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Thread: Mando Store to try before I buy?

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    Default Mando Store to try before I buy?

    Hi, I'm in the market for a NEW Mandolin. Looking to get a nice sounding New Mando, $1400 Range. Is there any Music STORE in the NJ, NY, PA, CT, DE, Maryland area - where they have different brands/models 'in stock' - and you can play/hear them before you buy ? I've asked several folks, and I'm told 'those stores are long gone'....

    I'm not set on any single brand/model, but would like to sample what's in the price range...

    Thanks for any assist.

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    Default Re: Mando Store to try before I buy?

    I'm betting there is a brick and mortar music store or 10 in that circle. I would ask google while you're waiting for replies.

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    Default Re: Mando Store to try before I buy?

    Unfortunately Mandolin Bros. in Staten Island died when the owner Stan Jay died a while back. That was a mecca for some of us. New is tough. Lark Street Music in Teaneck, NJ generally has used vintage mandolins, Retrofret in Brooklyn has used vintage mandolins, and Vintage-Instruments in Philly has vintage mandolins. Beyond that some folks might be able to recommend some shops that have mandolins in stock. Welcome to the Cafe. It might be time to do a road trip the Lansing, MI or Nashville, TN.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Default Re: Mando Store to try before I buy?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Wilson View Post
    I'm betting there is a brick and mortar music store or 10 in that circle. I would ask google while you're waiting for replies.
    It's kind of a wasteland out here actually
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Registered User MissingString's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mando Store to try before I buy?

    The Music Emporium in Lexington, MA is worth the drive in the Northeast...not sure where your starting from though...
    There is Acoustic Music Works in Pittsburgh too if that makes more sense.
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    Default Re: Mando Store to try before I buy?

    I spent a good while looking for something similar in PA, NJ, MD or Delaware within roughly a day's drive of Philly, but came up empty so of course bought online.

    Not sure where you are starting from, but the best options I could find within a days drive of me were 3 Eastmans in nearby small shops, and meadowwood music in blandon PA which often advertises a few mandolins on their website (never made the trip though, as I didn't see anything I was both interested in and could afford).

    Not saying there isn't something in the general region, just that I couldn't find it.

    Another resource might be to seek out other mandolin players in your area, to see and hear what they are playing and inquire as to any input or suggestions they may have. Not as direct an approach to finding and trying something in a store, but could be worthwhile.

    Wish you luck on your quest.

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    Fatally Flawed Bill Kammerzell's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mando Store to try before I buy?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mhwmando View Post
    Hi, I'm in the market for a NEW Mandolin. Looking to get a nice sounding New Mando, $1400 Range. Is there any Music STORE in the NJ, NY, PA, CT, DE, Maryland area - where they have different brands/models 'in stock' - and you can play/hear them before you buy ? I've asked several folks, and I'm told 'those stores are long gone'....

    I'm not set on any single brand/model, but would like to sample what's in the price range...

    Thanks for any assist.
    I live in Annapolis MD. In any sort of reasonable driving distance to me in that price range the only thing you might get new would be an Eastman. Appalachian Bluegrass in Catonsville MD has about 12 Eastman's, 3 Collings and 2 Northfield's in stock. I know of nothing in Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, or DC where they carry a big inventory of mandolins. Not sure about all of Virginia but nearby to me in Northern Virginia, I know of nothing there. The first mandolin I bought, were I sat down to play it and many more before I could decide was in Nashville. We went there on vacation and it's like being in a mandolin candy store.
    I'm pretty sure if I took the time to look I could find something further west or south in Virginia or in North Carolina. If you find anything let me know.
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    Default Re: Mando Store to try before I buy?

    Five hours from Md to Pittsburgh. Acoustic Music Works. Staff not real friendly or helpful but often a substantial inventory to try.
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    Some Ability - No Talent MikeZito's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mando Store to try before I buy?

    I know the pain of trying to buy a mandolin in the New York/New Jersey/New England area . . . very scarce selection.

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    Default Re: Mando Store to try before I buy?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pittsburgh Bill View Post
    Five hours from Md to Pittsburgh. Acoustic Music Works. Staff not real friendly or helpful but often a substantial inventory to try.
    Wow, I have been to Acoustic Music Works many times. I have never had that experience. Helpful, knowledgeable and friendly. This has been whether I have been buying or browsing. Steve even sold a Bourgeois Vintage OM for me. I tried unsuccessfully to sell here or on Reverb. He sold it for a solid price, due to his reputation, netting more than I was asking here or on Reverb as a private seller. I would drive 5 hours to visit this shop, but I'm glad I don't have to!

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    Default Re: Mando Store to try before I buy?

    Not in your area but FYI Elderly Instruments still let's you play anything on the wall or in stock. Some instruments are by appointment.

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    Default Re: Mando Store to try before I buy?

    Acoustic Music.org is in Guilford, Ct. Exit 57 off I95. They sell Collings, Northfield, Pava, Eastman, and have used mandolins. Big plus there is, you buy it there, they set it up. The have one of the best luthiers in the country on site there (he owns the building).

    NFI. Just nice people, who have over 100 years of experience between them.
    There's nothing better than first-hand experience.

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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mando Store to try before I buy?

    I just did a quick run through on Eastman's Dealer locator. Lark Street Music shows 2 new Eastman mandolins in stock on their webpage. The dealer locator is here. You might want to e-mail some of the dealers to see what they stock. They will of course tell you they can get anything.

    Kentucky also falls in your price range. Their dealer locator page is here. Saga sells a lot of different brands so it may be a little muddier trying to determine who stocks mandolins.

    I'm not really sure who else will be in that price range.
    Last edited by MikeEdgerton; May-07-2018 at 3:13pm.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Fatally Flawed Bill Kammerzell's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mando Store to try before I buy?

    You can get a very nice brand new Kentucky in that price, now that Mike E brings that subject up. The KM-1050 should be near that. If you look at used, US made, I got a Mint condition Breedlove Legacy OF (2015) with a factory K&K twin, for less than you are spending. Breedlove case. Got it thru Elderly. the last year Breedloves were made in the US. Wide neck, great sound. Fully bound, easy to play.
    I'd buy Kentucky in that price range before I'd buy an Eastman.
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    Default Re: Mando Store to try before I buy?

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeEdgerton View Post

    Kentucky also falls in your price range. Their dealer locator page is here. Saga sells a lot of different brands so it may be a little muddier trying to determine who stocks andolins.

    I'm not really sure who else will be in that price range.
    I just checked and you are correct. Neither Kentucky dealer listed in my area has one Kentucky Mandolin in stock. Not at their websites.
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    Registered User Nathan Kellstadt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mando Store to try before I buy?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chunky But Funky View Post
    Wow, I have been to Acoustic Music Works many times. I have never had that experience. Helpful, knowledgeable and friendly. This has been whether I have been buying or browsing. Steve even sold a Bourgeois Vintage OM for me. I tried unsuccessfully to sell here or on Reverb. He sold it for a solid price, due to his reputation, netting more than I was asking here or on Reverb as a private seller. I would drive 5 hours to visit this shop, but I'm glad I don't have to!

    Doug
    I was going to mention Acoustic Music Works as well. I can't speak to Pittsburgh Bill's experience, but I've always found Steve to be incredibly helpful, both in person and via email. I wouldn't hesitate sending someone there.
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    Registered User mee's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mando Store to try before I buy?

    Appalachian Bluegrass in Maryland as mentioned above usually has Eastmans and some used mandolin but never know what's in stock at any given time. There is also Chuck Levins in Maryland that usually has good stock, I bought my F9 new there although that was several years ago. You have to ask, the good stuff is hidden away and they don't offer it unless you ask for something. You can call and ask for "Paul" in acoustics and ask what they have.

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    Default Re: Mando Store to try before I buy?

    Quote Originally Posted by willkamm View Post
    I live in Annapolis MD. In any sort of reasonable driving distance to me in that price range the only thing you might get new would be an Eastman. Appalachian Bluegrass in Catonsville MD has about 12 Eastman's, 3 Collings and 2 Northfield's in stock. I know of nothing in Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, or DC where they carry a big inventory of mandolins. Not sure about all of Virginia but nearby to me in Northern Virginia, I know of nothing there. The first mandolin I bought, were I sat down to play it and many more before I could decide was in Nashville. We went there on vacation and it's like being in a mandolin candy store.
    I'm pretty sure if I took the time to look I could find something further west or south in Virginia or in North Carolina. If you find anything let me know.
    Have you ever tried Chuck Levin's Washington Music center?
    https://www.chucklevins.com
    And http://www.drumnstrum.com is in Warrenton is carrying a few Eastmans now.

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    Pittsburgh Bill
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    Default Re: Mando Store to try before I buy?

    [QUOTE=Nathan Kellstadt;1652785]I was going to mention Acoustic Music Works as well. I can't speak to Pittsburgh Bill's experience, but I've always found Steve to be incredibly helpful, both in person and via email. I wouldn't hesitate sending someone there.
    Please do not read too much into my statement as I wouldn't and didn't hesitate to suggest A M W to Maryland.
    I have found my experiences with staff at A M W to be mixed dependent perhaps upon the mood of the day. I have made significant purchases there but once walked a way from a used Phoenix Classic I was hoping to purchase due to my feeling that my inquires seemed to me to be received as an annoyance. I have had good experiences there as well. I did read in a review from a customer having had a similar experience.
    They often have an extensive inventory of quality instruments and a thorough knowledge of their craft. By all means, do not overlook A M W as a potential source for a mandolin.
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    Default Re: Mando Store to try before I buy?

    I should also note that I bought my first Eastman mandolin from David Nichols at Custom Pearl Inlay in Malone, NY. He had a few in stock but that was years ago. It's a fund trip anyway but I'd call first and talk to Dave about what he has.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Default Re: Mando Store to try before I buy?

    Charles Johnson at Mandolin Workd Headquarters in Richmond, Virginia, often has some very nice mandolins for sale here in the classifieds, though I’m not sure what he stocks new. May be worth a browse and a call, though, depending on how far you’re willing to drive.

    Truly, the most fun I’ve ever had sampling mandolins was a Saturday spent in Nashville at Carter’s, Gruhn’s, and Acoustic Guitar (in Franklin). A gagillian makes/models ranging from beginner to Lloyd Loar signed instruments and everything in between. But, I understand that’s not always feasible. I went on a 3 day weekend for other purposes on the Friday, but then got to play on Saturday.

    Options to consider in your range if you’re willing to consider used A style instruments include Silverangel, Sonny Morris, Ratliff, Bulldog (occasionally), Lafferty, and used Gallatins. Used MTs can be had for 1600-1800 depending on condition and when the seller bought it (prices for almost everything have gone up in the past few years). If you’ve gotta have a scroll, Kentucky and Eastman are your best bets. If, ultimately, you can’t find any to try, buy online from a Cafe sponsor who’ll work with you on picking what you think best fits your needs and allow for a trial period (with you paying all shipping if returned). Even though I have several nice sources for mandolins here in NC, I’ve bought all but 2 of mine online, and have been very satisfied (and lucky with no real shipping issues to date) with all of them.
    Last edited by CES; May-07-2018 at 6:53pm.
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    Fatally Flawed Bill Kammerzell's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mando Store to try before I buy?

    Quote Originally Posted by mee View Post
    Have you ever tried Chuck Levin's Washington Music center?
    https://www.chucklevins.com
    And http://www.drumnstrum.com is in Warrenton is carrying a few Eastmans now.
    Both of them carry mostly Eastman. Not much else.
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    Fatally Flawed Bill Kammerzell's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mando Store to try before I buy?

    Quote Originally Posted by CES View Post
    Charles Johnson at Mandolin Workd Headquarters in Richmond, Virginia, often has some very nice mandolins for sale here in the classifieds, though I’m not sure what he stocks new. May be worth a browse and a call, though, depending on how far you’re willing to drive.

    Truly, the most fun I’ve ever had sampling mandolins was a Saturday spent in Nashville at Carter’s, Gruhn’s, and Acoustic Guitar (in Franklin). A gagillian makes/models ranging from beginner to Lloyd Loar signed instruments and everything in between. But, I understand that’s not always feasible. I went on a 3 day weekend for other purposes on the Friday, but then got to play on Saturday.

    Options to consider in your range if you’re willing to consider used A style instruments include Silverangel, Sonny Morris, Ratliff, Bulldog (occasionally), Lafferty, and used Gallatins. Used MTs can be had for 1600-1800 depending on condition and when the seller bought it (prices for almost everything have gone up in the past few years). If you’ve gotta have a scroll, Kentucky and Eastman are your best bets. If, ultimately, you can’t find any to try, buy online from a Cafe sponsor who’ll work with you on picking what you think best fits your needs and allow for a trial period (with you paying all shipping if returned). Even though I have several nice sources for mandolins here in NC, I’ve bought all but 2 of mine online, and have been very satisfied (and lucky with no real shipping issues to date) with all of them.
    Oh yes. A trip to Nashville. Best time I have ever had Mandolin Shopping!
    Charles Johnson, Richmond VA, at Mandolin World Headquarters, has his entire inventory listed on line. Mostly vintage stuff. Good stuff though. Gibson's, Flatiron's etc.
    Gibson Custom Shop F5G Wide Nut (2010) Dave Harvey
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    Default Re: Mando Store to try before I buy?

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeEdgerton View Post
    It's kind of a wasteland out here actually
    Whodathunkit. I imagined that area to be full of music stores. Nothing in the way of new instruments around here but lo end starters and vintage

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    Default Re: Mando Store to try before I buy?

    When Mandolin Bros was a going concern you could pretty much get an education in their mandolin room. After Stan died not so much anymore. Somebody bought the domain and the kids have been cleaning out odds and ends and selling them.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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