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Thread: Oval Hole Resale

  1. #1

    Default Oval Hole Resale

    Hi Folks,
    My question is are the oval hole mandolins hard to sell? Any experience trying? I'm looking to move up from my starter instrument (budget is $2500-$5500) and seem to like the oval hole sound best (I know not great for Bluegrass and that's OK.) Settling in on Collins MTO (used ~$2200), MF-O (used ~3600) or Weber Yellowstone A-O (used ~$3200).
    Since I'm pretty new at this I'd like the flexibility to trade off down the road. I'll probably end up with a nice f-hole too, so if I end up stuck with the oval that's probably OK...just want to know what to expect.
    Thanks!
    Gary C. in Kentucky

  2. #2
    Mediocre but OK with that Paul Busman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Oval Hole Resale

    If an oval hole is what you like the sound of, I'd say go for that without regard to the resale value. There are lots of other people out there who prefer them too, and if you ever decide to get rid of it, a decent oval hole should sell pretty easily.
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  4. #3
    Gibson F5L Gibson A5L
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    Default Re: Oval Hole Resale

    Hmmmm …. with that budget I recommend you play some Gibson A models from the 1920's with the snakehead shaped headstock before you make your final decision. Ultimately as a mandolinist you will want to include both F and oval hole instruments in your stable. From Kentucky a day trip to Nashville to play as many different oval hole instruments as you are able will be both an education and a treat …. that is if you already have not done that. While it is true that oval hole mandolins are not as prevalent as F hole mandolins a quality instrument will usually find a buyer with patience. R/
    I love hanging out with mandolin nerds . . . . . Thanks peeps ...

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  6. #4
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    Default Re: Oval Hole Resale

    Agree. Can’t imagine you’d have trouble reselling any of the mandolins you mention. That budget may get you into a used Kimble A style oval, and any number of other independent luthiers, for that matter. Of course, the three you listed are awesome mandolins, just throwing other options out there.
    Chuck

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  8. #5

    Default Re: Oval Hole Resale

    Thanks for the reply. Yes I did the Nashville trip last week and that helped settle the f vs oval whole question. Not many ovals to try even there but liked the few they had. Ruled out the Gibsons not for sound but asthma concerns with old wood, plus one radiused fingerboard.
    So sounds like I would be able to sell it just may take longer.
    Thanks again!

  9. #6
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    Default Re: Oval Hole Resale

    Within that budget I would definitely take a look at a Girouard oval ! Wonderful sound and impeccable workmanship !
    My two favorite pastimes are drinking wine and playing the mandolin but most of my friends would rather hear me drink wine! Adapted from quote by Mark Twain------supposedly !

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  11. #7

    Default Re: Oval Hole Resale

    Thanks for tip on Girouard...didnt' know about them. No ovals for sale in U.S. that I can find though. Will add it to my radar screen.

  12. #8
    Registered User Doug Brock's Avatar
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    Default Re: Oval Hole Resale

    Quote Originally Posted by KentuckyGuy View Post
    Ruled out the Gibsons not for sound but asthma concerns with old wood...
    Is that a real issue? Is there a real issue with asthma and old wood in mandolins?
    Doug Brock
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    Default Re: Oval Hole Resale

    Quote Originally Posted by flatpicknut View Post
    Is that a real issue? Is there a real issue with asthma and old wood in mandolins?
    Yes there is. For me not so much mandolins but vintage guitars have a profound effect on me, runny nose, water eyes and an overall uncomfortable feeling. I don't have asthma but do have a reaction to the mold/mildew in old guitars.

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    Default Re: Oval Hole Resale

    I think you'll find that in a few old instruments, my daughter reacts to mold and mildew in very minor amounts, but has never reacted to my '22 Gibson mandolin. If it was played it is most likely OK.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

  16. #11

    Default Re: Oval Hole Resale

    Quote Originally Posted by RobBob View Post
    Yes there is. For me not so much mandolins but vintage guitars have a profound effect on me, runny nose, water eyes and an overall uncomfortable feeling. I don't have asthma but do have a reaction to the mold/mildew in old guitars.
    Do you always keep your instruments in their cases? I am wondering if you're reacting to old offgassing from formaldehyde, etc used in the glues of the old cases. Might be worth keeping one out of its case for a few weeks to see if it still causes you issues.

  17. #12
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    Default Re: Oval Hole Resale

    Mr Busman hit the nail on the head in post # 2.
    Buy a mandolin to play it.
    Get the mandolin that you like and will enjoy.

    "a decent oval hole should sell pretty easily."
    Indeed. Many people, such as myself, prefer an oval hole mandolin.

    Joseph Baker

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  19. #13
    Registered User Randi Gormley's Avatar
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    Default Re: Oval Hole Resale

    when it comes to resale, I like to think that if it appealed to one person, it'll appeal to other people. A lot of people look for ovals -- if not as a primary instrument, than as a secondary. And then it becomes about price, luthier and sound (not necessarily in that order). So if you want an oval, don't worry about it being a drag on the market.
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  20. #14

    Default Re: Oval Hole Resale

    If an oval is what I wanted I'd buy one. If you walk into a large retailer like Carter's, Elderly, or Gryphon, you will find f holes to outnumber ovals 3 to 1 or so. So that would indicate to me the overall preferences of buyers.

    That still leaves a bunch of oval hole fans. But playing something you don't like as much because of a maybe harder resale path is far more odious.
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  21. #15

    Default Re: Oval Hole Resale

    Thanks to all you great folks! Quick, helpful replies that gave me confidence to go ahead and pull the trigger on the used Collings MF oval. Shipping out today!

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  23. #16
    My Florida is scooped pheffernan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Oval Hole Resale

    Quote Originally Posted by KentuckyGuy View Post
    My question is are the oval hole mandolins hard to sell? Any experience trying? I'm looking to move up from my starter instrument (budget is $2500-$5500) and seem to like the oval hole sound best (I know not great for Bluegrass and that's OK.)
    I have had no problem buying into and selling out of oval hole mandolins. My advice would be to buy used so that you donít lose out on the depreciation. If youíre serious about the top end of your budget, you could do worse than this one!

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/ads/136720#136720
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  24. #17

    Default Re: Oval Hole Resale

    Regarding the asthma and old mandolin question, I can't say for certain if an old mandolin would trigger an asthma attack, but I don't want to risk it. Many of the old Gibsons I played had the musty smell that usually indicates mold. It could be in the wood or may just be the label. Asthma patients are super sensitive to this.

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  26. #18

    Default Re: Oval Hole Resale

    Quote Originally Posted by pheffernan View Post
    I have had no problem buying into and selling out of oval hole mandolins. My advice would be to buy used so that you don’t lose out on the depreciation. If you’re serious about the top end of your budget, you could do worse than this one!

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/ads/136720#136720
    Thanks for that reference...missed that one. I know Ellis's have a great reputation...I did play an f-hole Ellis "A" at Carter last week but haven't played an oval. They did have a Collings MT oval and MF5 oval and I liked those, so the used MF oval that came up was in the comfort zone. Wonder if the Ellis could be much better...guess I could order it on trial just risking a little $ on shipping and find out.

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  28. #19
    My Florida is scooped pheffernan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Oval Hole Resale

    Quote Originally Posted by KentuckyGuy View Post
    Thanks for that reference...missed that one. I know Ellis's have a great reputation...I did play an f-hole Ellis "A" at Carter last week but haven't played an oval. They did have a Collings MT oval and MF5 oval and I liked those, so the used MF oval that came up was in the comfort zone. Wonder if the Ellis could be much better...guess I could order it on trial just risking a little $ on shipping and find out.
    My take is that Collings MT’s are more parallel to the Pava line. I would expect the Ellis to be better.
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  29. #20
    Registered User Bob Clark's Avatar
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    Default Re: Oval Hole Resale

    I have had and easily sold two oval hole mandolins. Both were good instruments (one really very good) and both sold very quickly. I wouldn't hesitate out of concern for the ability to resell.

    As for the mold issue, I had a 1918 grand piano that ended up being a terrible trigger for my wife's asthma. She was much better once it was gone. Replaced it with a new one (the piano, that is). No problems at all after that.
    Purr more, hiss less.

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  31. #21

    Default Re: Oval Hole Resale

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Clark View Post
    I have had and easily sold two oval hole mandolins. Both were good instruments (one really very good) and both sold very quickly. I wouldn't hesitate out of concern for the ability to resell.

    As for the mold issue, I had a 1918 grand piano that ended up being a terrible trigger for my wife's asthma. She was much better once it was gone. Replaced it with a new one (the piano, that is). No problems at all after that.
    Thanks, Bob for sharing your buy/sell experience...that's reassuring so will proceed without worrying about it.
    Regarding the old pianos - yes they are giant mold farms. Full of mold-harboring felt throughout the action and under the keyboard. I rebuilt a half dozen of those when I was young.

  32. #22
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    Default Re: Oval Hole Resale

    Quote Originally Posted by pheffernan View Post
    My take is that Collings MTís are more parallel to the Pava line. I would expect the Ellis to be better.
    I've never played an Ellis, but my Collings MT and my Pava are definitely equal in quality and playability. I enjoy both equally! And I love my Weber Bitterroot oval hole also. I am a happy mandolinist .

  33. #23
    Registered User seankeegan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Oval Hole Resale

    I've an Ellis A4 special and can attest to them being fantastic instruments. I bought mine second hand in TAMCO, and had to get a small bank loan to buy it, so again can attest to ovals holding their value!

    I also own a Girouard oval, which is a superb instrument as well.

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  35. #24
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    Default Re: Oval Hole Resale

    Quote Originally Posted by flatpicknut View Post
    Is that a real issue? Is there a real issue with asthma and old wood in mandolins?
    Anything old and organic gets me sick.
    I'm guessing mold.
    Antique stores and comic book conventions get me every time.

  36. #25

    Default Re: Oval Hole Resale

    I recently took delivery of a new Girouard oval hole and couldn't be more pleased with its sound. I have no doubt that if I ever wanted to sell it (a doubtful proposition) it would move very quickly.

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