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Thread: Collings? Weber? Other recommendation?

  1. #26
    Fatally Flawed Bill Kammerzell's Avatar
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    Default Re: Collins? Weber? Other recommendation?

    Quote Originally Posted by George R. Lane View Post
    To be upfront with you, I am a personal friend of Bruce Weber.

    Now to the quality issue. Neither Bruce Sr. or Jr. work for Two Old Hippies anymore and most of the original workers from Montana have left the Bend, Oregon shop. From visiting Bruce at his shop in Logan, Mt. (he still does the warranty work for TOH, for now), the instruments from the Bend shop would have never left the Montana shop until they were up to his expectations. I also received a survey from TOH and one of the questions was would I pay $1,000 for a mandolin from a Chinese shop. That question made me think are they going to have some, if not all, Weber mandolins made in China? I hope not, but I can understand it from a business point of view.
    That is interesting. I would guess they might be sending those to all Weber owner's of record? If I'm not being too nosy, what was your answer to that particular survey question?
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  2. #27
    Fatally Flawed Bill Kammerzell's Avatar
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    Default Re: Collins? Weber? Other recommendation?

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffD View Post
    Thinking outside of the box for a second - If your interest is predominantly not bluegrass, you might want to consider a flat top, of which there are many great examples. Nothing at all wrong with the choices you identified, but why limit yourself to archtops?
    I saw a couple of Morris Flat tops in the classifieds here. I will vouch for the arch top oval hole I got from him. His flat tops are very reasonably priced. You're correct. Flat tops are great for the Celtic Sound.
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  3. #28

    Default Re: Collins? Weber? Other recommendation?

    I am truly lucky enough to own a 2008 Weber Fern, bought used at the Music Villa in Bozeman, a 2008 Collings MT2V bought used through the Cafe, and a custom 2014 Silverangle f5 distressed, made for me by Ken. IMHO, you simply cannot go wrong with any of them.
    Each one has a VERY different tone....not better or worse, just differenrter...sometimes we need to make up words....and each neck has its own feel.
    The SA certainly has the "woody" tone. I have also been fortunate enough to exchange mandolins for a few bars with John Reischman at Montana Fiddle Camp, and each time he has commented on the quality of the tone of the SA.
    As we all know, it is SO important to try as many as you can.....I would be hard pressed if I had to sell two and only keep one.
    Each can also hold its own in any jam situation.
    You seem to have one of those "nice" problems.

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    Default Re: Collins? Weber? Other recommendation?

    Very very interesting inside information here from George. I was not aware of the fact that Bruce Jr. is gone now. And the survey question is like an omen for the future. There were a couple of threads raising the possibilities of Chinese Webers after their acquisition by TOH, but many people said it would never happen. I am one of the ones who said it was inevitable, and I take no pleasure from being right. My Bitterroot A is from Logan and my Bitterroot F Custom is from Bend (made very soon after the move), both are signed by Bruce, and both are superb lifetime instruments for me. I'm glad I got them when I did.
    Don

    2016 Weber Custom Bitterroot F
    2011 Weber Bitterroot A
    1974 Martin Style A
    Fender Octave Mandolin c.2004-2008

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  6. #30
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    Default Re: Collins? Weber? Other recommendation?

    Quote Originally Posted by willkamm View Post
    That is interesting. I would guess they might be sending those to all Weber owner's of record? If I'm not being too nosy, what was your answer to that particular survey question?
    I prefer not to respond.

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  8. #31
    Fatally Flawed Bill Kammerzell's Avatar
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    Default Re: Collins? Weber? Other recommendation?

    Quote Originally Posted by George R. Lane View Post
    I prefer not to respond.
    Absolutely understood.
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  9. #32

    Default Re: Collins? Weber? Other recommendation?

    Why would anyone think someone owning a business would not seek to leverage the name they paid for, and the quality reputation built up over time, to open up new market opportunities. Taylor and Martin both build guitars in Mexico that have their logo on the headstock but are a far cry from the " real" guitars. They realize the advantages of building brand loyalty for their upscale product. I don't like it but I can still buy a quality D 18. I also don't like it that I tell someone I play an Epiphone Texan they think it's a Chinese import instead of a Kalamazoo built American guitar.

    So if Weber chooses to leverage the name for an import line, it is probably very good business. They take their chances alienating customers even if the US product is built to the same standard, but will probably be able to sell a ton of decent $500-1000 mandolins to more an make up for it.

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  11. #33
    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Collins? Weber? Other recommendation?

    Hank - When i first saw & listened to the 'Cruisin' Timber' clip,i was blown away. I'm a great lover of Classical music,especially performed by a 'string orchestra'. When the Cellos & Basses kicked in, i got goose bumps !!. Honestly,if they were over here & played a concert,i'd travel a long way to listen. I wish they'd do a CD of Bill Monroe 'classics' in that format - i'd buy a dozen myself !,
    Ivan
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  12. #34
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    Default Re: Collins? Weber? Other recommendation?

    Br1ck you make some valid points. But you are missing some things as well. Did you follow the acquisition of Weber Fine Ibstruments to Two Old Hippies from the beginning? There were concerns then about production moving to China but Bruce Sr. bent over backwards to assure us that would not happen. Furthermore, quality would be just as high because Bruce Jr. would be at the helm. Then Bruce retired, and now Junior has jumped ship. One has to wonder if his decision to leave had anything to do with the direction TOH were forcing him to take? I said all along, if TOH is the owner, and Tom Bedell, all the decisions would be his. Neither Bruce would have anything to say about it. At the time of the "merger" there was lots of publicity about Bruce Weber and Tom Bedell being "partners" with a "shared vision". Nothing could have been further from the truth. Unlike most US companies, there are no shareholders. There is no Board of Directors. There is only Tom and Molly Bedell, period, and all business decisions are designed ultimately for their personal benefit. That is the business model. Not that they were alone with that. Weber was probably organized much the same way, but with a completely different outlook in my opinion.

    You say you can still buy a high quality made in USA Martin. Absolutely true. But can you still buy a high quality made in USA Breedlove mandolin? No. And it was Tom Bedell's decision to discontinue them and make them in China. Weber will suffer the same fate. Ironically, Bedell's own guitar line is USA made only. They experimented with imported guitars with the Bedell name but ultimately abandoned them. Perhaps he could not bear having his name attached to inferior quality, but has no problem attaching it to other's names.

    Like I said before, I love my Weber instruments. But if I were in the market right now, knowing what I know, I would shy away from them.
    Don

    2016 Weber Custom Bitterroot F
    2011 Weber Bitterroot A
    1974 Martin Style A
    Fender Octave Mandolin c.2004-2008

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    Default Re: Collins? Weber? Other recommendation?

    Pava mandolins are superb. I live in Montana and have played quite a few Webers. Some were outstanding, although they were usually the higher end models, but most were sweet sounding but kind of quiet. I recently purchased a Pava satin model used. I can not believe the sound and quality for the price. If you get one you will not be disappointed. I've played many Collings and have never picked one up I didn't like. Like others mentioned, it best to try out as many as you can before deciding.

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    Registered User Drew Streip's Avatar
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    Default Re: Collins? Weber? Other recommendation?

    It's definitely not just to Weber owners... I received the survey (or something similar) the other day. It was from Buena Vista University School of Business. I'm guessing it's because I entered the "customize your Weber" competition some months back.

    Honestly, I do not remember what I answered. It's kind of a tricky question, because I paid $1,000 for an Eastman 515, and I'm thrilled with it. So I'd be "lying" if I said no.

    But in the case of Weber, although I don't own one and don't plan to, I'd still prefer to see them be American-made.

  16. #37
    mandolin slinger Steve Ostrander's Avatar
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    Default Re: Collins? Weber? Other recommendation?

    Back to the OP, I would throw Breedlove into the mix. I've owned Kentucky, Eastman, and Collings MT. I liked the MT a lot but my American ff is my go to mando. Took me a while to get used to the modern styling, and I'm not a fan of the Crossover line. But older Americans, KFs, Premiers, etc from Bend are the ticket.

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  18. #38

    Default Re: Collins? Weber? Other recommendation?

    The only certainty is change,and we most certainly will vote with our pocketbooks. It also seems to me that Weber will be back making mandolins in Montana as soon as contractually possible. No basis in fact, just my feeling since Jr. Left TOH.

    At least for now one Cafe sponsor feels that quality has not diminished,and since I'm no expert, tend to believe him. Weather you want to pay big bucks for something that in the future may be tarnished is up to you.

    No doubt ten years from now you will see adds for Webers, and do even now, made in Montana, signed by Bruce Weber, etc.

  19. #39
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    Default Re: Collins? Weber? Other recommendation?

    Bruce will be back making mandolins in the near future.

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    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Collins? Weber? Other recommendation?

    I have played some very nice Webers and Collings mandolins and you really can not go wrong with either.

    This Elkhorn is in the Cafe classifieds.....

    http://www.mandolincafe.com/ads/103943#103943

    NFI

    Max and Lauri Girouard make wonderful sounding mandolins with very beautiful woods.

    http://www.girouardmandolins.com/
    Last edited by Charles E.; Nov-20-2016 at 2:16pm.
    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

  22. #41

    Default Re: Collins? Weber? Other recommendation?

    Weber could always introduce a less expensive model built in Mexico or China without offending those that prefer American made, y keeping the American made instruments available. As already stated, several guitar companies do that but then again the ones that do generally are high volume manufacturers.

  23. #42

    Default Re: Collins? Weber? Other recommendation?

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Ostrander View Post
    Back to the OP, I would throw Breedlove into the mix. I've owned Kentucky, Eastman, and Collings MT. I liked the MT a lot but my American ff is my go to mando. Took me a while to get used to the modern styling, and I'm not a fan of the Crossover line. But older Americans, KFs, Premiers, etc from Bend are the ticket.
    Thanks for that suggestion, I'll have to look for a dealer near me. I haven't run across one so far but I'm sure they're around.

  24. #43
    Registered User Buck's Avatar
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    Default Re: Collins? Weber? Other recommendation?

    I've owned both. While there were things I very much liked about my Collings MF5, my overall preference was for my old Weber Big Sky. (It's a 1999 and I'm the original owner. The Collings was an early one too, from 2003.) That says more about my personal preferences and those two instruments more than anything else. I would not say that I generally prefer Collings to Weber. Actually, it might be the other way around if I was forced to choose just by the name on the headstock. That is at least partly due to Collings' consistency and the fact that that there is less variation in their design than Weber.

    Here's my Big Sky. And I can confirm that the finish is not overly thick, since I took most of it off the back of the neck.

    Todd Yates

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    Default Re: Collins? Weber? Other recommendation?

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Ostrander View Post
    Back to the OP, I would throw Breedlove into the mix. I've owned Kentucky, Eastman, and Collings MT. I liked the MT a lot but my American ff is my go to mando. Took me a while to get used to the modern styling, and I'm not a fan of the Crossover line. But older Americans, KFs, Premiers, etc from Bend are the ticket.
    I have two American-made Breedloves and I love both. Their workmanship is impeccable.
    David Hopkins

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  26. #45
    Registered User Dave Perry's Avatar
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    Default Re: Collins? Weber? Other recommendation?

    There seems to be an unusual amount of animosity on this forum towards Chinese-made mandolins--much more than I've seen on acoustic and electric guitar and ukulele forums. The general consensus on those forums is that the Chinese (or Asian-made) products are very good, even desirable over US production in many cases. Has Asia not been as kind to the mandolin world, or does something else fuel this dislike?

  27. #46
    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Collins? Weber? Other recommendation?

    Dave - I don't think it's so much a level of animosity towards Chinese built mandolins,more the fact that TOH seem to be ditching Bruce Weber's leagcy. Most of us know that good Chinese built mandolins can be excellent,& i doubt that many folks on here would disagree,but right now we seem to be witnessing a very well known US brand being sidelined & even to me,that seems to be 'not so palatable'.

    I'd been playing mandolin for 3 years when i was fortunate enough to get the cash to buy a US made mandolin, & a Weber was my choice. I wonder if,with all the success of the Northfields,how many folk will opt for a Chinese built 'Weber' - that's even if they're allowed to retain the Weber name ?.

    If George Lane is right,& Bruce is going to get back building mandolins,i'd be keeping a VERY close watch of what comes out of his new workshop - IMHO,it's going to be a tad more than just 'good',
    Ivan
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  29. #47

    Default Re: Collins? Weber? Other recommendation?

    Suggest you also look at a Pava. Great mandolins.

  30. #48

    Default Re: Collins? Weber? Other recommendation?

    I'd highly recommend a Girouard mandolin. Max Girouard is producing fantastic instruments that have a beautiful tone and are incredibly easy to play.

  31. #49
    Registered User Dave Perry's Avatar
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    Default Re: Collins? Weber? Other recommendation?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ivan Kelsall View Post
    Dave - I don't think it's so much a level of animosity towards Chinese built mandolins,more the fact that TOH seem to be ditching Bruce Weber's leagcy. Most of us know that good Chinese built mandolins can be excellent,& i doubt that many folks on here would disagree,but right now we seem to be witnessing a very well known US brand being sidelined & even to me,that seems to be 'not so palatable'.
    Thanks. New to the mando world as you can see by my post count! In the electric guitar world, for example, Japanese-built Fender strats and Tokai strat copies are well-regarded and sought-after. But I thought maybe the mandolin, being a much more traditional instrument, might not have received the attention to detail overseas that electric guitars have.

    I certainly understand wanting to own a piece of someone's legacy, and how purchasing a brand can tarnish its original identity (see Epiphone, The Loar, Recording King, and many others--good products, but ones that only retain the name of their original American origins).

  32. #50
    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Collins? Weber? Other recommendation?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Kirkpatrick View Post
    I'd highly recommend a Girouard mandolin. Max Girouard is producing fantastic instruments that have a beautiful tone and are incredibly easy to play.
    One just popped up in the classifieds yesterday....

    http://www.mandolincafe.com/ads/104584#104584

    NFI
    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

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