Results 1 to 12 of 12

Thread: New Player / Question about bowlback mandolins

  1. #1

    Smile New Player / Question about bowlback mandolins

    Hey, beginner mandolin player here, I picked up a $40 stagg m20 a few weeks ago and started learning by myself. I played violin when I was very young but basically forgot everything I learned. I messaged Rob to get his setup ebook (thanks! by the way) but it turned out that I didn't need modifications beside moving the bridge a bit.

    I'm mostly interested in classical music and I'm considering getting a bowlback mando, I'm sure it won't improve my skills but I want an instrument I look forward to play and the stagg isn't really checking that box.

    What are the best options for a sub $700 bowlback mandolin ? As far as I can tell custom mandolin are way out of my budget, which leaves me with vintage/renovated or new mandos.
    The only new bowlbacks I found are from Matsikas, does anyone have experience with these ? (ex: https://www.thomann.de/intl/matsikas...d_mandolin.htm)
    Is it even worth buying a <$700 bowlback mando or should I stick to something like a eastman MD305 ?

    I currently live in Germany and I'd prefer to buy in Europe. I hope you can help me, thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Registered User Hany Hayek's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Egypt
    Posts
    598

    Default Re: New Player / Question about bowlback mandolins

    Check this site http://www.mandolinluthier.com/mandolins_for_sale.htm
    You don't necessarily need a bowl back to play classical, maybe an oval hole mandolin would do for you.

  3. #3
    Registered User Hany Hayek's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Egypt
    Posts
    598

    Default Re: New Player / Question about bowlback mandolins

    Matsikas are good mandolins. I have tried them out in their shop in Athens. However a bowl back needs a very good set up and thomann don't offer that.

  4. #4

    Default Re: New Player / Question about bowlback mandolins

    Thanks for the link, some of them look very interesting and it would save me some money compared to a Matsikas. Am I right to assume that they would need more caution (handling, humidity, etc.) ?

    Do you know if Matsikas take care of the setup if I buy through their shop ? I wouldn't mind doing it myself though

  5. #5
    Registered User DavidKOS's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    North CA
    Posts
    3,872

    Default Re: New Player / Question about bowlback mandolins

    Most of the Sakis instruments come reasonably well adjusted and set-up.

  6. #6
    Registered User Hany Hayek's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Egypt
    Posts
    598

    Default Re: New Player / Question about bowlback mandolins

    Quote Originally Posted by lm5656 View Post
    Thanks for the link, some of them look very interesting and it would save me some money compared to a Matsikas. Am I right to assume that they would need more caution (handling, humidity, etc.) ?

    Do you know if Matsikas take care of the setup if I buy through their shop ? I wouldn't mind doing it myself though
    I am not sure if Matsikas would do a setup. If you intend to buy an old bowl back restored, just have a good look at what was repaired, and other details. And yes they need some care and light strings. Good luck
    “Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.”
    ― Victor Hugo

  7. #7
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    2,624

    Default Re: New Player / Question about bowlback mandolins

    Be aware that Greek mandolins are built somewhat differently than Italian-style examples. The lack a cant, for example, (at least mine is in that category), which means their bellies (tops) are not arched. This may be of little consequence to the OP, of course. Materials are sometimes different as well; bowls are often of walnut rather than maple or rosewood. Again, perhaps not consequential; just noting the variants.

  8. #8

    Default Re: New Player / Question about bowlback mandolins

    I'm starting to think that I should probably try out the major mando styles (greek/italian bowlbacks, oval holes A style, etc.) before deciding on one. My only experience so far is the stagg, I have no reference to compare types of woods or arched vs not arched tops.

  9. #9
    Registered User DavidKOS's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    North CA
    Posts
    3,872

    Default Re: New Player / Question about bowlback mandolins

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob A View Post
    Be aware that Greek mandolins are built somewhat differently than Italian-style examples. The lack a cant, for example, (at least mine is in that category), which means their bellies (tops) are not arched. This may be of little consequence to the OP, of course. Materials are sometimes different as well; bowls are often of walnut rather than maple or rosewood. Again, perhaps not consequential; just noting the variants.
    My Sakis Greek mandolin has a cant on the top.

  10. The following members say thank you to DavidKOS for this post:

    Bob A 

  11. #10

    Default Re: New Player / Question about bowlback mandolins

    I found about Calace mandolins while browsing the forum today. I sent them an email and was pleased to get a response in less than an hour.

    Are entry models (type 22 and 24) worth their price ? respectively 730 and 780 euros.

  12. #11
    mando-evangelist August Watters's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Brookline, Massachusetts
    Posts
    950
    Blog Entries
    3

    Default Re: New Player / Question about bowlback mandolins

    Quote Originally Posted by lm5656 View Post
    Are entry models (type 22 and 24) worth their price ? respectively 730 and 780 euros.
    I've played a few of these, in Italy. Haven't seen them here in the USA. The ones I saw were good, solid, well-made instruments, and the Calace name might give you some resale value. But here in the USA, there are some good vintage instruments, if you know where to get them. I've been watching this one at Stutzman's for a long time, and somehow it's still there. They also have a Sakis, cheap. What's not to like?

  13. #12

    Default Re: New Player / Question about bowlback mandolins

    Quote Originally Posted by August Watters View Post
    I've played a few of these, in Italy. Haven't seen them here in the USA. The ones I saw were good, solid, well-made instruments, and the Calace name might give you some resale value. But here in the USA, there are some good vintage instruments, if you know where to get them. I've been watching this one at Stutzman's for a long time, and somehow it's still there. They also have a Sakis, cheap. What's not to like?
    Sadly I'm not in the US anymore, and I'm not sure I want to risk buying from there (delivery, customs, possible return). The Sakis is pretty cheap indeed.

    I guess I'll take my time and be on the look for a nice used mando, in the meantime I have a lot to learn.

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •