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Thread: Unusual Suspects

  1. #1
    Registered User red7flag's Avatar
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    Mar 2005
    Dickson, TN

    Default Unusual Suspects

    This last Tuesday night I took two unusual suspects, a Collings MT2-O and Nyberg Mandola, to an eclectic jam at a local antique store. Both acquitted themselves admirably even playing some hard core bluegrass. Normally I bring my Ellis to be played by an excellent bluegrass musician, Zack Dyke. For some reason, I wanted to see him step out with the Collings and he did. Both of us took turns trading back and forth the Nyberg and Collings. Both have strong clear voices. According to Zack the Collings "maybe actually louder than the Ellis." Both had no trouble controlling the lead in a loud jam with a number of guitars and an electric bass. These are not two instruments you would normally think of shining at traditional bluegrass, thus the "unusual Suspects" designation (this is also the name of our bluegrass group that we have that plays locally here in Dickson, TN). I have included two pictures. One of the fronts of the two blond bombshells The Collings has Italian sprruce and the Nyberg (I think) has sittka spruce. One of the backs showing the birdeye maple of the Collings and the Padauk of the Nyberg. These two blonds demonstrated power and complexity not usually associated with blonds (teasing).
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    Tony Huber
    1930 Martin Style C #14783
    2011 Mowry GOM
    2013 Hester F4 #31
    2014 Ellis F5 #322
    2017 Collings MT2-O #3666
    2017 Nyberg Mandola #172

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  3. #2
    Registered User
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    Sep 2015

    Default Re: Unusual Suspects

    I have a "blonde" Collings MT f-hole, and when I "push" it, I have no trouble believing it can overpower a guitar or an electric bass. Two nice-looking instruments, BTW.

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  5. #3

    Default Re: Unusual Suspects

    The one Ellis I played was not the loudest mandolin in the store, but it shined in every other aspect as to make that irrelevant. It was loud enough.
    Silverangel A
    Arches F style kit
    1913 Gibson A-1

  6. #4

    Default Re: Unusual Suspects

    Now this thread makes me smile. I will preach the versatility of the Collings oval holes all day long. I'm an oval hole guy and don't really play much bluegrass, but I have heard both my main players ('24 Gibson snakehead A-Jr, Collings Honey MT2-O - Engelmann, Birdseye) in bluegrass situations and thought they did very well. I'll also be willing to bet most bluegrassers would disagree. To me, the Collings are an evolution of the Gibson short necks and they sit closer to the old Gibson sound than they do to the other hybrids on the market. Collings didn't just cut an oval hole in an A5, yet they still work extremely well in a lot of different situations.

    Now just to make this thread complete, I just need Fatt-dad and Garber to stop in here and tell me that the Collings ovals are not, in fact, Gibson ovals.

    Nice Nyberg also, I'd be really interested in hearing how that thing sounded in a bluegrass set.

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  8. #5

    Default Re: Unusual Suspects

    I'll take my Collings MT2-O (Engelmann top) to any bluegrass jam. It has unusually strong high end for an oval hole mandolin.
    I think the Italian spruce, even more so.
    I like having a fuller sound than the typical mandolins at the jam. It chops pretty well too.
    I also like that I don't have to drive it hard to be heard.

  9. #6
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Aug 2013

    Default Re: Unusual Suspects

    I don't understand where this " can't play bluegrass" stuff come from. Red Rector played an oval hole A and recorded with Carl Story and Reno and Smiley. And the king Jimmy Martain insisted that his mandolinplayers used his F4.

  10. #7
    Registered User Nick Gellie's Avatar
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    Jul 2010
    Orgiva, Spain

    Default Re: Unusual Suspects

    I agree with all of the above sentiments about Collings MT-O and MT2-Os. All great instruments and both stand out in a jam setting. I have just bought one thanks to my sister helping me out with a loan. It has a great tones and projection. It is superb for Irish music. I enjoy switching between it and my Collings MT. I just need an extra McClung armrest now.
    Nic Gellie

    Collings MT 2012 mandolin signed by Bill Collings
    Collings MT-O 2019 mandolin
    Ruben Bada 2019 Irish Bouzouki

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