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Thread: Guitarist looking for a Weber

  1. #1
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    Default Guitarist looking for a Weber

    Hi All,
    Iím an advanced guitarist, fingerstyle and picking. I have 4 very good handmade guitars: Goodall (cedar/big leaf maple), Lowden (redwood/Tasmanian Blackwood), Santa Cruz(cedar/mahogany) and Huss and Dalton (redwood/walnut). I use this as a preface only to, hopefully, help me. My ear is for instruments good. I Have a $60 tonal ice-pick of a Rogue that in 2 weeks was sufficient for me to see if I like mando and if I want to continue. I think I can make the mando a second instrument. I know any solid top and sided instrument should sound better, but Iíd like to shoot for a solid instrument. (Iím old enough to not be gigging with it.)
    As you can see, I have no spruce topped instruments. They havenít been right for my ďfingerstyleĒ instrumentals. I like the sound of the Fs. I know theyíll cut through. I like the resonance of oval holes but think them likely better suited for small ensembles. I get together weekly with a group of 10-30 people for a play along. Music style is old time Appalachian. Lots of fiddles, banjos and some guitars. Rarely a mando.
    Iíve been looking at Webers around $3k. Itís rare to find cedar and a wide nut (if thatís an advantage for me and know cedar well enough to understand the tonal differences in woods).
    Look, I know this is a shotgun approach to this topic and I may be rambling. I know Collings are very good. I hear one in our nano and liked it though I be found all Collingsí guitars to be stiff sounding. In terms of Weber, though what should I look for? Iíll have to buy in on line because I live in the boonies and the great guitar shop in Atlanta, Maple Street Guitars, only has new instruments, though they do have Weber.
    I saw a thread with a lot of experience on the newer and older Webers. How discerning do I need be? Can a guitar shop with an exceptional luthier set up a mando well or is it a really different beast?
    Where is my thinking right and where am I wrong?
    Thanks so much for any direction each of you may give.
    Cheers,
    David

  2. #2
    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Guitarist looking for a Weber

    Welcome to the Cafe David! This slightly used Weber just hit the classifieds today...

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/ads/190805#190805

    The Mandolin Store has a very good reputation here so you can have confidence in dealing with them.

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    Charley

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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Guitarist looking for a Weber

    +1 for calling Dennis at The Mandolin Store. Now that Charles has shared that mandolin with two or three thousand of our closest friends it might not stay on the market long.

    Also NFI.
    "It's comparable to playing a cheese slicer."
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  4. #4
    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Guitarist looking for a Weber

    David, if you do call Dennis, ask him about a Northfield F-5 with an Engleman spruce top and a wide nut. I have played Northfields back to back against Collings and thought the Northfields sounded a lot warmer. YMMV

    Good luck with your search!
    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

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    Registered User Gary Hudson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Guitarist looking for a Weber

    There is also a Weber Big Sky with cedar top on the classifieds just a little above your price. I have a Spruce top version of the Big Sky and I've found it very good in group settings and also playing alone. I don't think the one in the classifieds has a wide nut. I came from a background as a guitar player and got used to the regular nut pretty quickly. I've never tried a wide nut.

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    Default Re: Guitarist looking for a Weber

    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Hudson View Post
    There is also a Weber Big Sky with cedar top on the classifieds just a little above your price. I have a Spruce top version of the Big Sky and I've found it very good in group settings and also playing alone. I don't think the one in the classifieds has a wide nut. I came from a background as a guitar player and got used to the regular nut pretty quickly. I've never tried a wide nut.
    I tried a wide nut Big Mon and a regular Big Mon last week at Morgan Music. I couldn't tell the difference.

    But I am a novice.
    Michael Wilson

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    Default Re: Guitarist looking for a Weber

    Thanks,, much for the link!

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    Default Re: Guitarist looking for a Weber

    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Hudson View Post
    There is also a Weber Big Sky with cedar top on the classifieds just a little above your price. I have a Spruce top version of the Big Sky and I've found it very good in group settings and also playing alone. I don't think the one in the classifieds has a wide nut. I came from a background as a guitar player and got used to the regular nut pretty quickly. I've never tried a wide nut.
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    Default Re: Guitarist looking for a Weber

    I'm going to suggest that you gas up the car, pack an overnight bag, and take a trip up to Nashville. Between Gruhn's, Carter's, and TMS, there are several mandolins up there in your price range. If you need to stay overnight, motel rates are more reasonable in Manchester, an hour southeast of Nashville on I-24.

    Cedar topped mandolins are rare, and mandolins work differently than flat-top guitars. If you limit your choices to cedar, F style, and F holes, you may miss something really good. I'll suggest that you broaden your range and look at everything that you can get your hands on in your price range. You might still end up with a cedar topped F model, or you might find that what sounds and feels the best to you has very different features.

    Weber suspended mandolin production about a year ago.

    The principles for adjusting nuts, saddles, and truss rods are the same for mandolins and guitars. Any good repairman with experience working on acoustic guitars should be able to set up a mandolin reasonably well. People who mostly work on electric guitars might not have enough experience with acoustic instruments to get the best results.

    If you are in northwest Georgia and need a repair person, you are welcome to pm me.

  12. #10
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Guitarist looking for a Weber

    Whether you prefer a side nut or not you will find out playing a bunch of mandolins as suggested. Personally slightly wider or narrower than 1-1/8” standard does not bother me much but over 1-1/4” is too wide for me. Also bear in mind that your neck grip from playing a guitar differs from playing a mandolin so I would not assume you “should” only look at side necks. And I agree that a carved cedar top for a mandolin works differently from a flattop guitar acoustics. Good luck on your search.
    Jim

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    Default Re: Guitarist looking for a Weber

    David, you are in the greater Atlanta area so you need to get to know Marty Jacobson. He is a very skilled luthier and makes amazing mandolins. I have never met him but he is a member here on the Cafe and I have great respect for him.

    https://martinjacobson.com/lutherie/

    I believe he has used cedar and redwood for his mandolins.
    Charley

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    Default Re: Guitarist looking for a Weber

    I will add that even if Nashville is an overnight trip, it would be worth your while. For most of our members, the opportunity to spend an afternoon playing a dozen or more well built mandolins is not an option. Even if you came home with nothing, you would know a heck of a lot more about mandolins than you do now and have a better idea of what might suit you.
    Last edited by rcc56; Jul-26-2022 at 6:41pm.

  15. #13
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    Default Re: Guitarist looking for a Weber

    Quote Originally Posted by David Bellino View Post
    As you can see, I have no spruce topped instruments. They havenít been right for my ďfingerstyleĒ instrumentals. I like the sound of the Fs. I know theyíll cut through...

    Iíve been looking at Webers around $3k. Itís rare to find cedar and a wide nut (if thatís an advantage for me and know cedar well enough to understand the tonal differences in woods)...

    I saw a thread with a lot of experience on the newer and older Webers. How discerning do I need be? ...
    Where is my thinking right and where am I wrong?
    Quote Originally Posted by rcc56 View Post
    Cedar topped mandolins are rare, and mandolins work differently than flat-top guitars. If you limit your choices to cedar, F style, and F holes, you may miss something really good. I'll suggest that you broaden your range and look at everything that you can get your hands on in your price range. You might still end up with a cedar topped F model, or you might find that what sounds and feels the best to you has very different features.

    Weber suspended mandolin production about a year ago.
    David, I'd say that your thinking isn't wrong at all. If you already thought that you know everything that you need to know to buy an enjoyable mandolin, you wouldn't have asked for input here.

    You write that you are an advanced flatpicking guitarist, although you mainly play fingerstyle. Which of your four guitars do you generally use for flatpicking? Since mandolins generally have maple back and sides, your Goodall is going to give you the best indication of whether you are going to like a mandolin with a cedar top. However, I agree with others that a wood combination that works for someone on one instrument won't necessarily work for you on the other. On guitars, I generally like spruce with rosewood for strumming and flatpicking, but I wouldn't want that much resonance from a mandolin.

    You write that you like the sound of the F's you've played because they cut through. Have you played any A-style mandos with f-holes? As you've noticed, the mandos with f-holes generally give punch, and the ones with oval holes generally give resonance, regardless of the body shape.

    As Bob mentioned, you are setting three criteria that will eliminate far more than half of the mandolins at any price range. If you insist on a wide nut, as well, you're probably going to be ruling out at least 90% of the mandos out there, which is why Bob wrote that "you may miss something really good" by doing that --- especially if you can't follow his advice to get thee to Nashville.

    Along with the problem of Webers unfortunately being a thing of the past for the foreseeable future, the Weber models had very distinctive tones. To my ear, the Gallatins had a nice warm tone (often/usually with mahogany back and sides), the Bitterroots had an earthy tone (a bit darker than the Gallatins), and the Yellowstones had a bright tone, with probably the most punch. So, you could easily fall in love with some Webers, but not others. Three years ago, you could have gone to a Weber dealer and played them side by side, but no mo.
    still trying to turn dreams into memories

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    Default Re: Guitarist looking for a Weber

    Don't rule out an old Gibson, my '22 is loud and sweet. 1 1/4" nut so a nice transition for a guitar player.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

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    Default Re: Guitarist looking for a Weber

    I’d like to thank each of you for your help and guidance. The remarkable thing for me in your responses, and when I first happened on the Cafe, was that everyone was quite helpful, quite professional. On other forums, guitar forums, people get smarmy, they go off on unrelated tangents making them a disappointing read. You’ve each given me something to think about and supported my experiences in owning guitars, though it may be somewhat different with mangos.
    My thinking thus far is to go with a standard nut, making things much easier. You guys all play ‘em. I can adjust. I liked MarcusCA’s sonic descriptions, the multiple links to the Bitterroot and Big Sky, the encouragement to trust TMS and the info on Jacobson, who is just 2 hours away.
    A drive to Nashville is out of the question at the moment, too much on our plates. I’ve got a nasty little itch up my bumm on this. It’s uncomfortable. I don’t like it. However, when this type of itch has come up in the past all good things have come from it, so I will go with it. Happen to any of you?
    I think I’ll call TMS and ask about that Bitterroot. The Big Sky is gorgeous. Do you think it being a 2004 the woods age would make it a better choice? Both are cedar, which probably isn’t necessary. I’ve 3 cedar tops. One is a Taylor. Good stage instrument. Actually cuts through and is loud but no soul. The Santa Cruz is soft (H13 so a smaller body), dark but sweet and the Goodall with a 4A Master top is is the most responsive instrument I’ve ever played- the clarity of the maple warmed by the cedar is a joy and my favorite. I said all that basically to say tat a lot depends on the wood itself. Is it stiff or mushy? How is it braced? What is the back and side combo? At least in a mando you don’t have to be too curious about the body’s size!
    Anyway, I just wanted to let you know I appreciate your help. Whatever I buy may change in time ( doesn’t it usually). I know that I’ll be fortunate in having a good instrument that will make woodshedding more enjoyable.

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    Default Re: Guitarist looking for a Weber

    I own a Weber Yellowstone, I have-not heard a better sounding mandolin.

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    Default Re: Guitarist looking for a Weber

    David, we call that "nasty little itch" mandolin acquisition syndrome. Be sure to let us know what you get and how it's going. Curious minds want to know.

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    Default Re: Guitarist looking for a Weber

    And the Weber cedar topped Bitterroot at TMS is gone...

    NMD David?
    Charley

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    Default Re: Guitarist looking for a Weber

    Quote Originally Posted by Charles E. View Post
    And the Weber cedar topped Bitterroot at TMS is gone...

    NMD David?
    Maybe David bought it.

    I hope so.
    Michael Wilson

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    Default Re: Guitarist looking for a Weber

    I had a good experience dealing with TME when I purchased a mandolin from them a few years ago.

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    Default Re: Guitarist looking for a Weber

    charlie and Capt. Kirk, I did go for it. It should be here on Friday afternoon. James from TMS returned my inquiry straight away before the store opened. He sent me some additional pics, a link to a video he did 10 months ago on that very mando. We spoke several times, he answered all my questions and more. I felt we had similarities in sonic and other experiences though on different instruments. It was helpful he’s a cedar topped Weber owner for nigh on 18 years. I’m always thrilled when having a good purchasing experience.
    I’ll let you know how it is after a couple of days of playing.

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Guitarist looking for a Weber

    Congratulations, David. And remember you don’t have to play anywhere near as fast on that mandolin as James did in that video.
    Jim

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    Default Re: Guitarist looking for a Weber

    Congratulations David! You can always count on the Cafe to support your MAS.

    On another note, if you do have a chance to visit Marty Jacobson, he is a heck of a player as well.
    Charley

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    Default Re: Guitarist looking for a Weber

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    Congratulations, David. And remember you don’t have to play anywhere near as fast on that mandolin as James did in that video.
    There’s a metronome in my future…. ��

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    Default Re: Guitarist looking for a Weber

    I’m sure he’s in my future, too!

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