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Thread: A-type oval hole mandolin for $500?

  1. #1

    Default A-type oval hole mandolin for $500?

    USA, Georgia, near Atlanta. Guitar player looking for recommendations on an A-type oval hole mandolin suitable for a beginner/intermediate player, playing solo for my own entertainment. Budget is $500. Since there's a handsy toddler who has learned to use step ladders in the house, something that can withstand a few knocks without disintegrating is a plus.

  2. #2
    Registered User Eric F.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: A-type oval hole mandolin for $500?

    Kentucky KM-270, 272, 276. The only difference among the models is the color. I have a 272. It's a good mandolin.

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    My Florida is scooped pheffernan's Avatar
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    Default Re: A-type oval hole mandolin for $500?

    I always think that a flattop mandolin offers great value and makes a fine beginner/intermediate instrument as well as an even better backup/beater/alternate voice should the player progress. There are a bunch of brands that are frequently mentioned, such as a Big Muddy (Mid-Missouri), but in your price range, I found the biggest bang for the buck to be the Flatiron pancake. There is one under budget in the classifieds due to a bit of wear:

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/ads/152838#152838

    And there's one a bit above budget (but perhaps negotiable) due to its pristine condition:

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/ads/149784#149784

    You can find several more around your price range on Reverb:

    https://reverb.com/marketplace/folk-...query=flatiron
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    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: A-type oval hole mandolin for $500?

    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

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    Default Re: A-type oval hole mandolin for $500?


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    Crazy Cat Lady collingwest's Avatar
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    Default Re: A-type oval hole mandolin for $500?

    Hi neighbor! I'm about 10 miles OTP and just ordered a Kentucky KM-276 from Reverb. It was about $525 once shipping got added in. Transitioning from violin/viola to mandolin and, since I'm not familiar with the music place I ordered it from, I'm likely to take it over to Maple Street for at least a once-over when I get it.

    Are you planning lessons or teaching yourself?

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  12. #7
    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: A-type oval hole mandolin for $500?

    I would say that any of the mandolins here would be a good choice for the OP.
    Those Flatirons have stood the test of time and sound good. Back in the day it was my first "good" mandolin.

    I have owned a few different Eastmans and liked them all, the 300 series gives a good bang for the buck.

    The Kentucky 270 series was not on my radar but it looks like a good mandolin, if you get it from Dennis at the Mandolin Store you can count on good set up and great customer service.

    Good luck with your search!
    Last edited by Charles E.; Apr-04-2020 at 3:08pm.
    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

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    Registered User Eric Platt's Avatar
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    Default Re: A-type oval hole mandolin for $500?

    Would recommend either the Kentucky models mentioned, or, if you can find one, an Eastman 304. The Eastman gets closer to the old Gibson oval hole vibe. The Kentucky is just a good sounding mandolin. At least the ones I've seen/heard have been good.

    Nothing against flat top mandolins. I've owned a few. But just think that both Kentucky and Eastman are making very good instruments right now.
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    Registered User mandolinstew's Avatar
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    Default Re: A-type oval hole mandolin for $500?

    N F I. If you’re not playing bluegrass the Washburn “Celtic” Timeless flat top with hardshell case is a very good one for about $300.

  17. #10

    Default Re: A-type oval hole mandolin for $500?

    Surprised no one mentioned this yet. Sonny Morris has a flat top oval hole in the classifieds right now for $450. American made and from what I’ve gathered Sonny is wonderful to deal with. Just search the forums for ‘Morris Mandolins’ and you will be sure to find all the positive reasoning you need to make the leap! NFI.

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/ads/150668#150668
    Last edited by redlineroots; Apr-05-2020 at 7:05am.

  18. #11
    I really look like that soliver's Avatar
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    Default Re: A-type oval hole mandolin for $500?

    Welcome to Mandolin Mecca! Any one of those recommendations is good (not a fan of Washburn though). Sometimes you can find a used Crystal Forest Mandolin in that budget.

    I'm close by to you as well (in Marietta), and if you need someone to work on your Mandolin in the Metro Atlanta area, look up Marty Jacobson. He makes awesome instruments and does really good set up work at a more affordable rate than Maple street and gets it done MUCH faster. You can also go to Atlanta Violins in Roswell.

    Maple Street Guitars does have a great selection of Mandolins to try out. I bought an Eastman there several years back. They do good set up to the instruments they sell. They carry Eastman, Kentucky, Collings and now Weber. It's a worthwhile experience to run down and try things out even if you buy from another dealer online. It can help you figure out which you actually like in person. However even though their prices are on par with online retailers, you do have to pay sales tax which drives your total cost up.
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  20. #12

    Default Re: A-type oval hole mandolin for $500?

    Quote Originally Posted by collingwest View Post
    Hi neighbor! I'm about 10 miles OTP and just ordered a Kentucky KM-276 from Reverb. It was about $525 once shipping got added in. Transitioning from violin/viola to mandolin and, since I'm not familiar with the music place I ordered it from, I'm likely to take it over to Maple Street for at least a once-over when I get it.

    Are you planning lessons or teaching yourself?
    I've been to Maple Street, it was a great experience. I got to try a number of mandolins in their little playing room. I had a few years of violin lessons that are still rattling around in my head, so it'll be me playing and self-learning if I go down the mandolin path.

  21. #13
    Registered User mandolinstew's Avatar
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    Default Re: A-type oval hole mandolin for $500?

    Have you played a Washburn flattop?I wasn’t a fan of Washburn either.

  22. #14
    two t's and one hyphen fatt-dad's Avatar
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    Default Re: A-type oval hole mandolin for $500?

    pheff took the words out of my mouth. Consider a Flatiron 1N-type flattop, Mid Missouri/Big Muddy-type flattop, or something of that ilk. They sound great, they hold their value, you'll likely never outgrow it (i.e., even if you buy another, you'll want to keep it) and are pretty true to history (often modeled after the army-navy mandolin of WWI).

    Nothing against an arch-top Eastman, Kentucky, "The Loar," etc. They are typically hybrid versions of an f-hole mandolin with an oval-hole substitute. Not quite an oval-hole, if you use Gibson as the oval-hole standard. (I do.)

    Teens Gibsons can be had for under a grand.

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    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: A-type oval hole mandolin for $500?

    Eastman MD304 from the Mandolin Store for $510. About as good as you'll get for that price in a carved-top, though as many people have posted above, you could definitely consider a flat-top as well.
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  24. #16

    Default Re: A-type oval hole mandolin for $500?

    Quote Originally Posted by fatt-dad View Post
    Mid Missouri/Big Muddy-type flattop, or something of that ilk. They sound great, they hold their value, you'll likely never outgrow it (i.e., even if you buy another, you'll want to keep it) and are pretty true to history (often modeled after the army-navy mandolin of WWI).
    f-d
    The trouble with going to Big Muddy's website is I end up staring at the M11 model, with the wide neck, jumbo body, and radius fretboard options.

  25. #17
    Registered User mreidsma's Avatar
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    Default Re: A-type oval hole mandolin for $500?

    I second the Big Muddy. I have a Mid-Missouri M2 that is a great mandolin. They show up used now and then, usually in your budget. If you want to try vintage, keep an eye out for a Kalamazoo KM-11. They often are under $500, and they are the best sounding flat tops I've ever played.

  26. #18

    Default Re: A-type oval hole mandolin for $500?

    This:
    https://www.mandolincafe.com/ads/153200#153200
    Kentucky KM-270 - $495

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  28. #19

    Default Re: A-type oval hole mandolin for $500?

    Another Morris oval hole in the classifieds:$450 shipped. Pretty dang impressive for a US handmade instrument...hurry up and someone buy it before my MAS kicks in!

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/ads/153612#153612

  29. #20
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    Default Re: A-type oval hole mandolin for $500?

    Yep, there’s a Flatiron pancake listed for < 500 now as well, and a Mid Mo M2 with a repaired crack for < 200...

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