• Weber Announces Pause in Mandolin Manufacturing

    Weber MandolinsBEND, OR. — Two Old Hippies President and CEO Tom Bedell has announced a temporary transition of the Weber mandolin luthier team to the guitar side of the company's manufacturing operations effective with the completion of instruments already in production.

    As those instruments are completed and shipped, the team, previously dedicated solely to Weber Mandolins, will temporarily transition to the guitar side of the Two Old Hippes brands, housed in the same facility.

    Bedell told us, "Like other stringed instrument companies, demand has skyrocketed during the pandemic. Thankfully, when our lives are turned upside down, millions of Americans turn to music making and especially acoustic stringed instruments. We are currently completely sold out with Breedlove and Bedell Guitars and Weber Mandolins. We anxiously want to serve our dealers and are doing everything we can to get them the instruments they are selling. And, if people want to learn to play, we want to get them the instrument they would like while the interest and motivation are peaked.

    "Since we can only build one mandolin for every four guitars we craft, we have decided to focus on guitars for the next year. This will help us get more instruments to more dealers and players. We have contacted all of our Weber dealers and they are aware of the situation and, in cases where they also sell our Bedell & Breedlove guitars, we have found agreement and support.

    "We sold more Weber Mandolins in the past year than ever and had already halted 2021 orders some time back, unprecedented for us this early in the year. We're committed to re-evaluating where we're at on an a monthly basis. Once we're confident our guitar retailers are receiving the inventory they need we'll transition our mandolin team back to the Weber brand."

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    Comments 24 Comments
    1. CES's Avatar
      CES -
      Well, poop emoji, though I get it.
    1. MikeEdgerton's Avatar
      MikeEdgerton -
      Wow
    1. A-board's Avatar
      A-board -
      Looks like a great opportunity for private sellers of Weber mandos. Guessing pre-owned prices will be elevated through the coming months.
    1. Eric Platt's Avatar
      Eric Platt -
      I'm surprised. But maybe I shouldn't be.
    1. MikeEdgerton's Avatar
      MikeEdgerton -
      Quote Originally Posted by A-board View Post
      Looks like a great opportunity for private sellers of Weber mandos. Guessing pre-owned prices will be elevated through the coming months.
      I would be real surprised if that happened on a larger scale. They are well made mandolins so I expect them to act like the rest of the used market. The question is what happens to the brand in the future?
    1. Chuck Leyda's Avatar
      Chuck Leyda -
      Just speculating but I wouldn't be surprised if Weber returns as an upgrade to their Crossover mandolin. Designed in Bend and produced offshore. There may be a market for a 1k type of carved top. They would compete with Eastmann. They already have the facilities that produce the Crossover.
    1. lflngpicker's Avatar
      lflngpicker -
      Love my Weber and hope they can bring production back at the end of a short year.
    1. multidon's Avatar
      multidon -
      Right from the very beginning, when it was announced that Two Old Hippies was “merging” with Weber, I said that this was the beginning of the end for Weber mandolins. They actually called it a “merger” at the time, but it was nothing of the sort. It was a takeover. Just like what happened to Breedlove mandolins. Tom Bedell does not like USA made mandolins because they are too labor intensive. He said as much in his comments above. Four guitars for every one mandolin! How inefficient is that? He’d rather off-shore the mandolins if he’s going to offer them at all. I’ll bet the same thing happens to the Weber brand. After the takeover, the first nail in the coffin was the elimination of many models. The second nail was the elimination of customized options in the lower priced models. One of the cool things about the old Weber was that you could order a lower priced model like a Bitterroot, pay extra for options, and end up with an instrument that had many of the features of the higher priced models at a savings. No more. Now this is the third nail in the coffin. Does anyone really believe that this move is “temporary”? I’ll bet those Weber guys are just so happy that they learned the fine art of carving and graduating so that they can work on a flat-top guitar assembly line.
    1. Peter Barnett's Avatar
      Peter Barnett -
      Who knows, maybe Weber will become a Bruce Weber instrument again.
    1. ajh's Avatar
      ajh -
      Quote Originally Posted by multidon View Post
      Right from the very beginning, when it was announced that Two Old Hippies was “merging” with Weber, I said that this was the beginning of the end for Weber mandolins. They actually called it a “merger” at the time, but it was nothing of the sort. It was a takeover. Just like what happened to Breedlove mandolins. Tom Bedell does not like USA made mandolins because they are too labor intensive. He said as much in his comments above. Four guitars for every one mandolin! How inefficient is that? He’d rather off-shore the mandolins if he’s going to offer them at all. I’ll bet the same thing happens to the Weber brand. After the takeover, the first nail in the coffin was the elimination of many models. The second nail was the elimination of customized options in the lower priced models. One of the cool things about the old Weber was that you could order a lower priced model like a Bitterroot, pay extra for options, and end up with an instrument that had many of the features of the higher priced models at a savings. No more. Now this is the third nail in the coffin. Does anyone really believe that this move is “temporary”? I’ll bet those Weber guys are just so happy that they learned the fine art of carving and graduating so that they can work on a flat-top guitar assembly line.
      While I don't have a horse in this race and really do not care...........I do find it interesting that while they claim to want to cash in on guitar sales they are totally blowing off mandolin sales completely. Then "temporarily" moving the higher paid mando builders to building guitars while they could have hired entry level folks to take care of more of the base chores at the guitar shop. Temporarily for at least a year while the mando shop sits empty and not paying its overhead.
    1. MontanaMatt's Avatar
      MontanaMatt -
      Quote Originally Posted by Peter Barnett View Post
      Who knows, maybe Weber will become a Bruce Weber instrument again.
      Bruce is already building again, under his new Label, Montana Lutherie, https://www.montanalutherie.com
    1. AlanN's Avatar
      AlanN -
      Well, Bruce makes a dandy bridge. I've bought several now, each one fitted and installed by Skip K. on my mandolins.

      I wish all the best in these trying times.
    1. Peter Barnett's Avatar
      Peter Barnett -
      Interesting question: What happens to the limited lifetime guarantee? Maybe we just ran into the “limit”?
    1. Mandobar's Avatar
      Mandobar -
      Quote Originally Posted by Peter Barnett View Post
      Interesting question: What happens to the limited lifetime guarantee? Maybe we just ran into the “limit”?
      Depends on the definition of lifetime, and who's lifetime, state laws, etc.
    1. MikeEdgerton's Avatar
      MikeEdgerton -
      Quote Originally Posted by Peter Barnett View Post
      Interesting question: What happens to the limited lifetime guarantee? Maybe we just ran into the “limit”?
      Depends on when you bought it.

      The warranty:

      https://webermandolins.com/support/warranty

      The last big discussion of the subject:

      https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/t...Weber-warranty

      Bruce Weber weighed in here:

      https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/t...=1#post1686446

      Tom Bedell's previous statement was here:

      https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/t...=1#post1685601
    1. rcc56's Avatar
      rcc56 -
      Hmmm. It looks like Collings is now the only US manufacturer building mandolins in large numbers, since Gibson no longer builds more than a few.

      I wonder if Bill Collings ever guessed his company would be at the top of the heap when he first introduced mandolins back in 1999. I remember when they first came out. A student of mine was looking for a good instrument and Gruhn's had just gotten their first batch of Collings mandolins. They were good. It doesn't seem like it was that long ago.
    1. Frankdolin's Avatar
      Frankdolin -
      No surprise here.
    1. Mandolin Cafe's Avatar
      Mandolin Cafe -
      There was never a takeover of Breedlove or Weber by Two Old Hippies. This is a false narrative. Hostile takeovers are designed to use big money on top of big money to make a lot of money through force. We're talking building guitars and mandolins here, and in case this is news, hardly an industry you get into to wildly prosper. Breedlove and Weber were independently sold by agreement. Bruce addresses his sale of the company on his web site.

      There has never been a plan to move Weber's manufacturing overseas, another false narrative now dating back almost 10 years.

      The entire manufacturing industry is struggling and has been severely impacted by the panemic. This was never a financially viable industry to make a lot of money. But it has always done well enough and people that do this for a living do it because they love stringed musical instruments.

      During the pandemic it's known a number of guitar, mandolin, banjo companies downsized and let employees go, permanently. Two Old Hippies was not one of them. The business changes they've made over the years saw to that. Say what you want to about Tom Bedell, but he knows how to manage a business, and the continued employment of his people is a priority. The changes going on at TOH are happening right now in one shape or another to almost all companies with more than a few employees, only they aren't being announced. Collings will produce a fraction of mandolins in the next few years compared to the past.

      Guitars keep the lights on: at Weber, Collings, Gibson, Eastman and many, many others. And yes, a mandolin is quite more difficult to build than most guitars and the latter a better profit margin. Should go without saying I love mandolins as much as anyone, but at the end of the day, people need to eat, and they need employment. What Weber is doing here is little more than ensuring their continued success.
    1. Russ Jordan's Avatar
      Russ Jordan -
      well said, Scott.
    1. rcc56's Avatar
      rcc56 -
      Until recently, our largest US manufacturers were producing 100,000 instruments a year; mostly guitars. I always thought that production at that rate was unsustainable, especially with the rise in quality of imported instruments. Indeed, several manufacturers had already scaled back production a couple of years ago. The supply problems and work environment problems caused by the epidemic have merely served to hasten the inevitable.