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Thread: The Heiden F Artist in the classifieds

  1. #1
    Registered User EvanElk's Avatar
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    Default The Heiden F Artist in the classifieds

    No financial interest, but thought I would report that I had a chance to play it at Wintergrass and it's really something. It's only just off the bench, but already has incredible power and volume and of course that Heiden tone.
    2015 Heiden F Artist
    2001 Sullivan F5
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    2019 Ruhland F5
    2009 Heiden mandola

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    Registered User JAK's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Heiden F Artist in the classifieds

    How did it compare to your Ruhland F5?
    John A. Karsemeyer

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    Registered User EvanElk's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Heiden F Artist in the classifieds

    Quote Originally Posted by JAK View Post
    How did it compare to your Ruhland F5?
    Matt Ruhland's mandolins have their own tonal signature that has emerged as he has established his building style and process. Since I have both a Ruhland and Heiden F and have now played several from both builders, I can answer your question from experience.
    Matt's mandolins are lighter, brighter and louder with a wonderful woodiness and purity of tone - like some Loars I have played. Michael's mandolins have a rich, complex and sophisticated tone that may shade a bit darker. Look on youtube for some videos of Isaac Eicher playing his Heiden to get a sense of the tone. Michael has been at this for some 45 years and is among the best mandolin builders ever. Matt has established himself quickly as a world class builder in the 5 years or so he has been building. At Wintergrass there were about 10 Ruhlands being played out in jams throughout the 3 days and all were impressive
    2015 Heiden F Artist
    2001 Sullivan F5
    2017 Duff A5
    2019 Ruhland F5
    2009 Heiden mandola

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    Registered User JAK's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Heiden F Artist in the classifieds

    Thanks Evan, good info.
    John A. Karsemeyer

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    Registered User John Soper's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Heiden F Artist in the classifieds

    When I saw the ad, two things ran through my mind immediately: 1) This is NOT the time to buy a new mandolin, 2) Please somebody buy that soon, so that I don't have to be tortured by the ad....

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    Registered User Denman John's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Heiden F Artist in the classifieds

    Thanks for pointing this one out. I probably saw it being built when I was there this past summer. An A style also popped up from 2015. Every Heiden I’ve played or heard that was built in the past 5 years has been phenomenal. I recently heard 3 of Michael’s newer mandolins being played together and it was mandolin-heaven.

    There is also a nice Kimble A that recently hit the classifieds ...
    ... not all those who wander are lost ...

  9. #7

    Default Re: The Heiden F Artist in the classifieds

    Moderator’s edit. Please review Forum Guidelines regarding promoting personal instruments from Classifieds here.
    Last edited by Ted Eschliman; Feb-29-2020 at 10:54pm.

  10. #8

    Default Re: The Heiden F Artist in the classifieds

    Quote Originally Posted by 8strings View Post
    Moderatorís edit. Please review Forum Guidelines regarding promoting personal instruments from Classifieds here.
    No problems, I have removed my Heiden 'Heritage' from your site.

  11. #9

    Default Re: The Heiden F Artist in the classifieds

    I wish the person who owned the A had not chosen to give it the speed neck treatment.
    There's nothing better than first-hand experience.

  12. #10
    My Florida is scooped pheffernan's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Heiden F Artist in the classifieds

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandobar View Post
    I wish the person who owned the A had not chosen to give it the speed neck treatment.
    I wish the person who owned the A had chosen to depreciate it more.
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  13. #11

    Default Re: The Heiden F Artist in the classifieds

    Quote Originally Posted by pheffernan View Post
    I wish the person who owned the A had chosen to depreciate it more.
    It's the law of supply and demand. Michael is no longer taking orders, and a new one is well over the asking price. That said, it was listed here by a private seller (not a retailer) for less than what it is now just a few months ago. If you were looking for a more flexible price that was the time to buy it, although $7k is around market price for a used Heiden A. Of all the mandolins that I own, the Heiden is the most balanced, and sacrifices nothing in terms of tone, volume, fit, finish, playability (Michael's set ups are sublime). If I had to choose only one, it would be the one.
    There's nothing better than first-hand experience.

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    My Florida is scooped pheffernan's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Heiden F Artist in the classifieds

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandobar View Post
    It's the law of supply and demand. Michael is no longer taking orders, and a new one is well over the asking price. That said, it was listed here by a private seller (not a retailer) for less than what it is now just a few months ago. If you were looking for a more flexible price that was the time to buy it, although $7k is around market price for a used Heiden A. Of all the mandolins that I own, the Heiden is the most balanced, and sacrifices nothing in terms of tone, volume, fit, finish, playability (Michael's set ups are sublime). If I had to choose only one, it would be the one.
    I had a deal on a Heiden A within the last year for under $6K, but it fell apart on me through no fault of my own. I spent the money elsewhere but keep dreaming.
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  16. #13

    Default Re: The Heiden F Artist in the classifieds

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandobar View Post
    Of all the mandolins that I own, the Heiden is the most balanced, and sacrifices nothing in terms of tone, volume, fit, finish, playability (Michael's set ups are sublime). If I had to choose only one, it would be the one.
    This. Especially the setups (none better that I've found), and my Heiden A5 is definitely THE ONE. That F5 could make me change my mind.

    And I have serious doubts the top is Sitka on the A5 in the classifieds.
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    Default Re: The Heiden F Artist in the classifieds

    I once owned a Heiden A5 but returned it as I prefer an Ellis or Girouard sound to my ears . Workmanship wasn’t that great on Heiden either but this was just one example so could have been a fluke .
    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 !

  18. #15

    Default Re: The Heiden F Artist in the classifieds

    Once again proof that one size does not fit all. At this price point, a mandolin should be exactly what you want it to be.
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    Default Re: The Heiden F Artist in the classifieds

    Quote Originally Posted by Br1ck View Post
    Once again proof that one size does not fit all. At this price point, a mandolin should be exactly what you want it to be.
    Agreed, and I support this statement by having the opposite experience as yankees1. I bought a Heiden A5 a year ago and have been so smitten with the balance, tone, looks, and playability, that I've decided to sell my Ellis A5. My Heiden is a lifer (not to discredit the Ellis. They are superb mandolins).

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    Default Re: The Heiden F Artist in the classifieds

    Seeing this listing from the builder for a new one makes me feel better about how much I paid for my 2005 last year. Not that I felt particularly bad about it. I continue to get more enjoyment out of the instrument daily than I did for the money that was sitting in the bank.

    I sure do love that instrument.

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    Default Re: The Heiden F Artist in the classifieds

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve-o View Post
    Agreed, and I support this statement by having the opposite experience as yankees1. I bought a Heiden A5 a year ago and have been so smitten with the balance, tone, looks, and playability, that I've decided to sell my Ellis A5. My Heiden is a lifer (not to discredit the Ellis. They are superb mandolins).
    Good for you ! I must have had a lemon ! Next, you need to try a Girouard !! Fantastic !
    Last edited by yankees1; Mar-02-2020 at 9:46pm.
    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 !

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    Purveyor of Sunshine sgarrity's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Heiden F Artist in the classifieds

    You couldn’t touch my A5 for $8k. I just regret not buying a buddy’s F5 when I had the chance. Michael is at the top of the mandolin game along with Gilchrist, Nugget, and Monteleone.

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    Default Re: The Heiden F Artist in the classifieds

    Quote Originally Posted by sgarrity View Post
    You couldn’t touch my A5 for $8k. I just regret not buying a buddy’s F5 when I had the chance. Michael is at the top of the mandolin game along with Gilchrist, Nugget, and Monteleone.
    I agree but Ellis should be included ! A fast rising star is a Girouard also !
    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 !

  25. #21

    Default Re: The Heiden F Artist in the classifieds

    Michael Heiden has a wood stash that astounds the eye. Last year he was selling a barely used Heritage F5 with a 200 year old sitka spruce top. The selling price was $22k, and it sold fairly quickly. The only mandolins that I have seen sell used (and fairly quickly) in that price range say Monteleone on the headstock. And yes, there are Gils that sell for $20k+ (or at least list for that amount), but they tend to sit around and wait for buyers a lot longer.

    There are a lot of great mandolins out there, at very reasonable price points that sound great, but there are only a few (along with a few guitar makers) who can sustain used prices at the $20k + price point. Everyone has their favorites and lots of folks choose one brand over another, but these builders respect each other, and they push themselves, every day (as Bill Collings was fond of saying) to make improvements to their art.

    I happen to be able to enjoy the luxury of playing a lot of these mandolins side by side whenever I want. I'm not really sure I'd give any of them up.
    There's nothing better than first-hand experience.

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    Registered User Glassweb's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Heiden F Artist in the classifieds

    Kimble.

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    Hands of Pot Metal
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    Default Re: The Heiden F Artist in the classifieds

    Quote Originally Posted by Glassweb View Post
    Kimble.
    ??
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    Registered User amowry's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Heiden F Artist in the classifieds

    I also got to check out that F5 at Wintergrass, and I agree, it's a great instrument.

    Regarding workmanship, from what I've seen Michael's is among the very best. And here's where I'll express my opinion and possibly get myself into trouble:

    I think that "fit and finish" are often lumped into the same term, but in my mind they are two very different things that are often conflated. "Fit", or "workmanship" (again, in my opinion) can be good or bad; it's an objective term. The top-tier builders that I know of have excellent build quality, and a Heiden, Gil, Ellis, Dude, etc. are going to look very similar in the white. "Finish" is an aesthetic choice, and there are a few schools of thought in terms of finish. One is that the finish should be thick enough to cover all the maker's marks, and the other is that it should be kept as thin as possible while still protecting the instrument and looking good. You can do either one with an oil varnish or lacquer. Spirit varnish will shrink like crazy and show maker's marks no matter what you do. By the way, any stained mandolin that has had the binding scraped (i.e. most mandolins by all the builders mentioned in this thread) will have maker's marks. The two extremes in philosophy are epitomized by modern steel-string guitars, where customers generally expect "perfection" in the sense that the whole instrument is as flat as glass, and violins, where little attempt is made to flatten the varnish or cover maker's marks. Most violin finishes wouldn't be widely accepted in the guitar or mandolin world (different aesthetic, and more interesting, IMO).

    The mandolin world covers the expanse between the two extremes, and that presents a real challenge to builders. In my mind, Michael has found a good compromise between them. I think there may be a tendency to look at a mandolin that has enough finish to cover all the maker's marks as being closer to "perfection", but I would venture that it takes much more skill to produce a very thin finish that still looks good, because you have to slow down and constantly be aware of how much product is on every part of the instrument and how not to sand through it. I noticed at Wintergrass and mentioned to Michael that the binding on his mandolins is lighter in color than that of other builders who use the same varnish, which shows just how thin (and uniform) he is able to get it.

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    Default Re: The Heiden F Artist in the classifieds

    Quote Originally Posted by amowry View Post
    I also got to check out that F5 at Wintergrass, and I agree, it's a great instrument.

    Regarding workmanship, from what I've seen Michael's is among the very best. And here's where I'll express my opinion and possibly get myself into trouble:

    I think that "fit and finish" are often lumped into the same term, but in my mind they are two very different things that are often conflated. "Fit", or "workmanship" (again, in my opinion) can be good or bad; it's an objective term. The top-tier builders that I know of have excellent build quality, and a Heiden, Gil, Ellis, Dude, etc. are going to look very similar in the white. "Finish" is an aesthetic choice, and there are a few schools of thought in terms of finish. One is that the finish should be thick enough to cover all the maker's marks, and the other is that it should be kept as thin as possible while still protecting the instrument and looking good. You can do either one with an oil varnish or lacquer. Spirit varnish will shrink like crazy and show maker's marks no matter what you do. By the way, any stained mandolin that has had the binding scraped (i.e. most mandolins by all the builders mentioned in this thread) will have maker's marks. The two extremes in philosophy are epitomized by modern steel-string guitars, where customers generally expect "perfection" in the sense that the whole instrument is as flat as glass, and violins, where little attempt is made to flatten the varnish or cover maker's marks. Most violin finishes wouldn't be widely accepted in the guitar or mandolin world (different aesthetic, and more interesting, IMO).

    The mandolin world covers the expanse between the two extremes, and that presents a real challenge to builders. In my mind, Michael has found a good compromise between them. I think there may be a tendency to look at a mandolin that has enough finish to cover all the maker's marks as being closer to "perfection", but I would venture that it takes much more skill to produce a very thin finish that still looks good, because you have to slow down and constantly be aware of how much product is on every part of the instrument and how not to sand through it. I noticed at Wintergrass and mentioned to Michael that the binding on his mandolins is lighter in color than that of other builders who use the same varnish, which shows just how thin (and uniform) he is able to get it.
    I agree Andrew and you make a lot of sense ! I have observed and played many examples by the builders you mentioned but regarding finish one of best examples I have seen is a Girouard by Max and Laurie ! I have seen no better !
    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 !

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