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Thread: Collings? Weber? Other recommendation?

  1. #1

    Default Collings? Weber? Other recommendation?

    I have an Eastman MD614 that I'be been playing for a while and I'm thinking of upgrading to an American made model.

    I have been looking at Collings and Weber, which are both really nice and I have shops reasonably close that have both kinds. I'm not dead set on this but I have a slight preference for F style and f-holes. Style-wise I like everything and might play a bit of bluegrass and classical but enjoy Celtic the most.

    I'm hoping for feedback on each brand. I know Collings stuff a little better, and own a collings 290dc electric. I think they are unparalleled in build quality and attention to detail. I'm newer to Weber but pretty much was floored by the Fern I played.

    I'm pretty sure I'll get a wide nut (bigger than 1-3/32) and I'm considering 14" scale, just because my hands seem to get fatigued faster on the thinner and shorter neck on the Eastman.

    Any suggestions? Feedback? If you like either brand why?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Collins? Weber? Other recommendation?

    If you cab find a Montana made Weber, you will have a keeper.

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  4. #3

    Default Re: Collins? Weber? Other recommendation?

    Quote Originally Posted by George R. Lane View Post
    If you cab find a Montana made Weber, you will have a keeper.
    Thanks for the feedback. Do you feel like the quality went down when they moved? Did they lose a lot of the skilled/experienced builders? I can't help but wonder if you have a Montana bias since you're from that state as well

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    Default Re: Collins? Weber? Other recommendation?

    Research Keith Edward Coleman , Luther of NM. I did and I was blown away.
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    Default Re: Collins? Weber? Other recommendation?

    If you have shops nearby that carry mandolins, why not head out and do some taste testing?

  7. #6

    Default Re: Collins? Weber? Other recommendation?

    Quote Originally Posted by wooq View Post
    If you have shops nearby that carry mandolins, why not head out and do some taste testing?
    I have but it's always nice to get experienced users to give feedback. I'm not that familiar with Weber, so hearing from those that know them better is really helpful. I know the Collings instruments are fabulous in terms of build quality but hearing about how balanced they sound or whether they are consistent in their quality is useful. I may special order one and don't want to end up with a lemon. Also, feedback on nut width is useful since it may impact technique and chording ease beyond what might be readily apparent to me when testing.

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    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Collins? Weber? Other recommendation?

    Like George Lane,i'm a Weber owner & i can attest to their quality & build standard. My own "Fern" is excellent in every way - however. I will say that it's a very 'modern' sounding mandolin,similar in a way to the Collings mandolins that i've played. The bass side is certainly good,but i wouldn't describe it as 'woody' & deep. Like the Collings family,Webers have their 'own sound' & as it happens,it's one that i like very much. With the DR MD11 strings which i use on it,it's powerful enough to be played in any 'live Bluegrass' context & it's going nowhere !!,
    Ivan
    PS - Here's a nice tune played on a Weber mandolin - ''Crusin' Timber''.
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    Registered User trevor's Avatar
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    Default Re: Collins? Weber? Other recommendation?

    Quote Originally Posted by George R. Lane View Post
    If you cab find a Montana made Weber, you will have a keeper.
    In my experience the was no change in fit and finish and tone when Weber moved. I have had over 50 Bend made Webers through.
    Trevor
    The Acoustic Music Co (TAMCO) Brighton England
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    Default Re: Collins? Weber? Other recommendation?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sothoth View Post
    Thanks for the feedback. Do you feel like the quality went down when they moved? Did they lose a lot of the skilled/experienced builders? I can't help but wonder if you have a Montana bias since you're from that state as well
    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.

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    Isolated enthusiast Caleb's Avatar
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    Default Re: Collins? Weber? Other recommendation?

    A Collings or Weber would both make a fine lifetime instrument. You really can't go wrong with either one since both are about as good as it gets.
    “Never laugh at live dragons.” -Bilbo Baggins

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    Default Re: Collins? Weber? Other recommendation?

    Quote Originally Posted by trevor View Post
    In my experience the was no change in fit and finish and tone when Weber moved. I have had over 50 Bend made Webers through.
    Trevor,
    I am happy that you have some good ones. My question is, 'Who signed the labels'. If it was Sr. or Jr. they would be of high caliber. I don't know who is doing the graduations to the top and back now. Hopefully they are sticking with Bruces' numbers. Only time will tell.

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    Default Re: Collins? Weber? Other recommendation?

    [QUOTE=Ivan Kelsall;1534077...
    PS - Here's a nice tune played on a Weber mandolin - ''Crusin' Timber''.
    [/QUOTE]

    Well I'll be whatevered. I saw the orchestra and said "oh, no, not orchestral bluegrass, please." But I really liked that. Thanks for posting.

    And for what it's worth, I have a Weber Rawhide and its tone makes it my favorite. But my opinion is just another data point in the cloud.

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

    They are arriving now without a signature. But I re-iterate no loss of quality in any area.
    Trevor
    The Acoustic Music Co (TAMCO) Brighton England
    Over 100 mandolins in stock.
    www.theacousticmusicco.co.uk.

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    Default Re: Collins? Weber? Other recommendation?

    Quote Originally Posted by trevor View Post
    They are arriving now without a signature. But I re-iterate no loss of quality in any area.
    Trevor ,
    Thank you for the response. I hope the quality remains at a high level. For me my Custom Yellowstone will be my keeper for the rest of my life

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    Dave Sheets
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    Default Re: Collins? Weber? Other recommendation?

    There are several used Flatirons in the classified at the moment. I have no financial interest in any of them, if you are willing to look at used, I can say that Flatirons look like good deals at the moment.
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  20. #16
    Registered User Jill McAuley's Avatar
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    Default Re: Collins? Weber? Other recommendation?

    I've owned several Webers (Aspen II flat top, Weber Custom Gallatin F, Weber Vintage A) and am now playing my first Collings (MTO) and I am really impressed with the fit and finish of the Collings, also having played a lot of Collings A's in shops I find them to be quite consistent as compared to Webers I've both owned and played. I really liked all my Weber mandolins, though did find that the lacquer finishes on them were on the heavy side, seemed sprayed on thick compared to other high end mandolin brands I've played.
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    ForestF5 Gene Summers's Avatar
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    Default Re: Collins? Weber? Other recommendation?

    I've been playing my (bought it used) 2008 Weber HT Yellowstone A for over a year now. I LOVE it! It has beautiful woods, excellent craftsmanship and finish and a bell like tone. It's my Lifetime mandolin!
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    Default Re: Collins? Weber? Other recommendation?

    Just picked up a 2005 Weber Yellowstone, f-style oval hole here on the Classifieds and I love it. Needs some minor set up (high action, needs a slight truss rod tweak and the bridge needs to be adjusted) but it has a great tone and the fit and finish ("desert dawn" a color I particularly love) are gorgeous. Probably new strings as well, it has very light strings on it and I don't think it likes them.

    Probably not a "bluegrass machine" (oval hole) but I am not a fan of the percussive bluegrass chop anyway, I prefer the John Reischman chop, which is much more melodic and softer. Of course, I am not trying to be heard over a banjo, either.

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    Fatally Flawed Bill Kammerzell's Avatar
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    Default Re: Collins? Weber? Other recommendation?

    Not sure how much money you have to spend. There are a few Sonny Morris mandolins in the Café classifieds. I thought there was a Summit double point. Also you might look into a Silverangel. All three are US made by small builders. No financial interest in any of these. I own a Weber, Morris and Silverangel though, and enjoy all of them. The Weber, made in Bend (Bruce Sr. Signature) might be the best mandolin I have owned or played.

    PS: Looks like there is a Brand New, Cobalt Blue Sonny Morris A-5 in the classifieds for under 1000.00 USD. NFI
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  24. #20

    Default Re: Collins? Weber? Other recommendation?

    At this level it comes down to playing the individual instrument. One should speak to you.

    If you like warm and woody, you could do a lot worse than one of the Silverangels for sale in the classifieds. Can't go too far wrong with Collings anything, but if you don't like them, move on. Once had a friend buy one because he could sell it easier. That is the worst reason for buying an instrument.

  25. #21
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    Default Re: Collins? Weber? Other recommendation?

    It's all about personal preference. They are both excellent mandolins. I had a Weber Bitterroot and now own a Collins MT2. Both are high quality, but they have different tones and neck profiles.

  26. #22

    Default Re: Collins? Weber? Other recommendation?

    Quote Originally Posted by Elb2000 View Post
    It's all about personal preference. They are both excellent mandolins. I had a Weber Bitterroot and now own a Collins MT2. Both are high quality, but they have different tones and neck profiles.
    My Eastman neck fatigues my hand but I haven't played enough other instruments to know why. Neck profile? Narrower nut? From my guitar experience I feel like fretting chords and being quick on fretting single notes, I assumed the neck profile was a little deep and sharp in the back and the nut is slightly too narrow. So your comment about the neck profile struck me. It's also possible I just need more time to relax my hand and that of course takes time to evolve.

    At one local shop nearby they had a Weber with a 1-7/32 width nut and for the few minutes I played it, it seemed like heaven. I'll need to go back to try it again. Another local shop has lots of Collings but I don't think they do wider than 1-1/8" nuts.

    If I had to bet my life I'd guess there is more consistency in the Collings factory than Weber but I guess if you play it ahead of time and it loves you as much as you love it, that's all that counts. But it makes me think I shouldn't special order of if I do it's clear that I need to play it before taking it home.

    Really appreciate all the feedback and data points. Maybe I'll update with a report when I try that wide but Weber again.

  27. #23
    Troy Shellhamer 9lbShellhamer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Collins? Weber? Other recommendation?

    I have a lifetime instrument in a Collings MT2 I own... Can't beat a Collings. I like Webers too... But I LOVE a strong Collings.
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    Default Re: Collins? Weber? Other recommendation?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jill McAuley View Post
    I really liked all my Weber mandolins, though did find that the lacquer finishes on them were on the heavy side, seemed sprayed on thick compared to other high end mandolin brands I've played.
    Jill,
    Funny you should mention the heavy finish. I was visiting with Bruce and Mary a couple of weeks ago and brought that same subject up. They both said that their finishes were very thin and only appear to be thick because of the highly polished gloss top. The finish on my Yellowstone I know is very thin, because when Brett Byers did the final coat he told me how thin he applied it. But with the high gloss buffing it does appear to look on the heavy side.

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    Default Re: Collins? Weber? Other recommendation?

    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?
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