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Thread: cheap cellos??

  1. #1
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    Question cheap cellos??

    I am concerned about travel (CMSA, International, etc.) and my Gibson 1918 K2; horror stories vs. "don't worry" opinions have not settled me. I wonder if anyone has tried these ridiculously low ($350 - 500) priced mandocellos at "libraguitar" site, for example:

    http://stores.ebay.com/libraguitar20...nkw=mandocello

    These include classic Italian style bowl backs, painted up "dragon art" F styles, and such. Asian source, claiming "rosewood" and "abalone" materials. Are these for real, any good, legal, US Customs approved? Hard to imagine quality...
    Any experience out there?
    Doc James

  2. #2
    Registered User foldedpath's Avatar
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    Default Re: cheap cellos??

    Tone quality aside, a 'cello isn't fun if it isn't playable, and I imagine any of these would require a lot of setup work. For international travel, I'd be concerned about the inlay. Rosewood shouldn't be a problem under the new CITES rules as a "personal" instrument, but that much inlay might trigger some alarms. They're probably using legal materials, maybe even synthetic, and not the prohibited white pearl. But it might still cause some travel delays getting it sorted.

    If it were me, and I wanted a beater/travel mandocello, I'd do one of those ad-hoc conversions of a cheap old archtop guitar. The other approach, of course, is just spend that budget on enough insurance coverage to replace the K2, or have it completely repaired by a good luthier if anything happened.

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  4. #3
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    Default Re: cheap cellos??

    Insurance!
    Good suggestion, with very scary implications. Playing at Eurofest Zupfmusik, worried about customs at both ends. But I want to play my excellent K2, not a junk traveler... hmmmmm....

    - - - Updated - - -

    Insurance!
    Good suggestion, with very scary implications. Playing at Eurofest Zupfmusik, worried about customs at both ends. But I want to play my excellent K2, not a junk traveler... hmmmmm....

  5. #4
    Registered User colorado_al's Avatar
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    Default Re: cheap cellos??

    I've played a mandola from that same seller and it was crap. Best to avoid.
    I don't think you'll have a problem with a personal instrument and CITES. And if you can make sure to bring it on as a carry on, you should be fine. Likely your homeowner's insurance would cover it if there's a problem, but I'd check your deductible and contact an agent to make sure it would be covered.
    Otherwise, I'd do a conversion of a The Loar LH-300 carved top archtop guitar to mandocello. If you can do the 1&3/4 nut width, it is pretty easy to convert. I have a Harmony archtop, but it sucks compared to a carved top instrument.
    You can pick one up for $440 from musician's friend with coupon code "KICKOFF"
    http://www.musiciansfriend.com/guita...coustic-guitar

    Or if you want to do an acoustic/electric, you can snag this Loar LH-319 for $300 with code "DADSROCK"
    https://reverb.com/item/1257681-loar...nburst-w-p-90s
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  7. #5
    poor excuse for anything Charlieshafer's Avatar
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    Default Re: cheap cellos??

    I'm thinking a mandocello won;t fit on to the carry on section, a little large! Anyway, if there's one specific event you're traveling to, and will be there for a weekend or longer, sometimes the organizers can arrange for a loaner instrument. It sounds strange, but we've done it for some musicians. Others elect to ship the instrument to someone connected to the event, so that it's there when ready. Not sure if it's any safer, but it does make flying easier without the multiple things to carry.

    Other than that, Folded's suggestion of the conversion is the best bet.

  8. #6
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    Default Re: cheap cellos??

    I did carry-on my K2 for the Valley Forge CMSA; the hard case is under 43" so within "guitar" rules. But I don't know about overseas--Germany for 2018 Eurofest Mandolins. Thanks, though. My orchestra (Oregon OMO) is working on the CITES rules. Seems funny it's under "wildlife and game!"

  9. #7
    Registered User Seter's Avatar
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    Default Re: cheap cellos??

    What if you got a bajo quinto, and tuned it in fifths instead of fourths? A decent one can be had for cheaper than most mandocellos, just an idea.

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  11. #8
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    Default Re: cheap cellos??

    I have traveled internationally and domestically with my Walt Kuhlman liuto cantabile (as a member of the New American Mandolin Ensemble) on numerous occasions, including to the 2014 Eurofestival in Bruchsal, using a case made by https://www.casextreme.com/. I use their standard guitar case. The scale length on the liuto is very similar to a Gibson mandocello, so that should also be fine for the Gibson. The company counts many professional musicians among its clients. The instrument sits in a gig bag, with foam inserts suspending it in the case. There is also plenty of room for a music stand, clothes, etc. The case is virtually indestructible and it has worked perfectly for me. The price is very reasonable for the quality. It qualifies as oversize baggage, but except for one flight (between Portugal and Spain) I've yet to be charged extra.

    I am puzzled by your statement that you are performing at the 2018 Eurofestival. The groups/individuals selected to perform at the 2018 festival will not be announced until the end of this summer.
    Robert A. Margo

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    Default Re: cheap cellos??

    I do have a solid case and it does fit overhead on domestic flights,so I am OK there. My concern is the CITES rules on materials, and whether a customs agent or TSA might question the wood and inlay.
    We received an "invitation" to Bruchsal, maybe not yet conformed so not announced.

  13. #10
    Registered User colorado_al's Avatar
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    Default Re: cheap cellos??

    2016 Franzke A5 Custom w/Rubner tuners & James Tailpiece & McClung Armrest
    2011 Collings MT Custom w/Rubner tuners & McClung Armrest
    2014 JBovier A5T w/Grover 308 tuners & McClung Armrest
    2015 Blueridge BR-40TCE Tenor to OM conversion
    1999 Tacoma M2E
    2011 Big Muddy MM-8 MINI-MO
    2005 Malagoli solid-body electric cavaquinho

  14. #11
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: cheap cellos??

    Quote Originally Posted by colorado_al View Post
    Likely your homeowner's insurance would cover it if there's a problem, but I'd check your deductible and contact an agent to make sure it would be covered.
    Be careful of using homeowner's insurance to cover your musical instruments. Will they replace the instrument, repair the instrument, your choice their choice, replace in kind, who decides what kind to replace it with, and most importantly: if you have ever gotten any pay, even pass the hat or gas money or a free dinner, for playing music, many homeowner policies won't cover the instruments as they are "professional tools".

    You might look into musical instrument insurance, (Heritage or Clarion for example) that manage these issues more conveniently for musicians. https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/s...al-Instruments
    Fill your boots, man!

    The entire staff
    funny....

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  16. #12
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    Default Re: cheap cellos??

    1. Homeowner's insurance specifically does not cover "professional" performance for pay. Touring musician insurance is a separate animal. I've never gone for it, since it's pretty pricey and most of my gigs are close to home. I pay out-of-pocket for damage repairs, and I'd say over the decades I've played, I've been better off doing that than carrying insurance. On the other hand, I've lucked out avoiding catastrophic damage.

    2. Regarding the eBay instruments, I keep an 11-foot pole handy, for those instruments I wouldn't touch with a 10-foot pole. If you can find a mandocello made by the Portuguese firm Soares'y, they're sorta rough-and-ready, but decent quality. This one is or was for sale at emando.
    Allen Hopkins
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    Eastmn: 615'dola 805 m'cello
    Flatiron 3K OM

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