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Thread: My journey through mandos under 1K

  1. #1

    Default My journey through mandos under 1K

    Well fairly new to mandolin. So far I've had

    The Loars a 590,600,700
    Kentucky 620,650
    Eastman 315,515
    Custom WV made The Bluegrass F style (not under 1K) but set it up for a fella. Prob the loudest of all I've played so far

    Been trading one after another. So far Ive kept The Loar 700 as its been my favorite tone wise. I installed newer frets,CA bridge, and sanded alot of the finish down.

    I agree with most of what I've read on the cafe The Eastman's and Kentucky's have better QC and finish. Guess im the odd man out this Loar 700 is a beast! I prefer its tone over anything I've had so far. I just traded for the Eastman 515 and still deciding which one to keep but I'm really leaning to my trusty Loar 700.

    Always been a guitar player but I am hooked on acquiring and setting up mandos..

  2. #2
    Fingers of Concrete ccravens's Avatar
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    Default Re: My journey through mandos under 1K

    Have you ever considered, in the midst of your many catches-and-releases, the money could have been spent on something that is a step-up, like a used Collings? Looks like you're making more lateral moves than upward.

    Buying and selling 6 or 7 mandos, there's no way you haven't lost a lot of money in the process (unless you bought all of them used).

    Not trying to be a critical know-it-all, but just wanting to throw another possibility out there..

    OTOH, if this is something you enjoy doing, I say go for it. There's certainly no harm in it.
    Chris Cravens

    Girouard A5 Mandolin
    Montana Flatiron A-Jr.
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  3. #3

    Default Re: My journey through mandos under 1K

    No just bought one used and traded a banjo for the other mando. From there I kept selling and buying another used. Keeping the one I liked best of the two. Definitely been fun and addicting.

    Id love to make it up to that price range. Im slowly getting there.

  4. #4
    Registered User Kevin Briggs's Avatar
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    Default Re: My journey through mandos under 1K

    Ah, man. I love it.

    I spent quite a bit of time during my mandolin journey sorting through mandolins under 1k. The truth is, you can do really well for that amount of money.

    I started out with an eBay no name for $50, then upgraded to a Stella, Alavarez, Morgan Monroe, and then a Breedlove OF. All were under $1k. I've had much more expensive instruments since then, but have dipped back under $1k to get a Kentucky, Eastman, and a Morris. The Eastman, Morris, and Breedlove were the winners from my perspective. I've played some Eastmans that were very good and I hope to own another one someday. One of the best was the MD305 blem I bought from the Mandolin Store for I think $399 at the time. It was awesome.

    If you buy used like you're doing, I agree it can be a great journey, and I think you'll eventually find one that is very good. My take on higher end models is they are more consistently very good, often absolutely great, and they are built to have a more complex, more sophisticated tone. So, you can get into some really intricate instruments if you are willing to spend the money. Even a used Collings MT can be exceptional, although not usually for less than $2k any more. A used Weber Gallatin A would be cool, as would a used Gibson A9 if you can find one.

    Have fun, man! Please keep telling us what you're getting into. Sound clips preferred. :-)

  5. #5
    Registered User J.C. Bryant's Avatar
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    Default Re: My journey through mandos under 1K

    I have been through a lot, a lot of mandolins. I've had Gibsons, Collings, a couple of hand made and about two years ago I went through a "flat top" phase and then back to arch tops. Through it all I kept my Collings MT2 from 2002, which truly is a keeper mandolin. HOWEVER, I decided to try the "flat tops" again, I just love the sound of them and at this time, after trying several Flatiron pancake (keeping two) and some Big Muddy's (great mandolins) I have come across the Sawchyn Beaver tail mandolins and I just love them, I love playing them hearing them and just the general look. I do not consider myself any sort of a great judge but if all I ever owned would be the Collings MT2 and the Sawchyns, I think that would be fine. I know you lose in the buying, selling, trading deal but I must admit I kind of like doing it. I have no other money grabbing hobbies. If I see something I want to try and can get it at a reasonable price I will give it a try and sell it if I don't like it. So there you go. It is less expensive than hunting, fishing or following a sports team and it keeps me home for the most part. Along the way you end up with some you just won't sell and that is the way I am with the Collings and the Sawchyn, and in the end maybe that is enough.

  6. #6

    Default Re: My journey through mandos under 1K

    Have you played the likes of a Collings or Northfield? You need to in order to know exactly why you are striving in that direction. Moving any higher up the chain from where you are now, the less likely you will find instruments their owners just want to get rid of. Your next target might be a 900 or above Kentucky.
    Silverangel A
    Arches F style kit
    1913 Gibson A-1

  7. #7
    Registered User Eric Platt's Avatar
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    Default Re: My journey through mandos under 1K

    Quote Originally Posted by Br1ck View Post
    Have you played the likes of a Collings or Northfield? You need to in order to know exactly why you are striving in that direction. Moving any higher up the chain from where you are now, the less likely you will find instruments their owners just want to get rid of. Your next target might be a 900 or above Kentucky.
    Agree. Although I would also add Gibson (either old or new), Weber and Morris.

    And I will also note that there seem to be quite a few of us who do go through instruments. So while some might still be on a search to find the "right one" the instrument going away could be the "right one" for someone else.
    1935 Gibson A50, 2018 Collings MT, 1929 Gibson A Jr., 1935 Kalamazoo KM-21, 1941 Strad-O-Lin, 2018 Eastman MDO-305, 1950's Californian
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    Registered User Matt Hutchinson's Avatar
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    Default Re: My journey through mandos under 1K

    I've been incredibly lucky with my mandolin. I have a Rigel A Natural that I picked up from Trevor at TAMCO for 650 (around $850). Feels like a much better mandolin than anything else I tried at that price point - in fact I prefer it to the Flatiron A I had before, which was probably worth twice as much.

    Buying new mandolins is fun though. I just bought an Ozark Army Navy style second hand for 50 so I have a mandolin in the office I can play at lunchtime!
    Rigel A Natural

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  10. #9
    Registered User Eric Platt's Avatar
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    Default Re: My journey through mandos under 1K

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Hutchinson View Post
    I've been incredibly lucky with my mandolin. I have a Rigel A Natural that I picked up from Trevor at TAMCO for 650 (around $850). Feels like a much better mandolin than anything else I tried at that price point - in fact I prefer it to the Flatiron A I had before, which was probably worth twice as much.

    Buying new mandolins is fun though. I just bought an Ozark Army Navy style second hand for 50 so I have a mandolin in the office I can play at lunchtime!
    Have mentioned this several times, but when I first tried mandolin about a decade ago, ended up with a Rigel A Natural. Still consider it one of the best mandolins I've owned. Really regret letting it go. But that's the way things happen sometimes.
    1935 Gibson A50, 2018 Collings MT, 1929 Gibson A Jr., 1935 Kalamazoo KM-21, 1941 Strad-O-Lin, 2018 Eastman MDO-305, 1950's Californian
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  11. #10
    Registered User Matt Hutchinson's Avatar
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    Default Re: My journey through mandos under 1K

    I regularly lust over more expensive mandolins but I doubt I'll ever outgrow the Rigel - it's more mandolin than I'll even need.

    ** disclaimer - this 100% does not mean I won't buy another mandolin at some point! **
    Rigel A Natural

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