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Thread: Purchase advice?

  1. #1
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    I'm on a mission to purchase my first mandolin, with a budget of around $2,000-2,500. I've played guitar and ukulele for several years, and very much prefer the feel of cutaways.

    My mandolin search has been pretty much narrowed down to Weber or Eastman. I prefer the "f" style, due to the look and "cutaway" feel.

    I envision that I'll probably be playing Celtic, blues and Mediterranean styles of music. Recommendations? Thanks!

  2. #2

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    My prices are right around there if you'd like to check out some pics/clips/videos in the links below.

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    Moderator JEStanek's Avatar
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    Froppe,
    Since you're in Austin, Texas see if you can find a shop that carries some mandolins and try a bunch out. #A good place to start in Austin is the Collings factory tour on Friday afternoons. #The contact info is at the bottom of the linked page. #Collings make a very respectable instrument in your budget.

    If possible try an F and an A model. #You'll have the same reach on the A as the F just without the point. #Think of the A model as a double cut-away. #You can get as much tone for less money with an A model than an F. #You will also do well to buy a used one over a new one and save considerably in the process as well.

    After you try those out, try and find some shops in Austin that carry oval hole mandolins and see if you like that sound better.

    The violin shaped f-hole (f holes) mandos cut more and the oval holes have more or a fuller sound. #I like oval hole sounds myself. #The oval hole sound can get muddier on fast melody runs but sounds richer in somewhat slower, melodies and chording. #The f-holes give a more percussive pop (bluegrass sound). #Those are big generalizations and you can make fine music on any style if the instrument is built well.

    You said you're considering Weber and Eastman. #They have very different feels physically. #The Eastman has a thinner neck across and thin fretwire. #The Weber (stock) has a more substantial neck and is more of a standard width with larger wire. #The Weber will have more of a perfect finish than the Eastman but you pay much more for a similar shaped / appointed Weber. #Both are good for their price points (I've owned one of each).

    Regardless of what else you may hear, if you can, play a bunch of instruments in your price range and buy the one that feels and sounds the best to you that you can afford regardless of body shape and manufacturer.

    Have fun and welcome to the Café.
    Jamie
    There are two things to aim at in life: first, to get what you want; and, after that, to enjoy it. Only the wisest of mankind achieve the second. Logan Pearsall Smith, 1865 - 1946

    + Give Blood, Save a Life +

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    Moderator JEStanek's Avatar
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    I noticed, with no financial interest, a Weber Hyalite in the classifieds at a good price that would fit your needs....

    Jamie
    There are two things to aim at in life: first, to get what you want; and, after that, to enjoy it. Only the wisest of mankind achieve the second. Logan Pearsall Smith, 1865 - 1946

    + Give Blood, Save a Life +

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    Registered User Kevin Briggs's Avatar
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    Froppe,

    Mr. Voight is getting good reviews, most notably by bradinhorn, a member of this community. He's pretty affordable right now, and would be a good investement, I think. You can also do well with a number of independent luthiers at this price range. If you are willing to get an A style, you can get something top of the line by someone who is up and coming. If you want an F, things get more expensive.

    That said, I am a fan of Webers myself, so I can support your decision to go Weber. I've played a Weber for quite a while, and have owned more than one from them. Back when I was in your position ($2,500 or so), I purchased a custom Bitteroot from them, which was great. Now, I own a Fern, which is phenomenal. A good thing about Weber is you can get one at any price point, and they never really price themselves out of people's range.

    For a good deal on a Weber, check out:
    http://www.mandolincafe.com/cgi-bin....trieval

    and...

    http://www.mandolincafe.com/cgi-bin....trieval

    http://www.mandolincafe.com/cgi-bin....trieval

    http://www.themandolinstore.com/scri...idproduct=8029

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    Thank you so much to everyone who answered my first post on this forum. I sincerely appreciate being welcomed into the mandolin community.

    All of your suggestions will be used in my decision-making process. This is a new horizon for me, and I want to make the best decision possible! I can say that going to various stores and trying out the instruments has made me even more determined to become a very satisfied mandolin player. What a neat instrument!

    Again, thanks to everyone who responded.

    Ben Sterling (Froppe)- Austin, Texas

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    I highly recommend checking out the Collings tour as well...and you can try stopping by the bluegrass jam at Artz Rib House on any Sunday afternoon, where you might get to see and hear a variety of mandos.

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    Registered User Kevin Briggs's Avatar
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    Froppe,

    I forgot to mention my quicky review of Eastman mandolins.

    I like them, particularly for the money. You can get Eastman's top of the line model for less than $1,700. It has a red spruce top and a varnish finish. I've played a few Eastmans that are very good. In fact, they could probably be lifetime workhorse mandolins. I've also played a lot that were not so great. Much of that probably has to do with a poor setup and being brand new.

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