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Thread: Peavey Composer Series

  1. #1

    Default Peavey Composer Series

    I like the modernistic design. Haven't heard much about the maker though. Are they any good (compared with mandos in a similar price range?) Also, what's going on with those tuners? They look like eight individual machines attached to some sort of removable plate.

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  2. #2

    Default Re: Peavey Composer Series

    Peavey has been making electric guitar/bass/keyboard amps for many years. They used to be based out of Mississippi -- these days I don't know where they're from. Hartley Peavey started the company way back in the 1970s I believe. They branched out from amplifiers into instruments but I'm not sure if they ever made their own instruments or simply imported them. The tuning machines look like guitar tuning machines mounted onto a plate which was then attached to the back of the headstock. They have guitars in the composer series as well as this mandolin, all of which feature the same oddly shaped sound hole. Looking at the Peavey web-site, they don't list mandolins any more that I could see, but they have guitars, basses, some percussion, and ukeleles. At the prices they show for their acoustic guitars and ukeleles, they have to be Chinese imports, in my opinion.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Peavey Composer Series

    I figured it was something cheap at that price ($179.) I like the overall shape but with those weird tuners, it would be problematic to switch them out for better standard ones. I'd switch out the tailpiece too ... clearly generic, and it doesn't fit with the design. I'd put in an Allen AR-2 or the new James shell design.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Peavey Composer Series

    What's with the access panel the tuners seem to be mounted on, back of headstock ?

  5. #5

    Default Re: Peavey Composer Series

    Dunno. But I see why they're using individual tuners ... the shape of the headstock won't allow for four in a line style. It gets wider towards the body. So maybe they had them assembled as a separate unit to the plate then stuck onto the headstock.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Peavey Composer Series

    I don't have any experience with this particular mandolin, but the Peavey philosophy has always been, "more bang for your buck". And reliability, concerning their amplifiers.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Peavey Composer Series

    Peavey made very dependable if not thrilling amplifiers for years. I have owned three and still have one. There American made electric guitars and basses were very good value. Their lower priced instruments are now made in the PacRim. I don't know the quality. Peavey's strenght has always been in reliability for a good price, overbuilding in some cases to achieve that goal. This is great in amps and can be in electric instruments; not so much for acoustic ones though.

  8. #8
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Peavey Composer Series

    Earlier thread on the same topic.
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  9. #9
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    Default Re: Peavey Composer Series

    Similar style (and price) to the old Framus mandolins. Looks like it could be a fun campfire mandolin. Expect to spend money on a set up!

    Jamie
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  10. #10
    Registered User Ron Cox's Avatar
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    Default Re: Peavey Composer Series

    Resurrecting this thread, has anyone here actually picked one up and played it? I like the design, and it would make a decent beater, not to mention if the kids get hold of it.

    Saw one on ebay for $149 and have some paypal funds. I can do a good setup (I think).

  11. #11
    Moderator JEStanek's Avatar
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    Default Re: Peavey Composer Series

    This place sells it for $129.

    Jamie
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  12. #12
    Registered User Ron Cox's Avatar
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    Default Re: Peavey Composer Series

    I see the with case, but unknown case, and shipping was $35. Granted, it's probably been set up already as well but the "new" one from Lighthouse was $149 including shipping and what looks like a travelite style case.

    I always liked the looks of it, but I also liked (note the past tense) the Vietnamese inlay mandolin, I even bought one.

    I pulled the trigger and bought the Peavey. I'll let you know how it is. I also treated myself to an Ashton Bailey tailpiece. I may put that on the Peavey (don't like the stock) and worse comes to worse, I'll put it on my Eastman. Either way, merry Christmas to me.

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  14. #13

    Default Re: Peavey Composer Series

    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Cox View Post
    Resurrecting this thread, has anyone here actually picked one up and played it? I like the design, and it would make a decent beater, not to mention if the kids get hold of it.

    Saw one on ebay for $149 and have some paypal funds. I can do a good setup (I think).
    I fondled one at the NAMM show a few years back. Was okay - pretty hard to hear anything with a bunch of heavy-metal thrashing going on in the booth though. IIRC it's a laminate build with accompanying weak sound. I did like the looks of it though. Peavey had it stuck in a wall rack with a bunch of electric guitars - which spoke volumes to their general lack of interest in it IMHO.
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  15. #14
    Registered User Ron Cox's Avatar
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    Default Re: Peavey Composer Series

    Box came in today (surprisingly fast shipping, thanks Lighthouse). Well packed and the travelite knock off case is only about two steps up from a gig bag, maybe three. It said peavey and i got my hopes up that it was shaped for the mando, but no. It was shaped for an f style and the peavey was jammed in. The case will need to be modded for a fit that doesnt stress the mando out.

    Was very surprised at the mando. Bridge was perfectly fit though the bass side was wound out making it much higher than the treble side. It was pre slotted and except for tweaking the intonation a bit, there was very little to set up. Tuning was a bit of a pain as the tuning buttons are huge, and even with my smaller fingers I seem to bump into them. They are individual tuners and smooth as silk, even at tension. Stock strings are of unknown pedigree and of the light variety. Not sure whether or not mediums would be a good idea or not yet.

    Finish is quite pretty. Lots of attention to detail. Binding is actually quite stunning and the finish does not appear too thick. My copy had one little spot in the binding in the back. I really mean a spot, a silver dot in the binding. Aside from a small area with some sticky residue on the back, i couldn't find a scratch anywhere.

    Playability: Granted there are light gauge strings, but I found it very easy to play and not displeasing to my ear. It is louder than my Eastman and nicer sounding than my Washburn. I prefer a more mellow tone like my oval holed mandolins but this certainly was fun to play. This may become the mandolin that i bring to work with me. It has some unique looks to it that would turn heads and it wouldn't be the end of the world if it got stolen or lost, though they may become hard to find eventually. I'd actually recommend it to a new player or student with very limited funds due to it's really easy playability and overall value for the money. It's much better than a rogue but not quite a Kentucky.

    A word about the tailpiece: serviceable and decent quality, not your standard Chinese made. Design doesn't fit the look, an Ashton would be a little pricey so i might look for a quality cloud style.

    Tone: not bad, but not a Gibson. The A and E strings almost sound like an electric guitar to me when I pick, but can't hear it when I strum. My Washburn is the same. Lots of people who hear me, say it (Washburn) sounds great. It's not my favorite sound for a mandolin to make, but it isnt hideous. The peavey is much better. If I were a better player I'd know how to get the most out of either.

    I may do a clip of each as soon as I get over my camera shyness.

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  17. #15

    Default Re: Peavey Composer Series

    You've re-piqued my interest. Things have changed a bit for me financially/instrumentally since I made the OP way back in Sept. I might still go for one of these. Good point on the tailpiece. Funny, when Gibson first came out with them they were the only game in town (besides bowlback cloud-styles), nowadays they look sort of plain. Definitely looks out of place on this style of mando.

  18. #16
    Registered User Ron Cox's Avatar
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    Default Re: Peavey Composer Series

    Up close, the tailpiece isn't bad. Finding a cloud tailpiece with a holenfor a strap button, that's bad.

    I have found one and only one so far. 14.95 isnt a lot, but it's stamped and chrome plated. Not even nickel. Probably end up leaving it alone, unless Ashton Bailey starts giving away tailpieces.

    It is screaming for a new set of strings, any ideas? Stock ones may have been on there awhile and I'm not well versed enough in strings to make an informed decision.

    In my bag at this time are GHS 250s, and MD 11s. Also some Markley light gauge for my flat top Kentucky.

  19. #17

    Default Re: Peavey Composer Series

    An Allen AR-2 would look perfect, if you're willing to spend a hundred bucks (almost the cost of the mando!) But you might get the investment back on resale since it certainly adds value.

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  20. #18
    Registered User Ron Cox's Avatar
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    Default Re: Peavey Composer Series

    Got an Ashton Bailey TP, but it came in in Gold instead of Silver. $45 total, but I'd be out return shipping and paying for shipping the right color back. May just get a silver and resell the Gold one here or back on Ebay. Not as good looking as the Allen, but quite nice.

  21. #19
    Registered User Ron Cox's Avatar
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    Default Re: Peavey Composer Series

    Well the continuing saga of the Peavey.

    Didn't like that tailpiece from the get go, so I ordered an Ashton Bailey off of Ebay. The price was good enough and the looks were spot on. Problem was the color. Apparently my seller was in actuality Instrument Alley. They sat on my order for a few days before shipping it first class mail. Then when it finally arrived, it was gold, not silver. Dropped them an email, they respond with " the listing was for a gold colored" Ashton Bailey TP. The picture was of a Silver one. Should have really read it. Can return it, but they will refund all but original shipping and handling, even though it had free shipping included. Add that to my shipping it back and I'm out $10+ dollars on a $40 tailpiece.

    I ordered the Silver and kept the Gold for a future project (or may let it go to a cafe member).

    I finally got to install the Silver the other night. Loosened all the strings up as much as they would go, but forgot to mark the back of my bridge (which was fitting perfectly I might add). Had put some tape on the strings to keep them together (I don't think I'll ever do that again) so I could reuse the stock strings. Bridge then fell off and went in two directions. Popped the top of the stamped tailpiece only to find that whoever strung it up didn't thread it right.

    Moving on, I remove the old TP, and try to line up the holes. Old TP was put on perfectly straight and not a check or blemish under it. New TP holes don't match the original screw pattern (narrower) and the strap-button screw and bottom screw line up but leave the TP high on the end of the Mandolin. So I take an awl and mark three new holes for the TP and then drill a hole for the strap button. The two top holes are almost not noticeable so I choose not to fill them at this time (unstained dowel rods would show up against the black finish). Done! or so I thought.

    I tried to push the loops thru the little holes, no go. Pulled the tape off of the strings (wrong tape, now sticky strings) to try to thread the holes from the tail end up, but the kink in the end is driving me crazy, so 15 minutes later, I got one E string thru and low and behold, it's too short to hold on. I remove all the strings and grab a set of Markley lights that I had around for my Flat-top. I don't know what gauge strings were on the Peavey to begin with, but can't go wrong with lights, right?

    Got the saddle right for the bridge, but can't tell which way is top (neck) or bottom (tail) and after putting it right were my marks are start to tune up. Did G (outer) and E outer and set intonation (couldn't remember if it's tenth or twelth fret, run upstairs for my tablet with the PDF on it).

    Now I'm strung up, bringing it up slowly and going back and forth with tuning. Intonation is still off, why I don't know yet but keep moving on. She sounds like an electric guitar, don't like it. I notice the bridge is not making the awesome contact with the top that it had before. I de-tune it and flip the bridge around, but saddle is correct. Tune the whole thing back up and intonation is still a little off.

    So, the Peavey was actually pretty awesome before I messed with it. Bridge is still not making awesome contact like it was and the sound has gotten really thin, almost reedy. I was all about going back to the original tailpiece when it dawned on me that the original strings may be medium gauge. The new tailpiece does have the higher mass and the strings fit in differently, but I don't think that would mess with intonation or the bridge fitting. Nope, my guess it the lighter gauge strings.

    Chime in if you have some other ideas, but I'm going with that first.

    PS, yes, I know that it's a peavey, and I shouldn't expect the world.

  22. #20

    Default Re: Peavey Composer Series

    Most everything I own has intonation issues after I mess around with it. I can never seem to get it back the way it was. I'm loving my new Breedlove Crossover. I got an electric Fender (semi-solidbody); its fine but definitely has that electric guitar sound.

    I bought an Ashton Bailey gold for another project; seems like a good solid item, but I haven't tried to string it up yet. It's a little too bright gold for the mando; I'm going to get some antiquing fluid (that acid or whatever it is) to dim it down a bit. I wouldn't worry about having an extra tailpiece around; you can never have enough extra fittings for future projects.

    The bridge footing might need to be sanded to the curvature of the top. Lay a sheet of sandpaper closely fitting to the top of the unstrung instrument where the bridge will go; find a way to lightly adhere it so it doesn't slip but won't mark up the top. The grit should be facing UP away from the instrument! Then run the new bridge back and forth over it carefully in a linear direction (head-tail, not side to side) until its footings are conformed to the shape of the instrument top. If the footings don't connect well, the string resonance won't be transmitted to the top well and you'll lose resonance.

    I don't think I'll be getting a Peavey for a while, since I just ordered another Fender emando (the Robert Schmidt hollowbody) in addition to the semi-solid body I got a couple of weeks ago! It was about half retail price ($279 vs. $549) so I couldn't resist.

  23. #21
    Registered User Ron Cox's Avatar
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    Default Re: Peavey Composer Series

    I ended up changing from Markley Light gauge to DR-MD11s and it made such a difference! The bridge settled back down and I didn't have to sand it at all, though I most likely will though it isn't the greatest bridge in the world (rosewood). I did have a huge problem with one of my E strings. I would bring it up to pitch and it would mysteriously start going flat. At one point I would tune it and while I was tuning it, It would flat out on me. Kept going anyhow and then it popped. Not from the nut, or post, but the loop end came undone.

    Was out of like strings, so I created my own loop (seems to be holding for now) and brought it back up. It flatted out two more times, then settled. Hasn't come out of tune yet.

    This brings up a question about gauge of strings, not brand, so if I need to start a new thread I will. I have noticed that lots of folks here recommend light gauge strings for old bowl-backs. I have always used light gauge on my old flat top (Kentucky KM100s) and put some (since I had bunches) on this Washburn that I never really fell in love with. It always seemed tinny to me. Granted, it never really got set up, wasn't as playable as my Kentucky and it sat for awhile. I changed the strings over to what I was used to after it had been sitting and I ended up hanging it up on the wall. I'd sell it, but my brother bought it for me for Christmas years ago, and wants to see me play it when we get together.

    I have two arch (carved) top mandolins, my flat top and the Peavey. I don't know that the Peavey could be considered a Carved/Arch top. The top looks almost flat to me, but I will not digress onto that.

    My question is, is there a recommended gauge of strings for certain forms of mandolins ie., should flat tops be relegated to light strings, and carved tops get mostly medium (with respect to age and fragility of the instrument). Could my 25 year old flat top, handle moving up to medium strings? This isn't about tone, but about harming the instrument in the long run. I will be "upgrading" the strings on the Washburn soon (as well as tailpiece, since I have an extra Ashton Bailey that matches), just as soon as my new supply of strings shows up. I'm down to one set that I keep with my Eastman so I don't want to steal that for the Washburn.

    chime in, and if this discussion needs to go into another category, let me know. I'm really loving this Peavey, bad case and all.

  24. #22
    My Florida is scooped pheffernan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Peavey Composer Series

    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Cox View Post
    My question is, is there a recommended gauge of strings for certain forms of mandolins ie., should flat tops be relegated to light strings, and carved tops get mostly medium (with respect to age and fragility of the instrument). Could my 25 year old flat top, handle moving up to medium strings? This isn't about tone, but about harming the instrument in the long run.
    There are recommended gauges, but they aren't universal by type. For instance, I have owned four flattops. The recommended gauges posted on the neck block of my Flatiron line up very nicely with GHS A250's. Now, Mid-Missouri mandolins shipped I'm told with GHS A260's (PF250's), more of a medium light. My Redline Traveler came with D'Addario J73's installed, lighter than J74's, and my Gypsy currently wears D'Addario EJ70's. I'm not sure what benefits I'd derive, or what risks I'd incur, by stepping up to mediums.
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    Registered User atbuckner21's Avatar
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    Default Re: Peavey Composer Series

    You should put a video or recording of the mando up
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  27. #24

    Default Re: Peavey Composer Series

    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Cox View Post
    At one point I would tune it and while I was tuning it, It would flat out on me. Kept going anyhow and then it popped. Not from the nut, or post, but the loop end came undone.

    Was out of like strings, so I created my own loop (seems to be holding for now) and brought it back up. It flatted out two more times, then settled. Hasn't come out of tune yet.
    This is not uncommon and one of the reasons road guitar tech's will routinely solder the string windings [as well as clean the strings with alcohol to remove chemicals and residue] before putting them on an instrument.
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  28. #25
    Registered User Ron Cox's Avatar
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    Default Re: Peavey Composer Series

    Haven't been brave enough to video myself yet, but I think soon, even if it's just for me. Wish I had made some recordings of when I first started out (or even just started over) to gauge where I am now.

    Kind of bummed, want to change strings on the Washburn but broke an E on the Eastman the other night and no longer have a full set. Funny, been playing the Peavey more than my Eastman. It's rather friendly to play.

    I do worry every time I have to tweak that second E string.

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