Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 64

Thread: Pava Mandolins: Are they as good as people say they are?

  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Lancaster, PA.
    Posts
    158

    Default Pava Mandolins: Are they as good as people say they are?

    Wondering if anybody else has had a chance to evaluate Pava mandolins versus Collings mandolins. (particularly the MT2)

    I know some people did this a while back, but I thought perhaps there might be some newer reviewers out there with opinions.

    As I'm sure many of you know, it's very difficult to find some of these mandolins without traveling great distances! It's even harder to find two of them to A/B in the same place.

    Any insights or evaluations would be most appreciated.

    Thanks.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Pava Mandolins: Are they as good as people say they are?

    Pava mandolins are better than people say they are..... including me.

    I have never played a mandolin that had a better range of response than my Pava. The only thing close was an Ellis. Pava and Ellis are essentially the same mandolins, but for some reason I like my Pava better... I have been told that it may be because of the red maple back, but that is hear-say since I really have no personal knowledge comparing red vs sugar maple, in general.

    There is just no tone that I have asked for that this mandolin hasn't delivered, and the sustain has to be heard to be believed.

    I have heard Collings played, but haven actually had one in my own hands, so feel free to discount everything I say.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Pava Mandolins: Are they as good as people say they are?

    Love Collings build and quality. Scary perfect. And here comes the blasphemous part - sound wise, they they don't have the soul and depth of a Pava. Someone once mentioned an analogy to wine, with Collings being a nice crisp white and a Pava being nice red. I'll take it further - the Collings would be a Sauvignon Blanc of good quality, say $15-20, while the Pava would have the rich deep character of a bottle of a great Pinot Noir or Cabernet that you would normally only consider on an expense account - something akin to mandolins of the great luthiers. This is after many A-B tastings at different places and the results have been constant. I'm going to duck and get out of the way, but you asked for opinions, so...

  4. #4
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    North Carolina
    Posts
    12,063

    Default Re: Pava Mandolins: Are they as good as people say they are?

    I picked on a Pava A at IBMA last year, great sounding and playing. I walked by the Ellis booth and there was another guy playing one, running through East Tennessee Blues. I grabbed one sitting on a stand and we ran through chorus after chorus. We had a crowd form and we handed off each mandolin to the other, must have sat there 30 minutes or more. Hard to notice any difference between the two - they were both A models with F holes. Both played real easy, were bright and very responsive. I'm not much of an A guy, but I'd buy one were I in the market.

  5. #5
    Registered User CelticDude's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    West Hartford, CT
    Posts
    715

    Default Re: Pava Mandolins: Are they as good as people say they are?

    Wow, I hate to be the naysayer, but I have to disagree. I've played the same Pava a couple times over the past few months, at a shop that also has at least one MT2 in stock at any given time (yesterday they had two). I consider the Pava I played to be on a par with my MT. That's to say, pretty d@mn good. However,the MT2's yesterday were wonderful, especially one that had just arrived (I was the first customer to play it.) Both had perfect tone, and the new one was wonderfully responsive and warm. I'm not a BG player, but that MT2 was perfect for pretty much everything else. I've been looking to upgrade to a fancy oval-hole, but I think these MT2's have convinced me otherwise. Granted, it's based on a sample size of one Pava, and I don't recall which model it was. And as always, YMMV.

  6. #6
    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Manchester - Lancashire - NW England
    Posts
    14,187

    Default Re: Pava Mandolins: Are they as good as people say they are?

    Being an admirer of Tom Ellis's mandolins,i've read every thread / post on here regarding Ellis & now,Pava mandolins. From what i have read,the consensus of opinion,is that the Pavas are exceptional mandolins 'regardless of cost'. However,as in all things,they won't be to everybody's taste,
    Ivan
    Weber F-5 'Fern'.
    Lebeda F-5 "Special".
    Stelling Bellflower BANJO
    Tokai - 'Tele-alike'.
    Ellis DeLuxe "A" style.

  7. #7
    Capt. E Capt. E's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Austin, Texas
    Posts
    2,861

    Default Re: Pava Mandolins: Are they as good as people say they are?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ivan Kelsall View Post
    However,as in all things,they won't be to everybody's taste,
    Ivan
    There is the key. Many people love Collings mandolins, but they have never been to my taste either. I have had many chances to play them side by side, and while I have found Collins mandolins that are very nice indeed, I prefer the Ellis and Pava mandolins' sound. An Ellis A will cost you near $6000. A top model Pava near $3000. Tom and Pava are a team, to say the least and the quality of both brands is high as a result. The appointments and finishing of the Ellis mandolins are of a higher level than the Pava instruments. The sound produced is virtually identical. Of course, there is the renown Ellis F mandolin. Pava makes only the A body.
    Jammin' south of the river
    '20 Gibson A-2
    Stromberg-Voisinet Tenor Guitar
    Penny Whistle
    My albums: http://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/album.php?u=7616

  8. #8

    Default Re: Pava Mandolins: Are they as good as people say they are?

    I have played many Collings mandolins and like them all but when I played the Pava mandolins I knew there was much more to the depth of tone, playability and another level of workmanship. They've got all the power one could want for bluegrass and all the subtleties for lighter playing in classic, and celtic styles throughout the entire range of the instruments. Check out Nate Lee in Nashville if you get a chance. His is fantastic as is his playing!

    One of the most important things to remember about any mandolin is if it's capable of producing the tone with the right build and playability it will really sound the way you the individual plays and sounds him or herself. Just hand your mandolin to someone else and see.

    Go Pava!

    www.desertnight.com
    www.hardroadtrio.com
    Steve Smith

  9. The following members say thank you to desertnight for this post:


  10. #9
    Registered User jclover's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Location
    Iowa
    Posts
    167

    Default Re: Pava Mandolins: Are they as good as people say they are?

    I have a Pava and an Ellis. They are clearly "family", but they are not equivilent in tone. Think cousins rather than brothers. Of course, I am dealing with a sample size of one each, so YMMV. Just to be clear, my Pava is excellent. The Ellis is even better.
    -Jim

  11. #10
    Capt. E Capt. E's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Austin, Texas
    Posts
    2,861

    Default Re: Pava Mandolins: Are they as good as people say they are?

    Quote Originally Posted by jclover View Post
    I have a Pava and an Ellis. They are clearly "family", but they are not equivilent in tone. Think cousins rather than brothers. Of course, I am dealing with a sample size of one each, so YMMV. Just to be clear, my Pava is excellent. The Ellis is even better.
    Yes, I'll agree. Cousins, not siblings...nothing against either one.

    I have always wondered how much "Ellis" there is in Collings' mandolins since Bill Collins and Tom Ellis had their work benches side by side for several years. That was before Collins ever attempted to make a mandolin, but was only making guitars. The two are friends and probably learned from each other. Their business models are quite different, however.
    Jammin' south of the river
    '20 Gibson A-2
    Stromberg-Voisinet Tenor Guitar
    Penny Whistle
    My albums: http://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/album.php?u=7616

  12. #11

    Default Re: Pava Mandolins: Are they as good as people say they are?

    The only time i played a Pava was about 2 years ago. It was at the Music Emporium. It stood out as a great sounding mandolin, somewhat similar to Collings, but with more depth. Although, I believe the MT2 may have a little more cut and volume in some cases. I've played some decent MT2s and some really nice MT2s. I currently have an MT2 and it cuts significantly more than an MT, more hard hitting. In my experience the Pavas are more refined. I do own an Ellis and it cuts, is loud, and has depth and complexity. I would be curious to play a Pava now to see how they sound having owned a few Collings and an Ellis.

  13. #12
    Middle-Aged Old-Timer Tobin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Kerrville, TX
    Posts
    4,004

    Default Re: Pava Mandolins: Are they as good as people say they are?

    Quote Originally Posted by Capt. E View Post
    Yes, I'll agree. Cousins, not siblings...nothing against either one.

    I have always wondered how much "Ellis" there is in Collings' mandolins since Bill Collins and Tom Ellis had their work benches side by side for several years. That was before Collins ever attempted to make a mandolin, but was only making guitars. The two are friends and probably learned from each other. Their business models are quite different, however.
    Tom has commented on this subject a couple of times, notably here and here. Sounds like there wasn't much in the way of learning or sharing between the two, in terms of how their mandolin building specs evolved.

    I of course also own a Pava and an Ellis F5 Special. Compared to other mandolin brands that I'm exposed to on a regular basis, the Pava and Ellis sound very similar; I'd still describe them as siblings, or half-siblings (given that siblings can still be very different even with the same parental DNA). To me, they sound more alike than different, although they definitely do not sound the same. Their differences have become more apparent the longer I've owned them. And to be honest, their differences change with different strings and picks and such, to the point where it's difficult to accurately describe their similarities and differences except to just say they sound different from other brands. Totally worthless description, I know. Sorry.

    One thing's for sure, though. The Pava sounds fantastic. The day we bought it, my wife and I actually went to the shop intending to purchase a Collings (not knowing they had a Pava there). We played them both, along with some others, and it was the Pava that clearly spoke to both of us. This was just personal preference, of course, as both the Pava and Collings A-styles are very good mandolins. Ain't nothing wrong with the Collings MT2, but we just preferred the sound and some of the other appointments of the Pava.

    But to answer the original question, are the Pavas as good as everyone says? Yes. Absolutely.

  14. #13
    Registered User TEvans's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    134

    Default Re: Pava Mandolins: Are they as good as people say they are?

    When I was in the market for an Ellis A5 - which I eventually ended up with - I was EXTREMELY tempted by a Pava Pro that Fiddler's Green had in stock. It was....incredible. The strings were old and looked like they had quite a bit of play on them, and this thing still barked as loud as I've heard any bluegrass mandolin. Not only that, but the notes rolled out of that mandolin full and fat on quick fiddle tunes.

    To me, that Pava Pro was an Ellis A5 with lacquer (instead of varnish) and a different name on the headstock. I was going to buy it, then I found a great price on a used Ellis, and ended up with that.

    But if I ever needed another mandolin, I would strongly consider the Pava.
    I've also been down to the Ellis shop and visited for a while with Tom and Pava. Great crew, and really awesome people. Pava was awesome. Both her and Tom know how a mandolin should sound, so don't expect anything less coming out of their shop. Their instruments are top notch.
    Austin, TX

    Ellis A5

  15. #14
    Registered User Kroland's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Portland, OR
    Posts
    30

    Default Re: Pava Mandolins: Are they as good as people say they are?

    I've had a Pava for almost two years (and a Collings MTO, but that's a very different beast from an MT). I like my Pava more than any new MT I've found, but the couple broken-in MTs I've played have been at least on par with my Pava, if not slightly better sound-wise. From what I've read, the MT's englemann spruce top takes longer to really open up than the Pava's adirondack top. Playability, fit, and finish were basically equal. Though I'm definitely a fan, I do think the Pava mandolins are a little over-praised. They're excellent, but there's a lot of other excellent stuff out there as well.
    I've lost my sheep

  16. #15
    Registered User Chunky But Funky's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Posts
    290

    Default Re: Pava Mandolins: Are they as good as people say they are?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kroland View Post
    From what I've read, the MT's englemann spruce top takes longer to really open up than the Pava's adirondack top.
    It has always been explained to me the exact opposite. Englemann is the top wood of choice for "immediate gratification" and adirondack tops open up over time after being "played in". Anyone, anyone ... or is it just me? FWIW, I've had both an MT and a few MT2's. It has been my experience as well.

    Doug
    Red Penguin Rentals & Red Penguin Remote- High end outboard recording rentals (Pgh, PA)
    Mics from Neuman, Korby Audio, Royer, Sennheiser & EV and Remote Recording featuring Mac Computers, Metric Halo Interfaces, Pro Tools & Logic

    "Cedar makes for excellent soundhole sniffing"
    Steve Miklas - Acoustic Music Works

  17. The following members say thank you to Chunky But Funky for this post:


  18. #16
    Registered User Kroland's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Portland, OR
    Posts
    30

    Default Re: Pava Mandolins: Are they as good as people say they are?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chunky But Funky View Post
    I've had both an MT and a few MT2's. It has been my experience as well.

    Doug
    Interesting; I may have remembered it backwards. So was your experience that the Collings took a while to really open up, or the opposite? As far as my Pava goes, I found that it seemed to continue opening up tone-wise for about 6 months, but I haven't noticed any difference this past year.
    I've lost my sheep

  19. #17
    Registered User dcoventry's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Salinas, Ca.
    Posts
    1,671

    Default Re: Pava Mandolins: Are they as good as people say they are?

    Quote Originally Posted by jclover View Post
    I have a Pava and an Ellis. They are clearly "family", but they are not equivilent in tone. Think cousins rather than brothers. Of course, I am dealing with a sample size of one each, so YMMV. Just to be clear, my Pava is excellent. The Ellis is even better.
    Slightly off topic, But as a Rigel fanatic, I'd really like to know how your A+ fits into that crew.
    2005 Rigel G5 #2196
    2005 Phoenix Jazz #400
    1988 Jeff Traugott Acoustic #4
    2012 Eastman 905 Archtop Guitar, BLOND!

    Remember to grin while you pick, it throws folks off!

  20. #18

    Default Re: Pava Mandolins: Are they as good as people say they are?

    Pava Mandolins: Are they as good as people say they are?

    Yes they are
    Danny Clark

  21. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Danny Clark For This Useful Post:


  22. #19
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    San Diego CA
    Posts
    2,119

    Default Re: Pava Mandolins: Are they as good as people say they are?

    Like others, I can only speak to my own personal preferences: I have own a couple of MTs and a couple of Pava, and to me, I much prefer the Pava sound as well as the playability. The low end on a Pava really pops, and the high notes are also fat and full. The more rounded neck profile on a Pava suits my hand better than the sharper V on an MT. However, as I have never played a MT2 I can't speak to how they compare.

    Also, I know others have touched on the subject, but having played just one Ellis A5 in my life, I'd say that my Pava sounds a lot like an Ellis, but the latter has a lot more going for it in terms of tone complexity and punch. I think it is fair to think that when getting a Pava you're getting a piece of Ellis, but if you really want an Ellis, there's nothing else quite like it.

  23. #20
    Registered User Russ Donahue's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Maine
    Posts
    774

    Default Re: Pava Mandolins: Are they as good as people say they are?

    Yes. They are as good as people say. Played an MT and a Player the same day. The sound of the Pava was a dight warmer. Construction, fit and finish was superb on both. Loved both. Have two Collings, but no Pava. My sense is they are very similar instruments. YMMV.
    One watch by night, one watch by day...if you get confused, just listen to the music play.

  24. #21

    Default Re: Pava Mandolins: Are they as good as people say they are?

    I am a huge fan of Collings mandolins and a MT was on my short list. I was able to a/b a Pava Satin model with a new MT and a mint used MT-2V at TMS last November. I chose the Pava over the MT as soon as I played it based on the resonance and depth of tone. The MT was great mandolin also, what I had always wanted, and perhaps had a bit more cut. I might also prefer the Collings neck profile a little over the Pava, at least in playing chop chords. I also was thinking I might want an MT for the availability of the1 3/16" nut width. But the darker tone and super responsiveness of the Pava Satin model appealed to me.

    The used MT-2v Tangerine burst sounded fantastic and was drop dead gorgeous, but even used, was a bit pricey. Since MT-2s can be ordered with custom woods it would really helpful if I could specify which woods were used in making that one, but alas I didn't find out. The MT-2V had great feel and great tone. The Pava seemed to have greater clarity on notes above the 12th fret. So, I re-tested the two Collings and that clinched it. Whichever brand you choose you are getting a fantastic instrument. I suggest skipping the satin models since you will rub shiny spots on them pronto. The gloss models could save you money by not needing buffing out or aftermarket pick guards (Doug at Hill Country Stringworks is making me one). Yes, the Pava mandolins have a remarkable sound. We are so lucky to have the great number of fine instruments to choose from today. Cant wait to test drive some of the other great ones out there!

    Scott

  25. #22
    Registered User Nick Gellie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Orgiva, Spain
    Posts
    1,166

    Default Re: Pava Mandolins: Are they as good as people say they are?

    I have had a Collings MT and now have a Pava mandolin. Tonewise, I found the tone of the Collings MT to be a more nasal and brash in tone at the treble end, pretty much the same as the Pava in the mids and bass. I have some issues with the setup of the Collings. I think that the neck went out of wack a bit - I did have to adjust the truss rod. The Pava has had little need of adjustment.

    The MT had more cut and projection a bit like a Northfield Model M. It all depends on what one wants. There is a simple recourse to play several if you are not sure and work out what you like. From what MT2's sound clips that around, they can be a very nice mandolin.

    Chad at the House of Fine Instruments playing a Collings MT2V:

    Nic Gellie

    Collings MT 2014 mandolin
    Ruben Bada 2019 Irish Bouzouki

  26. #23
    Registered User almeriastrings's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Almeria, Spain
    Posts
    5,438
    Blog Entries
    3

    Default Re: Pava Mandolins: Are they as good as people say they are?

    I have only encountered one Pava to date, and I was very impressed. Definitely in the Ellis camp in terms of voicing. Very good low end, with nice rich, but clear highs and plenty of volume. Beautifully built. A truly fine mandolin, in short. As for Collings, well, they are also very nice instruments, of course. Voicing is different than the Pava (or the Ellis). Collings make a lovely mandolin, but to date, although I have played a number none of them 'spoke to me' (as in "Buy Me Now - no excuses!") in the same way that Ellis grabbed me. If I was in the market for an 'A', I would certainly have Pava in my sights.
    Last edited by almeriastrings; May-19-2015 at 1:30am.
    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.

  27. #24

    Default Re: Pava Mandolins: Are they as good as people say they are?

    To make this more interesting, I would like to bring up another choice, also from Austin and with connections to both Collings and Ellis - the Passernig! Costing between a Pava Pro and an MT2, Stefan Passernig's A5 is a beautiful thing that many who have heard it have the opinion (including me) that these go yet beyond all others mentioned this far, and beyond even many higher end makers. While more obscure perhaps, well worth the effort of seeking out.

  28. #25
    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Manchester - Lancashire - NW England
    Posts
    14,187

    Default Re: Pava Mandolins: Are they as good as people say they are?

    From Capt. E - "Bill Collings and Tom Ellis had their work benches side by side for several years.". So did Bruce Weber & Paul Schneider (Summit Mandolins),2 makes of mandolin that use the 'bolt on' neck adjustment prior to final glueing,& of the ones i've played,so incredibly similar in sound quality,
    Ivan
    Weber F-5 'Fern'.
    Lebeda F-5 "Special".
    Stelling Bellflower BANJO
    Tokai - 'Tele-alike'.
    Ellis DeLuxe "A" style.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •