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Thread: What do you guys ( and Girls ) know about Mandolins ?

  1. #1
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    What do you guys ( and Girls ) know about Mandolins ?

    I have gotten the itch to have one, but not spend bags of cash to get a really nice one. I found this on Craigs List:

    https://lasvegas.craigslist.org/msg/6013803658.html

    I'm a fan of Ovations anyway, and this didn't seem to high a price. What should I look out for or look for ?
    1974 Ovation Legend
    Walden G2070
    G&L Legacy Tribute
    1984 Ovation 1758 12 string
    2010 Guild F47R
    2013 Guild NS X175-B
    1998 Guild Starfire IV
    2008 Prototype D55
    2016 Guild NS X175 Sunburst

  2. #2
    I have had a few. In fact, I have three right now, two Gibson oval hole A models from 1920 and a Tele-style solid body.

    If I were gonna start all over, I would join the Mandolin Cafe and read the forum threads about Best Mandos for $500, $1000, $1,500, $2,000, etc.

    Then I'd go to youTube and listen to those mandolins and see if they sound good to you. Look up Ovation Mandolins and see if you like the way they sound.

    Other sound searches could include Gibson A, A1, A2, A3, A4 and A5 models, Gibson F5 model, Eastman, Kentucky, Collings, stuff like that. There are hundreds of boutique builders, too, but take it one step at a time.

    A lot mandolins have skinny necks at the nut (1 1/16th, or 1 1/8th( and some don't (1 3/16ths, 1 7/32nds). I can't play the super skinny mandolin necks any more, so a wider neck is a necessity for me. People who come to mandolins from the guitar often like the wider nuts, but some don't. It all depends on your hands!

    Figure out what kind of music you want to play. In bluegrass, a mando often performs the job of a snare drum in an ensemble and you need a mando that has a 'chop' to it when you hit hard with a pick. That usually means an F-hole mando with parallel bracing. As much as I love the old Gibson oval hole mandos, you can't get much of a chop with them (the chop turns into a boing!).

    Look for used stuff that has a good re-sale value, because if you really dig the mandolin scene, you're gonna wind up with more and more expensive mandos (you can get a professional grade mando for $2,000.00 or, spend $10-12K for a brand new world class mando that will rock your world). Some mandos go for over $100K, even. I'm not advocating big expenditures, I'm just trying to tell you can drop a lot of dough in a hurry if you get the bug.

    Whatever you do, make sure that your instrument is well set-up. If it's not, it won't be any fun at all.

    Edited: Oh, lessons, look for Mandolin lessons on youTube. Brad Laird seems to be a pretty good teacher. Check out his free lessons along with other teachers and look for a style that seems to fit you.

    In closing, remember that mandolin is just like guitar playing, only upside down and backwards. Play mando for a few months and tell me if that doesn't make sense to you....... :)

    Best of luck, Harry/gilded
    Last edited by gilded; 03-13-2017 at 05:43 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by fronobulax View Post

    And I like Harry's approach.
    '66 Starfire I SB bass, '67 Mark IV pear wood, '75 Mark 4 P padauk, '00 Bluesbird black,
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  3. #3
    Senior Member killdeer43's Avatar
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    I'd say go for it, John. I've had a few and it was always fun to pick one up and plink away. I gave one to my son-in-law for Xmas a few years ago and still have visitation rights.
    I'll agree with all that Harry said and encourage you to handle that itch.

    Fun awaits,
    Joe
    "Just give me one extra season, so I can figure out the other four."

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  4. #4
    Senior Member silverfox103's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gilded View Post
    I have had a few. In fact, I have three right now, two Gibson oval hole A models from 1920 and a Tele-style solid body.

    If I were gonna start all over, I would join the Mandolin Cafe and read the forum threads about Best Mandos for $500, $1000, $1,500, $2,000, etc.

    Then I'd go to youTube and listen to those mandolins and see if they sound good to you. Look up Ovation Mandolins and see if you like the way they sound.

    Other sound searches could include Gibson A, A1, A2, A3, A4 and A5 models, Gibson F5 model, Eastman, Kentucky, Collings, stuff like that. There are hundreds of boutique builders, too, but take it one step at a time.

    A lot mandolins have skinny necks at the nut (1 1/16th, or 1 1/8th( and some don't (1 3/16ths, 1 7/32nds). I can't play the super skinny mandolin necks any more, so a wider neck is a necessity for me. People who come to mandolins from the guitar often like the wider nuts, but some don't. It all depends on your hands!

    Figure out what kind of music you want to play. In bluegrass, a mando often performs the job of a snare drum in an ensemble and you need a mando that has a 'chop' to it when you hit hard with a pick. That usually means an F-hole mando with parallel bracing. As much as I love the old Gibson oval hole mandos, you can't get much of a chop with them (the chop turns into a boing!).

    Look for used stuff that has a good re-sale value, because if you really dig the mandolin scene, you're gonna wind up with more and more expensive mandos (you can get a professional grade mando for $2,000.00 or, spend $10-12K for a brand new world class mando that will rock your world). Some mandos go for over $100K, even. I'm not advocating big expenditures, I'm just trying to tell you can drop a lot of dough in a hurry if you get the bug.

    Whatever you do, make sure that your instrument is well set-up. If it's not, it won't be any fun at all.

    Edited: Oh, lessons, look for Mandolin lessons on youTube. Brad Laird seems to be a pretty good teacher. Check out his free lessons along with other teachers and look for a style that seems to fit you.

    In closing, remember that mandolin is just like guitar playing, only upside down and backwards. Play mando for a few months and tell me if that doesn't make sense to you....... :)

    Best of luck, Harry/gilded

    Well it's good to know we have a mandolin guy on board on LTG......another weapon in the arsenal!

    Tom
    Guild Mark VI, Hoboken 1967 Brazilian Rosewood--The Crown Jewel
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  5. #5
    I have a lovely 1920s Martin Style A mandolin. It was just a throw-in on a trade I made many years ago but ended up being the best part of the deal. No-one in the mando community seems to have much regard for (or, maybe more to the point, experience with) Martins, so they fly under the radar and can be had at very reasonable prices for finely crafted vintage instruments. They're not voiced optimally for bluegrass use, but if that's not your thing as a player you don't need to be restricted by it.

    -Dave-
    1962 F-20 Troubadour
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    c. 1971 Foxey Lady

  6. #6
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    I doubt bluegrass will be my goal with it. It's just curiosity about another guitar like fretted instrument. I find the simple round shaped or tear drop shaped mandos boring to look at. The curvy F style would be best, to my untrained eye. I like the Ovation multi sound hole design, so their construction would work for me, and I figure they would REALLY fly under the RADAR, if the Martin ones do.
    1974 Ovation Legend
    Walden G2070
    G&L Legacy Tribute
    1984 Ovation 1758 12 string
    2010 Guild F47R
    2013 Guild NS X175-B
    1998 Guild Starfire IV
    2008 Prototype D55
    2016 Guild NS X175 Sunburst

  7. #7
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    Here is a guy demoing one of the Korean Ovations.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ajIIGNr9dQg
    1974 Ovation Legend
    Walden G2070
    G&L Legacy Tribute
    1984 Ovation 1758 12 string
    2010 Guild F47R
    2013 Guild NS X175-B
    1998 Guild Starfire IV
    2008 Prototype D55
    2016 Guild NS X175 Sunburst

  8. #8
    One of these days I will Buy me a nice Weber Mandolin but until then I am quite pleased with my Breedlove OF-VS Crossover. It does have the "A" body style shape with 2 F holes but it is just a bit larger than a regular "A" style mando. They call it the "OF" style body. It also has the wider Radiused fretboard and a fretboard extension which I love. They are made over seas but it is one of their top overseas models with a solid Spruce top and solid Maple back and sides. My local shop had one in stock new so I went down to try it out and immediately I realized it had a far better tone and playability than other mandos in the same price range. I bought mine New with warranty for around $450 from my local mom and pop shop with a nice gigbag, full setup with new strings and a few Mandolin books. They can be had used for around $300 if you choose to go that way but I liked the tone so much I wasn't taking a chance on finding a used one that I hadn't tried. Best of luck in your search and here is the specs on the Breedlove Crossover. They also make some nice "KF" style Crossover mandolins for just a little bit more.

    http://breedlovemusic.com/mandolins/of-vs



    TX
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  9. #9
    Senior Member davismanLV's Avatar
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    Wow!! What a beautiful mandolin, TX!! I think Breedlove makes amazing instruments. My next guitar may be one.....
    Tom in Vegas

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  10. #10
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    I visited the site. I like the look. It doesn't seem any have pre-amps. That would be nice to have.
    1974 Ovation Legend
    Walden G2070
    G&L Legacy Tribute
    1984 Ovation 1758 12 string
    2010 Guild F47R
    2013 Guild NS X175-B
    1998 Guild Starfire IV
    2008 Prototype D55
    2016 Guild NS X175 Sunburst

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