Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 30

Thread: Looking for a mandolin around 500$

  1. #1

    Default Looking for a mandolin around 500$

    Hello everyone,
    I've been reading this forum, lurking in the shadows for a long time, but now I'm making my very first post.

    My name is Florent and I'm a french musician who would like to start playing and studying the mandolin. I'm an electric bass teacher and I have a bit of free time to spare to learn mandolin. I already borrowed a cheap stagg mandolin from a friend and actually fell in love with the instrument.

    So : I'm sorry if it has already been asked a billion times, but what do you think would be a decent model for a beginner who obviously doesn't need the best mandolin ever, but doesn't want to be discouraged by an awful sounding or too-difficult-to-play instrument ?

    I don't know many mandolin shops where I live so I've checked the main online retailer in Europe, Thomann. The Loar-500-VS is exactly in my price range and looks sexy. I've been reading about it on this forum and people seem to be happy with it... While some others don't. It's hard for me to tell since I'm a true beginner, I couldn't tell if it's a good instrument even if I had the chance to play it first.

    So if have any advices for a versatile (for now I'm interested in Classical, Bluegrass, and Irish music) and good study instrument in this price range that I won't want to re-sell in three months, that would actually help a lot !
    Thanks a lot in advance, and please excuse my poor english skills.
    Last edited by Florent; Feb-03-2018 at 5:24pm.

  2. #2
    Isolated enthusiast Caleb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    DFW, America
    Posts
    3,016

    Default Re: Looking for a mandolin around 500$

    Bonjour! The Loars used to get great reviews here, but apparently the quality these days isn't what it used to be. I would recommend a Kentucky KM-150 or and Eastman 305 (or any of the F-styles with the scroll by these makers in your price range, if you prefer that look) - both excellent starter instruments, and they might end up being all the mandolin you ever need.

    The biggest key is to get someone who knows mandolins (i.e. not just a "guitar tech") to set it up properly for you. That will make all the difference in the world.

    Good luck, and be sure and post what you end up with (and your English is great).
    ...

  3. #3
    Loarcutus of MandoBorg DataNick's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Fallbrook, CA
    Posts
    3,804

    Default Re: Looking for a mandolin around 500$

    TMS is having a special on 2 "The Loar" mandolins and this one is $499...NFI...

    The Loar lm500 F5/
    1994 Gibson F5L Fern


    "Mandolin brands are a guide, not gospel! I don't drink koolaid and that Emperor is naked!"
    "If you wanna get soul Baby, you gots to get the scroll..."
    "I would rather play music anyday for the beggar, the thief, and the fool!"
    "Perfection is not attainable; but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence" Vince Lombardi
    Playing Style: RockMonRoll Desperado Bluegrass Desperado YT Channel

  4. The following members say thank you to DataNick for this post:


  5. #4

    Default Re: Looking for a mandolin around 500$

    http://www.moloneymusic.com/Products...ndolinsbyprice

    Kieran moloney in Galway Ireland ships to France. Decent range. NFI .

  6. #5
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Westchester, NY
    Posts
    25,443

    Default Re: Looking for a mandolin around 500$

    Quote Originally Posted by DataNick View Post
    TMS is having a special on 2 "The Loar" mandolins and this one is $499...NFI...

    The Loar lm500 F5/
    He lives in France ans shipping from US might be prohibitive.
    Jim

    My Stream on Soundcloud
    Facebook
    19th Century Tunes - Old Sheet Music for mandolin

    Playing lately:
    1923 Gibson A2 black snakehead -- Brentrup A4C -- 1915 Frank Merwin Ashley violin -- Huss & Dalton DS -- 1937 Gibson L-Century -- 1939 Gibson L-00 -- ca. 1890s Fairbanks Senator Banjo -- ca. 1923 Vega Style M tenor banjo -- Gibson TB-Junior -- National RM-1

  7. The following members say thank you to Jim Garber for this post:


  8. #6
    Registered User almeriastrings's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Almeria, Spain
    Posts
    5,371
    Blog Entries
    3

    Default Re: Looking for a mandolin around 500$

    Hi Florent,

    For the price - in Europe - you will find Thomann's deal on the LM500-VS hard to beat.

    The only way you would get a better instrument is if you increase your budget and buy something like a higher model Kentucky or Eastman, used. If you are prepared to watch and wait, you might find something....

    Sounds like you are looking for an F-style, but with your budget, I would personally go for an A-style. The Acoustic Music Co in the UK have this nice example:

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/ads/119870#119870

    If you have to have an F-style, then 'The Loar' is about as good as you will get for the price. Just be aware Thomann do ZERO setup work, so you will need to get the nut slots, bridge and frets adjusted as necessary. If you are familiar with fretted instrument setup and repair you can certainly do this yourself. If not, you will have to pay a luthier to do it for you.

    Regards from Spain...
    Gibson F5 'Harvey' Fern, Gibson F5 'Derrington' Fern
    Distressed Silverangel F 'Esmerelda' aka 'Maxx'
    Northfield Big Mon #127
    Ellis F5 Special #288
    '39 & '45 D-18's, 1950 D-28.

  9. The following members say thank you to almeriastrings for this post:


  10. #7

    Default Re: Looking for a mandolin around 500$

    I am indeed living in France so I guess it would be difficult to order something from the US.

    The Eastman 305 does look like a fine instrument indeed ! I tend to prefer F styles look but honestly I'd choose a good sound over anything.

    I didn't know about Kieran Moloney in Ireland. I might order from here then.

    Thanks a lot for your answers, this is actually really helpful. I'll keep you up to date with my choice really soon !

  11. #8
    Registered User Eric F.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Illinois
    Posts
    2,145

    Default Re: Looking for a mandolin around 500$

    Kieran's setup on my OM was spot on sand it was a smooth transaction.

  12. The following members say thank you to Eric F. for this post:


  13. #9
    Registered User f5loar's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Salisbury,NC
    Posts
    6,330

    Default Re: Looking for a mandolin around 500$

    Should be Kentucky dealers worldwide. In that range I like the KM900.

  14. #10
    Registered User almeriastrings's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Almeria, Spain
    Posts
    5,371
    Blog Entries
    3

    Default Re: Looking for a mandolin around 500$

    There's a used KM-1500 (quite a rare beast in Europe) for sale in the classifieds right now (NFI):

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/ads/120558#120558

    Over the OP's stated budget, but these are superb and if I was looking for a sub-$2K mandolin right now, I'd be checking that out...
    Gibson F5 'Harvey' Fern, Gibson F5 'Derrington' Fern
    Distressed Silverangel F 'Esmerelda' aka 'Maxx'
    Northfield Big Mon #127
    Ellis F5 Special #288
    '39 & '45 D-18's, 1950 D-28.

  15. #11
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Rochester NY 14610
    Posts
    15,446

    Default Re: Looking for a mandolin around 500$

    Thread title says "$500," the KM-1500 is more than twice that. He needs to be around 400€. Ivor Mairants in London advertises Eastman MD-304's for 600€ or so; Trevor at TAMCO has them for the same price. Both show them as "out of stock," however.

    Before Brexit kicks in, getting one from the UK should be pretty straightforward. Getting one from China to the UK, who knows?
    Allen Hopkins
    Gibsn: '54 F5 3pt F2 A-N Custm K1 m'cello
    Natl Triolian Dobro mando
    Victoria b-back Merrill alumnm b-back
    H-O mandolinetto
    Stradolin Vega banjolin
    Sobell'dola Washburn b-back'dola
    Eastmn: 615'dola 805 m'cello
    Flatiron 3K OM

  16. #12
    Registered User colorado_al's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Boulder, CO & Chesterfield, MO
    Posts
    2,357

    Default Re: Looking for a mandolin around 500$

    You might check in with Dave Hynds and see what he might have available:
    http://www.mandolinluthier.com/

  17. #13

    Default Re: Looking for a mandolin around 500$

    Thanks again for your answers, it's really helpful. I've been in touch with Mr. Moloney who has a The Loar LM-370 available. It's a bit cheaper that what I intented to spend (350€), but the appeal of receiving the instrument already set up is great. Has anyone ever tried the LM-370 ? I could also get a LM-500VS from Thomann. What do you guys think ?

    The KM 1500 looks like a fine instrument indeed, but it's way over my budget for a first mandolin, unfortunately. I'm keepking track of the second hand market looking for a Kentucky too.

  18. The following members say thank you to Florent for this post:

    R.A.P 

  19. #14

    Default Re: Looking for a mandolin around 500$

    Hi Florent, looks to me like the 370 is built to the same specs as the 170. The only difference being the 370 is an "F" shape (scroll) and the 170 is an "A" shape.

    Both mandolins have soild spruce tops and maple laminate sides and back.

    I would prioritise sound over looks in this price bracket and go for an A shape mandolin.

    I suggest its always better to try and get all solid wood mandolins and to buy from a dealer that will set up your instrument.

  20. #15
    Registered User almeriastrings's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Almeria, Spain
    Posts
    5,371
    Blog Entries
    3

    Default Re: Looking for a mandolin around 500$

    I have to say I saw a 370 recently and was not over-impressed.... the standard of 'fit and finish' was quite rough, and frankly, it just sounded pretty weak. I have a student who got a Kentucky KM-150 last year and I get to hear/play that regularly. Twice the mandolin the 370 was. In fact, amazingly good for what it cost. Might not look too flashy, but it delivers where it matters, holds tune, frets accurately and is nice to play.
    Gibson F5 'Harvey' Fern, Gibson F5 'Derrington' Fern
    Distressed Silverangel F 'Esmerelda' aka 'Maxx'
    Northfield Big Mon #127
    Ellis F5 Special #288
    '39 & '45 D-18's, 1950 D-28.

  21. #16
    Registered User colorado_al's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Boulder, CO & Chesterfield, MO
    Posts
    2,357

    Default Re: Looking for a mandolin around 500$

    I agree on the Kentucky. Hobgoblin sells them.
    https://www.hobgoblin.com/local/sale...olin-sunburst/
    I prefer the KM-250, but it might be out of your price range
    https://www.hobgoblin.com/local/sale...olin-sunburst/

    You can also buy it through amazon and do the setup yourself or have someone do it
    https://www.amazon.fr/Kentucky-KM-15.../dp/B001OQC75K

    Or maybe a better buy through amazon UK? Not sure if they will deliver to France.
    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Kentucky-KM.../dp/B001OQC75K

  22. #17
    Registered User almeriastrings's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Almeria, Spain
    Posts
    5,371
    Blog Entries
    3

    Default Re: Looking for a mandolin around 500$

    Quote Originally Posted by colorado_al View Post
    I agree on the Kentucky. Hobgoblin sells them.
    https://www.hobgoblin.com/local/sale...olin-sunburst/
    I prefer the KM-250, but it might be out of your price range
    https://www.hobgoblin.com/local/sale...olin-sunburst/

    You can also buy it through amazon and do the setup yourself or have someone do it
    https://www.amazon.fr/Kentucky-KM-15.../dp/B001OQC75K

    Or maybe a better buy through amazon UK? Not sure if they will deliver to France.
    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Kentucky-KM.../dp/B001OQC75K
    Yes, Amazon UK do deliver to France/Spain directly as well. That is a REALLY GOOD price for one of these on this side of the pond from Amazon UK.... I would be all over that.
    Gibson F5 'Harvey' Fern, Gibson F5 'Derrington' Fern
    Distressed Silverangel F 'Esmerelda' aka 'Maxx'
    Northfield Big Mon #127
    Ellis F5 Special #288
    '39 & '45 D-18's, 1950 D-28.

  23. #18

    Default Re: Looking for a mandolin around 500$

    Yep. That km150 from Amazon is a no brainer.

  24. #19

    Default Re: Looking for a mandolin around 500$

    Wow !! That KM-150 for £209 from Amazon UK is really tempting ! But why would it be two times cheaper than the same one from Hobgoblin ? It seems too good to be true !

    Edit > I was going to buy it, but it doesn't ship to France ! Too bad... The one that costs 399 can be shipped to France, but is it still a good value... ? For just a bit more (492€) I could also get The Loar LM-500-VS from Thomann (or LM-400 for a A-style). Do you think the Kentucky KM-150 is still a best instrument than these The Loar ?
    Last edited by Florent; Feb-07-2018 at 11:47am.

  25. #20
    Registered User colorado_al's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Boulder, CO & Chesterfield, MO
    Posts
    2,357

    Default Re: Looking for a mandolin around 500$

    Do they have Amazon Locker in UK? Might be worth the train ride to London and pickup at an Amazon box

  26. #21
    Registered User almeriastrings's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Almeria, Spain
    Posts
    5,371
    Blog Entries
    3

    Default Re: Looking for a mandolin around 500$

    Just Amazon pricing, Florent... can be weird. I bought a box set of Bill Monroe (one of the Bear Family sets) on Amazon.uk and had it shipped to Spain for 60% of what the .es site wanted for the exact same thing! You also have excellent return/refund rights with Amazon. No problem. The only thing it would need is a setup, and the Kentucky's are usually easy to set up compared to 'The Loar' which can be a horrible job...

    I'd go for it!!!
    Gibson F5 'Harvey' Fern, Gibson F5 'Derrington' Fern
    Distressed Silverangel F 'Esmerelda' aka 'Maxx'
    Northfield Big Mon #127
    Ellis F5 Special #288
    '39 & '45 D-18's, 1950 D-28.

  27. #22

    Default Re: Looking for a mandolin around 500$

    <Removed by Moderator. Please limit commerce to the classifieds.>
    Last edited by MikeEdgerton; Feb-07-2018 at 1:01pm.

  28. #23

    Default Re: Looking for a mandolin around 500$

    As I said, that killer deal KM-150 from Amazon UK can't be shipped to France. I have to check if I can get a cheap ticket to UK and get it there... Seems complicated though.

    Right now I'm hesitating between :
    - Kentucky KM-150 from Amazon 400€
    - The Loar 590 from Thomann 548€
    - Eastman MD 305 from Kieran Moloney 575€

    Never thought choosing a mandolin would take me so much time ! It's a pleasure though haha. It's even harder without actually touching the instrument.

  29. #24
    Registered User MoreThanQuinn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    Périgueux, France
    Posts
    140

    Default Re: Looking for a mandolin around 500$

    For what it's worth, I recently purchased at Kentucky A-style mandolin (the KM-252) and I'm head over heels in love with it. Couldn't recommend it highly enough, and from everything I have read about the KM-150 it seems to garner similar reviews. I would go for that, and use any extra money to get yourself some picks/books/strap/whatever other accessories you want.

  30. #25
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Reading, UK
    Posts
    32

    Default Re: Looking for a mandolin around 500$

    Thanks for making me aware of this - I've just ordered one - seems like a bargain. I've also found a really experienced player locally who said they'd help me with the setup if it's challenging. Will arrive on Valentines day :-)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •