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Thread: Hello! New here with question about best bang for my budget

  1. #1

    Question Hello! New here with question about best bang for my budget

    Hi, Folks!

    First I have to say, what a great resource this is. Thanks to the site owner(s) and all of you who post such useful info here.

    I'm a beginning player and have been struggling with a cheap mandolin for about a year. I am ready to buy something that is nicer and easier to play. I've been considering an acoustic/electric because I eventually want to play the mando in my band (I am a singer in two bands, one rock and one funk). However, I also want to play in bluegrass jam circles and in my back yard.

    My budget is $1,000 and I am curious about your thoughts on the best way to spend it. I'm leaning toward acoustic because I know it'll be a couple of years before I'm ready to play on stage, and think I'll get more for my money that way. BUT shopping online for instruments is overwhelming. I live in a small town and don't have access to a big music store.

    Thanks for any insight and advice!
    Dina

  2. #2
    Registered User EvanElk's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hello! New here with question about best bang for my budget

    Hi Dina - personally I think this 1952 Gibson a-50 is a really nice option https://www.mandolincafe.com/ads/164420#164420

    Fiddler's Green is asking $1200 for that one - they might be open to a little haggling on the price, although I'm not sure. I haven't done biz with them. I miss my old A-50! I played one for years before I started upgrading. They have a nice woody and sweet tone and mic and record really well. Click image for larger version. 

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    1998 John Sullivan A5
    2001 Gilchrist Model 3
    2009 Heiden A Heritage
    2015 Heiden F Artist
    2017 Duff A5
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  3. #3

    Default Re: Hello! New here with question about best bang for my budget

    I just faced the same question and upgraded to an Eastman MD605. I haven’t had a chance to plug it in yet but chose this model partly because it comes with a pickup. I’ve had it for a week now and am loving the sound and playability.

  4. #4
    My Florida is scooped pheffernan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hello! New here with question about best bang for my budget

    I’d wait on the pickup and shop for an independently built A5 of solid woods from a reputable luthier:

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/ads/164469#164469
    1924 Gibson A Snakehead
    2005 National RM-1
    2007 Hester A5
    2009 Passernig A5
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    2018 Vessel TM5
    2019 Hogan F5

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    Default Re: Hello! New here with question about best bang for my budget

    Northfield Calhoun for sub $1000 and American made is a great deal if you can find one available.

  6. #6
    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Hello! New here with question about best bang for my budget

    This....

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/ads/164831#164831

    Dennis is well regarded here and he makes sure the mandolins are well set up before they go out.
    The Eastman 600 series come with an internal pick up so they are stage ready but also are fully functioning acoustic instruments that sound good.

    Good luck with your search!

    NFI
    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

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    Default Re: Hello! New here with question about best bang for my budget

    I second Charley’s recommendations of the mandolin and the store, although if there is a non-chain instrument store within driving distance, you could look there first. (Eastmans generally go for the same price everywhere, and at a chain store, the set-up can be hit-or-miss.) For bluegrass and funk, you’re probably going to like the f-hole sound over the oval-hole sound, regardless of the body shape. For rock, it would depend on how you’re planning to play the mando.

    I’ve never played a mando with a K&K, but I’ve had them installed on a couple of my guitars, and they give a really clean and natural sound. If you’re playing in a full band, though, you’ll probably want to run it through a DI box.

    Happy hunting!
    still trying to turn dreams into memories

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  9. #8
    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Hello! New here with question about best bang for my budget

    DinaB, since you said you are in a Rock band and a Funk band, I thought I would share this video of a fellow Cafe member playing "Kiss" by Prince on his Eastman...




    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

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  11. #9
    Fingers of Concrete ccravens's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hello! New here with question about best bang for my budget

    Quote Originally Posted by Charles E. View Post
    This....

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/ads/164831#164831

    Dennis is well regarded here and he makes sure the mandolins are well set up before they go out.

    The Eastman 600 series come with an internal pick up so they are stage ready but also are fully functioning acoustic instruments that sound good.
    I third this suggestion - the mando and the store with its set-up.
    Chris Cravens

    Girouard A5
    Montana Flatiron A-Jr.
    Passernig Mandola
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  13. #10
    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hello! New here with question about best bang for my budget

    A's Rather than F's for one thing..
    writing about music
    is like dancing,
    about architecture

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    Registered User Willem's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hello! New here with question about best bang for my budget

    For a $1000, I do not believe there is much better than a Howard Morris A5 (or A4 if you prefer an oval hole).

  15. #12

    Default Re: Hello! New here with question about best bang for my budget

    Thank you! I'll check it out.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Awesome to know, NDO. Thanks. I have been eyeing the Eastman.

  16. #13

    Default Re: Hello! New here with question about best bang for my budget

    Thanks!

  17. #14

    Default Re: Hello! New here with question about best bang for my budget

    Fantastic!

  18. #15

    Default Re: Hello! New here with question about best bang for my budget

    Thanks for all of the tips, everyone. Apparently I need to figure out how to respond to posts so they attach to the response! I suppose that's how Reply With Quote works?

    Anyway. I have a lot of good info here to base my research off of, and really appreciate it!

  19. #16
    Gibson F5L Gibson A5L
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    Default Re: Hello! New here with question about best bang for my budget

    Well DinaB .... A used Kentucky or Eastman A model mandolin will yield the best bang for your buck. An installed K&K pickup with preamp will allow it to be played in a band setting. Tonally a mic works better but is not always workable sound wise. Check out The Mandolin Cafe' for a free copy of of Rob Meldrum's Mandolin Setup Book. Perhaps that will assist in the playability level of your current instrument while you wait for "that right one" to come up for sale. R/
    I love hanging out with mandolin nerds . . . . . Thanks peeps ...

  20. #17
    Be Wild Zach Wilson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hello! New here with question about best bang for my budget

    A flat top mandolin like this used Tacoma would work well in a rock band setting.... not sure for funk music though. These are US made and are nice mandolins. This one appears to be in good shape and ready to play with a pickup already installed. NFI. Happy Hunting!

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/Tacoma-M-1E...d&LH_Auction=1

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