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-   -   Experience with Big Muddy/Mid Missouri mandolins (https://www.acousticguitarforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=498185)

BoneDigger 01-28-2018 08:12 PM

Experience with Big Muddy/Mid Missouri mandolins
 
I am selling off some electric guitars and amps and moving more toward acoustic instruments. Big Muddy (formerly Mid MO) offer flat top, round hole mandos for a reasonable price. They can also be made with a wide neck. Anyone here actually played one? They get good reviews on Mandolin Cafe.

Todd

HHP 01-28-2018 08:24 PM

I've played a few and they are quite good with the caveat that they are a flat top. If that is your preference, and you are willing to look a bit, older Flatiron pancakes are a bit better. Cumberland Acoustics makes a very similar model and the ones I've heard are very good. Harder to find, but maybe the best buy of all, is a Sawchyn Beavertail made in Canada. Very much like the old Flatirons but they use really premium woods and appointments.

There are also very good buys on used carved top models if you want a more mainstream mandolin sound.

BoneDigger 01-28-2018 09:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by HHP (Post 5619725)
I've played a few and they are quite good with the caveat that they are a flat top. If that is your preference, and you are willing to look a bit, older Flatiron pancakes are a bit better. Cumberland Acoustics makes a very similar model and the ones I've heard are very good. Harder to find, but maybe the best buy of all, is a Sawchyn Beavertail made in Canada. Very much like the old Flatirons but they use really premium woods and appointments.

There are also very good buys on used carved top models if you want a more mainstream mandolin sound.

Thanks! I already own two Eastman mandolins, a MD505 f-hole, and a MD304 round hole. Both are good, but they have a really tight/narrow neck. I don't play bluegrass often (almost never) and am more into folk type songs. I'm thinking of giving the 304 to my daughter and keeping the 505 for the rare bluegrass tune, then getting a flat top for everything else.

Frogstar 01-29-2018 09:24 AM

I've got a pair of them, spruce/maple and all mahogany, but with the standard neck size. I brought them to the jam for well over a year before I ran across a deal on an oval-hole Breedlove. I still play the Big Muddy(s) at home, but the Breedlove gives me more volume at the jam (and I can't deny enjoying the wider neck).

cu4life7 02-01-2018 11:38 AM

I learned on a Big Muddy with the wide neck and quite enjoyed it as a starter instrument. Way more tone per dollar than most of the imports, but the sound is distinctly flattop. I didn't realize how different it was until I got my Collings Oval hole and played them back to back. I wouldn't recommend them if you are playing bluegrass because they don't have the punch you will want, also the wide neck version makes the 4 finger G chord nearly impossible. So evaluate where your interests lie, and shop around. Try some Kentucky's and Eastman's. They are hard to beat the same price range and have some more bluegrass specific sound.

Steve DeRosa 02-01-2018 01:34 PM

I've tried them under both the Mid-MO and Big Muddy labels, and I'll agree with HHP on all points; IME they're very similar tonally to the Army-Navy "pancake" (AKA "frying-pan") Flatirons with a slightly brighter high end, much like a Celtic mando or a couple Folk-era Martin Style A's I've played. If you're into authentic, pre-1900 old-time (think parlor guitars and gut-string/skin-head banjos), folk, or Celtic music one of these would be an excellent choice; if you're after the bluegrass "chunk" save your bucks and go for a midrange Kentucky or lower-end all-solid Eastman...

posternutbag 02-01-2018 10:29 PM

I have owned two and played a couple of more. If you understand what they are and you know what you want, they can be a lifetime mandolins.

In particular the M11 and the M4 are really nice sounding. The only one I have played that I didn't really like had walnut back and sides. It sounded like an open back banjo, bright, metallic and sustain measured in nanoseconds.

OTOH I had an M11 and loved the tone. Not a bluegrass sound, but warm with good projection.

I had another, I think an M1 which was also a nice instrument. Again, it wouldn't hold up in a bluegrass jam; it just doesn't have the woof or crack in the chop, but for playing fiddle tunes it is just fine. It would also be a fine classical mandolin if you put flat wounds on it.

I don't have a bad thing to say about them. That they aren't bluegrass instruments isn't really a knock on them so much as a recognition that very few instruments can do everything well.

Vinegar 02-03-2018 10:42 PM

I made a mistake buying the wide neck option - turns out I prefer a standard width neck. So mine mostly sits in the closet.

BoneDigger 02-04-2018 11:02 PM

I just ordered an M11 with the jumbo body but standard neck. I almost went with the wide neck but decided a standard neck would be better overall.

catt 02-05-2018 12:50 PM

I owned two (or perhaps three, don't quite remember) MM mandolins, and one mandola. They're well made, bright sounding. Mike Dulak, builder, is a great guy - typically sent people half-a-dozen bridges of various heights, free of charge, to dial-in your action.

I don't think they're a particularly complex-sounding mandolin. A good basic pancake, however. I believe they're flat fingerboard.

I owned other pancakes - best of the bunch are the flatirons.

BoneDigger 02-05-2018 07:25 PM

Thanks guys! I have ordered my M11 and I'm looking forward to getting it! I already own a couple of Eastman mandolins and a Kentucky, so this won't be my only mandolin. I'm looking for something different and I like that these are hand made.

BoneDigger 02-08-2018 10:35 PM

I received my in progress picture today. It should be finished by next week!

Wade Hampton 02-11-2018 03:42 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by catt (Post 5628995)
I owned two (or perhaps three, don't quite remember) MM mandolins, and one mandola. They're well made, bright sounding. Mike Dulak, builder, is a great guy - typically sent people half-a-dozen bridges of various heights, free of charge, to dial-in your action.

I don't think they're a particularly complex-sounding mandolin. A good basic pancake, however. I believe they're flat fingerboard.

I owned other pancakes - best of the bunch are the flatirons.

Catt's experiences with these are similar to mine. I actually own a couple, both of which I bought locally off Craigslist for not much money at all.

I met Mike Dulak at the 2001 Healdsburg Guitar Festival, where he was serving as an emcee and I gave a seminar. We ended up playing music late into the evening one night, and he was pretty fun to jam with.


Wade Hampton Miller

BoneDigger 02-11-2018 11:07 PM

He has been sending pictures of the build along the way and sent a sound file of it's initial tune-up and a bit of playing. What a great guy to work with! It should be shipped tomorrow and I should have it in hand mid-week.

As noted above, I already have an F hole mandolin (A style) and an oval hole (A style). This will be my first pancake style mandolin. The mahogany should fit in well with what I'm looking for, plus I ordered the jumbo body. I'm looking forward to receiving it.

I appreciate all of the great info from all of you!

BoneDigger 02-17-2018 10:01 AM

The M11arrived yesterday. As expected the fit and finish are very good and it's a wonderful looking instrument. At first I was a bit underwelmed by the tone, but once the strings settled in and I played it for about 30 minutes, the mandolin kind of found it's voice. It really does have a pleasing tone and the mahogany makes for a sweet sounding mandolin. I really like it and I'm excited have it as another tool in my musical tool chest! Pics to come soon.


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