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Thread: Picking up a Big Muddy M4 soon - what to look for?

  1. #1

    Default Picking up a Big Muddy M4 soon - what to look for?

    I ordered a used Big Muddy M4 mandolin from Guitar Center today. There was only one tiny photo, it's supposed to be in "excellent" condition and come with a case. It was listed for $349.

    Whenever it gets to my local GC I'll go down and see how good/bad it is in person. Looking at used M4 prices on Reverb and elsewhere I think this is coming in kind of cheap, so I'm bracing myself for something to be wrong with it.

    I've never played or even seen a Big Muddy in person, and all my previous mandolin noodling was on Rogues and Loars in questionable shape. What do I need to know about the M4 in particular or mandolins in general to check? Any issues with them over time, any gotchas to look out for, etc?

    I've got electric guitar experience but that's about it.

  2. #2
    Teacher, repair person
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Southeast Tennessee

    Default Re: Picking up a Big Muddy M4 soon - what to look for?

    The Big Muddy and Mid Missouri mandolins I have seen all appeared to be well built instruments. With the reasonable care that is due any acoustic instrument, they should hold together just fine. I have not heard of any recurrent problems with them.

    But since it's coming through GC, you don't know whether it was well cared for, so look it over very carefully. Run your fingers around the edges to make sure there are no loose spots, and put a finger into the sound hole and make sure that any braces that you can reach seem to be tight.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Picking up a Big Muddy M4 soon - what to look for?

    Okay, thank you. Looking forward to this. Edit: spoke too soon, they canceled my order. Oh well.
    Last edited by thx712517; May-22-2022 at 9:46am.

  4. #4
    Registered User Sue Rieter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2020
    New Hampshire

    Default Re: Picking up a Big Muddy M4 soon - what to look for?

    That's so frustrating when you're all excited about something. Happened to me when I was expecting my first mando. They "accidentally" sold it to someone else.
    Hope you find another one.
    "To be obsessed with the destination is to remove the focus from where you are." Philip Toshio Sudo, Zen Guitar

  5. #5
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Upstate New York
    Blog Entries

    Default Re: Picking up a Big Muddy M4 soon - what to look for?

    The only "gotcha" might be if you have only played carved top mandolins before, and have carved top bluegrassy expectations. Flat tops are wonderful world of quality built great sounding mandolins and folks are missing out if they don't consider them. And Big Muddy mandolins is one reliable source of great flat tops - makers of mandolins any one of which could be your forever mandolin.
    Life is short, play hard. Life is really really short, play really really hard.

    The entire staff

  6. #6
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Dec 2020
    Lewiston NY

    Default Re: Picking up a Big Muddy M4 soon - what to look for?

    Sorry to hear about your GC experience. I was fortunate enough to acquire a Mid Mo about 5 years ago through the classifieds in almost new condition. The only blem was a little glue line at the neck join that is barely visible. Otherwise it was like new. And I have had no issues with stabilty. They are very different sounding than a carved mandolin. Very well suited for Celtic and old time music. In fact I prefer to play that style on the Mid Mo than on my other instruments. Mine is model M2 maple body spruce top. Great build quality and sound.
    Keep your eyes on the classifieds although lately there hasn't been anything listed. And they tend to get purchased almost immediately. Good luck!
    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

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