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Thread: new mando choices

  1. #1

    Default new mando choices

    Hello,
    First post here but been visiting for some time. Been learning on a Stagg M50 for some years and now considering an upgrade. May surprise most but the Stagg has been a loyal servant, cost me very little on ebay, doesn't worry me when travelling and sounds, in my opinion, very good with reasonable sustain and volume. So my dilemma is choice of upgrade? A mate has offered me one of his many mando's, an older Breedlove quartz 00 which has greater sustain and volume than my Stagg and easier/faster to play with a wider nut and thicker neck. I have also tried a Fylde touchstone which is very nice with a sweeter tone and slightly less volume. Price wise they are about the same although I haven't tried twisting my mates arm yet!
    I appreciate that these thing are very subjective but all advice and experience considering these two (and any others) is very much appreciated.
    Cheers.

  2. #2
    Registered User Cobalt's Avatar
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    Default Re: new mando choices

    I tend to go for the tonal balance across the range, low to high, which pleases me. But for playing in a jam or acoustic performance anywhere other than at home, often volume becomes the priority and all else fades to insignificance.

    Maybe it depends where you will be playing and in what sort of circumstances.

  3. #3
    My Florida is scooped pheffernan's Avatar
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    Default Re: new mando choices

    Quote Originally Posted by jonm View Post
    So my dilemma is choice of upgrade? A mate has offered me one of his many mando's, an older Breedlove quartz 00 which has greater sustain and volume than my Stagg and easier/faster to play with a wider nut and thicker neck. I have also tried a Fylde touchstone which is very nice with a sweeter tone and slightly less volume. Price wise they are about the same although I haven't tried twisting my mates arm yet!
    I appreciate that these thing are very subjective but all advice and experience considering these two (and any others) is very much appreciated.
    I think those two options are equivalent but different. What type of music do you typically play and in what setting(s)? Ultimately, I think the decision comes down to whether you prefer a hand-built flattop from a small shop or an archtop from a factory.
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  5. #4

    Default Re: new mando choices

    Quote Originally Posted by pheffernan View Post
    I think those two options are equivalent but different. What type of music do you typically play and in what setting(s)? Ultimately, I think the decision comes down to whether you prefer a hand-built flattop from a small shop or an archtop from a factory.
    Thanks for the reply. I usually play (attempt) anything from Irish Trad to REM but not Bluegrass. Play alone and with a couple of mates, guitar and fiddle, at home and the local hostelry (un-amped).
    The Stagg breaks through okay but a bit more depth and volume would be welcome.
    I wasn't aware that the Breedlove was from a "factory", it was made around 2000 in Oregon. Factory or small shop not really an issue, my Stagg label says "handmade", probably in a factory and all ply but it sounds okay playing at my level, to me anyway! Cheers

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    My Florida is scooped pheffernan's Avatar
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    Default Re: new mando choices

    Quote Originally Posted by jonm View Post
    Thanks for the reply. I usually play (attempt) anything from Irish Trad to REM but not Bluegrass.
    Either oval would certainly suffice.

    Quote Originally Posted by jonm View Post
    Play alone and with a couple of mates, guitar and fiddle, at home and the local hostelry (un-amped). The Stagg breaks through okay but a bit more depth and volume would be welcome.
    I think that an archtop more readily lends itself to depth and projection though flattops can certainly be loud.

    Quote Originally Posted by jonm View Post
    I wasn't aware that the Breedlove was from a "factory", it was made around 2000 in Oregon. Factory or small shop not really an issue, my Stagg label says "handmade", probably in a factory and all ply but it sounds okay playing at my level, to me anyway! Cheers
    Cafe regular James Condino (grandcanyonminstrel) has described the factory approach to building at Breedlove, which seems different than the small shop one that Roger Bucknall is marketing on his website. Of course, that distinction may make no appreciable difference to you which makes your decision an easier one.
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  7. #6

    Default Re: new mando choices

    Have played a couple of Fyldes for a few minutes. They’re decent instruments. However, you need to be aware that there’s a fret marker up at the 9th fret, rather than the 10th. Apparently the guy who makes them deliberately places them there so that it’s easier for transitioning guitarists. I play guitar too, but a mandolin isn’t a guitar, and the dot being in the wrong place kept throwing me off! I’m sure you’d soon get used to it.

    Fretboard’s quite wide too. A Fylde will blow a Stagg out of the water.

  8. #7

    Default Re: new mando choices

    Quote Originally Posted by pheffernan View Post
    Either oval would certainly suffice.



    I think that an archtop more readily lends itself to depth and projection though flattops can certainly be loud.



    Cafe regular James Condino (grandcanyonminstrel) has described the factory approach to building at Breedlove, which seems different than the small shop one that Roger Bucknall is marketing on his website. Of course, that distinction may make no appreciable difference to you which makes your decision an easier one.
    Thanks for that. Searched through some of his posts, not found the one in question yet but plenty to look through which are certainly very interesting. Always coveted an instrument constructed by a time served craftsperson, has been difficult to justify/find the cost but you never know...... The Fylde workshop is not too far away so may make a visit.

  9. #8
    Registered User Bob Clark's Avatar
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    Default Re: new mando choices

    Quote Originally Posted by pheffernan View Post

    Cafe regular James Condino (grandcanyonminstrel) has described the factory approach to building at Breedlove, which seems different than the small shop one that Roger Bucknall is marketing on his website. Of course, that distinction may make no appreciable difference to you which makes your decision an easier one.
    I think this is it. Quite the tale. Look at post 17. Historic rather than current. The whole process/approach is probably very different now. https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/t...4893-Breedlove
    Purr more, hiss less.

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  11. #9
    My Florida is scooped pheffernan's Avatar
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    Default Re: new mando choices

    Quote Originally Posted by jonm View Post
    Always coveted an instrument constructed by a time served craftsperson, has been difficult to justify/find the cost but you never know.
    If a hand built instrument is something that you have always coveted, then a flattop is one way to justify/find the cost. Quite simply, they take less time of the time served craftsperson to produce, and that savings is passed along in price to the consumer.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Clark View Post
    I think this is it. Quite the tale. Look at post 17. Historic rather than current. The whole process/approach is probably very different now. https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/t...4893-Breedlove
    That post is the one I had in mind, and I actually re-read it yesterday before replying to confirm my recollection.
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  12. #10

    Default Re: new mando choices

    Quote Originally Posted by Johnny60 View Post
    Have played a couple of Fyldes for a few minutes. They’re decent instruments. However, you need to be aware that there’s a fret marker up at the 9th fret, rather than the 10th. Apparently the guy who makes them deliberately places them there so that it’s easier for transitioning guitarists. I play guitar too, but a mandolin isn’t a guitar, and the dot being in the wrong place kept throwing me off! I’m sure you’d soon get used to it.

    Fretboard’s quite wide too. A Fylde will blow a Stagg out of the water.
    Not sure this lady would agree Johnny, she really makes it sing............

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZvgV3iCZUG8

  13. #11

    Default Re: new mando choices

    Well, you do have to bear in mind that the mandolin in the video is electric, and it does appear to be plugged in, so you’re probably not getting a natural acoustic sound. Possibly acoustic in the first pieces.

    Acoustically, it shouldn’t stand a chance against a Fylde.

    There did seem to be some tuning or intonation issues later in the video, but that’s not necessarily down to the mandolin.

  14. #12

    Default Re: new mando choices

    Quote Originally Posted by Johnny60 View Post
    Well, you do have to bear in mind that the mandolin in the video is electric, and it does appear to be plugged in, so you’re probably not getting a natural acoustic sound. Possibly acoustic in the first pieces.

    Acoustically, it shouldn’t stand a chance against a Fylde.

    There did seem to be some tuning or intonation issues later in the video, but that’s not necessarily down to the mandolin.
    Yes, I agree and the anechoic chamber but sounds good for the price to me, no doubt the Fylde or Breedlove should sound better in the same controlled environment.

  15. #13

    Default Re: new mando choices

    Quote Originally Posted by Johnny60 View Post
    Well, you do have to bear in mind that the mandolin in the video is electric, and it does appear to be plugged in, so you’re probably not getting a natural acoustic sound. Possibly acoustic in the first pieces.

    Acoustically, it shouldn’t stand a chance against a Fylde.

    There did seem to be some tuning or intonation issues later in the video, but that’s not necessarily down to the mandolin.
    Thanks all for the advice. The Breedlove info was interesting and helped sway me towards buying a Fylde.....keeping the Stagg though
    Cheers

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