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Thread: Which mandolin should I buy?

  1. #26
    My Florida is scooped pheffernan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Which mandolin should I buy?

    Quote Originally Posted by Charles E. View Post
    Looks he has a nice Stanley there now in your range.
    There’s one of similar vintage in the classifieds for less (https://www.mandolincafe.com/ads/134833#134833) and one of more recent construction at Carter’s for a hair more (https://www.mandolincafe.com/ads/132851#132851).
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  2. #27
    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Which mandolin should I buy?

    Lots of choices in the classifieds including at least two Apitius Grand Classics for under 6K.
    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

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  4. #28
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    Default Re: Which mandolin should I buy?

    I wouldn't buy a Rosa with the expectation of getting my money back if I didn't like it. It's almost impossible to get your money back on any new instrument because it's now used. One that is widely know like Northfield or Gibson would be easier to sell at the price you're talking but it would still be used. Having said that if you can afford it and it's the one that speaks to you buy it and don't worry about what you can sell it for.

  5. #29
    Registered User Frankdolin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Which mandolin should I buy?

    Hi and welcome. All good advice here. I would just add that you not use the sound from any online source as any serious representation of reality.

  6. #30
    Registered User doc holiday's Avatar
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    Default Re: Which mandolin should I buy?

    Welcome to the forum. As a lefty, who has had to order instruments sight unseen, I'd say play some that you have access to & choose one that ticks all the boxes (feel, sound, all the rest). As mentioned, you'll almost never get your money back on an instrument from an unknown maker. Go somewhere. With $6k in my pocket i would check out Lowe Vintage and if you didn't find one....i'd head for Nashville.

  7. #31

    Default Re: Which mandolin should I buy?

    If you choose to have a mandolin made, specify the neck profile that you love. If you don’t like the feel, you’ll never enjoy the sound.
    Play it like you mean it.

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    Default Re: Which mandolin should I buy?

    I have no idea of the cost but John Hammet makes some great mandolins. He's a member of the Cafe. It'd be worth contacting him too. Good luck.

  9. #33
    My Florida is scooped pheffernan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Which mandolin should I buy?

    Quote Originally Posted by doc holiday View Post
    Welcome to the forum. As a lefty, who has had to order instruments sight unseen, I'd say play some that you have access to & choose one that ticks all the boxes (feel, sound, all the rest). As mentioned, you'll almost never get your money back on an instrument from an unknown maker. Go somewhere. With $6k in my pocket i would check out Lowe Vintage and if you didn't find one....i'd head for Nashville.
    Or Sarasota! https://www.jerrysleftyguitars.com/l...c-guitars.html
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  10. #34
    Registered User doc holiday's Avatar
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    Default Re: Which mandolin should I buy?

    Jerry is a great guy. (I bought my Collings OM1aJL from him. A prince to deal with.) Usually, though i'm ahead of the curve & get the urge before any dealer has one, let alone a lefty.
    I got my lefty Heiden F from Michael, & my Ellis A directly from Tom.
    And pheffernan....it's a long way from Alberta to Sarasota .

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  12. #35
    My Florida is scooped pheffernan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Which mandolin should I buy?

    Quote Originally Posted by doc holiday View Post
    And pheffernan....it's a long way from Alberta to Sarasota .
    Yeah, but the OP is only in Fayetteville!
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  13. #36
    Registered User doc holiday's Avatar
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    Default Re: Which mandolin should I buy?

    .....too bad he's not a lefty

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  15. #37
    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Which mandolin should I buy?

    Wondering how the OP's road trip went to Lowe Vintage and/or Mandomutt. Any closer on a decision?
    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

  16. #38

    Default Re: Which mandolin should I buy?

    OK, you've mentioned some great choices. Here's my thinking......$6000 is a lot of money and puts YOU in the driver's seat, so to speak. First question: Are you concerned with resale, down the road? (I'll refrain from using the term "investment" since I don't believe instruments are investments unless you buy used and THEN keep them 30 or 40 years, IMHO!) I love Jerry and have spent hours watching his videos, so I feel I know his character and his ability. I'm sure he would do a great job, but I have no idea what the resale would be 5 years from now if you wanted something else...... I feel that commissioning a build is like getting a custom suit tailored with your choice of fabric, lining, cut, style, accents, etc. -- it will be just what you want it to be, but someone else down the road might not feel the same -- unless it is a pretty straight F5 copy with traditional wood choices and sunburst finish......you know the drill! To my way of thinking, $6K on the used market can buy you a $10K or better mandolin, if you have a motivated seller. That's where I'd be looking. Also, you might want to think outside the "box" so to speak when shopping -- FWIW, I got a real nice boutique handmade banjo at a heavy-metal guitar shop for about 25% of its true worth, because the guys there HATED banjos and I was able to recognize the value and saw the opportunity......

    Anyway, good luck! $6K puts you in good company no matter what you decide.

  17. #39
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    Default Re: Which mandolin should I buy?

    Just a quick update. The trip to Lowe Vintage was great! Met some great people and was treated very nice by Will and his father Ed Lowe. Played everything in the store banjos dobros guitars and of course mandolins played the Big Mon they had in stock along side an f5s and a Gibson f5g that’s also listed here in the classifieds if anyone’s interested. I almost walked out with the f5s, sound wise was the best mandolin in the store it sold to a gentleman that was jammin’ With me ( I told him if he didn’t buy it I was. And he bought it) thanks again for all your recommendations I’m planning a trip to Nashville the end of March. I’m just trying to be patient and wait for the right one. As good as the f5s was it still didn’t tick all the boxes for me still a great axe tho. I’m also going to look into Tyler whites mandolins as well I’ve heard good things about them too. Thanks again
    Hardwick Bluetone banjo, old Washburn b16 with an rb250 tone ring
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    Default Re: Which mandolin should I buy?

    +1 for Skip Kelleyís work. Own one of his A styles, and it can do it all. And, he lives in the Thomasville, NC, area (so not far from Lowe Vintage). If you and he are able, try to visit with him. If not, play a couple at MandoMuttís in Efland.

    Absolutely nothing against the Rosa, just speaking on what I know. Good luck!
    Chuck

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    Registered User Roger Adams's Avatar
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    Default Re: Which mandolin should I buy?

    I suppose you have seen this clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kNp9tdWOVco

    The Rosa is made in relatively limited numbers, so not too many folks have first hand experience with it. Given your interest in the Rosa, I really think you should visit with Jerry Rosa, and talk about a build. If you don't, I think you will always wonder about it!

    In any case, enjoy the hunt!
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  21. #42
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Which mandolin should I buy?

    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Adams View Post
    I suppose you have seen this clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kNp9tdWOVco
    Here is it embedded:



    Very interesting. A few comments said the Rosa mandolin was fuller in sound. I thought that the recording of the Rosa sounded distorted. Not may not at all be the fault of the mandolin at all but perhaps the fault of the recording situation. I would certainly consider one of those mandolins though I have not heard of them until this thread however, i would never make that decision on this or really any video. Way too many variables.

    BTW does anyone have any ideas of the price range of these Rosa mandolins? I could not find that on his site.
    Jim

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  22. #43
    Registered User Tom C's Avatar
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    Default Re: Which mandolin should I buy?

    There are many reasons one may order a custom mando and not bond with it. If you don't like it, within agreed amount of time, you should be able to return it to builder and they would refund your money when they sell it to somebody else.

  23. #44
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    Default Re: Which mandolin should I buy?

    Yes I’ve listened to this clip numerous times with my Bose headphones and good speakers as well they both sound great. His price starts at $6000 for a mandolin if you want extras it’s more for things like custom inlay, radius fretboard things of that nature.
    And I believe through people who have vouched for his character that he would treat me right. Jerry seems to be a great guy. I’m going to do some more email correspondence with him and find out some more info. I’m in no rush to buy anything unless it’s exactly what I want and as I wait I’ll just keep socking away more into the mando budget. By the way I’m actually left handed but I’ve learned to play everything right handed. My mom is the same way with piano, and since left handed instruments were near nonexistent I learned to play what I could find.
    Hardwick Bluetone banjo, old Washburn b16 with an rb250 tone ring
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  24. #45
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    Default Re: Which mandolin should I buy?

    I’ll be honest when I first started I didn’t even know left handed instruments existed i was only 8 yrs old, now I’m 26 and I guess I just got used to playing how I play. Is there a big difference for left handed playing maybe someone who can play both right and left handed style can chime in. I’ve still never found a lefty mandolin or banjo To play and see if I liked it. the only left handed guitar I’ve ever played was a fender tele lefty and it felt a bit foreign to me to play like that, I wasn’t very good since my right hand got used to picking and strumming. But if Barry Abernathy could play a banjo with just 2 nubs and a thumb on his left hand. I could play a right handed instrument. Ha ha
    Hardwick Bluetone banjo, old Washburn b16 with an rb250 tone ring
    Custom Martin D28, and D45
    Eastman MD 815cs mandolin, Austin AU657 beater mandolin
    Several violins, eletric guitars, piano, Suzuki bluesmaster harmonica set, and my Dads old trombone from high school.

  25. #46
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Which mandolin should I buy?

    It also sounds that he might have mandolins ready for sale sometimes. Frankly, if that were the case, then if I were looking at his and ready to buy, then it would be worth it for the shipping fees (and return, if necessary) to try it out assuming he has no problem with that arrangement. Otherwise, I would also see if there are any owners near to you to try one out in person.

    Even for the best of brands and shops, I would want to try at least one or two instruments and see if they fit with my musical needs. Over the years, I have played quite a few small shop mandolins and I have a short list of those whl i were consider if I was looking for such a thing.
    Jim

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  26. #47

    Default Re: Which mandolin should I buy?

    For that money, I would spend the spring at a few festivals playing whatever the vendors have. Get a buddy and take a 3 day weekend to Nashville, Carters and Gruhn. My experience is that every builder has hits and misses (or just good, and MAGIC). I would want to play it. I played 20 mandos in the <10K range when I was in Nashville. My favorite was a Randy Wood that Gruhn's had. Not the most expensive or the best known that I played, but it was notably better IMHO. Trust your ears.

  27. #48
    Registered User Lane Pryce's Avatar
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    Default Re: Which mandolin should I buy?

    Hey neighbor! That Northfield Artist is a hell of a lot of mandolin for the money. Really you couldnít go wrong with either NF. However my order of preference is : Artist with Englemann top, Big Mon and then everything else. Lp
    J.Lane Pryce

  28. #49
    Registered User doc holiday's Avatar
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    Default Re: Which mandolin should I buy?

    Quote Originally Posted by AHoyle View Post
    So would there be a reason why I should not pursue the Rosa? Just looking for honest answers would I be better off finding something else?.
    Yes. You have a considerable chunk of change & many many choices. Some folks take a long time to figure out exactly what they want in a mandolin. That sometimes takes quite a few mandolin turnarounds, unless you're really lucky. Altman,Collings,Duff, Ellis, Gibson....you'll be able to sell or trade relatively easily. Rosa for $6k.....you'd better be a really fine salesman to get half your money back. Look at the classified and add up all the mandolins for $6k, by all makers....& how does a relatively unknown maker stand in that ranking? You don't yet know if you want/need a wide nut mandolin.... I would suggest going to Nashville & play them all (yes in your hands, not just listening to audio) & find the one that sticks....the one that your ear, hands & brain don't want to go home without. A custom order at this stage might be a very expensive lesson.
    ....as an example: https://www.mandolincafe.com/ads/134882#134882...Duff F,
    Waverlys, James tailpiece, Hoffee case, recent set-up by Michael Heiden.... $4800.....
    Last edited by doc holiday; Feb-12-2019 at 12:57am.

  29. #50

    Default Re: Which mandolin should I buy?

    A custom order at this stage might be a very expensive lesson.


    2nd that. Most people wont admit when they were "just OK" with the custom mando they commissioned (and paid big money for). For me, I would rather play stuff that is already made. Buy something real nice used. Play it, and play every other instrument you can. When you play something that says "wow, that is SO much better than mine", take note.

    Every jam I am at, people pass around instruments during a break (rest break, not solo). I have played over a dozen >4K mandos in the last 3 months. IMHO 1) the A that some unknown local guy built is surprisingly good. 1a) that Ellis A, meh, not as good as that local no name 2) The 3 Collings Fs are very different, only 1 would I trade my Flatiron A for. 3) Passernig, Heiden, all OK, better than my Flatiron, but I have also played better. The lesson was, trust your ears, not someone else's brand loyalty. Also, just because you played a (insert brand here) that floored you does not mean that the one you order on the internet will be even close.

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