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Recommend a Mandolin

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Glenn F.

12-01-2010 15:28:18

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Much as I love music I do not play an instrument. Some day I WILL!

I would like to play the mandolin. For those of you who shop Musician's Friend, what model would you recommend for a beginner who seems to want one of everything in life?

I see they have them starting as low as $50.00. I'm guessing that one's made of cardboard....

Thank you,
Glenn F.

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lucas boy

12-03-2010 04:54:12

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 Re: Recommend a Mandolin in reply to Glenn F., 12-01-2010 15:28:18  
I got a 50.00 rougue from musicians freind.It is pretty good to start out on .Have seen some used ones on local craigs list adds.

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12-02-2010 07:38:00

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 Re: Recommend a Mandolin in reply to Glenn F., 12-01-2010 15:28:18  
I would suggest if you have a music store near by go through them for your mandolin if you have problems a real live preson can be really helpfull. Case in point my buddy bought a nice Epiphone Dot well he found one of the tuning pegs was kind of screwed up he took it back to the store and the music store owner had a new axe for him in a week no trouble at all now musicians friend might return it,but you get to spring for shipping,and if it needs an adjustment your friend at the store where you got it ought to be able to help out

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12-01-2010 17:26:30

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 Re: Recommend a Mandolin in reply to Glenn F., 12-01-2010 15:28:18  
Glenn, I've bought three mando's in my life, all of them cheap.

The best one cost around $300 new. We were playing in a church one night, and my son, who was switching between the guitar and the mando, shifted his chair and we heard a loud CRUNCH. He had stuck a chair leg through the top of my mandolin. When he picked the chair up, the mando was stuck on the leg. The congregation thought it was hilarious and part of the show, and we kinda went along like it was. It broke his heart, but I was able to piece the wreckage back together, and it's barely noticeable now. He loved the instrument, and I gave it to him after I got it looking good again.

Mando #2 is a Martin backpacker. It cost about $200, and I foolishly bought it because it was the only instrument in tune out of all of the mando's in Allen's Music Shop in Paducah. The backpacker really doesn't have a good mellow sound, but it's tough and I can leave it in a hot car without worrying about it coming unglued. And it stays in tune.

Mando #3 cost $100 brand new. I bought it for my granddaughter a few years ago, and I honestly believe it sounds better than the other two.

I fooled with a nice Weber mandolin all afternoon one day. The music store was selling it for a friend for $500, and it was worth every penny, but ol' skinflint me was hesitant to drop that much money on yet another musical instrument. By the time I had driven the 30 miles home I had decided to buy it, but when I called them, it was sold. . .

I'd like to warn you - instruments are like tractors. You always need just one more. A musician and his money are soon parted.

Zach is right - the $50 mandolin would probably get you started.

Good luck,

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12-01-2010 17:03:57

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 Re: Recommend a Mandolin in reply to Glenn F., 12-01-2010 15:28:18  
the 50 dollar one from Musician's Friend is a good beginners mandolin , for 80 dollars you can get it with a cord book, beginners guide and soft case.

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Zachary Hoyt

12-01-2010 16:48:46

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 Re: Recommend a Mandolin in reply to Glenn F., 12-01-2010 15:28:18  

I know an 80 year old lady who decided she wanted to learn to play the mandolin. She bought one of the $50 ones from Musicians Friend and seemed happy with it. I tried it out the next time I went to see her. I thought it had a good sound and was well worth the $50. The soundboard and backboard are made by gluing plies of veneer together on a mold, like plywood with an arched shape. In all likelihood that arch will sag or collapse eventually, but you should get many years of service from it before that. I built a mandolin a couple of years ago with solid lumber which I carved out to the arched shape and it does have a noticeably more lively tone and should last indefinitely, but carved ones are much more expensive. I would say to learn on I'd buy the $50 one and then if you really like playing the mandolin I would think about springing for a carved one in a year or two.

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12-01-2010 17:00:51

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 Re: Recommend a Mandolin in reply to Zachary Hoyt, 12-01-2010 16:48:46  
Nice job, Zach! Beautiful instrument! You're a talented fellow. Looks like the frets would be tough to set in the right place and height.


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