Results 1 to 21 of 21

Thread: Mandolin Advice

  1. #1

    Default Mandolin Advice

    Hi all,

    I have an Eastman MD304 I bought with a K&K pickup. I play in an acoustic guitar duo, and there are a few simple songs where I started playing mandolin and adding to our sets. I like this Eastman, and I especially like it live.

    I would like to "move up" in the mandolin world. I will never be a champion player, but I am really enjoying myself, and am a quick "by ear" learner. I like darker and mellow sounds versus "cut through" and "shrill". If there were a Martin D15 - like mandolin, I'd probably be all over it. By the way, I live in New Jersey.

    Also, I just visited London for the first time and I actually played an old Gibson A mandolin and liked it a lot (a 1913 A-1)

    https://notomguitars.com/collections...13-gibson-a-13


    What Mandolin(s) might you recommend to me, new or used? Id definitely like to stay under $2,000... or have a special reason to deviate from that budget. I like the idea of a Mandolin with history (like an old Gibson), and am not a collector, but would rather have an excellent cool-set-up player...

    Thanks... Sal

  2. #2
    Be Wild Zach Wilson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Location
    Kent, Washington
    Posts
    704

    Default Re: Mandolin Advice

    Have you ever considered a Flat top? I play one in an acoustic duo and think it sounds excellent in that setting.

    Just a thought.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Mandolin Advice

    A used Silverangel would be well under your price criteria, heck even a new one would. Kind of the best of both worlds. Plenty of volume, plenty warm.
    Silverangel A
    Michael Kelly LSFTB
    Arches F style kit
    1913 Gibson A-1

  4. #4
    My Florida is scooped pheffernan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Fort Lauderdale, FL
    Posts
    2,517

    Default Re: Mandolin Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by themissal View Post
    I like darker and mellow sounds versus "cut through" and "shrill". If there were a Martin D15 - like mandolin, I'd probably be all over it.
    I’ve always thought of the Big Muddy M-11 as the D15 of flattops.

    http://www.bigmuddymandolin.com/store/m-11-mandolin

    An antiqued Silverangel, especially one with a redwood top, would also meet your sensibilities (as Br1ck noted).

    Of course, your first hunch — a tubby teens Gibson oval — is always an attractive option, particularly if you have access to and budget for a luthier to perform some potentially necessary repairs.
    1924 Gibson A Snakehead
    2005 National RM-1
    2007 Hester A5
    2009 Passernig A5
    2015 Black A2-z
    2010 Black GBOM
    2017 Poe Scout
    2011 Passernig F5

  5. #5

    Default Re: Mandolin Advice

    You would be far more likely to find an old Gibson in the UK than a Silverangel. I'm blessed to have both, plus others.
    Silverangel A
    Michael Kelly LSFTB
    Arches F style kit
    1913 Gibson A-1

  6. #6

    Default Re: Mandolin Advice

    Thanks gents. That BigMuddy looks interesting, and I am going to keep my eyes on Gibson A-Mandolins... scary to buy those without seeing/playing them first...

  7. #7

    Default Re: Mandolin Advice

    Used Collings MT-O.
    Gunga......Gunga.....Gu-Lunga

  8. #8

    Default Re: Mandolin Advice

    Being in the UK makes it difficult to acquire affordable instruments from overseas without playing Russian roulette with the customs people or the VAT man.

    But if it's character you want, there are some fine builders in Britain. One reply above mentioned flat top instruments. Jimmy Moon in Scotland makes fantastic, professional-quality flat tops that are remarkably inexpensive (well inside your budget). There are also other fine independent luthiers making great mandolins in the UK.

    As for old Gibsons, they do have a superb sound and lots of priceless mojo, but since they are so old, they very often come with playability factors that make them less than pleasant to live with. [Cue a loud dissenting chorus of my Gibson's incredibly playable comments.] Yes, they are fun, but very, very few people are content to have them as their only instrument. I own a Gibson A2 and have played a Jimmy Moon. If I was forced to own only one of them, the Moon would win in a heartbeat.

    rm
    Last edited by Ron McMillan; Jan-03-2019 at 11:16am.

  9. #9
    Registered User William Smith's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Sugar Grove,PA
    Posts
    1,987
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default Re: Mandolin Advice

    If you live in New Jersey I'd check out Lark Street Music/vintage instruments! Buzzy is a great guy to deal with and has a fine selection!

  10. #10
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    825

    Default Re: Mandolin Advice

    If you are in the UK (as I am guessing from you mentioning London,) I would suggest visiting The Acoustic Music Company (NFI) as he seems to have a good number of instruments based on what I have seen in the classifieds here, and no shipping would be required.

  11. #11
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    S.W. Wisconsin
    Posts
    4,560

    Default Re: Mandolin Advice

    I have had my '22 A2 for at least 20 years. For a decade of that it was my only mandolin. Since I have crossed to the ff hole sound for the last decade it doesn't get played much, but I got it out yesterday and it still plays as nice as any mandolin I own. Low action and great sound. Because it is old doesn't mean it can't be a work horse. Places with extreme weather may be more of a problem for them, but then I live in the midwest with humid summers and cold winters and it has come thru with style and dignity, playing as good now as it did when I got it.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

  12. #12

    Default Re: Mandolin Advice

    Thanks everyone. I live in NJ. I was in London on a visit, where I played the old Gibson.

    I will visit Lark in Teaneck, and I also want a Muddy M11! Mandolin Aquisition Syndrome... what I had hoped to avoid.

    Anyways, thanks for your generous advice. I am smitten by the instrument.

  13. #13
    My Florida is scooped pheffernan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Fort Lauderdale, FL
    Posts
    2,517

    Default Re: Mandolin Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by themissal View Post
    I will visit Lark in Teaneck, and I also want a Muddy M11! Mandolin Aquisition Syndrome... what I had hoped to avoid.
    In the realm of MAS, you’re getting off relatively cheap. Keep your eyes on the Classifieds here for a used Mid-Missouri or Big Muddy M11, which usually show up in the ~$500 +/- range.
    1924 Gibson A Snakehead
    2005 National RM-1
    2007 Hester A5
    2009 Passernig A5
    2015 Black A2-z
    2010 Black GBOM
    2017 Poe Scout
    2011 Passernig F5

  14. #14

    Default Re: Mandolin Advice

    You might take a look at a Pava Satin model. All Pava mandolins really hold up in any kind of musical setting. Excellent tone, build quality and they are from the Ellis shop.
    Steve Smith

  15. The following members say thank you to desertnight for this post:


  16. #15

    Default Re: Mandolin Advice

    I assumed you were in th UK. Buying in the US is much easier and cheaper. So I'll go back to my Silverangel recommendation. The redwood top x braced SAs are very warm and woody with the projection of a f holed instrument. A styles in the $1200-1500 range, and f styles from $2500 or so on the used market.

    You might like a Weber Gallatin also. But you need to play everything you can.
    Silverangel A
    Michael Kelly LSFTB
    Arches F style kit
    1913 Gibson A-1

  17. #16
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Rochester NY 14610
    Posts
    15,491

    Default Re: Mandolin Advice

    Before heading to Lark Street, you can check Buzzy's inventory here. Don't see any flat-tops, but several vintage Gibson oval-holes.
    Allen Hopkins
    Gibsn: '54 F5 3pt F2 A-N Custm K1 m'cello
    Natl Triolian Dobro mando
    Victoria b-back Merrill alumnm b-back
    H-O mandolinetto
    Stradolin Vega banjolin
    Sobell'dola Washburn b-back'dola
    Eastmn: 615'dola 805 m'cello
    Flatiron 3K OM

  18. #17

    Default Re: Mandolin Advice

    I wanted to circle back with a thank you and an update.

    After exploring Big Muddys, and talking with it’s owner, and seeing how much we had in common (from Bassets to baseball), I am getting a Muddy.

    I liked the sound on many videos I heard, and while it might not do bluegrass chop, I am not really a bluegrass guy. I suppose my Eastman does that some anyways.

    Anyway, call it karma... fate... or silliness... a Muddy M11 is coming my way.

    Thanks all....

  19. The following members say thank you to themissal for this post:


  20. #18
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Westchester, NY
    Posts
    25,582

    Default Re: Mandolin Advice

    If a mandola it would have a 15 1/2" scale length. Bridges sometime move so measure from nut to 12th fret and halve the scale length which would be 7-3/4".
    Jim

    My Stream on Soundcloud
    Facebook
    19th Century Tunes
    Playing lately:
    1923 Gibson A2 black snakehead -- Brentrup A4C -- 1915 Frank Merwin Ashley violin -- Huss & Dalton DS -- 1939 Gibson L-00 -- 1936 Epiphone Deluxe -- 1928 Gibson L-5 -- 1937 Gibson L-Century -- ca. 1890s Fairbanks Senator Banjo -- ca. 1923 Vega Style M tenor banjo -- ca. 1920 Weymann Style 25 Mandolin-Banjo -- National RM-1

  21. #19

    Default Re: Mandolin Advice

    Thanks again everyone.

    My Big Muddy M11 came today, and I'll be putting it through its paces. Construction is great, tone is mellow, and Mike was fantastic to deal with. We are both life-ling Yankees fans, and I feel real good about a nice hand-made instrument made by one man, in the heartland, that has personality in looks and tone. I'd have never heard of Big Muddy were it not for this forum.

    PS - Yankees logo added post production/delivery


  22. #20
    two t's and one hyphen fatt-dad's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Richmond, Virginia
    Posts
    7,151

    Default Re: Mandolin Advice

    I doubt you'll ever part with your Big Muddy. I think flat-tops are just great to have!

    Well done!

    f-d
    ˇpapá gordo ain’t no madre flaca!

    '20 A3, '30 L-1, '97 914, 2012 Cohen A5, 2012 Muth A5, '14 OM28A

  23. #21
    Be Wild Zach Wilson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Location
    Kent, Washington
    Posts
    704

    Default Re: Mandolin Advice

    Right on! Flat tops are my favorite! Mine gets more play time than any other instrument I own.

    Congrats and happy picking!

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •