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Thread: Austin area Mandolin Shops?

  1. #1
    Registered User tjmangum's Avatar
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    Default Austin area Mandolin Shops?

    Heading to Austin for a few days this week. I know Fiddler's Green is a good place, but not seeing many mandolins offered at the guitar - music shops on my radar. Heck, even a quick search of Craigslist doesn't show many popping up.
    Recommendations?
    " Give me some words I can dance to and a melody that rhymes" - Steve Goodman

  2. #2
    Playing on the porch
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    Default Re: Austin area Mandolin Shops?

    Welcome to Central Texas!

    Fiddler's Green was my favorite shop when located in central Austin, but I've only made it once to their new location in Lockhart, which is still pretty close to Austin. Give them a call to verify days and times when they are open. Ben knows his mandolins and helped me pick out my first mandoolin, an Eastman, many years ago.

    Austin is also home to Ellis Mandolins and Collings where great instruments are made.

    I have not checked out the local music and guitar retail stores since just before the pandemic, but pickings were rather slim, or more oriented to student-level instruments.

    I hope you have a great time in Austin during your visit. It's been a tad warm around here, but it is Texas.
    ---
    2021 Ellis F5 Special #564 mandolin
    1928 Roth violin
    2016 Eastman MD515 mandolin
    1907 Foltz violin

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  4. #3
    Registered User webber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Austin area Mandolin Shops?

    Hey TJ!

    I agree with everything wonderful that's been said about FG. Ben is a wizard, and it's definitely worth your time to take a trip to their Lockhart location. Keep in mind they're only open Wednesday through Saturday. I have been to every music shop I know about in Austin and, unfortunately, Fiddler's Green is the only real mandolin store in town! Here's what I know about the rest:

    Austin Vintage Guitars is a Collings dealer and they get a couple of Collings mandolins every now and then, but the sales people I've talked to there are not mandolin players and don't know anything about the instrument. The few vintage mandolin-family instruments (all Gibsons) I played there were also in rough shape, and no one there could tell me anything about them that wasn't on the tag.

    Guitar Resurrection is staffed by two of the nicest people I've ever met, and when I bought a Rickenbacker bass from them, they did a great job fixing the factory "charm" that those basses are known for. They've had used Collings mandolins pop in occasionally, although I don't think they carry any ordinarily.

    Austin Guitar House is a Collings dealer, but they don't carry mandolins and when I asked, they said they had no plans to do so.

    South Austin Music occasionally has some neat vintage mandolins, and they had a mandolin nut blank available for purchase when I was restoring my 60s Sonata. That said, the sales people there are hit or miss on mandolins, and all the website shows for sale right now is a single old bowlback.

    Strait Music always has a few new entry-level Kentuckys and The Loars at both their North and South location, but again (and you may be noticing a pattern here), none of the people who work there play or know much about the instrument.

    --

    I hope this summary was useful, and please let me know if there's anything else I can do to help!
    1913 Gibson F2 (Blacktop)
    2022 Big Muddy Mandola (M-16, Ziricote back and sides, Adirondack top)
    2022 Kentucky KM-120 (Elevated fretboard conversion)
    1940s Kay Banjolin
    1930s Martin Style 0 Ukulele
    1920s Vega Senator Plectrum Banjo (GDAE octave mando tuning)

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  6. #4
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    Default Re: Austin area Mandolin Shops?

    As a resident of Lockhart (and a central Austin refugee) I may not be a wholly unbiased source, but I highly recommend a trip to Fiddler's Green. There are other reasons to make the trip out to Lockhart too ... namely, Texas barbecue. :-) It's a wonderful old Texas small town.

    Chris

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  8. #5
    Registered User Chris Fannin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Austin area Mandolin Shops?

    As a resident of Hutto, go to Lockhart if you can.
    Eastman MD315 Mandolin

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  10. #6

    Default Re: Austin area Mandolin Shops?

    Mmm... Lockhart. Blacks...then Kreutz...then Smitty's.

    ...oh wait, we're talking about mandolins?

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  12. #7
    Registered User tjmangum's Avatar
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    Default Re: Austin area Mandolin Shops?

    My wife's family is having a get together at Black's in San Marcos on Saturday, so hoping to hit Fiddlers Green before hand. It's been since pre-covid that I've had Texas BBQ!
    " Give me some words I can dance to and a melody that rhymes" - Steve Goodman

  13. #8
    Registered User tjmangum's Avatar
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    Default Re: Austin area Mandolin Shops?

    I was the first one in the door at Fiddler's Green yesterday morning and pretty much had the place to myself. Very nice variety of mandolins, guitars and more. Had never tried any Northfields before and while the ones I played were good, to my ears, just not great.
    Found a nice locally built A-5 that was very nice and the cream of the crop was a Collings custom MF5.
    The young fellow (well most people are younger than me) behind the counter did a super job of walking through what they had, encouraging me to try anything on the wall and did some A-B comparisons for me.
    It may not be soon, but I have no doubt I'll be back someday and browsing their web page on a regular basis.
    Thanks to all for the recommendation!
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    Last edited by tjmangum; Aug-07-2022 at 8:47am.
    " Give me some words I can dance to and a melody that rhymes" - Steve Goodman

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  15. #9

    Default Re: Austin area Mandolin Shops?

    Yeah, that torch & wire Collings is pretty. Glad they're not right next door, and when I do get out that way (to Old Settlers) they're closed when we make our grocery run
    2009 Eastman MD815/V
    2019 Northfield NF-F5S
    some home music videos

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