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Thread: Iwamoto?

  1. #1
    Registered User Bad Monkey's Avatar
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    Default Iwamoto?

    My bass player and went for our weekend Kau Kau lunch and then headed over to Dusty Strings to see what was new since we'd hit Emerald City before lunch...

    Saw a mandolin by a Japanese Luthier I'd never heard of, Iwamoto. It was drop dead gorgeous so I gave it a little test drive. Played a couple warm up drills to get the feel of the neck and then dropped into a fast reel to see what the little lady had in her. Holy smokes! The staff stopped talking to customers, the dude at the other end of the store stopped flat picking the D-18, the woman checking out the classical guitars stared, and even the guy who was setting up an old L-5 came out from the back to hear that mandolin. I've never seen a music store stop like that before. This little mandolin was sweeter than your first girlfriend and sang better'n Angels on Sunday morning. It was quite literally the prettiest sounding mandolin I've ever played. I was blown away by the instrument. And it's only a few months old at this point. Apparently the luthier was at wintergrass and dropped by the shop to put it on consignment before he went back to Japan. Fit and finish are perfect, it just feels right in the hands. I played it for about 40 minutes and it was reeeaaaallly hard to put it back on the wall. Bass dude was "that's an amazing sound, are you thinking about taking it home?" He really has no idea what mandolins go for and was thinking it was appx 1500 or so. hahahahahahahahahahahahahahah NO. Asking price is 5k, and worth every stinking penny. I'm going to stop back over tomorrow AM before the shop opens to knock out a sound clip for 'em. This is the first mandolin I've played that made me think "this mandolin really wants to sound like Thile's #1". I got home and played all my mandolins and was just a little unsatisfied.
    Anyways, enough of the rambling: has anyone heard anything about this luthier Iwamoto? I've been digging a bit but really haven't found aything useful yet.
    One of you guys go buy this instrument before I lose my self control...

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Iwamoto?

    Great summary. After reading that a person could almost be tempted to buy it knowing there is a two day return policy.

    Thanks in advance for a sound clip, hope they post it.

    I read a little about him, he's an extremely experienced builder. Carter's has a similar one in stock.

  4. #3
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    Default Re: Iwamoto?

    THanks …. another name to keep an eye out for. R/
    I love hanging out with mandolin nerds . . . . . Thanks peeps ...

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    Default Re: Iwamoto?

    Yum! Kau Kau. I like Tai Tung better but Kau Kau has great Chinese barbecue.........
    Thanks

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  6. #5
    Registered User Bad Monkey's Avatar
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    Default Re: Iwamoto?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Scott View Post
    Yum! Kau Kau. I like Tai Tung better but Kau Kau has great Chinese barbecue.........
    Kau Kau has a lunch special that's killer: BBQ pork, fried rice, veg, and a choice of side for $6.50. Kau Kau is THE spot for Chinese BBQ.

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    Default Re: Iwamoto?

    That one sings like the angels, I played it briefly. I remember Sumi's tops being from Hokkaido spruce, at least some of them, maybe that's part of the magic. I was down there for dental surgery and try out a guitar, bought a skin head for a banjo, and forgot to try out the guitar.

    You can check their inventory here, I guess the Larivee F they had sold but they're pretty well stocked on Collings and Northfields https://store.dustystrings.com/c-7-mandolin-family.aspx
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  8. #7

    Default Re: Iwamoto?

    Could you sell your other mandolins and come within striking distance? Sometimes one is enough.
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  9. #8
    Registered User Bad Monkey's Avatar
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    Default Re: Iwamoto?

    I don't sell instruments. Well, I've sold one strat in the past 25 years but that's it. It'd be like selling children.

    One is never enough. The only proper number of instruments has very specific equation: X=Y+1. X being the optimal number of instruments, Y being the current number of instruments.

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    Default Re: Iwamoto?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bad Monkey View Post
    One of you guys go buy this instrument before I lose my self control...

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    You found it so you're kinda dissing the gods of mas not to take it home

  12. #10
    Registered User Bad Monkey's Avatar
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    Default Re: Iwamoto?

    if it's there in a month it may end up with me. Right now I've got other fish I gots to fry. Believe me, it was tough to walk out of there without it. Twice.

    I hadn't heard of Takeshi Iwamoto before, and this one is such a great instrument I wanted to get his name out there just a little bit more. I see a few of his babies for sale when I google 'em, it's only fair that Takeshi be on more folks radar.

  13. #11
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    Default Re: Iwamoto?

    I know him well since over 30 years before. He is representative of "Acoustic World" as a famous mandolin luthier in Tokyo,JAPAN.
    He has the experience of mandolin building over 40 years.
    I had owned his mandolin before. It had really nice workmanship.
    It's his webpage as following URL,
    http://www.acousticworld.com/English.html

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    Default Re: Iwamoto?

    I was at Dusty Strings yesterday trying to figure out whether to buy an A style from a local builder. I tried every A style they had.

    A salesman walked up and pointed to the Iwamoto and said "You should try the best mandolin in the store." So I did, and a couple of other F styles.

    Even as a neophyte it was obvious that the Iwamoto's tone was richer, more complex than the others with no less volume or projection. To me it was more pleasing and definitely the best mandolin in the store. In retrospect, driving home to Sequim, I thought the tone sounded more like a high quality violin. Since that judgement was disassociated from playing it I'm not sure if it was a careful conclusion or a fancy.

  16. #13
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    Default Re: Iwamoto?

    Begs for an Americanized brand name tweak for those of us with GAS.

    Iwanmotoo

    As in I already have a few, but Iwanmotoo.
    No matter where I go, there I am...Unless I'm running a little late.

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  18. #14
    Fatally Flawed Bill Kammerzell's Avatar
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    Default Re: Iwamoto?

    I just came across this guy myself. Saw this at Reverb. NFI.

    https://reverb.com/item/17764736-iwa...-2016-sunburst
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    Default Re: Iwamoto?

    Quote Originally Posted by willkamm View Post
    I just came across this guy myself. Saw this at Reverb. NFI.

    https://reverb.com/item/17764736-iwa...-2016-sunburst
    The ad says it has a 1 1/4 nut width...can't be accurate

  20. #16
    Registered User Bad Monkey's Avatar
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    Default Re: Iwamoto?

    Quote Originally Posted by EvanElk View Post
    The ad says it has a 1 1/4 nut width...can't be accurate
    The Iwamoto here in Seattle is certainly not 1.25" and I'd be willing to bet that the one on Reverb is the ol' Gibson width as well.

  21. #17

    Default Re: Iwamoto?

    I'll chime in here with absolutely nothing to add to the discussion simply because that's an Acoustic World electric mandolin in my avatar, and maybe to add that, out of the 20 or so electrics that I've owned at one time or another, it's by far the best one.

  22. #18
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    Default Re: Iwamoto?

    I'm in Seattle on business. I played this mandolin today and it is as fantastic as previously reported!

  23. #19
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    Default Re: Iwamoto?

    Quote Originally Posted by colorado_al View Post
    I'm in Seattle on business. I played this mandolin today and it is as fantastic as previously reported!
    I was asked by a cafe member to elaborate. The instrument is beautifully made. Flamed Maple back and sides. Neck is very comfortable. A slight V shape. 1&1/8” nut. Radiused ebony fretboard and bridge. Medium size frets. Satin finish. Tasteful sunburst. Binding is accented with a thin black stripe between the wood and the ivroid. Tuners work well.
    Setup is good with easy playability. It has Monel strings on it which can sometimes deaden the low end. It does not on this mandolin. Excellent clarity to the sound and very full, with even tone across the strings. Good chop, and even better sustain.
    If I had that kind of money to spend, it would have come home with me today.
    I played it side by side with 6 different high end instruments in the store and I liked it better than all of them. It was closest to the sound of the Northfield NF5S, but bigger and richer.
    Anyhow, I'm not sure what resale value one could expect from it, but if you're looking for a keeper in that price range, it is certainly worth checking out.

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    Default Re: Iwamoto?

    Thanks, I'll have to try that Northfield. Did you try the ones in the locked glass case?
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  26. #21
    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: Iwamoto?

    Yeah, the Iwamoto at Dusty Strings really is something. Whew !
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  27. #22
    Registered User Bad Monkey's Avatar
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    Default Re: Iwamoto?

    Quote Originally Posted by gtani7 View Post
    Thanks, I'll have to try that Northfield. Did you try the ones in the locked glass case?
    I did, just to see what an old F5 with a new fingerboard was like.

    FWIW, the 'Moto smokes the Northfields and Collings that were there to compare with. IMHO. Of course, that's just one cat's opinion, other folk may hold to something different. Everyone has their own tastes to be sure. I thought it sounded better than the pre-war Gibby F5 as well; it really is something special.

    If it's still there when all these St. Paddy's day checks clear it'll have a new home.

  28. #23
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    Default Re: Iwamoto?

    Looks like this one has been sold.
    Anyone around here buy it?

  29. #24

    Default Re: Iwamoto?

    Quote Originally Posted by colorado_al View Post
    Looks like this one has been sold.
    Anyone around here buy it?
    I checked out the Iwamoto at Dusty Strings while I was in Seattle for a Foghorn String Band show. I tried it out the day of the show and couldn't get it out of my mind. Did a little research that night and ran across this string. You guys sold me on the mando and I am now the proud owner. Not sure I deserve such a fine instrument but I hope to grow into it. It is my first F style and I love it!

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  31. #25

    Default Re: Iwamoto?

    Congratulations, you'll never have an excuse to buy another one so you'll save money in the long run.

    I was telling myself that also but it wasn't the right time for me to spend that much. Congratulations!
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