Results 1 to 23 of 23

Thread: Want to get a Beginner Mandolin

  1. #1

    Default Want to get a Beginner Mandolin

    Hey everyone,

    I have always loved bluegrass music and recently wanted to start playing, does anyone have a suggestion for beginner mandolins? as a beginner and college student I would like cheaper options, but a ll info helps, and good places to find them.

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Fatally Flawed Bill Kammerzell's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Location
    Annapolis, MD
    Posts
    1,583

    Default Re: Want to get a Beginner Mandolin

    Have a price range in mind?
    Rag "F" style #40 (2018)
    Eastman MD805 (2014)

    Hohner and Seydel Harmonicas (various keys)

    "Heck, Jimmy Martin don't even believe in Santy Claus!"

  3. #3
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    40.1646 N, 74.2083 W
    Posts
    23,995

    Default Re: Want to get a Beginner Mandolin

    Buy a Rogue. $59.00 with free shipping. Then pick up a copy of Rob Meldrum's e-book (free) and learn how to set it up.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  4. The following members say thank you to MikeEdgerton for this post:


  5. #4

    Default Re: Want to get a Beginner Mandolin

    This subject is almost a weekly thread, Rogue comes up quite often for the cheapest option, Kentucky KM150 (recent version) is probably the most recommended starter and for good reason and Eastman 305's would be in the discussion. The other common recommendation as mentioned above is proper setup. If you are buying new consider a local shop or one of the site sponsors, it should come setup and ready to play. The classifieds or craigslist would be good places to start for used mandolins.

    Here is a link or search first or starter mandolins, should be several hours of reading material.

    http://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/se...archid=6923607

  6. #5
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    40.1646 N, 74.2083 W
    Posts
    23,995

    Default Re: Want to get a Beginner Mandolin

    That search link won't work for anyone but you and for a certain time period.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  7. #6

    Default Re: Want to get a Beginner Mandolin

    There is a search function at the top of the page for everyone.

  8. #7
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    40.1646 N, 74.2083 W
    Posts
    23,995

    Default Re: Want to get a Beginner Mandolin

    Indeed but the software doesn't provide for posting a search link without going through hoops. The way around it is to do your search in Google using syntax similar to this:

    starter mandolin site:mandolincafe.com

    That would get you this search.

    There are some real limitations on the search features in the forum software.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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


  10. #8
    its a very very long song Jim's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    BonCarbo CO.
    Posts
    2,446

    Default Re: Want to get a Beginner Mandolin

    The recommended Rogue and setup ebook is a good way to go, A used mandolin from the classifieds on this site can get you a good instrument at a lower than new price. These instruments have often been setup since the previous owner played them. The Rover RM50 can be had for under $200 from some of the cafe sponsors and these online stores do a pretty good setup. As you may have gathered , a good setup is of primary importance to owning a mandolin that is playable and sounds good. Many online stores do not setup their instruments. Here are a few in the classifieds right now.
    http://www.mandolincafe.com/ads/95836#95836
    http://www.mandolincafe.com/ads/95784#95784
    http://www.mandolincafe.com/ads/95695#95695
    Jim Richmond

  11. #9
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Edmonds, WA
    Posts
    424

    Default Re: Want to get a Beginner Mandolin

    Do yourself a favor. Buy the "bluegrass two-fer" from Musicians Friend. Search on Rogue Mandolin and you'll find it. Guitar and mandolin for $99 delivered. Set them both up using the techniques in my free ebook (email me at rob.meldrum@gmail.com for your copy). Now when a friend drops in to jam you'll have a guitar and mandolin at hand. Search my name on youtube and you'll hear the guitar compared to a buddy's $1,000 Taylor. You'll hear the tone of a Rogue mandolin (my playing isn't so great, just listen to the instrument). It is a ridiculous value. Just do it. :-)

  12. #10
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    Syracuse, NY
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: Want to get a Beginner Mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by Northwest Steve View Post
    This subject is almost a weekly thread,
    I've noticed this, and other beginner type threads, come up repeatedly. I wondered why (as a beginner having to search for these same beginner questions) why a FAQ hasn't been created and pinned to the top of "General mandolin Discussions"?

  13. #11
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    40.1646 N, 74.2083 W
    Posts
    23,995

    Default Re: Want to get a Beginner Mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by MillerRat View Post
    I've noticed this, and other beginner type threads, come up repeatedly. I wondered why (as a beginner having to search for these same beginner questions) why a FAQ hasn't been created and pinned to the top of "General mandolin Discussions"?
    Well, we could do a FAQ on the beginner mandolin, the best pick, the best strings and every other reoccurring subject but the best of everything seems to change on a fairly regular basis. The OP wanted the cheapest. Right now that would be a Rogue. If they asked for the best beginner mandolin I would have sent them someplace to buy a Kentucky KM-150. The Rogue has been at the top of the cheapest for a while, the KM-150 is fairly new in it's designation
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  14. #12
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    Syracuse, NY
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: Want to get a Beginner Mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeEdgerton View Post
    Well, we could do a FAQ on the beginner mandolin, the best pick, the best strings and every other reoccurring subject but the best of everything seems to change on a fairly regular basis.
    Well, if they change quicker than the questions being posted, you would be correct sir!

  15. #13
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    40.1646 N, 74.2083 W
    Posts
    23,995

    Default Re: Want to get a Beginner Mandolin

    The mandolin du jour has changed many times over the years. Even this question has been discussed many times in the past

    It's a fluid community.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  16. #14
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Location
    Pacific NW, slightly outside BC
    Posts
    664

    Default Re: Want to get a Beginner Mandolin

    Well, you can spend a lot of time in shops trying out instruments, you don't need to learn a lot of chords, fiddle tunes or scales/arpeggios, you just have to be able to play something. i recommend that, if there's shops around you. And take a grippy pick with you, the shops only give you slippery celluloid or delrin picks.

    if you can't play anything, take this with you: http://www.dummies.com/how-to/conten...k-edition.html

    Or you can spend a lot of time reading about it. You should at least spend a little time reading about problems you really need to avoid: damaged neck joints, loose brace/bass bar, cracks on top or around tailpiece, unevenly bowed/twisted neck, worn/unlevel frets (1st link below) and things that are cheaply fixable: bridges and nuts that need fitting, tuners need lube, etc.

    Here's some pages i've found, some from member S. Perry, that contain pretty exhaustive information on materials, construction, finish, setup:

    http://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/sh...in-Buying-Tips

    http://www.mandozine.com/media/instr...ide/index.html

    http://frets.com/FretsPages/OwnerManual/manmando.html

    http://www.giannaviolins.com/esmando...Beginner1.html

    http://www.mandovoodoo.com/evaluation0.html

    (you need to have polished frets to "read a neck": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gBzirIfsQPo
    Last edited by gtani7; Mar-01-2016 at 2:50pm.
    The Keepers: Kentucky km900, looking for next one
    Yamaha piano, clarinet, violin
    Stage1 pedal steel, some banjos and a dobro don't get played too much

    Shopping/monitoring prices: Yamaha brass, single/double reeds

  17. #15
    Registered User Roger Moss's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Charlottesville Va
    Posts
    1,052

    Default Re: Want to get a Beginner Mandolin

    I was loking at a Rover RM 25R. It is only $25 more than a Rogue. And has a solid spruce top. Has anybody else seen one of these and is it any good or am I wasting $25? I would get better but honestly I am not very good at all and probably won't get much better and I just don't have much money at all.

  18. The following members say thank you to Roger Moss for this post:

    gtani7 

  19. #16

    Default Re: Want to get a Beginner Mandolin

    Hello all. I too have seen the similar threads regarding beginner Mandos. I've considered weighing in a few times but have been busy and hesitant. First let me lay some groundwork. As you can see I am a new member and rare poster. I am nearing old guy status (52) and have /had absolutely NO musical knowledge but have had a desire to learn the mandolin for a few years. I made the plunge a couple years ago. I am a methodical analyst when it comes to making a purchase so not knowing anything about mandolins I started my research and gathering data. The attached is my spreadsheet of possible choices I found.

    Now my disclaimer. This was done 2+ years ago. MSRP may have changed, newer models may have come along or some discontinued. I did this research myself online. I make no representation it is correct. This is free info for you to use or not or better yet to assist you in your further own research. You will see across the top a list of online retailers. These are dealers I found and all of the info came from their own webpages. I have removed their posted prices in fairness and the prices would be 2+ yrs old. There may be other dealers that are new or I simply did not come across in my research. F

    For me I chose a The Loar LM220 VS. from Clarida's which is an online dealer and 25 miles from my home so I laid hands on it (sure couldn't play it) before I bought it.

    I hope this information will be of some value to others searching for their first Mando.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails mandolinspread.pdf  

  20. #17
    its a very very long song Jim's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    BonCarbo CO.
    Posts
    2,446

    Default Re: Want to get a Beginner Mandolin

    I was loking at a Rover RM 25R. It is only $25 more than a Rogue. And has a solid spruce top. Has anybody else seen one of these and is it any good or am I wasting $25? I would get better but honestly I am not very good at all and probably won't get much better and I just don't have much money at all.
    WORTH THE $25 , especially if purchased from a shop that does setup.
    Jim Richmond

  21. #18

    Default Re: Want to get a Beginner Mandolin

    I have two Loars. Both and "A" style and "F" style. I would highly recommend one of the lower price "A" style mandolins for beginners. I purchased both of mine used and really enjoy them.

  22. #19

    Default Re: Want to get a Beginner Mandolin

    To add to the list, the Eastman MD305 top and back are carved from solid maple. The MD505 is also, and has some binding and a gloss top MSRP = 699.

  23. #20
    Registered User Kevin Stueve's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Kansas
    Posts
    461

    Default Re: Want to get a Beginner Mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by dschonbrun View Post
    To add to the list, the Eastman MD305 top and back are carved from solid maple. The MD505 is also, and has some binding and a gloss top MSRP = 699.
    top is actually carved from solid spruce (at least on the 305 assume that is also true of the 505)

  24. The following members say thank you to Kevin Stueve for this post:

    gtani7 

  25. #21
    Registered User Al Trujillo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Southern Colorado
    Posts
    676

    Default Re: Want to get a Beginner Mandolin

    This Breedlove is on the Classifieds. Might be an option for a starter mandolin...and certainly an upgrade to the Rogue.

    http://www.mandolincafe.com/ads/96057#96057

  26. #22
    Capt. E Capt. E's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Austin, Texas
    Posts
    2,865

    Default Re: Want to get a Beginner Mandolin

    The Rover is a much better built mandolin. It will last you longer and be easier to play if you get a good set-up (very important for playability). Personally, I like the Kentucky models. They are all well made. The KM505 is especially nice, though may be more expensive than you would like. The J. Bovier instruments have been receiving very good reviews lately. If you absolutely want an american made instrument, go for a flat-top such as is made by Big Muddy (formerly Mid-Missouri). Many players never need anything else.

    Remember, mandolins generally cost twice as much as an equivalent quality guitar.

    As you may be able to tell, many of us here on the Cafe love giving advice.
    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

  27. The following members say thank you to Capt. E for this post:

    gtani7 

  28. #23
    I really look like that soliver's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Location
    Marietta, GA
    Posts
    1,469

    Default Re: Want to get a Beginner Mandolin

    I have a Rover RM-25 I bought for $50 on Craigslist and it is decent... there is no Truss Rod, but that may not matter much. I really don't think the top on mine is solid spruce,... looking in the f holes it looks like a laminate. I did the Meldrum set up on it myself and I think it sounds quite nice. I do get buzzing from time to time if I fret it wrong. I also removed the Tail Piece cover and the pick guard because they were cheap and would buzz from time to time.

    If I had the money, I would get an Eastman MD 305... LOVE how they look and hear they are excellent instruments.
    aka: Spencer
    Silverangel Econo A #429
    Jacobson Nautilus Oval Hole Prototype
    Soliver #001 Flattop Pancake style

    Soliver Hand Crafted Mandolin Armrests
    Check them out here

    "You can never cross the ocean unless you have the courage
    to lose sight of the shore, ...and also a boat with no holes in it. -anonymous

Posting Permissions

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