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Thread: Alternatives to a "mail-order bride?"

  1. #1
    Registered User JonDoug's Avatar
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    Default Alternatives to a "mail-order bride?"

    Im interested in buying an electric mandolin (most likely 4 string)I'm no stranger to mandolins, but I'm a novice in this area, with no previous experience playing electric instruments of any kind. Im wondering if there are shops in the US where it is possible to try at least a few different models. Ive been presuming that Id go with an internet purchase, but my (non-musican) wife suggested I might be happier to try before I buy.

    She has a point. I went to Greg Boyds eight years ago, thinking Id get a Weber mandolin, and came out with the Collings that remains my main instrument. When we went out shopping for my sons college orchestra violin, I figured a 50+ year old European instrumentinstead, he came home with a violin from a wonderful contemporary Seattle luthier. Getting your hands on instruments seems to make all the difference in figuring out what is right for you, but the electric mandolin market seems so small Im not sure if thats practical.

    Any leads or ideas are appreciated!

  2. #2

    Default Re: Alternatives to a "mail-order bride?"

    I doubt if you will find more than one or two electric mandolins anywhere other than at the workshop of a maker.

    If you put 'electric' into the Cafe builder's database, you get a lot of makers, many of whose instruments might be of interest. The one listed in Montana - Moongazer - is also the maker of some of the best-regarded accessories for electric mandolins.

  3. #3
    but that's just me Bertram Henze's Avatar
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    Default Re: Alternatives to a "mail-order bride?"

    Quote Originally Posted by JonDoug View Post
    Getting your hands on instruments seems to make all the difference in figuring out what is right for you...
    That's right - it's like entering that bar where you were to meet the slim blonde you internet-chatted with, and leaving with a busty redhead
    the world is better off without bad ideas, good ideas are better off without the world

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    Default Re: Alternatives to a "mail-order bride?"

    Your best bets, I would think, would be Elderly, Nashville, or TMS, though I suspect even their inventories are limited. I say "Nashville" because you can easily hit 3-4 excellent stores there in a day, more if you have a 3 day weekend. That may maximize your selection. Of course, you"ll have to avoid getting sucked into all the awesome instruments otherwise at Gruhn's, Carter's, etc, where I easily spent about 2-3 hours each the last time I was there. Also, I haven't checked his website in a while, so apologize if I'm mis-informing, but I think Jon Mann is in Nashville, or at least within striking distance. He produces some mighty fine emandos!

    Good luck with your search.FWIW, I still love my Mandobird IV. Bought it in the classifieds here years ago for less than 175 including shipping. It's certainly not on par with a Mann, but I always love the look on people's faces when they hear the nasty growl that can come out of that "cute little guitar thingy"
    Chuck

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    Registered User John Rosett's Avatar
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    Default Re: Alternatives to a "mail-order bride?"

    I just got this 4 string mandola from Ryan Rukavina, who is a builder right here in Missoula. He builds beautiful instruments that are reasonably priced. He has a couple of long scale (17.5") mandola/octave mandolins at his shop right now, but can build anything you want. My band is playing at the Union Club this Friday, and I'll have it there if you'd like to check it out.
    www.rukavinaguitars.com
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    '`'`'`'`'`'`'`'`'`'`' Jacob's Avatar
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    Default Re: Alternatives to a "mail-order bride?"


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  8. #7
    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Alternatives to a "mail-order bride?"

    This one, A Style solid body, 4 string, was Made for me.. http://emando.com/builders_active/Biller.htm

    Modified as a dual source 4 divided Piezo Pickups in the bridge + a Fender Lace sensor gold Magnetic PU.
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    Default Re: Alternatives to a "mail-order bride?"

    You are probably in a very tough spot. I know for a fact that other than a couple of cheap mass produced acoustics fitted with a pickup and controls, you cannot find a solid body emando to try out before buying, at least in the upstate NY area. Even Craig's list, which I check every few days, never offers one for sale. Though my wife gave me a Fender Mandostrat as a retirement gift, I could make no comparison. When I upgraded to a 5 string a few months as, there was even less information available. I ended up trusting Elderly and purchasing a Blue Star Mandoblaster. Not too long ago I tried to do an in depth review of that instrument n this forum.

    I guess I might recommend reading past posts on this forum and, if you still have questions, contact the poster with your concerns. I probably didn't help, but I did exercise my fingers for a few minutes by replying to your post.

    Good luck with your quest!

  10. #9
    Registered User Pete Martin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Alternatives to a "mail-order bride?"

    One way to try is to buy and sell used. You can sell them for what you paid if you shop smart.

    I did this with many emandos until finding my fav, Mann EM5.
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    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: Alternatives to a "mail-order bride?"

    Sometimes Greg Boyd will have an electric or two in the shop ...

    Maybe if you found an online dealer with two or three instruments you wanted to try, you could negotiate something ...
    Emando.com: More than you wanted to know about electric mandolins.

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  12. #11
    Registered User JonDoug's Avatar
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    Default Re: Alternatives to a "mail-order bride?"

    A big crescendo of thanks to all the responders here! I won't be too quick with making my choice--I'm hoping an instrument of mine sells first, plus I want to be deliberate--but I'll start right away with the local possibilities--Greg Boyd and Rukavina Guitars, the local custom builder suggested by John Rosett above--and work my way out from there.

    It is interesting to hear how people adapt to the small market for electric mandolins--the encouraging thing is how many folks in this thread and elsewhere in the forum find instruments that work for them.

    ~John

  13. #12
    Registered User John Rosett's Avatar
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    Default Re: Alternatives to a "mail-order bride?"

    Quote Originally Posted by JonDoug View Post
    It is interesting to hear how people adapt to the small market for electric mandolins--the encouraging thing is how many folks in this thread and elsewhere in the forum find instruments that work for them.~John
    I took a gamble on my mandola-I was "pretty sure" that it was what I wanted, but I'd never played a 4 string electric mandola before. I was thinking about the western swing players that tuned their electric mandolins down a fifth. I'm really happy with the result.
    "it's not in bad taste, if it's funny" - john waters

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