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Thread: Dreaming of a Great A5 under $6000

  1. #51
    Hands of Pot Metal
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    Default Re: Dreaming of a Great A5 under $6000

    OP,

    Clark, Collings, Ellis and Pava all have impeccable build quality, as do others. In your shopping range, the individual instrument chosen is as likely to be differentiated by the setup, the pick and the brand/age of the strings on it when you play it rather than some pixie dust from the builder. Your hearing is certainly different from anyone else's, so keep that in mind too.

    Enjoy the search, but be happy with the rainbow at the end too.
    Play it like you mean it

    Not all the clams are at the beach

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  3. #52

    Default Re: Dreaming of a Great A5 under $6000

    Hmm..lots of high quality A5's in this price range. Do you prefer a strong fundamental sound or more of the abundant sparkly overtones? Just curious..also do you like what folks refer to as a dry tone? You really can't go wrong in that price range, most likely.

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  5. #53
    Registered User Mark Seale's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dreaming of a Great A5 under $6000

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Hildreth View Post
    I am an A style or dual point fan by choice. Having owned a few F5s.. not my favorite.

    When I asked Gilchrist to make an A style...Gilchrist himself told me .. " the A models sound like, and play as well, as the F models. F's take longer to make but the return is higher for the time spent". He was not interested, at the time, in making an A.
    I have a Gilchrist A that is the equal of any other mandolin I've played, regardless of style. It's an incredible musical machine.

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  7. #54
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    Default Re: Dreaming of a Great A5 under $6000

    Paul Duff builds an A5 for less than 6K. Mike Black builds one for much less.

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  9. #55
    formerly Philphool Phil Goodson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dreaming of a Great A5 under $6000

    My Duff A-5 was one of the best sounding mandolins I've ever owned or played. Unfortunately, I got scroll envy and sold it. But fortunately I got a Duff F-5 which sounded about the same. (But had a cool scroll)
    Phil

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  11. #56
    Registered User Lane Pryce's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dreaming of a Great A5 under $6000

    Hard to imagine you doing any better than that MT2V just listed in the classifides.. Lp
    J.Lane Pryce

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  13. #57
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    Default Re: Dreaming of a Great A5 under $6000

    Quote Originally Posted by Lane Pryce View Post
    Hard to imagine you doing any better than that MT2V just listed in the classifides.. Lp
    Lane, That is one gorgeous mandolin! Definitely what the dream was about. I decided to stick with my MT for now because its sound is versatile and projects with wonderful sustain. I also like the wide nut feature for my large hands and I bought it for a much lower price than it would go for today. This thread has been teaching me and I hope others have been enjoying the chance to share their knowledge and experiences. Keep it coming A5 Mando players!
    Dan Brooks
    2017 Collings MT(GT), 2007 Eastman 815V, 1913 Gibson A1, 1912 Gibson A1, 1930’s Strad-o-Lin

  14. #58
    Fingers of Concrete ccravens's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dreaming of a Great A5 under $6000

    Quote Originally Posted by lflngpicker View Post
    I decided to stick with my MT for now because its sound is versatile and projects with wonderful sustain.
    So you are NOT in the market for a new mando?

    Chris Cravens

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  16. #59
    My Florida is scooped pheffernan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dreaming of a Great A5 under $6000

    Quote Originally Posted by lflngpicker View Post
    I decided to stick with my MT for now because its sound is versatile and projects with wonderful sustain. I also like the wide nut feature for my large hands and I bought it for a much lower price than it would go for today. This thread has been teaching me and I hope others have been enjoying the chance to share their knowledge and experiences. Keep it coming A5 Mando players!
    Well, if Dan is sticking with his MT, and in the spirit of keeping the conversation going, how about this one for well under $6K?

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/ads/155116#155116

    Is anyone confident that the instruments mentioned upthread (including those I named) are better builds (and not just made by builders with more established reputations)? Or if you’re determined to spend closer to the full budget, there is this option:

    https://reverb.com/item/33486504-new...ndolin-f5-2018

    I haven’t played one of Paul’s mandolins, but I’ve read every thread with his name in the title. I’m wondering if they represent the buy-in point for the mythical “not better, just different” level.
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  18. #60
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    Default Re: Dreaming of a Great A5 under $6000

    Quote Originally Posted by lflngpicker View Post
    Just having a Holiday morning waking dream as I sit in my recliner: I am interested in comparing Ellis A5, Pavo Pro A5, Kelly A5, and Collings MT2. I would like to buy the best possible mandolin I can afford and would need to sacrifice to get there. Therefore, I am looking at high quality A5's, rather that F5. I do like the F5's, very much, but I am interested in the best build quality, sound and playability I can afford. I have an affinity for the A5 shape, as well. I do have a very nice near mint MT with a gloss top and wide nut, so call me nuts if you like.

    My favorite is the Ellis A5, as I have seen and heard it played so often, though I have never seen or played one in person. I am thinking used in somewhat excellent shape because I am hoping to gather $5200 together. Anyone have a chance to compare and contrast any of these?
    Girouard A5 ! You won't be disappointed ! Great sound and price ! Also, Max and Laurie great people to deal with !
    My two favorite pastimes are drinking wine and playing the mandolin but most of my friends would rather hear me drink wine! Adapted from quote by Mark Twain------supposedly !

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  20. #61
    Registered User EvanElk's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dreaming of a Great A5 under $6000

    Matt Ruhland is making some of the best A5's going...still under 5K for a new order I think...Paul Duff's A5's are beasts. There's a tremendous Stiver A5 in the classifieds for under 4K that I'm surprised hasn't sold. At 6K you have nice choices...
    2015 Heiden F Artist
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  22. #62
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    Default Re: Dreaming of a Great A5 under $6000

    Quote Originally Posted by pheffernan View Post
    Well, if Dan is sticking with his MT, and in the spirit of keeping the conversation going, how about this one for well under $6K?

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/ads/155116#155116

    Is anyone confident that the instruments mentioned upthread (including those I named) are better builds (and not just made by builders with more established reputations)? Or if you’re determined to spend closer to the full budget, there is this option:

    https://reverb.com/item/33486504-new...ndolin-f5-2018

    I haven’t played one of Paul’s mandolins, but I’ve read every thread with his name in the title. I’m wondering if they represent the buy-in point for the mythical “not better, just different” level.
    Patrick, The dream isn't dead and never shall it be, brother! I am trying to control my MAS and I realized that this MT is a GREAT sounding and easy playing mandolin. I want more bling, like back binding and gloss, which I only have on the top. However, the tone, projection, sustain and feel of the neck in my hands is just right. The wide nut fits my mitts!
    Click image for larger version. 

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    The Newson really appeals to me, but I just didn't want to spend all of the stimulus check on a mandolin, so I spent 1/2 of it and sold my new Eastman Octave (the octave was the third wheel and when I am not playing mandolin, I want time for my first loves-- my 2008 Martin 00028 and my 1976 Guild D55, and bought this one for fun:

    It's an 2007 Eastman MD815V ( V for "varnish" for those who aren't familiar, although Pat is) in mint condition: http://https://reverb.com/item/33809976-eastman-md815v-mandolin-2007-sunburst-antique-varnish I actually got it for $1150.
    Last edited by lflngpicker; Jun-01-2020 at 2:36pm. Reason: mispelling of Newson was corrected
    Dan Brooks
    2017 Collings MT(GT), 2007 Eastman 815V, 1913 Gibson A1, 1912 Gibson A1, 1930’s Strad-o-Lin

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  24. #63
    Registered User lflngpicker's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dreaming of a Great A5 under $6000

    Quote Originally Posted by sgarrity View Post
    I hope I get to see the Griffith A5 in person some day.....
    Shaun, Hey neighbor! How are you?
    Dan Brooks
    2017 Collings MT(GT), 2007 Eastman 815V, 1913 Gibson A1, 1912 Gibson A1, 1930’s Strad-o-Lin

  25. #64
    Purveyor of Sunshine sgarrity's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dreaming of a Great A5 under $6000

    Hey Dan, not too bad all things considered! Plenty of time for music these days

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  27. #65
    Registered User lflngpicker's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dreaming of a Great A5 under $6000

    Quote Originally Posted by sgarrity View Post
    Hey Dan, not too bad all things considered! Plenty of time for music these days
    There’s a silver lining Shaun! Someday we’ll have to meet up at a festival such as Summer Grass. I have a while with my condition before I can travel 85 miles, but I will never say never!
    Dan Brooks
    2017 Collings MT(GT), 2007 Eastman 815V, 1913 Gibson A1, 1912 Gibson A1, 1930’s Strad-o-Lin

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  29. #66
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    Default Re: Dreaming of a Great A5 under $6000

    I would get a mid 1980s Carlson Flatiron and pocket the other 3K. As to modern builders, I would look to Will Kimble.
    1/2/89 Gibson A5-L

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  31. #67

    Default Re: Dreaming of a Great A5 under $6000

    Wienman mandolins offer an A5 for $4K. So many sweet mandolins out there!

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  33. #68
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    Default Re: Dreaming of a Great A5 under $6000

    Quote Originally Posted by lflngpicker View Post
    I want more bling..
    I get it. The wanting of a fully appointed next level A5 will keep the MAS flame simmering. Unless you're willing to make a final jump to the top of the heap of Heiden, Gilchrist and the like, an A5 in the price you list can keep MAS at bay quite well imo. After that most nice mandolins are just that and pose little risk for reinfection of want.

    I loved my satin mandolins. They provided me with all I wanted until I wanted more. For tone I most wanted better sounding E string(s). My 2K range of used satin mandolins all seemed to have an E course that was a little brash. Most had excellent A and D courses but E and G could have been better imo.

    Personal tastes involved here but when upgrading to a better mandolin I also wanted:
    Hand rubbed varnish finish
    Waverly grade tuners
    Fully bound - top, back, and fret board
    One piece back
    Builder cred
    A really nice case to hold it

    I'm satisfied with my 2 A5s - both on your initial list btw. They are MAS inhibitors both. I have since left Carters Vintage with mild case of Heiden envy but selling 3 to get one is not in the plans. For now.

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  35. #69
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    Default Re: Dreaming of a Great A5 under $6000

    You can't go much wrong with a Collngs MT2. I put off having one for years till now. Plenty of bling, sustain, and volume. I prefer it's brighter sound. I can play just about every genre of music on it. I just change the type of pick to get the sound I want.
    Nic Gellie

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  37. #70

    Default Re: Dreaming of a Great A5 under $6000

    Oliver Apitius makes some A’s. I Haven’t had the pleasure...has anyone else? They’re in your range I’d say.

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  39. #71
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    Default Re: Dreaming of a Great A5 under $6000

    Not tying to stir the pot, but a scant few years back (5-8?) I was thinking that one could buy just about all the A-model mandolin one wanted for about $3000-$3500. What's happened to make $5500-$6000 the "new normal?" That figure used to be the range for all but the highest end F-models. Have the small shop builders "upped their game" that much? Has demand for higher end mandolins grown dramatically? Or has the notion of buying "the best A model available" supplanted some of the demand of the 'grassers who used to think "only an F-model for me."

    I'm all for capitalism and want these builders to get fairly compensated for their time. And I'm not in the market now as my BRW 2-point (avatar pic) has matched all but 2 mandolins I've ever played (The Dudenbostel "DIY network" instrument and a natural finish Gil F-4 that was at Carter's for the blink of an eye last year). But it's obvious to me that my dream of starting a "collection" of high-end A models and 2-points will have to remain just that for the next several lifetimes.
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  41. #72
    Registered User lflngpicker's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dreaming of a Great A5 under $6000

    Quote Originally Posted by usqebach View Post
    Not tying to stir the pot, but a scant few years back (5-8?) I was thinking that one could buy just about all the A-model mandolin one wanted for about $3000-$3500. What's happened to make $5500-$6000 the "new normal?" That figure used to be the range for all but the highest end F-models. Have the small shop builders "upped their game" that much? Has demand for higher end mandolins grown dramatically? Or has the notion of buying "the best A model available" supplanted some of the demand of the 'grassers who used to think "only an F-model for me."

    I'm all for capitalism and want these builders to get fairly compensated for their time. And I'm not in the market now as my BRW 2-point (avatar pic) has matched all but 2 mandolins I've ever played (The Dudenbostel "DIY network" instrument and a natural finish Gil F-4 that was at Carter's for the blink of an eye last year). But it's obvious to me that my dream of starting a "collection" of high-end A models and 2-points will have to remain just that for the next several lifetimes.
    You have posed some very good questions and I think a good argument to support them. A thought provoking post, indeed. Thank you.
    Dan Brooks
    2017 Collings MT(GT), 2007 Eastman 815V, 1913 Gibson A1, 1912 Gibson A1, 1930’s Strad-o-Lin

  42. #73
    My Florida is scooped pheffernan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dreaming of a Great A5 under $6000

    Quote Originally Posted by lflngpicker View Post
    It's an 2007 Eastman MD815V ( V for "varnish" for those who aren't familiar, although Pat is) in mint condition: http://https://reverb.com/item/33809976-eastman-md815v-mandolin-2007-sunburst-antique-varnish I actually got it for $1150.
    I’m happy to see a scroll return to your stable, Dan, at a price point that makes sense for your backup to the MT.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Wilson View Post
    Unless you're willing to make a final jump to the top of the heap of Heiden, Gilchrist and the like, an A5 in the price you list can keep MAS at bay quite well imo . . . I have since left Carters Vintage with mild case of Heiden envy but selling 3 to get one is not in the plans. For now.
    Can you speak up, Mark? I can’t hear you!

    Quote Originally Posted by usqebach View Post
    Not tying to stir the pot, but a scant few years back (5-8?) I was thinking that one could buy just about all the A-model mandolin one wanted for about $3000-$3500. What's happened to make $5500-$6000 the "new normal?" That figure used to be the range for all but the highest end F-models. Have the small shop builders "upped their game" that much? Has demand for higher end mandolins grown dramatically? Or has the notion of buying "the best A model available" supplanted some of the demand of the 'grassers who used to think "only an F-model for me."
    I seem to remember $3000-3500 (new) being Collings MT2 money back then. It’s closer to an MT now, which I attribute to inflation / cost of living adjustments. I think the higher end A5’s were still north of that figure even then.
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  44. #74
    Registered User Mike Scott's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dreaming of a Great A5 under $6000

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Wilson View Post
    I get it. The wanting of a fully appointed next level A5 will keep the MAS flame simmering. Unless you're willing to make a final jump to the top of the heap of Heiden, Gilchrist and the like, an A5 in the price you list can keep MAS at bay quite well imo. After that most nice mandolins are just that and pose little risk for reinfection of want

    I'm satisfied with my 2 A5s - both on your initial list btw. They are MAS inhibitors both. I have since left Carters Vintage with mild case of Heiden envy but selling 3 to get one is not in the plans. For now.
    Hey Mark, if you decide to part with Kelley #45, I'll buy it. Ive regretted that parting for a long time!
    Thanks

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  46. #75
    Bob Ayers Ranger Bob's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dreaming of a Great A5 under $6000

    FWIW, I too am an A style enthusiast. I guess I have an obsession to savor as many of the A style fruits as i can. I have had a number of them -- Collings MT, Gibson A5L, Weber Absaroka, Givens A5, Lewis (although that was a 2 point), Ellis A5 Deluxe, and I currently have a Mowry A5. Hands down, the Ellis had it all -- playability, tone, fit & finish, just overall BINGO!. It was the best sounding, easiest playing mandolin I have ever touched. The Mowry, IMHO, has all the tone of the Ellis but, not quite the playability. Don't get me wrong, the Mowry plays better than anything other than the Ellis -- for me. And, I'm still working with set up. Like I said, FWIW.

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