View Full Version : Mandocaster - advice needed

Jul-23-2006, 12:39am
Hello people,

This is my first post here, I'm a guitarist who happened to buy a Fender electric mandolin several years ago. It was beat up then and it hasn't gotten any better http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif I loved the idea of four strings and the look. I've recorded a little with it and played it live a couple of times over the years.

I'd really appreciate opinions from you guys who know about these things:

Photos (http://randulo1.tempdomainname.com/Mandocaster/)

* What's it worth, in your opinion? I've had several people comment on it and I saw one recently sold on ebay for $1,200.

* Is there a way to know the exact year from the serial number?

* Is there a great player out there who really wants such an instrument, not to collect, but to play? This is an instrument that could be restored but, I've been afraid to touch it and ruin the "value".

There is a text file in the above photos directory with contact and other info, but please understand, this post is not a spam to sell the thing. I'm just asking for any and all comments. The file is there because I have sent the photo directory to individuals who've expressed interest.

Jul-23-2006, 4:45am
Looks just like mine except.........mine is LH and seems in better physical shape. Always wondered what it would be worth on the market. I'm sure the Fender Corp would let you know the yr of prod if you wrote them. I purchased mine in 1959.


Ted Eschliman
Jul-23-2006, 6:59am
Welcome to the board. The Vintage market is a peculiar one, and though I'm certainly no expert, it's been fun to watch the rising popularity of Fender's Vintage Mandocasters. Considering now you can only purchase these through their Custom Shop, a new one weighs in at least $3K. That means even a fixable beat-up but functional one has at minimum, built-in utilitarian value.

The "aura" of Vintage in electric guitar does not completely transition to mandos, you don't have the critical mass of the masses to make the Emporer's Clothes more stylish than they are. That said, these are more rare than Tele's & Strad's, too.

I've seen mint ones go for $2K and up, but this one's pretty beat-up. The whole Fender "Relic" thing won't apply here, but I don't think your $1200 figure is very far off, certainly more than $1K, slightly more to the right buyer.

Your fear of "not ruining" it is a valid one. Personally, I'm too practical to own an instrument because of its place in history (even gave up one of Jethro's own Epiphone mandolins) because I'd rather play than admire. The bakelite tuners on these can be an issue, for example. The bucks it takes to replace these and the bridge cover with something "authentic" can be astounding. Not my game, but I know many enjoy the hunt; all the power to them.

Appreciate your interest in finding a player rather than a collector! That's why instruments are made, to play, not just to have.

uncle ken
Jul-23-2006, 2:06pm
I have one these also and love it. It took many years to find a mint one, most that I've seen were pretty beat up. The only way to find the date is to remove the neck, the date is stamped on the end. Sometimes the date is penciled on the back of the pickup as well. As with most Fender stuff, '64 or earlier pre CBS is most desirable for collectors. Here is a picture of mine, the Fender custom shop used it to model the new ones since all original drawings were lost.

Jul-24-2006, 12:19pm

Thanks a lot for the replies, all three are thoughtful and interesting. Turns out you mando players aren't like drummers at all http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif (ducks)

Seriously, I'm not into the collecting thing myself, and when it gets too extreme, it drives the price of (say) a really nice old Strat that many guitarists could play the #### out of sky high and no actual musician can then afford it.

On the other hand, I can understand enjoying a vintage collection, especially if you whip out the instruments and actually play them from time to time. I can't remember exactly what I paid for this instrument, but I really had to have it and didn't care about the shape it was in.

I suppose the best solution is to let my son have it with the condition that he learn how to play it ;)

ps, Uncle Ken, damn, that baby is beautiful!

Jul-24-2006, 6:33pm
You can read info about some of the changes over the years of manufacture here:

Jul-25-2006, 12:13am
You can read info about some of the changes over the years of manufacture here:
The 1965 in the photo looks like mine, so it may be only 41 years old. A lot has happened to me since 1965!

Jul-25-2006, 1:14am
Not all that info is accurate. The first couple of years, the body was a slab, not contoured ... and they switched from maple necks to mahogany around 1960.

Jul-25-2006, 9:42am

First, don't sell it.

Second, I bought the '58 Mandocaster from ebay recently and it was a STEAL at $1200. It's "collector's value" was lessened by the prior owner having engraved his SS# on the pickguard AND the back of the headstock AND the serial number plate (a little paranoid, eh?). But it is all original, anodized metal pickguard, maple neck, etc. etc. and is a great player with that special Fender sound. I couldn't be happier.

Third, yours looks to be early 60's and "well appreciated." If you put up for sale in the classifeids here or on ebay for $1500, my guess is it would sell in less than 24 hours. But DON'T SELL IT.

There are a lot of great contemporary emandos on the market (I own a Rono 5 string and covet SO many others). But there is nothing like a vintage Fender with mojo.

Your son is a lucky young man. If he's not interested in learning, I hereby volunteer to be adopted.

Best regards,

Clem http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/laugh.gif