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Thread: So...I'm stuck....dang MAS...

  1. #1
    Struggle Monkey B381's Avatar
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    Default So...I'm stuck....dang MAS...

    So...I own four mandolins. Nothing super special, run of the mill lower ends, but I like them.

    Have to wonder...is MAS just a desire for that "sound"? That...desire to try something new? Is it curable with improvement of our playing skill? Is it just love for these objects and the beauty that some have with the awesome wood grain?

    I have "A" style, "F" style and an oval hole. The one that challenges me is the oval due to the neck joint, my fingers are conditioned to land on the 15th fret placement and thus the 12th fret placement causes some screwy playing at times. But man, that Eastman sound.

    BTW, can anyone give me an honest comparison of the Eastman 404 and 505? See? There I go...lusting again.

    I like the "F's" for the look but I swear, I cannot prove it, but I think the sound of the "A's" sound a little better. Remember there's no huge spread of quality, they're all about the same level other than one being a mahogany build.

    Yes, I'm rambling....as I search reverb....AGAIN.

    Do I just have commitment issues?

    Help....somebody...anybody....please....help.
    "It doesn't matter how much you invest in your instrument until you invest in you and your ability..."

    Kentucky KM-150
    Eastman MD-404
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    Default Re: So...I'm stuck....dang MAS...

    I don't ever stop looking, but I have quit buying - my 3 main mandolins are better than I ever will be, they will never "hold me back" in my attempts to progress, and all 3 have different tone but excellent playability. When you finally find what you are looking for, I believe your MAS will go into remission (at least for a time.) I could be wrong, but I think most of us eventually find our "keepers." YMMV

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    Registered User Al Trujillo's Avatar
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    Default Re: So...I'm stuck....dang MAS...

    I want an OM bad...and I swear it'll be my last. ~that last part hasn't convinced the wife yet~

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    Default Re: So...I'm stuck....dang MAS...

    I'd say the next step up is a Kentucky 950, they can be had around $850-1050 used depending on condition. So you could cut back to 1 F hole, 1 oval hole and branch out into dobros or 7 string fan fret guitars or something.
    The Keepers: Kentucky km900, JBovier A5
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    some really really loud banjos and dobros (Oops large body resonator/Resophonic square neck lap-steel-style guitars)

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    Default Re: So...I'm stuck....dang MAS...

    Quote Originally Posted by LadysSolo View Post
    I don't ever stop looking, but I have quit buying - my 3 main mandolins are better than I ever will be, they will never "hold me back" in my attempts to progress, and all 3 have different tone but excellent playability. When you finally find what you are looking for, I believe your MAS will go into remission (at least for a time.) I could be wrong, but I think most of us eventually find our "keepers." YMMV
    I found my "keeper" in 2000. Have bought 4 since then. Yes I still have my keeper and fully believe my wife or kids will be the sellers of it after I'm gone but I can still buy and sell other mandolins while loving my keeper. I fully believe that he who dies with the most mandolins wins.

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  8. #6
    F5G & MD305 Astro's Avatar
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    Default Re: So...I'm stuck....dang MAS...

    Better than stamps, coins, model trains, or golf clubs. Easier to store than cars. Way cheaper than wives.

    Instruments are about the only collectable I can think of that you can use as it was intended on a daily basis and then eventually sell for half what you bought it for(try that with a stamp). So at that rate it can take years to go under and you can amass quite the collection before you die with all those beauties you told yourself you were going to trade in someday(try that with wives).
    No matter where I go, there I am...Unless I'm running a little late.

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    Mandolin user MontanaMatt's Avatar
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    Default Re: So...I'm stuck....dang MAS...

    I look and lust all the time. Both my mandolins are great, and different ones will likely only be different, not better. Yet I still look and dream. I have yet to slip down the octave slope, right now I'm fighting the urge to acquire more microphones and headphones!

    B381, right now you have affordable tastes, watch out for champagne and caviar, they are just on the other side of the Menu!
    2007 Weber Custom Elite "old wood"
    2017 Ratliff R5 Custom #1148
    Several nice old Fiddles
    2007 Martin 000-15S 12 fret Auditorium-slot head
    Deering Classic Open Back
    Too many microphones

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  12. #8

    Default Re: So...I'm stuck....dang MAS...

    You have fallen into the common habit of acquiring multiple relatively inexpensive mandolins. Stop doing this. I know, it's easier to save up five hundred and go buy another mandolin, but IMHO, you should sell at least two of your mandolins, and add enough cash to buy something in the used market for $1200 or more. A used Ratliff, Silverangel, Weber, Summit, or others is going to put you into a whole new world, one that will, if not cure MAS, will dampen it. You need a mandolin that when you go into a fine shop with big buck mandolins, you can leave thinking they were nice, but what you have is very close.

    Then you can forestall purchases until that day you find something really special, and hopefully at least have half the cash.LOL.
    Silverangel A
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  14. #9

    Default Re: So...I'm stuck....dang MAS...

    Quote Originally Posted by Br1ck View Post
    You have fallen into the common habit of acquiring multiple relatively inexpensive mandolins. Stop doing this. I know, it's easier to save up five hundred and go buy another mandolin, but IMHO, you should sell at least two of your mandolins, and add enough cash to buy something in the used market for $1200 or more. A used Ratliff, Silverangel, Weber, Summit, or others is going to put you into a whole new world, one that will, if not cure MAS, will dampen it. You need a mandolin that when you go into a fine shop with big buck mandolins, you can leave thinking they were nice, but what you have is very close.

    Then you can forestall purchases until that day you find something really special, and hopefully at least have half the cash.LOL.
    This is extremely good advice. Had my Northfield for almost 7 years before I finally found a builder who was making something I absolutely had to have and was demonstrably more of what I was looking for that what my Northfield offered.

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    Default Re: So...I'm stuck....dang MAS...

    I agree with that advice. My first mando was an eBay Kentucky that had some, ahem, issues. I got it playable and wailed on it for a few years because I couldn’t afford anything better. Loved it at the time, but was oh so ignorant! Next bought a Fender 62SE for plug and play convenience. Then I bought a Flatiron 1N and got a taste for quality. I still have the Flatiron but gave the other 2 away after I bought my Silverangel. I should have skipped the Fender and the Flatiron and jumped straight to the 1000-1500 mark as Brick suggests. The Silverangel staved off MAS for probably 7 years before I bought my Kelley...
    Chuck

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  17. #11

    Default Re: So...I'm stuck....dang MAS...

    The day I walked into Gryphon with my Silverangel to have a minor adjustment done, I killed the twenty or so minutes playing a nice Big Mon and various Collings, from MTs to varnish F5s. Man they were good. I wouldn't have taken my SA into the shop just to compare, but the tech guy walked into the mandolin room with it to try the new action. Man, my SA was good. Different for sure, but so was the Big Mon to the Collings. It was then I realized all the mandolins were pretty much the same quality. The differences were subjective likes and dislikes, and of course bling and scrolls. But I walked out knowing I had a very good mandolin.

    Is MAS conquered? No. Do I lust for a $7000 Collings? Sure. But I never have that pang I used to get when I had my Eastman and could hear a huge difference. I had exactly the same feeling after I bought a Martin M36. Didn't buy another guitar for a decade.

    Where the likes of Eastmans come in for me now is for that mandola or octave mandolin I know won't get the playing time to justify a much greater expense. Glad to have them available.

    You can find a $1200 A style used that will rock your world. Do it.
    Silverangel A
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    Default Re: So...I'm stuck....dang MAS...

    I’ve posted this before, but I had a similar experience/education at Gruhn’s and Carters a few years ago. I went in with a fairly open mind. I was looking for a National RM-1, but thought that if I played something that really blew my doors off I’d leave with it. There were mandolins there better than my SA, but they were all also 5K and up (a particular Giacomel at Gruhn's did it for me...to the point that my wife saw the look in my eyes when I played my first run and was afraid for a second I might actually consider dropping 12,500 on it, but I knew I didn’t have the $ or the ability to do it justice). I left very impressed with Gilchrist, MacRostie, Duff, Brentrup, and a Loar, but also very satisfied with my SA.

    I still have the RM-1, btw, bought from Artisan Guitars, who went out of their way to help me despite being in the midst of setting up for a Santa Cruz workshop when I arrived.

    There are the occasional wonders out there in the sub-700 dollar world that are superb despite their humble beginnings, and they’re great for getting players started, and, for some, all they’ll ever want or need. I’m amazed at the quality Kentucky, Eastman, and Bovier are putting out now. But that 1200-1800 range, especially if you buy used, can get you a truly professional quality instrument.
    Chuck

  19. #13
    Some Ability - No Talent MikeZito's Avatar
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    Default Re: So...I'm stuck....dang MAS...

    I still dream of someday being a Weber owner - but I solemly promised myself that I would absolutely not buy one until I am good enough to get work as a 'real' mandolin player; (my Kentucky KM-272 is serving me just fine right now).

    So far my skill level is still pretty abysmal (I have only been at it for 20 years) - but maybe . . . someday . . .

  20. #14

    Default Re: So...I'm stuck....dang MAS...

    Quote Originally Posted by B381 View Post
    So...I own four mandolins. Nothing super special, run of the mill lower ends, but I like them.

    Have to wonder...is MAS just a desire for that "sound"? That...desire to try something new? Is it curable with improvement of our playing skill? Is it just love for these objects and the beauty that some have with the awesome wood grain?

    I have "A" style, "F" style and an oval hole. The one that challenges me is the oval due to the neck joint, my fingers are conditioned to land on the 15th fret placement and thus the 12th fret placement causes some screwy playing at times. But man, that Eastman sound.

    BTW, can anyone give me an honest comparison of the Eastman 404 and 505? See? There I go...lusting again.

    I like the "F's" for the look but I swear, I cannot prove it, but I think the sound of the "A's" sound a little better. Remember there's no huge spread of quality, they're all about the same level other than one being a mahogany build.

    Yes, I'm rambling....as I search reverb....AGAIN.

    Do I just have commitment issues?

    Help....somebody...anybody....please....help.
    Here's what I say when people ask me how many instruments I have: "I have more than I need, and less than I want".

    Mandolins are more addictive than heroin

  21. #15
    man about town Markus's Avatar
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    Default Re: So...I'm stuck....dang MAS...

    Quote Originally Posted by Br1ck View Post
    You have fallen into the common habit of acquiring multiple relatively inexpensive mandolins. Stop doing this.
    Couldn't agree more.

    IMO, there's a fairly profound difference between a $500 and $1000+ [esp $2k+] mandolin. I have found great pleasure in a single really nice instrument that makes me excited to open the case and that plays easy and sounds good. Now that I've stepped up another step past my $1000 instrument I can't believe how excited I am every time to pick up an instrument.

    Yeah, there's times I wish I had an oval or a pretty f-style ... but I find that with depth of experience on a single fine instrument that I can do everything I want musically and knowing one instrument incredibly well really helps get great tone out of it.
    Collings MT2
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  22. #16

    Default Re: So...I'm stuck....dang MAS...

    There is a similar discussion in the "guitar collecting" world......."should I own ten $500 dollar guitars or one $5000 guitar?"

    You will find arguments for both ways of thinking......

    And, as noted, the "cheap stuff" keeps getting better and better, IMHO.....


  23. #17

    Default Re: So...I'm stuck....dang MAS...

    Quote Originally Posted by Br1ck View Post
    You have fallen into the common habit of acquiring multiple relatively inexpensive mandolins. Stop doing this. I know, it's easier to save up five hundred and go buy another mandolin, but IMHO, you should sell at least two of your mandolins, and add enough cash to buy something in the used market for $1200 or more. . . .
    Yup! At least two!

  24. #18

    Default Re: So...I'm stuck....dang MAS...

    Please, please, please, did I say please?, don't ever think you don't deserve a really good instrument because of your playing level. That is faulty thinking. The very best reason to buy a very good mandolin is precisely because it will vault you into a whole new level of competence, not because the instrument will automatically make you better, though it very well may, but because the combination of sonic quality and visual beauty will have you playing every spare minute you can. It will keep you off the internet, skip that TV movie you've seen a dozen times, and put off mowing the lawn. The mandolin will call to you to just take a peek. Take a peek and you'll pick it up.

    If someone were to ask me what beginner instrument to get, I'd say a Northfield F5s, or a Collings MT2, or a Weber, or an Ellis. You get the picture, whatever the very best you can afford.

    You do not need to deserve a mandolin, just buy it. If you need to have someone else play it in a shop, they will. Pick a price point, then double it. In the end you are talking a cappuccino a day. Order drip instead.

    Can you tell this is the single most passionate view regarding playing that I have? If you are going to undertake this daunting task, don't shortchange yourself. Don't leave money in the bank. I do understand $500 being a lot for some folks. That's ok. Just spend every dime of it.
    Silverangel A
    Michael Kelly LSFTB
    Arches F style kit
    1913 Gibson A-1

  25. #19
    F5G & MD305 Astro's Avatar
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    Default Re: So...I'm stuck....dang MAS...

    Quote Originally Posted by Astro View Post
    Better than stamps, coins, model trains, or golf clubs. Easier to store than cars. Way cheaper than wives.

    Instruments are about the only collectable I can think of that you can use as it was intended on a daily basis and then eventually sell for half what you bought it for(try that with a stamp). So at that rate it can take years to go under and you can amass quite the collection before you die with all those beauties you told yourself you were going to trade in someday(try that with wives).
    Yeah, out of context and out of taste this sounds pretty demeaning--which I never intended. I guess it would have been better to say "spouses" instead of "wives" but really could have left the whole thing out and been better off. In a rush for humor, I can be unawaringly tacky and really not funny anyway at times. I can live with that (prob happens a lot) but I dont like living with making anyone feel bad. Sorry that I did and thanks for your pm. Now back to our love of mandolins...
    No matter where I go, there I am...Unless I'm running a little late.

  26. #20
    two t's and one hyphen fatt-dad's Avatar
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    Default Re: So...I'm stuck....dang MAS...

    horse trading, buying, shopping, and talking about mandolins is fun and EASY!

    Committing to play them? That's hard.

    I know that many (me) focus on both. I have a feeling that those that are really, really good likely spent many years rarely thinking too much about their tools. They had one that worked and dedicated their free time to using it!

    That's what I've learned (about myself) during my journey. And, I play mediocre - loving it though!

    f-d
    ˇpapá gordo ain’t no madre flaca!

    '20 A3, '30 L-1, '97 914, 2012 Cohen A5, 2012 Muth A5, '14 OM28A

  27. #21

    Default Re: So...I'm stuck....dang MAS...

    What are your goals? Mine was to get really good (on guitar, on which I focused myopically). These days my interest is in performing/sharing/teaching music, all kinds. So I gave up the single maniacal pursuit and started playing folk music...

    Don't know what you want? Experiment/study widely.

  28. #22

    Default Re: So...I'm stuck....dang MAS...

    Quote Originally Posted by fatt-dad View Post
    horse trading, buying, shopping, and talking about mandolins is fun and EASY!

    Committing to play them? That's hard.

    I know that many (me) focus on both. I have a feeling that those that are really, really good likely spent many years rarely thinking too much about their tools. They had one that worked and dedicated their free time to using it!

    That's what I've learned (about myself) during my journey. And, I play mediocre - loving it though!

    f-d
    Ain't it the truth. I knew that if I were going to be welcomed into a group on mandolin, I would have to be disciplined in my approach, knowing that anyone I'd want to play seriously with would be pretty good musicians. Starting at age 65 isn't optimum. So I started playing scales and scale exercises without really knowing why. It was just that my cello teaching daughter would drill on scales a lot. It was two years before I started noticing patterns showing up in fiddle tunes I was learning. My fingers had been trained by the exercises.

    I'm now at the point of figuring out Sam Bush licks, a few Monroe tunes, and what I'm learning is migrating into my playing. I've played a song maybe half a dozen times with a guitar player at an open mic and I figured if he was going to continue asking me to play, I'd learn some breaks. I've yet to play one break "correctly " in real time, but the fingers are playing stuff that works. I guess that is unentended improvisation.

    But I've digressed. It is having one great playing and sounding mandolin that makes the grunt work palatable. Enjoyable even. Doing a Jethro Burns exercise now, and when I get it right, my mandolins sound sweet. This is why I'm such a proponent of playing the best mandolin you can sort of afford. Once this is achieved, you can wait for the next opportunity knowing it would have to be special.

    When you get the urge to buy another, it is wise to seek out a good player and hand him your mandolin to play. That will put things into perspective. Now if you have the funds and can buy right, go ahead. Life is short.
    Silverangel A
    Michael Kelly LSFTB
    Arches F style kit
    1913 Gibson A-1

  29. #23
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    Default Re: So...I'm stuck....dang MAS...

    Quote Originally Posted by fatt-dad View Post
    horse trading, buying, shopping, and talking about mandolins is fun and EASY!

    Committing to play them? That's hard.

    I know that many (me) focus on both. I have a feeling that those that are really, really good likely spent many years rarely thinking too much about their tools. They had one that worked and dedicated their free time to using it!

    That's what I've learned (about myself) during my journey. And, I play mediocre - loving it though!

    f-d
    One mans mediocre is another mans "I wish I could play like that", pick on brother, you've got the goods.

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  31. #24

    Default Re: So...I'm stuck....dang MAS...

    A friend and I share a saying. We are all at some point on a line, with those we are better than in one direction,those we are worse than in the other. Those we are better than form a rather short line, while the other direction is rather long. All is as well as can be expected as long as our point on the line is traveling the right direction. While we will likely not to get to the end, we can take solace we are progressing.
    Silverangel A
    Michael Kelly LSFTB
    Arches F style kit
    1913 Gibson A-1

  32. #25
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    Default Re: So...I'm stuck....dang MAS...

    I don’t know anything about Morgan Monroe or Rover mandolins. I will say that a properly setup Ky 150 is a very good sounding instrument. I suspect the same is true for your Eastman 404. The folks at The Mandolin Store do a great job of getting those two models ready to play.

    Whatever you own, play them in good health!
    "Without self-discipline, success is impossible, period.”
    – Lou Holtz

    "If I don't practice one day, I know it; two days, the critics know it; three days, the public knows it; four days, Lou Holtz knows it." - Jascha Heifetz

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