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Thread: eBay flat tops - would ya?

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    Default eBay flat tops - would ya?

    My search for a good deal on an oval-hole flat top has led me to a couple of interesting eBay listings. I'm probably shooting myself in the foot by posting them, but...hey, gotta see what the wiser folks of the hive mind know.

    First up: A "Selah," American luthier-built. I can't find any info on the builder (the instrument was built in '99), but it appears they were based out of Stewartstown, PA. Solid woods. Looks like some fret lift. Anyone know this builder? Would I be crazy to buy this and put some money into fret repair?

    Second up: a no-name slotted headstock. Also looks to be solid woods, a tailpiece that I can't identify, and a rosette around the hole. Maybe German in origin? Look familiar to anyone?

    My budget is pretty low, so I'm sort of trawling for diamonds in the rough--if a used Big Muddy popped up for the right price, I would go after it as a surer thing, but if I can find something similar...
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  2. #2

    Default Re: eBay flat tops - would ya?

    The Selah looks like quite a nice mandolin. You might want to follow that auction- have an upper limit. I can't comment about the frets but others may. The other mandolin is a bit more of a puzzle. I can't say I am in love with the screws- or lack of them on the tuners. This makes me think it is a bit more of a cheap and cheerful item from somewhere in central Europe. That does not mean it is junk or does not sound good. I am afraid as my guitar/mandolin man says to me "You blokes are totally crazy buying instruments that you have not seen or played" but we do it all the same! I would be tempted by the Selah but wait for others to comment on the frets- they don't bother me.

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    Registered User DavidKOS's Avatar
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    Default Re: eBay flat tops - would ya?

    Quote Originally Posted by NickR View Post
    The other mandolin is a bit more of a puzzle..
    Is it from Paracho, Mexico? It looks like some I've seen from that guitar-making town.

  5. #4

    Default Re: eBay flat tops - would ya?

    It has a case with a red interior- and that often is a good way of identifying a Mexican case- so you may be right about the mandolin being Mexican.

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    Default Re: eBay flat tops - would ya?

    Now that you say it, that rosette does have a bit of an Azteca flair. Interesting.
    Crestwood A-Style M106 Mandolin
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    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: eBay flat tops - would ya?

    Quote Originally Posted by blaise.douros View Post
    ...I'm sort of trawling for diamonds in the rough...
    Funny, I've been mining for codfish -- no luck so far...
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    Default Re: eBay flat tops - would ya?

    Quote Originally Posted by allenhopkins View Post
    Funny, I've been mining for codfish -- no luck so far...
    I considered using that mixed metaphor too, as well as "farming for loose change," "dialing for unicorns," and "scouring for flavors."

    ...Also, it took great strength of will to not respond solely with the incredibly-far-reaching Jaws/mining/metaphor-mixing pun "We're going to need a bigger bit."
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    Default Re: eBay flat tops - would ya?

    I thought this looked like an Asian import (the Selah), but it does look like a domestic handmade instrument. Odd that the Internet Archive and Google have no other mentions...

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    Default Re: eBay flat tops - would ya?

    Quote Originally Posted by Marty Jacobson View Post
    I thought this looked like an Asian import (the Selah), but it does look like a domestic handmade instrument. Odd that the Internet Archive and Google have no other mentions...
    I thought the same thing, looking at the headstock, but it seems it's just a little benign 90's cheese I may just call the number on the label and see who picks up!
    Crestwood A-Style M106 Mandolin
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    Default Re: eBay flat tops - would ya?

    yeah call the phone number

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    FIDDLES with STRADOLINS your_diamond's Avatar
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    Default Re: eBay flat tops - would ya?

    No answer to the phone number (717-993-6818), it seems to have been reassigned. Also, the website doesn't exist anymore. I wouldn't worry about those frets, although I have a repairman who touches them up very cheaply. Anybody notice it say "Psalms 92:1-4" above "Handcrafted by". Newbie serial number - hope he had a good teacher. Nice woods but Flame Maple Binding wouldn't seem wide enough to show flame. How it plays is the unknown. All in all you might be safer with this 1933 Levin...
    https://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-Lev...0AAOSwr-Vc1JIB

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    Default Re: eBay flat tops - would ya?

    Quote Originally Posted by your_diamond View Post
    All in all you might be safer with this 1933 Levin...
    https://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-Lev...0AAOSwr-Vc1JIB
    Great suggestion, I'm adding it to my watch list If the Selah ends up inflating to a ridiculous price, I may bail and pivot to the Levin.
    Crestwood A-Style M106 Mandolin
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    Default Re: eBay flat tops - would ya?

    Quote Originally Posted by blaise.douros View Post
    Great suggestion, I'm adding it to my watch list If the Selah ends up inflating to a ridiculous price, I may bail and pivot to the Levin.
    There is also a Vintage Levin Mandolin Model 340 (1945) on ebay. It's going to sell very cheap because it has a top crack. If you have a good repairman it can be repaired for $50 to $100 (so the other Levin might be the better bargain). However, if you can fix it yourself...

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    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: eBay flat tops - would ya?

    Quote Originally Posted by your_diamond View Post
    ...Anybody notice it say "Psalms 92:1-4" above "Handcrafted by?"...
    Wikipedia say:

    Selah (/ˈsiːlə(h)/; Hebrew: סֶלָה, also transliterated as selāh) is a word used 74 times in the Hebrew Bible—seventy-one times in the Psalms and three times in the Book of Habakkuk.[1] The meaning of the word is not known, though various interpretations are given below...It is probably either a liturgico-musical mark or an instruction on the reading of the text, something like "stop and listen." Another proposal is that Selah can be used to indicate that there is to be a musical interlude at that point in the Psalm.[2] The Amplified Bible translates selah as "pause, and think of that." It can also be interpreted as a form of underlining in preparation for the next paragraph.

    The Wiki article goes on to speculate that, since psalms were supposed to be sung, "Selah" may have been part of what passed for vocal musical notation: "voices tacit, King Dave puts in some harp licks here," or words to that effect.

    Luthiers with a strong religious side often incorporate symbols and nomenclature; I'd guess that's the case here. Here's the quote from the Psalms:

    1 It is good to praise the Lord
    and make music to your name, O Most High,
    2 proclaiming your love in the morning
    and your faithfulness at night,
    3 to the music of the ten-stringed lyre
    and the melody of the harp.
    4 For you make me glad by your deeds, Lord;
    I sing for joy at what your hands have done.


    Perhaps the mandolin's builder went on to make harps and lyres...?
    Allen Hopkins
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    Sobell'dola Washburn b-back'dola
    Eastmn: 615'dola 805 m'cello
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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: eBay flat tops - would ya?

    So, blaise.douros: did you win it for $182? Ended yesterday.
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    Default Re: eBay flat tops - would ya?

    No opinion on teh mando but I have bought many items from that seller, Seattle Goodwill, brings back memories, including hauling a 60 pound synth on a skateboard when I didn't have a car. Which is ok, there's always some great Chinese /other restaurant food involved in trips down there.
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  23. #17

    Default Re: eBay flat tops - would ya?

    Quote Originally Posted by your_diamond View Post
    There is also a Vintage Levin Mandolin Model 340 (1945) on ebay. It's going to sell very cheap because it has a top crack. If you have a good repairman it can be repaired for $50 to $100 (so the other Levin might be the better bargain). However, if you can fix it yourself...
    I bought the '45 model 340 Levin for $199.50 shipped and want to try fixing the crack myself so I'm open to suggestions on the best way to do that. Willing to take a chance for that price as a learning experience.
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  24. #18
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    Default Re: eBay flat tops - would ya?

    1. Get some humidity back to the instrument and see if it will close up some.
    2. Make some radiused clamping cauls to fit the sides of the instrument and apply gentle pressure with a bar clamp to see if it will close the rest of the way.
    3. Remove clamp. Glue with hot hide glue, or for the do-it-yourselfer, Old Brown Glue. Work the glue in well with your finger, flexing the top gently on either side of the crack to help the penetration. Apply a drop or two only of water if necessary. Also set a couple of long throated clamps with cauls directly on top of the crack to maintain the vertical alignment. Make sure the clamps clear the top braces.
    4. Some of us will add a tiny cleat or two. The cleat can be stuck to the bottom jaw of a deep throated clamp with a loop of tape.
    5. If the crack will not close well without being forced, it should be splinted with a very thin piece of spruce.

    See crack repair articles at frets.com, in Hideo Kamimoto's "Complete Guitar Repair" book, and check out violin articles also before starting.
    Last edited by rcc56; May-19-2019 at 11:52pm.

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    Default Re: eBay flat tops - would ya?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    So, blaise.douros: did you win it for $182? Ended yesterday.
    Sadly, I got skunked. It was sitting at $80, I put $180 as my max in at the 20-second mark, and I thought I had it. Someone put in a higher bid at the 5-second mark. I'm bummed about it, but it may just mean that I need to save my pennies for awhile, and shoot for a Big Muddy.
    Crestwood A-Style M106 Mandolin
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    Default Re: eBay flat tops - would ya?

    Quote Originally Posted by blaise.douros View Post
    Sadly, I got skunked. I'm bummed about it, but it may just mean that I need to save my pennies for awhile, and shoot for a Big Muddy.
    There is a MID MISSOURI M2 Big Muddy MANDOLIN w/CASE AS IS No Reserve Has a crack that needs to be fixed. https://ebay.us/Il3asY CURRENTLY $88 Free Shipping

    or

    Mid-Missouri (Big Muddy) M0 Flat Top Mandolin https://ebay.us/EdPgk5 $300 + $54.69 shipping

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    Default Re: eBay flat tops - would ya?

    Quote Originally Posted by your_diamond View Post
    There is a MID MISSOURI M2 Big Muddy MANDOLIN w/CASE AS IS No Reserve Has a crack that needs to be fixed. https://ebay.us/Il3asY CURRENTLY $88 Free Shipping

    or

    Mid-Missouri (Big Muddy) M0 Flat Top Mandolin https://ebay.us/EdPgk5 $300 + $54.69 shipping
    Thanks for the links; I'm watching both of them, though the cracked one I might be a little too skittish to jump into, even though it ends soon. There's another Big Muddy out there online for a reasonable price; sadly, I'm waiting to hear back from the car shop on a repair cost which may make or break my fun budget. If it's not too bad...then I'll be back in the game.
    Crestwood A-Style M106 Mandolin
    Ohana BK-70R Bar. Uke, cust. nylon string set in GDAE
    Hadean U-Bass
    Krappy Guitars Custom Radiused Fretted Electric Upright Bass

  28. #22

    Default Re: eBay flat tops - would ya?

    I have not really looked hard at the photos but maybe this Korean Goya will sell at a low price and might serve your purpose:

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/CF-Martin-a...QAAOSwnodc1Zmt

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    Default Re: eBay flat tops - would ya?

    The cracked Mid-Mo jumped up pretty fast too. One thing about Big Muddy / Mid-Mo, the owner / builder is a great guy and can be contacted. He actually repaired an M-1 I picked up on eBay from a pawn shop in Minneapolis, where the air gets cold and the humidity gets very low.

    It's a reasonable shot.
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    Default Re: eBay flat tops - would ya?

    Quote Originally Posted by NickR View Post
    I have not really looked hard at the photos but maybe this Korean Goya will sell at a low price and might serve your purpose:

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/CF-Martin-a...QAAOSwnodc1Zmt
    Could be OK but OP was looking for a flattop. This one looks like it has an arched top and probably not carved. Also, I believe that this is a laminated instrument made in Korea in the 1980s.
    Jim

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    Default Re: eBay flat tops - would ya?

    I love my Flatiron 1N! I’m at the beach works by on tunes!

    f-d
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