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Thread: Need mando advice

  1. #1
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    Default Need mando advice

    I have been lurking on the Mando Cafe for several years and as a result I bought two mandolins that were listed on the classifieds, a Kentucky KM-950 and a Big Muddy M-11. I enjoy both mandolins, but I'm thinking of upgrading and getting a new (at least to me) instrument. I'm leaning towards a Girouard, a Northfield or a Morris. Or maybe a Silver Angel. I prefer the A mandolins and I play mostly Old Time, Celtic and hymns.

    Any suggestions?

    Thanks

    Julie

  2. #2

    Default Re: Need mando advice

    Your short list sounds like a good one.

    Play as many mandolins as you can. Do road trips to get to them if necessary.

    Choose the one that speaks to you personally and is most playable. Do basic setup repairs if needed. It's worth it.

    Hang onto the mandolins you have and enjoy if you can do so.

    Have you played any old Gibson oval holes? For the type of music you tend to play they are worth checking out.

    Savor the mandolin quest. It can be a lifetime adventure.

    Support your favorite luthier. Expert maintenance is key to long-term enjoyment,max playability and tone.

    Just suggestions.

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  4. #3

    Default Re: Need mando advice

    Your main problem will be finding any two you mention in one store at the same time. I have played all but the Morris. I own a Silverangel which would be very good for the styles you wish to play. You are close to The Mandolin Store, so I imagine they might have a Northfield and should have a Collings MTO should you wish to spend that kind of money, and probably may have a Northfield Calhoun or a Waterloo flat top to try too. Give them a call. The Northfield F 5S is a crackerjack of a mandolin, but perhaps too bright, but they do an oval version too. But try TMS first. You are too close to pass that up.
    Silverangel A
    Arches F style kit
    1913 Gibson A-1

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  6. #4
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    Default Re: Need mando advice

    Google Mike Black, his A's look and sound great to me, and should be similar in price to others you've listed.
    rfloyd

    Kentucky KM-250

    Guitars:
    Santa Cruz VJ
    RainSong WS 1000
    Farida OT-22 OO
    Blueridge BR-142

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  8. #5

    Default Re: Need mando advice

    Morrises sound like a great twang for the buck. Nice prices for axes that get good reviews and are handmade in North America.

    That's the way I'd go—and get something fancier when I'm Ryman-ready.

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  10. #6
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    Default Re: Need mando advice

    I've played three or four Morris mandolins and they all sounded real good. Actually helped a couple of students get them. if you can get past their tacky peg heads they are are very good for the money. Best thing is to play as many mandolins as you can and find one that speaks to you. I was in a shop that had a handmade F model and a Gibson F9 and then some Eastman F's and A's. If I was going by what they had in that shop, one of the Eastmans would have left with me. I think an Eastman varnish model might be pretty good sounding. If you have $3000 you might want to look at Pava, or any of a lot of smaller builders out there. I have played some nice mandolins from the less famous makers who are really making nice instruments. Watch the ads closely. Some good mandolins show from time to time.

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  12. #7
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    Default Re: Need mando advice

    Quote Originally Posted by MandoPlayer View Post
    I have been lurking on the Mando Cafe for several years and as a result I bought two mandolins that were listed on the classifieds, a Kentucky KM-950 and a Big Muddy M-11. I enjoy both mandolins, but I'm thinking of upgrading and getting a new (at least to me) instrument. I'm leaning towards a Girouard, a Northfield or a Morris. Or maybe a Silver Angel. I prefer the A mandolins and I play mostly Old Time, Celtic and hymns.

    Any suggestions?

    Thanks

    Julie
    No comparison ! Girouard !
    My two favorite pastimes are drinking wine and playing the mandolin but most of my friends would rather hear me drink wine! Adapted from quote by Mark Twain------supposedly !

  13. #8

    Default Re: Need mando advice

    Look, place the four mandolins in the OP's post in the hands of ten different players, and I doubt you would get even a 50% consensus, much less a unanimous choice. As a Silverangel enthusiast, I don't think I have ever made a recommendation without cautioning prospective buyers as to the warm nature of the brand. That the SA tone profile fits the OP's stated musical direction warrants that recommendation. The only valid no comparison statement is where there is literally, no comparison.

    Place any of the brands in the hands of a person moving up from a modest import, and they will be thrilled, be it the Girouard or any other. Better to explain why you feel it would fit the OP's needs.

    I don't mean to come off as snarky, but I had a friend ask me about buying a $7500 guitar and wanting my opinion. I told him he'd like it, but maybe pick something else if he were to go into a well stocked store. Heck, blindfolded, I might not pick a Loar over a Gilchrist.
    Last edited by Br1ck; Feb-02-2020 at 11:14pm.
    Silverangel A
    Arches F style kit
    1913 Gibson A-1

  14. #9
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    Default Re: Need mando advice

    Quote Originally Posted by MandoPlayer View Post
    I have been lurking on the Mando Cafe for several years and as a result I bought two mandolins that were listed on the classifieds, a Kentucky KM-950 and a Big Muddy M-11. I enjoy both mandolins, but I'm thinking of upgrading and getting a new (at least to me) instrument. I'm leaning towards a Girouard, a Northfield or a Morris. Or maybe a Silver Angel. I prefer the A mandolins and I play mostly Old Time, Celtic and hymns.

    Any suggestions?

    Thanks

    Julie
    Not sure you’re going to find much difference between the Ky 950, a really good mandolin, and the others you reference. To be clear, those are terrific instruments. But if, and it’s a big if, your 950 is properly set up, you may have all you need.

    Whatever you choose, play in good health!
    "Without self-discipline, success is impossible, period.”
    – Lou Holtz

    “Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, the mind can achieve.”
    - Jake LaMotta

    “Mandolin brands are a guide, not Gospel “
    - Data Nick

  15. #10
    Registered User Joel Osborne's Avatar
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    Default Re: Need mando advice

    Have you considered a Ratliff Mandolin? I recommend checking them out.

    http://www.ratliffmandolins.com/
    "I’m not skinning a live cat I’m playing the Mandolin"

    1971 Vega Wagon
    1982 Yugo 45
    1983 Chevette Scooter
    1987 Cadillac Allante
    1991 TC by Maserati

  16. #11
    Registered User Joel Osborne's Avatar
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    Default Re: Need mando advice

    Quote Originally Posted by MandoPlayer View Post
    I have been lurking on the Mando Cafe for several years and as a result I bought two mandolins that were listed on the classifieds, a Kentucky KM-950 and a Big Muddy M-11. I enjoy both mandolins, but I'm thinking of upgrading and getting a new (at least to me) instrument. I'm leaning towards a Girouard, a Northfield or a Morris. Or maybe a Silver Angel. I prefer the A mandolins and I play mostly Old Time, Celtic and hymns.

    Any suggestions?

    Thanks

    Julie
    There is a Ratliff RA-5 that showed up in the classifieds this afternoon, you might want to check it out.

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/ads/150399#150399
    "I’m not skinning a live cat I’m playing the Mandolin"

    1971 Vega Wagon
    1982 Yugo 45
    1983 Chevette Scooter
    1987 Cadillac Allante
    1991 TC by Maserati

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