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

  1. #26
    Phil Goodson Philphool's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do you justify a high end mandolin? Or do you?

    I don't have a boat, new car, new house, swimming pool, nor mistress.
    What would I spend money on if not a nice mandolin?
    Phil

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  3. #27
    Fatally Flawed Bill Kammerzell's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do you justify a high end mandolin? Or do you?

    My situation also. I hold back thinking it will impact my wife's quality of life, then she says, "I love when you play the mandolin. If you want a new one, get it!"
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  4. #28

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

    Play the one that interests you. If you can't put it down, figure out how to get it. In my case it was a Gilchrist in 1987. Couldn't afford it at the time, caused financial problems in the short term, very happy that I still have it today. Doesn't matter what kind of player I am, that Mandolin helps me sound like me.
    How cool is it that you can buy a great instrument, play it for 29 years and it's still worth 8-10 times what you paid for it. I don't buy and sell instruments. I choose carefully and then keep them...
    Just saying.

    Homer

  5. #29
    Lurkist dhergert's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do you justify a high end mandolin? Or do you?

    Hmmm, I agree with all you folks, but there's a big difference between buying a nice musical instrument (I play banjo, mando and dobro so I get to choose), and buying a boat or a car or an airplane...

    And that is that a musical instrument is really a one-person investment -- well, if you're really good, other people can also enjoy hearing it, but statistically and realistically the owner/player of the instrument is also the primary enjoyer of the instrument.

    A boat or a car or an airplane are really made to enjoy and share with someone else.

    Now if you're unattached and have no kids, maybe sharing isn't an issue, and if you happen to be wealthy, maybe money isn't an issue either. But if you gift yourself a nice $10K to $15K mando and then turn around and gift your wife a pretty Timex watch, I think you're going to have a problem. Fair is fair.

    So if you are attached, be prepared to spend twice as much -- or maybe even more -- than you think that mando will cost, while keeping you and your attachment(s) happy.



    -- Don

  6. #30
    Registered User Drew Egerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do you justify a high end mandolin? Or do you?

    The only thing I would say contrary to GET IT would be to check out some $5k range mandolins up to the price on that one. You might just find something you like just as well or even better and keep a couple grand. My Kelley was $5k and I can't imagine much better for what I was looking for. You might find a great $10k mandolin used for a great deal too. For that kind of money, I would just say don't rush into it. Take the time and money to actually go play some of these things in your range.

    I think after all that, you'll know if it's THE one or not. If it, then....GET IT! lol
    Drew
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  7. #31

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

    Can't presume to advise anyone on that kind of budget, but I can offer that many years ago I had the means and desire to invest in a custom guitar that was slightly more expensive than the mandolin you're considering. It was an awesome instrument, but I ultimately sold it because it spent more time in the closet than in my hands. I was mostly unwilling to risk bringing it to gigs (though I did play several small gigs with it). And then I had some bills that I could have easily handled over time but didn't want looming over me so I sold the guitar and have never really regretted any of it - the buying or the selling of it. Having been through that, and having found the Northfield Model M that fulfills all my (current) mandolin desires (for under $2K new) if I had $10K to blow on an instrument I'd probably spread it across three or four rather than one. But I completely understand the inclination to use it all to buy 'the one.'
    "Well, I don't know much about bands but I do know you can't make a living selling big trombones, no sir. Mandolin picks, perhaps..."

  8. #32
    Registered User G7MOF's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do you justify a high end mandolin? Or do you?

    Firstly, $3000 aint cheap, secondly, will a $10000 mando sound that much better and would you feel comfortable gigging with it?
    If you're happy with a $3000 one then stick with it (I'm sure I would)!
    I never fail at anything, I just succeed at doing things that never work....


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  10. #33
    Loarcutus of MandoBorg DataNick's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do you justify a high end mandolin? Or do you?

    Regarding High End Mandolins or The One, here's one of the best descriptions I've read on this site:

    Quote Originally Posted by Tobin View Post
    To be honest, I've come to the conclusion that fine mandolins like these will become whatever you want them to be.
    So much depends on the player, choices in picks and strings, style of music, and other variables. I believe that an instrument crafted with the level of expertise of a Pava or Ellis will take on the character of the player over time, making any generalizations inaccurate. Perhaps that's what really makes for a quality instrument, after all?
    It's not giving you sounds that are so much dependent on its limitations or construction issues; it's giving you your own sound that's as free from material/construction
    issues as possible...
    I think you'll find with playing other friend's mandos, playing other mandos at festivals, and going to places like Carter's etc. that you could probably find your dream instrument for substantially < $10K

    btw: what do you currently play and what about it is lacking?
    1994 Gibson F5L made by Bruce Weber's team


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  11. #34
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    Default Re: How do you justify a high end mandolin? Or do you?

    I was lucky enough to have my wife support me in getting Randy Wood to build me an F 5. No regrets whatsoever.

  12. #35
    Registered User chris.burcher's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do you justify a high end mandolin? Or do you?

    My wife is also very supportive and would not expect anything in return/exchange.

    Lots of great comments and questions.

    I play a Weber Yellowstone now. $5k retail but I got it for less. For this one it is mostly a style issue and the fact that it is more mass produced than hand-built. I have played a bunch of mandolins and find it very challenging to go and play a bunch in a time frame that is relevant to choosing one. I trust a bit that hand-builts will sound relatively similar compared to different brands but I know it's about the individual instrument. The one before the Weber was a hand made rarity. Kinda sorry I let that one go, but it did not have a truss rod and had too much bottom end. We all have our individual tastes and I know what mine are but it is difficult to explain as you all know.

    I agree that there 'should' be a nice $5k out there that would suit me, but finding it is challenging. Part of me wants to continue that journey by moving slightly higher and trading around or catch-and-releasing my way to it but that requires a lot of time and shipping costs.

    The most memorable mandolin I have ever played personally was a Duff, so that's the current choice. Like I said, I would move down the list but, as my friend says, you don't go look at a puppy, you go buy a puppy. I have spent a lot of time driving to play others' mandolins and it's getting tiring.

    I'm totally happy playing and taking a high end mandolin anywhere. Things happen, whatchagonnado?

    When I think about the $5k journey, it's part of the journey. One trip will be to go play three duffs that are for sale now and the other is Nashville - that's how I found the one before the Weber. The Weber was just an offer I couldn't refuse so I tried it - as part of the journey.

    - - - Updated - - -

    BTW, thanks for all the great input!!

  13. #36
    F5G & MD305 Astro's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do you justify a high end mandolin? Or do you?

    I try to view things through the medium of time. Personally, I'd be happy with a great instrument for less than 4 k and invest/save the difference and view it as that much more time (the time it would have taken me to make the 10K) that I have now freed up and dont have to work. So I can play music or enjoy life that much more rather than toiling those hours for the 10K. I also wouldn't gig with a 10 k instrument. At least not the kind of bar gigs that I currently do. Of course this is just for me, which is what you asked. Only you can figure whats right for you.
    No matter where I go, there I am...Unless I'm running a little late.

  14. #37
    Loarcutus of MandoBorg DataNick's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do you justify a high end mandolin? Or do you?

    Chris,

    I hear your "weariness" but a trip to Carter's as well as Mandolin-Central(only place I know of where 3 Duffs reside) might be in order. Someone here recently said that they liked a couple of less expensive mandos at Carter's better than the Duffs they have there...YMMV...I'm sure if you settle on a particular Duff you'll be happy...till you hear someone else's Duff...LOL!
    1994 Gibson F5L made by Bruce Weber's team


    "Mandolin brands are a guide, not gospel! I don't drink koolaid and that Emperor is naked!"
    "If you wanna get soul Baby, you gots to get the scroll..."
    "I would rather play music anyday for the beggar, the thief, and the fool!"
    "Perfection is not attainable; but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence" Vince Lombardi
    Playing Style: RockMonRoll Desperado Bluegrass Desperado YT Channel

  15. #38
    Registered User Tom Sanderson'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!
    Well put. I totally agree with you.

  16. #39
    Registered User LongBlackVeil's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do you justify a high end mandolin? Or do you?

    Imo a mandolin can only be so good. Forget diminishing returns, at that level the returns are non existant. I've never played a +10k $ that was any better than one around the 5k and under area. That includes Ellis, Gilchrist, Gibson MM ect and especially if you count A models. Though the red diamond vintage f5 came pretty close, even that one was matched by cheaper but exceptional examples.

    Don't take my word for it though, get yourself out to a quality mandolin store and try them out yourself, it's the only way to really answer this question
    "When you learn an old time fiddle tune, you make a friend for life"

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

    To me it's all about the sound not the cost. If you like the sound of the mandolin you have less than the sound of the one you want the I would say buy it. If you really like the way something sounds you will want to play it just to hear it because you love the sound. The more you play the better you get, the more you like the sound, the more you play, etc. etc.etc.
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  18. #41
    Confused... or?
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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 ...
    ... and getting shorter each day, says this 69-year-old! Money is like many other things (as long as you don't end up starving): use it or eventually lose it.

    And besides, a superior instrument will still be worth a fair amount to your heirs after you've gone, possibly even more than the current purchase price.
    - Ed

    "What our group lacks in musicianship is offset by our willingness to humiliate ourselves." - David Hochman

  19. #42
    Registered User John Hill's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do you justify a high end mandolin? Or do you?

    10,000 for some folks is play money, for other folks it's a huge chunk of their income. All of these discussions are relative. If it's not taking food off the table, dipping into your emergency fund or wrecking your retirement savings then do it. Prudence is one thing, hoarding surplus & idle cash is another, there are worse investments than a quality mandolin.
    There are three kinds of people: those of us that are good at math and those that are not.

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  21. #43

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

    Chris I too have a similar background to you playing.
    I think Tobin summarizes my thoughts on musical instruments.

    First, imho, if it's an epiphany to your musical soul you won't be sorry.
    Second it must be something you are comfortable owning, showing,, playing with/to others. (I love d45s but have never felt comfortable owning them-conspicuous-but oh the craftsmanship-I've bought and sold 3 because of this discomfort). God knows how many low performance drivers there are w high performance cars, yet, they have 'earned them' imho.
    Third, no lost sleep. It's always a big step, but should be something you can more or less afford,imho.

    I have a few instruments which spoke to me like nothing else. Sometimes the timing for purchase is good, sometimes not.

    I absolutely loathe the attitude 'do I merit this as a player'? You've earned your money and that's all there is to your decision on what to do with it. It's ok to simply have joy in ownership. If it inspires your music and playing, so much 'the better'.

    Go slow, but go!

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

    there are worse investments than a quality mandolin.
    I think this is definitely something to take into consideration. If you're not averse to selling instruments yourself (i.e., through the classifieds, etc.), you're taking very little financial risk in getting the mando you lust after (assuming you pay fair market value). You can take your time to see if the instrument is what you were dreaming of and, if not, move it on and try another.
    Mitch Russell

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

    I economize in other areas - I drive a 15 year-old car and a 16-year-old car (you need two at that age,) so I can afford a Pava and a Weber. They are my "dream mandolins." I cannot see paying more for a car than I paid for my first house...... I prefer the mandolins.

  24. #46
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    Default Re: How do you justify a high end mandolin? Or do you?

    Chris
    I know you play very well, you've put many years into the study of mandolin, you have the funds, I say go, get it and don't look back. Enjoy that Duff each and every moment you open that case lid-rather than opening to another mando and "thinking" about the Duff.

    Life is so uncertain(note Prince), here today, maybe not tomorrow.

    And, once those girls get into highschool all high dollar mando puchases are out the window-don't even think about college.

    Go..........now............don't delay

    d

    **and with recent changes at Weber, I'd say yours will retain its value on the used market with nothing lost.

    ***and be sure to post pics and give us a review!

  25. #47
    Registered User David Smith's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do you justify a high end mandolin? Or do you?

    I bought a semi-high end mandolin. Playing it makes me happy!
    Last edited by David Smith; May-06-2016 at 8:15pm.
    "A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to leave alone."

  26. #48
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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!
    Amen ! At least to mandolins ! For wine I choose Charles Shaw ! $2.99 per bottle ! Inexpensive but not
    cheap ! For mandolins, only Ellis !
    My two favorite pastimes are drinking wine and playing the mandolin but most of my friends would rather hear me drink wine! Adapted from quote by Mark Twain------supposedly !

  27. #49
    Shredded Cheese Authority Emmett Marshall's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do you justify a high end mandolin? Or do you?

    Other than "see post #2," all I can really add is that I don't think a great (expensive) instrument is something that an adult (or responsible youngster) needs to "work up to." There is nothing to justify, and it's your hard-earned money to do with as you wish. You meet the only prerequisite that I can think of: The fact that you plan to continue playing a mandolin. If you found "the one" that really floats your boat, I say, 'Just go for it' - life is short!
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  28. #50

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

    I'm with the wise Shaun Garrity on this one. A special musical instrument is something transcendent, a taste of the divine. I've had many other hobbies, and appreciate quality in all of them, but extraordinary musical instruments, particularly acoustic ones, are to be cherished. The first Gilchrist I played was something special--though "just" a Model 1, I had trouble putting in its case, because I wanted to strum it just one more time, to hear the notes decay. There's no jet ski or wine or car that good in my book.

    The difference between that and a simply good instrument is like the difference between lightning and a lightning bug. And it is worth scrimping elsewhere to make it happen. As Frank Lloyd Wright said, "give me the luxuries in life and I will gladly forego the necessities."

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