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Thread: Help with first mandolin purchase?

  1. #1
    Registered User kkeesy's Avatar
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    Default Help with first mandolin purchase?

    I'm new to this forum.I've been a banjo player since high school,62 now.I've decided on The Loar LM 600 VS.I've been around lots of players,but only tried one a few times.This looks like a decent one without breaking the bank.Musicians Friend and The Guitar center offer no interest payments,but my question is do you think it would be ready right out of the box or would it need to be set up by a pro?Any help would be greatly appreciated.If it was a banjo no problem for me but a dummy to a mandolin.
    Thanks

  2. #2

    Default Re: Help with first mandolin purchase?

    It'll need to be set up. I (and many others) recommend buying from the mandolin store, elderly, or folk musician.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Help with first mandolin purchase?

    The Loar mandolins offer good value for money but require a good deal of set up work. As a previous owner of an lm700 I would recomend buying from a store that has expierence of mandolins will set up the instrument.

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    Registered User kkeesy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help with first mandolin purchase?

    This was what I thought the answer would be.But you always ask ones who know.I have done business with Elderly before.Thank you.

  5. #5
    Registered User kkeesy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help with first mandolin purchase?

    I decided on the Loar because of Youtube videos.They are $850.00 most places.If someone think I should go with another it would help.I just want to start with a decent instrument.

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    Default Re: Help with first mandolin purchase?

    Quote Originally Posted by kkeesy View Post
    I decided on the Loar because of Youtube videos.They are $850.00 most places.If someone think I should go with another it would help.I just want to start with a decent instrument.
    The Loar has had some changes in manufacturing and business practices and the latest mandolins from them are more hit and miss.

    As has been said before, you will get a better instrument for your budget if you go with an A5 style. Also much better pricing on a used instrument, if that works for you.

    My personal favorite in that price range is the JBovier A5 for $900 new. Great setup by Jeff Cowherd of JBovier. Really good mandolins with radiused ebony fretboard, .080 size frets (banjo size), solid cast tailpiece, hard case.
    http://www.mandolins.ecrater.com/p/1...er-w-black-top
    Click image for larger version. 

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    If you really want a F5 style, this used Eastman MD615 might be in your price range. Seller is asking $950, but it comes with a bunch of extras, tone gard, armrest, pickup, and was setup by a great luthier.
    https://www.mandolincafe.com/ads/115920#115920
    It's been on the classifieds for 15 days, so you might be able to get it for less. $900 maybe? I'd buy an eastman any day over The Loar. Also, you could easily sell the Tone Gard in a day on the classifieds here for $50, if you need to keep your costs down.
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    This used Eastman MD605 A5 style has a pickup built in too, and is being sold by The Mandolin Store who will do a setup for you included in the price. $650
    https://www.mandolincafe.com/ads/116270#116270
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    I also like Eastman's new MD400 series, especially the black top models. This MD415 is $800 new.
    https://www.mandolincafe.com/ads/115398#115398
    They have mahogany back and sides, instead of maple, but the ones I have played sound good.
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    PS- If you're set on The Loar LM 600, here's a used one. Seller is asking $550. Been posted for a month. Bet they'd take $450-$500 for it
    https://www.mandolincafe.com/ads/115528#115528
    Last edited by colorado_al; Oct-17-2017 at 11:52pm.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Help with first mandolin purchase?

    Quote Originally Posted by kkeesy View Post
    I decided on the Loar because of Youtube videos.They are $850.00 most places.If someone think I should go with another it would help.I just want to start with a decent instrument.
    Depending on the kind of music you want to play, big muddy is a great option. American made. You can get them used pretty inexpensively or buy them new for what you'd pay for the Loar. You should definitely check out their website.

    Otherwise I second J.Bovier.

  8. #8
    Registered User kkeesy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help with first mandolin purchase?

    Thanks for going to all the trouble with your great advice.

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  10. #9
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    Default Re: Help with first mandolin purchase?

    Quote Originally Posted by kkeesy View Post
    Thanks for going to all the trouble with your great advice.
    Anytime! Welcome to the Cafe. Let us know what you end up buying and if you have any questions.

    Also, Kentucky is well regarded. The KM750 models are in your price range and are getting good reviews. I personally prefer Eastman, but many here like the Kentuckys better. The Kentucky mandolins in this price range do not have ebony fingerboards or bridges. They just call it "Choice tonewood fingerboard" etc. So no real idea what they are using. Likely they are moving away from rosewood due to new import/export restrictions on rosewood.

    Here are 2 I would consider. I think they are the same mandolin with different stain, but not certain:

    KM755 for $880. This one has a flat fingerboard, not radiused. I prefer a radiused fingerboard, but some like traditional flat better.
    https://www.mandolincafe.com/ads/116287#116287
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    KM752 for $900. Also has flat fingerboard.
    https://www.mandolincafe.com/ads/115976#115976
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    I think these are the same mandolins, but in different colors
    Last edited by colorado_al; Oct-18-2017 at 10:17am.

  11. #10
    Montana Mark
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    Default Re: Help with first mandolin purchase?

    Find a good luthiere to get set-up. Instrument will sound much better.
    Mountain Mark
    Clancy, MT

    Much traveled 2010 Weber Bitterroot A
    1998 Flatiron Cadet
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  12. #11

    Default Re: Help with first mandolin purchase?

    as always Al gives great advice.

    For whats its worth I have to say I too prefer The Eastman range over the Kentucky range in the price bracket your looking at. I think Kentucky really pulls away from the competition with the KM900/KM1000 range. Anything lower than those and I'd go Eastman. I used to own a KM1000 and am sorry I sold it on.

    I played an Eastman 305 recently that was excellent, it was as loud a mandolin as I've ever played, of course Eastman does have its own sound...but that's a different discussion....

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  14. #12
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    Default Re: Help with first mandolin purchase?

    Right. I left out the Eastman 300 series. They are also great sounding and playing mandolins. The A5 style MD305 is $480. The F5 style MD315 is $700. They are the same build as the Eastman 500 series, but have a satin finish instead of gloss, and use a stamped tailpiece, not a solid cast one. Also the tuning machines are not great. If you have the money to spend more, I would.

    Eastman MD505 (A style) $700 new. Used can be found for about $500-$600.
    Eastman MD515 (F Style) $1000 new. Used around $800-$900

    I think that Eastman is hitting a great sweet spot with their 400 series mandolins. Same upgrades as the 500 series with the gloss finish, solid tailpiece, and upgraded tuners. They keep the price lower by using mahogany back and sides and solid color top.

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