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Thread: Pango Mandocello

  1. #26
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    Default Re: Pango Mandocello

    Looks good! What type of finish did you get? Very shiny. The mandolins that I bought have a hand rubbed oil varnish that is kind of semi-gloss.
    Looking forward to hearing your report!

  2. #27
    Registered User Jonathan K's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pango Mandocello

    I don't know what the finish is - I just like playing these things and looking at them. I need to learn more about finishes, woods, etc. I prefer not so shiny on a purely aesthetic level but this is the first instrument anyone has ever built for me and I had no idea what I would mean by saying "Um, could you build me a not so shiny mandocello?" The super high gloss mandos you see everwhere are scratch magnets. They seem finished specifically for the marketing photo op. The one I have sounds great and I look forward to the day when I stop worrying about it getting scratched. But assuming tone did not change, I would have preffered semi-gloss or matte.

    I'm sure my shiny new mandocello will get all scratched and look not so shiny and not so new in a few years.

  3. #28
    Registered User Jonathan K's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pango Mandocello

    Latest update!

    My Pango mandocello departed Qingdao on January 30 and arrived in San Francisco February 11! So close! I wonder how long it will take to get through customs...

  4. #29
    Registered User Joe Dodson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pango Mandocello

    Wow, looks beautiful. I'm glad I just now started following this thread. I don't think I could have stood the wait!

  5. #30
    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Pango Mandocello

    Wow, that is great that you are getting "The best Mandocello in the world!"

    Looks really nice, let us know how you like it.
    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

  6. #31
    Registered User thecelloronin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pango Mandocello

    Quote Originally Posted by Jonathan K View Post
    Latest update!

    My Pango mandocello departed Qingdao on January 30 and arrived in San Francisco February 11! So close! I wonder how long it will take to get through customs...
    Stoked for you, brotherman! Could I convince you to do an unboxing video for us?
    Pomeroy #244 Custom Mandocello - "Liuto Americano"
    NS Design CR6 Electric Cello

  7. #32
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    Default Re: Pango Mandocello

    Looks like Mando Mo Strings (who purchases from Pango/Afanti) has the F hole style one in stock for $2,389 with case:
    https://www.mandomostrings.com/store..._Shipping.html
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Direct from China without setup and case is $1892
    https://www.ebay.com/itm/Pango-Music...-/173688914054
    Last edited by colorado_al; Feb-14-2019 at 1:50am.

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  9. #33
    Registered User thecelloronin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pango Mandocello

    Quote Originally Posted by colorado_al View Post
    Looks like Mando Mo Strings (who purchases from Pango/Afanti) has the F hole style one in stock for $2,389 with case:
    https://www.mandomostrings.com/store..._Shipping.html
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Man, the pics on that website hurt my eyes. The overuse of filters is highly suspect, as is the product description. Thank goodness the instruments seem to sound better than their marketing!
    Pomeroy #244 Custom Mandocello - "Liuto Americano"
    NS Design CR6 Electric Cello

  10. #34
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pango Mandocello

    It looks like they are importing an A-style mandocello they call the Bison for $1250 w/HSC and free shipping. I agree the instruments in the demo videos look a lot better than the photos on the web page. They need to work on their sunburst finishes or else just finish solid color. It does sound good and unlike the Eastman MC, it looks like this was meant to be a mandocello vs. a converted archtop guitar.
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  11. #35
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    Default Re: Pango Mandocello

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    It looks like they are importing an A-style mandocello they call the Bison for $1250 w/HSC and free shipping. I agree the instruments in the demo videos look a lot better than the photos on the web page. They need to work on their sunburst finishes or else just finish solid color. It does sound good and unlike the Eastman MC, it looks like this was meant to be a mandocello vs. a converted archtop guitar.
    Ugh! That is an ugly sunburst!
    Click image for larger version. 

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  12. #36
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    Default Re: Pango Mandocello

    Wow the cello sounds great! Never heard of this import brand? Have they been around long? Looks very nice also for the $$$.

  13. #37
    Registered User Jonathan K's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pango Mandocello

    Quote Originally Posted by thecelloronin View Post
    Stoked for you, brotherman! Could I convince you to do an unboxing video for us?
    Yes! There will be an unboxing video!

    I received the mandocello yesterday, unboxed it, looked at it and dropped it off at Gryphon for set up today.

    Initial observations pending full review: the instrument was boxed and shipped very well - lots of form fitting styrofoam. The finish looks quite nice, but there are a number of small imperfections, especially in the area of the scroll - nothing really noticeable, but this is clearly not the finish of a $6k Weber mandocello and that's fine. The neck is nice and smooth. When I brought it to Gryphon, the first thing the guy noticed was the huge amount of backbow in the neck. This was quickly corrected by loosening the truss rod, but it was weird that the truss rod had been tightened to 11. I assume that was just a "prep for shipment" error. Gryphon guy also noted that the nut slots seemed to have been cut too deep but we'll see how that actually turns out - he wasn't as outraged about that as he was about the backbow. The color is nice and I apologize for not including a photo here - I forgot to take one last night - but it's kind of honey colored, I guess. It's not nearly as shiny as it seemed in the photos I posted earlier in this thread so I'm happy about that. Gryphon will also swap out the strings that came with the mandocello for a set of Thomastiks I brought.

    More news in a few days!

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  15. #38
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    Default Re: Pango Mandocello

    Quote Originally Posted by colorado_al View Post
    Looks like Mando Mo Strings (who purchases from Pango/Afanti) has the F hole style one in stock for $2,389 with case:
    https://www.mandomostrings.com/store..._Shipping.html
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Direct from China without setup and case is $1892
    https://www.ebay.com/itm/Pango-Music...-/173688914054
    Omgomgomg I can't wait to get my mandocello back from Gryphon! Mine is oval hole so it will sound boomier than this one which I think is great for ensemble playing.

    $500 extra and you get a HSC is not outrageous - given the impossibility of acquiring a mandocello case without a mandocello in it. Thanks, Colorado_al, for that info! I wrote to the dude and asked if he could provide any info on a case. But I don't have much hope...

  16. #39
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pango Mandocello

    Jonathan K: that looks to me to be a guitar case. It certainly doesn't look like it was made for that mandocello. Which dude did you write to? The guy in China or Mandomo or Adam Sweet? I am sure that the two latter folks can tell you what kind of case that is or possibly sell you one. I am guessing that it is a case meant for an archtop guitar.
    Jim

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  17. #40
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    Default Re: Pango Mandocello


    Hurry up before my popcorn runs out!
    Eric Hanson
    Click #016/ Born on 2/29/08 - Sold to the next Conservator of this great mandolin!
    The search has ceased! (At least for now)
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  18. #41
    Registered User Jonathan K's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pango Mandocello

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    Jonathan K: that looks to me to be a guitar case. It certainly doesn't look like it was made for that mandocello. Which dude did you write to? The guy in China or Mandomo or Adam Sweet? I am sure that the two latter folks can tell you what kind of case that is or possibly sell you one. I am guessing that it is a case meant for an archtop guitar.
    I wrote to mandomostrings@yahoo.com and got a reply from someone who said they could order a case.

    I'd be very happy with an archtop guitar case! I went to Guitar Center on the way to Gryphon and one dreadnaught case fit nicely but was not deep enough. Then I tried an actual archtop case and it was way too big. An archtop guitar case of the right dimensions would be perfect.

  19. #42
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pango Mandocello

    Do you know what the dimensions are, especially the lower bouts?

    I recently bought a 17” archtop guitar. Even though the guitar was made in 1936 I found that Epiphone makes sort of copies of their vintage archtops in three sizes. Mine is the largest of the new cases but they make one for 16” and one even smaller. I also looked at Gator and Golden Gate which are cheaper.

    I think this one I was also considering: https://www.guitarcenter.com/Gator/G...questid=165310

    GC will ship it to your local store and let you try it there. There are specs on the Gator site. Might be too big for the MC but there are other sizes.

    Here are specs for that case:

    Body Length: 23.5"
    Body Height: 5.5"
    Lower Bout: 17.25"
    Middle Bout: 11.25"
    Upper Bout: 13"
    Total Length: 44.5"
    Last edited by Jim Garber; Feb-15-2019 at 7:48am.
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  21. #43
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    Default Re: Pango Mandocello

    When is this mandocello coming back from setup? Can't wait to hear about it!

  22. #44
    Registered User Jonathan K's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pango Mandocello

    Hi!

    The Afanti mandocello from Pango is set up and I've been playing around with it for about 24 hours. Here's my review.

    First, a timeline:

    Ordered: December 30, 2018
    Build completed: January 28, 2019
    Shipped: January 29, 2019
    Delivered to California: February 13, 2019

    The mandocello arrived packed quite professionally in a form-fitting syrofoam coffin wrapped in cardboard and plastic shipping tape. It was strung with roundwounds with the bridge and truss rod wrench wrapped and stowed separately.

    At first glance, the mandocello looked very nice. Very shiny and smooth - very smooth neck. Looking closer, one could see some imperfections in the finish, especially around the scroll, but nothing observable from further than a yard. For a $2k instrument, the finish was quite fine.

    And the flamed maple is very pretty. The fit of the wood components feels very nice.

    In setting up the mandocello, my luthier noted that the truss rod had been tightened all the way. Loosening a bit made the neck straighten out. The frets needed a bit of leveling. The 1 5/8 inch nut needed a little work and of course the bridge had to be fitted.

    All that work done and the mandocello sounds great. Honestly, I have nothing to compare to but videos on YouTube and Mike Marshall's playing on the albums with Caterina Lichtenberg (I heard him play his mandocello live a couple of years ago) but it sounds as I imagine a mandocello would sound - deep and sonorous with punch. One could play Bach cello suites or acoustic speed metal power chords with this intrument and it would all be equally compelling.

    Playing the mandocello is difficult - guitar scale, double courses of heavy strings and fifths tuning. Prepare for that if you want to buy one. There are lots of death-defying leaps and shifts - especially if you have smallish to normal-sized hands. If you play hard, you need high action on the bass strings and have to really press to avoid buzz.

    Besides the finish around the scroll, I'm not thrilled about the tuners - I might replace them later. But at the moment, they are keeping my Thomastic flatwounds in place and mostly in tune.

    My rating: 4.8 of 5 stars! I deduct .2 for the finish around the scroll. But at this price point, if you're looking for an A or F mandocello, I don't think you can beat the Afanti from Pango in terms of quality, style and sound.

    Afanti Music's Mandolin Family Catalog. I bought my mandocello through their eBay store.

    I should also note that their customer service was spectacular. They answered all my questions and sent me photos of the mandocello as it was being built.

    My awkward unboxing and review video is here.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  24. #45
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pango Mandocello

    Thanks, Jonathan. What are the specs for nut width and scale length of yours? On their web site they say:

    Scale Length: 25 Inches, 24.75
    Nut Width: 1 5/8 Inches, other size available
    So is the scale 25 or 24.75? Also what does the neck feel like? Teens Gibsons have a extra thick triangular profile but later one have sort of guitar necks. I had a 1937 one that I swear had a guitar neck and it was very slim and playable but it was a little too thin for standard gauge strings. I lightened up the strings and it was better. I know some mandocellists remove the lowest C string so there is only one string to pluck avoiding rattling caused by two strings close together. Of course, proper spacing between the strings of each course could be adjusted, too. I don't know if your luthier noticed that.
    Jim

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  25. #46
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    Default Re: Pango Mandocello

    Hello, Jim!

    The nut on mine is 1 5/8." I *think* that's a fraction wider than the K4? The scale is just over 25" given where my luthier placed the bridge.

    The neck is very guitaresque and thin. I can't really compare it to the old Gibsons - I spend a lot of time with my 24" Fender Jaguar electric guitar and this neck is very playable for me. By comparison, I hate playing 25.5" chunky-neck Stratocasters. I'd rather play this thin neck in fifths.

    I feel like I'm getting the hang of this thing and I'm getting less rattling on the C string the more I play. Removing one C string is an interesting option.

    A kind soul here posted the specs for a K4. I haven't gotten around to measuring the string spacing but it is certainly wider than my mandolins! I don't think the strings are hitting each other, but rather the frets - the forward fret until I raised the bridge slightly and now the current fret if I don't press down hard enough.

    This thing is fun to play.

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  27. #47
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    Default Re: Pango Mandocello

    Glad to hear you're enjoying it! Looks and sounds great!
    I've found that at 24.75" to 25" scale I prefer .075 strings for the C course. Thomastik are .070. I think you'd see a change from about 25 lbs to about 29 lbs tension. That might help with some of the buzzing you're getting.
    Last edited by colorado_al; Feb-22-2019 at 8:44pm.

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  29. #48
    Registered User Jonathan K's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pango Mandocello

    Oooo! .075! Do you have a suggestion for flatwounds? Perhaps I’ll give it a try when I change strings next!

    Thanks!!!

  30. #49
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    Default Re: Pango Mandocello

    Quote Originally Posted by Jonathan K View Post
    Oooo! .075! Do you have a suggestion for flatwounds? Perhaps I’ll give it a try when I change strings next!

    Thanks!!!
    I buy Daddario chromes for electric guitar and clip the ball out from the loop.
    CG075
    https://www.stringsandbeyond.com/dchflwoelsis.html
    And you might consider a single 075 C string. Easier to fret just 1 and less chance of buzzing.

    Also, from your video, it was hard to see what the tuners are. From the website pictures, they look like old style Schallers but with black screws. Maybe whoever was making them for Schaller in Korea kept manufacturing them when Schaller switched to the new GrandTune?

    PS- I like your rendition of Miserlou on the C strings!

  31. #50
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pango Mandocello

    For convenience, here is the unboxing video. BTW youtube categorizes it as comedy. You may need to work on your stand-up act a bit more,

    Jim

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