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Thread: New Member Old Questions

  1. #1
    Registered User StratoMando's Avatar
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    Default New Member Old Questions

    Greetings All,
    Long time pro (when I'm unemployed) and weekend warrior (when I'm gainfully employed)... guitar/bass player here.
    I gig pretty regular,(electric guitar mostly) well....up until recently ;-)
    Anyway, often thought about picking up a Mandolin just to learn/do something different that would also change my perspective and influence my guitar playing in the equation.
    I'm thinkin' I shouldn't spend more than say, 800 or so on an intro model. Preferably a bit less...
    Of course, like most everyone, I like the F's. But, I'm not totally stuck on that. And I understand you can get "more" for yer money in an A Style on the lower end of things.
    I just moved up to the mtns of western NC semi-recently so, yeah, lotsa Bluegrass happens here. Would like to be jammin' on some of that once up to speed a bit. I should also mention (FWIW), that I've always preferred chunkier necks at least med-jumbo frets in guitars if this makes a diff or is a thing when selecting a Mandolin. Also largely a traditionalist in that world (Gibson, Fender, Gretsch in the stable now)
    So....lookin' for what the brethren of experience here would recommend to a bloke like me. Thanks Much-O

  2. #2
    not a donut Kevin Winn's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Member Old Questions

    There are dozens of threads with the exact question you asked. You can go and read them all or just order an Eastman 315 from one of the Cafe sponsor shops (so you'll get a good setup included in the price) and you'll save yourself a lot of time.
    "Keep your hat on, we may end up miles from here..." - Kurt Vonnegut

  3. #3
    Registered User J Mangio's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Member Old Questions

    The Banjo Warehouse
    New The Loar LM 600 BK
    $649.00...might be for you.
    NFI
    2019 The Loar Supreme LM700 VS

  4. #4
    Registered User Jon Hall's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Member Old Questions

    If you're living near Black Mountain NC. you should visit The Acoustic Corner. They have some mandolins in your price range. They're really nice people.

  5. #5
    Teacher, luthier
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    Default Re: New Member Old Questions

    As a teacher, repairman, and a pro performer, I'll mention this.

    I had an older Eastman 505 come through here on a trade a couple of years ago. It's a teardrop shaped mandolin with f-holes. I cleaned it up, set it up [it didn't need much], put a fresh set of strings on it, and sold it within a month for $500. It was good enough to gig with, and a much better mandolin than most of the old Gibson A-50's I have ever played.

    The next year, when I formed a new band, and we were playing some tiny stages, I sometimes wished I hadn't sold the mandolin. It was good enough to work with, and if it got banged up on those tight stages, it wasn't valuable enough to lose sleep over.

    You can still find a used one for around $500. It will be a better mandolin than just about any scroll body mandolin that costs $800 new, and better than some used $800 scroll mandolins as well. It costs a lot to make that scroll.

    I see that The Acoustic Corner has a new one in stock for $727. Gryphon has one set up by their staff for $20 more. I don't see a used one today, but one will turn up.

  6. #6
    Registered User Jill McAuley's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Member Old Questions

    I'm a fan of Eastman mandolins as regards bang for your buck, but I wouldn't describe them as having a chunky neck, so that may rule them out of the running for you.
    2018 Girouard Concert oval A
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  8. #7
    Teacher, luthier
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    Default Re: New Member Old Questions

    True.
    FWIW, especially if you like ample necks and frets, my real advice would be to find a good sounding 'teens Gibson plain A model and install a set of modern frets. It might be all the mandolin you would ever need, and the oval hole Gibsons are usually pretty mic friendly. But that would run about twice your budget.

  9. #8
    Registered User StratoMando's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Member Old Questions

    Thanks all for suggestions thus far. I'm educating myself on them ;-)
    I just bring up the neck stuff, because of my proclivities as applied to electric and acoustic guitars.
    But, may be apples/oranges as applied to Mandos.....IDK....since I'm a newbie to them.

  10. #9

    Default Re: New Member Old Questions

    I understand the draw to and F5 but I was cured when I received a special A5 mandolin a few years ago. For me it is all about tone and playability. Tim O'Brien seems to have managed fine with an A5 as well as several other professional players. I have found some really good Flatiron, Weber, Strickland A (a Howard Morris used is in your budget as well) mandolins in the 700-1000 range and there were recently two used Ratliff A5's for $900-1000. But for your original question I would second the recommendation about a new Eastman 315 It should be well setup and with a warranty. I lean toward Kentucky mandolins as they seem to have a more traditional tone. Kentucky has raised there price a lot the past couple of years and Eastman modestly, so you make get more bang for your buck with an Eastman? There is a Eastman 515 with a varnish finish currently for sale. the varnish finish will not be as tough as a Nitro but the thinner finish could make for a great sounding mandolin. I believe this recently sold at Mando Mutt and they spoke very highly of it. Slightly more than you budget but if it is a good one? Good Luck in the search
    https://www.mandolincafe.com/ads/154647#154647

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  12. #10
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    Default Re: New Member Old Questions

    Here's a new Eastman for a bit more than $800. Mahogany back and sides are a bit out of the norm , but it's probably a fine starter instrument. I'm not a really fan of Morgan Monroe's, but this one is all solid woods and the price is right. Might even be close enough to check out in person. Also a Kentucky that could fit the profile. Any one of these could probably be tried out and moved on down the line with minimal financial loss.
    Mitch Russell

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