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Thread: The search continues...

  1. #1
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    Default The search continues...

    I'm having the hardest time choosing what move to make next.
    What will it take to decide and pull the trigger on one of them?
    It's down to these anyway. "For now"

    1. Brentrup M23v 2003 mint
    2. Wiens F-5 2013 mint
    3. Apitius F 2015 mint
    4. Givens F-5 1992 w/truss rod excellent condition
    5. Givens F-5 1989 great condition
    But doesn't have a truss rod so Im iffy.

    This is where it's at, unless someone comes along with something
    interesting that they're selling
    Last edited by Demetrius; Jul-09-2016 at 9:32am.

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  3. #2
    Loarcutus of MandoBorg DataNick's Avatar
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    Default Re: The search continues...

    You're shopping in tall cotton there buddy!

    Best regards on your purchase decision; let us know what you choose...
    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..."
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    "Perfection is not attainable; but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence" Vince Lombardi
    Playing Style: RockMonRoll Desperado Bluegrass Desperado YT Channel

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  5. #3
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    Default Re: The search continues...

    Nice list. Have you played them or are you buying online?

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  7. #4

    Default Re: The search continues...

    The first 3 builders are all still alive so I vote for the '92 Givens F-5 w/trussrod. Bob isn't making them anymore...

    Len B.
    Clearwater, FL

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  9. #5
    Gibson F5L Gibson A5L
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    Default Re: The search continues...

    I have a Givens A w/o a truss rod and it is holding up well. I have always had a curiosity about Apitius instruments. I have not played one but those I have heard being played were excellent. R/
    I love hanging out with mandolin nerds . . . . . Thanks peeps ...

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  11. #6
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: The search continues...

    Quote Originally Posted by lenf12 View Post
    The first 3 builders are all still alive so I vote for the '92 Givens F-5 w/trussrod. Bob isn't making them anymore...

    Len B.
    Clearwater, FL
    True but I don't think Hans is building mandolins anymore.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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  13. #7
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    Default Re: The search continues...

    Hi Mark,
    Ive played Apitius mandolins before and have loved every one, I have not played this
    specific one but its a very recent one and I trust the improvments that Oliver has stated
    really are improvements. These are all Varnish models now...

    I haven't played a Givens mandolin that I wasn't in love with yet. but Ive never played one of his F's also
    the truss rod thing would give me a peace of mind.

    The Wiens, is stunning and Im going to admit that I am basing a lot of my thoughts on this mandolin based on looks.
    I feel like shallow Hal. How can something that good looking not sound good? Im hoping this is true lol

    I have played the Brentrup a couple of times, and it was breathtakingly beautiful..
    the sound was nice but I thought it was weak, like something was stopping it from doing
    what Hans meant it to do. I noticed it had a pretty thick top from what I could sight from
    the edge of the f holes. I wanted to investigate further, but I didn't wanna go sticking my
    fingers in someone else's mandolin. A major factor is the mandolin is from 2003 and I don't
    think its had any play in the past 7 years, and before that it was rarely touch since it had been
    ordered. I really feel this thing is asleep and never woke up to begin with. in fact I feel it still
    believes it is a tree. Anyhow as I was heading out the seller walked up to and showed me the
    pack of strings a local luthier had put on it two years before. It was a set of j-62 D'addario mando
    strings. I then realized that these strings were not enough to drive the never woken up top on this
    mando. I don't know, to be honest I have no experience with these strings but I really have a feeling
    this may have a little bit to do with whats going on. thoughts?

  14. #8
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    Default Re: The search continues...

    I left for 10 days and took my backup mandolin while my Brentrup sat home. When I got back it was dead, but some playing brought it back. They are heavier than other mandolins, but I can have a very low action and hit it hard and it doesn't flinch. They can be driven hard and smile. I have played a couple of Givens lately, Collings, Weber, Gibson Loar, and many others, but nothing matches the complexity of my Brentrup. Not as loud as some, loud enough, but oh the sound. When I got it it had not been played for a year and then not much before that. After much playing this mandolin is all I could ask for. Some strings won't be as nice and the intonation needs to be spot on on mine, maybe more so than other mandolins. I wish I could be in your position of choice. DO NOT ENVY THY NEIGHBORS MANDOLIN. Have fun choosing and enjoy your purchase.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

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  16. #9
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    Default Re: The search continues...

    My brothers Brentrup and and my work partners Brentrup are both two of the most reaponsuve instruments ever.

  17. #10
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    Default Re: The search continues...

    The biggest regret out of any instrument I've ever parted with was a Brentrup F5-c..
    I kid you not, I think about that mandolin everyday.

  18. #11
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    Default Re: The search continues...

    My mandolin biggest regret was not buying a Brentrup snakehead that Hans offered me. Instead I bought my wife a car.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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  20. #12

    Default Re: The search continues...

    Which one sounds the best?

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  22. #13
    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: The search continues...

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill13 View Post
    Which one sounds the best?
    Probably the Brentrup, unless the car's had a tuneup recently.
    Emando.com: More than you wanted to know about electric mandolins.

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  24. #14

    Default Re: The search continues...

    Brentrup, it is!

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  26. #15
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    Default Re: The search continues...

    If only it were that easy...

  27. #16
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    Default Re: The search continues...

    From Demetrius - "...like something was stopping it from doing what Hans meant it to do. I noticed it had a pretty thick top..."
    It sounds pretty much the way my Czech. built Lebeda sounded when i first got it. It's a slightly larger than standard size for a mandolin & i suspect that the top could have been made thinner ( but i'm no luthier - so that's guess). I tried different string brands / gauges on it with no real improvement until i found the DR MD11 strings,which i now use on it. They are a very powerful string, as strong & punchy as you'd ever need with no loss of tone either. They might just be the answer to the Brentrup's ''sonic deficiency''.
    They're the same gauges as EJ74's ( old J74's) & as easy to play on,but they're a totally different animal,
    Ivan
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Weber F-5 'Fern'.
    Lebeda F-5 "Special".
    Stelling Bellflower BANJO
    Tokai - 'Tele-alike'.
    Ellis DeLuxe "A" style.

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  29. #17
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    Default Re: The search continues...

    Demetrius, I have been making up string sets from GHS white bronze guitar strings. I use standard 11,16,26, but because of a smaller core winding and lack of a 40 I use a 42. These strings are dry, don't color the sound like bronze, are clean and really let the Brentrup shine. I know it would be hard to change strings on a mandolin you are looking at, and you have to take off the ball ends on the wound strings, but it may let you know more of the sound. Also if you can wake it up before making a decision. Once awake I doubt it will get time to sleep from playing joy.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

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  31. #18

    Default Re: The search continues...

    I take it you returned the Givens A.

    Hans specifically made his tops very thick. It was part of his design.
    Good Advice: Play before you pay, and know your product and your market.

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  33. #19
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    Default Re: The search continues...

    Mandobar, I did send it back but not nessesarliy as a return. they are going to contact me
    about options for stabilizing the neck. either with compression frets, or a carbon fiber rod, or
    perhaps both? Idk, somehow I think that would change the sound. They will hopefully be able
    to do it, and hopefully not quote me too much. At this point I don't think I can part with it fully,
    but regardless, Im gonna get one of the mandolins mentioned above.

    He made his tops thick? just then or even recently?

  34. #20

    Default Re: The search continues...

    The tops are pretty thick on all the Brentrups I have owned, and I believe that Hans told me he preferred to build that way.
    Good Advice: Play before you pay, and know your product and your market.

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  36. #21
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: The search continues...

    Demetrius:
    I have been following your multiple posts on various threads on your searching for the perfect instrument. Frankly, I don't believe that any of us can truly help you to come up with a solution. As you no doubt know, you are the final arbiter for this decision. In the ideal fantasy world if you can get all those mandolins you list above in one room each with a fresh set of strings and play them one after each other for a day, perhaps you will can most easily find your one true love.

    Since that situation is most likely out of the question, I think you may just have to settle for what most of us do. Play as many as you can first. Maybe you will have to set aside some extra cash to play for multiple shipping costs to try them out with returns or even travel to a place that has many of these. At some point you will just have to settle for one.

    In my mandolin ownership history I have serially owned and upgraded one after another. I now have small collection of ones that I pick to play. I have owed some of these for multiple decades. My most recent acquisition of them all is my 2007 Brentrup snakehead A4C. That is my usual first choice playing instrument these days. My more bluegrassy one is my 83 Flatiron A5-2. I don't think I ever assumed that I would find the ultimate mandolin but just took them as they come then moved one if one played or sounded better or fit the styles I was into at that time. Similar process worked for me for guitars and fiddles.

    One thing I don't recall ever hearing you say in your recent posts: what is your main playing mandolin these days?
    Jim

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    1923 Gibson A2 black snakehead -- '83 Flatiron A5-2 -- Brentrup A4C -- 1915 Frank Merwin Ashley violin -- Huss & Dalton DS -- 1939 Gibson L-00 -- 1936 Epiphone Deluxe -- 1928 Gibson L-5 -- 1937 Gibson L-Century -- ca. 1890s Fairbanks Senator Banjo -- ca. 1923 Vega Style M tenor banjo -- ca. 1920 Weymann Style 25 Mandolin-Banjo -- National RM-1

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  38. #22
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    Default Re: The search continues...

    Hi Jim,

    Thanks for the feed back, I get what you're saying... I may end up traveling to some places.
    As far as what I'm playing these days, up until a month ago I was pickin on a Dudenbostel F-5.
    Before that, a Brunkalls A-5, before that a Brentrup F-5c, and before that a Gibson Distressed
    Mastermodel. All great mandolins, but if I could have one back it would be the Brentrup F-5c.
    Maybe the current owner will sell it back to me one day, (you know who you are)..

  39. #23
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: The search continues...

    Man, I am sure that you know your mandolins and you certainly have the experience. Good luck on your search.
    Jim

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    Playing lately:
    1923 Gibson A2 black snakehead -- '83 Flatiron A5-2 -- Brentrup A4C -- 1915 Frank Merwin Ashley violin -- Huss & Dalton DS -- 1939 Gibson L-00 -- 1936 Epiphone Deluxe -- 1928 Gibson L-5 -- 1937 Gibson L-Century -- ca. 1890s Fairbanks Senator Banjo -- ca. 1923 Vega Style M tenor banjo -- ca. 1920 Weymann Style 25 Mandolin-Banjo -- National RM-1

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  41. #24

    Default Re: The search continues...

    I have to admit, I have not sold one thing yet that I would buy back.
    Good Advice: Play before you pay, and know your product and your market.

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  43. #25

    Default Re: The search continues...

    Dare I say......there is no ultimate......well, there is......until the next one comes along!

    I love all my instruments and many I've had for 30-40 years, but they all have areas that could be tweaked soundwise or personality-wise, but that's what makes them appeal to me. And, I'm glad that I can hear those things as a measure for comparison when I try other instruments.

    And, I hate to say it, having some age behind me means I'm no longer in a race to find anything, these days. If it comes, it will present itself, IMHO.

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