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Author Topic: where to get a good mandolin  (Read 15038 times)

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Offline Jansberg

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where to get a good mandolin
« on: May 22, 2008, 05:42:07 PM »
I have been searching the internet trying to find a good mandolin..

I do not want to spend thousands of dollars more like a thousand..

I initially wanted an old gibson a or a1 model, but stumbled upon loads of mandolins that looked interesting but there is no reviews on them as to what their soundquality is like..
www.jansberg.blogspot.com - my blog about pickups, microphones, amplifiers and other gear for fiddles

Offline Fairview Fiddler

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Re: where to get a good mandolin
« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2008, 05:55:59 PM »
get thee to Gianna Violins, Steve should be able to fix you up. See advertisers on left.

Offline Jansberg

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Re: where to get a good mandolin
« Reply #2 on: May 23, 2008, 03:26:43 PM »
seems gianna only sell eastman? are they as good as they say..
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Offline Steve_W

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Re: where to get a good mandolin
« Reply #3 on: May 23, 2008, 06:44:13 PM »
Elderly Instruments and Mandolin Brothers both used to have really good websites with good descriptions/pictures of all their instruments.  I love those old Gibson A's; if it was me I'd definitely go that route rather than a new one, if you can find something decent in your price range.  Depends what you want to do with it though...

Kaveh, is "sounded like an Ovation guitar" really a good recommendation? ;-)  I have an Ovation guitar and although it plays great, the sound isn't anything to write home about... -Steve

Offline giannaviolins

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Re: where to get a good mandolin
« Reply #4 on: May 23, 2008, 06:52:06 PM »
Depends on the level of instrument.  We have Eastman, Jade, Rover, Kentucky, music link models, Draleon.

Eastman outsells everything else 10 to 1 at the $600 to $1500 level.  There's a reason for that!

Offline jenford

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Re: where to get a good mandolin
« Reply #5 on: May 24, 2008, 01:52:32 PM »
I like the Big Muddy Mandos - formally MidMissouri Mandos - Solid wood - handmade.
Check out mandolincafe.com for lots of mando talk and buying advice.

Best,
Jen Ford

Offline giannaviolins

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Re: where to get a good mandolin
« Reply #6 on: May 24, 2008, 02:17:45 PM »
Big Muddy are nice.  Flat tops, very different from the carved top instruments.

Offline morning

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Re: where to get a good mandolin
« Reply #7 on: May 24, 2008, 04:38:26 PM »
My teacher builds superior mandos. Check out http://www.pomeroyinstruments.com/
I promise you'll be glad.

Offline Jansberg

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Re: where to get a good mandolin
« Reply #8 on: May 25, 2008, 12:28:25 PM »
My reference for sound is a gibson A with oval hole model from the twenties that my friend plays, sounds very nice both on and of stage..

I have been looking up some of those and they vary between 1100 - 1500 dollars, but my friend warned me about them because the one he bought has brought him extra costs because of wear and age..

I find the eastman mandolins interesting as well as other carved tops.. I am going for the carved tops because of sound..
Never heard of Jade mandolins but the ones I have found on www look beautifull do they sound that good?
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Offline giannaviolins

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Re: where to get a good mandolin
« Reply #9 on: May 25, 2008, 12:35:54 PM »
Jade are quite interesting.  I've imported and sold the Jade violins, too.  Excellent value. 

Most of the old Gibsons I see I'm seeing because they're dying.  The ones in good shape are very appealing, hard to find, and generally at the higher end of the spectrum! 

The Eastman line still appears to have a strong edge in performance.  The KM505 and KM1000 Kentuckys have their proponents, including me, but they sit here while the Eastmans sell.  So folks hear / feel a difference in person.  Certainly the Kentucky line offers more detailing at a given price point. 

One Eastman model we sell at $642 including shipping in the lower 48 US states.  New, set up, with case.  Quite a bargain.

Offline Jansberg

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Re: where to get a good mandolin
« Reply #10 on: May 25, 2008, 06:51:07 PM »
what would the best value brand be for a mandolin around 1000 dollars?

I feel unfortunate that i live in Denmark, not that many mandolins for sale except really expensive gibsons.. music shops here only have naff build and setup mandolins

That is why I am trying to home-in on the best buy in my price range on www.
www.jansberg.blogspot.com - my blog about pickups, microphones, amplifiers and other gear for fiddles

Offline giannaviolins

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Re: where to get a good mandolin
« Reply #11 on: May 25, 2008, 08:44:21 PM »
In traditional carved F, the Eastman MD515 has been the most consistent performer. 

In non-traditional, some Breedlove mandolins come to mind.

There's also the Kentucky KM8xx mandolins.  They aren't as crisp as the MD515 Eastman, but are very nice in their own way, more fancy fittings.

You'll find many US retailers will ship to Europe. Just don't ask them to commit a Federal crime by lying on customs forms.

Offline woodwiz

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Re: where to get a good mandolin
« Reply #12 on: May 25, 2008, 09:07:27 PM »
I had a pretty decent 1917 Gibson oval hole for years, and I traded it for an Eastman 615 a couple of years ago (got some cash back, as well).  No regrets.  The longer neck on the Eastman is easier to play, and tone and response seem to be better.  I've owned a number of old Gibsons over the years, including a snakehead, and frankly I like quite a number of modern mandolins better.  The Eastman's just fine for me right now; I'm not looking for an upgrade.

Offline hanknc

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Re: where to get a good mandolin
« Reply #13 on: May 26, 2008, 12:40:56 AM »
I visited Gianna's some time ago and was able to pick a nice Eastman out of a dozen or more that Steve let me tune up and try out. Nice of him considering that I was a total Mando-newb (I am a guitarist) and only knew enough fingerings to make it a tryout for his nerves as well!

I must say that the Eastman 505 I picked out is a nice entry level instrument! It's been the perfect mandolin for my needs.

Thanks, again Steve!

I have no interest in Giannas and Eastman other than as a satisfied customer there once.

Offline Jansberg

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Re: where to get a good mandolin
« Reply #14 on: May 26, 2008, 09:15:39 AM »
Gianna, You mean lying like writing it is a gift?

The prices are good for us europeans with the dollar low, but I get a little confused to see the list price advertized - does this mean it is not the price to expect?

I talked to my friend yesterday about buying, and he agrees, that unless I want to spend a great deal on a vintage I should go for a new mandolin, but I need to be certain that it is well setup he says..

I am very interested in the 600-800 line of the eastmans

How big an issue is f- hole or oval hole?

www.jansberg.blogspot.com - my blog about pickups, microphones, amplifiers and other gear for fiddles

Offline giannaviolins

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Re: where to get a good mandolin
« Reply #15 on: May 26, 2008, 12:29:37 PM »
Yes, writing as if a gift.  That forms a criminal conspiracy to evade taxes in the receiving country and represents a willful false statement on official forms in this country. 

The key part is actually the Dept. of Commerce form containing the statement "I certify that all statements made and all information contained herein are true and correct and that I have read and understand the instructions for preparation of this document, set forth in the "Correct Way to Fill Out the Shipper’s Export Declaration." I understand that civil and criminal penalties, including forfeiture and sale, may be imposed for making false or fraudulent statements herein, failing to provide the requested information or for violation of U.S. laws on exportation (13 U.S.C. Sec. 305; 22 U.S.C. Sec. 401; 18 U.S.C. Sec. 1001; 50 U.S.C. App. 2410)."

The penalty for knowingly filing false or misleading information includes up to a $10,000 fine and 5 year jail term, for both the misleading statement and furthering the illegal tax evasion.  Can also forfeit the goods sent, any property used in the export (Computer? Car transporting?).  And can have additional civil penalties of up to $10,000 per incident imposed.  Then there's conspiracy and wire fraud to consider.

On prices, distribution contracts with suppliers may include, depending on the supplier, the product, and the competition environment for that product, a range of advertising and sales restrictions.  Typically the wholesale distributor establishes a "manufacturer's suggested retail price" (MSRP) and a "Minimum Advertised Price" (MAP) policy.  Retailers advertising below the MAP price will be admonished and on subsequent violations will be barred from additional purchases.  Under some circumstances a "Minimum Sales Price" (MSP) may be established.  This is a recent addition to the law in the US and hasn't really been thoroughly worked out.  Case by case definition of the limits of a law means lots of lawsuits and appellate court decisions, which are very expensive for firms! 

Thus retailers can't advertise what they actually sell at.  Nothing bars an individual from requesting price or a price list via email under our 1st amendment to the constitution covering freedom of speech. 

Generally we'll see commodity guitars and unset cheapie mandolins at 60% of MSRP.  This is just enough profit to let shops go out of business slowly.  Which most are.  In better mandolins and guitars 70 to 75% of list is common.  That allows covering time and energy spent setting up and doing the more hands on marketing and sales required.  The MAP is usually something along the lines of 80%.

How the MSRP and MAP relate to the cost to the retailer is another matter that is quite fluid. 

In the Eastman line, one can generally start at around $525 including US shipping. 

The 800 series Eastman is the most popular.  For Eastman, expect to pay around $70% of MSRP. 

Setup is quite crucial.  I have badly set mandolins, or marginally set mandolins, arrive constantly.  They don't generally take much, but what they do take is crucial. 

F hole is fast attack, punchy, bluegrass.  Oval has differing upper and lower registers, a bit of a woofy sound, and more sustain.  I don't know whether those are "issues."  The F hole is much more popular, and I think more versatile.

mandolincafe.com has lots of information.  You can search in the forum there on Eastman and on Gianna and get into lots of threads.  There's also information about our shop in the mandovoodoo threads.  Jade has a thread going now.

Offline Jansberg

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Re: where to get a good mandolin
« Reply #16 on: May 26, 2008, 04:08:38 PM »
I just found a used kentucky km-505 for 300 dollars, how is this for value and how does it compare to the eastmans?
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Offline giannaviolins

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Re: where to get a good mandolin
« Reply #17 on: May 26, 2008, 05:07:54 PM »
If it is a good one, then it is a good buy assuming it will do what you want and is set up well.  Warmer tone, slower response, needs lots more setup, benefits greatly from a better bridge, in stock form doesn't come with a case.  They move much more slowly than the Eastman MD505 for in-person buyers.  Mainly a remote sale/Internet product for us.

Offline jenford

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Re: where to get a good mandolin
« Reply #18 on: May 27, 2008, 04:16:58 AM »
yeah i've a 505 that just went out on approval - nice low action on this one - and not as tight as the Eastmans - I'm not a big fan of the Eastman sound - just my preference.  And I've not picked up an Eastman for a year or so - so my opinion might be different these days.
300 US  is a good deal I'd say (especially with the exchange rate)- I'm asking more for the one I have.

Best,
Jen Ford

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Re: where to get a good mandolin
« Reply #19 on: May 27, 2008, 04:34:20 AM »

Offline Jansberg

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Re: where to get a good mandolin
« Reply #20 on: May 27, 2008, 09:24:11 AM »
I want a mandolin that is easy to play with good response..
The sound I want is a good strong tone and balanced (everybody wants that right?)

As I said before the old gibson my friend has sounds really nice, but it has a quite thick neck..

I will be relying on your opinions as well as my mandolinplaying friend, in this purchase.. that is why I am trying to narrow down the field

How is your opinions on the morgan monroe mms-8(a)

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Offline Jansberg

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Re: where to get a good mandolin
« Reply #21 on: Jul 01, 2008, 08:07:01 PM »
Just got a mandolin!! bought a gibson A-40 from 1948-50 from ebay..

Looks a bit bashed but plays allright and sounds good..
www.jansberg.blogspot.com - my blog about pickups, microphones, amplifiers and other gear for fiddles

Offline Steve_W

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Re: where to get a good mandolin
« Reply #22 on: Jul 02, 2008, 04:33:51 PM »
Congratulations!  I've looked at a couple of those and they seem like decent instruments.  Any pictures?

Offline Jansberg

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Re: where to get a good mandolin
« Reply #23 on: Jul 23, 2008, 10:02:53 AM »
Hmm.. I went to a repair guy with the mandolin to get it setup better.. He said fretboard was very worn found some issues with the back..

Now I have sold the gibson and traded it for a nice Lebeda mandolin which is setup perfectly..
www.jansberg.blogspot.com - my blog about pickups, microphones, amplifiers and other gear for fiddles

 




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