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Thread: Newbie wondering about "The Loar" F-style mando quality

  1. #1

    Default Newbie wondering about "The Loar" F-style mando quality

    The Loar "Honey Creek" and LM-590 MS mandolins:
    They look reasonably priced. Would either of these be a good starting point in F-style?

    My current instruments are a 1920 Martin style-A, and a Don MacRostie designed Stuart MacDonald A-style kit I built about 10 years ago. I play Celtic and oldtime/bluegrass. I'd like to add a bit more chop to my bluegrass sound. Anything over $500.00 is pretty much out of bounds.

    Recommendations?

    Thanks,

    Roger

    1920 Martin Style A
    Don MacRostie designed Stuart MacDonald A-style kit I built myself.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Newbie wondering about "The Loar" F-style mando quality

    I had a 520 VS, i think, for a while that I got in a trade, it was a nice mandolin and if setup well sounded fine.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

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  4. #3
    Struggle Monkey B381's Avatar
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    Default Re: Newbie wondering about "The Loar" F-style mando quality

    Every 310 honey creek I have held kinda looks like plastic due to the finish. I don't have much experience with them but I think there's probably better choices. YMMV
    "It doesn't matter how much you invest in your instrument until you invest in you and your ability..."

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    Registered User CWRoyds's Avatar
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    Default Re: Newbie wondering about "The Loar" F-style mando quality

    For under $500 you should get an A style.
    I don’t know of a decent F style that cheap.
    Get a Kentucky KM150 or similar.
    It will be a much better sounding instrument than a sub $500 F style
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  7. #5

    Default Re: Newbie wondering about "The Loar" F-style mando quality

    The StewMac kit doesn't chop? Just wondering because the wood should be pretty decent quality.
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    Registered User Joe-TN's Avatar
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    Default Re: Newbie wondering about "The Loar" F-style mando quality

    Look at The Loar's THE LOAR LM-590. Elderly lists this for $590; Call them and see what the best they will do is. I bought an LM-600 from them this spring. The quality is excellent, finish a bit thicker than I would prefer. Plays and sounds great and growing better. I went to Elderly because of the setup they provide, and I wasn't disappointed. They will price competitively with other online dealers.

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    Some Ability - No Talent MikeZito's Avatar
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    Default Re: Newbie wondering about "The Loar" F-style mando quality

    A few years ago I returned to the mandolin after a long hiatus, and a low-line The Loar was my first purchase. For the measly $210 that I paid for it, (and did a quick set-up) I found it to be a perfectly serviceable mandolin. It played reasonably well, sounded reasonably good, and because of the low price, I had no reservations about taking it with me everywhere that I went. I will always be grateful to my The Loar for getting me back in the swing of things. I would most likely still own and use it today as my knock-around mandolin, but I decided to become an oval-hole player, so it had to go.

  10. #8
    Registered User Willem's Avatar
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    Default Re: Newbie wondering about "The Loar" F-style mando quality

    The LM 590 will be a better mandolin than any of the Honey Creek instruments. The difference being that the 590 will be all solid and carved. The Honey Creek series have pressed or plywood backs depending on which one. I had a 520 until a few weeks ago that served me just fine. As is well noted, just make sure it is well set-up.

  11. #9

    Default Re: Newbie wondering about "The Loar" F-style mando quality

    Quote Originally Posted by Br1ck View Post
    The StewMac kit doesn't chop? Just wondering because the wood should be pretty decent quality.
    It was my first build, and the top isn't as thin as it ought to be. It sounds OK, but I'd like something more professionally made - with better intonation and projection.
    Roger

    1920 Martin Style A
    Don MacRostie designed Stuart MacDonald A-style kit I built myself.
    2018 The Loar LM-590 Ms

  12. #10

    Default Re: Newbie wondering about "The Loar" F-style mando quality

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe-TN View Post
    Look at The Loar's THE LOAR LM-590. Elderly lists this for $590; Call them and see what the best they will do is. I bought an LM-600 from them this spring. The quality is excellent, finish a bit thicker than I would prefer. Plays and sounds great and growing better. I went to Elderly because of the setup they provide, and I wasn't disappointed. They will price competitively with other online dealers.
    Thank you. This may be the droid I'm looking for.
    Roger

    1920 Martin Style A
    Don MacRostie designed Stuart MacDonald A-style kit I built myself.
    2018 The Loar LM-590 Ms

  13. #11

    Default Re: Newbie wondering about "The Loar" F-style mando quality

    This right here dude (NFI):

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/ads/138859#138859

    A 'The Loar' 500VS was my first upgrade after originally learning on an Epiphone MM50, which you currently can find in the classifieds for the same price. The MM50 is great at $200, not so much at any more than that.

    For a while on this forum (right around the time the one linked above was built) a The Loar 520 was considered the best-bang-for-the-buck F-style by many in the know. Even if you have to spend $100 on a good setup (likely depending on where the seller bought it) you still come out ahead as it will blow a 590 out of the water.

    Can you do better with an A style for the same $$$? Absolutely. But the 520 will definitely scratch that F-itch for <500 bucks like nothing else.

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  14. #12

    Default Re: Newbie wondering about "The Loar" F-style mando quality

    Found a great deal on a 2018 The Loar LM-590 Ms. So, case closed.


    Click image for larger version. 

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    Roger

    1920 Martin Style A
    Don MacRostie designed Stuart MacDonald A-style kit I built myself.
    2018 The Loar LM-590 Ms

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    Registered User lflngpicker's Avatar
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    Default Re: Newbie wondering about "The Loar" F-style mando quality

    It's a beauty! Enjoy!!

  17. #14
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    Default Re: Newbie wondering about "The Loar" F-style mando quality

    Funny, the case looks open to me!
    Don

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    Registered User jim simpson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Newbie wondering about "The Loar" F-style mando quality

    I bought a Honey Creek Loar this past winter for the express purpose of taking it to practice during our single digit period of winter. I didn't want to expose either of my Collings to the extremes of weather for a 2 to 3 hr. practice. I thought the Loar noted nice, clean, and enough volume but found the chop to be anemic. I happened to find a good buy on a Rigel A this past spring so I sold the Loar to someone who was getting their feet wet in the mandolin world. I won't worry so much about taking the Rigel out in those conditions.
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  20. #16
    Registered User Mike Arakelian's Avatar
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    Default Re: Newbie wondering about "The Loar" F-style mando quality

    For $500 you should be able to find a gently used Eastman 315, which, IMO, would be a better mandolin in terms of build quality and possibly resale value. My first mandolin was a Loar 220, and my second was the Eastman 315. Again IMO, the Eastman was a better mandolin in all respects. Good luck.
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  21. #17

    Default Re: Newbie wondering about "The Loar" F-style mando quality

    For $300, this will suit until I feel I'm good enough for a Collings, Northfield, Weber, or something in that league.
    Roger

    1920 Martin Style A
    Don MacRostie designed Stuart MacDonald A-style kit I built myself.
    2018 The Loar LM-590 Ms

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  23. #18

    Default Re: Newbie wondering about "The Loar" F-style mando quality

    look do your self a favor & get a Eastman 305, from the mandolin store. with the extra money they should be able to hook you up with a nice hard case & a strap. read all the reviews here, there all positive.

  24. #19

    Default Re: Newbie wondering about "The Loar" F-style mando quality

    Quote Originally Posted by 20MartinA View Post
    For $300, this will suit until I feel I'm good enough for a Collings, Northfield, Weber, or something in that league.
    Faulty thinking alert. No one has to be good enough to buy whatever mandolin they want. Quit thinking like that. There is no test, in fact buying a Collings or some such is the best possible way to play better.

    I see you put a StewMac kit together. Nothing in the price range being discussed should touch that, regardless of the flaws.
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  25. #20

    Default Re: Newbie wondering about "The Loar" F-style mando quality

    Actually, I am quite happy with this Loar.
    Roger

    1920 Martin Style A
    Don MacRostie designed Stuart MacDonald A-style kit I built myself.
    2018 The Loar LM-590 Ms

  26. #21
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Newbie wondering about "The Loar" F-style mando quality

    Quote Originally Posted by 20MartinA View Post
    Found a great deal on a 2018 The Loar LM-590 Ms. So, case closed...
    You'll need to reopen the case to get the mandolin out.

    Jus' sayin'....
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  28. #22

    Default Re: Newbie wondering about "The Loar" F-style mando quality

    Quote Originally Posted by allenhopkins View Post
    You'll need to reopen the case to get the mandolin out.

    Jus' sayin'....
    Ha! It's open a lot. And, to the naysayers, these Loars are nicely made. And easy to play. Eastmans are nice, too, but I certainly made no mistake here. It's nicely set up and was attractively priced.
    Roger

    1920 Martin Style A
    Don MacRostie designed Stuart MacDonald A-style kit I built myself.
    2018 The Loar LM-590 Ms

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