrase Groucho Marx, "Who are you going to believe, me or your own ears."


Darren Kern
Feb-17-2006, 8:15am
This subject comes up a lot, if you search the archives you will find enough to keep you reading for days. I would recommend a Mid Missouri, especially since you said you will be playing different styles. I played one recently for the first time, and they are really incredible.

Feb-17-2006, 8:23am
I recently played some lovely mandolins which were definately not $1000 - Like a Fylde and a Gilchrist. These mandolins had this deep woody bark that was sooo beautifull, I could have sat there and stayed chopping on a D chop for 20 minutes without getting bored cause the sound was so nice! Is there anything that comes close to this sound for around $1000http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/rock.gif? http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/rock.gif

Feb-17-2006, 9:20am
Check out the thread on the Glenn Mandolins. An 5 with some upgrades (tuners, binding, etc.) will still be under $1K, hand carved, US made and apparently very good sounding and playing. Email or PM J. Mark Lane about his. A used Gibson A9 would also be a very good purchase with good resale value.

Feb-17-2006, 9:23am
I say forget brand names play as many as you can buy what feels and sounds good to you. a lot of the brands you see are made by other people anyway !! http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/mandosmiley.gif

Feb-17-2006, 9:27am
If you want a F5 model and don't mind the import stigma, then go fo an Eastman, otherwiae I'd get an A9 Gibson, or a Rigel, and others.

Jonathan James
Feb-17-2006, 10:08am
I have a Glenn A5 varnish in the classifieds right now for well under $1000 (yes, financial interest), but it is a lot of mandolin at that price point...

Feb-17-2006, 10:14am
In that price range, I think you'd do well to consider the Rigel A natural, Breedlove Quartz, Gibson A9. The Glenns are well reviewed here. Mid-Mos are great and way below your price threshhold, but have a different look and sound. If you're considering flattops, you might also look at the Arches flattops and Davis. Or scout for a Flatiron pancake mando...

Unless you're attached to the idea of an F. In which case you might look at Glenn, Morris, or look for a used Weber Gallatin.

You might also find a Vintage Gibson in that price range... but they vary in quality based largely on how well they have been taken care of.

You are likely to get more for your money if you stick with A's and if you look for used instruments in good condition.

It's also a good idea to spend some time learning your preferences for playability, neck profile, tone quality, and aesthetic.

In general, it's a good idea to get out there and sample a bunch, learn what you like, see what speaks to you. There is NO substitute for a hands-on/ears-on direct experience of an instrument.

I happen to have a Breedlove Quartz in the classifieds for $800. Let me know if this interests you.

Good luck on your quest!

Feb-17-2006, 10:24am
rob - is that you (rbentley)???

Let's go out to mando brothers.

Feb-17-2006, 10:42am
Eastman makes some fine mandos for the price, if you can get over the "not made in U.S.A. thing"........I'll have to agree you night want to look at Steve Perrys site..........

Feb-17-2006, 11:28am
I will tell you more about it when I get it and when I have pictures to post...but I found a small custom builder who is making me a mandolin (F5, custom color, special binding front back neck, special width of the neck and thickness of the neck, with custom wood - birdseye maple with burl and high figure). It will be finished in mid april or late april. My cost, less than $900.

It isn't going to look perfect in every facet like a collings or rigel, but I have played a few of his even more basic mandolins and they blow me away. This is my good quality mandolin to play with while I save for my Mowry and Newell...I love both of their mandolins and have talked to both and plan to buy from both...different mandolins - I have MAS, but not for one great mandolin, but for several from different builders with different features and different appearance...possibly a mandola, an octive, and a mandocello.

Anyway, I don't want to flood the man with phone calls and he doesn't have a website, so when I get my mandolin, I'll post pictures and tell you more. Right now, he has one he made that looks rustic and unfinished...but it is...the F curl isn't very pretty...but man does it sound great...and he would sell it for about $600. Although, he thinks he has it sold. He also makes a Martin style guitar...that sounds fantastic...for about $1100. He doesn't do inlay and a bunch of appearance features, so don't ask. He also builds dobros. I have played all of his instruments and for the money, I can't find anything close.

With anticipation of my new mandolin, and with dreams of my Newell and my Mowry (I say "my" because I am saving for them now and it makes it more real to me)


Feb-17-2006, 11:34am
By the way, this is with a varnish finish and an oil base stain...

It will have gold hardware...Schaller tuners...basic gibson style tailpiece...

I am having it set up with J-74's...usually he uses Martins but will use whatever you want...

I was going to use a radiused fingerboard, but decided to just go with the flat...and he is going to abbreviate the fingerboard so I dont' have pick click...

I don't like pickguards, but if you wanted one, he could do it but it will cost a little more...

I can't wait


Feb-17-2006, 1:36pm
Buy the best used A (with ff holes)you can find for versatility and value. Not an oval hole, not a flat top, not an F style. I've had/have them, but they don't fit in with what you say you want. If you find a good sounding F model under $1,000, you can probably find a better sounding A for the same money.

Feb-17-2006, 1:42pm
The best mandolin you could get for $1000 would be a vintage, signed, Loar-era Gibson, if you can find one for that price. If not, then Mid-Missouri is a good choice.

Feb-18-2006, 11:39am
Thanks to everyone for your suggestions. I am going to play as many different instruments as I can find. I appreciate you leading me in the right direction.