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Thread: We've said it before, we'll say it again.

  1. #1
    Oval holes are cool David Lewis's Avatar
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    Default We've said it before, we'll say it again.

    Popped into a local shop today that specialises in acoustic instruments. Looking at those new banjo picks that go down your fingers. Did not like them - no, not quite. Loved the thumb pick. But the others - couldn't get a good sound out of them.

    This is not a criticism of the build quality or idea. Nor is it to suggest that they were at all bad. I just couldn't get a sound I thought adequate. No doubt everyone else could.

    I then picked up a couple of Eastman mandolins and a Godin. again... lovely instruments. But I preferred the instruments I have at home.

    I'm not here to troll, but rather to ruminate how some people just don't get on with some things. Sam Bush springs to mind - he was offered a Lloyd Loar, but preferred 'Hoss'. No-one, not least Sam, thinks the Lloyd Loar is a bad mando...
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  3. #2

    Default Re: We've said it before, we'll say it again.

    Not sure what point your are making with this post, or what "the instruments I have at home" are. The vast majority of instruments listed in your signature are Pac rim.

    I don't own an Eastman mandolin because my own builds are now a notch above them. I have played a couple though, and when I encounter a beginner that wants to move a step up from a plywood mando, Eastman is one of brands I suggest as they seem to produce some of the most satisfying instruments in the sub $1000 range.

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  5. #3
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: We've said it before, we'll say it again.

    I have had the experience of going into a well stocked music store and trying out several mandolins and finding nothing there I would prefer over what I have. And in many cases it wasn't due to price. (And I do not own any super mandolins.)

    It has nothing to do with better or worse mandolins, in my experience, there are many mandolins better than those in my herd. It is that I am really happy with the sounds I can make, I really enjoy the familiarity I have with my mandolins, and it has to be a heck of an improvement for me to prefer it.
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    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: We've said it before, we'll say it again.

    I sometimes wish there were more choices than buy it or don't buy it. Sometimes I really really like a mandolin that I am testing in a music store, and really love that it exists, but I don't need to own it. Like flowers in a garden, I want a way to really really appreciate and love a flower with out having to pick it.
    Having something to say is highly over rated.

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: We've said it before, we'll say it again.

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffD View Post
    I sometimes wish there were more choices than buy it or don't buy it. Sometimes I really really like a mandolin that I am testing in a music store, and really love that it exists, but I don't need to own it. Like flowers in a garden, I want a way to really really appreciate and love a flower with out having to pick it.
    One of our local libraries will let users borrow instruments. These were donated to the libraries instrument program. I am not sure if there are any mandolins but if there are they are probably lower-end ones. OTOH it allows beginners to have the instruments in their home for a few weeks. I love that concept of borrowing that libraries have had for a long time and love it when they extend to things other than books, movies, recordings. Musical instrument, for sure, and why not tools or kitchen appliances?
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    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: We've said it before, we'll say it again.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Roy View Post
    ...The vast majority of instruments listed in your signature are Pac rim...
    So's Sydney, Australia, I guess...
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  13. #7

    Default Re: We've said it before, we'll say it again.

    Some years ago I bought a Kentucky KM855 Bella Voce mando. Really didn't know what I was buying and didn't play well enough to really tell what it was capable of. I saw another F5, think it was a Gibson, not real sure, that one of the shops listed on here had. I called the owner and told him what I had and what I wanted to do and he told me that these particular mandolins had had a lot of problems with neck joints and really didn't sound that good and wasn't interested in taking it in on trade. With this, I also have listed it on here a few time and all I got were "tire kickers". Fast forward to about a month ago. I got it out and tried a few chops on it, I have also learned to chop since I got it, and it sounded pretty decent to me. I decided right then and there that I was going to give it the chance it deserved. After playing it a lot and loud while I was at our other house by myself, it seems to be opening up and sounding the way I never thought it would. In the end, I almost got rid of a great sounding mandolin I had right here at home.

  14. #8
    Oval holes are cool David Lewis's Avatar
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    Default Re: We've said it before, we'll say it again.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Roy View Post
    Not sure what point your are making with this post, or what "the instruments I have at home" are. The vast majority of instruments listed in your signature are Pac rim.

    I don't own an Eastman mandolin because my own builds are now a notch above them. I have played a couple though, and when I encounter a beginner that wants to move a step up from a plywood mando, Eastman is one of brands I suggest as they seem to produce some of the most satisfying instruments in the sub $1000 range.
    The last question dropped off. It was to ask if anyone had felt that their more experience with more expensive gear didnít measure up in some way to their expectations. I want to say how much the build and the finish and the sound of the Eastman impressed me. But it didnít Ďfití if that makes sense.

    My pac rim stuff sounds great. This is not to disparage other makers or the owners of other makers instruments. . One day Iíll buy a peter Coombe mandolin.
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    Registered User Jill McAuley's Avatar
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    Default Re: We've said it before, we'll say it again.

    Well I wouldn't trade my Girouard mandolin for anything, well worth the money, well worth the wait. While I had been happy with my Collings MT-O, the Girouard is a huge step up from it tone wise and just keeps getting better and better.

    That said I have had an experience where I sold a supposedly "lesser" mandolin to get a higher quality one and bitterly regretted it: I had a lovely Weber Custom Gallatin F that I played for several years. Put a lot of miles on that mandolin and really loved it. Someone told me that I deserved to be playing a better quality instrument and my head got turned by a Weber Vintage A that I found online. So I sold the Gallatin to get $$ together for the Vintage A. When it arrived, it was a very nice mandolin but I immediately knew I'd made a mistake. I just preferred the sound and feel of the Gallatin compared to the Vintage A, sounds crazy but I'm sure familiarity played a huge role in that. Even took the Vintage A to get set up thinking that would change things, but I still kept hankering for the Gallatin. Ended up having to sell the Vintage A after 2 months anyway because I unexpectedly lost my job.
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    Default Re: We've said it before, we'll say it again.

    I have had several Pac rim and while they were good instruments, IMHO they generally lack volume and tone more than anything, the tone being "thin" and the volume just not there, I surmise this is because of the finishing process, too much varnish and glue? Pac Rims generally are easy to play, and sound most sound good, but next to a very high end like Randy Wood or Gilchrist, Monteleone, no comparison. I mostly own Webers and while they are generally not in the category of Loyd Loars, for the price increment I think the quality increase is more than worth it. Not saying because it's expensive its better, but I would say a higher skilled craftsman using higher quality materials does deserve to ask a higher price for a high quality instrument.
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  18. #11
    Registered User Eric Platt's Avatar
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    Default Re: We've said it before, we'll say it again.

    To the latter question of playing more expensive gear but not necessarily liking it more, yes. It has happened to me many times. Mainly with guitars. Am very happy with my current stable. And my only electric is a very cheap instrument that gives me more joy to play than anything I owned that was expensive. (It's also been changed and hot rodded to be almost nothing like what I purchased.) Example - for a couple of years used and toured with a Taylor 150e. Those are simple, laminated back and side 12 string guitars. But it did everything I needed, stayed in tune, sounded great with the person I was playing with at the time, and it could be plugged in and with almost no tweaking was ready to go on stage.

    As to mandolins, it happens to an extent. Am still happy with the Eastman OM. The present combination of scale length and neck shape makes it a very good instrument for my need. Just used it on a live recording yesterday and will be using it on another one in the near future. Have been able to compare it to other OMs and while those instruments were different, not sure they were always better. IMO, the "thin" tone mentioned above works in a positive way on an OM to help it cut through and not sound like a 12 string guitar.

    That said, there are tons of instruments out there better than what I own. And someday maybe I will own other instruments. Doesn't mean what I have now is bad, just that the sound I want to hear coming through an instrument has changed to the point where a different instrument works better.

    Man, that was a strange ramble on my part.
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  20. #12
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    Default Re: We've said it before, we'll say it again.

    The master makes the instrument...

    I am sure Thile, Steffey, Hull and other masters of this wonderful instrument could take any lower budget instrument and make it sound amazing. Heck I remember a shop owner here in middle TN years ago after getting my Loar 600 taking it and playing it with his thumb and it sounded fantastic in his hands.

    I was fortunate enough to purchase a Northfield NF5S recently, an instrument well beyond my playing skill, and I could immediately here the difference in tone and sustain relative to my Loar, which I always thought sounded pretty good.

    My opinion is I may never play either of my instruments to a level they deserve, but there is a reason really good players play these higher budget instruments. They hear things I likely never will and bring out music from them I know I never could..
    Last edited by Alan Lackey; Oct-11-2020 at 8:45am.
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  22. #13
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    Default Re: We've said it before, we'll say it again.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jill McAuley View Post
    Well I wouldn't trade my Girouard mandolin for anything, well worth the money, well worth the wait. While I had been happy with my Collings MT-O, the Girouard is a huge step up from it tone wise and just keeps getting better and better.

    That said I have had an experience where I sold a supposedly "lesser" mandolin to get a higher quality one and bitterly regretted it: I had a lovely Weber Custom Gallatin F that I played for several years. Put a lot of miles on that mandolin and really loved it. Someone told me that I deserved to be playing a better quality instrument and my head got turned by a Weber Vintage A that I found online. So I sold the Gallatin to get $$ together for the Vintage A. When it arrived, it was a very nice mandolin but I immediately knew I'd made a mistake. I just preferred the sound and feel of the Gallatin compared to the Vintage A, sounds crazy but I'm sure familiarity played a huge role in that. Even took the Vintage A to get set up thinking that would change things, but I still kept hankering for the Gallatin. Ended up having to sell the Vintage A after 2 months anyway because I unexpectedly lost my job.
    Jill said it all !! I have a Girouard A oval and F oval and both are keepers ! Played many mandolins at Gruhn’s from average price to very expensive and the sound and workmanship of a Girouard always came out on top to my ears and eyes !
    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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