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Thread: What Sensation Should You Feel for "The One?"

  1. #1
    Registered User Sherry Cadenhead's Avatar
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    Default What Sensation Should You Feel for "The One?"

    So, my instrument is a $200 Alvarez A-100. A friend wants to sell her Gibson (1920?) and she dropped it off today for me to try. Bells didn't go off, although it has a little louder and richer sound than my Alvarez.

    When you find "the one," what sensation should you feel?

    I'll play the Gibson more tomorrow, but I'm not interested in upgrading just because I can.

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    Default Re: What Sensation Should You Feel for "The One?"

    If you experience a “WOW” the it’s the one...until you play the next one.
    Girouard A
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    Default Re: What Sensation Should You Feel for "The One?"

    Is never ending. If the upgrade works for you do it since you can always sell it. If it doesn't tickle you on some level, dont. But you will know right away when you play one that fits on all levels. In roughly a minute....you will know. Then you will still be looking for better.
    Just been my experience.

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    Registered User Eric Hanson's Avatar
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    Default Re: What Sensation Should You Feel for "The One?"

    I was given the opportunity to try and amazing MT2V a couple years ago.
    I found myself TOTALLY obsessed.
    I had to figure out what I needed to sell so I could justify it with my wife. Bigger bucks spent than ever before.
    Needless to say I dreamt about this mandolin before I actually was able to bring it home. It had “THE” sound I had been looking for up to that point.
    Gladly I was able to bring it home. It hasn’t left. It likely will not. It definitely is a special instrument.
    Eric Hanson
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    The search has ceased! (At least for now)
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    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: What Sensation Should You Feel for "The One?"

    When I found mine it was sort of like this: (I don't play mandolin, so my "one" is a banjo BTW)

    I was not looking for an instrument. I had plenty of good ones, but I test-played it out of curiosity. First impression was; 'not bad'.
    Played it a little more, tried some other things on it and started to be impressed with it.
    Played it some more and began to notice how much potential seemed to be there.
    Got some friends together and played it in a jam. It did everything I wanted it to do. I could play softly doing backup work yet still have 'tone', or I could bear down and have my breaks be heard over some pretty loud pickers without becoming brash or harsh. It was capable of amazing dynamic range with subtle adjustments by the player (I've heard players much better than I get even more out of it), very responsive to player input
    Alas, it was more than I could afford, but I kept thinking about it... and nearly every musician I knew said "you should buy that banjo!".
    I began to consider that the price, though more than I could afford, was not likely to ever go lower and perhaps would get higher in the future, so I could always sell it if I had to and not loose money.
    So I began selling banjos and other instruments to raise the purchase price and eventually borrowed the remaining dollars needed, and I bought "the one".

    I still have it, it is still my main axe, the market price is no longer at it's peak but it is still about 4 or 5 times what I paid for it. Sometimes that's what it takes to find "the one"; finding that it is still "the one" many years later.

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    Mandolin user MontanaMatt's Avatar
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    Default Re: What Sensation Should You Feel for "The One?"

    Chocolate mixed with a delicate back tickle. Donít buy a ďmeh.Ē
    2007 Weber Custom Elite "old wood"
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    Mandolin user MontanaMatt's Avatar
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    Default Re: What Sensation Should You Feel for "The One?"

    Quote Originally Posted by sunburst View Post
    When I found mine it was sort of like this: (I don't play mandolin, so my "one" is a banjo BTW)
    Wait, what? Not throwing shade, buy you don’t play the mandolin?
    You build them, and make 14k posts here...is this a new confession?
    What gives?
    2007 Weber Custom Elite "old wood"
    2017 Ratliff R5 Custom #1148
    Several nice old Fiddles
    2007 Martin 000-15S 12 fret Auditorium-slot head
    Deering Classic Open Back
    Too many microphones

    BridgerCreekBoys.com

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    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: What Sensation Should You Feel for "The One?"

    Quote Originally Posted by MontanaMatt View Post
    Wait, what? Not throwing shade, buy you don’t play the mandolin?
    You build them, and make 14k posts here...is this a new confession?
    What gives?
    Nah, not a new confession. I never claimed to be a mandolin player. Just enough chop chords and a few melodies to be able to check them out when setting them up.
    Turns out owning a mandolin isn't enough, it apparently takes practice to be able to play!

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    Default Re: What Sensation Should You Feel for "The One?"

    I agree. Give it some time tomorrow, but if itís not one that really gets you with tone, feel, and playability, pass. Youíll know the feeling when it hits you. Those 20s Gibson ovals were all over the map, ranging from spectacular to meh. Also, the early 20s neck profile isnít for everyone. Not dissing them, just my experience. I remember one 1920 +/- F2 with a broken headstock that was not badly priced that I really wanted to love, but I just didnít. Sure someone else is happily pickiní it, though.

    My first ďthe one,Ē instrument experience was surprisingly (to me) with a Giacomel at Gruhns 8 or 9 years ago. I just strummed a G chord and played a little run, and the thing just came alive. My wife heard it, too, then saw the look on my face and said, ďOh no...Ē Alas, Iíve gotta get some kids out of college and get better before I could ever justify the $12,500...but, Iím really happy with my Kelly and Rigel right now, so all is well.

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    Registered User John Flynn's Avatar
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    Default Re: What Sensation Should You Feel for "The One?"

    Quote Originally Posted by sunburst View Post
    Nah, not a new confession. I never claimed to be a mandolin player. Just enough chop chords and a few melodies to be able to check them out when setting them up.
    Turns out owning a mandolin isn't enough, it apparently takes practice to be able to play!
    Bill Bussman is another one. I am sure he can play mandolin some and his son is pretty good, but he is a left-handed upright bass player.

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    not a donut Kevin Winn's Avatar
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    Default Re: What Sensation Should You Feel for "The One?"

    Couple years ago, my wife and I went into a shop so I could check out a Givens that they had there. I had been listening to a lot of YT clips and was really liking the Givens sound and had prepared myself for walking out with that mandolin. When I sat and played it for a bit, it sounded ok, but not $4K worth of ok. Somewhat disappointed, I walked over to where my wife was sitting and noodling on an acoustic, and I sat down right next to a Martin D-28 hanging on the wall. Sort of absent-mindedly I reached over and took it down and strummed a single G chord. I felt my face go flush and my hands sort of got buzzy. I believe I actually drooled a little bit. Don't remember much else from that afternoon, but I walked out of there with that guitar.

    That's how The One will feel...
    "Keep your hat on, we may end up miles from here..." - Kurt Vonnegut

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    Default Re: What Sensation Should You Feel for "The One?"

    Everybody's different so for me... you only need to feel that this mandolin is sufficient to satisfy the criteria you had when you started looking. And I've had quite a few instruments over the years that have done that for me. But after 20 years (it might be a different number for you) you'll find that you've played one of those satisfactory instruments at sessions, at gigs, at house parties, in airports, for strangers, for family, for friends, and at festivals, and you'll realize that you have a special feeling for that instrument that you don't have for the other ones. But you know its replaceable, you don't want to replace it but... your ability to play the mandolin is worth much more than any mandolin.
    Last edited by ampyjoe; Feb-02-2021 at 8:00am.

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    Be Wild Zach Wilson's Avatar
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    Default Re: What Sensation Should You Feel for "The One?"

    Quote Originally Posted by Sherry Cadenhead View Post
    So, my instrument is a $200 Alvarez A-100. A friend wants to sell her Gibson (1920?) and she dropped it off today for me to try. Bells didn't go off, although it has a little louder and richer sound than my Alvarez.

    When you find "the one," what sensation should you feel?

    I'll play the Gibson more tomorrow, but I'm not interested in upgrading just because I can.
    Maybe the Alvarez is your "one"...? I dont know about that. But I do know that when you find it, the Alvarez will be the last thing on your mind.

    For me my "one" found me. I won a contest here. My Weber chose me to be its "one" and I will never move on from it.

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    Registered User Jill McAuley's Avatar
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    Default Re: What Sensation Should You Feel for "The One?"

    I've played many mandolins that just had the "wow" factor for me - where I couldn't put them down. For every one of them I knew it the moment I started playing them - the neck profiles were instantly comfortable, the sound was fantastic. I unfortunately haven't always been in the financial position to go on to buy some of those instruments and in those cases it always haunted me a wee bit. My two most recent experiences resulted in purchases (although in the first example not a purchase of that exact instrument):

    - Girouard oval A: I'd been reading great things about Girouard mandolins for years and always wanted to get a chance to try one out. I was attending one of Marla Fibish's Winter Mandolin Intensive's in Feb 2018 and one of the other students had a Girouard oval A. She very graciously let me try it out and I was instantly smitten. At the time I had an extremely nice Collings MT-O, but the Girouard was on a completely different level. I went home that evening and emailed Max to put an order in for an oval A with the exact same specs as the one I tried and when it arrived in Dec 2018 I wasn't disappointed - it was that same feeling of immediacy, just instantly wonderful to play.

    - 1969 Martin 00-18: I was down in Los Angeles visiting an old friend a couple of years ago and was killing time before meeting them for lunch. I decided to drive out to McCabe's Guitar Shop, as I'd always enjoyed hanging out there when I used to live in LA in the early 2000's. Tried out lots of nice acoustic guitars and then picked up a battered 00-18 and couldn't put it down for nearly 3 hours, and ended up walking out the door with it.

    As folks have mentioned above, the old Gibson A's are kind of all over the place - some I've played were kind of meh sounding, some it felt like I was fighting against the neck profile to play comfortably, whereas with others they were immediately lovely and felt just right. I've played higher priced ones that didn't do it for me, and I've played a $900 one with a large repaired top crack that was just an absolute joy to play.
    2018 Girouard Concert oval A
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    Default Re: What Sensation Should You Feel for "The One?"

    Jill, agree totally. One of the better 20s Gibson A’s I’ve played was a paddle head A Jr that had 3 or 4 good sized top cracks and a couple of back cracks, and it looked like it had been refinished in the repairs, but it sounded great. It was priced around 800 dollars. In hindsight I should have bought it, but couldn’t get past the repairs and the refin at the time.
    Chuck

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    Default Re: What Sensation Should You Feel for "The One?"

    Hmmmm .... Tone , touch, looks. If it has all three and a good price it is likely candidate. Then you can decide if you are a catch and release or a collector kind of person. Old Gibson mandolins have a charm and warmth of tone all their own. IMO every mandolin stable needs one. There will be music that your ear tells you belongs on "that" mandolin. R/
    I love hanging out with mandolin nerds . . . . . Thanks peeps ...

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  29. #17
    Registered User Sherry Cadenhead's Avatar
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    Default Re: What Sensation Should You Feel for "The One?"

    All great comments. I don't believe I'm a good candidate for reselling instruments, so if I buy a second one, I want to be pretty darn sure it will keep me happy for the foreseeable future.

    I might just post videos of my playing both instruments - although I suppose there's not much point if I'm not keeping the Gibson. I posted pics of the Gibson in another thread.

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    Registered User Jon Hall's Avatar
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    Default Re: What Sensation Should You Feel for "The One?"

    Sherry, I realize it’s difficult to try a lot of mandolins, or really any, during the pandemic. I think you’re wise to not upgrade just because you can. Speaking for myself, two of my three mandolins, I purchased, knowing exactly what I was looking for and one of them I ordered new without ever playing it. I was confident that it was the best for me. I have not regretted that purchase. My 1918 Gibson A2 on the other hand was an instrument I hunted for over 20 years before I found an instrument I really liked and could afford.

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    Dave Sheets
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    Default Re: What Sensation Should You Feel for "The One?"

    Just an observation to toss in. Instruments that aren't set up well just never do it for me, while some times a setup changes an instrument from kind of "blah" into something I don't want to put down.
    -Dave
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    Frodo Lives! Caleb's Avatar
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    Default Re: What Sensation Should You Feel for "The One?"

    This is a great thread and reminded me of my electric guitar days. A man I know loaned me a pretty old Les Paul and I was so excited to spend time with it, and I figured it would be a lot nicer than my Partscaster I’d built. But what a let down it was! and it made me like my guitar even more.

    If you’re happy with your Alvarez, I’d hang on to it and enjoy it (the first mandolin I ever played—and the one that got me hooked—was an Alvarez). Give it enough time, and play enough mandolins, and one will probably come along that will change everything. And who knows, that might end up being the one you have already. Either way, enjoy the ride.
    "If we could read the secret history of our enemies, we should find in each man's life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility." -Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: What Sensation Should You Feel for "The One?"

    Sherry: Before you decide that the Gibson is not for you, a few questions. How old and what type of strings are in it? Are they the same strings you use on your Alvarez? If old strings I highly suggest you put new strings on it preferably ones you like, if possible. Was it just the tone you didn’t like or was it more difficult to play? Is the action higher than your Alvarez? I assume the neck is chunkier but does that bother you? Sometimes it is only a matter of getting used to in a short time. Take some time to A-B it with yours as well as to play it for an extended time. OTOH you may already have decided that this is not the one which is of course perfectly fine.
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    Registered User Frankdolin's Avatar
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    Default Re: What Sensation Should You Feel for "The One?"

    To me it's that feeling you get when something, or someone, makes your heart rate rise, hands sweat, toes curl... And the real beauty, with mandolins, is you can be as promiscuous as you want. Or can afford.

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    Default Re: What Sensation Should You Feel for "The One?"

    If you pick up an instrument and it starts to grow on you as you play it, then you put it down and come back to it and you notice something else that feels right, then you may have found that one that speaks to you. Lots of folks are taken in with the I wanna have another, but the more spiritual and thoughtful will find satisfaction with something that speaks to them. I have gone through dozens of mandolins and have a couple that speak to me in different ways. So I am not looking anymore. If a real gem falls into my lap, I may keep it but I am no longer looking for a mandolin. I only have time to play music now.

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    Default Re: What Sensation Should You Feel for "The One?"

    I thought this thread would be about how the first beat of the measure feels different.

  42. #25
    I really look like that soliver's Avatar
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    Default Re: What Sensation Should You Feel for "The One?"

    My experience was similar to Jill's. At the time when I decided to upgrade from my Eastman, I had a couple of things in mind, but I was particularly interested in Silverangel Mandolins because of the notorious dark tone and the excellent price point. Not being a man of great financial means, I knew even at the great price, I would need to save and save and save some more. With all of that effort, I wanted to be certain that I would be happy with what I was getting, so I put out a thread here in the MC to see if anyone near me had a Silverangel they would let me come over and try out. Through that I was able to make contact with OldSausage (David Mold) who let me come over and try out a couple of his instruments, his SA and his Flatiron. I really really really liked his SA so I got the serial number, contacted Ken Ratcliff and got the info so I could have mine made exactly the same. ... While I was still saving, my wife surprised me with a weekend getaway to Nashville where I visited Carter's and was able to confirm my want by playing a Silverangel they had on hand. They did have an Old Wave there that I would have take home if I had had the money, but it cost twice what I had budgeted for my SA Econo A... I am still shocked at how good it sounds when I play (and it's not my playing that makes it sound so good!)... it's a keeper, for me!
    aka: Spencer
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