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Thread: Palmer mandolin

  1. #1

    Default Palmer mandolin

    Hello everyone, new mandolin player here!

    I just saw an add on a Danish website similar to eBay, where a guy is selling a Palmer mandolin. I couldn't find anything about Palmer, so I thought that someone here might be able to give me more info. Or maybe you would be able to tell simply from the pictures if this one could be worth trying out?

    Here is a link to the add, all in Danish but with pictures:

    The text says that the mandolin is from the 70's, hand made, great condition, good sounding...

    The price is around 420 US dollars. Would anyone be able to tell from the pictures, or from any info on Palmer, if this could be a good deal?


  2. #2

    Default Re: Palmer mandolin

    There are references to various Palmer mandolins on the internet. The photos are not great but my guess would be that it is a Korean made mandolin. I suppose looking at other known brand mandolins from that part of the world ad comparing their price with this one might be your best option to gauge its worth and help you decide if that price is good.

  3. #3
    Registered User poul hansen's Avatar
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    Jun 2020

    Default Re: Palmer mandolin

    Ask the seller if it's all solid wood, if the top is carved or pressed, any defects, any wear on frets, do the tuners turn light and easily, are there any repairs, straight neck, action?

    At that price, maybe you could afford to go and try it?

    BUT an unknown make will always be difficult to sell later.
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  4. #4
    The Amateur Mandolinist Mark Gunter's Avatar
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    Apr 2014
    Alvarado/Mansfield, Texas

    Default Re: Palmer mandolin

    That mandolin appears to be a carved top and back - I'm no expert, but the laminated, pressed tops I've seen lack the carved ridges at the scroll. In the U.S., $450 is a pretty good deal on a carved top F-style mandolin. But the test will be how it feels in your hands and the tone it produces, things that can't be gauged by seeing the photos. I know nothing about the brand itself.

    There are some experts here in the forum, maybe someone can shed more light on the brand. Also I'd like to know from the experts: Have you ever seen a laminated, pressed top that actually has the ridge at the scroll?
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  5. #5
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Mar 2006
    Rochester NY 14610

    Default Re: Palmer mandolin

    The Palmer Guitars USA catalog has a mandolin page. The company states it was "founded 1975" and that its instruments are "designed in Florida," but doesn't list where they're actually made. Most of the listings for Palmer mandolins seem to be in Spanish, so I'd speculate that their primary market may be Latin American; the catalog's heavy on nylon-strung acoustics. They also emphasize acoustic-electric mandolin models.

    How a Palmer mandolin ended up in Denmark is unclear, but the F-model for sale there doesn't show up in the Palmer catalog, so I assume it's no longer made. To speculate further: when the company started out in the 1970's, ordering instruments in a variety of designs from some Asian manufacturer, they may have ordered an F-model instrument that the Asian company (Samick, maybe, if it's Korean-made?) was building at the time, and found out subsequently that it didn't sell in their target market. Forty-five years later, it'd be hard to determine what the '70's specs for the mandolin were -- solid vs. laminated, carved or heat-pressed, etc. etc. An experienced repair tech might be able to examine it and give you an expert assessment.

    To paraphrase Shakespeare's Hamlet: "There are more brands in heaven and earth, Horatio, then are dreamt of even by George Gruhn." Who knows, you might become the proud owner of the only Palmer F-model mandolin left in the world -- for whatever that's worth...
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