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Thread: $1k to spend... thinking used... imported or domestic?

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    Default $1k to spend... thinking used... imported or domestic?

    Hi folks.

    Been away for a while, but still playing my Kentucky 150S from time to time.

    I got it pretty cheap and didn't take real good care of it, so it's looking rough -- some of the binding has peeled off the sides of the neck. Still sounds and plays pretty good, though.

    My wife has given me the gift of a new mandolin for our 10th anniversary! I'm ready to get a nicer instrument. So I'm going to start looking, playing, trying 'em out.

    It looks to me that I can get a low-end US-made instrument, used, at this price point, like a Gibson A9 or matte-finish A-model Weber. Maybe a Breedlove...

    OR, I could get one of those Eastmans, maybe a "The Loar"; I really like the looks of the 615 in "natural" finish... watched one of those go on Ebay pretty reasonably recently. I like the looks of the F models a bit more than the A's, but I also think I might prefer a non-Chinese model. At least in guitars, I'd prefer a plain $900 Martin to a super-fancy $900 import. On the other hand, these Eastman models might change my thinking...

    Some of the models have radiused fingerboards, some not... I think I really need to try em out and see what I like.

    Basically, I don't know what I want, and I'm going to try some stuff out... What do you think?

    I know I want an arched top. I'm pretty sure I want f-holes over oval. Maybe.

    I like to play fiddle tunes on the mandolin, but I don't go to bluegrass jams. I don't play with others much. But when I play with another guitarist, it's nicer to pick the mandolin than to have dueling guitars.

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    Moderator JEStanek's Avatar
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    Default Re: $1k to spend... thinking used... imported or domestic?

    Try them out. Buy the nicest playing and sounding one you can afford. Don't worry about country of origin.

    Jamie
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  3. #3

    Default Re: $1k to spend... thinking used... imported or domestic?

    My Gibson A9 was my first "real" mandolin and think they are a great buy on the used market for around a grand.

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    Default Re: $1k to spend... thinking used... imported or domestic?

    I hear some mandolins in this range are X-braced, some are not... there's even an Eastman with no bracing?!??

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    Default Re: $1k to spend... thinking used... imported or domestic?

    One of my problems is that I'm thinking of buying used... So if I do that, I'm probably not going to get to play it first... but the Classifieds here have a good return policy, right?

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    Default Re: $1k to spend... thinking used... imported or domestic?

    One thing I know: I do not want vintage. Used is OK, but nothing older than 10 or 20 years...

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    Work in Progress Ed Goist's Avatar
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    Default Re: $1k to spend... thinking used... imported or domestic?

    Hi Phantoj:
    Remarkably, THREE of the mandolins I mentioned at the beginning of this thread still seem to be available!
    A couple are just above your $1,000 threshold, but still worth looking at.
    There are also a couple of nice Breedloves (an ff Custom & an Olympic Oval) in the classifieds for $1200, and this Morris A5 for $750.
    Many Cafe sellers of used mandolins offer a +/- 48 hour return policy. If this is not expressed in the ad just be sure to ask.
    Good luck. Let us know what you decide on.
    It's a buyer's market for mandolins right now...That's for sure.
    (I have no financial interest in any of the mandolins mentioned in this post).
    c.1965 Harmony Monterey H410 Mandolin
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    Default Re: $1k to spend... thinking used... imported or domestic?

    The higher end Kentucky models have a very good rep around the Cafe and can usually be found used around $1k. They tend to show up once a month or so on the classifieds. The Loar mandolins also have a really good reputation and go for less than $1k new. Seems like everyone who buys one of those things feels like it was a terrific purchase. For $1500, this used Grey Eagle is a real bargain.

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    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: $1k to spend... thinking used... imported or domestic?

    Suggestion: head down to the Folk School of St. Louis for one of their bluegrass or old-time jams. Listen to as many mandolins as you can, try out ones that their owners will permit, get a feel for what's available, prices, sounds, etc. You can get a decent selection of used US-made, and new and used imports, for $1K.

    Fazio's Music lists several brands of mandolin, including Breedlove, Big Muddy, and Weber. Again, trying as many as you can get your hands on, will provide you with information and comparison opportunities.

    Good luck!
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    Default Re: $1k to spend... thinking used... imported or domestic?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ed Goist View Post
    Hi Phantoj:
    Remarkably, THREE of the mandolins I mentioned at the beginning of this thread still seem to be available!
    A couple are just above your $1,000 threshold, but still worth looking at.
    There are also a couple of nice Breedloves (an ff Custom & an Olympic Oval) in the classifieds for $1200, and this Morris A5 for $750.
    Many Cafe sellers of used mandolins offer a +/- 48 hour return policy. If this is not expressed in the ad just be sure to ask.
    Good luck. Let us know what you decide on.
    It's a buyer's market for mandolins right now...That's for sure.
    (I have no financial interest in any of the mandolins mentioned in this post).
    I really like the looks (and price!) of that Morris. I'm already reaching for my wallet -- but I know I need to try some more instruments out before I make the move on anything!

    So here are some brands worth checking out in this price range, used:

    Eastman
    The Loar
    Kentucky (I already have a Kentucky; I think I want something different)

    Gibson (A9)
    Weber (Gallatin, Bitterroot?)
    Rigel (??)
    Breedlove
    Grey Eagle
    Morris

    anything obvious I'm missing?

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    Slowly Getting Better Uncle Bob's Avatar
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    Default Re: $1k to spend... thinking used... imported or domestic?

    Hi Phantoj -

    I've been playing my Eastman MD615 now for just over a year and I love it. Great tone, feel, and very well made. I've played "The Loar" and I much prefer the feel of the neck and the sound of the Eastman, that's just my opinion. In your price range, I think an Eastman would be worth looking into.

    Here's a photo of my Eastman

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Good luck with your search!
    Bob

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    Default Re: $1k to spend... thinking used... imported or domestic?

    Quote Originally Posted by Phantoj View Post
    So here are some brands worth checking out in this price range, used:
    Grey Eagle
    Just a note about that one... You probably won't find many used in the range the seller has it at; they usually go for around $2k or higher. You probably won't have much of a chance to try one out in the wild either since they come from a small shop builder in Richmond, Virginia. Although it's another monetary stretch, you can sometimes find used Collings MTs on the classifieds for around $1500, though usually they're a bit more than that.

  13. #13

    Default Re: $1k to spend... thinking used... imported or domestic?

    ooo.... I know it's more money, but if you can swing it - a strong recommendation for a Colling MT (if you gotta have f holes and don't object to A style).

    I have been waiting for a long time for an MTO (oval hole), and now there are 2 in the classifieds - and I'm not at a place where I can spring for one now. DANG!...story of my life.

    And I would suggest a serious look at oval hole mando's if you don't have any inclinations towards things "bluegrass". They really have a nice tonal quality that is a different than f holes. A quality I would really like to have for playing old time fiddle tunes.

    BTW, I do have a LM700 - and I am very pleased with it. And The Loar LM400 is an A style version of the LM700. And - indications are - very comparible in all ways to the 700 at about half the cost.

    But, if I had it to do over, I'd get one of those Collings listed. (...the result of my more recent decent further into OT music.) I see them as having a great potential for being the period at the end of my sentence for playing OT fiddle tunes.

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    Default Re: $1k to spend... thinking used... imported or domestic?

    With $1k to spend, you could get a very good A-style, used, and still have money left over for picks, books, CDs, a fancy case, etc. I got my Eastman 505 here in the classifieds for $400. I've had it for three years and it's all the mandolin I need. Just another perspective to consider.
    ...

  15. #15
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    Default Re: $1k to spend... thinking used... imported or domestic?

    You can't go much wrong with this one,unless you prefer a wider nut..

    http://www.mandolincafe.com/cgi-bin/...uery=retrieval

    This one also seems like a good deal, well spoken of at the Cafe:

    http://www.mandolincafe.com/cgi-bin/...uery=retrieval

    NFI.

    Good luck with whatever you purchase!
    John

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    Registered User Jim Ferguson's Avatar
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    Default Re: $1k to spend... thinking used... imported or domestic?

    Heh Phantoj........I just did what you are thinking except I sold a gem of a mando to get the one I wanted. I had a 2004 Gibson F-9 with the subtle satin finish but wanted a different look & sound & so I sold the "Gibby" & bought one of the Eastman MD515 mandos from The Mandoln Store........I absolutely LOVE it!!!!! I love the look & it sounds so sweet. I love the radiused fretboard too. All in all......I am thrilled with the direction I went. The MD515 will run you just under a grand$ & it comes with a very nice case.
    Bottom line........only you know what you want......try out as many instruments as you can get your mitts on & go with what "speaks" to your ear & playability. (Take a serious look at that Eastman MD515 though.......sweet mando for sure.....:-)
    Peace
    Jim Ferguson

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    Default Re: $1k to spend... thinking used... imported or domestic?

    I hear some mandolins in this range are X-braced, some are not... there's even an Eastman with no bracing?!??
    New mando time is always a great occasion!

    Of the $1000 and under imports, The Loar LM-220 and LM-300 are X-braced. The Loar LM-400 and LM-700 have no bracing/tone bars. The Eastman's have tone bars.

    If you are not going used, Any of the current Eastman's or The Loar's will be great values. There is not a bad choice among them.
    Robert Fear
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    Registered User Ken_P's Avatar
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    Default Re: $1k to spend... thinking used... imported or domestic?

    I'll second the recommendation for a used Collings MT if you can swing it. Put that $1K away and add to it with every bit of spare change you can find until you have enough - I don't think anything else in the price range even comes close to what a used Collings can offer for just a little more.

  19. #19
    Registered User Marcus CA's Avatar
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    Default Re: $1k to spend... thinking used... imported or domestic?

    If that $1,200 Breedlove Quartz FF in the Classifieds is out of your price range, the Quartz OF's (oval body with f-holes, same neck as FF) usually get listed in the $750-850 range. New, stores usually list them for $1,000-1,100.
    still trying to turn dreams into memories

  20. #20

    Default Re: $1k to spend... thinking used... imported or domestic?

    A new Loar LM 700 is something you can't go wrong with.
    Northfield F5 #65

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    Default Re: $1k to spend... thinking used... imported or domestic?

    Quote Originally Posted by Phantoj View Post
    Hi folks....

    It looks to me that I can get a low-end US-made instrument, used, at this price point, like a Gibson A9 or matte-finish A-model Weber. Maybe a Breedlove...

    OR, I could get one of those Eastmans, maybe a "The Loar"; I really like the looks of the 615 in "natural" finish... watched one of those go on Ebay pretty reasonably recently. I like the looks of the F models a bit more than the A's, but I also think I might prefer a non-Chinese model. At least in guitars, I'd prefer a plain $900 Martin to a super-fancy $900 import. On the other hand, these Eastman models might change my thinking...

    .
    Given the funds you mention vs. the brands, you can get more value for the money in a used Breedlove than anything else mentioned, but they're not for everyone.
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    Registered User Laird's Avatar
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    Default Re: $1k to spend... thinking used... imported or domestic?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Ferguson View Post
    (Take a serious look at that Eastman MD515 though.......sweet mando for sure.....:-)
    This is what I ended up with, too, for under $800 used. I also made the leap from a Kentucky 150--and a leap it was! The Eastman has been a beautiful instrument for me, and I've heard nothing but praises from the other Eastman owners I've met. Can't go wrong!

  23. #23
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    Default Re: $1k to spend... thinking used... imported or domestic?

    Hey I have a Flatiron A5 artist that is gathering dust, as I enjosy the sound of an Oval mandolin and am busy plating at a fiddle.

    Do your research cause I can meet your price point.

    Why don't I list this cause I would like to asisst someone that is looking rathre than just a looker.

    Mike

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    Default Re: $1k to spend... thinking used... imported or domestic?

    Quote Originally Posted by mishima View Post
    Hey I have a Flatiron A5 artist that is gathering dust
    I need to do a bit of playing and feeling before I can make any moves, but I like the sound of this!

  25. #25
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    Default Re: $1k to spend... thinking used... imported or domestic?

    As an owner of a Breedlove Quartz OF, I cast my vote in that direction! The Eastman MD504 was a close second when I was shopping around (MD505 is the f-hole model).

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