Larrivee Guitar Forum

Main Forums => Larrivée Mandolins and Ukuleles => Topic started by: broKen on February 21, 2011, 03:34:26 AM



Title: Good starter?
Post by: broKen on February 21, 2011, 03:34:26 AM
My nephew has decided to give mandolin a try. Any suggestions for something under $500? I have no way to try any out. Internet purchase is the only choice. Preferably used.
Thanks guys.
Ken


Title: Re: Good starter?
Post by: Barefoot Rob on February 21, 2011, 03:49:54 AM
All sorts of beginners out there.Micheal Kelley,Morgan monroe just to start.


Title: Re: Good starter?
Post by: broKen on February 22, 2011, 06:13:45 AM
Thanks Rob. Mandos are new territory to me, so your suggestions are appreciated. :donut2 :coffee This will have to do since I'm all out of Chivas.  :winkin:


Title: Re: Good starter?
Post by: Barefoot Rob on February 22, 2011, 02:28:52 PM
I'll take a cup of coffee anytime.There's other stuff out thier but they normally need a bit of work to make playable.Also you need to consider what body style F or A.I prefer the A bodies with the oval soundhole.


Title: Re: Good starter?
Post by: ffinke on May 02, 2011, 05:13:58 PM
...Also you need to consider what body style F or A. I prefer the A bodies with the oval soundhole.

Hey, Rob,

Why do you prefer the A-oval? I've got a friend who is interested in taking up mandolin and I can't be that much help. I just naturally assumed that whatever Sam Bush plays is good enough. Guess I need some educatin'. Teach me, oh master.

f


Title: Re: Good starter?
Post by: Barefoot Rob on May 03, 2011, 03:48:15 AM
I just liked the tone of the oval hole's,they had more depth.Alot less volumn then an F style but never sounded harsh.I also found that the A style with the F holes were to midrangey.Its funny I read somewhere that a lot of the early bluegrass stuff were done on an A style with an oval hole.Thats until B.Monroe came out playing the F style.


Title: Re: Good starter?
Post by: CZERO9RW on May 09, 2011, 04:19:09 PM
There is little, to no difference in tone/sound between an F style, or A styled body. F styled are usually quite a bit more expensive. If you don't necessarily HAVE to have the scroll, you will get way more mile to your buck with an A style.

The sound holes DO make a pretty big difference.

As Rob said: The oval holed instruments don't project as well as the ff instruments, but they are more mellow in tone and sound more bell-like than the sharp attack you get from the ff.

For the best consistency in producing a very playable instrument, for a very decent price, I would recommend Kentucky.

I also recommend you go to the forums at The Mandolin Cafe. There is almost 2 decades of information posted there. I would hazard to guess just about any question you have about the mandolin will be answered more than you would want to know if you plug it into the search function.


Title: Re: Good starter?
Post by: broKen on May 09, 2011, 04:29:28 PM
Thanks Gerry.


Title: Re: Good starter?
Post by: acousticphd on May 09, 2011, 06:44:10 PM
I play mandolin, own many (and bought and sold many).  I think there are several particular good choices I would recommend, based on 1st-hand experience and a lot of reports/posts over at mandolincafe (someplace you would be well recommended to start hanging out if you're getting into mandolin).

Your budget is a good one for a first mandolin, and you can get a very decent instrument.  I would very much recommend a solid-wood, A-style archtop mandolin with F-holes for any interested beginner.  There a few other options in flattop or "pancake"-style instruments (Big Muddy, Weber), but an archtop instrument with f-holes is the most versatile and will fit in anywhere.  I would stay away from F-style mandolins for that kind of money.  I personally don't think they are worth what they cost (2X a comparable A-style), but especially not in your budget. 

What I have seen, or am seeing, that I really like in that pricerange include:
Loar A300
Loar A400
Kentucky KM505
Eastman 505

I haven't personally handled one of the Loars, but they look great and the buzz about them is very positive among owners over at the mandolin cafe.  The Loars & Kentucky you can find online new for under your budget under/close to $500.  The Eastman you would have to find used to get in under budget. 


Title: Re: Good starter?
Post by: CZERO9RW on May 09, 2011, 07:28:59 PM
Loars have baseball bats for necks. Most folks don't complain about this because it's their first mandolin. Play a Gibson for awhile, then pick up a Loar and you'll see what I mean.

If you read reviews you will find the Kentucky's have consistently been a positive experience for those that bought them as their first instrument.

For me, the most important thing to go with when buying any instrument is to buy what sounds, and feels good to you.

Something to consider when you are deciding whether to get an ff hole, or oval hole instrument should be based on what kind of music you, or your friend are interested in playing.

ff holes are great for bluegrass and playing in large groups where volume is important. They have very little, or no sustain which is good when you are playing 85,000 notes per measure.  :bgrin:
Get one set up right and it'll bark at ya'!

Oval hole instruments are perfect for a quieter setting. They have a nice mid-to-low range, and excellent sustain (for a mandolin). Get one set up right and it will ring like a bell.

Either playing solo, or with a handful of friends. They are great for Old Time, Jazz, Irish Traditional (small seisiun).

These guidelines are simply from general practice and no rule is written in any law book saying you have to follow any of them.

Again, in my experience, the most important thing is to go with the one you like. The one that feels good in your hands and sounds good to your ear.



Title: Re: Good starter?
Post by: broKen on May 11, 2011, 05:55:03 AM
Thanks KTRON
I'm glad I didn't go out and buy one right away, since he's already lost interest in it. (teenagers :rolleye:) I'm still takin in the info cause I may try one out sometime.


Title: Re: Good starter?
Post by: ffinke on May 11, 2011, 04:49:30 PM
...I'm still takin' in the info cause I may try one out sometime.

I'm with you broKen! I'm getting interested, too. If I can't be Leo K. in my wildest dreams I'll have to settle for Sam Bush!...





:roll


Title: Re: Good starter?
Post by: ducktrapper on May 11, 2011, 09:54:47 PM
I have a higher end, A style Kentucky, can't remember the model and too lazy to go look but I like it quite a bit. The less expensive ones are said to be good too. Eastmans have a decent rep, as well. My first mandolin was a used one and I think that's always a good way to go.  


Title: Re: Good starter?
Post by: CZERO9RW on May 12, 2011, 07:13:06 PM
My first mando, back in 1975, was a Hondo... I think(?)  :laughin:

I quickly became an expert on how to tune a mando, cuz' it wouldn't stay in tune.  :nana_guitar

There's been many a mando in the collection since then. There were a couple of Kentucky's in there and I can say they both were as good as any as far as getting my money's worth out of them. Good solid little players.


Title: Re: Good starter?
Post by: gonoles on May 13, 2011, 03:33:26 AM
How about a Rover RM-75?  Big Muddy makes a wide neck version that interest me because I primarily play guitar.


Title: Re: Good starter?
Post by: bifenwolf on March 03, 2012, 03:20:13 PM
Got the mandolin bug a few years ago and finally purchased a "Big Muddy"  MM.  This is the "travel" model with the bolt on neck.  Loving it.....solid wood and made in Missouri.  Under $400 bucks.


Title: Re: Good starter?
Post by: CZERO9RW on March 05, 2012, 11:07:03 PM
Got the mandolin bug a few years ago and finally purchased a "Big Muddy"  MM.  This is the "travel" model with the bolt on neck.  Loving it.....solid wood and made in Missouri.  Under $400 bucks.

 :+1: :+1: :+1:

At that price range you aren't gonna find much better than this. Good grab!  :thumbsup


Title: Re: Good starter?
Post by: Mr_LV19E on March 10, 2012, 08:04:32 PM
I just purchased a Big Muddy a couple weeks ago (first Mandolin).  After talking with Mike Dulak (the builder), he sold me a B-stock M-11W (all Mahogany with 1 1/4" wide neck). I can't play it well yet but I can't get over how bright and loud it is and how it sustains forever.
My criteria when shopping was a good starter mandolin "made in America" and inexpensive, Mike set me up on both accounts.

If you're interested in a Big Muddy mandolin I would encourage you to call and talk with Mike Dulak personally.


Title: Re: Good starter?
Post by: bifenwolf on March 20, 2012, 12:23:34 AM
I just purchased a Big Muddy a couple weeks ago (first Mandolin).  After talking with Mike Dulak (the builder), he sold me a B-stock M-11W (all Mahogany with 1 1/4" wide neck). I can't play it well yet but I can't get over how bright and loud it is and how it sustains forever.
My criteria when shopping was a good starter mandolin "made in America" and inexpensive, Mike set me up on both accounts.

If you're interested in a Big Muddy mandolin I would encourage you to call and talk with Mike Dulak personally.

Yep, I looked high and low before deciding on Big Muddy.  Considered Breedlove but kept coming back to Big Muddy.   :nanadance :nanadance :nanadance :nanadanceSomething to be said when you can call and talk with the builder.  Having a blast with my Muddy and will be purchasing another soon!  Learning chords on her and can now bang out the Daredevils "Fly Away".