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Thread: Expensive mandolins

  1. #76
    Registered User Pete Braccio's Avatar
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    Default Re: Expensive mandolins

    Expensive and "great sounding" are subjective. Beautiful is also subjective.

    I said that I would never spend over $1000 for a guitar or $1500 for a mandolin. That resolution was broken several times.

    I admit it, I buy with both the eye and the ears. The price is only important if I think that it is "a deal" ;^)

    I am in awe of what luthiers can do with hunks of wood, but I would never by a beautiful instrument if it didn't sound great to my ears.

    Short story long, generalizations of expensive, good, easy playing etc. are only good to the person making them. This is because no one else has your income, your ears, your eyes, and your hands.

    Enjoy what you like and take everyone else's opinion as just an opinion. This includes mine.

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  2. #77
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    Default Re: Expensive mandolins

    I bought my Randy Wood F 5 simply because I wanted a good mandolin. This was back in 1993 so it was somewhat affordable back then. Never regretted the expense.

  3. #78

    Default Re: Expensive mandolins

    Quote Originally Posted by lowtone2 View Post
    Joe Bonamassa has to have everything!

    I went to a camp, and had by far the cheapest instrument there with my $900 Kentucky. Most had builder instruments, and a few with good shop-made mandolins were apologetic about it-apologizing for their Collings. The vibe I got was that if you play something like a Kentucky, you probably are not sufficiently committed. Or maybe it was because I'm a crappy player?
    I think it's like the cyclists with the high end gear but not the legs that another poster mentioned. I used to be a big cyclist. 2K is the most I've ever spent on an instrument or bicycle. All have often served me far better than most folks with higher end stuff. I don't think commitment has anything to do with it, though some might see it that way. I can safely say that I have committed far more than those guys I have run across. Also, my best friend is a luthier and makes incredible instruments on commission that sell for 5 digit prices and he himself happily plays a relatively humble Mirecourt trade fiddle as his only instrument and he is by far one of the finest players I've ever heard.

  4. #79
    mandolin slinger Steve Ostrander's Avatar
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    Default Re: Expensive mandolins

    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Moss View Post
    It's well known that Hendrix would often have to go find a guitar at some local pawn shop when he had a performance, having had to sell his last one for food money. Of course that changed, but almost every great musician had to serve his time in a soup line at first.
    He also had a habit of “borrowing” guitars from friends and not returning them.....
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  5. #80
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    Default Re: Expensive mandolins

    Back when I started playing I had a Kentucky- a model not sure the model, payed $150 for it. It was nicer than the first mandolin I had which was no brand and had cracked top. I was playing it a jam and everyone liked my playing, but there were a few mando players there, one had an old Gibson A and one had a Monteleone A. One guitar player asked why my mandolin did not sound as good as the Monteleone. Well obviously the difference in luthier skill and wood quality was staggering, not to mention the price( by about 100 times). When we did the Mando spring thing, there were Gilchrists and Gibsons, and a Randy Wood. I had a PACRIM Washburn, again no comparison in tone or volume for all the reasons listed above. I have since moved up in quality considerably, and while I don't my playing has improved as a direct result of the "fancier instrument" my sound certainly has. I play semi-professionally in a modern Bluegrass band ( we do a lot of Grisman for example), so the cost is justified and the income does cover the cost of the instrument ( over a few years of course). If you just like the mandolin and want to get together with friends or entertain yourself and or family, find a mandolin that feels right and sounds good to you. If you plan on playing in a group in front of people for money, you should consider what is affordable and what works for you, but don't skimp on quality, tone or playability. Of course the serious mandolinist should always keep a beater around...if nothing more to lend to someone at a Jam or take on a vacation or something.
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  6. #81
    Registered User John Bertotti's Avatar
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    Default Re: Expensive mandolins

    Quote Originally Posted by roysboy View Post
    My experience is not from obtaining expensive mandos at all . As a professional 'journeyman' musician who's spent a life in the trenches here is what I've observed where instrument purchases are concerned .

    95 % of folks making a living, as I have ,play relatively inexpensive , adequate but not high end or vintage, gear. They play what most working musicians can afford . Invariably ( and perhaps ironically ) it has been the part-time jammers or music fans with REAL jobs ( lol ) that purchase the high -priced instruments because money is no object . And as you might expect most of THOSE folks had more 'means than skills or talent .They LOVE music and wanted THE BEST instrument or gear available.

    The other thing I noticed was that the journeyman players with the REAL high end gear usually acquired that gear through sponsorship . Not so many in this camp.

    Conversely I do know a few great players who could buy " Jimi's strat" in a heartbeat . But they are more than happy with what works for THEM .....a Frankencaster built in their basement from spare parts, an amp with killer sound cuz of the Radio Shack speaker replacement , a barely-passable sounding acoustic guitar with an amazing neck profile which in the right hands sounds like the most expensive instrument ever built .

    I've probably gotten away on a tangent that wasn't intended but for whatever those observations may be worth ......
    I suspect there is a fair amount of truth to this. I am no pro but know a good sound when I hear it. I spent over 3k on a mandolin and I really felt it was way too good for my level of playing but it also makes me play more but without a full-time job I could have never afforded it.
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  7. #82
    Registered User rnjl's Avatar
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    Default Re: Expensive mandolins

    Re: real musicians play "adequate but not high end or vintage gear," I dunno. I have been going to live music and bluegrass festivals for 30 years and I've never seen a Takamine or Epiphone guitar on stage. Mostly Martin guitars, and Gibson or equivalent mandolins. If you look at the Mandolin Monday videos- which are a treasure of the Mandolin Cafe- not one of them (AFAIK) has a Washburn or mid-range Kentucky or equivalent. I think the least expensive Mandolin Monday mandolin that I recall was a Weber A model Bitterroot and that's still a great instrument.

    I'm not a professional or any other kind of real musician, so I'll take seriously what others say, but in the bluegrass world, it seems, there are some levels of instruments that seem to be more or less standard for even local part-time bands. On the other hand, as I posted before, a professional level mandolin can be had for a few thousand dollars, which is peanuts compared to what many Americans will spend on a boat, a car upgrade, hobbies, or even take-out. (Give up 100 restaurant meals @30 each over the course of a couple of years and there's 3K towards a great mandolin.)

    YMMV.

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  9. #83
    Some Ability - No Talent MikeZito's Avatar
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    Default Re: Expensive mandolins

    Quote Originally Posted by Pete Braccio View Post
    I said that I would never spend over $1000 for a guitar or $1500 for a mandolin. That resolution was broken several times.
    During my first 15 years of playing I lucked into several very nice acoustic and electric guitars - none of which cost me more than $150. During that time I swore that $150 would remain my budget for any future purchases . . . . until one fateful afternoon when I found a Rickenabacker that cost nearly 6-times that amount . . . and I HAD to have it. Needless to say, although I continue to look for those remarkable deals in 'budget' instruments - that self-imposed $150 ceiling has been blown dozens of time since then.

  10. #84
    Registered User John Bertotti's Avatar
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    Default Re: Expensive mandolins

    Quote Originally Posted by rnjl View Post
    (Give up 100 restaurant meals @30 each over the course of a couple of years and there's 3K towards a great mandolin.)

    YMMV.
    Yep, that is how I save for things. Add up the cost of such items over a month, un-needed meals, snacks, sodas, that extra adult beverage, smoking, it is nuts what we spend on these sorts of things.
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