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Thread: Opportunity to purchase a mando, advice needed.

  1. #1

    Default Opportunity to purchase a mando, advice needed.

    Good morning. I have an opportunity to purchase this mando for around 300-350.00. One would think that living in the heart of bluegrass country the selection of used mandolins would be plenty. That has not been my experience😂. Anyways, itís a 90ís model Michael Kelley LF-C1-AM. Iím supposed to go look at it tomorrow about 30 minutes from my home. Are these mandolins worth that drive for that money? I know itís a subjective question so I guess Iím asking is there a chance it sounds and plays good enough to be worth that? Iím a terrible fiddle player who wants to try mandolin (I can make some of th chop chords some of the time &#128514.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Opportunity to purchase a mando, advice needed.

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  3. #3
    Teacher, repair person
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    Default Re: Opportunity to purchase a mando, advice needed.

    The MK mandolins that I have encountered were all budget grade beginner's models. If you take to the mandolin, you will probably outgrow it in a matter of months.

    A new Ibanez M522, which is also a budget level beginner's F model, costs $329.99. Unless the MK you're asking about is built to higher specs than what I've seen, its price seems high to me.


    I see new Eastman 505 mandolins in the classifieds for $850 to $919. If you keep an eye out, you should be able to find one used for +/- $700. These are what I recommend to my students with modest budgets who have been playing for 9 months or more and are going to stick with it.

    Yes, that's a lot more money, but if your budget can stand it, they are much better sounding mandolins than the MK's I have seen, and should keep you busy for several years.

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  5. #4

    Default Re: Opportunity to purchase a mando, advice needed.

    The Acoustic Shoppe is having a huge sale this Saturday. That is the time and place to buy a beginner mandolin, especially online. In my opinion.

  6. #5
    Registered User Caberguy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Opportunity to purchase a mando, advice needed.

    I used to have a MK mando, it was lots of flash and little substance.
    '91 Flatiron Signature A5 / Silverangel Econo A / Eastman MD-315

  7. #6

    Default Re: Opportunity to purchase a mando, advice needed.

    Thanks for the replies. I may just hold out for an Eastman or something like that then. My budget is ~1000.00, I just thought maybe I could slide in well under with a decent mando :-)

  8. #7
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    Default Re: Opportunity to purchase a mando, advice needed.

    In your shoes, I think I’d be looking at an Eastman 305 (A) or 315 (F). They are the nicest $1,000 instruments I have found. At $1,500-2,000 used, I’m a big fan of the Kentucky KM-1000. I started on a cheap beginner model, quickly disliked it, and almost upgraded to the 315; but played a KM-1000, and I thought it was worth the jump; but I bet if you got the 315, you’d go straight from it to the next level, which is a pretty good price jump into the several thousands.

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  10. #8
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    Default Re: Opportunity to purchase a mando, advice needed.

    You'll be better off with Eastman. If you put the money into a 505 series A model, your $1000 will get you a much better instrument than the 315.

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  12. #9
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    Default Re: Opportunity to purchase a mando, advice needed.

    I agree there the 505 is better than the 305, if you want an A. I assumed you wanted an F, based on the MK about which you asked. I don’t agree with the people on this forum that tell every new player who wants an F that they need to get an A. My belief is that you’ll play an instrument you like more than one you wish was something else; and the variations in tone are (a) generally not noticed by new musicians, and (b) not as important as liking your instrument and being inspired to play more. As long as the instrument is playable, I think people should get what they like. Of you want an F, you’ll find a lot of love here for the 315; but rcc56 is exactly right that you get upgraded parts/materials dollar for dollar with an A.

  13. #10
    small instrument, big fun Dan in NH's Avatar
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    Default Re: Opportunity to purchase a mando, advice needed.

    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Kirk View Post
    The Acoustic Shoppe is having a huge sale this Saturday. That is the time and place to buy a beginner mandolin, especially online. In my opinion.
    Should be able to get an A body 305 or an f body 315 for a killer deal.
    Eastman MD-514 (F body, Sitka & maple, oval hole)
    Klos Carbon Fiber (on order)

    And still saving my nickels & dimes & bottle caps & breakfast cereal box tops for my lifetime mandolin.

  14. #11
    small instrument, big fun Dan in NH's Avatar
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    Default Re: Opportunity to purchase a mando, advice needed.

    Quote Originally Posted by RedonkulousD View Post
    Thanks for the replies. I may just hold out for an Eastman or something like that then. My budget is ~1000.00, I just thought maybe I could slide in well under with a decent mando :-)
    With that budget I would get an Eastman a body 505. You might be tempted by the F body 315, but the 505 has better tuners and comes with a hard case. The 300 series comes with a gig bag. 500 series has a gloss finish while the 300 series has a matte finish.

    The hard case the 500 series Eastmans come with is basically useless. You can fit a few picks in the little compartment, and that's all. Can't even fit a package of spare strings in there. I bought an Eastman f body oval hole 514 and I had to spend another $100 on a Gator semi-ridged gig bag just so I could keep some spare strings & clippers on hand at jams. Personally, I think the matte finish on the 300 series looks better than the gloss finish for the base model 500 series mandolins. And someone here can recommend some upgraded tuners for the 315 that are basically drop in replacements, as in will use the same screw holes and everything. I used to know the brand and model number, but I've forgotten.

    I have personally met more than one local mandolin player who bought an Eastman 315 mandolin, upgraded the tuners with drop-in replacements, and called it done with a good looking, smooth playing, nice sounding f body mandolin. And like others have said, the Acoustic Shoppe (a forum sponsor) is having a sale on Small Business Saturday that WILL include special pricing on Eastman 315 mandolins.
    Eastman MD-514 (F body, Sitka & maple, oval hole)
    Klos Carbon Fiber (on order)

    And still saving my nickels & dimes & bottle caps & breakfast cereal box tops for my lifetime mandolin.

  15. #12
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    Default Re: Opportunity to purchase a mando, advice needed.

    statistic of one. local mandolinist has an MK F-style, sounds and plays just fine. not sure what model number.

  16. #13

    Default Re: Opportunity to purchase a mando, advice needed.

    I have been watching a 1930's Strad-o-lin that is listed for $249 plus shipping on Reverb.com. If I didn't have one just like it I would jump on it. It will sound and play better than anything else for the price. Scrolls may make you look like a bluegrass star but they are unnecessary especially in your price range.

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  18. #14

    Thumbs up Re: Opportunity to purchase a mando, advice needed.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan in NH View Post
    With that budget I would get an Eastman a body 505. You might be tempted by the F body 315, but the 505 has better tuners and comes with a hard case. The 300 series comes with a gig bag. 500 series has a gloss finish while the 300 series has a matte finish.

    The hard case the 500 series Eastmans come with is basically useless. You can fit a few picks in the little compartment, and that's all. Can't even fit a package of spare strings in there. I bought an Eastman f body oval hole 514 and I had to spend another $100 on a Gator semi-ridged gig bag just so I could keep some spare strings & clippers on hand at jams. Personally, I think the matte finish on the 300 series looks better than the gloss finish for the base model 500 series mandolins. And someone here can recommend some upgraded tuners for the 315 that are basically drop in replacements, as in will use the same screw holes and everything. I used to know the brand and model number, but I've forgotten.

    I have personally met more than one local mandolin player who bought an Eastman 315 mandolin, upgraded the tuners with drop-in replacements, and called it done with a good looking, smooth playing, nice sounding f body mandolin. And like others have said, the Acoustic Shoppe (a forum sponsor) is having a sale on Small Business Saturday that WILL include special pricing on Eastman 315 mandolins.
    Yeah, went and looked at the MK. I maybe would have given 200-250 for it. It was just, meh. And it had the extra frets which I really hated, they were right in my way! I tried to order a MD 315 from BanjoBen used, but I was a day late, lol. Iíll def check out the acoustic shop on Saturday, thanks.

  19. #15
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    Default Re: Opportunity to purchase a mando, advice needed.

    $1000 budget? Skip the curlicue thing (F-model) and buy second-hand...You should be able to find a $2000-2500 instrument (new price) for 1000 bucks used..
    too many strings

  20. #16

    Default Re: Opportunity to purchase a mando, advice needed.

    The Mandolin Store currently has 15% off most mandolins.
    Might be worth a look -
    https://www.mandolincafe.com/ads/210763#210763

  21. #17
    Registered User Sue Rieter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Opportunity to purchase a mando, advice needed.

    Quote Originally Posted by laddyjota View Post
    I have been watching a 1930's Strad-o-lin that is listed for $249 plus shipping on Reverb.com. If I didn't have one just like it I would jump on it. It will sound and play better than anything else for the price. Scrolls may make you look like a bluegrass star but they are unnecessary especially in your price range.
    There's also another one on Ebay right now for $500 that Eric Platt says (in another post) looks almost identical to the best sounding SOL he's had.

    I'm a shameless promoter of Strad-O-Lins, because I love playing mine so much.
    "To be obsessed with the destination is to remove the focus from where you are." Philip Toshio Sudo, Zen Guitar

  22. #18
    My Florida is scooped pheffernan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Opportunity to purchase a mando, advice needed.

    Quote Originally Posted by musicofanatic View Post
    $1000 budget? Skip the curlicue thing (F-model) and buy second-hand...You should be able to find a $2000-2500 instrument (new price) for 1000 bucks used..
    Where? I have yet to find a quality $2000-2500 mandolin that depreciates at a rate of 50% or more.
    1924 Gibson A Snakehead
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  24. #19

    Default Re: Opportunity to purchase a mando, advice needed.

    Quote Originally Posted by pheffernan View Post
    Where? I have yet to find a quality $2000-2500 mandolin that depreciates at a rate of 50% or more.
    This certainly has not been my experience either.

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  26. #20

    Default Re: Opportunity to purchase a mando, advice needed.

    Eastman MD305’s will be $479 Saturday only at The Acoustic Shoppe.

  27. #21

    Default Re: Opportunity to purchase a mando, advice needed.

    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Kirk View Post
    Eastman MD305’s will be $479 Saturday only at The Acoustic Shoppe.
    Nice!

  28. #22
    Registered User Pappyrich's Avatar
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    Default Re: Opportunity to purchase a mando, advice needed.

    I have had an Eastman 305 for about three years now, and while every now and then I think about an upgrade, I have not really felt the need. Get one! You will not be disappointed.
    Richard

    Eastman 305
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  29. #23

    Default Re: Opportunity to purchase a mando, advice needed.

    I ended up buying a used MD 315 from Morgan Music. Excellent instrument, I am very pleased and absolutely love the non glossy finish on it.

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