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Thread: NMD: Howard Morris A-4 #430

  1. #1
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    Default NMD: Howard Morris A-4 #430

    New, as in straight out of the extremely well-packed shipping box and just tuned up.

    This is a beauty.

    More info and (I hope!) pics to follow shortly.
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  3. #2
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    Default Re: NMD: Howard Morris A-4 #430

    OK, so: photos. And apologies right up front, because they're awful in that they don't come near doing this instrument justice.

    This a a seriously sweet little axe. I wondered what a cedar top would sound like, and I'm not disappointed. It has a ring to it that differs noticeably from spruce, but it's pleasant.

    Dynamic range is wider than I expected. Even with a relatively heavy pick (specifically a 2mm Dunlop Ultex Sharp, which was the first thing within grabbing distance) I'm not sure I could overdrive this top without inflicting actual abuse, which I refuse to do. The sustain is lovely.

    Tone is well balanced. First impression is that there might be a slight bias in favor of the higher harmonics, but that could just as easily be an artifact of my bias left over from a couple of cedar-topped guitars I've owned. At any rate, it's as sweet as it is bright, and never comes close to being shrill. This is a completely different character than, for example, my more noticeably bass-to-midrangey Northfield F2S, and would play a different role in an ensemble. Actually I'm itching to try it alongside a bandmate's tenor ukulele, a context in which I think it might even be a more natural fit than the NF is. I suspect it would also work very nicely for classical, so that's on my "things to try ASAP" short list too. Glad I saved all that material from the Summit.

    Action is slick all the way up the fingerboard. I'm not sure what the scale length of this mandolin is, but Mr. Morris would certainly have told me if I'd thought to ask. Anyhow, that's a curiosity item rather than a critical spec.

    The strings ring nicely up through the 17th fret, after which the girth of my fingers starts to interfere.

    Intonation is virtually spot on; the treble side of the bridge might--might--could use a little tweak, but given that it's hard to tell I won't be in a hurry to do anything.

    In short, this is a lovely instrument even without taking price point into account. When that factor is included, it's an absolute steal.

    Finally, Howard Morris has, throughout this transaction, been an complete pleasure to deal with and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend that anyone in the market for a nice A-style mandolin give him a look.

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    Northfield F2S
    Howard Morris A-4
    Eastman DGM3 Mandola
    Eastman MD805PGE
    Miscellaneous tingums

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  5. #3
    Registered User Willem's Avatar
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    Default Re: NMD: Howard Morris A-4 #430

    Congrats! Sonny makes a helluva mandolin. I have had #393 for about 18 months. I just got a new Ruhland 2 weeks ago and the Morris is still staying. In my opinion there isn't anything close in value to a Morris.

  6. #4
    Registered User Gunnar's Avatar
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    Default Re: NMD: Howard Morris A-4 #430

    Congrats! Looks great! Got video?
    Mandolin: Kentucky KM150
    Other instruments: way too many, and yet, not nearly enough.

    My blog: https://theoffgridmusician.music.blog/
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    My Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/africanbanjogunnar/
    Free backing tracks:
    https://backingtrackers.wordpress.com/

  7. #5
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    Default Re: NMD: Howard Morris A-4 #430

    Not yet, but it's certainly a thought.
    Northfield F2S
    Howard Morris A-4
    Eastman DGM3 Mandola
    Eastman MD805PGE
    Miscellaneous tingums

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