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Thread: My Mandolin satisfaction maybe related to the cost

  1. #1

    Default My Mandolin satisfaction maybe related to the cost

    Don’t get me wrong I interested in tone and playability, however typically my satisfaction with a Mandolin is directly related to what I paid for it. For example I was searching for a second Mandolin to keep around the coach while watching TV and to have at an arms reach. I ended up with an inexpensive used import. I could not be more happier with my $300 Mandolin based on what I paid for it.
    However if I were to have paid for it new at the original price I would have told you it was junk and to save your money, buy an Eastman, Kentucky or whatever.
    The price I pay is related to how tolerant and forgiving I am about an instrument. There something about buying a cheap or reasonably priced instrument that makes me more okay with less then stellar finish, build or sound.
    The same is true for me about what I consider to be expensive, I always seem less satisfied if I overpaid. I typically have a difficult time bonding with an instrument that I over pay for.
    Guess I like to know or perhaps think I got a good deal. Maybe I convince myself I like or dislike instruments based on what I pay.
    It’s the old argument does a Gibson sound three times better than a Kentucky Mandolin based on cost. I don’t know, however I’ll be more tolerant with a Kentucky because its three times cheaper.
    Last edited by Sloppy Joe; May-13-2020 at 10:14pm.

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  3. #2
    Registered User
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    Southern California

    Default Re: My Mandolin satisfaction maybe related to the cost

    I think that a lot of what you are saying can apply to a lot of different commodities like cars, watches, etc. On some level, the cost of an item has the reputation and track record built into it. Musical instruments are a little different I think tho. Take your example of the Gibson costing three times more than a Kentucky. I guess the question for me, even if the answer is yes, do I need the sound to be three times better or is the Kentucky good enough? Most of the time I just look for something to be 'above the bar', that is meet the standard that is appropriate for me.

    I think also that with instruments, buying used/less expensive, you don't have to stress over putting the first ding in it and it removes the worrying (about having given it it's first ding, resell, etc.) and one is more apt to just enjoy the item for what it is and accept what it isn't.

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  4. #3
    Registered User Mike Romkey's Avatar
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    Default Re: My Mandolin satisfaction maybe related to the cost

    I'm not sure price and satisfaction are related for me. If I paid a lot and it sounds really good, I'm happy. If it didn't cost too much and I like playing, I'm happy. If the playability is lacking or it doesn't sound good, I'm not happy, no matter what the price.
    '09 Gilchrist Model 1, “July 9” Red Diamond F-5, '12 Duff F-5, '19 Collings MT2, ’24 A2-Z, ’24 F-2, '13 Collings mandola, '82 D-35, Gibson Keb Mo.

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    Moderator JEStanek's Avatar
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    Default Re: My Mandolin satisfaction maybe related to the cost

    I understand what you're saying. It doesn't work that way for me. I'm all in favor of having stuff that does it's job well but, I don't need luxury brand cache to get satisfaction out of it. So, I have about an Eastman and a nice custom flat top mandolin, both are way better than I can play them. I drive a Honda Fit because it was cheap and gets great gas mileage. At 140,000 all I've done to it are brakes and tires along with oil changes.

    For mandolins, playability, if it can't be addressed by set up is cause to move an instrument along. What people like in terms of looks is all over the map. Stuff like the very precise finishes on Collings vs the old patina on a teens Gibson or folks who spend extra for a reliced looking new instrument - that's all just a matter of taste and I won't argue anyone on that.

    My personal preference is I like my stuff to look like I've used and enjoyed them with care (a ding or a scratch doesn't bug me). I don't need to impress anyone with my gear or kit (mandolins, bicycles, or cameras). I think we all know the person who has the very expensive latest thing and has no idea how to use it and we also know that person who has some crummy old beat up thing and uses it well. Both can be cool. Both can be jerks if they lord it over folks.

    In the end, are you doing well with what you have and is what you have holding you back (and you need to be reaaaaaal honest in answering that second question.


    PS - then again, if you've got the cash, and it brings you joy buy what you want. I'm not the boss of you. I like to eat new things and travel.
    There are two things to aim at in life: first, to get what you want; and, after that, to enjoy it. Only the wisest of mankind achieve the second. Logan Pearsall Smith, 1865 - 1946

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  8. #5
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    Irvine, California

    Default Re: My Mandolin satisfaction maybe related to the cost


    Please allow me to offer my definition of satisfaction. Satisfaction consists of many factors, not just cost. Other factors are: aesthetics, product quality, customer service, durability, performance(sound, playability), meeting customer expectations. There are probably a few other factors I might have missed.

  9. #6

    Default Re: My Mandolin satisfaction maybe related to the cost

    True and wise!

  10. #7
    Lurkist dhergert's Avatar
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    Blue Zone, California
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    Default Re: My Mandolin satisfaction maybe related to the cost

    Back in late summer / early fall 2016 MK cleared out their stock of the Legacy Festival STB F-style mandolins and MF sold a large number of them for $199. I bought one for me and was so sold on them because of their ratio of quality/sound to cost that my wife and I bought 3 more for other people who we knew would enjoy them.

    I've dressed, setup and accessorized mine like I like my mandolins and it's a great little player. It's tone is really exceptional for $199, and it's built like a tank so I can use it as a backup for my Gibson F-9 when conditions are not optimal.

    Between these two instruments I'll always want to play my F-9 most, but the MK is not a huge compromise at all. Having the two instruments means I can play a nice mandolin in almost any situation.
    -- Don

    "The less I play it, the better it sounds!" -Zippy the Pinhead
    "It is a lot more fun to make music than it is to argue about it."

    2002 Gibson F-9
    2016 MK LFSTB
    1975 Suzuki taterbug (plus an assortment of other noisemakers)
    [About how I tune my mandolins]
    [7/29/2019 -- New Arrival!!!]

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