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Thread: Pava Pro or Collings MT2?

  1. #26
    Registered User aphillips's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pava Pro or Collings MT2?

    I can't speak to the Pava (though they seem great), but I will say my MT2 is a rockin mandolin. It sounds great every time I pick it up and the only time it sounds less than great is through user error ;-) Either way it looks like you will be happy!

    What a cool dilemma to have!
    Last edited by aphillips; Apr-02-2015 at 1:12pm.
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  3. #27
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    Default Re: Pava Pro or Collings MT2?

    Just FYI. Olde Towne Pickin' Parlor in Arvada carries Collings. Don't have a clue what their inventory is like right now, but you can probably check out their website to see. This from a hardcore Weber fan!

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  5. #28
    Registered User dnallred's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pava Pro or Collings MT2?

    Good call out NursingDaBlues!

    I've been checking the Old Towne Pickin' Parlor's and the Folklore Center's stock religiously lately. They don't have much going on right now that piques my interest. I'll be in the area of OTPP today and plan to stop by if I can catch them before they close, just in case something's in stock that they don't have online. At this point, also planning a stop by Tejon Street Music in the Springs tomorrow morning for a couple hours. I'll keep y'all posted on how it goes.

    Big thanks for all the valuable insight from everyone so far! Great points on neck shape - I'm a bit too new to the instrument to claim I would be significantly influenced in my decision based on the subtleties of neck profile... I shouldn't overthink it!

    In summary, I'm going to go in with my mind and ears open. We'll see if something sings to me and go from there.

    Keep the expertise coming!

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  7. #29
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    Default Re: Pava Pro or Collings MT2?

    I think a lot of beginners think its important to develop preferences as part of the process of becoming an expert, believing that experts know better. They do in many ways but still personal preferences are just that and the most experienced and skilled musicians I know pick up any instrument and play it, concentrating on how to get the best tone out of it and not worrying about some of the details.. sorry to go on but this is a hobby horse of mine, when a customer sits down and gets his (usually) ruler out I want to.. no lets not go there....
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  8. #30
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    Default Re: Pava Pro or Collings MT2?

    to add more firewood to the furnace, one could take your budget, add a couple more $100, be a savvy shopper in our classifieds, and in time come out with one of each used-Pava and base level MT. have the best of both worlds, play'm till you decide different.

    definitely come back and tell us what you find and what impressed. you may bring one home

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  10. #31
    My Florida is scooped pheffernan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pava Pro or Collings MT2?

    Quote Originally Posted by darylcrisp View Post
    to add more firewood to the furnace, one could take your budget, add a couple more $100, be a savvy shopper in our classifieds, and in time come out with one of each used-Pava and base level MT. have the best of both worlds, play'm till you decide different.
    Tell me more about this savvy shopper.
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    Default Re: Pava Pro or Collings MT2?

    Quote Originally Posted by pheffernan View Post
    Tell me more about this savvy shopper.
    i can speak it, but i can't/haven't yet held myself to do it.
    probably need more practice.

  12. #33
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    Default Re: Pava Pro or Collings MT2?

    Dnallred-

    Back in the old days (early 2000') the OTPP would have several Collngs mandos to choose from. I was there about a month ago and I think they had a couple MTs and a MT2. I've had the chance to play a lot of Collings over the years, while yes they are consistent each one does have it's own voice. I've got both a MT2 and a MF that I bought at the OTPP. Over the years they have never had a MT-O and I've been dying to play one. So 2 weekends ago I made the trek to Tejon St. Music, they had a MTO and it was the sole purpose of the trip, I just had to check one out. I liked it a lot, but then I played their Northfield FS5, that thing was awesome, I liked the neck profile it just seemed to fit my hand. It had a great tone to my ears. Since then I've really been considering trading up my MT2 for that Northfield.

    Two years ago I played a Pava, I was in a noisy room so I can comment too much on the tone, but based on other posts here, people have given accurate tonal comparisons between the 2 mandolins you asked about. The nut width on the Pava was 1 1/8th and a bit fuller and more of a "C" shape than the Collings 1 1/8th nut width.

    I've spent a small fortune on mandolins, 90% of the reason I would buy one is I would tell myself, "oh that sounds so good, it barks so loud, its got chimey trebles, that's a great deal.. I should have been asking myself how comfortable is it. Are my fingers muting adjacent strings, are the strings spaced too far apart, how high is the action, how is the neck shape. Some people don't find these things to be a problem but for me, it is. The Collings neck profile is comfortable, but that Northfield was like wearing those old worn in jeans along with those old worn in shoes. It just fit my hand shape so good, it was almost like it were custom fit for me. you might play it and totally hate the way it feels/sounds/looks...


    Anyhow enjoy your trip to Tejon St., they're good folks there. Be sure to take some quarters for the parking meters.
    Scott

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  14. #34
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    Default Re: Pava Pro or Collings MT2?

    Good man, Scott. I planned to play those Northfields while I was there. I've heard too many good things about them not to! Guess We'll see what speaks to me and feels like home. Either way, good chance I'll be posting some pics of my new mandolin tomorrow night if I'm lucky enough to share a special moment with one at Tejon St. Thanks for the perspective!

  15. #35
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    Default Re: Pava Pro or Collings MT2?

    i've just had time and opportunity to read the whole thread good, and i must say i have to respectfully disagree on some points-and thats okay, all of us can't agree on everything all the time.
    and consider this is solely my thoughts on the subject, and others will have their own as well, as they should. i think its important that people know its okay to question how things work, how things fit, and how they can go about making the time they devote to music a happier time. a time they look forward to investing in, rather than struggling.

    we live in the golden age of lutherie in many ways. most of us have access to many different makes/brands/sizes of instruments. in this day and age a lot of us have the economic means to express the ownership of more than one instrument. regarding that, i cannot accept the idea of learning to "cope" with an instrument that doesn't fit me well from the start. along the same lines would be an instrument that does not sonically please me and i buy it with the hope that it eventually opens up or changes for the better.
    for my $, i have to like what i feel, what i hear, and what i see(and in that order).
    mandolin is hard enough to learn with regards to the short scale, the double course sets of strings, etc.

    with the advancement of tooling, knowledge, and skill sets that we have at this point, i will not accept an instrument that is hard to play or doesn't please me immensely and immediately irregardless if its a low or higher cost item. the knowledge of a good setup, and the performance of such, makes it irrelevant these days to struggle with ones instrument if one is willing to spend the time to learn to do what is necessary-or pay someone with the skills to accomplish such.

    it is correct that we play the actual string spacing of our instruments, for some of us though, we need some extra room so our outward sets are not too close to the edges. 1 1/8" can offer up only so much space to spread. its not a big deal anymore though as many or most makers offer up additional space if one requests that. how difficult would it be if only a size 10 shoe was offered for everyone. some folks would find it way too big and not be able to properly walk in it, some people would find it perfect, some like me(size 13) would find it cramped and hard to get along with each and every day the moment we forced them on. i see instruments in the same way.

    i spoke with Adam Steffey on his Northfield quite some time back, he frequents Carter Fold that is about 30 minutes from me(Adam lives about 45 min from me), i loved the sound that night and at mid break had opportunity to talk a little. i think its obvious that Adam has been doing some R&D for Northfield for the last few years. he mentioned he was requesting they offer a 1 3/16" nut width(to allow more string spacing) and also some changes to the neck profile. told me as he was getting older he preferred the wider width. there is a video out there where he mentions these things as well.

    i think any instrument can be better fitted and the player have a more enjoyable time spent when one takes into account nut width, first fret string spacing, string spacing at the saddle, scale length, neck profile, and body shape(talking guitars, banjos, mandolins, and even native american flutes(the placement of the holes determines a lot if one can play stress free-along with shaft size).
    i enjoy an instrument best when i'm not thinking about being cramped, or struggling with a neck that just never feels right in my hands. when you can play and just listen to the music, thats it, you have arrived.

    lots of folks can pick up anything anytime and feel fine with it, some of us can't. thats just how it is. would i keep a fantastic sounding mandolin(or guitar or banjo)if the neck(or any other part)didn't fit me well. nope, i wouldn't. i have actually sold or traded many an excellent instrument due to that exact reason. lucky for me that i figured out rather quickly what worked best for me in mandolins-we will not talk about the years past of the many acoustic guitars i worked thru.

    this has been a good thread, good discussion, many excellent points brought out.

    thanks always for your thoughts and help,
    d

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  17. #36
    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pava Pro or Collings MT2?

    From Daryl - "..all of us can't agree on everything all the time." Ain't dat de troof !!. If any instrument is really uncomfortable to play,to the extent that the effort of trying to play it overides the enjoyment of doing so,then i wouldn't buy it - unless maybe i could modify it slightly ie.wider nut etc.,but then it ceases to be what it was. Personally,i like to retain my instruments exactly as the maker made them. Somehow,modifying instruments,unless it's something simple such as a fret size change, seems to me to make them less than what they were - but that's just me. I've even clung on the the ridiculously heavy Weber rect. case that my "Fern" came in. It's so OTT heavy that at one point shortly after i bought it from TAMCO,i asked Trevor if he'd like it back. He advised me to keep it in case i sold the mandolin, & the buyer would want the 'proper' case for it. I had to concede that he was right,despite the fact that any buyer would need the physique of Arnie Schwartzenegger to carry the darned thing !. It's still lying around,in pristine totally un-used condition - i might just make a wardrobe out of it !,
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    Default Re: Pava Pro or Collings MT2?

    Quote Originally Posted by darylcrisp View Post
    . i think its obvious that Adam has been doing some R&D for Northfield for the last few years. he mentioned he was requesting they offer a 1 3/16" nut width(to allow more string spacing) and also some changes to the neck profile. told me as he was getting older he preferred the wider width. there is a video out there where he mentions these things as well.

    d
    It's is interesting to note the, Daley Steffy Model was standard to have a 1" nut width.
    http://www.simdaley.com/AdamSteffey/AdamSteffey.html

    I know it's not the nut width but rather the shape of the neck that matters, but 1" sure sounds cramped to me.

    Somewhere in the Café forum I read that Adam has a Collings with the wide nut option. I know as I have gotten older there are many things that have changed but one thing that remains a constant, big beefy baseball bat necks strain my left had and if I "power" through the pain, my hand hurts for a week. Maybe I should reconsider my approach to playing and how hard I have to fret? Many of the lessons we see here the artist talks about being relaxed.
    Scott

  19. #38

    Default Re: Pava Pro or Collings MT2?

    I have played both at Fiddlers Green as a matter of fact been awhile but if I was in the market for an A style between those two it would be the Pava.

  20. #39
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    Default Re: Pava Pro or Collings MT2?

    Welp,

    First off, Tejon Street Music is an AWESOME shop. Great selection of guitars (More Collings than I've seen in one room before), huge banjo selection, Uke's etc. Very respectable Mandolin stock as well. Sean (Shawn?) and his dad were very helpful, friendly, and knowledgeable. Super nice guys.

    I played just about every Mandolin they have in stock. A Gibson F5 Master Model, Northfield NF5S, COllings MTs, MTO, MT2's MT2V Wide Nut... received quite an education. They have an MT Honey Amber in Stock that is probably the loudest mandolin I've ever heard. Gorgeous tone - super tight G & D strings - just a cannon. They have an MT2 recently added in stock that I came pretty close to buying today... It had everything I thought I was looking for. Then I played that dang Northfield and it threw a major wrench in my plans.

    Gotta say, Northfield makes a hell of a mandolin. For the price point, I don't know if it can be beat. That said, I only played one...would really like to get a few more in my hands now. More in stock in a few weeks.

    I did not take a new toy home with me today But I had a great day and importantly - educated myself quite a bit! Loved the Wide-Nut MT2V they had in stock (just a bit out of my price range). Think I'll keep my eyes peeled on the classifieds for a bit, maybe head back to Tejon with a buddy soon. I'd go into more detail but no time at this exact moment - just wanted to update everyone on my awesome day at Tejon St!

    They have an excellent website and fantastic service. I'm going to highly recommend you check out their stock and give them a call if you're on the hunt. I'm looking forward to making it back down there soon.

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  22. #40
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    Default Re: Pava Pro or Collings MT2?

    Yeah that's a cool shop down there, glad you had a good trip. For what it's worth, Shawn's dad is John Ramsey as in Ramsey Mandolins. I don't know how many he's made and I only know of one locally that is played by a guy in the band Kicked to the Curb.
    Scott

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    Default Re: Pava Pro or Collings MT2?

    Speaking of wide nuts.... the Northfield 'Big Mon' I have has got a 1 3/16 nut... it was a custom order I believe, but they certainly do them. Very nice mandolin. Personally, I am fairly immune to nut widths and neck profile variations... must be that time I spent working in the instrument business all those years ago, doing setups, repairs and demos! Got used to playing just about anything that came through the door.

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    This is what Adam Steffey said in the Cafe interview..

    "My next MAS is I've told Adrian Bagale at Northfield Instruments I want to have a wide neck Big Mon, like a 1 3/16". I really love my Collings MT2 with a honey amber finish and it has a wide neck that is just perfect. I told him if I could get that neck on a Big Mon F-5 that would be my baby!"


    http://www.mandolincafe.com/news/pub...s_001537.shtml
    Last edited by almeriastrings; Apr-03-2015 at 11:45pm. Reason: Typo
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  24. #42
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    Default Re: Pava Pro or Collings MT2?

    Have you seen the size of Steffeys paws? No wonder.

    I love those videos of him playing beside the petite Sierra Hull. Its amazing with that size difference that they are both such virtuosos on the same instrument.

    Give me the skinny necks.
    No matter where I go, there I am...Unless I'm running a little late.

  25. #43
    Troy Shellhamer 9lbShellhamer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pava Pro or Collings MT2?

    Quote Originally Posted by dnallred View Post
    Welp,

    First off, Tejon Street Music is an AWESOME shop. Great selection of guitars (More Collings than I've seen in one room before), huge banjo selection, Uke's etc. Very respectable Mandolin stock as well. Sean (Shawn?) and his dad were very helpful, friendly, and knowledgeable. Super nice guys.

    I played just about every Mandolin they have in stock. A Gibson F5 Master Model, Northfield NF5S, COllings MTs, MTO, MT2's MT2V Wide Nut... received quite an education. They have an MT Honey Amber in Stock that is probably the loudest mandolin I've ever heard. Gorgeous tone - super tight G & D strings - just a cannon. They have an MT2 recently added in stock that I came pretty close to buying today... It had everything I thought I was looking for. Then I played that dang Northfield and it threw a major wrench in my plans.

    Gotta say, Northfield makes a hell of a mandolin. For the price point, I don't know if it can be beat. That said, I only played one...would really like to get a few more in my hands now. More in stock in a few weeks.

    I did not take a new toy home with me today But I had a great day and importantly - educated myself quite a bit! Loved the Wide-Nut MT2V they had in stock (just a bit out of my price range). Think I'll keep my eyes peeled on the classifieds for a bit, maybe head back to Tejon with a buddy soon. I'd go into more detail but no time at this exact moment - just wanted to update everyone on my awesome day at Tejon St!

    They have an excellent website and fantastic service. I'm going to highly recommend you check out their stock and give them a call if you're on the hunt. I'm looking forward to making it back down there soon.
    Sounds like a fun time in the shop!

    I'm really curious what you loved about the Northfield? How was it's volume compared to the MT2? How was the tone of the G and D strings?

    I went down to Nashville a few months ago to buy a Northfield, and I wasn't impressed enough to buy. They're great instruments, I just couldn't pull the trigger... THEN the shop owner said, "Hey, we just got in an amazing MT2 from 2002. Its the biggest steal in the shop right now! Check it out."

    As soon as I played that MT2 I knew I'd found the one. I've been really happy with the past few months!

    I'd still love to find a Northfield some day with the same POP that this Collings has, just to cure my scroll envy. For now, I couldn't be happier with the MT2.

    I suppose this is why we often hear and repeat that old adage, When possible, play before you buy!

    Even among builders with reps as being the most consistent I've noticed some big differences. For now, I can't wait to go play another Northfield somewhere until I find the one that speaks to me! I really LOVE my MT2, but with several A5 style mandolins at home now, I really need an F! I'm just worried it will be a LONG time before I find an F that sounds as good as my MT2, specifically the bass response on the G and D strings.
    *2002 Collings MT2
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    (And a bunch of wood and wire that makes noise...)

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  27. #44
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    Default Re: Pava Pro or Collings MT2?

    Quote Originally Posted by 9lbShellhamer View Post
    Sounds like a fun time in the shop!

    I'm really curious what you loved about the Northfield? How was it's volume compared to the MT2? How was the tone of the G and D strings?
    Couple things I really liked about the Northfield:

    1. Finish and detail work was quite good. When you see the price-tag, I think that was one of the first things that shocked me, "Dang this is a pretty well put together instrument for that price!"
    2. Very "woody" or "throaty" tone on the NF I played. It was not a bright-and-chimey, but a warm-and-beefy mandolin. I like warm and beefy. Plenty of definition and brightness on the A and E strings mind you, just great overall warm woody tone. Great big chop.
    3. The feel was really good, not sure what their neck profile would officially be called, but it sure felt good in my hands. Loved the bound neck and big frets. Played well up the neck, easy to fret notes. In my experience, there's just a difference between how most premium quality instruments feel to the player, compared to most non-premium builds. To sum it up; This one felt like a premium quality mandolin, and for a not-so-premium price. Theyr'e just doing something right at Northfield. No I want to play one of their Model M's...
    4. G & D strings were very warm and round. Overall - the particular NF5S I played was not as loud as a couple of the MTs I played, but very rich in tone - plenty of overtones. I'm not so worried about volume to tell you the truth, so the overall "loudness" of an instrument rarely determines if I like it or not. It was a mandolin, therefore, plenty loud enough!


    Sean told me they're expecting a wide nut version of the NF5S next month. If I haven't found "the one" by then, I'll be making the trip back down to try that one out!

    In the meantime - I'm scouring the interwebs for a Northfield "Big Mon" or Master Model with the wide nut upgrade...if I find it sooner than an MT2 w/ wide nut, ...I may be a Northfield owner!

    Now the trick is not jumping on all the sweet deals that keep popping up on MT2's and NFs... Just saw a Mint MT2 Honey on Ebay for $2,600.... tempting...but dang it if only I didn't really like the feel of that wider-nut. I think I'll hold out a little longer in hopes one comes along. Any help is appreciated!

    Still a bit bummed there's nowhere near me with a Pava. I've heard so many good things and would really like to spend 30 minutes alone with one.

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  29. #45
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    Default Re: Pava Pro or Collings MT2?

    Quote Originally Posted by darylcrisp View Post

    we live in the golden age of lutherie in many ways. most of us have access to many different makes/brands/sizes of instruments. in this day and age a lot of us have the economic means to express the ownership of more than one instrument. regarding that, i cannot accept the idea of learning to "cope" with an instrument that doesn't fit me well from the start.
    d
    Well said. I have to say, overall this thread has really helped me round out my perspectives quite a bit. Want to thank you for your input specifically, Daryl!

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    Default Re: Pava Pro or Collings MT2?

    I have a F4 short neck made by Gail Hester. That came in at 8k+. I strongly suggest you check her out. I am in love with the F4 shape, but what got me turned on to Gail was this video of Alan Bibey playing an A4 by Gail. Between the outstanding playing by Alan and the great oval sounding instrument, I was hooked. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W3Ha_dGYZlM and another playing 2 more one Hester and a rebuilt 24 Gibson. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cOrX-bOMP3Q. The A4 that Gail makes should be in the same price neighborhood as the MT2 and Pava Pro.
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  31. #47
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    Default Re: Pava Pro or Collings MT2?

    Quote Originally Posted by red7flag View Post
    The A4 that Gail makes should be in the same price neighborhood as the MT2 and Pava Pro.
    I suspect that Gail's level of workwomanship now costs another 33% beyond those instruments.
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    Default Re: Pava Pro or Collings MT2?

    pheff, you may well be right. I never priced her A4s. Thanks for the info.
    Tony Huber
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  33. #49
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    Default Re: Pava Pro or Collings MT2?

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    Found me a Collings MT2 w/ Wide Nut. Loving every minute of it so far!

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    Default Re: Pava Pro or Collings MT2?

    That is a nice looking Collings! Congrats!

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