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Thread: what is the best selling mandolin

  1. #26
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: what is the best selling mandolin.

    Quote Originally Posted by mandolin tony View Post
    good morning Marty, I am asking what is the BEST selling mandolins on the café. not Amazon were people will buy any thing that looks nice & is cheap.
    Tony, "best selling" usually means the highest number of sales. No data exists as to what mandolins Cafe members own. Rule of thumb is that less expensive instruments outsell higher-priced ones -- more Chevrolets than Cadillacs, right?

    Based on reading posts for 'way more than a decade, I'd hazard a guess that the lower-end Kentucky mandolins are owned by a large number of Cafe members, either those just starting out, or those who've kept their first and second mandolin when they "graduated" to a pricier instrument. Same goes for the entry-level Eastman "300" series.

    Cafe members aren't immune from buying an instrument "that looks nice & is cheap"; if it can be made playable, and doesn't sound too bad -- well, most of us learned on mandolins like that. And some of us keep that Rogue or Harmony or whatever in its chipboard case, back in the closet, for sentimental reasons, or for when our #1 and #2 mandolins are in the shop, or in case we're going camping in the White Mountains, and don't want to spend a week mandolin-less.

    Don't expect a statistically reliable accounting of Cafe mandolin ownership. Do expect a bunch of opinions, which you have.
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  2. #27
    Moderator JEStanek's Avatar
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    Default Re: what is the best selling mandolin

    I started my mandolin acquiring and playing on E-bay (Hello my beautiful Mexican made Lone Star mandolin) then a Johnson Oval and a Kentucky KM140S! I have given away all of those to other aspiring players. They were each in the $125-150 range at the time. I actually kind of miss the Lone Star (once it was set up and comfortable but those tuners weren't that great).

    I suspect MANY of us on the Cafe have gone the cheap-o Ebay/Amazon route before we sunk $300 or more into a nicer instrument. I'm a firm believer in those inexpensive instruments. If they are set up and intonate in first position (AT LEAST) then you can make music on them and see if mandolin is right for you. You don't NEED a $500 or even $1200 mandolin to make music on. That's a myth.

    I might hazard that a Rogue is where many of us got started. Maybe folks are ashamed to admit to it now... maybe not. Not me.

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  4. #28
    Registered User Randi Gormley's Avatar
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    Default Re: what is the best selling mandolin

    I think you need to be more specific. What are your parameters? Best selling over what period of time? Best selling among which audience? You've sort of dismissed the e-search on best selling worldwide currently. So you need to narrow your search terms. And it wouldn't hurt to give the reason for the request, people are more inclined to answer if they know why you're looking. if it's mere curiosity, you can say how the question came up in the first place. Just a suggestion.
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  5. #29
    Phil Goodson Philphool's Avatar
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    Default Re: what is the best selling mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by mandolin tony View Post
    yankees1 the pick thing has been played to death.
    Like "what mandolin should I buy" hasn't been played to death. ROF
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  6. #30

    Default Re: what is the best selling mandolin

    IIRC I believe Robert Fear (sp?), one of the mando retailers around these parts, had mentioned Michael Kelly was the best selling mandolin for years. Not sure if that still holds as there are many new contenders over recent years.
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  7. #31

    Default Re: what is the best selling mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by Verne Andru View Post
    IIRC I believe Robert Fear (sp?), one of the mando retailers around these parts, had mentioned Michael Kelly was the best selling mandolin for years. Not sure if that still holds as there are many new contenders over recent years.
    That's interesting. I think they get recommended less than other brands, but the bling-for-the-buck may be irresistible. I always thought their business model was pretty solid, go for the curb appeal if your market are people who are buying online. Pictures are all they have to go on, so optimize for that modality.

  8. #32

    Default Re: what is the best selling mandolin

    I believe he was referencing pre "The Loar," Eastman and others that are relatively recent additions to the mandolin family. There were/are a lot of junk makers at a time when MK's were about the only all solid woods priced between under Kentuckys/Washburns. After that it got real expensive real fast. Even Rovers and Rogues are relatively new.

    Today there are so many nice solid builds cheap I doubt MKs are as popular, but once upon a time. Time will tell if the low priced Asian builds will retain their price advantage.
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  9. #33

    Default Re: what is the best selling mandolin

    I've yet to see a MK for sale in a store, and perhaps due to the serious shops I visit. I suspect most mandolins in this price range are sold online. I can't imagine any knowledgable player buying one with a factory setup. While not perfect,mother Kentucky and Eastman factory setup is at least playable. I wouldn't say that for my out of the box MK.

    I'll bet someone like Folk Musician can give you an educated guess though.

    - - - Updated - - -

    I've yet to see a MK for sale in a store, and perhaps due to the serious shops I visit. I suspect most mandolins in this price range are sold online. I can't imagine any knowledgable player buying one with a factory setup. While not perfect,mother Kentucky and Eastman factory setup is at least playable. I wouldn't say that for my out of the box MK.

    I'll bet someone like Folk Musician can give you an educated guess though.
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  10. #34

    Default Re: what is the best selling mandolin

    Robert were are you ?. hope all is going well for you.

  11. #35
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    Default Re: what is the best selling mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by Verne Andru View Post
    I believe he was referencing pre "The Loar," Eastman and others that are relatively recent additions to the mandolin family. There were/are a lot of junk makers at a time when MK's were about the only all solid woods priced between under Kentuckys/Washburns. After that it got real expensive real fast. Even Rovers and Rogues are relatively new.

    Today there are so many nice solid builds cheap I doubt MKs are as popular, but once upon a time. Time will tell if the low priced Asian builds will retain their price advantage.
    Many years ago (yes before The Loar and before Eastmans were popular), MK was the darling of the affordable mando here on the Cafe. Lots of recommendations and accolades. I have never had a chance to play one. These days the reviews of them seem more mixed. It may be because they are not as good as they were then, or that The Loars and Eastmans are just better.
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  12. #36

    Default Re: what is the best selling mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by RobP View Post
    Many years ago (yes before The Loar and before Eastmans were popular), MK was the darling of the affordable mando here on the Cafe. Lots of recommendations and accolades. I have never had a chance to play one. These days the reviews of them seem more mixed. It may be because they are not as good as they were then, or that The Loars and Eastmans are just better.
    Oh yeah, Mickey Cochran and Folk of the Wood days.

  13. #37
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    Default Re: what is the best selling mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by Marty Jacobson View Post
    Oh yeah, Mickey Cochran and Folk of the Wood days.
    Yep! I spent a ton of time on that site before I discovered this one...

    And MKs were very highly regarded at that time. My first mandolin was a Kentucky 675-S that I thought I got a fair eBay deal on. I should have bought the MK I was also considering, LOL. That was just after Kentucky’s move to China, so their work has improved immensely since then.
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  14. #38
    Registered User Eric F.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: what is the best selling mandolin

    Years ago there was a traveling Michael Kelly, kind of like today's traveling pick sampler. Someone bought one and it got shipped from Cafe member to member. I had it for a while. It wasn't the worst mandolin I'd ever played, but it didn't impress me much. A couple of years later I happened into a store that had a wall of them. I easily played 10 that day, maybe more because I was a glutton for punishment. Nine were "meh" and one just had it going on. It was astoundingly loud and rich sounding. Heads turned in the store when I started playing it. I'm pretty sure I yelled an expletive after a few notes. It was so unlike the others, it felt like something from an entirely different planet had dropped into my arms. Whoever bought that mandolin is probably out there somewhere thinking, "I just don't understand why this brand gets a bad rap."

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