Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 52

Thread: Mandolin Pricing?

  1. #1
    Registered User Ky Slim's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Kentucky
    Posts
    452

    Default Mandolin Pricing?

    Realizing the can of worms this may open I've been sitting on this question for a while now. What drives mandolin pricing? If it is simply supply and demand there must be an awful lot of people looking to buy mandolins. Builders are turning them out, one could even say "cranking" them out. The used mandolin market isn't shrinking - mandolins aren't just disappearing. There does not appear to be anything close to a shortage of mandolins.

    I'm not trying devalue or undercut or disrespect any builders talent for their craft. I'm not trying to bring into question the value of any instruments that are currently owned and/or for sale. I understand that in life prices only go one way - Up. I'm just curious if there is some standard of measurement for value that prices are derived from. Also, I will say that I am not currently in the market to purchase a mandolin (or anything) at the moment.

    I don't want to ask too many questions or open too many cans. Please don't chop me up for asking - What drives mandolin pricing?
    Last edited by Ky Slim; Jun-11-2021 at 9:02am.

  2. #2
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Southern Maine
    Posts
    168

    Default Re: Mandolin Pricing?

    Perhaps supply and demand?

    Depends on what you seek and seems to vary, builder to builder. Apparently, pandemic demand was high. One prominent domestic builder has temporarily ceased mando builds to catch up on guitar production. Builders may be passing on pandemic related costs that they can’t absorb.

    Have you shopped for used cars or groceries, lately?
    Girouard A
    Silverangel A
    Eastman 615-tweaked

  3. The following members say thank you to A-board for this post:


  4. #3
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    central VA
    Posts
    858

    Default Re: Mandolin Pricing?

    There seems to be a lot of demand out there. For example, Girouard's wait list is 2 years now and there are others in the same boat.

  5. The following members say thank you to dan in va for this post:


  6. #4
    Registered User RFluke's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2020
    Location
    sw PA
    Posts
    9

    Default Re: Mandolin Pricing?

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/c...d-Demand-Story

    I thought this was interesting, and it might give you some answers.

  7. The following members say thank you to RFluke for this post:


  8. #5
    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Kentucky
    Posts
    15,064

    Default Re: Mandolin Pricing?

    Supply and demand, or market forces are important, but when we get into the "higher end" market, especially hand built mandolins, branding becomes much more important for determining prices.
    We've been through this before around here, but when we face facts we can see that quality has limits. All builders have access to the same materials, all builders can learn proper building techniques and either learn to do excellent finishes or "farm out" finishing to someone who does, etc. etc.. In short, when top quality is reached there is no 'better', only 'different'. If we look at prices of top quality mandolins we find a huge range from moderate for hand built instruments to 5 figure prices. Why? Largely branding. Some names command much higher prices in the market than others.
    Here's where the whole 'bargain' thing comes along. As I've said several times, we must learn to judge quality on our own to find the bargains; those mandolins built to top standards that don't have a name capable of bringing in top prices. It gets a little more complicated for those buyers who consider resale value when making an initial purchase, but if one is looking for a mandolin to play, and learns to judge quality for him/herself, bargains are out there!

  9. The Following 11 Users Say Thank You to sunburst For This Useful Post:

    + Show/Hide list of the thanked


  10. #6
    Administrator Mandolin Cafe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 1998
    Location
    Lawrence, KS
    Posts
    2,782
    Blog Entries
    10

    Default Re: Mandolin Pricing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ky Slim View Post
    The used mandolin market isn't shrinking - mandolins aren't just disappearing. There does not appear to be anything close to a shortage of mandolins.
    Awful lot of people selling mandolins for a living that do not agree with this. An awful lot of people that do not sell instruments for a living do not agree with that assessment. It's factual right now that availability is way, way down compared to pre-pandemic. Because there are instruments available that are visible does not mean there has not been a dramatic change in availability. As previously pointed out, this article provides a lot of insight. What we are hearing and seeing is this is actually continuing to get worse, and it's a lot of retail and manufacturing sectors from a wide range of industries impacted, not just stringed musical instruments. When it corrects/reverses is an unknown.

  11. The Following 7 Users Say Thank You to Mandolin Cafe For This Useful Post:


  12. #7
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    NC
    Posts
    4,156

    Default Re: Mandolin Pricing?

    Agree with the above. I bought a Blues Jr amp at my local Guitar Center a few weeks ago, and it was really shocking how empty the walls were. In the past most of it was entry-mid level guitars and basses, but there were always a ton of them. I bet only 1/3 (or maybe a little more) of the hangers had instruments in them. And, the acoustic room was even worse. With mandolins I get it (see the Weber story, production and import issues from China, etc), but the electric guitar shortage really drove the point home to me.

    Same for used cars not manufactured domestically, as we learned during a recent buying experience, which was actually really low pressure and haggle free due to the scarcity…

  13. The following members say thank you to CES for this post:


  14. #8
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    No. California
    Posts
    983

    Default Re: Mandolin Pricing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ky Slim View Post
    What drives mandolin pricing? If it is simply supply and demand there must be an awful lot of people looking to buy mandolins.
    I'm guessing that before the pandemic, there was a pretty established and consistent equilibrium between supply and demand. The companies and the luthiers knew about how many mandolins they could sell each year, and produced accordingly, with the luthiers closing their waitlists when the demand wonderfully exceeded what they could supply.

    One of the many bizarre situations created by the pandemic involved tens of millions of Americans being unable to buy what they needed due to job losses, along with tens of millions of Americans being unable to buy what they wanted due to travel restrictions, sports and performance cancellations, bar closures, etc., even though their employment was not affected. You can also add the stock market gains into that. So, some of that disposable income was reallocated into instrument purchases, creating a demand that the supply couldn't meet.

    Quote Originally Posted by sunburst View Post
    Some names command much higher prices in the market than others.
    ...if one is looking for a mandolin to play, and learns to judge quality for him/herself, bargains are out there!
    I learned that on my visit to Carter's and Gruhn's four years ago. My buddy and I played probably 20-30 mandolins in the $5-25K mandolin range, and my absolute favorite was a year-old Apitius F5, which was going for around $6,500 at Carter's. When I checked Carter's website a month or so later, it was gone, but all of the other more expensive mandos were still there.
    still trying to turn dreams into memories

  15. The following members say thank you to Marcus CA for this post:


  16. #9
    Registered User Glassweb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Bellingham, WA
    Posts
    2,825

    Default Re: Mandolin Pricing?

    I agree with what John H said earlier in the thread... once you get to a certain level of instrument it's more about "different" than "better". And, of course, the name on the headstock.

    Another point... I bet a bunch of us have played instruments made overseas with an under $1,000 price tag that just shocked us. I played an Eastman oval-hole the other day and I could only shake my head... an absolutely pro-quality instrument for under $1,000. Unreal...

  17. #10
    two t's and one hyphen fatt-dad's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Richmond, Virginia
    Posts
    7,553

    Default Re: Mandolin Pricing?

    If I exited retirement, my consulting fee would be over $200/hr.

    It takes 100 hrs to build a mandolin, or so I've seen.

    At my rate that'd be $20,000 bucks! Then there are supplies - the wood for the mandolin, so that's another $500 to $1,000?

    They are out there, but most builders do not get $20,000 for an axe.

    Even retail pricing at $10,000, means the item is wholesaling at something much less. So, do factory workers make $50/hr at Gibson or Collings?

    I think it's buckle-up and spend wisely.

    f-d
    ˇpapá gordo ain’t no madre flaca!

    '20 A3, '30 L-1, '97 914, 2012 Cohen A5, 2012 Muth A5, '14 OM28A

  18. #11
    Fingertips of leather Bill McCall's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Forest Grove, Oregon
    Posts
    1,859

    Default Re: Mandolin Pricing?

    I'm sure it changes over time for a solo maker. I would suspect in the beginning the price is driven by the cost of production. Over time, price can reflect the demand for your instrument, better cost analysis, brand recognition and perhaps endorsing players.

    btw, I doubt productivity in small shops is growing by leaps and bounds to 'crank out' mandolins. Orville and Lloyd might marvel at some new machinery and tools, but really, not a lot has changed in the last 100 years in the production process.

    And not everyone has the same taste or 'value' criteria, which leads to different pricing concerns, for both buyer and seller.

    $.02.
    Play it like you mean it

    Not all the clams are at the beach

    Arrow G
    Clark 2 point
    Ratliff CountryBoy A
    00-21 (voiced by Eldon Stutzman)

  19. #12

    Default Re: Mandolin Pricing?

    The used market is indeed shrinking, almost as quickly as the new. We may get to a point where the prices overlap for a while.

    There aren’t a lot of high volume mandolin makers, like there are for guitars. Even Collings’ mandolin production is low.
    There's nothing better than first-hand experience.

  20. #13
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Rochester NY 14610
    Posts
    16,753

    Default Re: Mandolin Pricing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandobar View Post
    ...There aren’t a lot of high volume mandolin makers...
    And they're all in Asia. (And, perhaps, Romania.) Aren't we really just talking about high-end, hand-made (or at least substantially hand-made) instruments? Those Chinese firms turn out lots of mandolins at affordable prices, and distribute them all over the world. I'd hazard a guess that a large majority of mandolinists end up satisfied with an Eastman, a Kentucky, or a Loar, and don't go into the luthier-built or vintage markets at all.

    There don't need to be "an awful lot of people looking to buy mandolins" to create a demand that meets or exceeds the production of top-line instruments, whether from "factories" (for want of a better word) like Gibson, Collings and Weber, or from individual builders. And, perversely, many of those who go into the high-end and vintage markets, get some satisfaction from owning an expensive instrument -- either meticulously crafted to their specific preference by an individual luthier, or a rarity found at a vintage-instrument dealer.

    If there were money to be made by building mandolins for the high-end market, priced lower than current levels -- and if the start-up costs, including advertising and marketing, of a new maker were reasonable enough to encourage entry into the business, I would assume that would be occurring. A maker like Big Muddy can realize success building specific types of mandolin at reasonable prices, aiming for a specific market niche.

    Have any of you heard of American Acoustech guitars? This was a brand built in Brockport NY, just outside Rochester, by Dave Stuzman of Stutzman's Guitar Center and Tom Lockwood, who had worked for Guild Guitars. Using a combination of CNC and hand-finishing, as well as "off-brand" woods like cherry and walnut, they made instruments competitive with mid-range guitars like the Guild D-25, at significantly lower prices. My friend Bob Olyslager worked in their shop, and made several trips to the C F Martin factory to buy less-than-perfect bridges and fingerboards to be refurbished and used for Acoustechs. Dave's a long-time friend and instrument supplier, so I bought two Acoustechs as high school graduation presents for my kids. Excellent instruments, with lots of hand-work and great traditional design.

    This could have been an example of a successful "underpricing" of the mainstream acoustic guitar makers. However, Dave and Tom never succeeded in getting widespread dealer distribution of their guitars. (I tried my hand at writing their ad copy for national guitar magazines, with modest success.) American Acoustech lasted a bit over a decade, and their instruments are considered "rarities" now. It's damn hard to break into an instrument market where "heritage" brands -- Gibson, Martin, Guild et al. -- are established, not only in buyers' minds, but in long-term relationships with local and on-line dealers. What would have happened if Guitar Center or Musician's Friend had decided to carry American Acoustech guitars? (Well, first, the little Brockport shop would have had to ramp up by a factor of 10-20 in very short time -- a challenge that they never had to face.) We might all be considering Acoustechs today; maybe there would have been Acoustech mandolins, who knows.

    (Very) long story short, there are many obstacles to introducing a "reasonably priced" US-built line of mandolins. We've seen makers like Shawnee Creek offer solid-wood, hand-carved mandolins at prices much below other builders; maybe a successful US guitar maker (Taylor?) will take a chance and try building mandolins, who knows? But the current equilibrium at a high price point, seems difficult to disturb.

    Jus' my 2˘...
    Allen Hopkins
    Gibsn: '54 F5 3pt F2 A-N Custm K1 m'cello
    Natl Triolian Dobro mando
    Victoria b-back Merrill alumnm b-back
    H-O mandolinetto
    Stradolin Vega banjolin
    Sobell'dola Washburn b-back'dola
    Eastmn: 615'dola 805 m'cello
    Flatiron 3K OM

  21. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to allenhopkins For This Useful Post:


  22. #14
    Teacher, luthier
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Location
    Southeast Tennessee
    Posts
    2,401

    Default Re: Mandolin Pricing?

    Under the current conditions, the larger manufacturers have enough trouble just getting the instruments that are already on order out the door. I don't think any of them are going to consider adding mandolins to their product lines for quite a while.

  23. #15

    Default Re: Mandolin Pricing?

    I don’t see a lot of mass produced instruments either. Martin is scheduling out through 2022, and so is everyone else, but with Weber bowing out of mandolin production we have a handful of small builders, with a few production-style builders Collings, Northfield, etc.).



    Notice how quickly mandolins from small builders disappear in the classifieds and on store inventories.
    Last edited by Mandobar; Jun-12-2021 at 3:46pm.
    There's nothing better than first-hand experience.

  24. #16
    Registered User grassrootphilosopher's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Germany
    Posts
    1,801

    Default Re: Mandolin Pricing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ky Slim View Post
    Realizing the can of worms this may open I've been sitting on this question for a while now. What drives mandolin pricing? If it is simply supply and demand there must be an awful lot of people looking to buy mandolins. Builders are turning them out, one could even say "cranking" them out. The used mandolin market isn't shrinking - mandolins aren't just disappearing. There does not appear to be anything close to a shortage of mandolins.

    I'm not trying devalue or undercut or disrespect any builders talent for their craft. I'm not trying to bring into question the value of any instruments that are currently owned and/or for sale. I understand that in life prices only go one way - Up. I'm just curious if there is some standard of measurement for value that prices are derived from. Also, I will say that I am not currently in the market to purchase a mandolin (or anything) at the moment.

    I don't want to ask too many questions or open too many cans. Please don't chop me up for asking - What drives mandolin pricing?
    This is a very interesting question that also concerns all other walks of life. Remember housing in ... let´s say 2003 ("... ho, ho, ho... I´ll take a second mortage out... I´ll buy me that Dudenbostel F-5..." ... And I have read such like statements on this site...)

    Supply and demand is a factor. If it´s rare, the price might increase. But keep in mind the sound George Gruhn comment: "The plague is rare, but nobody wants to have it". So desirability is a factor too.

    Choice is a factor. I played a very nice Lloyd Loar F-5 once. The owner commented on my expensive mandolin that if you want the Lloyd Loar sound - being just a little above what my mandolin sounds - you have to pay soooo much more... We live in a world with many choices. That levels the price (probably).

    It´s a question of promotion. As allways: If your face is posted all over the internet, on tv and wherever, recognition definetly will give you a head start towards an unknown builder.

    F-5: HoGo (Adrian Minarovic) = ca. 3000 USD; Duff = ca. 9000 USD; Gilchrist = ca. 21000 USD (all new products)
    The difference in these instruments soundwise, builtwise, qualitiwise is miniscule. I have played all three and I would be proud to own each of them. Their workmanship is top notch and they deserve the highest praise.

    Compare housing prices. In Detroit in ... lets say about 2012, you could have bought a house for the price of an i-phone (at times). Why? Because there was a surplus of housing and no takers. See the Lloyd Loar market at the moment (Frank Dallas Ray selling a well known F-5 fern for 90 k, which was the price of a refinished flowerpot Lloyd Loar some years back).

    If I was only a better analyst... I might have a larger pocketbook now.
    Olaf

  25. The following members say thank you to grassrootphilosopher for this post:

    Lucas 

  26. #17
    My Florida is scooped pheffernan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Fort Lauderdale, FL
    Posts
    3,351

    Default Re: Mandolin Pricing?

    Quote Originally Posted by grassrootphilosopher View Post
    F-5: HoGo (Adrian Minarovic) = ca. 3000 USD
    1924 Gibson A Snakehead
    2005 National RM-1
    2007 Hester A5
    2009 Passernig A5
    2015 Black A2-z
    2010 Black GBOM
    2017 Poe Scout
    2014 Smart F-Style Mandola
    2018 Vessel TM5
    2019 Hogan F5

  27. #18
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Dec 2020
    Location
    Lewiston NY
    Posts
    163

    Default Re: Mandolin Pricing?

    Economics 101. In a commodities driven market supply and demand will determine prices. Gasoline becomes unavailable, but demand stays the same prices will go up. A surplus crop of soybeans results in lower prices due to weaker demand. Mandolins (and most musical instruments) aren't necessarily a simple commodity. It could be argued that they aren't even a necessity. (Oh I bet I'll regret saying that on this site!).
    So now the pricing equation becomes more complex. Much like the automobile market you have many products over many price points. They all do the same thing. Move you from point A to point B. However there are obvious differences. What is the market willing to pay for those differences?
    Getting there in a simple Chevy versus a BMW is a different experience. Going from a BMW to a Mercedes-Benz well I wouldn't know because I own a Chevy. And I'm quite content with it. Likewise I'm quite content with my mandolins.
    Remember mandolins are a very small niche market. The factors of supply and demand, quality (or perception driven by marketing or brand name) and the current economy with many people looking to spend their suddenly released resources has created a crazy pricing situation in many areas.
    Thanks to the OP a great comment!
    Ratliff R5 2007, Capek A5 2003, Washburn M5S-SB Jethro Burns 1982, Mid-Mo M-2, Epiphone MM 30 Bk mandolins, Harmony Batwing 1970's, George Bauer bowlback early 1900's Philadelphia.


    "Don't cloud the issue with facts!" Groucho Marx

  28. #19
    Registered User grassrootphilosopher's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Germany
    Posts
    1,801

    Default Re: Mandolin Pricing?

    Quote Originally Posted by pheffernan View Post
    Sorry, too late, to rash typing. Well some little time back the going rate was around 3.500 EUR. The exchange rate to USD kicks the price up some. There was one advertised that was $4.553.95 at the time.

    Still, I should do my homework and not type before too quickly.

    So what's the going rate for a new HoGo. You will probably know.
    Olaf

  29. #20
    My Florida is scooped pheffernan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Fort Lauderdale, FL
    Posts
    3,351

    Default Re: Mandolin Pricing?

    Quote Originally Posted by grassrootphilosopher View Post
    So what's the going rate for a new HoGo. You will probably know.
    I don’t know, as I had to track one down second hand and make the original owner an offer he wouldn’t refuse.
    Last edited by pheffernan; Jun-13-2021 at 9:08am.
    1924 Gibson A Snakehead
    2005 National RM-1
    2007 Hester A5
    2009 Passernig A5
    2015 Black A2-z
    2010 Black GBOM
    2017 Poe Scout
    2014 Smart F-Style Mandola
    2018 Vessel TM5
    2019 Hogan F5

  30. #21
    Registered User Eric Platt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    St. Paul, MN
    Posts
    1,329

    Default Re: Mandolin Pricing?

    Agree that it's supply and demand. I wonder if the secondary market for Weber goes up with new production on hold. Wouldn't be surprised to see other builders that make different instruments do the same. Probably a better margin on guitars and more guitar players so makes sense to take folks away from mandolins to build those instead.

    FWIW, don't see Taylor going into mandolins, as I seem to remember an interview where Bob Taylor was asked about it and he basically said he had no interest in that. Plus, they have been busy redesigning instruments (American Dream series, GT instruments) to keep folks occupied at the factory.

    Now, if Seagull were to make a full sized variant of the S8, that might be something. But even they seem to be having difficulty supplying enough guitars to stores.

    Will admit to a bit of a buying spree in the last year and now am getting back into gigging so there will be less time to look around and think about buying. Wonder if others will be in the same boat?
    2017 Northfield F5SA, Strad-O-Lin, 2008 Weber Gallatin F, 2018 Collings MT, 1929 Gibson A Jr., 2018 Eastman MDO-305
    http://ericplatt.weebly.com/
    https://www.facebook.com/LauluAika/
    https://www.lauluaika.com/
    https://www.facebook.com/Longtine-Pl...4404553312723/

  31. #22
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    The Great Northwest
    Posts
    135

    Default Re: Mandolin Pricing?

    I have a Clark on order that should be delivered any day now. Bottom line, it is built with components I want, the finish is awesome, single piece back, tuners I chose - you get the idea. None of this is possible with a factory built mandolin from any country.

  32. #23

    Default Re: Mandolin Pricing?

    I’ve selected wood and “components” on numerous occasions from Collings. Factory isn’t always “factory”.
    Last edited by Mandobar; Jun-13-2021 at 10:39am.
    There's nothing better than first-hand experience.

  33. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Mandobar For This Useful Post:


  34. #24
    Registered User Frankdolin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    near Boston, MA
    Posts
    609

    Default Re: Mandolin Pricing?

    Well it seems t be a "sellers" market. Which is why I bought 2 new mandolins at the end of last and very beginning of this year. Something I never would have done in the past ,but time marches on and I'm getting no younger, at least mathematically. I would just like to ask. What do you think the percentage is of serious buyers and players in the market. I would guess less than 30%.

  35. #25

    Default Re: Mandolin Pricing?

    According to the Pareto principle it is 20%. It’s a small community. Most dealers know who the serious buyers are, and lots of instruments change hands quietly. Lots of time wasters out there. Ridiculous questions, strange logic when negotiating, and “serial returner” syndrome. Like I said, it’s a small community.
    There's nothing better than first-hand experience.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •