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Thread: 5-string mandolin for beginner?

  1. #26

    Default Re: 5-string mandolin for beginner?

    Quote Originally Posted by SandyBeach View Post
    I'd really appreciate suggestions for an inexpensive 5-string.

    I'm a violinist who hasn't meshed with guitar. Jazz, maybe some swing are what I like singing, and want to play. Like everyone, I love Jason Anick's tone on the Arrow Jazzbo. Looking at something inexpensive to start, maybe afterward a Jonathan Mann semi-hollow?

    Has anyone tried the Sparrow solid-body made in Virginia advertised on Reverb? $750
    The Gold Tone GME-5 neck seems short--maybe prone to flabby C? $499-ish There's also a "Crocbite" solid body on Reverb. Is there a budget semi-hollow 5 string?

    Thanks for any suggestions!

    This is my first post after lots of lurking. Thank you to the musicians who take time to be part of this great community, and especially to Ted Eschliman and Martin Stillion.

    -Sherri
    I would suggest you not discount the Gold Tone or other lower-end instruments as others suggest. There is very little by way of inexpensive 5s so you may have to put in some work to get a cheapy playable but there isn't a lot to them so costs are nominal.

    My 5 is a Fender FM60E I got super cheap off Guitar Center's used site. It took a bit to get it playable, but it is now a fine instrument that is my go-to take-along when travelling. The semi-hollow build makes it super light yet really solid so it takes a beating.
    VerneAndru.com | oKee.ComX

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  2. #27
    Mandol'Aisne Daniel Nestlerode's Avatar
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    Default Re: 5-string mandolin for beginner?

    I had the same experience as Verne. I decided to think of the 5 string as a short scale mandola with an option in the top. Now it's all second nature.


    Daniel
    Last edited by Daniel Nestlerode; Sep-12-2022 at 12:39pm.

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  4. #28

    Default Re: 5-string mandolin for beginner?

    This post is an update of my 5-string journey, hoping it may help someone else. I contacted JL Smith (Florida), who had a partial build done that looked fantastic to me. We agreed I would buy it. Two weeks later, he changed his mind, and said he didn't want the pressure and might not finish that build. I read and saw video of John Maddock (Tavy on this board, in England) with a beautiful 5-string he made. Turns out that one went to a fellow in SC, my neighboring state. Both Americans with Maddock 5-string mandos were kind enough to correspond with me, and loved their instruments. I had checked with Andrew Jermain and Jonathan Mann, who had really long wait lists. So, Maddock it was. My mandolin is mostly built now, waiting for the finish to harden before polishing. In the meantime, I spotted a Fender FM-60E on Facebook Marketplace located not too far from where my mother lives. I ended up buying it at the end of November, and am loving it. I know the Maddock mando will have better intonation and a better pick up. But the Fender is beautiful and terrific in its own way. It was mint, from the year 2000, with the plastic still on the pick guard. I've set up the intonation, which is now accurate for the four top strings, and after removing the spring, the problematic D-string is pretty accurate up to the 6th fret. Don't really like the Katana amp I have with it, and am considering others. I'm studying with Tim Connell. Happy new year to all, and thanks to everyone who took time to help me.Click image for larger version. 

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  6. #29

    Default Re: 5-string mandolin for beginner?

    Quote Originally Posted by SandyBeach View Post
    This post is an update of my 5-string journey, hoping it may help someone else. I contacted JL Smith (Florida), who had a partial build done that looked fantastic to me. We agreed I would buy it. Two weeks later, he changed his mind, and said he didn't want the pressure and might not finish that build. I read and saw video of John Maddock (Tavy on this board, in England) with a beautiful 5-string he made. Turns out that one went to a fellow in SC, my neighboring state. Both Americans with Maddock 5-string mandos were kind enough to correspond with me, and loved their instruments. I had checked with Andrew Jermain and Jonathan Mann, who had really long wait lists. So, Maddock it was. My mandolin is mostly built now, waiting for the finish to harden before polishing. In the meantime, I spotted a Fender FM-60E on Facebook Marketplace located not too far from where my mother lives. I ended up buying it at the end of November, and am loving it. I know the Maddock mando will have better intonation and a better pick up. But the Fender is beautiful and terrific in its own way. It was mint, from the year 2000, with the plastic still on the pick guard. I've set up the intonation, which is now accurate for the four top strings, and after removing the spring, the problematic D-string is pretty accurate up to the 6th fret. Don't really like the Katana amp I have with it, and am considering others. I'm studying with Tim Connell. Happy new year to all, and thanks to everyone who took time to help me.Click image for larger version. 

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    Excellent news on your journey. If you can find a good electric guitar tech it's worth spending a bit to have them do the setup. It's basically using Stratocaster type parts on the bridge which is where most of the work needs to be done. I have a very good tech who did a great job getting mine playing an intonating across all the strings. It's fussy but doable. The pickups are standard Fender single-coils with no humbucking.
    VerneAndru.com | oKee.ComX

    - ---==< V >==--- -

  7. #30
    Mandol'Aisne Daniel Nestlerode's Avatar
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    Default Re: 5-string mandolin for beginner?

    I've had the benefit of seeing Tim play several times and having some nice conversations with him. He is a wonderful player, with a lot of skill and breadth (fiddle tunes, choro, jazz, etc). He's also a very good educator.

    Enjoy your lessons with him, I've not doubt you'll learn a lot.

    Daniel

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