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Thread: Mandolin Recomendation

  1. #1

    Default Mandolin Recomendation

    Hi all. I am looking for an all solid wood F style mandolin. Budget is $1,000 but could bump it up a few hundred if there would be a great benefit. Iím only looking to own one mandolin. Iíve watched a ton of YouTube videos but itís so hard to tell based on audio quality. Hoping to get some real life experience here. I know Kentucky and Eastman are probably the only ones that would fit in my price range, maybe Washburn or Loar as well. None of the music stores near me carry mandolins. So I will have to buy without trying it first. Any help is appreciated.

  2. #2
    small instrument, big fun Dan in NH's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandolin Recomendation

    If it were me then Iíd get either an Eastman MD-315 ($850) or an Eastman MD-515 ($1225). Both F body with f holes.

    The 315 comes with a gig bag and a matte ďopen poorĒ finish. The 515 will have a hard case, upgraded tuners, and a gloss finish.

    FWIW I literally just now ordered an Eastman MD-514 (F body with an oval sound hole) from The Mandolin Store as an early Christmas present to myself. And I listened to a guy playing an Eastman 315 at an Old Time & Bluegrass jam weekend this last summer, and his mandolin looked & sounded fine.

  3. #3
    Registered User Sue Rieter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandolin Recomendation

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan in NH View Post
    If it were me then I’d get either an Eastman MD-315 ($850) or an Eastman MD-515 ($1225). Both F body with f holes.

    The 315 comes with a gig bag and a matte “open poor” finish. The 515 will have a hard case, upgraded tuners, and a gloss finish.

    FWIW I literally just now ordered an Eastman MD-514 (F body with an oval sound hole) from The Mandolin Store as an early Christmas present to myself...
    Ha ha, you went for it!
    "To be obsessed with the destination is to remove the focus from where you are." Philip Toshio Sudo, Zen Guitar

  4. #4
    small instrument, big fun Dan in NH's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandolin Recomendation

    MAS rears its head again.

    My wife was talking about going to up Strings & Things and getting a 515 off the shelf, which would have been totally awesome but I really wanted an oval hole. So I ordered from TMS instead.

    And Iím going to KEEP saving up, because I am GETTING an 815/v someday. Itís just that now that day is a bit more in the future than it was yesterday.

    OP, Iíd say get the MD-315 ($850), an arm rest ($20), a Tone-Gard ($80), and a nice strap ($20-$50). That will bring you right to your $1k budget.

    Order from somewhere like Elderly Instruments, The Acoustic Shoppe, or The Mandolin Store. Those are all forum sponsors, and they will do a setup on you mandolin before they ship it for free (conus).

    Youíll be boiling those cabbages down in no time.

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  6. #5
    Registered User Sue Rieter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandolin Recomendation

    Dan, your wife is a good woman. She's looking out for you, mando-wise
    "To be obsessed with the destination is to remove the focus from where you are." Philip Toshio Sudo, Zen Guitar

  7. #6
    Registered User Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandolin Recomendation

    Cruise the classifieds here regularly. Take your time. The one you want will turn up.
    Gibson A-Junior snakehead (Keep on pluckin'!)

  8. #7

    Default Re: Mandolin Recomendation

    I found an Eastman 415-bk on the classifieds here last year and really like it. Which reminds me I need to get the whole arsenal out this weekend and give each of them some love. My Morris has been getting all the attention lately.

  9. #8

    Default Re: Mandolin Recomendation

    Eastman or Kentucky as you mentioned would be the obvious choices. I have a Kentucky km-750 series (750,752,756, etc. are all the same only a different finish) that is a terrific mandolin, plays and sounds better that it's price. Here are a couple that look interesting in the classifieds, NFI on my part.

    Small shop builder I know nothing about, could be a sleeper or not? - https://www.mandolincafe.com/ads/196261#196261

    An Eastman with some nice upgrades - https://www.mandolincafe.com/ads/196399#196399

  10. #9
    Khaaaan!! Captain Kirk's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandolin Recomendation

    I am in the same situation and watching this thread with interest!
    Michael Wilson

  11. #10
    Gibson F5L Gibson A5L
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    Default Re: Mandolin Recomendation

    Eastman or Kentucky . . . those are the two best choices in your cost bracket. Which is best, is up to your preference in tone. Eastman mandolins sound more like a Weber or a Collings Kentucky mandolins sound more like a Gibson. THAT is in my opinion. Two things..... one, also in my opinion, Kentucky mandolins "age" better. Two "A" model mandolins give you a better mandolin for the money. Yes "F" mandolins are way cool, I admit it. Good luck in your search. Check out the Reverb site for used instruments. Good Luck R/
    I love hanging out with mandolin nerds . . . . . Thanks peeps ...

  12. #11
    Khaaaan!! Captain Kirk's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandolin Recomendation

    Big sale at the Acoustic Shoppe. I just ordered an MD315 online.
    Michael Wilson

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  14. #12
    small instrument, big fun Dan in NH's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandolin Recomendation

    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Kirk View Post
    Big sale at the Acoustic Shoppe. I just ordered an MD315 online.
    Awesome price, but only good for another couple of hours.

    Good for you for your purchase. Now you just have to que up the Carly Simon music and wait.

  15. #13
    Registered User J Mangio's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mandolin Recomendation

    Don't discount The Loar brand.
    There is a used LM700 in the classifieds for 650. 00 shipped.
    2021 The Loar LM700 VS

  16. #14
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    Default Re: Mandolin Recomendation

    Great choices. I enjoyed playing my 315

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    Default Re: Mandolin Recomendation

    The LM 700 Supreme sits at the top of the Loar food chain. A pro level instrument

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