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Thread: Carter's Vintage Instruments - Nashville

  1. #1
    Registered User mbruno's Avatar
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    Default Carter's Vintage Instruments - Nashville

    A friend of mine in Nashville got married recently - so of course I used the trip as an excuse to check out the music scene. It's been almost 8 years since I was there last too!

    I had a chance to hit up Carter's Vintage Instruments and was really happy I made the trip. They had a ridiculous amount of mandolins to play with (especially considering the local stores in San Diego have a max of 3 low-level mandolins haha!). I had a chance to play a lot of high end instruments including some Duff's, RL Givens, Vintage Gibson's, Pava, Ellis and more. I ended up spending about 4 or 5 hours there over 2 days. It was awesome.

    I have to say that my favorite instrument was either the RL Givens ($10k price point) and the 1923 Gibson F2 (there's a similar one in the Classifieds now actually). The Givens was one I never heard of but was really happy I had a chance to play - it had a great sound and response. The Gibson was amazing for solo-mandolin slow chord / melody stuff - beautiful tone!

    Just a point - if you happen to be in Nashville, go to Carter's. You'll be very happy.

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  3. #2
    Registered User Toycona's Avatar
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    Default Re: Carter's Vintage Instruments - Nashville

    I second that. CAMarcus and I were in Carters (7-8 hours over two days) in August and did the same. I really appreciated Walter and Christie's courtesy in allowing us to play literally everything on the wall. It was a thrill to play two different Loars and do a side by side with them. 8-10 Gilchrists, a few Duffs...the list goes on and on and on. My personal favorites were the Kimble mandola and the 'drunk' Loar. It's a fantastic place to get your mando mojo going!
    Love Calls Us to the Things of This World

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    Registered User Jesse Kinman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Carter's Vintage Instruments - Nashville

    Are the mandolins behind glass and you have to ask for them, or are they out in the open where you can freely walk up and play them? Do they want to know your budget before they let you play anything? I attempted to go to another luscious store once with some mandolins upwards to $8k and they wouldn’t let me play anything above my budget....lol
    I was kinda wondering how it was arranged. I’m planning a trip up to IN in May/June, and plan to stop in to play some
    Mandolins, but I’ve already got a custom mandolin lined up to have built, so I’m not “in the market” so to speak.
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    Default Re: Carter's Vintage Instruments - Nashville

    Quote Originally Posted by Skaggs2.0 View Post
    Are the mandolins behind glass and you have to ask for them, or are they out in the open where you can freely walk up and play them? Do they want to know your budget before they let you play anything? I attempted to go to another luscious store once with some mandolins upwards to $8k and they wouldn’t let me play anything above my budget....lol
    No Skaggs, Carter Vintage is not like that. MOST of the mandolins are just hanging there waiting to be played. There is a cabinet where the Loars are stored, but they don't seem to mind if you want to check them out.

    I can't speak for everyone's experience there every time of course, but from what I've seen, the place is very laid back and friendly.
    "I play BG so that's what I can talk intelligently about." A line I loved and pirated from Mandoplumb

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    Default Re: Carter's Vintage Instruments - Nashville

    My visit there was before they had the cases, and they only had one Loar. Well, and the Loar mandola. They were on a wall in the back room, and I was encouraged to play everything. Dan Voight was working that day, and he watched me pick for about 3 seconds, realized I was going to be very careful, and then left the room. I talked to him for a while later, and greatly enjoyed the Mando banter. They set my wife up on a couch with a beer and some magazines, so it was fun for both of us.

    I think they’re right to exercise some discretion with their higher end instruments. Shoot, I would...but they won’t forbid you from playing the good stuff, even if you’re not in the market.

    Lowe Vintage in Burlington, NC, is that way as well. They keep the Loar behind glass or in a case behind the counter, but will pull it out for all to play. Last time I was there another guy was checking their Loar out, and I was picking on pretty much everything else. When he was done they brought it over to me and basically told me to test drive it. I’ve been in a few times, so they know me, but after he handed it to me he went into back room and left me out front all by my lonesome for a couple of minutes. No hovering at all, which is greatly appreciated!!
    Chuck

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    Registered User Jesse Kinman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Carter's Vintage Instruments - Nashville

    That sounds awesome! I’m really looking forward to going!
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    Phil Goodson Philphool's Avatar
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    Default Re: Carter's Vintage Instruments - Nashville

    Probably the first time I went to Carter's (several years ago), I asked a factual question about a Loar and shortly found myself offered a private sound room with 3 Loars. Walter left me there for maybe an hour while I A-B-Ced those Loars. Later I played every Gil, Monty, Nugget, etc that I found on the wall. Man, I was in heaven that day!
    Phil

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    Registered User Drew Streip's Avatar
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    Default Re: Carter's Vintage Instruments - Nashville

    Ditto - I've never played any of the Loars at Carter, but it wouldn't be out of the question. I usually start on the "mid-level" wall to earn my turn before I wander to the high-end room.

    I did get a personal upstairs tour of Gruhn Guitars from George himself, where he brought out the re-necked Loar+Fern combo for me to play. I mentioned wanting to see what all the modern builders were chasing and he was very accommodating. I'm sure Carter would be the same way.

    Have fun!

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    Registered User bluegrasser78's Avatar
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    Default Re: Carter's Vintage Instruments - Nashville

    What did you think of that re-necked 30's overspray Loar at Gruhns Drew? They say late 30's job but to me it looks early 30's work? Curious I guess, heard it sounded pretty darn great?. I really want to visit both places if I get a chance this year, Been to Gruhns for a fast trip years ago. Never Carters but everyone seems real friendly from all of you café junkies reviews and word of mouth gets around fast on shops!

  13. #10
    Registered User Drew Streip's Avatar
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    Default Re: Carter's Vintage Instruments - Nashville

    Quote Originally Posted by bluegrasser78 View Post
    What did you think of that re-necked 30's overspray Loar at Gruhns Drew? They say late 30's job but to me it looks early 30's work? Curious I guess, heard it sounded pretty darn great?
    It's the only Loar I've played, so I can't necessarily compare it directly -- but it had some mojo! It was really balanced -- there wasn't too much of any one attribute. I compared against a Newson that was louder, a Monteleone that was darker, a Giacomel that was brighter... it sounded the most like a Gibson, as it should!

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