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Thread: Mandolin shops in Tacoma, WA

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    Default Mandolin shops in Tacoma, WA

    I just moved to Tacoma WA and was wondering if y'all had any suggestions where I might find a shop or two to try out various mandolins. Only really played the one I got, which is a cheaper A-style, F-hole. Want to try a variety of styles, from carved to flat, F to oval hole, v neck, radius... just looking to figure out what I might like. I tried to look on google maps, but it was either a guitar shop with very few mandolins, or big box store like guitar center. Nothing wrong with big box I guess, just hate to have to deal with "out of box" no formal setup. Feels like I ain't getting to play the true mandolin that way. So if anyone knows maybe a more local shop with a good selection to try out, I'd appreciate the info.

  2. #2
    Orrig Onion HonketyHank's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandolin shops in Tacoma, WA

    Dusty Strings, up in Seattle. Or a day's drive over to Missoula to see Greg Boyd.
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    Just send an email to rob.meldrum@gmail.com with "mandolin setup" in the subject line and he will email you a copy of his ebook for free (free to all mandolincafe members).

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    Orrig Onion HonketyHank's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandolin shops in Tacoma, WA

    Oh! Can't ignore Bob Page. Give him a call. He's just south of Port Townsend. He usually has a few interesting instruments in the MC classifieds but he has a considerable stash of mandolins and banjos. You can get in contact via any of his MC ads.
    New to mando? Click this link -->Newbies to join us at the Newbies Social Group.

    Just send an email to rob.meldrum@gmail.com with "mandolin setup" in the subject line and he will email you a copy of his ebook for free (free to all mandolincafe members).

    My website and blog: honketyhank.com

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    Default Re: Mandolin shops in Tacoma, WA

    And I've got a mint Collings MT brown going up for sale shortly. In Spokane.
    2016 Collings MT
    1923 Gibson A2

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    Registered User urobouros's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandolin shops in Tacoma, WA

    I'm sure you can find shops that have one or two but Dusty Strings is the only shop in the area with a good mandolin selection. IMO of course There are a bunch of pickers though so there's always used instruments floating around

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    Registered User jefflester's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandolin shops in Tacoma, WA

    Dunno if Mr. emando.com Martin Stillion does in person...
    http://emando.com/index.htm

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    Default Re: Mandolin shops in Tacoma, WA

    I’m revealing my ignorance of Northwestern geography, and my pre-coffee laziness (cuz I could just look it up), but Howard Morris, who build/sells mandolins, is in Oregon. Depending on where it could be a nice day trip to his shop (if he’d be willing to meet in person) or totally not worth the time/effort. Never miss a chance to get your hands on mandolins better/different than yours. That’s how you learn what you really like!
    Chuck

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    Default Re: Mandolin shops in Tacoma, WA

    There are great builders all around the Puget Sound, but few shops that carry good mandolins. Dusty Strings is the best bet. Or hang on until we have some festivals...Wintergrass has a bunch of great vendors. Also, I think Lewendowski of Cedar Mt. Mandolins is near Tacoma.

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    Default Re: Mandolin shops in Tacoma, WA

    My daughter lived in Tacoma for three years, and hopes to move back there in a few years. From my visits, I'd agree with Hank and JD that Dusty Strings is the main place to go for good mandolins up there. It's in a really fun neighborhood (Fremont) in Seattle, so when you go to DS, plan on getting coffee and/or lunch there, and just walking around the commercial and residential districts of the area. Port Townsend is also a really fun town, but it's a bit farther from you than Seattle.

    That's the bad news. The good news is that Tacoma no longer has "the aroma of Tacoma" from the paper mill, and has lots of great places for coffee, food, records, beer and wine, and just walking around near the water. The Steilacoom area is really nice for strolling around and unwinding.
    still trying to turn dreams into memories

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    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandolin shops in Tacoma, WA

    Quote Originally Posted by jefflester View Post
    Dunno if Mr. emando.com Martin Stillion does in person...
    http://emando.com/index.htm
    Yes, I could arrange a meeting, if there is something on my humble list you want to see.

    If you come up to Seattle, try The Trading Musician along with Dusty Strings. Mostly lower-end mandolins but occasionally they'll have a Gibson or two.

    In Tacoma, I believe Ted Brown Music is an Eastman dealer, so they might have a few of those around. I know there's also a funky shop downtown where my buddy Bruce is always picking up strange and wonderful lower-end vintage mandolins, but I don't know the name of it.
    Emando.com: More than you wanted to know about electric mandolins.

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    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandolin shops in Tacoma, WA

    Quote Originally Posted by jd.panko View Post
    Also, I think Lewendowski of Cedar Mt. Mandolins is near Tacoma.
    I think he is in Renton, which is a suburb of Seattle on the southeast shore of Lake Washington ... but it's partway to Tacoma anyhow.
    Emando.com: More than you wanted to know about electric mandolins.

    Notorious: My Celtic CD--listen & buy!

    Lyon & Healy Wood Thormahlen Andersen Bacorn Yanuziello Fender National Gibson Franke Fuchs Aceto Three Hungry Pit Bulls

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    Default Re: Mandolin shops in Tacoma, WA

    Besides Dusty, try Mike /Mike's music bar about 10 blocks west and American Music about 10 blocks north, Amer. generally has at least 5 Eastmans to try that, well, desperately need a good setup ... American is a sub of the Kennelly Keys instrument store chain, you can also call Stan Brown chain and see what htey got.

    Dusty is re-opening sometime soon, but call to ask what the arrangement is, you might need apointments. Watch the traffic, last year i was taking pedal steel lessons in Olympia, i've never seen traffic like between seattle and Tacoma.
    Kentucky km900
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  14. #13

    Default Re: Mandolin shops in Tacoma, WA

    I recently played a Tacoma M1. A very nice instrument. Flat top, flat back, the paisley hole and very well set up action etc.
    The unusual thing (to me) was the course spacing (space of each pair & not between the courses)
    Conventional string courses are roughly 2.5mm, 2.5mm, 2mm, and 2mm at the nut.
    At the bridge the courses widen out to roughly 4mm, 3.5mm, 2.5mm, and 2.5mm.
    This Tacoma was noticeably spaced much tighter than this (couldn't measure it at the time).
    This was an alternate to conventional spacing I was unaware of.
    The "feel" was very comfortable and absolutely no string buzz etc. using very light gauge strings.
    My lack of experience with such set ups makes me curious whether some makers commonly employ this spacing, but I am just unaware of it.
    Any and all comments are certainly welcome.
    Thanks in advance.

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