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Thread: $199.00 solid F style mandolin

  1. #1
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default $199.00 solid F style mandolin

    There's only one, it will be gone quickly, I have no idea what condition it's in as it is a restock but for $199.00 you can have a Michael Kelly F style mandolin.

    http://www.musiciansfriend.com/folk-...81778002001000
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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  3. #2
    Registered User Tom C's Avatar
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    Default Re: $199.00 solid F style mandolin

    First thing I notice in no ridge on the scroll. Very cheap mandos usually have (or don't have) this feature.

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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: $199.00 solid F style mandolin

    They are almost 400.00 new. It's not a Gibson but somebody will enjoy it.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  5. #4

    Default Re: $199.00 solid F style mandolin

    These are actually carved. There is a ridge on the scroll.

    It will need an extensive setup, but past that, not a bad mandolin for the "normal" street price. A great F style for $200.
    Robert Fear
    http://www.folkmusician.com

    "Education is when you read the fine print; experience is what you get when you don't.
    " - Pete Seeger

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  7. #5
    Registered User Tom C's Avatar
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    Default Re: $199.00 solid F style mandolin

    I stand corrected

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    Registered User Chris Bowsman's Avatar
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    Default Re: $199.00 solid F style mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom C View Post
    I stand corrected
    I thought the same thing.
    "There ain't too many folks, who can play too many notes... on the mandolin"

  9. #7

    Default Re: $199.00 solid F style mandolin

    If I hadn't had these in my hands and was going by those photos, I would think the same thing. You can't see the carving in those pics.
    Robert Fear
    http://www.folkmusician.com

    "Education is when you read the fine print; experience is what you get when you don't.
    " - Pete Seeger

  10. #8
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: $199.00 solid F style mandolin

    If you enlarge the shot from the back it looks like the ridge is there. It also might be my eyes.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Registered User jim simpson's Avatar
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    Default Re: $199.00 solid F style mandolin

    It would be hard to find fault with this one priced so low. I played a friend's recently and was pleasantly surprised at how good it sounded. That wasn't my impression when they first arrived on the scene.

    I seem to recall the discussion of lower priced F-5 style mandolins that looked to be carved but were steam pressed into shape and not truly carved in the traditional sense. As I understand it, the scroll area had enough material to be carved while the balance did not. I guess the absence of a re-curve was one telling indicator. In summation, I would take a semi-carved steam shaped mandolin over a ply or laminate topped one.
    Cabin Fever String Band, Bill Gorby and the Musical Mercenaries

  12. #10
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    Default Re: $199.00 solid F style mandolin

    I can remember when some vendors touted these as one of the best bargains out there (the now defunct FOTW for one). They do get one right every now and then.
    Chuck

  13. #11

    Default Re: $199.00 solid F style mandolin

    Also has a radiused fingerboard and larger frets, nice features in that price point.

  14. #12
    mandolin slinger Steve Ostrander's Avatar
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    Default Re: $199.00 solid F style mandolin

    It would make somebody a good traveler or campfire mando for that price. And I don't mean into the campfire.

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    Default Re: $199.00 solid F style mandolin

    Thanks! I just bought it. I wanted something to keep at work. This is perfect.

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    Lurkist dhergert's Avatar
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    Default Re: $199.00 solid F style mandolin

    Thank you all! It is just what I was looking for...

    http://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/sh...ackup-mandolin

    ...The Eastman models we were talking about may be a little too nice for some of the travel we've been considering.

    Anyway, I think I got it. At least the order has been accepted.

    "Your order may arrive in multiple shipments"... Hmmm, that's a little scary.

    $237.73 w/next day air.

    I can handle a minor setup; if there's anything I'd prefer a seasoned luthier to look at, I'll have my local friend Pete Roehling look at it.

    Btw, upon re-visiting the website add, this mando still reads in stock... Maybe they actually have more?

    Thanks again!

    -- Don

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    Default Re: $199.00 solid F style mandolin

    Don,
    Congrats. I'm expecting there's at least 2 on their way to us!
    Bob Simmers

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    Lurkist dhergert's Avatar
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    Default Re: $199.00 solid F style mandolin

    That's great, congrats to you also! We'll have something to talk about in a day or two.

    -- Don

  19. #17
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    Default Re: $199.00 solid F style mandolin

    Mine is regular shipping. I'm cheap!

  20. #18
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: $199.00 solid F style mandolin

    There must be more than one.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  21. #19
    Lurkist dhergert's Avatar
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    Default Re: $199.00 solid F style mandolin

    So, my re-stock MKLFSTB arrived today. Really quite a nice instrument for $199 plus overnight shipping costs.

    First, as far as reasons for re-stocking, there are some very minor (almost unnoticeable) scuffs on the matte finish, and there's a missing tuner button screw. The tuner button is on so hard (probably molded on) that I cannot pull it off at all with the less than gentle tugging that I've tried, so I'm not very worried about the button coming off. I may check to see if I can buy some replacement screws. These are supposedly Grover tuners, but probably made in China, so the threads may be different than with some other Grover tuners. I'm not sure, but it wouldn't surprise me if the button screws are really just for looks with these tuners, the buttons are on really tight even without the screws. If it turns out that the screws are just for looks and the buttons are really molded on, I may just remove all the button screws.

    So, out of the box, this mando is bright and loud. The build quality is very nice for a sub-$1k instrument, the woods (solid spruce top, solid maple body) look very high quality. The binding and neck fit look very well done for this price range. The peghead inlay doesn't look as cheap in person as it looks in the sales picture. The scroll is carved with a ridge. The top is pretty resonant. The maple back has nice bookmatched flame figuring. Nothing looks fake on this, although I haven't gotten my dentistry mirror out to look at the inside of the top or the neck joint yet.

    When I received the MKLFSTB it was actually playable, but the action was high. I adjusted the bridge for string height and intonation, and have been playing it for an hour or so. I'll probably still want to adjust the nut for string height, but it's really not bad now as it is. I'm actually pretty impressed.

    In another thread I had asked if I should expect the Gibson muted resonance that I've grown to love with my F9. The MKLFSTB is not a reserved instrument at all in that respect, it's actually somewhat of a cannon, with not much in the way of subtleties. In listening to me play the MKLFSTB my wife describes the tone as noticeably not as rich as the F9, but trebly and loud. My F9 sports FlatTop strings which are muted like flatwound strings are, so that's part of the difference. But I suspect part of the MKLFSTB difference in tone is the build of the top and neck joint, and whatever bracing it has in it.

    All and all, I'm very pleased with this instrument. I honestly wouldn't have dreamed of getting this kind of quality for $200. It will be a very nice travel/knock-around mandolin, which is really what I was looking for.

    Thanks again for bringing this topic up as a thread here. I really appreciate the leads to getting this instrument.

    -- Don

  22. #20
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    Default Re: $199.00 solid F style mandolin

    Thanks for the review. I am waiting - via snail shipping.

  23. #21

    Default Re: $199.00 solid F style mandolin

    Great review Don!

    Tuner buttons are screwed on. I occasionally find the buttons loose when they arrive from Michael Kelly. Sounds like yours were jammed on good though.


    The tuners are in fact Grover's. I know this, because I didn't think they were when I first started seeing them. I took a plate off and it was stamped Grover underneath. I suspect that it is some licensed thing though as they are obviously not 309's.
    Robert Fear
    http://www.folkmusician.com

    "Education is when you read the fine print; experience is what you get when you don't.
    " - Pete Seeger

  24. #22
    Lurkist dhergert's Avatar
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    Default Re: $199.00 solid F style mandolin

    Robert, would you happen to know if the screws are available for these tuner buttons?

    -- Don

  25. #23

    Default Re: $199.00 solid F style mandolin

    Don,

    Unfortunately these are not readily available. You can get them in bulk from an industrial supply (cause it is good to have 99 spares on hand), or sometimes find them at a hardware store (not the big box guys).
    Robert Fear
    http://www.folkmusician.com

    "Education is when you read the fine print; experience is what you get when you don't.
    " - Pete Seeger

  26. #24
    Lurkist dhergert's Avatar
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    Default Re: $199.00 solid F style mandolin

    Thank you Robert.

    I actually wrote the Michael Kelly contact people an email last night about this, and the founder, Tracy Hoeft, as well as the head of quality control, Tim Keyes, have both responded by email...

    First, these mandolins are covered by their warranty, because they are new. Now, lost items like screws are not covered by any warranty, however both Tracy and Tom have said they will find a solution for my missing button screw, because they want their customers to be happy.

    I have to say, I'm very impressed, not just that both of these important people for the Michael Kelly Guitars have responded, but that they have responded already, and on a Saturday. To me that says a huge amount about service. I'm really looking forward to working with them.

    Clearly if asked, I'd highly recommend this company.

    I've continued playing and tweaking my MKLFSTB. I'm actually loving it. I've got the intonation nailed, and have decided that I probably will tweak the nut a bit to adjust the string spacing and height a bit... And while doing that I'll probably lightly dress the frets, as there are a couple of high frets near the florida that need some attention.

    This mando is really sounding nice. It takes a while with a new mando to learn how to pull tone from it. I'm starting to get there with this one.

    Fun!!!

    -- Don

  27. #25
    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: $199.00 solid F style mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by Folkmusician.com View Post
    These are actually carved. There is a ridge on the scroll.

    It will need an extensive setup, but past that, not a bad mandolin for the "normal" street price. A great F style for $200.
    With 3D pantograph router patterns there can be a machine carving ,
    as was used for a Long time ,
    before CNC cutters followed a Digital movement in 3 dimensions..



    yea Musicians Friend ships un opened cartons,, so seeking a 3rd party set up is assumed.
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