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Thread: Suggestions for the Solution of Limited Options Problem

  1. #1

    Default Suggestions for the Solution of Limited Options Problem

    Hi all,
    This is my first ever post, although I've been kind of a long-time forum follower. My apologies in advance, if this is supposed to be under some other theme.

    After spending 20 years on various guitars, I am willing to get a mandolin. The problem is that the options are very limited in where I live, Turkey. Usually, there is bunch of low-end laminated products from brands such as Valencia, Cort, Extreme, Segovia, Ortega, Smoky Mountains etc. There is also some options available in Ibanez.

    It's going to be my first mandolin, I am not a quitter, so I know that I will put some effort to advance. I do not want to end up with something absolute bottom of line..

    So my questions are:
    1) What do you do to reach a wider array of other options, especially if you live in a place where options are limited?

    2) I know I can probably find a hundred different answers to this one in the forum. But does anyone have a suggestion among these rather low-end brands?

    Thanks all.

  2. #2
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Suggestions for the Solution of Limited Options Problem

    I have had great good luck with the Mandolin Cafe Classifieds. Lots of great options at every price, and among the safest transactions on the internet. I am not sure how it would work internationally, but you can correspond directly with the seller and work things out I assume.
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  4. #3

    Default Re: Suggestions for the Solution of Limited Options Problem

    If you can find a bluegrass jam or festival, there will be plenty around.

    I picked up my first mando at a pawn shop. It was a Kay and I paid $50.00.

    Knowing what I know now, I would look at a Big Muddy. American made and solid woods.

  5. #4
    Pittsburgh Bill
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    Default Re: Suggestions for the Solution of Limited Options Problem

    Watch the Cafe Classifieds for a mandolin listed for sale located in the EU. I believe this would make your transaction less complicated. Mandolins do pop up in the classifieds located in most of Europe. I have played a handful of Czech built mandolins and all that I have played were quite desirable.
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    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Suggestions for the Solution of Limited Options Problem

    My Fancy F5 type was made by Czech Jiri Lebeda in Prague (US Representative ) http://www.mandolins.net/lebeda/lebedamandolins.html
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    Registered User Jill McAuley's Avatar
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    Default Re: Suggestions for the Solution of Limited Options Problem

    What's your budget? You'll probably get more relevant recommendations if folks know how much you want to spend on a mandolin.
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  9. #7
    Adrian Minarovic
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    Default Re: Suggestions for the Solution of Limited Options Problem

    I believe Kentucky KM-150 (correct me if I'm wrong) has been suggested as very good starter mandolin for good money and likely it will be available through many online retailers (possibly in Turkey as well) as it is made in China.
    Adrian

  10. #8

    Default Re: Suggestions for the Solution of Limited Options Problem

    Thanks all, these are all really helpful.

    "What's your budget? You'll probably get more relevant recommendations if folks know how much you want to spend on a mandolin."

    Well, I guess I can spend an amount around $500. The problem is that options are really limited here, many dealers think that there is not an active market with the sufficient amount of demand for mandos. So, they do not bother to import more options. When you shop internationally, they impose ridiculously high customs tax, which almost doubles the original price.

    Kentucky options are unfortunately not available here. Being stuck in the country due to the pandemic, I am limited with the market in Turkey.

  11. #9
    My Florida is scooped pheffernan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Suggestions for the Solution of Limited Options Problem

    Quote Originally Posted by Pittsburgh Bill View Post
    Watch the Cafe Classifieds for a mandolin listed for sale located in the EU. I believe this would make your transaction less complicated. Mandolins do pop up in the classifieds located in most of Europe.
    I would second this advice. You can search the classifieds using “€” or “EU” and pick through the listings. The best option currently available in your price range is this one in Poland:

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/ads/162848#162848
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  12. #10

    Default Re: Suggestions for the Solution of Limited Options Problem

    Thank you all for the suggestions. Unfortunately, Turkey is not in the EU zone... So, in-EU options are also out for now, until the borders are re-open for regular travels.

    I stopped by the local stores the other day. They have a few models of Ibanez, all laminated. It did sound okay, but knowing that solid-top options are available for almost same price, I didn't end up buying one.

    I guess I will wait at least until I can travel somewhere with more options. It's really weird, by the way, that Turkey, as quite a big and active market for instrument sellers, is quite short of options in mandolin. There are even some state of the art banjos, I even saw a hurdy-gurdy. But only low-end mandos.

  13. #11
    The Amateur Mandolinist Mark Gunter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Suggestions for the Solution of Limited Options Problem

    My first new mandolin was a pressed plywood top Ibanez. I learned a lot on it, but I think it would be better to start with a solid top instrument at the very least. I applaud your decision to wait! Given your limited choices there in Turkey, you should try hard to find a way to try several in person before buying - if possible.
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  15. #12

    Default Re: Suggestions for the Solution of Limited Options Problem

    Yeah Mark, thanks a lot.

    The situation with international travels does not get any better given the circumstances created by virus mutation. So, I guess I need to wait more than anticipated in the first place. I tried an Ibanez the other day, it does not sound awful. Still, I could not connect with the instrument. It felt too mechanic to be honest. So, it is not just how it treats my ear and fingers, but also I did not feel like I am holding something that is joining to the family.

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    Default Re: Suggestions for the Solution of Limited Options Problem

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffD View Post
    I have had great good luck with the Mandolin Cafe Classifieds. Lots of great options at every price, and among the safest transactions on the internet. I am not sure how it would work internationally, but you can correspond directly with the seller and work things out I assume.
    Agree with JeffD !
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  17. #14
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Suggestions for the Solution of Limited Options Problem

    Googling around, I found a bunch of music stores in Kayseri, many of which seem to stock acoustic guitars. I also notice that Eastman instruments now seem to be widespread in Europe, although the Eastman dealer locator didn't find a certified dealer in Turkey.

    Might be worth checking with one of the more customer-friendly music dealers, to see if they could order something like an MD305, which could fit into your price preference. One of those would likely be a quantum improvement over the Ibanez.
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    Registered User Nick Gellie's Avatar
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    Default Re: Suggestions for the Solution of Limited Options Problem

    I agree about the MD505. What are the import duties and charges like in Turkey?
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    Default Re: Suggestions for the Solution of Limited Options Problem

    The two best starter mandolins out there are the Kentucky KM-150 and the Eastman 305.

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