View Full Version : New pricetone

Mar-07-2007, 12:10pm
A couple of months ago I got real nervous when a few posts on Pricetones hit the forum. I was thinking ... the secrets out, my ship better come sailing in soon ... and it did.

A few months ago I was beginning the process of mando upgrade ... pricing, playing, scheming to find money etc. I had been at a local workshop with Matt Flinner ... 5 Gilchrists, 2 Randy Woods, a DMM, and Olin Davis was there with his own Rattlesnake. I got to play some and listen to all. Very impressive mandolins, but also pretty depressing when I realized I might have to sell one of my children (one of the good ones) to get the sound I wanted.

About a week or so later I was at Bill's Pickin' parlor here in Columbia SC for the Friday night session and open mike. I had my Foley OM with me that night and a gentleman walked up and said " I need to build one of those". I said something like, oh you build instruments. He said yes, and introduced himself as Lewis Price, builder of Pricetone mandolins. I said that Bill had told me about him, he plays mando and fiddle in Bill's band, and had recommended his mandolins. I said I would love to see one. Well he had one, his personal mando, in his van. He went and got it and let me play it all night (a great sales technique!) and I was mightily impressed ... it was the sound and playability I was looking for! Of course then reality set in and I asked him what he sold them for ... I get $2500 for them he said.

So I told him I would be contacting him soon to buy one ... he had 2 for sale at the time. Well it took longer to get my financing set than I had hoped and by the time I was ready he had sold those 2 ... I believe the happy purchasers were responsible for my recent "nervousness" with their posts. So I saw Lewis at Bill's about 2 weeks ago and told him I would have the money soon and he told me he was working on 2 new mandolins. When my ship sailed in I called Lewis and asked him if I could reserve one of the new mandolins ... then he 'fessed up' seems he had 2 "personal" mandolins, his regular "player" and another with a quilted maple back, that he had thought he might keep for himself, but if I wanted it he would sell it to me.

So last Saturday I drove over to Sumter and spent the morning with Lewis. He brought out both mandolins, the one he regularly played and the one he had been "hiding". He told me I could take my pick ... he would sell me either one. Well, both of us being southerners we did the "dance". I said I would feel better if he chose the one he wanted keep. He insisted that I choose ... and after a few "turns" He told me had sold every mandolin he played, so it really didn't matter to him.

So I chose the one with the quilted back. Both were excellent mandos. The quilted back mando has a low-profile neck, the other has a V neck. Lewis' player had a more "open, deeper sound" ... but it has been played regularly for a couple of years. The "quilt" was finished in May 2005, and according to Lewis he finished it, strung it up, never played it, and never even showed it to anyone! Considering how good it sounds now, I'm sure it will "mature" very nicely. Pics to follow.

Bottom line ... Lewis builds a great mandolin (and dreadnough guitar), is an excellent musician and an all-around great guy!


Mar-07-2007, 12:12pm
Pricetone back

Mar-07-2007, 12:13pm
Pricetone headstock

Mar-07-2007, 12:14pm
Pricetone quilt

Lane Pryce
Mar-07-2007, 1:17pm
Steve you have a very nice mandolin there! A fellow who comes to one of our local jams plays a Pricetone mandolin. Its very robust for sure. BTW I'm glad you didn't have to sell one of your good kids!! Best ---- Lp

Bill Van Liere
Mar-07-2007, 2:06pm
Does anyone know if it is a Pricetone that Kevin McKinnon, of Carrie Hassler And Hard Rain, plays?

Mar-07-2007, 2:18pm
Lewis is a great guy! I ordered my first good mandolin from him in '02. I thought I had died and gone to heaven when I got it! It was Pricetone #37 and is on one of the mandolin tasting CDs.
Glad to hear you are enjoying yours.

Gail Hester
Mar-07-2007, 2:51pm
Nolan, if that's the Pricetone that was at James mando tasting I agree with you. That was a very nice mandolin, good vintage vibe and it sounded great.

Mar-07-2007, 2:57pm
I need to check, but I think mine is #65. Lewis told me he built 23 mandolins before he started numbering them, so our real #'s are XXX+23.

My initial post was kind of long ... forgive me for the excitement. I need to add that at our first meeting Lewis handed me his guitar, built from 150+ year old black walnut and when I strummed my first chord I believe my response was "my God" ... which is something for someone who is not particularly religious. Lewis just looked at me, smiled and said ..."loud isn't it" Yes, with tone to die for and incredible playability ... I'm waiting for another ship to sail in!


Mar-07-2007, 5:48pm
Nolan, if that's the Pricetone that was at James mando tasting I agree with you. #That was a very nice mandolin, good vintage vibe and it sounded great.
Actually that was Pricetone #3... BEFORE he decided to start over again at #1. Written inside of it with a magic marker, right on the wood it says something like,
"This is a copy of an Original 1923 Lloyd Loar mandolin
Lewis Price, Sumnter, South Carolina"

By the time the we got together Gail, I had sold #34 to the same guy I borrowed #3 from for the mandolin event at Peters. Gail, I seem to remember someone elses mandolins sounded VERY VERY nice at that event.... http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif

Mar-07-2007, 6:34pm
How would you describe the tone of the Pricetone - dark/woody, bright/balanced, throaty? Does it have a good solid chop? Can you elaborate on his low profile neck - nut width, depth of the neck, soft 'V', etc.? Easy playing mando? What kind of top does yours have?


don richards
Mar-07-2007, 6:46pm
I bought #54!! - It's the BEST!! - hands down - mandolin I've EVer OWNED - AND believe me i've had a few - a 3K Flatiron - never was right 'outta' the box.... 2(!!) Weber's -(Hyalite & Absaroka) ther'e GONE -- I'm a happy camper - right -outta' da' box from Lewis!! - Thanks Lewis for curing my MAS - and building a GREAT sounding/playing mandolin - can't put it down - my wife is jealous.. tooo bad!!... wives come 'n go.., but great mandolins..., welllll...hee...hee.. Moose. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif #http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/laugh.gif #http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/mandosmiley.gif

Scotti Adams
Mar-07-2007, 7:23pm
...ah..come on Moose..dont hold back..tell us how you really feel... http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/laugh.gif

Mar-07-2007, 8:28pm
#65 has a slight radius to the fretboard, the neck is rounded, no V at all. The neck is approx. .5 inch deep at the nut and .75 at the 7th fret. It has a nice woody chop, but is pretty balanced ... and remember this mando sat in a case for 2 years unplayed. Lewis' "player" has developed a "classic" loud, woody chop ... and he assured me that #65 would "start barking" in a couple of months! I believe him.

The top is Adirondack Spruce.

Playability ... like "butter"! all the way up the neck.
Lewis uses a carbon fiber rod that extends into the headstock a bit for extra strength. He also does some internal things ( I don't want to give away his trade secrets) that strengthen some of a mandolin tops inherent weak spots.

He's building 2 right now, but told me he thinks he has them sold already.


don richards
Mar-07-2007, 9:00pm
"....so my wife say's 'hey Moose are ya' com'n to bed N-O-W?#..., and I reply "in a little while, honey, soon's I finish pick'n #another one." #hee... hee... http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/laugh.gif #http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/laugh.gif #http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/mandosmiley.gif

Mar-07-2007, 10:04pm
Mandopluker: Just down the road from Sumter huh ...where exactly would that be?


Mar-07-2007, 10:04pm
Mandopluker: Just down the road from Sumter huh .... where would that be?


Mar-08-2007, 6:11pm
Mandopluker: If you're ever heade to Sumter give me a heads up ... Columbia is "on the way".