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Thread: Should I consider a very early B.R.W. (Ben Wilcox)?

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    Default Should I consider a very early B.R.W. (Ben Wilcox)?

    I'm eyeing up a B.R.W. mandolin on ebay and am looking for advice. I really like the look of it, and I know Ben Wilcox's reputation as a builder from years of eyeing the forums here.

    Normally I would have no qualms about going for one, but this happens to be B.R.W. number 13. Is no. 13 too early in Ben's building career to consider it a safe bet that it will be similar quality to the ones that earned him a reputation as a great builder? I would especially like to hear from anyone that may have an early B.R.W.!

    For reference, I have generally been looking at used Collings MTs, Pava Satins, and Girouard Studios as the sort of level of mandolin I'm after.
    "Yeah, well, you know, thatís just, like, your opinion, man."

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    Registered User QCS's Avatar
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    Default Re: Should I consider a very early B.R.W. (Ben Wilcox)?

    If the early builds are anything like the later ones, I donít think you will be disappointed. I have an F5 #76 and I am totally satisfied with its quality and tone. I am not a ďcatch and releaseĒ guy. I tend to buy the best I can afford at the time and hold onto them. I have been bitten with sellers remorse and now just keep emí.
    One thing you will have to deal with is your friends will all want to play it. Itís different and they donít show up at jams too often. They definitely stand up to the rigors of a good Bluegrass jam. Quality workmanship and great tone, you could do worse. The time to buy is when you see it. Good luck.

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    Registered Muser dang's Avatar
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    Default Re: Should I consider a very early B.R.W. (Ben Wilcox)?

    Thile had Dude #5 and #14 I think?

    I could see both sides of this, you would think he’d get better with more builds, but he probably had a similar voicing back then. Maybe you could inquire if there are significant differences since that build period?
    I should be pickin' rather than postin'

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    Default Re: Should I consider a very early B.R.W. (Ben Wilcox)?

    Quote Originally Posted by dang View Post
    Thile had Dude #5 and #14 I think?

    I could see both sides of this, you would think he’d get better with more builds, but he probably had a similar voicing back then. Maybe you could inquire if there are significant differences since that build period?
    Ha, I had the same thought about Thile's Dudes.

    I did talk to Ben, and he said in general the arching varied from instrument to instrument early on; it wasn't until later that he sort of standardized his voicings more. So it really is an unknown sound-wise, though Ben did give me some general description of what might be likely for this one (big shoutout to him for being willing to answer my questions, and quite thoroughly! Seems like a great guy, and a loss to the building community). From Ben's description I think this could be a very good mandolin at a very good price, but the seller is not doing a trial period, so I am still hesitant to take a chance on it.
    "Yeah, well, you know, thatís just, like, your opinion, man."

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    Default Re: Should I consider a very early B.R.W. (Ben Wilcox)?

    For anything over 500 (regardless of maker) my take would be: No trial period.....NO sale. That would be a deal breaker.

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    Default Re: Should I consider a very early B.R.W. (Ben Wilcox)?

    That and his less than 100% feedback rating.
    Palatable to a Goat: New Music from Gregg Daigle and Don Grieser, now on bandcamp
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    Default Re: Should I consider a very early B.R.W. (Ben Wilcox)?

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Grieser View Post
    That and his less than 100% feedback rating.
    Yeah, I've decided to pass on it. Found out it has a flat fingerboard, which ends all my temptation. I was considering a very low offer to just see what might happen, but once I got that detail I knew it was done.
    "Yeah, well, you know, thatís just, like, your opinion, man."

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    Registered User Russ Jordan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Should I consider a very early B.R.W. (Ben Wilcox)?

    Sorry to hear that it sounds like Ben is not building anymore. I had one of his A5’s that was very nice.
    Russ Jordan

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    Registered User Tom C's Avatar
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    Default Re: Should I consider a very early B.R.W. (Ben Wilcox)?

    Quote Originally Posted by Russ Jordan View Post
    Sorry to hear that it sounds like Ben is not building anymore. I had one of his A5’s that was very nice.
    No he is not. I got #27. Great mid tones and across strings. Maybe on the heavier side. I still play it. About 6 years ago when I sent it to him for frets, he made me an offer I should have jumped on. I heard he took pointers from John Monteleone in his later mandos. He did not tell me that so I may be wrong.
    Great reputation at a young age but you all know how hard it can be making a living from it.

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