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Thread: Ranger "Travel" Mandolin from the Weber's..Thoughts or Opinions??

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    Default Ranger "Travel" Mandolin from the Weber's..Thoughts or Opinions??

    Hey all,

    While I was nosing through the Classifieds I came across an interesting new mando. It is the RANGER Travel Mandolin from Montana Lutherie, which as I understand is made up of Bruce and Mary Weber.

    It looks like a nice little mandolin. I guess they had a lot of success with their previous small mandolin, the Weber Sweet Pea and got a lot of requests and questions about whether they would ever be bringing it out again so they decided to go ahead and make a 2018 version of the Sweet Pea, the RANGER.

    It's all solid wood and looks a bit like the Sweet Pea did, but this one doesn't have a totally oval shaped body like the Sweet Pea had. It plays like a full sized mandolin though, as the Sweet Pea did too.

    There is another "travel" sized mandolin that is popular now too, the SEAGULL from Canada. It too is all solid wood construction. It and the RANGER are priced nearly the same at right under $400 MSRP. I don't know if they can be bought from dealers for less.

    I know a lot of people hate these "travel" mandolins while others seem to really like them. I can go either way. As long as they sound good, that's all that would be important to me.

    I'd like to hear what you all think of this RANGER and the SEAGULL mandolins. How do you think they sound and play, if you've had the chance to handle and play one?
    If given the choice between the 2, which one would you pick and why?

    Let's hear your thoughts and ideas on these 2 mandolins and if there's another one of these "travel" style mandolins that I left out, feel free to post it and add it to the others.

    Thanks for your time and any help you care to give.
    Have a great week.
    Larry

  2. #2

    Default Re: Ranger "Travel" Mandolin from the Weber's..Thoughts or Opinio

    I have played a sweet pea, and various guitar travel guitars and my feeling is that maybe they are better than nothing. Maybe.

    Better you get the original travel mandolin, an Army/Navy Gibson. A mandolin is already small enough.
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    Default Re: Ranger "Travel" Mandolin from the Weber's..Thoughts or Opinio

    If I had to choose between the two, I would choose the Ranger hands down. Based on nothing else but Bruce’s reputation.
    Don

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    Default Re: Ranger "Travel" Mandolin from the Weber's..Thoughts or Opinio

    I think the RANGER almost assuradly would arrive with a good setup. The Seagul, from what I have read, has an iffy set up. Some better than others.
    A big advantage to the ranger is that for $ 20.00 additional you can order a radius fret board, Or at least an advantage to those of us that have grown an affection for a radius fret board.
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    Default Re: Ranger "Travel" Mandolin from the Weber's..Thoughts or Opinio

    The Ranger has a bigger body cavity than the Sweet Pea, a more interesting body shape (I think), MOP inlay on the peghead, an external tailpiece rather than the integral tailpiece of the Sweet Pea and we added a volute to the neck for a bit of extra strength at the transition to the peghead. The shape of the neck is also closer to that of a full size mandolin. The Sweet Pea had a fairly narrow "V" neck in comparison to the Ranger.

    In general, we tried to use what we had learned with the Sweet Pea to enhance the Ranger.

    Vern Brekke

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    Registered User George R. Lane's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ranger "Travel" Mandolin from the Weber's..Thoughts or Opinio

    I played one a couple of months ago, at the Logan shop, for a few minutes. I to me it sounded fine for what it is. It doesn't have the power and tone of my Yellowstone, but it wasn't built for that. It does make for a good travel or quite practice mandolin. Another thing you should know about the Ranger, Bruce and Mary made several and sent them to the troops in the middle east for free. That shows me what kind of people they are.
    2010 Weber Yellowstone

    I maybe wrong, but it is highly doubtful.

  8. #7

    Default Re: Ranger "Travel" Mandolin from the Weber's..Thoughts or Opinio

    I have one on order.
    "Those who know don't have the words to tell, and the ones with the words don't know so well." - Bruce Cockburn

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    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ranger "Travel" Mandolin from the Weber's..Thoughts or Opinio

    I'd trust Bruce Weber to produce a decent instrument at any price level. I also had a look at the 'Ranger' yesterday & it seems fine 'for what it is' - an easily carried,compact mandolin. Certainly good enough to keep your fingers in trim if you're hiking / camping etc.,
    Ivan
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    Default Re: Ranger "Travel" Mandolin from the Weber's..Thoughts or Opinio

    Thanks all for the replies.

    I really wouldnít mind having one of the Ranger mandolins. I wish they were less expensive though.
    The thing is that itís hard to find s good mandolin for $400 if you are buying new. I know The Loar makes a 310 that sells for about $300, but I donít know much about it. I know to get an ALL WOOD, HAND CARVED mando, youíre gonna have to spend more than $400 for it.

    I remember about 10-12 years ago when I first got into mandolin lessons, I bought my first mandolin, a Michael Kelly Dragonfly and it cost me $450, give or take $25. It was a beautiful mandolin, played and sounded great and was solid wood with at least a hand carved top. That was when the MK mandolins were sold direct, skipping the shops and dealers.

    You canít get a MK like that for even close to $450. Their top mandolin now is priced at near $900.

    Oh well, who knows what Iíll end up with or even if I decide not to get back into trying to play at all.

    Thanks all.
    Larry

  11. #10

    Default Re: Ranger "Travel" Mandolin from the Weber's..Thoughts or Opinio

    I haven't played the Ranger, but I was lucky enough to happen to have found my way to Bruce last summer. He did some work on my A5-L that transformed the mandolin entirely. He singlehandedly turned it form the dog it was to the great instrument it is now. And, sympathetic to my worry about being mandolinless while he got the job done, he turned it around in a day. Somehow he had managed to translate vague descriptions of what I had hoped for into something better than hoped for. Thanks to Bruce, I love my mandolin.

    In 40 years of mandolin I never met a straighter shooter or anyone as dedicated to making sure his customers were happy. There is a deep ethic in operation with Bruce and Mary.

    I'm a dog (the other kind of dog, the kind of which all examples are perfect) guy, and so we got talking because Bruce had just onboarded a new little puppy named Ranger. He texted me a bunch of pictures of the cute little namesake, even one of Ranger playing in the packing materials from the box I shipped the mando to him in. I don't believe the Webers would name an instrument for a dog unless intended as an honor, and I doubt they'd use his name on a product they didn't think could own up to beloved young Ranger in a home where he will always be loved.

    Like I said, I haven't played it, but I'd expect any small bodied travel mandolin to have limitations, but if small and sturdy are critical factors, and you don't have unrealistic expectations about the mando sounding like a regular mandolin, Ii bet you'll probably do fine with anything Bruce made. He and Mary are the real deal, They won't come out and tell you this, but it is clear when you do business with them that uppermost in their hearts and minds is a happy customer. What they lack in greed they more than make up for in class. They don't need to tell you because you're bound to find out for yourself.

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    Default Re: Ranger "Travel" Mandolin from the Weber's..Thoughts or Opinio

    https://www.elderly.com/departments/...C7XQQAvD_BwEIf you want a travel mandolin, go with a Ranger. If you want a full sized mandolin for < $400, look at Kentucky’s KM 150. All solid, carved top, and reportedly built in the same factory as their KM 900-1500 series mandolins. I think you’ll be much more pleased with the sound/tone in the long run. Buy from a Cafe sponsor so you get a good set up (the money you save buying from Musician’s Friend or Guitar Center you’ll end up spending on a set up anyway). Also, look for Eastman 305. They are close to your range, especially if you catch one on sale. I lucked into an Eastman 315 (the F style variant of the 305) for just a hair over $400 at a big box store on clearance. So, there are some good sounding $400 mandolins our there...keep the faith!

    After some quick googling:

    https://www.elderly.com/departments/...RoC7XQQAvD_BwE
    Chuck

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    Registered User Bob Clark's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ranger "Travel" Mandolin from the Weber's..Thoughts or Opinio

    I had a Sweet Pea and really enjoyed it. I used it for its intended purpose; for taking along when traveling. It was an amazing conversation starter wherever I went. People would just come up to me in airports or train stations and ask what instrument was in the little (but really cool) gig bag. Through that, I developed a network of friends to play with when I travel.

    Because of that, I decided to travel with an instrument more suited to playing with others. Since I have a one-in, one-out rule (trying not to accumulate), I sold it to buy an A/N flat-top, and then ultimately bought a Hoffee case for my Phoenix so it could travel worry-free. That has worked great, but to be absolutely honest, I sometimes really miss and wish I had kept the Sweet Pea. I would take it along on quick trips whether I expected to have time to play or not. You never know.

    I agree with the compliments paid to Bruce and Mary; they are well-deserved. I have had a few Weber instruments from the Bruce and Mary days and have had a number of great conversations with Bruce and Mary. I still have a custom made instrument from them and probably always will.

    If I were in the market for a travel instrument, really for travel, I would buy one of these in a heartbeat. Cool instrument for its intended purpose, and very affordable. If Bruce considers it an improvement to the Sweet Pea, it must really be an improvement. I believe what he says. Also, since I really enjoyed my Sweet Pea, this has to be a really fun instrument. I haven't played one, but I'd love to give it a try.
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