Looking for New Mandolin

Looking for New Mandolin

Since selling by Blue Moon BM 05 mandolin Yesterday Wednesday 19 April 2017 I am on the look out for a new Mandolin.

Price range £200 - £500 GBP

First I prefer the A Style Teardrop Style with round oval hole body look.

Natural Matt or Natural Gloss Finish or Sunburst finish.

What wood for top Spruce or Ceder
What wood for back and sides Mahogany or Maple
What wood for fingerboard Ebony or Rosewood
What wood for Neck Mahogany or Maple

Local Music Shops near me in Belfast Northern Ireland

http://www.dawsons.co.uk/guitars/mandol … rder=price
https://matchettsmusic.com/collections/ … -ascending

Music Shops in UK I have used before

http://www.eaglemusicshop.com/cat/mando … tegory_id-
Premium Workshop Set-up at Eagle http://www.eaglemusicshop.com/content/f … -setup.htm




Re: Looking for New Mandolin

I think neck and fingerboard are more about cosmetics but perhaps not. Personally I liked a mandolin with rosewood back and sides with Mahogany top although I think spruce is more popular and that bit louder/brighter. Minimal matte finish but I treat it with feed and wax every time I change strings.
Not sure what the exchange rate on pounds to dollar is like these days but I got mine here http://www.bigmuddymandolin.com/store/

Re: Looking for New Mandolin

Matt or gloss? Matt is useful if you work under stage lights or get your photo taken a lot. But I don’t think it looks pretty, and after a while it develops shin patches where your hand touch, which look tatty and are hard to deal with. Sunbursts are the manufacturers’ get out clause for defective instruments. When I meet a woman wearing strong perfume I don’t think ‘Mmm lovely lavender’ I think ‘I wonder what awful bodily stench she’ trying to cover up?’ When I see a sunburst I think ‘I wonder what that’s hiding?’

Soundboards. For the vast majority of people spruce would be the sensible choice, but for some quiet players cedar might be a better option. If you go for cedar make sure you’ve got a good pick guard.

Choice of wood for back and sides does make a difference to the sound, but not nearly as much as most people believe. It’s usually budget that dictates the timber:

Price: Rosewood (dearest) Maple (medium) Mahogany (cheapest)
Prettiness: Rosewood (prettiest) Maple (medium) Mahogany (plainest)
Sound Rosewood (brightest) Maple (medium) Mahogany(dullest)

Ebony fingerboards last longer than rosewood and are easier to keep clean and good looking, but they are heavier and more expensive.

Neck timber isn’t important in itself, but it does make a difference to how the instrument balances in your hands - a light bodied instrument would be best with a light mahogany neck, but a heavier bodied instrument might be better with a heavier maple or ash neck, so don’t worry about what wood, just think about how it feels in your hands.

Re: Looking for New Mandolin

I think I would have a shopping list which stressed the sound and feel more than the appearance. You want the action not too high and the right string spacing for you and the right balance of loudness to sweetness. If you go out looking for particular woods you will be asking to spend a lot more money without necessarily getting the sound you want. You’d be best to get out and try some instruments.

The mandolins I look at when I want to dream are the Oakwoods at http://www.oakwoodinstruments.co.uk/four/range.htm but even the teardrop is £100 over your price range and of course what I really want is a Carved Top and they are miles out of your price range - and mine!

Re: Looking for New Mandolin

Of the links to the shops you posted the only thing I would go for in your price range would be the Eastman MD304 over at Eagle Music - they have it listed at £529. The Eastman would have maple sides, back and neck with a spruce top, rosewood fingerboard. It would be a big step up from your former mandolin.

Re: Looking for New Mandolin

I don’t know their availability in the UK, but I love my breedlove crossover mandolin. A slightly more "guitarish" feel (that was their intention I think), but it sounds very nice in a session to my ears, and I love the radiused fingerboard. It carries well, with a somewhat deeper voice than the classic mandolin sound. Definitely more sustain too, which can be a boon or a burden.

Good luck with whatever you get. As always, trying before you buy is always preferable.

Re: Looking for New Mandolin

I would second Gallopede’s recommendation of Oakwood instruments. Personally, I like flat-top mandolins and, if your budget will stretch to it, one of Oakwood’s basic models would be a good choice for that type of mandolin. Paul Hathway also does a nice plain model at around the same price.

For a carved top, I agree with triplet upstairs that the Eastman is excellent value for money.

Re: Looking for New Mandolin

There is a nice Mark Mawby mandolin on ebay for £575 ono. Mark’s instruments are very nice sounding and a very nice guy.

Re: Looking for New Mandolin

I highly recommend Davy Stuart mandolins. Have a great sound. Well made. And, Davy is great to work with. Depending on the exchange rate, it may be in your range. I’ve had mine for nearly 5 years now. Always getting complements on how well the instrument looks and sounds.


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Re: Looking for New Mandolin

The KM-172 isn’t a bad choice, but if I had to go for it or the Eastman I’d spend the few extra quid on the Eastman. I think the Eastman sounds better, having played both. I also prefer the neck profile on the Eastman (the KM-172 neck is a bit chunky in comparison). If your preference is for a chunkier feeling neck then the Kentucky may be the better option for you though. With either mandolin, as long as they come with a good set up they’ll be grand. I’ve played pricey mandolins that were horrible feeling to play due to being in desperate need of a set up, and I’ve played budget mandolins that played with ease because they had been set up well.

Re: Looking for New Mandolin

Not sure if it would fit your price range but there’s no better mandolin or zouk made than Dave Shapiro’s, Doolin, County Clare.

Re: Looking for New Mandolin

I agree with previous posters that the Eastman is the pick of the bunch.

Im a regular visitor to Hobgoblin in Birmingham and have played alot of Kentucky mandolins. I have owned a KM 150 from their budget range and also a KM1000 from their master model range. I found the KM 172 very unimpressive instrument.

Ive also played a fair share of Eastman mandolins. They tend to be a lighter, more refined build but tone can vary from instrument to instrument. Ive played 1 md304 and found it thin sounding (eastman instruments tend not to have alot of low end) but Ive also played an md305 with superb tone that was amazing value for the price. (Number 4 means oval hole and number 5 means f hole. As in gibsons designations of A4 or A5)
Moloneys in Galway have a nice range of instruments. He posts anywhere and prices are in Euro.


Re: Looking for New Mandolin

You might have a specification in your head; but what do you do when you pick up THAT mandolin, and then you go "Yuck !" ?
You can over think these things.
Just look at, and try, every instrument you can.
And try to stretch your budget. Once you’ve reached a certain technical proficiency it’s worthwhile getting the best instrument your money will buy.