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  #16  
Old 03-24-2017, 06:09 AM
HHP HHP is offline
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Here's my "starter" mandolin. Bought it about 30 years ago at a small shop on Summer Ave in Memphis. Its the one instrument I have had the longest.

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  #17  
Old 03-24-2017, 06:10 AM
Silly Moustache Silly Moustache is offline
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All I'd say is ...look for an Eastman.

There are "F" models wichich have the scroll, which balances the mando well, and looks cool but does nothing for the sound.

"A" models are much the same but without the scroll. A good start.

Archtop mandos (the best option) have "F" holes or round holes.
Gibson denote the difference as model 4 (round ho;le) and 5 - f-holes. 4s give a warmer sound, 5s more incisive.

Eastman's numeration style is MD (presumably mandolin) and a three figure number. 1st model indicates wood and trim. they start at, I think 4 to 9.

2nd number indicates A model "0" or F style "1".

3rd number - 4 = round hole, and 5 = f hole.

All Eastmans are well made - even the base numbered Eastman mandos like :

This is a good place to start : https://www.elderly.com/instruments/...97&order=price

If in the UK / EU - don't mess about - go to the expert! - http://www.theacousticmusicco.co.uk/...andolins-.html
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  #18  
Old 03-24-2017, 07:08 AM
mang1974 mang1974 is offline
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I started with a cheap, laminated NY Pro (I think that's the name) from eBay and shortly thereafter lucked into a used Eastman MD515. Once it was set up it was fantastic and sounds great. I highly recommend looking at the Eastman models. I've also heard good things about the Kentucky KM-150.
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  #19  
Old 03-24-2017, 07:08 AM
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Contact The Mandolin Store. I followed their advice on either the Eastman 305 or 505. I got the 505 (a Xmas present from my wife). Go with A shape body, for the price range you want to stay in, you'll get more for your money.

For lessons, I am using the Peghead Nation beginner course as taught by Sharon Gilchrist. I did change the strings on my 505 from D'Addario to Thomastik Infeld and while I lost some volume (the TI's are lighter), I think the tone is as good or better. The lighter strings are certainly easier for learning proper fretting technique on the smaller neck. I have been very pleased how the combination of the TI strings on the 505 have resulted in an instrument that seems to stay in tune as well as my best guitars. That was a pleasant surprise given all the chatter about how hard mandolins are to keep in tune.

I was like you, wanted to expand my boundaries. I started 10 weeks ago and I'm having a lot of fun with it.

Good Luck!
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  #20  
Old 03-24-2017, 12:06 PM
Mandobart Mandobart is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HHP View Post
Here's my "starter" mandolin. Bought it about 30 years ago at a small shop on Summer Ave in Memphis. Its the one instrument I have had the longest.

There is some cool mojo in those old Harmony's! Thanks for sharing it!
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  #21  
Old 03-24-2017, 12:51 PM
dcopper dcopper is offline
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Plenty of info on mandolincafe.com
Lots of posts for beginners - I bought a Collings and have never regretted it.
Some inexpensive mandos are fine, some are just plain difficult to play. You may want to look for one with a wide nut. That helps with transitioning from guitar.
Good luck,

Davidc
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  #22  
Old 03-30-2017, 10:41 AM
Rex Everything Rex Everything is offline
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Some great advice here.

The biggest thing in the mandolin world is set up. Even the best mandolins, if not properly set up, will not play well (i.e. will be hard to fret and will not intonate properly).

If I were just getting started, I would probably get the Kentucky KM150 from FolkMusician.com or The Mandolin Store. 1) It's a good, solid wood mandolin, and 2) those shops will make sure it's set up well.

The Big Muddy/Mid Missouri is also a great option, especially if you're not going to play Bluegrass. FWIW, I don't play Bluegrass either, and my mandolin is a Collings MT. I just happen to prefer the sound of a carved-top, F-hole mandolin.

Also, someone mentioned using a heavier pick with the mandolin. Though that is a popular choice among (mostly) American players, there are plenty of people in the non-Bluegrass world that enjoy a lighter pick. I personally use a medium gauge guitar pick and play with the rounded shoulder rather than the point. YMMV.

Good luck.

Last edited by Rex Everything; 03-30-2017 at 10:53 AM.
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  #23  
Old 04-10-2017, 01:24 PM
M Sarad M Sarad is offline
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I bought a Gibson F9 at a store going out of business. I got it for about 45% off. It needed the bridge moved, frets dressed, and general set up to get it right. Now it sings.
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  #24  
Old 04-11-2017, 12:16 AM
Br1ck Br1ck is offline
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Much good advice above but I'll add my .O2.

An almost sure way to learn you hate mandolin is to buy a cheap one with a poor setup. Out of the box they go hand in hand, so please take the advice to at least start at the Kentucky KM 150 level, but the flat top suggestion is worth noting, especially a used Flatiron.

RE: the Michael Kelly suggestion, I bought a screaming blowout deal on one recently, and after about 10 hours of setup work, its pretty good, but out of the box, it would have sent a beginner back for another try at banjo.

Buying from the Mandolin Store or Folk Musician is a can't go wrong proposition. Buying used off the Mandolin Cafe classifieds is good too, especially if bought from the above stores.

If you get addicted, kiss your bank account goodby. And don't under any circumstances try that $7500 F hole hanging behind the counter.
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  #25  
Old 04-30-2017, 04:42 AM
frquent flyer frquent flyer is offline
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I'd plan on spending some good money for a nice used mando. You will certainly get your money back when you decide to sell it. I would suggest a Gibson A 50,or a stiver, taggert, or a Pava or a Weber mandolin. All have good sound and are pleasant to play. Good luck. Tom
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  #26  
Old 04-30-2017, 07:18 PM
Ian44 Ian44 is offline
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I just traded in a Fender Mandolin, It was very difficult to tune. I have played guitar for a while and wanted to try a mandolin. I bought a Seagull S8 EQ on the advice of Colin at Long and Mcquade. It is on order so I wont see it for a few weeks. They seem to have a good reputation.
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  #27  
Old 04-30-2017, 07:45 PM
DavidE DavidE is offline
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I have a nice handmade mandolin, but haven't spent time learning to play it. Yet. I'm an old dog (not dawg) and am afraid to try and learn some new tricks. Now if it was tuned like the top four on a guitar. lol... I guess then it wouldn't sound like a mandolin.
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  #28  
Old 05-01-2017, 11:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidE View Post
I have a nice handmade mandolin, but haven't spent time learning to play it. Yet. I'm an old dog (not dawg) and am afraid to try and learn some new tricks. Now if it was tuned like the top four on a guitar. lol... I guess then it wouldn't sound like a mandolin.
Really, the mandolin tuning is better, more intuitive, more understandable, and easier mechanically and musically than the guitar tuning. I am convinced though, that to understand this and really take advantage of the mandolin, you have to become a mandolinist. You have to put aside the guitar and learn the mandolin as its own unique instrument with its own unique strengths and weaknesses. It isn't a tiny guitar. I spent almost two years principally as a mandolinist, and while I have since sold my mandolins and gone back to guitar, I really can play the mandolin as its on instrument and take advantage of what it offers as its own instrument.
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