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Thread: Comparing brands?

  1. #1
    I really look like that soliver's Avatar
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    Default Comparing brands?

    So I’m saving up to satiate the MAS bug in me that wants an arched top oval hole. I took it upon myself to go to a local vendor to test drive a couple to be certain that I wanted to spend the money on an oval or just get a really nice upgrade for my current ax.

    While it’s not necessarily an upgrade, I’ve read a lot of good about the Kentucky KM 272 and I wanted to put my hands back on one to see if I could be satisfied with it. Lo and behold, they STILL had the same one I played when I bought my Eastman 2 years ago. It was nice and sounded really good and I though for the moment that maybe I could be happy with it. But for grins, they let me play the Collings MTO they had for comparison. A friend once told me “if you can’t afford a Collings, don’t ever play one...” well he was right because that was a nice piece of instrument.... but alas, there’s no way I could justify much less afford it.

    My point in posting is firstly to say that for he first time I have experienced the truth to the claim that there is a noteable difference when crossing that price bracket, and secondly to ask about a comparison between Collings and Silverangel?

    I want to take the step into the higher price range, but that Collings range is not doable. Therefore I’ve been eyeing the SA Econo A... can anyone tell me how they compare? It’s my understanding that the Econo A is almost exactly on par with Mr Ratcliff’s standard A models only with less frills.

    Love to hear your thoughts; thanks in advance!
    aka: Spencer
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    Be Wild Zach Wilson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Comparing brands?

    Not to confuse and muddle the topic, but...

    Have you tried a Weber Gallatin O? They're pretty sweet!

    You can see it here:

    https://reverb.com/item/2996331-webe...-leather-satin

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    I really look like that soliver's Avatar
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    Default Re: Comparing brands?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zach Wilson View Post
    Not to confuse and muddle the topic, but...

    Have you tried a Weber Gallatin O? They're pretty sweet!

    You can see it here:

    https://reverb.com/item/2996331-webe...-leather-satin
    I’ll take a look, but there’s nowhere in the Atlanta area that has much of a selection of Webers... only one place and it’s far and they only have 2 or 3.
    aka: Spencer
    Eastman MD-305

    Hand Crafted Mandolin Armrests
    Check them out here

    "You can never cross the ocean unless you have the courage
    to lose sight of the shore, ...and also a boat with no holes in it.”
    -anonymous

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    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Comparing brands?

    Quote Originally Posted by soliver View Post

    My point in posting is firstly to say that for the first time I have experienced the truth to the claim that there is a noteable difference when crossing that price bracket, and secondly to ask about a comparison between Collings and Silverangel?
    I will let those with more direct experience than me respond with details, but I would think that either one will likely make you real happy for the rest of your life, and neither one will prevent you from wondering what the other one is like.
    Indulge responsibly!

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    Be Wild Zach Wilson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Comparing brands?

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffD View Post
    I will let those with more direct experience than me respond with details, but I would think that either one will likely make you real happy for the rest of your life, and neither one will prevent you from wondering what the other one is like.
    Well said.

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    I really look like that soliver's Avatar
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    Default Re: Comparing brands?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zach Wilson View Post
    Well said.
    I agree!

    I would still love to hear some more opinions!
    aka: Spencer
    Eastman MD-305

    Hand Crafted Mandolin Armrests
    Check them out here

    "You can never cross the ocean unless you have the courage
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    Default Re: Comparing brands?

    Have you thought about an old Gibson?
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

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    Be Wild Zach Wilson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Comparing brands?

    Quote Originally Posted by pops1 View Post
    Have you thought about an old Gibson?
    Oh, now it's getting interesting! I like that idea too.

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    Default Re: Comparing brands?

    I’ve had a Collings MT and Silverangel Econo in the House for several months at the same time. The Collings had one of the most comfortable necks I’ve ever played. Loud, woody, nice cut and bark, but tone fell solidly into the “modern” category. Very good mandolin, and fit and finish was darn near perfect.

    The Silverangel has a bit more traditional tone than the Collings, but with more bass response than the typical mid-rangy Gibson woof. It’s loud, great bark and cut, and also has a comfortable neck, though with more of a V shape. It’s built in “A Jr” style, with an integrated rather than elevated fretboard and thus a 12 fret join. I don’t tap dance beyond the 15th fret much, so it’s never been an issue for me, but for some it could be, I guess. Some will claim this type of join robs some volume, but that’s not the case with mine. Fit and finish is good, but you can tell it’s hand made and not quite as “perfect” as the Collings.

    I didn’t need both, and struggled with which one to move on. Ultimately, I turned the Collings into a mandocello. I just preferred the SA tone. Had the Collings been my only mandolin, I’d have been very happy with it. BTW, both were F holed instruments, not ovals. Hope this helps...

    Also, yes, the SA and the Collings are both a definite step up from my Eastman 315.
    Chuck

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    My Florida is scooped pheffernan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Comparing brands?

    Quote Originally Posted by soliver View Post
    My point in posting is firstly to say that for he first time I have experienced the truth to the claim that there is a noteable difference when crossing that price bracket, and secondly to ask about a comparison between Collings and Silverangel?
    Having owned an A5 from both builders, I found them comparable in playability. I love the feel of a Collings, and the Silverangel was very similar in its V-style neck profile and radiused board. I never felt like I had to fight the instrument.

    In terms of contrast, they were quite different in tone as well as fit and finish. The Collings I found to favor the trebles which really cut through a mix whereas the Silverangel emphasized the bass and lent itself to smaller ensembles. The Collings also was built flawlessly with mechanical precision while the Silverangel was a bit more rustic with the occasional maker's mark.

    In sum, I found them more different than similar yet more equivalent than inequal.
    1924 Gibson A Snakehead
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  12. #11

    Default Re: Comparing brands?

    Well, as an owner of a Collings MT and a KM272, they do have a different voice. Of course, my MT doesn't have the round hole, so you would expect it to. I honestly like my KM272 a LOT. Is it the same quality as the Collings? No, but then the Collings is a $2,500 instrument and the Kentucky is a $400 instrument. Let me say this again, the KM272 is a GREAT sounding mandolin and I don't see me getting rid of it anytime soon. For some songs, I prefer it to my Collings. And for some songs, I prefer the Collings.
    Collings MT
    Big Muddy M11 Jumbo
    Kentucky KM272
    Eastman MD505
    Lots of guitars (Martin and Guild)
    Lots of banjos
    Acoustic bass guitar
    Dulcimer

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    Default Re: Comparing brands?

    I've never played a SilverAngel, but I have a Collings MT that is not leaving. I will tell you that my "big 3" (Collings, Weber, and Pava) have totally cured any MAS, and I am a very happy woman with my mandos.

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  16. #13

    Default Re: Comparing brands?

    I play a Silverangel A5 economando.

    Its a wonderful instrument. Mine has an elevated fretboard,varnish finish, bound front and back, orricco tailpiece,radius board,speed neck etc. In fact I scratch my head trying to figure out how my mandolin differs from a standard A5. The only obvious difference is the inlay on the headstock.

    I would have to spend many multiples of what I paid for my Silverangel for a noticeable upgrade in tone.

    Ken gets a particular sound in his mandolins that I really like. They have a woofy full bass with plenty treble when needed.I also find my Silverangel responds well to playing with a lighter right hand, the instruments are lightly built and very responsive to the amount of attack used when picking.

    I cant see a time when I'd part with mine.

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  18. #14

    Default Re: Comparing brands?

    I'll just be redundant in stating the different voices these two have, and that is the Collings tone is bright and cutting, the build typical Collings perfect, while the SA is warm and resonant. Keep in mind that SAs will likely be some degree of reliced. Mine is lightly distressed, like a twenties or thirties mandolin well cared for.

    I wouldn't trade it for an MT, but my next mandolin will be a bright voice like one and could very well be an MT. I want one of each.

    Both are quality mandolins.
    Silverangel Econo
    Michael Kelly LSFTB

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    Registered User almeriastrings's Avatar
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    Default Re: Comparing brands?

    Very different.... I find the necks on both to be very comfortable... the SA's have more 'low end'... the Collings more balanced and veering towards the top end... simply different voicings. Which you prefer would be entirely down to your tastes and the kind of stuff you play. For solo mandolin or in a duet with guitar the SA's are very good indeed, in a Bluegrass band, you MIGHT find the Collings 'cuts' more. ... yes, the Collings are pretty much flawless in terms of fit and finish. The SA's have a more 'organic' obviously hand-built look - but again both are nice in their own way. You really need to try these to get the full picture...
    Gibson F5 'Harvey' Fern, Gibson F5 'Derrington' Fern
    Distressed Silverangel F 'Esmerelda' aka 'Maxx'
    Northfield Big Mon #127
    Ellis F5 Special #288
    '39 & '45 D-18's, 1950 D-28.

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  22. #16
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    Default Re: Comparing brands?

    Regarding my neck join, mine is a 2009, from his first batch. Not sure if all the older batch are like mine if not...
    Chuck

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    I really look like that soliver's Avatar
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    Default Re: Comparing brands?

    Thank you all for this input!... I’m liking what I’m hearing about the SA’s... also REALLY like his distressed violin finish. Warm, brassy and resonant are all things I like to hear.

    Not to mention the price is much more accessible.
    aka: Spencer
    Eastman MD-305

    Hand Crafted Mandolin Armrests
    Check them out here

    "You can never cross the ocean unless you have the courage
    to lose sight of the shore, ...and also a boat with no holes in it.”
    -anonymous

  24. #18
    I really look like that soliver's Avatar
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    Default Re: Comparing brands?

    Quote Originally Posted by pops1 View Post
    Have you thought about an old Gibson?
    I considered an A jr maybe from the teens, but just not sure I want to take on the possible fun of the upkeep of a 100 yr old instrument... plus I just have a preference for a radiused fretboard.
    aka: Spencer
    Eastman MD-305

    Hand Crafted Mandolin Armrests
    Check them out here

    "You can never cross the ocean unless you have the courage
    to lose sight of the shore, ...and also a boat with no holes in it.”
    -anonymous

  25. #19
    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Comparing brands?

    point .02.. a friend , worked in local music store, went to the Warehouse for US Eastman, Importer ..

    played a dozen or more identical looking F5 style, picked one for the sound..

    so not everything is looks..


    Yea old instruments , do need Refrets after a while.. good jobs are around $300.

    you can request arching the fingerboard in that process..


    ..
    writing about music
    is like dancing,
    about architecture

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