Page 3 of 4 FirstFirst 1234 LastLast
Results 51 to 75 of 77

Thread: What price level and up gets you a "lifelong keeper" mandolin?

  1. #51
    🎶 Play Pretty 🎶 Greg Connor's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Minnesota
    Posts
    71

    Default Re: What price level and up gets you a "lifelong keeper" mandolin

    I belong to the camp THERE IS ALWAYS ONE MORE OUT THERE THAT NEEDS TO COME HOME WITH ME.. I GREW UP PLAYING MY Dad’s Guild M 20. I still have it, but now it has a lot of instruments around it. It didn’t help when I branched out to mandolin, banjo, Irish Whistles and on and on.

  2. #52
    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    12,433

    Default Re: What price level and up gets you a "lifelong keeper" mandolin

    It all depends on how much money you have and how long you expect to live.
    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

  3. #53
    Registered User Eric Platt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    St. Paul, MN
    Posts
    1,329

    Default Re: What price level and up gets you a "lifelong keeper" mandolin

    This is a good discussion. Have one local old-time player who uses a Martin 000-15 been his main guitar for quite a few years now. Definitely a keeper for him. He's gone through at least one set of frets on it.

    And there have been times when as a guitarist that a Taylor 150e (Nordic) or Guild D4 (old time) were it. Inexpensive, yes, but they did what I needed them to do.

    My one bandmate has used a Gibson A-1 the last 20 years in Finn Hall. He's now using a Washburn(?) flat top from ca. 1920 or so. Neither expensive, but they do what he needs.
    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/

  4. The following members say thank you to Eric Platt for this post:


  5. #54

    Default Re: What price level and up gets you a "lifelong keeper" mandolin

    I’m hesitant to attach price to whether or not an instrument is a keeper.

    I had a Gibson Doyle Lawson F-5. It got sold, and I prefer the Northfield Model M I’m playing now. They cost about 25% of what the Gibson does, and I bought a used one for a little over half the new price. I’m not saying I won’t buy a 5 bar Artist, but this is my lifetime instrument until I sound as good as Aaron Ramsey, Adam Steffey, or Emery Lester in the demo videos.
    Soliver arm rested and Tone-Garded Northfield Model M with D’Addario NB 11.5-41, picked with a Wegen Bluegrass 1.4

  6. #55
    Teacher, luthier
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Location
    Southeast Tennessee
    Posts
    2,401

    Default Re: What price level and up gets you a "lifelong keeper" mandolin

    The best answer depends on several things:

    What type of mandolin do you like? Oval hole mandolins generally have a different nature than F hole mandolins. Play both kinds and see what suits you.

    What is your budget? People of modest income should stay within their means.

    And what is your skill level? Most people who play simply for fun will not require the extra responsiveness that a master grade instrument can deliver in the hands of a world class player.

    Something in the range of $1200 to $1500 for a good old plain Gibson A oval hole model [you have to find a good one] to perhaps $3500 for a well made modern era A-5 style instrument will be enough to satisfy most players.

    A world class player can also start at $1200 to $1500 for an oval hole Gibson [if they like that kind of sound], to $8500 for one of Paul Newson's master grade F-5 instruments.

    But most people will not need an $8500 master grade instrument. For skilled players who like F hole mandolins, some very good ones can be found for 1/3 of the price, especially for people who will be perfectly happy without a scroll on the body and a fancy peghead. And those who can afford more might prefer a $20k Gilchrist.

    And for those that like the oval hole sound and can afford more than $1500, some might prefer a Lyon & Healy, or a Gibson F-4, or a modern hand made instrument.

    For those who like the sound of an old Gibson or Lyon & Healy, it's a good idea to budget an extra $300 - $400 if you think that you will be more comfortable with modern frets. Some people do ok with the original small frets, some find that larger modern fret wire makes these instruments much easier to play.

    And let us not forget that some very fine instruments with canted tops have been made by Martin, Vega, and the Larson brothers. A plain Martin A with mahogany back and sides can still be found for under $1000. A really nice rosewood Larson with fancy trim might cost twice that, if you can find one. And make sure it's authentic, these instruments are often mis-represented. Larson instruments can be surprisingly powerful for a flat backed mandolin. Canted top instruments should be lightly strung.
    Last edited by rcc56; Jun-17-2021 at 12:38am.

  7. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to rcc56 For This Useful Post:


  8. #56
    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Key West
    Posts
    13,131
    Blog Entries
    2

    Default Re: What price level and up gets you a "lifelong keeper" mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by JEStanek View Post
    This is impossible to answer. We have members here who bounce around top tier builders like floozies looking for "The One" We have people here with beat up old Gibsons they won't part with that they got for a few hundred.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Sheets View Post
    I'd agree that the stradolins, teens Gibson oval holes and flatiron A bodies are the best bets for finding an inexpensive keeper mandolin. It's good to see them getting the love on here.
    Quote Originally Posted by rcc56 View Post
    Something in the range of $1200 to $1500 for a good old plain Gibson A oval hole model [you have to find a good one]
    Quote Originally Posted by MandoMan1 View Post
    Recently I was able to buy a 1924 Gibson Snakehead A Junior for $800. I am very happy with this Gibson. I don't need anything more expensive. It plays great and sounds great. Everything I needed in a mandolin.
    Quote Originally Posted by NursingDaBlues View Post
    I don’t think a price-range can be assigned to a “lifelong keeper,” regardless of “tier.”

    ... Earl Scruggs said “son, just remember, the audience doesn’t care what you’re playing, just that you’re playing what they came to hear.”

    (1) purchase the best instrument you can afford that offers the voice and playability you desire. (2) be comfortable with that instrument.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jill McAuley View Post
    I think "lifelong keeper" is down more to how the mandolin sounds and feels to play vs. a price range guaranteeing "keeper" status.
    I'll just add that I am also in the old Gibson A camp. That's what I started with; that's what I've got now. That first one was a gift from my mom when I was a teenager, and cost all of $75 over fifty years ago. My current ones cost $800-900 8 and 13 years ago. I picked up an A-4 for $1650 (plus $500 in fees, taxes, and shipping) this year to see if it was an improvement, and the jury's still out on that. All of these are late teens. Either one of the plain A's would be a lifetime keeper for me, They've got the sound I like. The A-4 might get there yet.

    I still have a hankering for an F-2 or F-4, but I'm in no hurry.

    Quote Originally Posted by mrmando View Post
    It all depends on how much money you have and how long you expect to live.
    Also factors to consider. But the most important consideration is how it sounds, and money is no guarantee of that.
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

    Furthering Mandolin Consciousness

    Blues Mando Social Group
    Gibson Mandolins Social Group
    North Florida Mandolin Players Social Group

    Lucinda Williams and Eric Von Schmidt (who would have turned 90 5/28/21), the night devotee met hero (and both my heroes)

  9. The following members say thank you to journeybear for this post:


  10. #57
    Teacher, luthier
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Location
    Southeast Tennessee
    Posts
    2,401

    Default Re: What price level and up gets you a "lifelong keeper" mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by journeybear View Post
    I still have a hankering for an F-2 or F-4, but I'm in no hurry.
    You might want to pull the trigger soon. After a long period when the market was saturated with F-4's, they are now becoming scarce, like many other things on the vintage market. The days of $5000 F-4's in good condition may be about over.

  11. #58
    Registered User John Bertotti's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    SD
    Posts
    3,183

    Default Re: What price level and up gets you a "lifelong keeper" mandolin

    For me price has less to do with it and tone and feel more.
    000-18GE’37 burst new 3k keeper
    OldWave A hole some special things done to it I asked for 3K plus a keeper
    1911 Vega Bowl back 500 keeper
    Little Martin Sitka top 500 keeper
    So, my keeper range seems really large the LM and Vega were 500$ the better were many times as much. Like I said for me feel and tone will be the major determining factor. Although, I do expect a certain level of tone from 3k plus instruments where the sub 750$ I don’t expect as much and get really excited when one ticks all the boxes!
    My avatar is of my OldWave Oval A

    Creativity is just doing something wierd and finding out others like it.

  12. #59

    Default Re: What price level and up gets you a "lifelong keeper" mandolin

    I am new to the Mando world but have owned and sold many guitars over the years. I picked up a Breedlove vintage A style for $700 locally, in mint condition, last year. I couldn't be happier. I see no need to spend any more than around $1K unless you are a professional musician. I don't hear the difference in tone to justify the very high cost for the expensive Mandolins. I do hear it in guitars but maybe I am just biased toward them... In the end its up to you what you want to spend.

  13. #60
    two t's and one hyphen fatt-dad's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Richmond, Virginia
    Posts
    7,553

    Default Re: What price level and up gets you a "lifelong keeper" mandolin

    $700 gets you a lifetime keeper flattop.
    $2-3,000 gets you a lifetime keeper Gibson oval hole.
    $5-6,000 gets you a lifetime keeper arch top (preference given to a-models).

    f-d
    ¡papá gordo ain’t no madre flaca!

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

  14. The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to fatt-dad For This Useful Post:


  15. #61
    Barn Cat Mandolins Bob Clark's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Beautiful Salem County, NJ
    Posts
    1,875

    Default Re: What price level and up gets you a "lifelong keeper" mandolin

    In my opinion, it is not about price, it is about relationship. Sure, 'relationship' may not be a term some would apply to an inanimate object, but for me, musical instruments are a special case. I believe many of us do form relationships with them. That can happen with an inexpensive or expensive instrument, or also not happen regardless of price. Once the relationship develops, you will be reluctant to part with the instrument and if you do part with it, you will feel a real loss. Price isn't the determining factor; has little to do with it, really. I have fallen hard for some 'cheap' instruments, and passed on some more expensive ones. YMMV.
    Purr more, hiss less. Barn Cat Mandolins Photo Album

  16. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Bob Clark For This Useful Post:


  17. #62
    Registered User Randi Gormley's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Connecticut, USA
    Posts
    3,226

    Default Re: What price level and up gets you a "lifelong keeper" mandolin

    I'll just mention that what may be a keeper for one piece of your life may change as time goes on. I have a lovely set of instruments that were keepers for years until arthritis changed what worked and I had to modify what I could comfortably use. I was just lucky enough that what suited my needs happened to be an instrument I don't see any need to replace.
    --------------------------------
    1920 Lyon & Healy bowlback
    1923 Gibson A-1 snakehead
    1952 Strad-o-lin
    1983 Giannini ABSM1 bandolim
    2009 Giannini GBSM3 bandolim
    2011 Eastman MD305

  18. #63
    Registered User Bill Bradshaw's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Sheridan, Wyoming
    Posts
    267

    Default Re: What price level and up gets you a "lifelong keeper" mandolin

    After many years, I ended up with a nice Heiden F. No need for me to look any more.

  19. #64
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jun 2019
    Location
    Maine
    Posts
    71

    Default Re: What price level and up gets you a "lifelong keeper" mandolin

    It all depends on what you want out of it, and sometimes it's serendipitous. For myself, my $1000 Kentucky KM-756 is all I will ever need. It was an over-budget impulse buy, but it's well-made and set-up, makes nice music, and has room for me to grow with. Could I be happier with something "better"? Sure, but I don't NEED it. Plus, fiddle is actually my primary instrument, and I have already suffered from FAS too much to be thinking about a higher end mandolin. I have 3 fiddles and the mando is an occasional player, so it's really just right. Truth be told, I probably would have been equally well-served with a $500 instrument, but I have no regrets.

  20. The following members say thank you to Mainer73 for this post:


  21. #65
    Registered User grassrootphilosopher's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Germany
    Posts
    1,801

    Default Re: What price level and up gets you a "lifelong keeper" mandolin

    The OP's question was:
    "My question is, assuming you're a serious player who cares about such things, at what price range or tier do you start getting "lifelong keeper" mandolins? In other words, around what price do you start dealing with mandolins which you would never feel the need to upgrade from in terms of sound, playability, and functionality?

    By analogy, with guitars, I have a custom Martin 00-15 which I never feel like I need to upgrade from. It stays in tune, has good intonation, and nothing I play in guitar stores sounds or plays significantly better to me than my 00-15."


    My son who - if we play together - will always chose my Gibson bannerhead over anything else has a different starting point than f.ex. I. I started on a 1980ies Yairi guitar that I thought sounded like a million bucks. Many years later I cherish a vintage sound (being ok with early 60ies Martin/Gibson but out of experience craving a -pre- WWII acoustic guitar sound.)

    Looking at mandolins I will always point towards this thread: https://www.mandolincafe.com/news/pu...s_001443.shtml This will steer you into keeper territory.

    Is my Strad-O-Lin a keeper? Definitely!!! Is my expensive F-5 style mandolin a keeper? Definitely (as it is a runner up to that Lloyd Loar tone - that I like very much). Are both mandolins coveted by classical players? Probably not at all. Are both keepers out of a classical perspective? I am willing to doubt it. In another lifetime I had an adult beverage fueled conversation with some classical (mandolin orchestra) musicians who attended a gig of mine. We talked about the difference in appearance and sound between my Strad-O-Lin and their mandolins...

    The OP's question asks for highly subjective answers. Let's not assume that the mandolin world is ruled by bluegrass mandolin players (though I wish...).
    Olaf

  22. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to grassrootphilosopher For This Useful Post:


  23. #66
    My Florida is scooped pheffernan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Fort Lauderdale, FL
    Posts
    3,352

    Default Re: What price level and up gets you a "lifelong keeper" mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by pheffernan View Post
    You can usually find a Nashville era Flatiron Festival f-style (essentially a Gibson F5G) in the $2500 range used.
    This one just hit the classifieds: http://www.mandomutt.com/products-pa...n-festival-f-5
    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

  24. The following members say thank you to pheffernan for this post:


  25. #67
    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Outer Spiral Arm, of Galaxy, NW Oregon.
    Posts
    16,514

    Default Re: What price level and up gets you a "lifelong keeper" mandolin

    Dialing your WABAC machine , with Mr. Peabody & his boy Sherman, 30 years ago I got a 1922 A for $600
    in a shop that let me do multiple pay day installments on Layaway ..
    writing about music
    is like dancing,
    about architecture

  26. #68
    Registered User urobouros's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2020
    Location
    Sunny PNW
    Posts
    81

    Default Re: What price level and up gets you a "lifelong keeper" mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by mandroid View Post
    Dialing your WABAC machine , with Mr. Peabody & his boy Sherman, 30 years ago I got a 1922 A for $600
    in a shop that let me do multiple pay day installments on Layaway ..
    Ah Layaway. Going in to make a payment and looking at your soon to be new (insert dream here). A part of me misses that tactile experience but I've fallen in with the Delivery crowd & there's no getting those horses back in the barn
    Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That's why we call it 'The Present' – Eleanor Roosevelt

    When learning an instrument, there are no cheat codes, short cuts or crash courses. It's simply a matter of practice! - Mr Jenkins (HS Music Teacher)

  27. #69
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Dec 2020
    Location
    Lewiston NY
    Posts
    163

    Default Re: What price level and up gets you a "lifelong keeper" mandolin

    My date of death comes with the caveat TBD - TO BE DETERMINED! right now my Ratliff R5 is my lifer about 2.8 k at time of purchase 14 yrs ago. Lucky to get my Capek A for about 650 dollars 17 years ago. But wait, there's more! My Mid-Mo M2 at about $450 from the classifieds. So I believe I'm set for life for under 5k. But....TBD!
    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. #70
    Timothy Tim Logan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    Location
    Shutesbury, MA
    Posts
    584

    Default Re: What price level and up gets you a "lifelong keeper" mandolin

    Here is a recent thread that you may find interesting. In at a café member compares Eastman to a Collings with very favorable thoughts on the Eastman. The discussion suggest that perhaps the high dollar item is not necessarily the keeper item.

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/t...vs-Collings-MT

    Also, if you have the opportunity, you may want to try various vintage mandolins even if they are out of your price range. The reason is that occasionally an estate or non-musician seller may sell that instrument for a great low price. And in that case if you knew about the instruments you might be prepared to snap it up. Just a thought.

    “There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats.” ― Albert Schweitzer

    1925 Lyon & Healy Model A, #1674
    2015 Collings A (MT2-V)
    2020 Burgin Shanghai Octave Mandolin

  29. #71
    Registered User mswilks's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Kansas
    Posts
    26

    Default Re: What price level and up gets you a "lifelong keeper" mandolin

    Just to add a slight tweak to a lot of what has been said here, having a "lifelong keeper" has less to do with price or build quality or anything else than it has to do with curbing wanderlust. If you have reasonable financial means and are naturally inclined to want to know what's over the next hill, you will be walking (pleasantly, most would say) for a really long time.
    Last edited by mswilks; Jul-02-2021 at 9:07am.

  30. #72
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Upstate New York
    Posts
    23,719
    Blog Entries
    55

    Default Re: What price level and up gets you a "lifelong keeper" mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by fatt-dad View Post
    $700 gets you a lifetime keeper flattop.
    $2-3,000 gets you a lifetime keeper Gibson oval hole.
    $5-6,000 gets you a lifetime keeper arch top (preference given to a-models).

    f-d
    I have managed that at 2/3 to half those prices.

    Since all my mandolins are keepers, or I don't buy them, I have also spend way more than that.
    Having something to say is highly over rated.

    The entire staff
    funny....

  31. #73
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Va
    Posts
    2,499

    Default Re: What price level and up gets you a "lifelong keeper" mandolin

    My problem is they they are ALL lifetime keepers. I have a hard time selling one but they seem to stick to my hands if they are for sale

  32. #74
    Registered User Eric Platt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    St. Paul, MN
    Posts
    1,329

    Default Re: What price level and up gets you a "lifelong keeper" mandolin

    Strange side effect of this thread - went out and purchased a Martin 000-15M Streetmaster. Wanted something smaller bodied with a 1 11/16" neck for playing backup at a fiddle contest. This one fell into my lap and works great. While I still have other guitars, this one will probably be my stopping point. Don't need anything fancier and it has a good tone.
    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/

  33. The following members say thank you to Eric Platt for this post:


  34. #75
    Registered User John Bertotti's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    SD
    Posts
    3,183

    Default Re: What price level and up gets you a "lifelong keeper" mandolin

    I like to say I don't bring an instrument home if it isn't a keeper. I can walk through a store and the first thing I do is pluck a few strings while it is hanging, if it does nothing for me I move on and it never comes down. Then I have a store person play on it a bit if I don't care for it back on the wall it goes. If it gets past that I try it that is when, the feel, comes to play. If a plain Jane feels better but sounds the same as the more expensive prettier one it wins. Over the years I have discovered some things I prefer so I try to start with those traits like a v neck, I really like the old style V necks or variation of, I prefer oval holes so I go there first unless I want something specific. I only have two mandolins. I have played my oval A along and compared to some others including Gibson old A models and it holds its own very well and did better than some. You don't have to be in a certain price range to find a good instrument or perhaps I should say just because it is 2k or 5K or more doesn't mean it will be a keeper for you. I think the price can tend to get you more of the options you know you want, a track record of quality which is a plus when you are not able to play one in person. I probably said all of this above but I get hung up when I think people believe they have to spend so many $$ just to get what they want. It doesn't hurt but it isn't a guarantee that it will be right or that a 500$ beater won't ring your bell perfectly. Just keep an open mind, play any you can get your hands on and read reviews listen to clips and figure out what sort of specs you prefer before shelling out a bunch of cash. I honestly think when spending that kind of money you really need to know what you are after first and foremost, tone-wise specs etc.
    My avatar is of my OldWave Oval A

    Creativity is just doing something wierd and finding out others like it.

Posting Permissions

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