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Thread: One mando kind of picker...

  1. #1
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    Default One mando kind of picker...

    Good morning all!

    Who here is a one mandolin kind of picker?
    What make?
    And why?

    I know several players that have several mandolins in thier collection, but Id like to hear mostly from the opposite camp. Some players I've talk to say the one mandolin they have does everything that they really need to do. I won't this limit this question to people that own just one mandolin, even people that have several but seem to just focus on one the most because it's just happens to be their favorite for just about anything that they throw at it... This thought all came from me thinking about which famous played are dedicated to mostly one mandolin, then I started wondering hey I wonder what the gals & guys on the café have to say about this one...

    Thanks,
    Dem

  2. #2
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    Default Re: One mando kind of picker...

    Have only one, a 1999 Randy Wood F 5. Never want or need another one.

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  4. #3
    Registered User Roger Moss's Avatar
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    Default Re: One mando kind of picker...

    Mandolins come and mandolins go but I have never needed more than one at a time. I don't and I don't think most people are such special talents that they can only be satisfied by utilizing several different qualities of instruments. More challenge in squeezing as many as possible different subtilties as possible from the same instrument.
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  6. #4
    Pittsburgh Bill
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    Default Re: One mando kind of picker...

    I understand your position but for me I prefer a mandolin when playing in a group and a dola for solo play. Also, I find some tunes that are preferable to me on either a dola or a mandolin.
    Also, do you want to expose your valued instrument to harsh environments while doing such activities as multi month RV excursions, back packing, or canoeing? Without these or similar life experiences, I might be satisfied with one mandolin.
    It comes down to one's needs and not necessarily ones preference.
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  8. #5

    Default Re: One mando kind of picker...

    The mandolin that I use for every musical context is my Nugget. I love it so very much and feel so incredibly blessed to be its caretaker. It has a beautiful clarity and presence in its sound. I would describe it as having a darker tone color than other instruments and it is extremely well-balanced. Actually, Demetrius we met at the Music Emporium when you were looking at that Dude a style and I mentioned my Nugget. Glad that you ended up with a mandolin that you love.

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  10. #6
    Registered User Roger Moss's Avatar
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    Default Re: One mando kind of picker...

    Quote Originally Posted by Pittsburgh Bill View Post
    I understand your position but for me I prefer a mandolin when playing in a group and a dola for solo play. Also, I find some tunes that are preferable to me on either a dola or a mandolin.
    Also, do you want to expose your valued instrument to harsh environments while doing such activities as multi month RV excursions, back packing, or canoeing? Without these or similar life experiences, I might be satisfied with one mandolin.
    It comes down to one's needs and not necessarily ones preference.

    Good point on the separate instrument for taking out on excursions. I don't go out much so I don't need one so I didn't even think of that. I also see your point on using a mandolin and a mandola. I do though think they are different enough to be considered different instruments. Just one man's opinion.
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  12. #7

    Default Re: One mando kind of picker...

    I'm primarily a guitar picker, I'm shopping for a mandolin right now but I feel qualified to answer part of your question i have one guitar, I'm not wealthy by any means so it suits me, it's a BR-340, dark in tone and very playable. It's my beater and my performance guitar. I don't plan on getting anymore until I see a higher quality guitar that calls out to me but for all intents and purposes the one I have now suits me perfectly. Two of the same instrument is all you'll ever really need. A beater and your main.

    Although if I was wealthy I'd keep every one that I bought over the years.

    I'm buying a Loar mandolin soon and it'll be all the mandolin I need for several years to come.

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  14. #8
    The Amateur Mandolinist Mark Gunter's Avatar
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    Default Re: One mando kind of picker...

    I have only two, I'm happy with them, although they are low end instruments. They are all I can afford. Though I'd love to own something better, I can say that I don't long and pine for anything else because at this point I am very happy with the sound, the setup and the quality of both my cheapies. They are the third and fourth mandolins I've purchased; the first two I owned did not do it for me.

    One is the Eastman MD315, it is the last mandolin I bought, and I played it exclusively for about 6 or 7 months. The second is a backup mandolin, a Washburn M106SWK which was the third mandolin I bought. It is a backup mandolin, and sat idle for 6 or 7 months, until recently when I put a set of D'Addario EXP74CM strings on it. Shortly afterward, I put a set of Beta Test strings on the Eastman, which previously had been running the CM's. I find myself playing the Washburn more at this point, after testing the Beta strings on the Eastman for a couple weeks.

    Of these two lower-end mandolins, I feel that they are of about the same quality in materials though the Eastman is a bit fancier and better finished . . . with optimum setup the quality of the materials and builds make both of them great sounding players, so that any lack is due to my abilities rather than the instrument's capabilities.

    I think I could be a one-mandolin man easily, so long as the instrument is good enough quality to get a groovy sound and feel from it. Having a backup instrument is pretty much a necessity in my mind, though. You may need to lay off your favorite for a number of legitimate reasons, temporarily.
    --------------------------
    This thought all came from me thinking about which famous played are dedicated to mostly one mandolin
    The best example in my mind regarding pros, is Willie and his guitar. Willie is so attached to Trigger that he's worn the guitar out, and has resisted, for many years, allowing any other instrument to supplant that one.
    Last edited by Mark Gunter; Nov-10-2016 at 11:39am. Reason: Forgot to write about Willie
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    Default Re: One mando kind of picker...

    I play for my own enjoyment and to help alleviate my anxiety condition. My 2010 Weber Yellowstone fills my needs to a tee and even though I like looking and playing other mandolins, I don't plan on buying another one. I was lucky enough to play a large part in the construction of "Isabella". I am also lucky that Bruce Weber Sr. and Jr. are good friends. I spent a good four 4 hours just talking with Bruce about the type of music I enjoy playing and which top wood be the best choice, it was engleman. Bruce said he a log of quilted maple he would like to use for the back, sides and neck, that was a great choice. It has developed into a lovely sounding instrument and will be with me for the rest of my life.

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  18. #10
    Gummy Bears and Scotch BrianWilliam's Avatar
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    Default Re: One mando kind of picker...

    I have two. Because I don't like to fly with my one

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  20. #11
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    Default Re: One mando kind of picker...

    I play my Phoenix Ultra almost exclusively. I have an Eastman 315 for times when I don't trust the circumstances, but I've used it only once in several years.

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  22. #12
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    Default Re: One mando kind of picker...

    I play my Ellis A5 for everything. I play mandolin in a bluegrass band; I attend bluegrass jams; I play rock and country in a duet, and I play some classical for my own amusement. The Ellis works well in every setting. There really isn't anything it can't do. The chop can go from woof to crack; it is loud and balanced across the strings; the lows are resonant and the highs sound clear and bell-like up at least to the 15th fret (I seldom play above the second octave A on the E string). One day I would like an A5 from one of the halo builders, Nugget, Gilchrist, Dudenbostel, something like that, but the Ellis is a great instrument for me.

    That said, I will probably pick up something to use as a backup when the Ellis is being re-fretted.
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  24. #13
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    Default Re: One mando kind of picker...

    I'm still playing just the one mandolin I bought when I first started, around 9 years ago (with 30+ years of guitar playing behind that): a redwood-top F5 Premium+ made by Jiri Lebeda in the Czech Republic.

    It does everything I want. I started off the way many new mandolin players do, playing Oldtime fiddle tunes to get the fretboard under my fingers, then I swerved into Irish and Scottish traditional music and never looked back. This mandolin does everything I need for that music, supplemented (but not replaced) by a Weber OM for the slower tunes.

    If I wanted to play Blues or Jazz, where I have a background in guitar, I could easily play that on this mandolin too. My personal feeling is that one really great mandolin can work in almost any musical genre. Once you get up to a certain level of instrument, it's mainly about the player and not the axe.

    I know there are people here who prefer different mandolins for different things. That's great, but it's just not the way I've ever felt about musical instruments in my life. I've always wanted just one really good instrument of any type. It used to include electric guitar and various Dobros, but no longer. The current collection is just one really good mandolin, one really good octave mandolin, the same for acoustic steel string and nylon string guitar, and lately one really good Irish flute (maybe a little too good... it ain't easy to play). One of each is enough for me, although it's taken me a lifetime now to drill down to exactly what the "one" in each category should be.

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  26. #14

    Default Re: One mando kind of picker...

    I am a multi-instrumentalist and my ultimate goal is to own 1 professional quality example of each instrument that I play, and I have found that in my Collings MT2-O. I could see myself simply keeping it and never expanding my collection which should likely include an F-hole of some sort. I currently have my eye on the Northfield OM's as my next "pine after" instrument, and I still need to get a nice old fiddle. But either way, I currently have two mandolins in my house but the Big Muddy is about to hit the local CL most likely. I have no desire to pick it up since I got my Collings, and it seems superfluous to keep an instrument around for a beater. I just don't get the point.

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  28. #15
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    Default Re: One mando kind of picker...

    I've never met a good mandolin that I couldn't fall in love with....but I do favor this bad boy!
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  30. #16
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    Default Re: One mando kind of picker...

    When playing in a working band a person should have two mandolins in case something unforeseen happens to the #1 mandolin he/she will have one to fall back on.....for that reason i even bought a double mandolin case and carried two mandolins with me for quite some time...I have asked myself many times, "Do I really need two"...They don`t eat any thing so I just keep a second one just in case.....

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  32. #17

    Default Re: One mando kind of picker...

    Quote Originally Posted by PugetPicker View Post
    I am a multi-instrumentalist and my ultimate goal is to own 1 professional quality example of each instrument that I play, and I have found that in my Collings MT2-O. I could see myself simply keeping it and never expanding my collection which should likely include an F-hole of some sort. I currently have my eye on the Northfield OM's as my next "pine after" instrument, and I still need to get a nice old fiddle. But either way, I currently have two mandolins in my house but the Big Muddy is about to hit the local CL most likely. I have no desire to pick it up since I got my Collings, and it seems superfluous to keep an instrument around for a beater. I just don't get the point.
    Your first sentence strikes home for me. Though I have a bunch of acoustic guitars,and I've made parts custom electrics, I've strived to have quality acoustic instruments. To that end I have my Silverangel on which I've played every style I'm capable of and have found it very versatile. Sweet enough for classical and forward enough to play bluegrass on.

    Money and space are my limiting factors, but I don't feel deprived.

    What I don't understand at all are those that have multiple cheaper instruments instead of one really good one.

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  34. #18

    Default Re: One mando kind of picker...

    I'm a very-multi-instrumentalist, but mostly one of each kind. I have a playable old bowlback that was given to me, but the only mandolin that I play is a 1906 Gibson F2. I definitely consider my mandola to be a different instrument, as I do my banjolin.

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  36. #19
    The Amateur Mandolinist Mark Gunter's Avatar
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    Default Re: One mando kind of picker...

    Quote Originally Posted by Br1ck View Post
    What I don't understand at all are those that have multiple cheaper instruments instead of one really good one.
    I own two, and have had more, so maybe I can enlighten you a small bit since you don't understand at all. I bought the first for about $50 off eBay on a whim, since before that time I never had intentions to play a mandolin, but I liked the way it looked and as a musician, I figured "Why not?" It was a MarkStern bowlback, and I fixed it up, piddled with it a bit, and gave it to my daughter. Nearly a year later I had been haunted by memory of the mandolin sound and feel in my hands, but I didn't have much money, so I bought an Ibanez for a couple hundred to try and cure the itch. That's when I began playing, and became active here. It was crappy, laminated and pressed top, and I was not happy with it, so I saved my money and bought the Washburn I mentioned above after about a year of playing the Ibanez. I almost instantly regretted my purchase, because for the same money on the Washburn I should have been a bit smarter and found something used that was more mandolin for the money. As it turns out, though, this Washburn has made a fine mandolin for me with a bit of tinkering. Unfortunately, I could never recoup my money from it because I bought it new.

    Now, nearly a year and a half into mandolin playing, I sell the Ibanez and get all my money back for it, and use that money plus a little more to get an Eastman 315.

    For now, having played mandolin a little less than two years, I am very, very happy with both these mandolins, thank you very much. Could I afford it, I'd buy a $2k mandolin, but that's not happening this month. I didn't go out and buy two cheap mandolins together on the same day. I've accumulated these two mandolins over a couple years, and they are all I can afford as of today. If I could get my money back on the Washburn, I'd sell it and put the money toward an upgrade. OTOH, if it were a POS that I couldn't stand, I'd sell it at a loss. Neither of these are the case.

    And so, friend Br1ck, maybe you are unable to understand the above, but it is my best effort to help you understand a small bit about why, perhaps, some of us might own multiple cheaper instruments.
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  38. #20
    Registered User Randi Gormley's Avatar
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    Default Re: One mando kind of picker...

    Having owned (and still own) multiple cheaper instruments, I can add this bit. I certainly didn't start out expecting to own a bunch of cheap(er) instruments and I didn't buy them all at the same time. One was a gift, one was purchased to replace the gift when its neck went bad, another was purchased when the second instrument went into the shop and I was told it couldn't be fixed (it could). One was really a fine instrument that I bought for $85 (oval hole) at an auction resell place that I got just for fun ... but all of them have been collecting dust since I got my snake. I'm going to fit my Eastman with a bridge pickup to have something to play plugged in.
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  40. #21
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    Default Re: One mando kind of picker...

    Br1ck,
    Yes, I have a very nice mandolin, but I went through several cheaper mandolins before getting the Yellowstone. I managed to recoup my initial investments and by adding a small amount of cash was able to upgrade. Not everyone is so fortunate as myself and they are very happy with what they have. So I say Mark enjoy your mandolins, no matter what the cost.

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  42. #22
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    Default Re: One mando kind of picker...

    Quote Originally Posted by Br1ck View Post
    What I don't understand at all are those that have multiple cheaper instruments instead of one really good one.
    Like Willie said, when playing in a working band, you should have a backup, in case something happens to your main instrument. I don't have a backup, and I know I am taking something of a chance. I am looking into getting a backup, as I mentioned in my post, but from a purely business standpoint, I might should trade my Ellis in on two Pavas.

    I won't be trading my Ellis in, unless it is towards a Nugget, Gil or Dude A5.
    Mandolins: Dudenbostel A1 #74 (2014)
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  44. #23
    Registered User red7flag's Avatar
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    Default Re: One mando kind of picker...

    I tend to write with my instruments. I have found over the years that certain instruments tend to bring out different music in me. Grass tunes tend to come out of the Ellis. Irish/Gypsy out of the Hester/Collings. Irish from the Mowry but more slower waltzy kinds. I am not sure about the Girouard, but my guess is Irish. So for me, rather than go for the big kahuna, a 20k instrument (I really feel that the Ellis fits this mark for me) I have gone for a number of instruments in the mid price range that when added up would come close in price to the big kahuna but meet so much more of my needs.
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  46. #24
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    Default Re: One mando kind of picker...

    I've had my first and one and only mandolin for a year now. It's a 2009 Phoenix Bluegrass I bought from Carter Vintage in Nashville. I've played guitar for over 30 years and ukulele for the past four years and had a large ukulele collection at one point. Now I'm down to one uke.

    The Phoenix Bluegrass is light, resonant, sweet sounding and has lots of volume when you need it. I was originally looking for a Phoenix Neoclassical but my instrument was selling for half of its value and less than a new Neoclassical so I couldn't resist.

    Classical music is my music of choice but I've been learning from Joe K. Walsh's Bluegrass, Swing, and Fiddle Tunes repertoire on Peghead Nation. He is a great teacher!

    This past year has been dedicated to learning the notes on the fret board, scales and arpeggios, double stops, music theory, and playing slowly and cleanly. I'm using a metronome to help me get my speed up but not at the expense of beautiful tone so I'm still playing slow.

    The Phoenix Bluegrass is really a luxury instrument for this first engagement with the mandolin. I could definitely be happy with this instrument forever.

    However, I have been saving up for a custom Phoenix Neoclassical and I'm on Jenny Warner's list for delivery next summer/early fall. When I finally get that instrument I will decide whether to keep the Phoenix Bluegrass or pass it on to my daughter. I'm expecting the Neoclassical to be quite different and hoping it is a better fit for the classical music I love.
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  48. #25
    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
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    Default Re: One mando kind of picker...

    I would be very happy to own just one mandolin,an Ellis F5. However,over the years,i've managed to accumulate 3 mandolins & i'd find it very hard to part with any of them now because i love the variations in tone of all 3. If i had to part with 2 of them,i'd let my Weber & Ellis go because the Lebeda has transformed into a superb instrument - so,in the absence of an Ellis F5,my Lebeda would be the one,
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