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Thread: why is it?

  1. #1

    Default why is it?

    why is it you can buy a decent solid wood guitar for $225.00 with shipping. like I just did a Recording King RP-A9M / 0 parlor, but you can't find a decent A style mandolin at that price point.

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    Default Re: why is it ?.

    There are a couple of different factors at work here. First, a flat top guitar uses all flat woods, so construction is easier and faster. A carved top mandolin uses carved wood, which wastes more wood, takes longer, and is more time consuming and labor instensive to put together. This is true even if the plates are CNC machined. Even with those some hand work is necessary. For another thing, guitars are way more popular than mandolins, and so are made in hugely greater quantities. In manufacturing anything, the greater the quantities you make, the more the per unit cost goes down. There are a lot of different reasons, but mainly, larger quantities means some of the operations can be done in batches and more assembly line techniques can be utilized.

    As a rule of thumb, with lower and middle line instruments, we are fond of saying that a mandolin should cost twice that of a guitar of comparable quality. Thus, with your 225 price point, a comparable mandolin should cost 450. We have several Kentucky models, some The Loar models, and Eastman 304/305 sitting comfortably there. The formula works until you get to the really high price points. I’m not sure, for example, if a 25,000 dollar Dude can be compared with any guitar. Come to think of it, and this hit me just now, comparing mandolins with guitars really only works up to a point. They are apples and oranges. It’s more useful to compare fine high end mandolins to fine high end violins. They have more in common.
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    Mediocre but OK with that Paul Busman's Avatar
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    Default Re: why is it ?.

    What Don said, plus I think there's a bit of the "well, they're willing to pay for it" factor.Mando players can get pretty fanatic in what they want.
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    Default Re: why is it?

    You also have to figure in the number of units sold. As production increases, cost per unit decreases. I would also guess that because the mandolin is smaller, it may be a more difficult build. (I could be wrong about that. I was dropped on my head a lot as a kid and might have bammaged my drain.)

    And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.

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  8. #5

    Default Re: why is it?

    Because all mandolins contain a hidden heart of the purest melodium, the most expensive element in the galaxy.

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    Default Re: why is it?

    Just because it's made of "solid wood" doesn't mean it's going to sound any good. You need a luthier to work with the wood and his/her time and skills cost far more than the price of the materials.

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    Default Re: why is it?

    Tony, I am glad to hear you are enjoying the Recording King guitar! The same organization that builds that little beauty creates Kentucky Mandolins, as you know well. They are, as has been stated above, in the $400 range for a similar quality in a carved top instrument. Good thread!
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  13. #8

    Default Re: why is it?

    Isn't recording king from the same stable as "the Loar" mandolins. Greg Rich & Music Link, while Kentuckys are made by Saga?

  14. #9

    Default Re: why is it?

    Quote Originally Posted by mandolin tony View Post
    why is it you can buy a decent solid wood guitar for $225.00 with shipping. like I just did a Recording King RP-A9M / 0 parlor, but you can't find a decent A style mandolin at that price point.
    Guitars only have six strings

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    Registered User Miltown's Avatar
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    Default Re: why is it?

    What we really need is a company - like Saga, maybe - to roll out production of a flat-top mandolin. In theory, it would seem to me that a maker like Kentucky would be able to make a budget flat-top mandolin for the price of something like the OP's Recording King.

    Then again, I just remembered Saga also makes Trinity College mandolins. And they're even more expensive than their base-model carved-top Kentuckys. Hmm.

    Anyway, I would think there'd be a big market for any company that could figure out how to make a decent solid-wood, flat-top mandolin at around the $300 price range.

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    Default Re: why is it?

    Ok, so let me get this straight. The guy who actually gives a lucid, detailed, and perfectly locical explanation gets one “thank you”, and the guy who give the clever smarty pants one line “joke” gets 5 “thank you”s?

    I thought the thank you function was for posts that others found “useful”. Are jokes more useful to answering questions now than actual facts? I guess it depends on what you mean by useful.
    Don

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  19. #12

    Default Re: why is it?

    Hora flat-top mandolins sold via Thomann are solid woods, and under 200$ including shipping from Germany. There are actually quite a few different affordable solid wood mandolin options via Thomann if you're looking for something besides archtop mandolins.

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    Default Re: why is it?

    Recording King is a Music Link brand. Kentucky mandolins are imported by Saga Music. Two different organizations.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Default Re: why is it?

    Quote Originally Posted by noah finn View Post
    Isn't recording king from the same stable as "the Loar" mandolins. Greg Rich & Music Link, while Kentuckys are made by Saga?
    Yes.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Default Re: why is it?

    Quote Originally Posted by multidon View Post
    Ok, so let me get this straight. The guy who actually gives a lucid, detailed, and perfectly locical explanation gets one “thank you”, and the guy who give the clever smarty pants one line “joke” gets 5 “thank you”s?

    I thought the thank you function was for posts that others found “useful”. Are jokes more useful to answering questions now than actual facts? I guess it depends on what you mean by useful.
    You were right. This same question gets asked quite often. I asked it when I first came here. Some of us are relieved to see an answer that makes us smile on questions like this. Don't take it personal.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Default Re: why is it?

    Quote Originally Posted by mandolin tony View Post
    why is it you can buy a decent solid wood guitar for $225.00 with shipping. like I just did a Recording King RP-A9M / 0 parlor, but you can't find a decent A style mandolin at that price point.
    The main reason is relative size of the guitar culture versus the mandolin culture, I think. There is a huge gigantic market for inexpensive guitars. Huge. Many many many more people want a guitar than want a mandolin.

    That translates into lots of retailers working to get the business of those buyers.

    A mandolin, even at a reasonable price, will hang from the wall of a typical retailer for months if not years.
    Having something to say is highly over rated.

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    funny....

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    Registered User Miltown's Avatar
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    Default Re: why is it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Seter View Post
    Hora flat-top mandolins sold via Thomann are solid woods, and under 200$ including shipping from Germany. There are actually quite a few different affordable solid wood mandolin options via Thomann if you're looking for something besides archtop mandolins.
    Wow, I'd never heard of Thomann before, and that's a great resource.

    Question: anyone know anything about the Harley Benton brand? Thomann has lots of cheapo Harley Bentons for sale. Most look like, well, cheap junk, but I'm intrigued by the 8 string electric.

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    Default Re: why is it?

    Do a Google Image search on the mandolin you're looking at. Many times that will pop up another just like it that is branded by a known manufacturer. As far as the Hora built instruments go, they are all over eBay.

    Harley Benton appears to be the brand name they apply to a series of imported instruments. Most of them look familiar including the electric. By the way, they list that electric as a Bluegrass instrument.

    The Harley Benton electric looks suspiciously like and Eastwood Mandocaster and a half dozen other imported brands. That price doesn't look bad but I think the shipping might kill it.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  30. #19
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    Default Re: why is it?

    Thanks guys. I sure blew it with the Recording King -- Kentucky connection! Thanks for straightening that out for me. Loar it is, then!
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  31. #20

    Default Re: why is it?

    Quote Originally Posted by mandolin tony View Post
    why is it you can buy a decent solid wood guitar for $225.00 with shipping. like I just did a Recording King RP-A9M / 0 parlor, but you can't find a decent A style mandolin at that price point.
    They take twice as long to build and are not built in the quantities as guitars.

  32. #21
    Registered User Eric Platt's Avatar
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    Default Re: why is it?

    I believe Kentucky once had a flat top model.

    I also think the better lower level mandolins have more hand work than comparable guitars.
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  34. #22

    Default Re: why is it?

    now my next question is were can I find a hard shell case for this 0 parlor guitar that won't break the bank. I don't want to spend more for the case than I did for this guitar, I don't want to go over $125.00, with free shipping would be nice.

  35. #23
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    Default Re: why is it?

    Kentucky used to make the KM-100, a laminated wood flat top that was more or less an Army Navy pancake design. They also made the KM-100S, a s version with a solid top. These were quite inexpensive, around 100 dollars or do in the 80’s and early 90’s, so translate that to today’s dollars and there you go.
    Don

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    Default Re: why is it?

    There is also a theory, at least in the guitar world, in the guitar world that, at the cheaper end of the market, you're better off with a plywood "box" than one thrown together with solid woods. Solid woods can distort if not handled skilfully.

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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: why is it?

    Quote Originally Posted by mandolin tony View Post
    now my next question is were can I find a hard shell case for this 0 parlor guitar that won't break the bank. I don't want to spend more for the case than I did for this guitar, I don't want to go over $125.00, with free shipping would be nice.
    Look for the specs on a Superior CD-1513 Deluxe Hardshell Parlor Acoustic Guitar Case. You need to get the dimensions of length, body length, lower bout, upper bout and depth and compare them to your instrument. They are $135.00 or so with free shipping on Amazon.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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