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Thread: Getting my first Mandolin, and I would like some input.

  1. #1

    Default Getting my first Mandolin, and I would like some input.

    Hi Mandolin Cafe,

    I've been playing violin for over 12 years and guitar for about 7, so I thought I might as well branch out into the mandolin world. I've been doing a lot of research and have narrowed my options down for my budget. I really need to stay under $500. I know I want an F style. I also go to a college in the middle of nowhere, so that's why I'm ordering online. I want to get a few years under my belt before I travel to find a quality mandolin, as well as expand my budget. If anyone has played or owns any of the following, could you tell me about your experience?

    Flinthill FHM75 F-Style Mandolin:
    http://www.amazon.com/Flinthill-FHM7...words=mandolin

    Rover RM-75 F Model Solid Handcarved Mandolin (Sunburst Finish)
    http://www.amazon.com/RM-75-Handcarv...words=mandolin

    Hohner HFM100-VSB F-Style Mandolin Vintage Sunburst
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...F8&me=&seller=

    Michael Kelly MKLFSTB Legacy Festival Mandolin
    http://www.amazon.com/Michael-Kelly-...words=mandolin

    Bon Air
    http://www.amazon.com/THE-BON-AIR-CO...words=mandolin

    I also found a Loar LM-500-VS as well as a The Loar Mandolin model LM-520-VS that are within budget.

    Of all of these, which would you choose? Thanks for your help.

  2. #2
    Registered User Bob Bledsoe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Getting my first Mandolin, and I would like some input.

    Out of those options, The Loar, hands down. You'll do much better finding something used at that price though. Make sure you buy from a reputable online dealer who will set the instrument up - I don't believe Amazon does that.

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  4. #3

    Default Re: Getting my first Mandolin, and I would like some input.

    Thanks for your help! Which Loar do you like better the 500 or the 520?

  5. #4
    Musically Omnivorous tablaninja's Avatar
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    Default Re: Getting my first Mandolin, and I would like some input.

    That Michael Kelly was my first mandolin and I still have it as a secondary instrument. I still love playing it. The key with any instrument is going to be a professional set up. My MK went from random intonation problems and high action to a great playing instrument. I also looked at that model of Loar and I think most of the Cafe would agree that it's your best bet among your list. I went with the MK because that's what I had access to actually play and I happened to find a really good sounding one. I also like the looks of that satin finish.

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    Registered User Russ Donahue's Avatar
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    Default Re: Getting my first Mandolin, and I would like some input.

    My third mandolin was a Loar 500 (if you count the Aria A in 1974, and the Washburn A in 1988)...not a bad place to begin. Either that or the 520. As always, make sure it is set up properly. Rob Meldrum here on the Cafe will send you his book on setting up a mandolin for free if you ask. I second Bob's view that you'll do better buying used, and if you are patient, over the course of several weeks you'll find lots of very good items showing up in the Cafe Classifieds, well within your price range. Have fun!
    One watch by night, one watch by day...if you get confused, just listen to the music play.

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    sofia 

  9. #6

    Default Re: Getting my first Mandolin, and I would like some input.

    DO NOT order from Amazon just for the fact that you need to have it set up by someone who knows their stuff. An absolute must for a beginner, you might save some $ but will have something that you will not enjoy playing and that will hinder your desire and progress.

    +1 on used from the classifieds as almost all of them will have been setup already or new from a site sponsor

    http://www.themandolinstore.com/scri...idproduct=9261

    FWIW The mandolin store is going to be having a blem sale starting tomorrow on Eastmans. The 315 is one hella good mando and will probably be in your price range I am assuming if any will be offered.

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    Registered User
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    Default Re: Getting my first Mandolin, and I would like some input.

    Kentucky km150...incredible mandolin at an incredible price from any of the cafe sponsors with setup and case included....around 299.

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    Constantly In Search Of.. Michael Bridges's Avatar
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    Default Re: Getting my first Mandolin, and I would like some input.

    +1 on the Kentucky KM150! Check out this recent thread. http://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/sh...150-Surprising
    You'll be hard-pressed to find a better sounding/playing instrument in your range. Not an F style, but starting out, you're gonna get more instrument for your money without the swirly doo-dads. No appreciable difference in sound. After you see if the mandolin suits you, MAS is sure to set in, and you can get into searching for that perfect F style! Good luck.
    Music speaks to us all. And to each of us, she speaks with a different voice.

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    Moderator JEStanek's Avatar
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    Default Re: Getting my first Mandolin, and I would like some input.

    Welcome to the Cafe, Sofia.

    I would recommend you purchase whichever brand you settle on (I would pick the The Loar or a similarly priced Kentucky or Eastman mandolin) from a dealer that sells and sets up mandolins. I would NOT expect Amazon to do anything other than drop ship an instrument to you. My first mandolin was a real bear to play when I purchased it that way. The strings killed my fingers and the intonation was off. A couple months later when I finally took it to a shop for a set up, it was so much more comfortable with a good action and a lowered nut and bridge with the bridge in the right spot. See our sponsors for reputable dealers.

    Your Amazon mandolin may cost $50 less but you would have to spend $50 -100 on a good set up.

    Jamie
    There are two things to aim at in life: first, to get what you want; and, after that, to enjoy it. Only the wisest of mankind achieve the second. Logan Pearsall Smith, 1865 - 1946

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  14. #10
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Getting my first Mandolin, and I would like some input.

    Sofia, why are you posting this twice? You have this thread in the "General" section with the same content.

    I'm gonna ask the moderators if the threads can be merged.
    Allen Hopkins
    Gibsn: '54 F5 3pt F2 A-N Custm K1 m'cello
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