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Thread: Looking for beginner oval Mandolin

  1. #1

    Default Looking for beginner oval Mandolin

    Hi all, I'm looking for my first Mandolin, Anything below £400 is suitable for my budget

    I love the style of mandolin used in Tibetan folk songs, as this is an uncommon angle to enter the mandolin world, it's hard to determine what mandolin would be suitable for my needs (see attachment for typical tibetan sound((Which I'm fairly sure is oval but I may be wrong)) mand1.mp3

    The Stagg M30 is only £75 which stands out as a decent oval for the price.My only worry is I've seen some negative stuff about Stagg mandolins on here but given the fact that I'm not looking to play the typical western style, Do you think it would be ok? Any advice is greatly appreciated

    Also considering the Washburn M1SDL which is £160
    Last edited by visitor22; Mar-28-2020 at 11:53am.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Looking for beginner oval Mandolin

    We in the US don’t know much about the UK market, but spend every bit of money you can. Your maximum is really the minimum you should spend, and buy used if you can.
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Looking for beginner oval Mandolin

    You may find a second hand Eastman around this range or if you can wait until end of the coronavirus crisis, I have an Ibanez 513 (oval hole 2 pointer - Jethro Burns' Gibson A-5) that can fly over the Channel for much less.

  4. #4
    My Florida is scooped pheffernan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Looking for beginner oval Mandolin

    Any time I hear folk music on a budget, I think of a used flattop. Fortunately, England has a fine tradition of builders, and you can read about them here:

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/t...andolin-makers

    Unfortunately, I canít seem to find any used ones either here on the classifieds or on Reverb. New ones are going for £600-900 at Hobgoblin:

    https://hobgoblin.com/fretted-amp-st...s/hathway-moon

    I donít know much about Tibetan mandolin, with its seemingly alternate tuning, but Hobgoblin does have an old Giannini Brazilian mandolin that certainly looks the part:

    https://hobgoblin.com/giannini-brazi...-brazil-1930-s



    Do you think it could suit your purposes?
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  6. #5

    Default Re: Looking for beginner oval Mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by pheffernan View Post
    I don’t know much about Tibetan mandolin, with its seemingly alternate tuning
    This was a big help, I didn't even think about the tuning being different, They definitely do use a different tuning after a quick search, there's not much information out there but I did find a tuning video which is helpful. thank you!

  7. #6
    My Florida is scooped pheffernan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Looking for beginner oval Mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by visitor22 View Post
    This was a big help, I didn't even think about the tuning being different, They definitely do use a different tuning after a quick search, there's not much information out there but I did find a tuning video which is helpful. thank you!
    One source that I read (quickly) seemed to suggest that Tibetan mandolin tuning was reversed, meaning that you might need some nut and bridge saddle work regardless of the mandolin that you pick.
    1924 Gibson A Snakehead
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    2009 Passernig A5
    2015 Black A2-z
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    2011 Passernig F5
    2018 Vessel TM5

  8. #7
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Looking for beginner oval Mandolin

    From the mp3 you posted you could use any style of mandolin to play it. It is unclear if you are actually wanting to play only Tibetan music or just like the sound. That tune you posted sounds pretty simple and could easily (I think) be played on a standard-tuned mandolin if you are only wanting to play the tune or similar. If you want to get deeper into Tibetan mandolin playing then maybe you want to tune differently.

    I did some searching and it looks like they are generally tuned to fourths. One listing mentioned tuning EADG low to high. Also seems like the type of mandolins people play are acoustic electric with pickups. I suppose if you wanted to play out that would be perfect but you could just get a standard mandolin and if you wanted to strictly play Tibetan in the tuning have it set up for those strings.
    Last edited by Jim Garber; Mar-29-2020 at 12:45pm.
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  9. #8

    Default Re: Looking for beginner oval Mandolin

    You might do okay with a Kentucky KM-272. Here is a link that should give you plenty of information, along with an audio/video review:

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/t...+km-272+review

  10. #9
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Looking for beginner oval Mandolin

    Here are some results of Youtube search for Tibetan mandolin. I posted it to start when the music starts but he describes the music before in Tibetan:



    This young woman sounds American but is teaching Tibetan style mandolin (her video is reversed) and you can see what type she plays, similar to the guy in the video above.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Then again this guy plays an Eastman:



    Now I want to learn a few of these tunes. Maybe I would play them for a square dance.
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  11. #10

    Default Re: Looking for beginner oval Mandolin

    Those guys are both playing Eastmans and they both look stock to me. Nice sound. The impression I get is that they are standard tuned but I cant be sure without venturing off the couch so...

    Seriously, do not get the Stagg. They are low-quality instruments and that does not change depending what kind of music you play on them. You will like the Eastman and it will hold its value should you decide to trade it in.

    Cool sound. Quite similar to modalities played in Celtic music. You might end up liking that too! Look up Andy Irvine for starters. Cheers.

  12. #11
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Looking for beginner oval Mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeZito View Post
    You might do okay with a Kentucky KM-272. Here is a link that should give you plenty of information, along with an audio/video review:

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/t...+km-272+review
    I played one of those recently and it quite good for the money.
    Jim

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    2018 Campanella A-5 -- 2007 Brentrup A4C -- 1915 Frank Merwin Ashley violin -- Huss & Dalton DS -- 1923 Gibson A2 black snakehead -- '83 Flatiron A5-2 -- 1939 Gibson L-00 -- 1936 Epiphone Deluxe -- 1928 Gibson L-5 -- ca. 1890s Fairbanks Senator Banjo -- ca. 1923 Vega Style M tenor banjo -- ca. 1920 Weymann Style 25 Mandolin-Banjo -- National RM-1

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