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Old 01-03-2019, 08:30 AM
norseman norseman is offline
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Default Looking for a mandola or mandocello

My foray into the mandolin family has piqued my curiosity about other size instruments. I found an octave mandolin that is proving to be interesting, but challenging. Next up for me is a mandola or a mandocello. My preference would be to trade one of my acoustic guitars (or my Kentucky 505 mandolin), but that is not a deal breaker. A cash deal is possible. Please let me know what you have available. Thanks. Larry
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Applegate SJ; Froggy Bottom H-14Koa; Rockbridge 000BZ; Northwood BR80 12-00; Martin J-40; 000-17 WS;000-35, D-15S Cree; Collings 02h-12; Breedlove King Koa; Taylor 414ce, T5-C1; Gibson TG-25-N; Guild F112; Blueridge 40T; Wechter/Scheerhorn Reso; Alvarez APA 1965; Pre-war Regal parlor; Rainsong CO-OM 1000; 1896 Zoeller BZ Parlor; Trinity College OM; Pono TMD 30 SB
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Old 01-03-2019, 02:17 PM
Mandobart Mandobart is offline
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I play mostly mandolin, mandola, octave mando and mandocello. Over the past 10 years these have pretty much taken the place of guitar for me. Once again, my thoughts on getting into these instruments:

What beginners don't like to learn about playing mandolin (or mandola, octave mando and mandocello):

1. There are about 1000 guitars sold for every mandolin sold. There are about 100 mandolins sold for every 'dola, OM or 'cello. You're heading into deep narrow niche territory. Its where I live.
2. Most mandolin family instruments are carved top and carved back - a lot more hours go into building them.
3. Adding 1 and 2 above means that to get the same quality in a mandolin that you can get in a $500 guitar, you need to spend $1000. Even more for a good quality mandola, OM or 'cello.
4. A cheap mandolin family instrument sounds a lot worse than a cheap guitar.

Most entry/student level mandolin builders like Kentucky or The Loar don't offer a 'dola, OM or cello. Eastman does, but finding their mandola is very difficult. Same for their newly released octave. Their guitar bodied mandocello is great - I have one. New it will cost you about $2k. Your best bet economically is to find a decent used Trinity College or Hora instrument. Another option I've seen is conversion of a guitar (preferably old archtop) to an OM or 'cello. You'll have to Google it, you'll find the links.

Be aware that a guitar-scale instrument tuned in 5ths is a joy to hear played well, but a real handful. Use Google to find some great links to other helpful sites on this subject.
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Old 01-04-2019, 05:19 AM
norseman norseman is offline
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Thanks for your post. Please see my e-mail response.
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Applegate SJ; Froggy Bottom H-14Koa; Rockbridge 000BZ; Northwood BR80 12-00; Martin J-40; 000-17 WS;000-35, D-15S Cree; Collings 02h-12; Breedlove King Koa; Taylor 414ce, T5-C1; Gibson TG-25-N; Guild F112; Blueridge 40T; Wechter/Scheerhorn Reso; Alvarez APA 1965; Pre-war Regal parlor; Rainsong CO-OM 1000; 1896 Zoeller BZ Parlor; Trinity College OM; Pono TMD 30 SB
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Old 01-04-2019, 07:49 AM
merlin666 merlin666 is online now
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Many good points, but what is left out that mass produced factory instruments tend to be way overpriced due to their overhead and marketing costs etc. For a relatively rare instrument the way to go is to buy the entry level from a small luthier shop where you get top notch quality and a professional level instrument at an affordable price. For example, my local luthier Peter Sawchyn is well known for outstanding Mandolins, and his entry level "Beavertail" mandolins and mandolas retail new for less than US$800. For example:

http://www.folkwaymusic.com/new-inst...-mandola-0316/

You'd probably have to pay two to three times as much for an equivalent Loar, Kentucky, or Eastman.

Last edited by merlin666; 01-04-2019 at 09:28 AM.
  #5  
Old 01-04-2019, 09:09 AM
norseman norseman is offline
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Default Thanks

Good food for thought. Thanks for sharing your perspective. I'm very much in an exploratory mode at this point.
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Applegate SJ; Froggy Bottom H-14Koa; Rockbridge 000BZ; Northwood BR80 12-00; Martin J-40; 000-17 WS;000-35, D-15S Cree; Collings 02h-12; Breedlove King Koa; Taylor 414ce, T5-C1; Gibson TG-25-N; Guild F112; Blueridge 40T; Wechter/Scheerhorn Reso; Alvarez APA 1965; Pre-war Regal parlor; Rainsong CO-OM 1000; 1896 Zoeller BZ Parlor; Trinity College OM; Pono TMD 30 SB
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Old 01-04-2019, 12:33 PM
Malcolm Kindnes Malcolm Kindnes is offline
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"Be aware that a guitar-scale instrument tuned in 5ths is a joy to hear played well, but a real handful."

This is certainly true!
  #7  
Old 01-04-2019, 03:49 PM
Mandobart Mandobart is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by norseman View Post
Good food for thought. Thanks for sharing your perspective. I'm very much in an exploratory mode at this point.
If you're open to small one man shops I can heartily recommend Tom "TJ" Jessen. I have commissioned two custom builds from him over the years, one is a 10 string mandocello. I paid $3000 for it (included shipping and custom cedar case). An equivalent Weber or Gibson would have been over $10 k at the time. I have 3 other instruments he's built, one of which is a 10 string mandola.

Another great builder is Joe Mendel. He's been building a long time, is well respected and a real nice guy too. Like TJ he also flies under the radar of the factory instrument buying masses.

Two fellow northwesterners, Austin Clark and Andrew Mowry are two amazing builders who take things to a higher level. You'll pay more for their work but worth every penny. I've spent many hours playing their exquisitely built mandolins, mandolas and guitar-bodied octave mandos when I see them both every year at Wintergrass.

You are wading into deep waters though. Once you spend some time with quality hand built instruments you may not be content with the lower end factory-built Asian imports anymore.
  #8  
Old 02-12-2019, 12:50 PM
norseman norseman is offline
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Default Mandola found

I found a Pono TMD 30 sunburst. Just now getting acquainted with the tuning, scales and fret board. Should be an interesting adventure. Thanks for the suggestions and support. Larry
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Applegate SJ; Froggy Bottom H-14Koa; Rockbridge 000BZ; Northwood BR80 12-00; Martin J-40; 000-17 WS;000-35, D-15S Cree; Collings 02h-12; Breedlove King Koa; Taylor 414ce, T5-C1; Gibson TG-25-N; Guild F112; Blueridge 40T; Wechter/Scheerhorn Reso; Alvarez APA 1965; Pre-war Regal parlor; Rainsong CO-OM 1000; 1896 Zoeller BZ Parlor; Trinity College OM; Pono TMD 30 SB

Last edited by Kerbie; 02-12-2019 at 05:01 PM. Reason: Edited detail
  #9  
Old 02-12-2019, 04:54 PM
Pura Vida Pura Vida is offline
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Congrats. I played the Eastman Mandocello two years ago at a local music store event, although I had no idea what I was doing. Really cool and interesting instrument.
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