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Thread: Would appreciate some opinions please.

  1. #1
    2TonCommon
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    Default Would appreciate some opinions please.

    Good evening everyone. Hope things are going well.
    I would greatly appreciate some opinions from fellow mandolin enthusiasts.(sic)
    I have a $6000.00 budget for a new mandolin. My parameters are no Collings, Gibson or Asian instruments. My preferred sound is best described this way - I like the Kentucky sound better than an Eastman. Big, loud, resonant. Hope that made sense.
    F or A style OK. Just looking for some thoughts from fellow friends, I'm ultimately responsible for the purchase. Thanks a gazillion for your time,
    Kindest regards,
    2 Ton Common
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  2. #2
    Gummy Bears and Scotch BrianWilliam's Avatar
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    Default Re: Would appreciate some opinions please.

    Modern: Ellis A5
    Traditional: Duff A5

    I like this game

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  4. #3
    F5G & MD305 Astro's Avatar
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    Default Re: Would appreciate some opinions please.

    I agree with Brian above. Its fun to spend other peoples mandolin money. You need to play some of course but if I had to spend that money tonight sight unseen, I'd be heading straight to the classifieds where there are several Ellis A's, several Kimble As, and a Duff A all in your price range. Occasionally a Mowrey A or a Buckeye F pops up in that range. I'm not sure why you threw them out but I wouldn't rule out all Gibsons either and there are several in there.

    Man that was fun looking.
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  6. #4
    Mandolin user MontanaMatt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Would appreciate some opinions please.

    I've played many nice mandolins...
    Some are painfully expensive.
    I've been very impressed with my Ratliff R5.
    It's is very loud, broad, bold, rich, and beautiful.
    His fully tricked out custom will fit your budget. Don't fear a new build, it's a fantastic experience to be a small part of creating a special new one!
    Happy hunting!
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    Registered User EvanElk's Avatar
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    Default Re: Would appreciate some opinions please.

    2015 Heiden F Artist
    2001 Sullivan F5
    2017 Duff A5
    2019 Ruhland F5

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  9. #6
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    Default Re: Would appreciate some opinions please.

    If you like the Kentucky sound then you prefer thaditional. That sound is definedbby a good Gibson ff hole. Not all Gibsons are good and for ever reason you stated that you didn't want a Gibson. In defining sound look for those defined as traditional.

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  11. #7
    Mediocre but OK with that Paul Busman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Would appreciate some opinions please.

    For that kind of money, it would really pay to go someplace where you can actually get your hands on some instruments even if it's a bit of a trip. You could even spend part of that 6 thou for a plane ticket to a city that has a great instrument store, eg Elderly Music.If no store is a reasonable (several hours drive?),maybe you could see and hear some different instruments at a local session.
    If possible, play the mandolins without looking at the price. You might find that your favorite is considerably less than $6K.
    For wooden musical fun that doesn't involve strumming, check out:
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  13. #8

    Default Re: Would appreciate some opinions please.

    Ellis A, Pava F, or maybe offer $6k for this Flatiron:

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/ads/135175#135175

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  15. #9
    Registered User peterleyenaar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Would appreciate some opinions please.

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Busman View Post
    For that kind of money, it would really pay to go someplace where you can actually get your hands on some instruments even if it's a bit of a trip. You could even spend part of that 6 thou for a plane ticket to a city that has a great instrument store, eg Elderly Music.If no store is a reasonable (several hours drive?),maybe you could see and hear some different instruments at a local session.
    If possible, play the mandolins without looking at the price. You might find that your favorite is considerably less than $6K.
    Agree totally, there is nothing like playing an instrument, having it in your hand and get the feel of it, to see if you like it.

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    Default Re: Would appreciate some opinions please.

    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

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  19. #11
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Would appreciate some opinions please.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jollyflutemaker View Post
    I have a $6000.00 budget for a new mandolin. My parameters are no Collings, Gibson or Asian instruments. My preferred sound is best described this way - I like the Kentucky sound better than an Eastman. Big, loud, resonant. Hope that made sense.
    Wow, deja vu all over again. To avoid a complete echo chamber, please visit this current thread where another mandolin player has a budget of, you guessed it, $6,000. That thread has been going on for 11 days and lots of suggestions there.

    You deftly described the sound you are looking for. What mandolin(s) are you playing these days and what do you find lacking that an upgrade would solve? That would probably help a lot of folks get even more of a sense what you are looking for. And, finally, where are you located (besides a Mosquito infested hell-hole) so we can possibly direct you to stores that actually have mandolins to play in person? Can you travel to places that have this level of mandolin? If not, are you willing to put aside in your budget for some shipping charges that you might need to use multiple times to get mandolins to you?
    Jim

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  21. #12

    Default Re: Would appreciate some opinions please.

    I live in the SF Bay Area, not exactly a backwater local. If I had a 6k budget and wanted to touch the instrument I was going to buy, these would be my choices: Weber, Northridge, Collings, Pava, Girouard, and Ellis. These would be spread over two stores. I might be able to find a Gibson or two at Schoenberg, but most would be beyond my budget. Nice mandolins are rarely found on Craigslist. And used mandolins are scarce in stores.

    Note the lack of small individual Luthiers. No Heiden, Dudenbostel, Kelly, et.al., nor even a Ratliff, or Silverangel. So, I'd have to decide to tour the local stores and then grab a flight to Pheonix for TMS, or just bite the bullet and go to Nashville, both of which would take a bite from the budget.

    So three ways to go. Buy online, shop local, or road trip. All have their issues. I feel your pain.
    Silverangel A
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    1913 Gibson A-1

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  23. #13
    2TonCommon
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    Default Re: Would appreciate some opinions please.

    Thanks to everyone for their expertise. To clarify further, I am unable to travel so I'll have to roll the dice. Your opinions are priceless - thank you. Very curious that no one mentions Weber. I had the impression that this was a fairly good brand - whatever you think about or perhaps despite the TOH controversy. Any thoughts?
    "Of all the harm that ere' I've done,
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  24. #14
    Registered User sblock's Avatar
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    Default Re: Would appreciate some opinions please.

    I hope you have not crossed Northfield off your list. It is not an "Asian instrument" in the strict sense, and it's one of the best values to be had out there. Other mandolins to consider are from single luthiers based in the U.S., like Mowry, Pomeroy, Pava, Voight, Givens, Kimble, and more. Check out the mandolin pages at Carter Vintage Guitars, Gruhn Guitars, and The Mandolin Shop. Lots to choose among!!

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  26. #15
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Would appreciate some opinions please.

    Yes, roll the dice if you are unable to travel. But it doesn't have to be a complete gamble.

    That is why I said to set aside a reasonable sum to pay for shipping these treasures to you. All reliable dealers have some sort of approval period and many sellers on the Cafe classifieds follow that lead. They will usually allow you about 48 hours to play it, have it checked out, etc. Before that time you should decide whether you keep it. Otherwise, you send it back and get your money (less shipping) refunded. It is harder that way but at least you are not stuck with a $6,000 mandolin that you hate or have to sell elsewhere.

    You have us as some advisors and it sounds like you a good idea of what you want, so if you can deal with some of the expert dealers that have a good stock of quality mandolins you can call them and ask as many questions you can think of. I am guessing you won't have to do this too many times.

    I know it is second best to actually being in a room with piles of $6000 mandolins to A-B or A-B-C them all, but you do what you can.
    Jim

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  28. #16

    Default Re: Would appreciate some opinions please.

    I had a friend call me and ask about a SCGC OM guitar he was thinking of buying. Cocobolo, inlay, a very expensive guitar indeed. I'll tell you what I told him, you will at this price get an instrument that will be very good indeed. But I can't tell you if in a store, you wouldn't like the Huss and Daulton hanging next to it better. But then again, be happy, you will never know.

    So buy a used whatever and play the heck out of it. If someday you are at a jam and someone has an XYZ you fall in love with, you won't loose your shirt when you sell and move on. So it goes.

    It is on my to do list to go over the hill to Sylvan and play some Webers. Haven't got around to it, but Weber owners like them, before and after TOH.

    I was going back and forth between my Silverangel and my home build this morning. They are very different. I like them both. The same thing happens in a store. At five grand or so, I like them all, but I took my $1400 Silverangel in once, and it wasn't inferior to the Northfields and Collings I was playing. It then just comes down to knowing what sound you want for what use. And guess what? You will change. I used to dislike the Collings sound. Now? Not so much.

    Then there is the whole condition issue, I can live with a host of bumps and bruises, but that mandolin priced right with the 2 inch pinky worn through to wood? I HATE that. I never say never, but I'd have to have it in my hands and fall in love.
    Silverangel A
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  30. #17
    Registered User GreenMTBoy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Would appreciate some opinions please.

    You can get a very nice used Kimble or Ellis A5 that will keep you happy for years with money left over

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  32. #18
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Would appreciate some opinions please.

    If I liked the Kentucky sound I think I'd consider the nicest Kentucky I could find and would consider myself lucky that I didn't long for a more expensive model. You need to go for what speaks to you.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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  34. #19
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    Default Re: Would appreciate some opinions please.

    Quote Originally Posted by BrianWilliam View Post
    Modern: Ellis A5
    Traditional: Duff A5

    I like this game
    Good answer!

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  36. #20
    Registered User G7MOF's Avatar
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    Default Re: Would appreciate some opinions please.

    And not forgetting that at $6000 everything is negotiable.
    I never fail at anything, I just succeed at doing things that never work....


    Fylde Touchstone Walnut Mandolin.
    Gibson Alrite Model D.

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  38. #21
    Dan Sampson mando_dan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Would appreciate some opinions please.

    Buckeye! Def. worth checking out and certainly comparable with the Duff - Ellis - Pava - etc. group.
    1999 Buckeye #18 (Bucky)
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  40. #22
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    Default Re: Would appreciate some opinions please.

    There's a nice Hamlett A5 (NFI) in the classifieds right now and would be a real steal.

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  42. #23
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    Default Re: Would appreciate some opinions please.

    I'd pick up this Franzke F5 if I had that kind of money to spend!
    https://www.mandolincafe.com/ads/135...NRQJWag#135195

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  44. #24
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Would appreciate some opinions please.

    Nothing more enjoyable than discussing how to spend someone else's money --

    except, perhaps, spending your own money (assuming you have some) on a new mandolin.
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  46. #25
    Registered User mbruno's Avatar
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    Default Re: Would appreciate some opinions please.

    I'd highly recommend heading to Nashville to visit both Gruhn and Cater's. They have a great selection of quality instruments in that range. Since now two instruments are the same - you may be surprised at what you find.

    Carters was great but when I was at Gruhn, the selection was amazing and the mandolins I gravitated towards would not have been on my radar at all had I not played them. Plus, you can beat the customer service and the other customers there (George Gruhn let me play his 1924 Lloyd Loar with Sean Camp and I met Bela Fleck while he was trying a new banjo!!)
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