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  #1  
Old 04-29-2019, 11:17 AM
kayakman kayakman is offline
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Default Mandolin Bros

As a longtime Staten Islander, I sure do miss Mandolin Bros, anyone here been in the store in the years that it was open??
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Old 04-29-2019, 11:24 AM
SLJ710 SLJ710 is offline
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I have fond memories of taking the Staten Island Ferry then a bus to get to the Mandolin Brothers. Great place to check out vintage and new guitars. Very friendly.

Interestingly enough one of the former employees opened a small Guitar shop near me in Westfield NJ..https://www.goldenageguitars.com/

It is a small MB. several rooms, with great assortment of Guitars. Like Mandolin you are welcome to try out all the guitars.

If your in NJ check it out.
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Old 04-29-2019, 11:45 AM
Tenzin Tenzin is offline
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If you're willing to go to Brooklyn Retro Fret looks like a place I could blow a few hundred thousand!
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Old 04-29-2019, 11:47 AM
kayakman kayakman is offline
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John Reynolds used to work there, nice fellow..
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Old 04-29-2019, 08:06 PM
Steve DeRosa Steve DeRosa is offline
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I was a regular customer practically from the day Stan Jay and Hap Kuffner opened the Forest Avenue shop, until I bought my last guitar from Stan's daughter Alison shortly before they closed the place for good - used to make the trip from Brooklyn twice a month until we moved to S.I., saw the entire development of the business from a small vintage-only operation, through its heyday (1985-2005), and its gradual decline. Purchased no less than a dozen instruments over the years - if you played anything with strings it truly was, as Stan aptly nicknamed it, your "Dream Fulfillment Center" (my wife - herself a guitarist whom Stan used to affectionately address as "Mrs. Steve" - referred to it as her "Nightmare Realization Center") - and if you were part of the (surprisingly large and active) Staten island musical community MandoBros was your friendly local guitar store, period...

While I could tell probably a few hundred interesting stories covering four-plus decades, one of the standouts was Stan's visionary approach to customer service ("we treat you as we would want to be treated" was one of the guiding principles); beginning in the early-80s - a time when women were virtually unrepresented in the marketing/sales side of the music industry - MandoBros always had a resident "Sis" on the selling floor, and over the years I watched Ellen Sorstokke, Janet Lafata, and in later years his daughter Alison make a visit to the showroom an enjoyable experience for many a female customer...

Those who frequented MandoBros will also recall that it was located in, as their literature stated, a "small, not very interesting building" on one of Staten Island's main business streets - and unless you knew exactly where you were going it was easy to pass it by, especially in the early days. I recall being in precisely that situation the first time I made the trip and, after several minutes of total confusion, I wandered into the sewing/knitting/crafts shop located in the same building; I was greeted by the proprietor - a petite, dark-haired, charming woman in her mid-thirties - who explained with a laugh, "this happens all the time" and directed me to the gated door immediately adjacent...

The craft shop closed a few years later, Stan took over the premises, and - for those who remember the layout - converted it into his high-end, acoustic-electric, resonator, lefty, bass, and electric rooms...

Turns out, unbeknownst to her neighbors (or their customers) that craft-shop owner was quite a singer - she's our band's vocalist today...

Thanks for the memories, Stan...
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Old 04-29-2019, 08:53 PM
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Mbroady Mbroady is offline
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Had many a outings to Mandolin Bros back in the day and would always be handed a guitar by Stan to check out. Though it was usually a pricey or rare guitar, The last time I was there he just got in some of the newer Sigma guitars which he suggested I play.

Stan was old school customer service, hence why he did so well for so many years.
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Old 04-29-2019, 09:46 PM
godfreydaniel godfreydaniel is offline
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I went there about every six months for many years. Such an amazing place. One time I was in the fairly small boutique room (Collings, Bourgeois, SCGC...), but there were already two other guys playing in there. So I grabbed a guitar I wanted to try out and went looking for a spot to play and ended up in the room with the mandolins and banjos and some resonators. When I started playing all these sympathetic strings started ringing. What a great sound it made.
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Old 04-30-2019, 06:38 AM
Howard Emerson Howard Emerson is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kayakman View Post
As a longtime Staten Islander, I sure do miss Mandolin Bros, anyone here been in the store in the years that it was open??
I first went to their apartment store when John Monteleone was their first repairman. I accompanied John to return a couple of repairs, one of them being (if memory serves) a guitar of Judy Collins.

Stan Jay wrote the liner notes for my first 2 CD's (Crossing Crystal Lake & A Tale To Tell), and he was a real fan.......so much so that he had my music on his 'pick up and hold' phone service for a very long time.

He was a treasure; a real mensch who didn't suffer fools easily, and he's sorely missed to this day......and he raised beautiful, smart kids with his lovely wife, Bea.

<sigh>........

HE
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Old 04-30-2019, 08:02 AM
kayakman kayakman is offline
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Bought my last archtop from Stan, a Campellone..
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Old 04-30-2019, 12:55 PM
Howard Emerson Howard Emerson is offline
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My long term memory must still be okay. I went to John’s shop today and he confirmed that it was the upstairs apartment where Stan & Hap first started selling from.

And it was a Judy Collins Guild 12 string that he was dropping off.

By the way I was dropping off a 1938 Gibson EH-150 amp that I had repaired for John by a local shop. Anyone who needs great stereo or amplifier repair on Long Island should consider Juan at Stereo Repair World in Huntington Station!

...but I digress...

HE
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Old 05-01-2019, 06:58 AM
kayakman kayakman is offline
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Howard, I remember the apartment on Bay St SINY.

Last edited by kayakman; 05-02-2019 at 08:10 AM.
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Old 05-03-2019, 07:07 AM
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Bill Kraus Bill Kraus is offline
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I got my first good guitar from Stan in about '84. I was just out of high school and had my first job. I had been getting the Mandolin Brothers typed and stapled inventory newsletters in the mail for a couple years by this time. I had finally saved enough money for a guitar and gave Stan a call, the whole conversation is ingrained in my memory to this day. With Stan's in hand description of a few guitars over the phone, I finally ended up deciding on a 71 Martin D-35. I rode my bike home on my lunch break for a couple days hoping to find my guitar waiting by the door....... nothing. On the final day with no guitar at the door, I went in and made myself a sandwich. After a couple of bites I looked out the kitchen window and there was the box!, leaning against the wall in the garage. I just had time to pull it out and tune it up before I had to ride back to work, it was a tough day at work thinking about getting back home to my new guitar. This guitar was followed by a few others from Stan over the years.
The first time I made it to the shop myself was when I brought a few of the guitars I make out to Mandolin Brothers in '06, I think. I had called to see if they were interested in picking up a new line of guitars. When I called Stan said "who are you?". After I told him my name there was a minute of silence, "there is not much about you on the internet" he said, "I'm afraid I'm going to have to pass". I told him I'd like to come out anyway and have him look at my guitars and he said "well that would be fine". Luckily, after Stan and his sales guy Mike looked them over, they were impressed enough to decide to sell my guitars. Each time I had a guitar ready I would make arrangements to drive the 7 hours out to Staten island. I have great memories of spending the day waiting for Stan to write up a description of that trips guitar. He would call me in and say "start at the top and work to the bottom and tell me about the guitar". As fast as I would talk he would type out, at lightening speed, a imaginative and highly ornate description of my guitar. Stan jay was a great guy, a terrific human being. I really miss Mandolin Brothers.
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Old 05-03-2019, 07:31 AM
Howard Emerson Howard Emerson is offline
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Stan was an alien fiend typist!

And he could hold a conversation while doing it!!

Great memories!

Howard
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Old 05-03-2019, 12:50 PM
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I was one of the regulars and, even though I live in NJ, it was an easy trip and one I'd frequently take on days when I had nothing better do. Always felt welcome. That said, Stan could be a tough guy. Everyone started out in his good graces but it wasn't easy to get much farther than that. He was, first and foremost, a businessman. He set his formula for pricing - whether accepting a trade or selling - and you either accepted it or walked. As Howard noted, he could be dismissive if you tried to over-impress him, but if you shared his wonder with stringed instruments he'd give you all day. Even the regulars weren't free from being admonished and to this day I smile when I think of how he knew I was playing in the high end room standing up.

Stan was an important ambassador. He hated to go to shows and I always told him he was missing out on the new generation of builders. He remained loyal to the time-honored names. I would read the Vintage News cover-to-cover and think I still have a couple of copies in the bathroom magazine stand. Admittedly, most of what I know about guitars I learned from Stan. I remember going into the store shortly before it closed. There was a small handful of guitars scattered on the walls but mostly ghosts. Like a stadium about to be torn down. I'm certain that those of us who frequented the place share the same memories, miss it the same way, and know it will never be replaced.
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Last edited by roberts; 05-03-2019 at 12:57 PM.
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Old 05-09-2019, 06:41 PM
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I only had the pleasure of visiting once, but when I walked through the front door I found myself in Stans office with him sitting behind the desk. He handed me off to a salesman named Michael and I had the full tour. I got to play some great guitars and had a nice chat with Stan. I told him I grew up in Union, NJ and i had read that he worked at Rondo Music. So i was the snot nosed kid that used to ride over to Rondo on my bike and bug Stan and the rest of the staff.
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