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Fiddle Lovers Online


Jul 23, 2020 - 4:41:18 PM
5 posts since 7/23/2020

I am a fiddler and guitarist, and now I want to begin mandolin. my price range is up to $2500, and so far the best thing I've found for the price is a 2012 Weber Gallatin Special Edition F-Style Mandolin for $1850. What are the best brands/instruments for the price range I have?

Jul 23, 2020 - 5:02:47 PM
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2520 posts since 10/22/2007

Weber is a good name. So is Breedlove, and Collings. It's crazy how F styles get pricey compared to A styles. Don't forget to cruise Mandolin Caf'e. Super mandolin community. Best of Luck on the journey.

Jul 23, 2020 - 5:53:32 PM

LukeF

USA

103 posts since 10/15/2019

Bobby: Have you decided if you want an F style or A style mandolin? Do you want "F" soundhole or an oval soundhole? What style of music do you want to play: bluegrass, celtic, or other? As a general rule of thumb but not hard and fast rule, the F style is geared towards bluegrass sound. The A style is used for celtic, middle eastern music.

As a fiddler, you'll find that mandolin will come easy for you because the finger positions are the same.

Jul 24, 2020 - 5:01:52 AM
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515 posts since 9/1/2010

I would check out Eastman as well. I've played some of those that were quite good.

Jul 24, 2020 - 5:35:48 AM
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2402 posts since 10/1/2008

OK .... An A model will always be less expensive than an F model. That curl and the points add significant labor to the manufacturing process. For your investment range of 2,500.00$ you can purchase a very good foreign made instrument new A or F model.... Kentucky and Eastman and Northfield are the three brands to look at. Used opens up your shopping to instruments made in the United States and some small shop brands new as well. Collings, Weber, Flatiron especially those made prior to 1992, Gibson early 20th century models ( note) be cautious of instruments from the 60's and 70's they were in a slump. Breedlove gets a lot of good reviews lately though I have not played one and do not know where they are built.
As with guitars there is always variance in quality of manufacture and materials. It is best to play or have a friend play so you can hear what an instrument is like. Good luck in your search.
IMO Kentucky gives the best bang for your buck in mandolins. R/

Jul 24, 2020 - 7:17:55 AM

DougD

USA

10398 posts since 12/2/2007
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I've played a few Collings MT (or MT2) instruments that were quite impressive. You might find a used one close to your price range. We've had several good makers around here (Audie Ratliff, Ray Dearstone, others) and I see those more than Weber or Breedlove, so I can't comment on those.
You really need to find a particular instrument that you like, regardlesd of brand. I own a couple old Gibson A models that have served me well, but they're quite different from the modern instruments.

Jul 24, 2020 - 7:25:33 AM
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68 posts since 11/19/2019

Bobby, you've got a great budget so make the most of it. Luke is incorrect on the use of A-style instruments, you can definitely use an A-style for any style music (I and many others play an A style for bluegrass for example). But you probably already knew that.

Some great brands mentioned above. Collings, Weber are both wonderful. Northfield is also making some wonderful instruments right now.

I think the most important thing to me if I were in your shoes would be to play the instrument and several others before buying.

I'm not sure how far you are from Nashville, but if I had that budget, I'd call Carter's in Nashville and see if I could make an appointment (I know they are not open for walk-in's as of last weekend) to go and check out what they have on hand. Last time I visited, their selection was unbeatable. I'd consider the cost of the visit 'part of the investment.'

Jul 24, 2020 - 9:18:05 AM
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2059 posts since 8/27/2008

Don't make the mistake of thinking an F5 is necessarily better or even different sounding than an A5. In any price range you're likely to get a better A than an F unless you're lucky. Fs are really labor intensive, but they're cool. That's what I play. A good friend of mine makes awesome mandolins (and other instruments) but likely out of your range.  https://luthier.com/   Fun to look though.

Jul 24, 2020 - 9:45:31 AM

5660 posts since 9/26/2008

Look for used because you can get some pretty sweet deals and your budget is nice. I play an old A style Flatiron with F holes that I like a lot. Of the other brands mentioned, I disagree only with the Kentucky brand; I've never played one that didn't disappoint.

Jul 26, 2020 - 9:23:44 AM

eddorci

USA

23 posts since 2/21/2020

Check out the Mandolin Store in Az.

Jul 30, 2020 - 8:05:41 AM

robcarr

USA

3 posts since 7/13/2020

I might use some of these recommendations myself! It's nice to find this thread.

Jul 30, 2020 - 8:27:04 AM

5 posts since 7/23/2020

quote:
Originally posted by LukeF

Bobby: Have you decided if you want an F style or A style mandolin? Do you want "F" soundhole or an oval soundhole? What style of music do you want to play: bluegrass, celtic, or other? As a general rule of thumb but not hard and fast rule, the F style is geared towards bluegrass sound. The A style is used for celtic, middle eastern music.

As a fiddler, you'll find that mandolin will come easy for you because the finger positions are the same.


Thanks for the tips, I am looking for an F style because I am a bluegrass musician.

Jul 30, 2020 - 8:28:13 AM

5 posts since 7/23/2020

quote:
Originally posted by ChinnRest

Bobby, you've got a great budget so make the most of it. Luke is incorrect on the use of A-style instruments, you can definitely use an A-style for any style music (I and many others play an A style for bluegrass for example). But you probably already knew that.

Some great brands mentioned above. Collings, Weber are both wonderful. Northfield is also making some wonderful instruments right now.

I think the most important thing to me if I were in your shoes would be to play the instrument and several others before buying.

I'm not sure how far you are from Nashville, but if I had that budget, I'd call Carter's in Nashville and see if I could make an appointment (I know they are not open for walk-in's as of last weekend) to go and check out what they have on hand. Last time I visited, their selection was unbeatable. I'd consider the cost of the visit 'part of the investment.'


Thank you everyone for the information!!

Aug 14, 2020 - 3:41:43 PM

5 posts since 7/23/2020

Is anyone familiar with the Eastman MD315 F-Style?

Aug 14, 2020 - 3:48:11 PM

5 posts since 7/23/2020

What would you all rate the value of a 2012 Weber Gallatin Special Editions F-Style?

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