Mandolin Advise Please…

Mandolin Advise Please…

Hi!

I’m looking to upgrade to a better mandolin, however i’m having trouble deciding. I’ve been thinking of one of the following:

Dave Shapiro http://www.banjo.ie/shop/Mandolins_15

Jimmy Moon http://www.moonguitars.co.uk/moonhome.html

Thomas Buchanan http://www.folkmandolin.co.uk/instruments/mandolin.htm

Fylde http://www.hobgoblin.com/local/bigpic.php?ID=FY3163

I’m left handed so will probably have to get one built to order, live in Dublin, looking at spending around 900 to 1100euro.

I realise that trying out as many mandolins as possible is the best approach but have found the shops in Dublin to have a poor selection, add to this the fact that i’m a South Paw make it hard to judge an instrument.

So i really just want opinions & thought on what you might choose & why.

Thanks!

What’s with all the mandolin stuff lately?!

Is it just me or is this forum getting a bit mandolin-y lately?

Re: Mandolin Advise Please…

And it’s funny, mandolin is the least common (of the generally considered Irish Trad instruments) seen at our local sessions (except harp I suppose).

Re: Mandolin Advise Please…

yhaalhouse, it’s not just you. I have also noted the improvement.

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Re: Mandolin Advise Please…

There is a nice Joe Foley mandola on donedeal.ie

Worht a look at, and I think its in Dublin too…

All the best,

Seanie

Re: Mandolin Advise Please…

That Joe Foley is nice, however it is out of my proce range, I’d also prefer a mandolin as opposed to a mandola.

Re: Mandolin Advise Please…

I’ve played a Fylde Touchstone and it was fine - nice and loud for session playing. It was an older one - I would hope the newer ones are as good. I also had an old Buchanan with a cedar top (gave it to my off-spring). This had a lovely tone and was also quite loud but didn’t have a truss rod so the neck was a bit bent. The ones he makes now have truss rods and are probably really nice. They have a fixed bridge, so you would have to have one made with the bridge compensation the other way round for left handed. I don’t know how much alteration would be made to the bracing. Of course if you got tempted to go down the banjo route, converting to left hand is much easier…

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I’ve played models by all the makers you listed, and briefly owned a Moon mandolin a few years back - of the lot I’d say I liked the Dave Shapiro one that I played the best, so I’d cast my vote for him, plus he’s in Ireland so you could potentially meet up with him to go over the specs that you’d like your new instrument to have.

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I have a Fylde Touchstone and it is very good for the price - at home it sounds really nice but perhaps fractionally thin. In a session you become aware that it does project extremely well with a well balanced tone: the sound from in front is better than when you are sitting behind it.

I t has a really well made neck and all their instruments are made to the same standard: the cheaper ones are less expensive wood and perhaps not quite as fancy (although they are all quite plain).

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Re: Mandolin Advise Please…

I wouldn’t bother with the mandolins that you’ve mentioned unless you’ll get them on ebay for half of your budget.
ok maybe for Moon I’d pay a few quid more.
if you’ve decided for A4 mandolin why won’t you get yourself a vintage gibson, even at the moment there’s one on ebay in your price range.
what you might do is check the http://www.theacousticmusicco.co.uk/ a lot of info on mandolins and quite a few to choose from.
also a good place to ask a question is mandolin cafe. folks over there are always very helpfull.
after reading the mandolin cafe I’ve made a decision what mandolin I want, and I’m more than happy with what I’ve bought.
bottom line, do a little bit of reserch and yeah, instruments in Ireland are way over priced - go to Waltons and you’ll have proof of that 😉

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Re: Mandolin Advise Please…

thanks for all the feedback folks. the problem with being a lefty is that it would be hard to find one on eBay. I kind of like the idea of getting a new one built anyway so I don’t think I’d go for a vintage Gibson, I also prefer an round or oval sound hole which a lot of Gibson don’t feature.

Any other thoughts or alternatives suggestions?

Re: Mandolin Advise Please…

being lefty is a small problem when it comes to string instruments. all needs to be done is change part of the bridge - or a whole one - and a nut cause you’ll be using the instrument upside down sort of speak.
in Dublin you can give that job to Joe Foley in Churchtown - though he’s usually very busy, Paul Doyle in Monastery Music in Clondalkin or Frank Tate - don’t remember his address, but he’s close to city centre on the north side.
and you can always try to do that yourself
get the parts online - stewmac for example
and copy the hight of the nut and just do the slots the other way around.

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Re: Mandolin Advise Please…

I don’t think mandolin bracing is always symmetrical so you can’t assume that it just involves turning the bridge and the nut round. I’ve got one where you can see the transverse top bracing is nearer to the bridge on the treble side.

Re: Mandolin Advise Please…

have to say i’d think i’d like to get a lefty built from scratch. definately would not be trying it myself.

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You could very possibly get a decent one built in your price range thinboy, so why don’t you start talking to a few makers?

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Re: Mandolin Advise Please…

i’ve seen 2 types of bars - call them what ever you want bracing, tone bars
first one X bracing where they make an X inside
second when the bars are glued not quite paralel but they are slanted
bars are tuned the same way - I don’t really see a point why mandolin could not be changed from playing right handed to left handed

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Re: Mandolin Advise Please…

Frank Tate is busy at the moment too, but it might be worth giving him a call and asking about the bracing, his website has his phone number on it:

www.franktateinstruments.com

Re: Mandolin Advise Please…

Don’t rush in, take your tie and try as many individual instruments as you can. Drop the preconceived ideas as this will limit your options, let your fingers and ears decide.

Tight lines

Re: Mandolin Advise Please…

"Don’t rush in, take your tie and try as many individual instruments as you can." me

Hommer moment, should of course read: Take your "Time"….

Re: Mandolin Advise Please…

Thanks for all the info folks! unfortunately I seem to be widening my choices instead of narrowing the selection with all the info I’ve picked up! any thoughts on any of the following mandolin make(r)s?

Jimmy Moon http://www.moonguitars.co.uk/moonhome.html

Thomas Buchanan http://www.folkmandolin.co.uk/instruments/mandolin.htm

Fylde http://www.hobgoblin.com/local/bigpic.php?ID=FY3163

Frank Tate http://www.franktateinstruments.com/

Paul Hathway http://www.paulhathway.com/

Dave Shapiro http://www.shapiroinstruments.com/

Brian Lofthouse http://www.mayococo.ie/en/Services/Heritage/CraftsRegister/Name,6768,en.aspx http://www.moloneymusic.com/product-listing.php?cat=2&sid=10&ssid=38&sssid=0#nav10MandolinBouzoukiFamily

Cheers! 😉

Re: Mandolin Advise Please…

I have a large-body Hathway mandolin and it’s very nice, loud, simple in construction, pleasing in tone. I bought it in Hobgoblin London where I tried out every mandolin they had, and chose that one in preference to a Fylde (which is what I was originally looking for).

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large body mandolin? interesting. how much larger is it than a standard mando?

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I’ll check the dimensions later and let you know.

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The Hathway body is 10.75" wide at the widest point and 2.5" deep (that’s inches). String length from nut to bridge 14.25"

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Cool thanks! I’m terrible, i just don’t think i’ll decide until i find out a lot more about these instruments! it’s a tough choice!

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Paul Hathway seems like a nice guy - you could give him a call and ask about a left-handed mandolin. His contact details are on his website, as indeed is a photo of him in his workshop: http://www.paulhathway.com/hirespics/workshop.jpg
You could call any of the makers listed and have a chat, seeing as you want one made to order. Good luck with your quest!

Re: Mandolin Advise Please…

I’ve started to contact the makers to find out more info. Thanks for everyones help.

I’m narrowing it down….slightly

New Zealand - Davy Stuart http://www.stuart.co.nz/pagex.asp?bioid=4239

Doolin - Dave Shapiro http://www.shapiroinstruments.com/

Dublin - Frank Tate http://www.franktateinstruments.com/

London - Paul Hathway http://www.paulhathway.com/

UK - Fylde http://www.fyldeguitars.com

Any more thoughts or experiences with these makers?

Re: Mandolin Advise Please…

Hathway is good - I have an octave mandola and a bouzouki of his - both excellent, nice tone and volume. The neck is perhaps a little deeper than some instruments but nothing you can’t get used to. Quite a plain look to his instruments, if that’s important. I bought the mandola from Hobgoblin and the second direct from Paul - he couldn’t have been more accommodating.