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Thread: How to choose a good F style mandolin when you are miles from now

  1. #26

    Default Re: How to choose a good F style mandolin when you are miles from

    About a year ago, I spent time in Nashville test driving a large number of instruments in the higher dollar range (your price range for reference). As always, they had a wide variety of tones and feel. There is so much variety in the mandolin world that I honestly could not imagine buying at a distance.

    Someone above suggested taking a portion of your purchase 'budget' and using it for a shopping road trip. I think you'd have fun, find the best instrument for you and walk away without buyers' remorse. You win on all counts.
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  2. #27
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    Default Re: How to choose a good F style mandolin when you are miles from

    It is amazing but I think this may be the only similar thread without anyone mentioning "best bang for your buck" in reference to buying an A model vs. F. Oops! I guess I just did. In that price range for an A model you are looking at higher end makers vs. the F models more mid-range.
    Yup. $500 road trip would still leave $4,000 for a killer A-style mando.

    Kirk

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  4. #28
    Registered User Glassweb's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to choose a good F style mandolin when you are miles from

    Just buy a Northfield NF F5S... the best F5 style mandolin for the buck out there... seriously.

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  6. #29
    Registered User doc holiday's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to choose a good F style mandolin when you are miles from

    Quote Originally Posted by Grannycrowe View Post
    I am in the midst of full blown MAS. I just have to have a great F5 style mandolin can't spend more than $4500.00. How do I get the right one when I can't go test driving? Advise appreciated.

    Lisa
    Well Lisa, That's easy "a great F-5 style mandolin can't spend more than $4500." You don't say what you're playing, or a sound you're looking for. Lots of used F5s will answer your dream. At least you didn't say 'needs to sound like Loar, Gilchrist, Nugget." If you do have sound preferences..a road trip (Hmm Music Emporium?) is in order....

  7. #30

    Default Re: How to choose a good F style mandolin when you are miles from

    The more I think about this, I keep going back to our seeming need to overthink this, partly because we find it so much fun. But I'd bet that any mandolin you'd buy, starting with a Northfield F 5S for $3K new or $2500 used would thrill you to the bone. This would go double for moving up from the likes of Kentucky or Eastman, not that they don't fill a need.

    If you called up Elderly, Carters, The Mandolin Store, or any number of others and said something like I play Bluegrass, or I play Celtic, or I play everything, and I like my Eastman or Kentucky neck just fine, they would send you and instrument you'd like, and if you didn't you'd send it back with a comment like not loud enough, or too bright and they would nail it by the second go around.

    When I bought my first "good" mandolin, I took a complete chance on a mandolin I still have. It is very different from the Collings MT I was on the verge of buying. Later I took a bigger chance building one, that turned out to be completely different. This one was bright and punchy and has kept me from spending serious money. I'm building another and who knows what it will sound like. I can play six or seven good brands in a day. I could live with pretty much any of them. Pava, Collings, Weber, Girouard, Northfield, they are all worth buying. Some would be in a comfort zone like Collings, some maybe not, like a Silverangel, or a Ratliff, or a Pomeroy.

    You could be happy with any of them.
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  8. #31
    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to choose a good F style mandolin when you are miles from

    A friend, worked in local music store , went to Eastman Importer's Warehouse,

    and auditioned a dozen or so Identical Looking Mandolins .. F5 styled

    Then he selected the one he liked best for it's sound.. then had them ship that one to the shop.

    In short going to where there is the best selection .. Ideally..






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  9. #32
    Scroll Lock Austin Bob's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to choose a good F style mandolin when you are miles from

    Lots of folks are faced with that same problem when looking for a mandolin. There are many many places to shop for guitars, but only a few stores sell mandolins in that price range. So what to do? First, I would start listening to as many clips as possible and try to narrow down some brands you like. I would also look for jam sessions in your area to see if you can hear other mandolins in person.

    We buy so much stuff on the internet now, so why not a mandolin? If you like the Collings or Northfield sound, it's hard to go wrong with either of those. You will most likely get a very decent mandolin that is great quality.

    I bought my Gibson from The Mandolin Store in Arizona, and had a couple of days to decide if I liked it. That's more than you get in a retail store, and you get to hear it in your own home, without any pressure from salespeople. Worst case scenario is that you're out $150 or so for shipping and insurance if you decide to return it. That's not the end of the world.
    A quarter tone flat and a half a beat behind.

  10. #33
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    Default Re: How to choose a good F style mandolin when you are miles from

    Well I did it! I found an awesome deal on a new (as in I am first owner) Gibson Custom F5g! The mandolin was built in 2017 and signed by Dave Harvey. I was able to compare it to 2 other Gibson F5gs one of which was also a Custom model. I was surprised by how different each one was from the others. The one I choose really rings my bell. Will post a picture and maybe a sound bite llater. Thanks everybody for the great advise.

    Keep a song in your heart,
    Lisa

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  12. #34
    Registered User Gunnar's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to choose a good F style mandolin when you are miles from

    Congrats!
    Mandolin: Kentucky KM150
    Other instruments: way too many, and yet, not nearly enough.

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  13. #35

    Smile Re: How to choose a good F style mandolin when you are miles from

    Quote Originally Posted by Grannycrowe View Post
    Well I did it! I found an awesome deal on a new (as in I am first owner) Gibson Custom F5g! The mandolin was built in 2017 and signed by Dave Harvey. I was able to compare it to 2 other Gibson F5gs one of which was also a Custom model. I was surprised by how different each one was from the others. The one I choose really rings my bell. Will post a picture and maybe a sound bite llater. Thanks everybody for the great advise.

    Keep a song in your heart,
    Lisa
    Congratulations
    Im so delighted you were able to play several and found a great one.

    Cant wait to see the photos.
    There is nothing quite as exhilarating as a new instrument that you love.
    They are inspirational. And, a good mando sounds so sweet and musical.

  14. #36
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    Default Re: How to choose a good F style mandolin when you are miles from

    I found one! A limited edition custom Gibson F5Gc "Fire on the Mountain". I was able to test it out with 2 other Gibson F5Gs all three in the same room at the same time. They were all good a Derringer and 2 Dave Harvey F5G customs. They all sounded really good and each one had it's own unique voice and character. I appreciate all the suggestion and believe you all helped. Thank you I am in love. But why am I still checking the classifieds 2 to 3 times a day? MAS OMG

    Lisa

  15. #37

    Default Re: How to choose a good F style mandolin when you are miles from

    It’s hard to detox, and even if you did it would be a very temporary condition.
    Silverangel A
    Arches F style kit
    1913 Gibson A-1

  16. #38
    Registered User Kevin Briggs's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to choose a good F style mandolin when you are miles from

    Youíre not too awful far from Acoustic Music Works in Pittsburgh. That place is legit, although Collings-heavy, which may exceed your budget if you want a F.

    I say your best bet in that range is a used F. The Cafe classifieds are a wonderful resource. Just go for it. If itís used, in good shape, and you keep it in good shape, you wonít take a loss if you decide to sell some day.

  17. #39
    Registered User Kevin Briggs's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to choose a good F style mandolin when you are miles from

    And... never mind. Glad you found one. You’ll keep your money in that one too. Well done!

  18. #40
    Scroll Lock Austin Bob's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to choose a good F style mandolin when you are miles from

    I think you have a keeper. Lots of folks think Dave is producing some of the best mandolins that Gibson's ever built. Hopefully you will continue to be satisfied with your purchase and get many years of enjoyment out of it.
    A quarter tone flat and a half a beat behind.

  19. #41
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    Default Re: How to choose a good F style mandolin when you are miles from

    Quote Originally Posted by Grannycrowe View Post
    I found one!
    Congratulations! I'm guessing that the more you play it, the more you will bond with it.
    Have fun!
    Just one guy's opinion
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    Default Re: How to choose a good F style mandolin when you are miles from

    I want to upload photos of my F5g custom but am having trouble. Can anyone tell me how to attach a photo to a thread on Mandolincafe? Never mind I will figure it out eventually. Photos of label saying "Fire on the Mountain custom" signed by Dave Harvey will follow...promise. I finally put it down long enough to take pictures...I am getting better.

    Keep a song in your heart,
    Lisa

  21. #43

    Default Re: How to choose a good F style mandolin when you are miles from

    I was just in Carterís vintage a week ago. So many great mandolins. My Wife agreed that if someone really wanted to buy a fine mandolin , $300 plane tickets would be well worth it. Why? Because they have every mandolin you have ever read about on this forum. Just about. Really . They have small builders, vintage, famous , brand new ,used , very high end mandolins. You will be blown away.

  22. #44

    Default Re: How to choose a good F style mandolin when you are miles from

    I think your advise is very good if you are shopping the six or seven grand market looking for a long term commitment. The discount you will get walking into a store with cash will likely cover the expense.
    Silverangel A
    Arches F style kit
    1913 Gibson A-1

  23. #45
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    Default Re: How to choose a good F style mandolin when you are miles from

    My new Gibson F5Gc custom pictures attached. You can see the writing inside on both of the labels. Hope this helps.
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  24. #46
    Registered User Louise NM's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to choose a good F style mandolin when you are miles from

    Very pretty. Play it in good health.

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    Default Re: How to choose a good F style mandolin when you are miles from

    I wanted more info on my new Gibson F5Gc " Fire on the Mountain" so I messaged Dave Harvey on Facebook and told him I bought "Fire on the Mountain" and asked if he remembered her. Well he messaged me back tonight. He said "yes Iremember her. She is a "great mandolin!". What a great guy. I wanted to know how many oh these customs were made. To my surprise he said he made only 2 and thinks mine might be number 1. I sent him pictures of the two labels hoping he will be able to verify whether it is #1 of 2 or #2 of 2. I love this mandolin!!! I haven't heard another Gibson that sounds as good to me! That's awesome seeing as how I bought it don't you know. Again many thanks to all of you who helped me to find the best mandolin for me. You folks rock....you know what I mean.

    Keep a song in you hearts,
    Lisa

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  27. #48
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to choose a good F style mandolin when you are miles from

    I hesitate to quote the lyrics: “Fire on the mountain, run boys run...”

    Congratulations in any case. It looks lovely.
    Jim

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  29. #49
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    Default Re: How to choose a good F style mandolin when you are miles from

    Ken Ratcliff and his Silverangel mandolins are the best mandolin in any price range, imho, and I have owned Kentuckys, a Gibson F9, 2 Collings MTs, a Northfield NF5S(which I still own and love), but my Silverangel Econo A is my fav of all of them! Plus, you will NOT find anyone better to work with on a custom build. Contact Ken Ratcliff, and you will not be disappointed.

  30. #50
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    Default Re: How to choose a good F style mandolin when you are miles from

    David Harvey seems like a great guy from the multiple accounts I've read (including yours) and the interviews I've seen. I'm saving up for one of his Gibsons. They sound great.

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