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Thread: luthier recommendations in or around Berlin, Germany

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    Default luthier recommendations in or around Berlin, Germany

    morning all,

    Apologies if this is the wrong forum in which to ask this, but: does anyone here happen to know of a good mando-savvy luthier in or around Berlin, Germany?

    I've been playing mandolin for only about a year, after violin as a youngster and many years of guitar, and am thoroughly enjoying it, but keep running into (presumably) setup-related problems (buzz, intonation, detuning, strings catching at the nut), which is just frustrating. I've been back to the shop where I bought the instrument (an Eastman MD305) several times (pre-lockdown), and the luthier there has performed various tweaks free of charge, but I get the feeling they're progressively less enthused every time I show up, so I'd appreciate any ideas you might have.

    Thanks!

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    Registered User Ranald's Avatar
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    Default Re: luthier recommendations in or around Berlin, Germany

    I don't know if this is any help. It's not about Berlin, but it might be a start in finding something.

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/a...p/t-49491.html
    Robert Johnson's mother, describing blues musicians:
    "I never did have no trouble with him until he got big enough to be round with bigger boys and off from home. Then he used to follow all these harp blowers, mandoleen (sic) and guitar players."
    Lomax, Alan, The Land where The Blues Began, NY: Pantheon, 1993, p.14.

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    Default Re: luthier recommendations in or around Berlin, Germany

    Here is Mandolin Cafe's list of mandolin buiders in Germany. Might get you started. I don't see many in Berlin, admittedly, but probably worth a look. Kreuchwig in Berlin seems to do repairs, but looks more a guitar place.

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/cgi-bin...search=Germany

    And I found this article which certainly looks interesting

    https://www.mandoisland.de/eng_mandolinenbauer.html
    David A. Gordon

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    Default Re: luthier recommendations in or around Berlin, Germany

    Thanks for the pointers -- looks like I have some more research to do ... but at least some good places to start!

  7. #5

    Default Re: luthier recommendations in or around Berlin, Germany

    Quote Originally Posted by moocow View Post
    Thanks for the pointers -- looks like I have some more research to do ... but at least some good places to start!
    I grew up in Berlin and I can highly recommend Berlin Guitars and their dedicated small team of skilled technicians https://berlin-guitars.de/werkstatt/ Also, please say hello to Leonard

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    Registered User grassrootphilosopher's Avatar
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    Default Re: luthier recommendations in or around Berlin, Germany

    There are a couple of points that I'd like to adress.

    You bought the instrument pre lockdown from a music shop (?), luthier (?). Finding out if they are able to deal with setup issues is mandatory. I have a sad story to tell when it comes to guitar setup. I needed something done (intonation issues etc.) and went to a local guitar builder. Long story short: He made a new bridge insert that lowered the bridge so much that I got mostly buzzing. I then took the time have my guitar taken care of by Jürgen Richter (HH) and he practically did the opposite with great results.

    In your neck of the woods there is the cafe member bluesmandolinman. He might know about a reliable local luthier. His last activity was in Jan.2021.

    You need a luthier that knows about fretted instruments. I once had a violin builder do a bridge placement on my wonderful Strad-O-Lin. It was a disaster. The octaves were good, the rest was crap. This is due to the fact that fret placement was off by a little bit. A luthier with experience in fretted instruments would have done different tweaks.

    Unfortunately some luthiers look down on your rather inexpensive instrument and if at all perform their job half heartedly. With this caveat I have found these stringed instrument builders/repair people in your neck of the woods:
    - Johannes Reyels: http://www.gitarrenreparatur.info/kontakt.html
    - Susanna Schulz: http://www.schulz-gitarren.de/wordpress/
    - Watteau: http://www.wateauguitars.com/de/
    - Tobias Traub: https://www.oroboruscustoms.com/

    Mind you: These are guitar builders that may also repair/setup a mandolin. For a good luthier a mandolin setup shouldn´t be a problem.

    Before you go to a luthier (again), how about trying your hand at some of the problems?
    There is Rob Meldrum (a member here) sending you a free e-book about mandolin setup: http://jazzmando.com/tips/archives/002490.shtml
    Brad Laird (also a member here) has some very useful tips on setup on youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCcy...XmKia8zm8gZkBA

    In the end it´s indeed a matter of finding the (mandolin) luthier/repairperson of your choice. While living in Northern Germany (and later) I had repairs/adjustments made by Jürgen Richter, Karolinenstraße, Hamburg (part of the Schalloch team). Indeed, Rüdiger Helbig (Folk Laden Munich) should be able to point you in the direction of a trustworthy repair person. There are other people also, some of which fly under the radar but this should be a start.

    Please report about your findings. This site is a source for others to find help/answers to question like yours.
    Olaf

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    Registered User FPhil's Avatar
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    Default Re: luthier recommendations in or around Berlin, Germany

    Lot's of good info above!

    You can also sent an email to Martin Hense from
    https://www.martinsmusikkiste.eu/impressum or Oliver Waitz from https://www.newacousticgallery.com, they probably can point you in the right direction.

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  13. #8
    Registered User grassrootphilosopher's Avatar
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    Default Re: luthier recommendations in or around Berlin, Germany

    I forgot that there is Bluegrass Breakdown, a bluegrass band in Berlin. Who if not they know of reliable luthiers in your area. They are one of the oldest bluegrass bands in Germany.
    Olaf

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    Default Re: luthier recommendations in or around Berlin, Germany

    Quote Originally Posted by 8strings View Post
    I grew up in Berlin and I can highly recommend Berlin Guitars
    Yay, a first-hand recommendation! Thanks!


    Quote Originally Posted by grassrootphilosopher View Post
    You bought the instrument pre lockdown from a music shop (?), luthier (?).
    sorry if I was unclear: I bought from a local(-ish) music shop with a good reputation, which employs a luthier on staff. Names have been omitted to protect the innocent (they really have been quite helpful, I may just be picky and/or have too high expectations).

    Quote Originally Posted by grassrootphilosopher View Post
    Before you go to a luthier (again), how about trying your hand at some of the problems?
    In fact, I wrote to Rob shortly after starting this thread and received his e-book today (thanks, Rob!). I'll try my hand at setting up the €60 house-brand instrument I started with before I trust myself to mess around with the nut on the Eastman. Compared to many instruments played by forum members, I'm sure even the Eastman qualifies as an inexpensive, entry-level instrument, but it's the best I can afford for the foreseeable future, and I don't want to make things even worse (it's still a lot more fun to play than the no-name "Rogue"-like model). That said, I have nudged the bridge around a bit and given the wheels a few turns (without tension!) to get tolerable intonation and ameliorate some of the buzz, but I don't trust myself to mess too much with the nut.

    Quote Originally Posted by grassrootphilosopher View Post
    Please report about your findings. This site is a source for others to find help/answers to question like yours.
    Indeed, I will keep you all posted (pun very much intendend). Thank you all for the many helpful suggestions!

  16. #10

    Default Re: luthier recommendations in or around Berlin, Germany

    Hope you are getting on ok. Being from northern Germany as well, I am curious who you ended up contacting for further services, if you decided to go that route.

    Cheers, J.

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