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Thread: Reason I Buy Two Buck Chuck !

  1. #26
    Registered User Eric Platt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Reason I Buy Two Buck Chuck !

    Have had 4 different posts written, then deleted. Let's just say that for some folks the best is all they can settle for. Others are fine with what they have. I can tell the difference. Am quite content with my present instruments. No illusions that they are anything near the best. Or even great. They work quite well with the music I play at home and perform.
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  2. #27
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    Default Re: Reason I Buy Two Buck Chuck !

    When these kinds of things come up a buddy has a great line.
    "Ahhhh....first world problems!"

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  4. #28
    Registered User Bob Clark's Avatar
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    Default Re: Reason I Buy Two Buck Chuck !

    I believe in using my resources to support the type of artisan endeavors I appreciate and want to see continued. I believe there is value in supporting the small estate wineries in which the wine is produced by an actual winemaker rather than some corporate factory operation (although I have to admit to FI in this case). I also believe there is value in supporting the individual artisan Luthier or the small shop of craftspeople working to build quality instruments even if something cheaper can be had from a corporate factory.

    If we want artisans and the skills they possess to persist, we have to support them. Without our support, they will die out. I take pleasure in knowing that the wine I enjoy (in addition to my own) and the mandolins I play were crafted in this way. This is how I choose to spend my resources. YMMV and that's OK, too. There's room in this beautiful world for all of us.
    Purr more, hiss less.

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  6. #29
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Reason I Buy Two Buck Chuck !

    I was actually waiting for you to chime in Bob

    For those that don't know, Bob has skin in this game. He makes wine.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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  8. #30
    Registered User rob_pt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Reason I Buy Two Buck Chuck !

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Clark View Post
    I believe in using my resources to support the type of artisan endeavors I appreciate and want to see continued. I believe there is value in supporting the small estate wineries in which the wine is produced by an actual winemaker rather than some corporate factory operation (although I have to admit to FI in this case). I also believe there is value in supporting the individual artisan Luthier or the small shop of craftspeople working to build quality instruments even if something cheaper can be had from a corporate factory.

    If we want artisans and the skills they possess to persist, we have to support them. Without our support, they will die out. I take pleasure in knowing that the wine I enjoy (in addition to my own) and the mandolins I play were crafted in this way. This is how I choose to spend my resources. YMMV and that's OK, too. There's room in this beautiful world for all of us.
    Hear, hear! This is why I purchase products of all sorts from artisans when ever possible. It is immensely satisfying to use quality products made by people who have a real passion for their craft.
    Rob

  9. #31
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    Default Re: Reason I Buy Two Buck Chuck !

    I don't know squat about wine, but I don't think I can agree with the OP's assertion regarding mandos. I'll be honest, for the most part cheaper mandolins rarely sound good to me. Are they passable? Yeah...sure...in general they are perfectly serviceable instruments. However, after you've spent some time with a really superlative sounding instrument (in my case, over half a decade with a Brentrup F-5) then your ears really do change in terms of what you notice. Furthermore, if you've had a chance to play a lot of good-but-nothing-special instruments, and a few occasions to play instruments that immediately drop your jaw. It's hard to explain, but eventaully you just develop and ear where you quickly realize when an instrument really jumps out at you, and to be honest, I've only had one instrument in the under $1k category really startle me, and even then I'm not entirely sure it wasn't hovering around $1k. That said, if you want to argue that price doesn't always mean a great sounding instrument, then I'm totally on board with you. Off the top of my head I've played a couple of Ellis's in the $5k range that did nothing for me as well as a few Gilchrist's that sounded terrific but certainly didn't seem $10,000 good, especially considering the fact that I thought my Brentrup sounded just as good and I've played a Sumi that only cost $2500 that was an absolute monster. That said, I will reiterate...I've simply never played a cheap mandolin that sounded like anything other than a cheap mandolin.

    At the risk of possible thread derailment by Stiver owners, I played a Stiver over the summer that was absolutely AMAZING! I offered to trade the guy my beat-up old Brentrup on the spot. I was turned down. That was one insanely great mandolin...hands down one of the best instruments of any type I've ever played and that includes three Loars and two Gilchrists.

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  11. #32
    Registered User Louise NM's Avatar
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    Default Re: Reason I Buy Two Buck Chuck !

    When buying wine, mandolins, or many other things, price and quality travel together for a spell, but then prices keep increasing but quality drastically levels off. At this point you start paying for bling, provenance, or scarcity instead of large increases in the quality of sound or taste. For a lot of us, finding the spot where quality and price diverge is a good place to buy. On the lower end, doubling the price may increase quality fourfold. Further up the scale, doubling the price might get you a 10 percent (or less) improvement. Worth it to you?
    1988 Reno mandolin, Trinity College mandola, Kentucky KM 272 oval hole mandolin, a few bowed string instruments and some stray woodwinds

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  13. #33
    but that's just me Bertram Henze's Avatar
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    Default Re: Reason I Buy Two Buck Chuck !

    There is fields where I can distinguish and those where I can't.
    I apply taste navigation until I have found my personal preference; beyond that, navigation is useless.

    - I can tell South African Shiraz from cheap French Chateau Migraine
    - I can tell a well-aged Single Malt with a number from a fancy-named but too young NAS Scotch
    - I can tell the sound of a Fylde OM from that of any other (i.e. lesser)
    - I cannot tell one violin from another (9 years of violin lessons filled with teachers' advice that I should get a better violin, I never understood what they meant; the best violin is always the one I don't have to play)
    the world is better off without bad ideas, good ideas are better off without the world

  14. #34
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    Default Re: Reason I Buy Two Buck Chuck !

    I personally have owned cheap mandolins south of a G in my younger days, and since have owned em north of 10G-50G and I can tell the difference, I sure would love to go to a great music store and do a blindfold test it might be revealing but doubt it, after almost 30 years of pickin mandolins I do believe I can tell a cheap import from a well seasoned/played in vintage Gibson but what do I know I used to drink cases of swill beer and boxed wine at a time-OH YEH!

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  16. #35
    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Reason I Buy Two Buck Chuck !

    From Mike Edgerton - "..... that if you cannot tell the difference between a cheap and an expensive mandolin then consider yourself lucky.". How true !. That saves a lot of heartache,soul searching & cash.

    Tone is such a personal thing,that many folks might prefer the less expensive mandolins & not the $22k one in post #7. Ronnie McCoury prefers the tone of his Gil.against the tone of his Lloyd Loar mandolin & there's one heck of a price difference between those 2 - it's simply a 'preference',others might think differently. If i could afford a Gilchrist mandolin (after seeing Cafe member mtucker's Jnr. i was drooling !),would i sideline my Weber / Lebeda / Ellis ?,no way,i'd still enjoy the 'differences. I suppose that's why some folks have a great many instruments,because they enjoy the sound of them all,
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  18. #36
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    Default Re: Reason I Buy Two Buck Chuck !

    Ivan, Very correct! Also you must get the "right" Gil, my 82 F-5 was very similar to R.McCoury's tone it was also X-braced but really lacked in volume, but if you mike up there would be no problem well with any mandolin I'd guess. I got rid of it cause well it couldn't hold a hat to any of my tone bar braced old F-7 conversions. "Whatever anyone says I'll always be a believer in old played in instruments" And with some $ and the Gil to swap it gave me a chance to go after an old Gibson fern, that's my passion and tone I love. I'm a for sure tone bar guy. I have a friend that has a 97 Gil F-5 with tone bar and well my one F-7 conversion is such a better mandolin IMHO. I actually thought my 82 X-Gil was a better F-5 than his 97 tone bar-Gil. But everyone has their preference. Now I'd love to hear/play some of Steve's new F-5's since I heard its the best stuff he's been making?
    Steve G. really does have some great new stuff but WoW for the price and their all spoke for, I could never commission something new and that high priced. I do know that Steve has done a bunch of Loar refinishes for a friend and others that have Loars that had the 50's refinish or other builder refinishes and he has got it down! I've just seen pix of one a few days ago from a friend and only heard the results of that first Loar that was at Carters and AMAZING.
    I also like different tones etc... I would've kept a great many of my mandolins but well to trade and get what ya really want ya have to let em go unless you have the $ to keep em all, I sure don't but have been lucky to trade and get what I like, sometimes I've lost $! But kudos to those that are real happy with less expensive instruments. I still would love to do a blindfold taste test of a bunch of mandolins. I may be surprised.

  19. #37
    Mandolin Friendly Mark Gunter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Reason I Buy Two Buck Chuck !

    I simply can't afford one of those high end instruments, and haven't played any excepting an Ellis, back when I first started with mandolin and couldn't appreciate it that much.

    I do know that when I first started with mandolins, I bought some trashy instruments, and was happy to have them and loved the fact that they sounded like mandolins (I'd been a long time guitarist). There was a MarkStern bowl back that started it, then a pressed top Ibanez, then a solid wood (spruce/mahogany) Pac-rim Washburn, a 315 Eastman, and finally a Collings MT.

    Picking up the Collings for the first time I was struck by how light it was. I love the way it feels and the way it plays. The Collings has ruined me for those earlier mandolins. Both the Washburn and the Eastman were overbuilt, and the sound suffers for it. After a while, I couldn't stand the feel of the Eastman's neck, and I sold it. The Washburn has a neck profile and a feel that is more suited to me, and it has its own dark sound that I play with sometimes; it is now my trusty backup.

    I love a good muscadine wine, XX beer, and wouldn't be the one to support any "beer artisan" because I've never met a craft beer I like that much (yes, I've tried scores of them) - give me a good Dutch, German or Irish import, or one from just over the border. I'm not above drinking Natural Light when it's nice and cold, but it's just not the same.
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  20. #38
    its a very very long song Jim's Avatar
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    Default Re: Reason I Buy Two Buck Chuck !

    I have been taking my Strad o Lin to music shops to compare the tone to the high dollar tone on the wall, while I have played some fine instruments, never felt the need to take one home since I've been doing this. This doesn't work so well with wine and usually I don't have any wine left to compare by the time I am going to the liquor store anyway!
    Jim Richmond

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  22. #39

    Default Re: Reason I Buy Two Buck Chuck !

    I've told this story before, but here goes.....30 years ago a friend of mine was celebrating something, actually closer to 40 years ago -- can't remember, anymore -- I do remember he bought a $300 bottle of wine and was kind enough to have a bunch of little plastic cups for all of us there to sample. WELL, I still remember it was very, very tasty and even delicious! Did it make me want to go out and buy a bottle for myself or learn more about wine? Nope, I could take it or leave it. A lot of things in life are that way......

    And, conversely, 20 some years later I was lucky enough to be able to spend some time in Bordeaux, France playing music on several occasions. I remember having wine with every meal and when a bottle was finished our hosts went to the kitchen and brought another one to the table. Several hours later there were a dozen bottles on the table every night. And, it tasted like pretty good stuff to me! Certainly not Boones Farm or Mad Dog 20/20 type of stuff. Well, I knew I our hosts weren't wealthy, so I asked about the cost of the wine, out of curiosity. They said it was local and very cheap, a couple of dollars a bottle! Anyway, this was before all the restrictions on checked and carry-on luggage -- without going into detail, I managed to bring back about 20 bottles of this delightful fluid. All legal, of course, and glad to pay duty on each of the $2 bottles -- heh, heh, heh......... Again, did it make me want to go to the wine store when I got back home and buy more French wine? Nope, I could take it or leave it. To me it was just one of the perks of being in wine country.

  23. #40

    Default Re: Reason I Buy Two Buck Chuck !

    Quote Originally Posted by yankees1 View Post
    I am convinced that there are wine connoisseurs who can tell the difference between $2.99 Charles Shaw wine from Trader Joe's and the more expensive wine but I'm not one of them ! That's the reason I buy Charles Shaw ! Now, if mandolin players were to play a wide variety of mandolins and not look at the name on the head stock, I wonder if they could really pick out the top mandolins ( twelve to twenty thousand plus dollar) from the five to six thousand dollar mandolins ? I would bet ( not very much) that a lot of players would be shocked/surprised if they went to a place like Gruhn's that stock a lot of mandolins and played without looking at the name of the builder and rated these instruments ! Just a thought !
    I don't mean to nit-pick your analogy but... well I guess I will. If I buy a bottle of 'Two Buck Chuck', I'm generally comparing it to a $10, maybe $15 bottle of wine available at the supermarket. The Charles Shaw stacks up ok there once in a while. I'm not comparing it to a $200 bottle of Napa Far Niente etc, because there really is no comparison.

    The mandolin comparison you make is between those costing "five to six thousand dollars" and mandolins costing "twelve to twenty thousand plus dollars". There's certainly nothing comparable to a "Two Buck Chuck" anywhere it that group.

    But the question you raise is still a fair one. Can you spend five Gs on a mandolin (lets just say maybe one you just ordered from a builder who had an example at Gruhn ) and expect that it might sound every bit as good as a twenty thousand dollar Gill? I certainly think it's possible. This whole tone thing is pretty subjective and you may end up with a very special mandolin that sounds every bit as good as any D-Log Gill to you at 1/4 the price.

    You have to keep in mind though, that there will be those who own two thousand dollar mandolins who believe they have their hands on something special. Something that sounds just as good as any five thousand dollar mandolin. And of course there are the entry-level mandolin owners who really don't hear anything better tonewise in that two thousand dollar mandolin than their KM-150.

    So... I'm not saying you're not right. Just that it's easier to make and enjoy the comparison when you're looking at it from the less expensive side of the fence.
    Last edited by FLATROCK HILL; Dec-05-2017 at 10:46pm.
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  24. #41

    Default Re: Reason I Buy Two Buck Chuck !

    Quote Originally Posted by Louise NM View Post
    When buying wine, mandolins, or many other things, price and quality travel together for a spell, but then prices keep increasing but quality drastically levels off. At this point you start paying for bling, provenance, or scarcity instead of large increases in the quality of sound or taste. For a lot of us, finding the spot where quality and price diverge is a good place to buy. On the lower end, doubling the price may increase quality fourfold. Further up the scale, doubling the price might get you a 10 percent (or less) improvement. Worth it to you?
    This is what I wanted to say. From what I've heard I find mandolins getting "better" up to around 5k. After that it seems more like preference or better for a certain style but not subjectively better.

    Of course that may be the limitations of my ears!
    Last edited by Chuck Leyda; Dec-06-2017 at 11:46am.

  25. #42
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    Default Re: Reason I Buy Two Buck Chuck !

    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Leyda View Post
    This is what I wanted to say. From what I've heard I find mandolins getting "better" up to around 5k. After that it seems more like preference or better for a certain style but not subjectively better.

    Of course that may be the limitations of my ears!
    I think that just about everyone agree that the relationship between quality and cost is nonlinear in wines, mandolins, and many other luxury items. At the low end, these two things tend to go hand in hand. At the high end, a fairly large increase in price only brings about a comparatively small increment in the perceived quality -- but an increase, nevertheless (on average, that is: there are always some outliers at all points along the curve, and I disregard those. You can get both lucky and unlucky!).

    However, identifying exactly WHERE the curve really begins to turn over (or, in your language, "the spot where quality and price diverge") is not trivial! In fact, the the commonly heard phrase "worth it to you" implies that the position where this curvature seems to become important happens to be different for different people.

    For you, the turnover point seems to be somewhere around $5,000. For me, that point is currently somewhere around $10,000. I routinely hear mandolins around (or above) $10,000 that -- in my opinion -- blow away nearly all of those going for under $5,000. But for other folks, the turnover point might be anything from $1,000 (high-end budget mandolins) to $100,000 (Lloyd Loar category). That's a factor of hundred: an enormous range!

    I would also point out that for many folks, their perception of the turnover point in this nonlinear relationship is likely to change over time, as their playing skills improve, their playing experience increases, as their tastes change, and -- not to be ignored -- as their financial status changes. If you can more easily afford to have expensive tastes, you might me more tempted to indulge expensive tastes.

    My heart goes out to those among us who are cursed with expensive tastes but who lack the wherewithal to pay for them. Everyone else can have an opportunity to be satisfied in this life, but never them!

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  27. #43

    Default Re: Reason I Buy Two Buck Chuck !

    I see what you're saying. I've been doing as much research as I can on this....I would like my next mandolin to be my last.....or at least last for awhile.

    Since the demise of The Podium there really isn't a great mandolin tasting spot around Minneapolis. I understand online listening has it's limitations. Still I've been hard pressed to beat this mandolin which went for under $5k.

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