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Thread: How do you justify a high end mandolin? Or do you?

  1. #1
    Registered User chris.burcher's Avatar
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    Default How do you justify a high end mandolin? Or do you?

    Really curious to know others' opinions.

    I've been playing mandolin for 20+ years. I've been called an advanced player but I'm not great by any means. I've been in a band continuously during that time, but we are not pros and never will be. Gig about once a month. I play probably every other day. What I'm saying is that I'm pretty sure I'm gonna play mandolin regularly as long as I am able.

    I think I have found 'the one'. Or one close to 'the one'. But it's almost $10k. But having never spent more than $3000 on a mandolin, and pretty much worked up to that point very slowly, and being a frugal cheapskate in general, I have great difficulty allowing myself to spend that much on anything, really, except for houses and vehicle. I have lots of hobbies, but none of them cost as much as mandolins.

    I can afford it, but like everyone else I have bills, a 4th kid coming, etc. Despite that, my wife and I are frugal, and comfortable.


    So, what are your opinions about owning such an incredible hobby piece? Those who do or don't, I'd love to hear your reasoning behind why you do, don't, would, or wouldn't.

    Thanks! (PS, I'm an over analyzer if you couldn't tell)

    Chris

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    Purveyor of Sunshine sgarrity's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do you justify a high end mandolin? Or do you?

    Life is too short for cheap mandolins or cheap wine! If you like it and can comfortably afford it, do it. You can't take money with you when you go and none of us are guaranteed a tomorrow!

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    Loarcutus of MandoBorg DataNick's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do you justify a high end mandolin? Or do you?

    Quote Originally Posted by chris.burcher View Post
    ...I can afford it, but like everyone else I have bills, a 4th kid coming, etc. Despite that, my wife and I are frugal, and comfortable.

    So, what are your opinions about owning such an incredible hobby piece? Those who do or don't, I'd love to hear your reasoning behind why you do, don't, would, or wouldn't...
    Chris,

    Is music (playing in a band continuosly for 20 years) a hobby or your passion?

    If it's your passion, then acquiring the tool will consume you to a degree and the $$ won't matter as long as you can pay the piper so to speak.

    Now if it's a hobby...And remember that $$ is not commensurate with volume, tone, and playability, you might find what you're looking for in a $5K mandolin depending on who's selling it under what circumstances, etc...YMMV
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    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do you justify a high end mandolin? Or do you?

    not married .. if the budget is a group decision.. that is different,

    once its in hand attachments occur, [repeat]

    Not being in a Band and having a hard time even finding a public place

    to get together with friends due to profit needs of the house

    makes it more challenging..

    largely No body will loan me theirs so I have to buy my own.. to find out if I like it.

    .. rinse and repeat. ..
    writing about music
    is like dancing,
    about architecture

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    Default Re: How do you justify a high end mandolin? Or do you?

    A heard Zig Ziglar say the following when talking about a wealthy friend that passed away (not an exact quote):

    Person 1: How much money did Bill leave when he passed?
    Zig: He left it all!

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    Default Re: How do you justify a high end mandolin? Or do you?

    As a retiree, my take is that if I can do it without using credit, without interfering with already planned expenses, and without impacting my retirement plans, it is doable.

    If I were younger with kids, I would add that the purchase must not interfere with what I put away for retirement or for kids' education.

    I have a certain amount of 'mad money' that I allow myself every month for non essential stuff. A significant big ticket item might require that I 'bank' that mad money for a few months. But that's fine.

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    Default Re: How do you justify a high end mandolin? Or do you?

    Wow...I could have written that exact post. Like you, I'm advanced, play in band, gig regularly, yet I'm not great by any means. My wife and I are frugal, especially after we had a kid...

    I, too, want that "next step up" mandolin... For me, an Ellis F or a Gibson MM. Maybe a Heiden. I could spend the money and it wouldn't be a huge deal, but I haven't and I won't. Am I really "better" than the mandolins I own? No, definitely not. Should I save it for my kid's college or the next house disaster? YES.

    Every time I think I need a $10,000 mandolin, I watch David Benedict do one of his Mandolin Mondays on his $2500 Flatiron... He makes it sing like an angel. Then, I go practice more.

    So, I would vote no.

    That being said, when the kid is out of college + I retire, I'm buyin' a Gilchrist!!

    So....what dream mandolin are you considering????
    2014 Stiver F
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    Registered User chris.burcher's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do you justify a high end mandolin? Or do you?

    Thanks Shaun. Nick, I'm not sure how to draw the passion/hobby line but I know this search has and does consume(d) me. As does pursuit of my playing ability. I'm continually searching for the tones I hear coming out of the higher end mandos I've played but never had all to myself. And let down, to an appreciative degree, by tones I hear in the mandos I do or have owned. Maybe that's my answer.

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    Registered User chris.burcher's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do you justify a high end mandolin? Or do you?

    I hear you all. The Duff at Mandolin Central. I have so much rainy day protection, sometimes I feel like Noah.

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    Registered User chris.burcher's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do you justify a high end mandolin? Or do you?

    another thing is not having time or geographic access to play enough to find that sleeper for less dough.

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    Default Re: How do you justify a high end mandolin? Or do you?

    "you may find that having is not so pleasing a thing after all as wanting. It is not logical, but it is often true."
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    Default Re: How do you justify a high end mandolin? Or do you?

    Quote Originally Posted by kurth83 View Post
    "you may find that having is not so pleasing a thing after all as wanting. It is not logical, but it is often true."
    So true....which is the fun part of MAS. There's always another one to WANT.
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    Registered User red7flag's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do you justify a high end mandolin? Or do you?

    I would echo much or what has been said. I married about a year and half ago. My priorities changed. I sold a number of mandolins and brought my instruments down to a level that makes more sense. As you can see by my listing at the bottom, I have not shortchanged myself, but I am not now reaching for that next step up. Decisions to spend money on self now have become tempered by spending money on my wife and our future together. My world is more we than me, now.
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    Middle-Aged Old-Timer Tobin's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do you justify a high end mandolin? Or do you?

    Quote Originally Posted by sgarrity View Post
    Life is too short for cheap mandolins or cheap wine! If you like it and can comfortably afford it, do it. You can't take money with you when you go and none of us are guaranteed a tomorrow!
    My thoughts exactly, and it's what I told myself when I bought my Ellis. I grew up playing crappy used pawn-shop guitars, and even well into my adulthood, I never could quite justify the idea of spending serious money on a musical instrument. The thought of spending $11.5K on a little mandolin was never even within my realm of possibilities.

    At some point I had a realization that I was a big boy, I worked hard for my money, and I deserved to buy something really high-end to feed my passion for music. I could afford it, and all my other financial obligations in life were met. There was no reason not to buy what I wanted, except for some silly sense of guilt, or that I wasn't worth spending the money on, or that I wasn't good enough of a player to deserve a racehorse of a mandolin. It's really quite amazing how many people in this life will refuse to splurge on themselves out of a sense of guilt or a lack of self-worth.

    Obviously, there are some folks who do nothing but pamper themselves to the point of absurdity in all aspects of life, and that is an extreme to be avoided. But taking a reasonable and moderate approach to most things in life shouldn't preclude a person from having a passion. And there's no shame in devoting serious money to that passion if you can afford it.

    The danger is letting it be a gateway drug, LOL! Buying that Ellis eventually led to a plethora of high-end and/or vintage instruments in the way of mandolins, mandolas, and banjos. I can't go back to playing lower-end instruments. I've spoiled myself rotten.

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    Default Re: How do you justify a high end mandolin? Or do you?

    Well ..... looks like a matter of a few self addressed questions.... Can I afford it without impacting the remainder of my finances negatively? ... Will there be insurmountable negative feedback from family?.... How badly do I want , need isn't an issue here, this better instrument?......My questions have you heard it and played it next to the one you are using currently?.... Is it that much better? If your answers are Yes No Badly Yes Yes then, I would say, you have your answers. Luck... R/
    I love hanging out with mandolin nerds . . . . . Thanks peeps ...

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    Registered User Tom C's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do you justify a high end mandolin? Or do you?

    I wish I could justify it. That's why I stay with what I currently have.(around same price point as you) It plays and sounds very good and most audience folks cant hear the difference between a bad, good, great and excellent mando.
    For myself, I would love a top quality mando but I have other priorities ....a kitchen to re-do. I garage I want built. I nice fence would be nice...etc

  25. #17

    Default Re: How do you justify a high end mandolin? Or do you?

    Y'know, they make wrist watches that go for 52,000 USD. It doesn't keep time better than the run of the mill 14,000 USD wrist watch. Do you think there are professional wrist watch wearers/time tellers buying those 52k watches? They buy them because they can, AND they like good watches. Juss sayin

    2nd thing: This is a mandolin website. This isn't the place to go for a balanced opinion. I say, if your bills are paid, and your babies are fed, buy the mandolin. If it's going to drive some sort of wedge between you and your significant other don't do it.

    I've gone first class and I've gone coach, on a lot of different instruments. I still vacillate back & forth, myself. 10k is pretty good price. Cheaper than a watch.

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    Default Re: How do you justify a high end mandolin? Or do you?

    I would not presume to tell you what to do, but here are the justifications that make sense to me:
    1) As hobbies go, music is not on the expensive end. Compare even a $10k mandolin against the cost of a boat. Even once you buy the boat, the expenses keep piling up. With a mandolin, once you have paid the initial purchase price, the maintenance cost is pretty low, strings and the occasional re-fret.
    2) Amortize. If you enjoy your $10k mandolin for 20 years, the cost per day is $1.37. Less when you consider that a mandolin of that quality will have little depreciation.

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    Registered User chris.burcher's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do you justify a high end mandolin? Or do you?

    Dang you guys are good.

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    Registered User chris.burcher's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do you justify a high end mandolin? Or do you?

    Have not played it. Going to. First on my list.

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    Default Re: How do you justify a high end mandolin? Or do you?

    If you can afford it - there's only so many days left to enjoy it. What you waiting on...

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    Default Re: How do you justify a high end mandolin? Or do you?

    It helps to have a friend with a more expensive hobby. I have a friend, not wealthy by any means, who got into flying airplanes about 12 years ago. He's now on his third plane (catch and release). Not to mention hanger fees, maintenance, fuel, etc. - it gets really expensive.
    I bought the most expensive mandolin I have a few months ago. My wife said "at least it's not a plane!"
    (I think I'll hug her when I get home)

    Kirk

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    Default Re: How do you justify a high end mandolin? Or do you?

    Quote Originally Posted by tiltman View Post
    It helps to have a friend with a more expensive hobby. I have a friend, not wealthy by any means, who got into flying airplanes about 12 years ago. He's now on his third plane (catch and release). Not to mention hanger fees, maintenance, fuel, etc. - it gets really expensive.
    I bought the most expensive mandolin I have a few months ago. My wife said "at least it's not a plane!"
    (I think I'll hug her when I get home)

    Kirk
    Yeah, Planes are the worst, very expensive toys.

    I have lots of friends who are into deep sea fishing. Talk about expensive. Their boats often cost as much as their houses. My father raced offshore sailboats and tracked cars. Both super expensive hobbies. But those are all people I know who are fairly well off. I know a couple of guys into triathlons who make less than $100k a year yet have multiple bikes that cost $10k+ each. Like I said, music is a comparatively inexpensive hobby.
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    Fatally Flawed Bill Kammerzell's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do you justify a high end mandolin? Or do you?

    Quote Originally Posted by sgarrity View Post
    Life is too short for cheap mandolins or cheap wine! If you like it and can comfortably afford it, do it. You can't take money with you when you go and none of us are guaranteed a tomorrow!
    I had trouble spending 1K for a new Breedlove Premier OF (2014 model). Then my dear wife said what you did. Basically, "We're both retired. We raised children. We put them through college. We're helping raise their children. How much longer you figure you have to live? You want to take a trip? Let's take it! You want to buy a mandolin? Buy it!"

    All I could possibly say was, "Okay honey!"
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    Fatally Flawed Bill Kammerzell's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do you justify a high end mandolin? Or do you?

    Precisely.
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