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Thread: Are People Buying Less Mandolins Now?

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    Registered User JAK's Avatar
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    Default Are People Buying Less Mandolins Now?

    Wondering if folks in general aren't buying mandolins and guitars as much now as in so called "normal" times? Because, festivals and jams have been cancelled, and often folks will be more motivated to buy a new instrument if they know they can go to a festival, etc. and try out their new instruments playing with others, show-and-tell stuff. Maybe yes? Maybe no? What say ye?
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    Default Re: Are People Buying Less Mandolins Now?

    If I wanted one, and had extra cash I would right now. During this Covid 19 period I made a modest purchase of an Eastman Octave Mandolin. BTW--I love it! I also bought some tuning machines for one of my old teens Gibson A4's.

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    Default Re: Are People Buying Less Mandolins Now?

    I've read a few posts on the Acoustic Guitar Forum indicating people are buying more. Two posts I remember said that employees at Sweetwater Music (a big operation, apparently, for those not familiar with it) told the poster that they were swamped with orders. Guitars as well as accessories, I think.

    Anecdotal, of course.

    I read on an RV site that sales in April were dead, but that they were way up in May. The theory is that people have money they are willing to spend, they want to travel but not by air, in hotels, etc.

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    Default Re: Are People Buying Less Mandolins Now?

    Been tempted to do a feature article on this but don't think it's going to happen. Here's an opinion that's a combination of what's occurring the Classifieds and what our retail business partners and some builders are telling us and what's clearly evident on some web sites. Lower priced mandolins are selling at an unusually brisk pace and doesn't appear to be letting up. That's the good news. The (potentially) bad news is that most of them don't know when or if restock is coming, and I know a couple are worried they won't have enough stock of what they typically offer in the near future. A couple of big retailers are clearly running lower stock compared to what they typically carry and you can measurably see it on their web sites.

    Sales of higher priced mandolins have slowed a bit, but not completely. I've seen four in the last 36 hours on the Classifieds between $6-10K sell. There was a $6K Northfield on Music Emporium's site less than 4 hours this morning. I know of a dozen Calhouns that have sold in the past week. We like to talk about a lot of higher end stuff on the site but the reality is tons of people buy and play the Kentucky 150 and up kind of purchases or the under $500 Eastman. Also have the sense people are holding on to instruments a bit more than usual. And yes, a couple of Loars traded hands, too.

    People find ways to make music, and that warms my soul.

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    Registered User Mandobart's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are People Buying Less Mandolins Now?

    I'm sure there are multiple market forces at play

    1. Lots of people are stuck at home, some are taking up new hobbies including mandolin
    2. Lots of people are out of work, so they're cutting back on discretionary spending.
    3. Some people are selling things like their instruments due to unemployment
    4. Many brick and mortar music stores are still closed
    5. Most live entertainment is still closed

    Who knows what the net effect is in total sales? I think a look at sales on our classifieds, Reverb, online stores like GC/Musicians Friend etc. would provide the answers regarding are sales of used and new instruments up or down. Understanding why is a little harder to know.

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    Default Re: Are People Buying Less Mandolins Now?

    Adam at TME told me they are selling banjos, Froggy Bottom guitars, and Collings guitars like mad. The used Girouard A5 zipped out of there. They probably have sold stuff that has never hit the website. Banjos are selling like mad everywhere. It’s unreal. I was on the phone with Adam and they sold three banjos in the twenty minutes we were talking.
    There's nothing better than first-hand experience.

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    Default Re: Are People Buying Less Mandolins Now?

    Quote Originally Posted by JAK View Post
    Wondering if folks in general aren't buying mandolins and guitars as much now as in so called "normal" times? Because, festivals and jams have been cancelled, and often folks will be more motivated to buy a new instrument if they know they can go to a festival, etc. and try out their new instruments playing with others, show-and-tell stuff. Maybe yes? Maybe no? What say ye?
    as an incurable impulse buyer, it hasn't stopped me

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    Default Re: Are People Buying Less Mandolins Now?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandobar View Post
    Adam at TME told me they are selling banjos, Froggy Bottom guitars, and Collings guitars like mad. The used Girouard A5 zipped out of there. They probably have sold stuff that has never hit the website. Banjos are selling like mad everywhere. It’s unreal. I was on the phone with Adam and they sold three banjos in the twenty minutes we were talking.
    and I was just captivated with this one last night, sent thru weekly Gryphone email
    https://shop.gryphonstrings.com/prod...e-11-new-56233

    I like Reiter banjos a lot. Played this model about 2 yrs ago and have had an eye out for one since-no used have appeared. that Dobson tonering just works excellent in the Reiter design. planning to check the budget tonight-lol Bart will at any day stop building, has spoken of it for years, when that happens, his instruments will increase quickly I feel.

    and as far as other buys, well, if I'm any indication, I've traded one mandolin for $ and a Gibson acoustic, took that money and purchased the Weber Pronghorn at TMS, about 2 weeks before all this I saw the oval hole prototype Flatiron at TMS and picked that up, and 2 electrics and a Fender Deluxe Reverb has appeared at my doorstep in the past month as well.

    so one Taylor 12 fret out the door and one Collings MT out the door.

    one Weber in the door, one Flatiron in the door, one Gibson AE LG2 in the door, one AO 70's tele in the door, one PRS CE 24 in the door, one Squier tele in the door, one DR amp in the door.

    of course this doesn't appear to add up balanced, but I am using Billgebra and it does in fact work out and balances the budget.

    and with all these, I was not looking, but they appeared and the prices/trades were right and everything fell into place. more instruments in 2 months than in the past 2 years.........and just all of a sudden.

    d

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    Default Re: Are People Buying Less Mandolins Now?

    I think the lower end of the market is doing just fine price and volume wise. I'm currently selling some instruments to fund another purchase, and they sold on Reverb within a week at a fair price.
    I think the high end of the market is likely to slow down as people hold cash and wait to get an idea of where things are going.

    The main issue I see is that shipping from China has slowed to a crawl. EMS air service is suspended as it relies on passenger air carriers to ship cargo, and too few planes are flying. All shipping has be routed to surface, which normally takes 8 weeks. The current schedule is showing 16-20 weeks, and increasing by the week.
    Most lower priced instruments, even if they are readily available at factories in China, will be caught up in that backlog. My guess is that over the next 6 months, fewer of those new entry level instruments will be available, helping the used market stay brisk.

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    Purveyor of Sunshine sgarrity's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are People Buying Less Mandolins Now?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandobar View Post
    .....Banjos are selling like mad everywhere. It’s unreal. I was on the phone with Adam and they sold three banjos in the twenty minutes we were talking.
    I really wish I was a clawhammer player. It's amazing the quality of instrument you can get for $1,500-2,500. I almost bought one this week to learn on but I snoozed a day too long. I mentioned it on another thread but I've made 4 sales recently and they all took about a day. Instruments and cases, all under $2k. I also bought a Waterloo mandolin and there's a tenor banjo in my near future. Not going on any vacations and not spending money on anything else other than food and booze, so might as well make music on some cool instruments!

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    Default Re: Are People Buying Less Mandolins Now?

    Not on the Café here, but Personally I’ve sold one over $4k guitar this week and I’m supposed to be selling 2 guitars at $1k a piece tomorrow, so for me personally the market has been picking up lately. I’ve also bought a $2k guitar and I’m looking at buying a high end mandolin, so I’d say I havent slowed down any either

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    Default Re: Are People Buying Less Mandolins Now?

    Quote Originally Posted by sgarrity View Post
    I really wish I was a clawhammer player. It's amazing the quality of instrument you can get for $1,500-2,500. I almost bought one this week to learn on but I snoozed a day too long. I mentioned it on another thread but I've made 4 sales recently and they all took about a day. Instruments and cases, all under $2k. I also bought a Waterloo mandolin and there's a tenor banjo in my near future. Not going on any vacations and not spending money on anything else other than food and booze, so might as well make music on some cool instruments!
    If I can do it, you can too. There’s also old time two finger and three finger style. I bought an OME Flora, walnut. Beautiful. Missed the Eclipse they had while I was dithering. Lukas Pool has a great online resource of lessons. He’s a heck of a player. https://ozarkbanjo.com/clawhammer-banjo-lessons

    Daryl, Reiter has been selling banjos himself on eBay. He sold a dobophone about a week ago there. Keep an eye out.
    There's nothing better than first-hand experience.

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    Default Re: Are People Buying Less Mandolins Now?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandobar View Post
    If I can do it, you can too. There’s also old time two finger and three finger style. I bought an OME Flora, walnut. Beautiful. Missed the Eclipse they had while I was dithering. Lukas Pool has a great online resource of lessons. He’s a heck of a player. https://ozarkbanjo.com/clawhammer-banjo-lessons

    Daryl, Reiter has been selling banjos himself on eBay. He sold a dobophone about a week ago there. Keep an eye out.


    thanks mary, I did not know that.
    d

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    Default Re: Are People Buying Less Mandolins Now?

    Not slowing down for me. I almost bought a used Big Muddy last weekend but the 'boss' nixed it until I sold something so after making movements to sell a few guitars I just purchased a new Sawchyn Beavertail.

    Rob
    2020 Sawchyn Beavertail

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    Default Re: Are People Buying Less Mandolins Now?

    Many doom and gloom folks on banjo Hangout were discussing instrument sales a couple months ago and all the bargains that would be out there. Right now there are less banjos for sale than I’ve seen in a long while. Probably not too many selling but also less being listed. It seems to me that’s the case here on mandolin cafe too.

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    Registered User Mike Romkey's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are People Buying Less Mandolins Now?

    Interesting to read the comments. I was expecting to see more bargains in the ads here than I have, but I'm not exactly tracking things on a spread sheet. One of my sons has a high-end bike shop in a mountain state that has been fairly shut down. He expected to go bankrupt. He's managed to stay open and is having a huge year. I guess when people can't go to work, they have more time to think about bikes ... and mandolins. On the one hand, there are the musicians and others whose incomes have plunged. I have a show with fixed costs (theater, insurance, etc.) and it's been brutal. On the other, there are school teachers who are still getting paid, people who can work from home and are still on salary, etc. The mandolin market doesn't appear to have fluctuated downward the way it might have. Higher end instruments? Looks a bit different. Different price point, different business.
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    Default Re: Are People Buying Less Mandolins Now?

    Our two local dealers, Bernunzio's and Stutzman's, have closed showrooms and are doing everything on-line or by phone. I'd think this might restrict the "guess I'll stop in and see what they've got" trade, and it also somewhat limits hands-on evaluations. Bernunzio, especially, has been running several internet sales, something he's done periodically in the past, but seems to be doing more frequently now.

    Of course, to invest in a musical instrument requires discretionary funds. If the economic prospects are as gloomy and uncertain as some predictions indicate, we may find prospective buyers deferring purchases. Savings rates are 'way up, apparently, which reflects partially fewer options to spend (vacations, on-site shopping, travel etc. are heavily restricted), but also individual opinions that we may need to hold on to cash and build up reserves.
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    Default Re: Are People Buying Less Mandolins Now?

    I think I snagged the eclipse. I’ve had it a week now and it’s great- hope you’re liking the flora!

  27. #19

    Default Re: Are People Buying Less Mandolins Now?

    Quote Originally Posted by hbeernink View Post
    I think I snagged the eclipse. I’ve had it a week now and it’s great- hope you’re liking the flora!
    That's ok. I love the Flora!
    There's nothing better than first-hand experience.

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    Default Re: Are People Buying Less Mandolins Now?

    I'd bet there is also a "stage Of Life" and "job sector" component to the Great Corona Slow Down. Those living on a guaranteed income (retired) are not effected if they're not infected (haha). They'll buy it if they want it. Those in working age that aren't paid unless they work and are worried about shut downs and revenue stream for the next 2 years aren't buying anything but toilet paper. Those of working age with "essential job status" will have a guaranteed stream and are stressed they might die tomorrow and probably are buying every toy possible to compensate. All things considered, seems to be a wash. I guess the import instrument costs will go up as supply dwindles if their factories are shut down. But seems to me most of those countries are already opened back up. Its a relief to be on a forum where the analysis of impacts on world economy is based on mandolin sales. I'd like to see congress add a Mandolin Protection Package in the next round of the corona stimulus relief bills. (total joke--no political inferences--please no political discussions).
    No matter where I go, there I am...Unless I'm running a little late.

  30. #21

    Default Re: Are People Buying Less Mandolins Now?

    Retirement income is affected. The market is a little crazy right now, and lots of retirement income, including pensions are tied to the market.

    But what you are seeing is that as Shaun stated, no vacations or travel, no movies, no concerts, no going out to eat, etc. People are saving money, especially on gasoline. I went out the other day, drove by the gas station and thought it was 1972!

    I think if people are smart, listen to the real experts about how the virus spreads, are conscious and heed the advice, this too will pass. I see so many younger folks just dismiss the guidance, and where we live the older folks now have lower infection rates than the younger ones (cases in the 20 to 40 year old groups have spiked).

    Stay home, buy a banjo!
    There's nothing better than first-hand experience.

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    Registered User Eric Platt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are People Buying Less Mandolins Now?

    I agree that the lower priced instruments (both new and used) are selling well now. Saw the same article about Sweetwater selling a lot of instruments. Of course, it may have been helped by many Guitar Center stores shut down and folks had one less place to buy. And as steveojack665 mentioned, shipping from overseas is very slow right now. (Was told recently that a book I ordered from England might not be here for many months due to restrictions.)

    With festivals and concerts shut down for the near future, we might be seeing more of the banjo players picking up a guitar or mandolin to learn. Or, in the best cases, to make videos to share on line. More folks playing to me is a good thing. Let's hope it continues in the future.
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    Harley Marty
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    Default Re: Are People Buying Less Mandolins Now?

    Quote Originally Posted by darylcrisp View Post
    and I was just captivated with this one last night, sent thru weekly Gryphone email
    https://shop.gryphonstrings.com/prod...e-11-new-56233

    I like Reiter banjos a lot. Played this model about 2 yrs ago and have had an eye out for one since-no used have appeared. that Dobson tonering just works excellent in the Reiter design. planning to check the budget tonight-lol Bart will at any day stop building, has spoken of it for years, when that happens, his instruments will increase quickly I feel.

    and as far as other buys, well, if I'm any indication, I've traded one mandolin for $ and a Gibson acoustic, took that money and purchased the Weber Pronghorn at TMS, about 2 weeks before all this I saw the oval hole prototype Flatiron at TMS and picked that up, and 2 electrics and a Fender Deluxe Reverb has appeared at my doorstep in the past month as well.

    so one Taylor 12 fret out the door and one Collings MT out the door.

    one Weber in the door, one Flatiron in the door, one Gibson AE LG2 in the door, one AO 70's tele in the door, one PRS CE 24 in the door, one Squier tele in the door, one DR amp in the door.

    of course this doesn't appear to add up balanced, but I am using Billgebra and it does in fact work out and balances the budget.

    and with all these, I was not looking, but they appeared and the prices/trades were right and everything fell into place. more instruments in 2 months than in the past 2 years.........and just all of a sudden.

    d
    That banjo will be a real investment! There won’t be too many Reiter banjos with the Dobson rings in them. I don’t think he’s been putting them into his banjos for very long. It’s a pity he doesn’t do 12” tenor banjos with Dobson’s. I’m getting close to ordering one of those 12” rings from Bill Rickard. My steam-box is ready, the bits for the lathe are on the way. The things we do in lockdown.
    I think when the dust settles on this virus & we’re waiting for the next one, parents are going to encourage their children to pursue more artistic activities ahead of involvement in team sports. There also was a push here in Ireland to get cocooners take up the ukulele.

  34. #24
    Administrator Mandolin Cafe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are People Buying Less Mandolins Now?

    I received an email asking for banjo advice from a retailer on what line to carry just yesterday, tells me Reiter is retiring from building banjos and what line I thought they should carry.

  35. #25

    Default Re: Are People Buying Less Mandolins Now?

    Scott, Bart has "retired" before. He may stay retired this time, or just walk away from it, but there are other builders, like Rickard, Pisgah, and Enoch who are in that same price range. OME also has a lower line of banjos, which Denver Folklore Center (a Cafe Sponsor) carries, called Ute. These are nice banjos for under $1k.
    There's nothing better than first-hand experience.

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