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Thread: First post: help! should I buy this mando??

  1. #1
    Registered User whitelines's Avatar
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    Default First post: help! should I buy this mando??

    Hi all,

    On Friday I finally upgraded from the Rogue I've been playing for a couple years now to a Kentucky KM-140S that I found on Craigslist for $100. Today I found what I THINK is a better instrument for the same price:

    http://gainesville.craigslist.org/msg/5153657265.html

    The owner doesn't have a model number for it, and only identifies it as an 'Oscar Schmidt A-Style,' but it does look a lot like the M1SDLB (http://www.washburn.com/products/blu...in/M1SDLB.html) except for the headstock.

    I'll happily re-sell my Kentucky (which I just cleaned and set up with new strings, so it sounds decent) and pick up this Washburn if it means a big step up in sound and overall quality. What do you guys think? Good call?

    thanks!
    Vince
    Vinnie

    Eastman MD-305C
    Kentucky KM-140S (sold)
    Rogue (sold)

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    Registered User whitelines's Avatar
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    Default Re: First post: help! should I buy this mando??

    Update: I now realize that Oscar Schmidt is Washburn's economy brand and I'm looking at something totally different from the Washburn M1SDLB (as you can tell I'm new here ). But I'm still a little confused-- why is the OM12 (http://www.oscarschmidt.com/products/acoustics/om12.asp) so inexpensive if it's got a spruce top and mahogany sides? Is that just a manufacturer fib? My Kentucky has a spruce top but the sides and back are laminates.
    Vinnie

    Eastman MD-305C
    Kentucky KM-140S (sold)
    Rogue (sold)

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    Default Re: First post: help! should I buy this mando??

    I can't imagine that would be anything but a sideways move, at best. In fact, the specs for the 140 say "carved top" vs the OS's "spruce top", which would indicate a machine carved top vs a pressed top. The 140 also is an ff hole, vs the Os's oval hole, which I would personally find preferable in an instrument in this price range. I started out on a $200 Washburn A (ff hole), and it was just fine for a 200 buck mando, but certainly not any better than any cheap Kentucky I've ever played.
    Mitch Russell

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    Default Re: First post: help! should I buy this mando??

    It's a manufacturer's little white lie. If it just says "maple" or "mahogany", it's a laminate. If it says "solid spruce top", then it's steam pressed into an arch, not carved. "Solid carved top" means machine carved (CNC routed). "Solid hand carved" means a human took a plane or gouge to it at some point. They're all standard dealer speak.
    Mitch Russell

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    its a very very long song Jim's Avatar
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    Default Re: First post: help! should I buy this mando??

    I doubt the Oscar schmidt is solid wood at all, If it doesn't say "Solid Spruce top" in the specs, it's plywood. Laminate back and sides like on you KM140s are OK on a low priced instrument.
    Jim Richmond

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    Registered User whitelines's Avatar
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    Default Re: First post: help! should I buy this mando??

    Thanks a million, Mitch and Jim! It looks like this OS isn't worth the hassle. I'm still going to keep an eye on Craigslist to see if anything else pops up, but for now I'll stick with my Kentucky.
    Vinnie

    Eastman MD-305C
    Kentucky KM-140S (sold)
    Rogue (sold)

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    Default Re: First post: help! should I buy this mando??

    Don't get it---try not to fall into the line of thinking that the next economy level "good deal" will be the instrument that will satisfy your needs. I went that route. Had I just patiently saved the money and put off gratification, I would have saved myself the torment. Be patient, buy a worthwhile quality instrument and avoid the good deals.

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    Default Re: First post: help! should I buy this mando??

    +1. The next real "step up" will be an A in the $500+ range. Everything else is basically the same with different cosmetics.
    Mitch Russell

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    Default Re: First post: help! should I buy this mando??

    Quote Originally Posted by onassis View Post
    It's a manufacturer's little white lie. If it just says "maple" or "mahogany", it's a laminate. If it says "solid spruce top", then it's steam pressed into an arch, not carved. "Solid carved top" means machine carved (CNC routed). "Solid hand carved" means a human took a plane or gouge to it at some point. They're all standard dealer speak.
    Excellent summary.
    Indulge responsibly!

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    Default Re: First post: help! should I buy this mando??

    Pelone is spot on, a lot of beginners try to upgrade as soon as they can but it is best to save your money and keep looking and try and find out all you can about different mandolin builders and what materials they are using....You can usually learn just as fast on what you have and then when the time comes a mandolin will pop up and speak to you and that's what you should buy, buying el cheapo`s as you go along will just be throwing your money away, most have no resale value at all so save, save and save and get one that will at least be of some value if and when you decide to sell it....Most of us have been down this road before and I wish I would have someone to tell me this when I started...

    Willie

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    Default Re: First post: help! should I buy this mando??

    Keep saving, none of those are an upgrade. Save up for an American made A-style mandolin. You probably need $900.

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    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: First post: help! should I buy this mando??

    "Churning" sub-$7-800 mandolins is a good way to spend a buncha money $50-100 at a time, with no discernible improvement in sound or playability.

    Read Mitch's Post #4, and plan to make your next instrument one with [a] all solid woods, [b] hand-carved top and back, [c] oval-hole or f-hole depending on preference. An A-model will save you buxx over an F-model.

    Good brands to consider are better Kentucky models, Eastman, Loar, JBovier, even the Rover RM-75, which at least has a hand-carved top. Not sure you need to get close to $1K, but "upper hundreds" would be better for the quality you want in a second mandolin.
    Allen Hopkins
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    Mandolin Dreams Unlimited MysTiK PiKn's Avatar
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    Default Re: First post: help! should I buy this mando??

    OSchidt is a popular purveyor of socalled "select spruce", as are others - just more plywood - schidt is big in autotharps. Some people think their other inst's are "nice". To me "nice" is almost like "select". I usually see the brand and just move on = "next".

    I talked one member out of ...wish burn... he saved for a couple months and bought an Eastman 515 new. For little more than the other thing. Especially since he was considering financing that thing, which would have cost more again for subpar.

    There's an olde company called Washburn /usa and they made what are now collectors, well, some of them anyway - the name has been bought, not the same.

    I search ads a fair bit and there's always a ton of 100ish mandos - nobody wants them, except as a beginner model - in THAT area, they are very useful for learning "what is a mando", and getting an idea of what "quality" is. Also they can be resold for 100ish - which means a cheap initial learning experience. In that arena, all that matters is playability; sound is secondary - altho they do actually sound like mandolins. Cheapies are also good for learning repairs, esp. if they are broken and need repairs. Those can be real cheap. Also good for learning setups - valuable info on your own real mandolin. Now there's something to learn; and it's not so difficult if you have the interest and can read. Much info available.

    = The Loar, LM700VS c.2013 = "The Brat"
    = G. Puglisi, "Roma" c.1907 = "Patentato" - rare archBack, canted top, oval
    = Harmony, Monterrey c.1969 = collapsed ply - parts, testing, training, firewood.


    "The intellect is a boring load of crawp. Aye. Next wee chune".

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    Default Re: First post: help! should I buy this mando??

    As good as the Internet is there is a downside. My first mandolin was a Aria that I bought new for $375, after 4 or 5 years I decided to up grade,all the mandolins I could consider was local adds from classified or local stores, so I played each one, had a hard time finding one at 3 times the price of my Aria that sounded better. Now we read all the hype on the internet and think what we are reading about is so much better than what we haven that MAS rears it's head and we have to "upgrade". Even now after all these years,and having a couple fine mandolins I still have to watch out or I will fall prey to this

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    Registered User Londy's Avatar
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    Default Re: First post: help! should I buy this mando??

    Don't be in a rush. Learn more about builds, models and makes. Save more money while you are researching and upgrade to something you will own for decades to come. I had a Rogue and waited 2 years to purchase my Collings. No regrets. Have fun anticipating your new instrument and don't rush it.
    "Money is a complication man created that the universe doesn't care about."

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    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: First post: help! should I buy this mando??

    Quote Originally Posted by MysTiK PiKn View Post
    ...There's an olde company called Washburn /usa and they made what are now collectors, well, some of them anyway - the name has been bought, not the same....
    Right you are; "Washburn" was one of the higher-end lines of the old Lyon & Healy company in Chicago, named after George Lyon's middle name. Current Washburn instruments are run-of-the-mill Asian stuff.

    Oscar Schmidt was a big Jersey City manufacturer, made a lot of zithers, other instruments too. They bought the Autoharp trademark in the 1920's, along with Stella guitars. Now the trademark is also assigned to a distributor who imports instruments from Asia.

    The new companies talk up the "history" of their brands, but that's hype. No relationship between the Washburn instruments produced by Lyon & Healy a century ago, and current models. Same for Oscar Schmidt, Regal, Epiphany, Flatiron, Recording King, and many other labels. New Asian imports may be better or worse, but they're not the same.
    Allen Hopkins
    Gibsn: '54 F5 3pt F2 A-N Custm K1 m'cello
    Natl Triolian Dobro mando
    Victoria b-back Merrill alumnm b-back
    H-O mandolinetto
    Stradolin Vega banjolin
    Sobell'dola Washburn b-back'dola
    Eastmn: 615'dola 805 m'cello
    Flatiron 3K OM

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    Mandolin Dreams Unlimited MysTiK PiKn's Avatar
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    Default Re: First post: help! should I buy this mando??

    Quote Originally Posted by allenhopkins View Post
    Right you are; "Washburn" was one of the higher-end lines of the old Lyon & Healy company in Chicago, named after George Lyon's middle name. Current Washburn instruments are run-of-the-mill Asian stuff.

    Oscar Schmidt was a big Jersey City manufacturer, made a lot of zithers, other instruments too. They bought the Autoharp trademark in the 1920's, along with Stella guitars. Now the trademark is also assigned to a distributor who imports instruments from Asia.

    The new companies talk up the "history" of their brands, but that's hype. No relationship between the Washburn instruments produced by Lyon & Healy a century ago, and current models. Same for Oscar Schmidt, Regal, Epiphany, Flatiron, Recording King, and many other labels. New Asian imports may be better or worse, but they're not the same.
    Wow, the list just got even bigger. omg.

    You said Epiphany? Did you mean Epiphone? Epiphone is one of the saddest stories; the Kalamazoo's I simply think of them as Gibsons - but that's from the days when they made musical instruments.

    After that, into the 70's, it's debatable if any on them made musical instruments. And young folks today think a 70's era means "olde", and therefore worth a lot. But really, lately I am slowly learning about some hot spots - certain models, certain years - and that makes it tough.

    But there's an awful lot to learn - I pick lots of "indirect info" from many threads here. I used to think I knew lots; now, I'm learning all over again. Same happened with golf; but that's a whole other world. Never mind.

    I have seen pix of old Washburn and old Stella and old Recording King - just not the same. I also had an old Regal cheepee, a project I left behind somewhere - likely circa 40's. Cheap but made of real wood. I'll regret losing that forever, and it was a wreck - amazing though, even with a stepped-on top, it played. I paid 2.99 for it. wreckage. I made braces for it, had plans for the top repair - and then it got lost in a move. sad. Just try to avoid emotional attachments w musical instruments. good luck w that.

    = The Loar, LM700VS c.2013 = "The Brat"
    = G. Puglisi, "Roma" c.1907 = "Patentato" - rare archBack, canted top, oval
    = Harmony, Monterrey c.1969 = collapsed ply - parts, testing, training, firewood.


    "The intellect is a boring load of crawp. Aye. Next wee chune".

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    Default Re: First post: help! should I buy this mando??

    Thanks to everyone who took the time to post a reply to this thread. A few months ago I "found" a mandolin simply titled "The Ward" & was told it was made by a guy in NC not far from where I lived. It had a 2K price tag & I was such a neophyte to all this mandolin stuff I thought it would be great to own a "locally made" mandolin. Fortunately, a few folks who had a bit more time under their belts advised me to slow down, get better on my 1st one (an Eastman 305) & know that when the time was right, whatever I needed to buy would be there, waiting on me. Really glad I listened! I'm much happier banging thru the chords on a "starter model" until I get a little more confident in knowing I'm not strangling a cat every time I practice.... The Ward is still there, maybe it's waiting for me, who knows????
    Thanks again.

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