Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 50

Thread: Are travel mandolins worth it?

  1. #1
    Registered User poul hansen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2020
    Location
    Danmark
    Posts
    193

    Default Are travel mandolins worth it?

    I wonder if it is worth buying a travel mandolin, mostly for the car, considering that a normal mandolin isn't that big anyway.
    .
    Are they playable?
    Kentucky KM-805
    Hora M1086 Portuguese II
    Hora M1088 Mandola
    Hora M1087 Octave
    Dean Tennessee Acoustic-Electric
    Richmond RMA-110-VS
    Noname (German?) mandolin

  2. #2
    Registered User tree's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    northern Virginia
    Posts
    1,479

    Default Re: Are travel mandolins worth it?

    A mandolin IS a travel mandolin in my world. It's small enough to play inside a car, and fits in the overhead compartment of any flight I've ever been on.
    Clark Beavans

  3. The Following 7 Users Say Thank You to tree For This Useful Post:


  4. #3
    Registered User Mandolin Deep Cuts's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2020
    Location
    The District
    Posts
    16

    Default Re: Are travel mandolins worth it?

    Yeah, I’d just go to a shop to find a beater that stays in tune.

  5. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Mandolin Deep Cuts For This Useful Post:


  6. #4
    Orrig Onion HonketyHank's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Location
    Beaverton, OR, USA
    Posts
    1,572
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default Re: Are travel mandolins worth it?

    I was tempted with a Martin Backpacker a couple of years ago. I thought I needed it. Then I played it and, well, blah. And after I held it in my hands I realized that it was not going to make travel with a mandolin any easier. Or even backpacking, despite the name.

    I haven't tried Bruce Weber's Ranger or the old Weber Sweet Pea, but last I heard, Montana Lutherie was selling the heck out the Rangers. So there must be a market.
    New to mando? Click this link -->Newbies to join us at the Newbies Social Group.

    Just send an email to rob.meldrum@gmail.com with "mandolin setup" in the subject line and he will email you a copy of his ebook for free (free to all mandolincafe members).

    My website and blog: honketyhank.com

  7. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to HonketyHank For This Useful Post:


  8. #5
    Pittsburgh Bill
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    821
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default Re: Are travel mandolins worth it?

    I will not venture a definitive yes or no. From my perspective they are if you need one. I have owned three of different makers on separate occasions. I needed them for traveling around Europe which meant airplanes, buses, trains, boats, autos, bicycles, and a whole lot of walking. All of these means of travel while sometimes also packing all my belongings. Size and weight meant everything. I didn't like the tone of any of them with mostly treble and little base and short on volume. Two of the three played well.
    A mandolin isn't very large. If I wasn't overwhelmed on these European trips carrying all my gear I would have just taken a $100.00 Rogue or Savannah and they would sound better. Each time I returned from one of these trips I promptly sold them thinking I probably would not be making a similar trip again. But then I would get the itch, plan another trip and buy another travel mandolin after having sold my previous one and with the cycle repeating itself, selling it upon returning home.
    To determine if you need one ask yourself if a few inches smaller and a few ounces lighter will be beneficial to your travels. If yes, then I assume you need one.
    Like backpacking, "Take care of the grams, and the ounces will take care of themselves".
    Stiver A style (MAS has stopped here)
    Kentucky KM-950
    Keith Edward Coleman A style, oval hole Mandola
    Weber Gallatin A Mandola "D hole"
    Rogue 100A (current campfire tool)
    Cozart (unplugged emando silence for my usually tolerant wife)

  9. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Pittsburgh Bill For This Useful Post:


  10. #6
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Invergordon,Scotland
    Posts
    2,504

    Default Re: Are travel mandolins worth it?

    If it's for a car, no need to have anything smaller than a standard mandolin. They are good travel instruments anyway.

    I have a Seagull mandolin which is small enough to fit in my carry-on backpack and still have room for the basics- ie a change of clothes and a couple of books. This means I can travel with only one item of luggage, so I don't need to check anything in the hold.

    It's pretty good. Surprisingly loud, not a bad tone and small. I've found it very useful.

    https://scontent.fgla3-2.fna.fbcdn.n...c3&oe=607E147F

    https://www.facebook.com/47614030251...27459270712795
    David A. Gordon

  11. The following members say thank you to Dagger Gordon for this post:


  12. #7
    Registered User Jill McAuley's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Co. Mayo, Ireland
    Posts
    3,175

    Default Re: Are travel mandolins worth it?

    Years ago living in California I had a job that involved lot's of long distance driving - it involved myself and one of my co-workers trading off on the driving duties, so I started bringing a wee electric mandolin that I had with me (I never owned an amp with it, it was purchased specifically to use unplugged as a quiet way to practice/play) so that when it wasn't my turn I could play away in the passenger seat, and it was quiet enough so as to not annoy the person driving if they weren't a fan of irish trad tunes! It also easily fit in a rucksack that I used as carry on luggage and on several occasions when being sent to out of state work related training or seminars I would bring it along as it was quite handy to be able to play in the hotel room without other guests hearing. Obviously would be useless if you were wanting to bring a mandolin with you so as to be able to play at a session while traveling, but for quiet practice it was perfect.
    2018 Girouard Concert oval A
    2015 JP "Whitechapel" tenor banjo
    2018 Frank Tate tenor guitar
    1969 Martin 00-18




    my Youtube channel

  13. The following members say thank you to Jill McAuley for this post:


  14. #8
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Location
    Guildford + Falmouth England
    Posts
    406

    Default Re: Are travel mandolins worth it?

    I think a robust mandolin that sounded OK might be more relevant than a small one. So, carbon fibre neck body and bridge, maybe some positive fixing for bridge position, robust tuners with minimum projection from the headstock. If it was anything like as strong as my carbon fiddle, you could probably carry this in a light soft bag. Also, a pickup with headphone output and some way to damp the acoustic sound while using that?

  15. The following members say thank you to maxr for this post:


  16. #9

    Default Re: Are travel mandolins worth it?

    I’ve explored this a bunch, since I travel a lot. Didn’t love either the Seagull or the old Martin backpacker mandolin (hard to find, cheap, but they do have the advantage of being sturdy enough to pound in tent stakes). Also tried a travolin. None had good sound. Currently i have three of old flatiron army navy style - they’re incredible. They have an induced arch to them so they’re a bit louder than you’d think - actually pretty good volume for the size. I can fit mine into a Uke soft case and it’s tiny, and I love it. I’ve played this on stage in Tokyo , at a session in Dubin, at jams in Manhattan, Sydney and Austin. Works well.

    The other thoughts are the Northfield Calhoun, which is this design, or the big muddy. I have one of those with a red Henry 11 hole bridge and it is loud as heck. I used it as a jam instrument at work but it would work well as a travel instrument. There are other makers out there do I good modern flat top or army navy style. I’d look at those. I don’t have experience with the ranger, don’t know what it sounds like.
    ,

  17. The following members say thank you to Sam Schillace for this post:


  18. #10
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Dec 2020
    Location
    Lewiston NY
    Posts
    132

    Default Re: Are travel mandolins worth it?

    When I was in sales I did a fair amount of traveling and hotel overnight stays. 20 some years ago I found an Epiphone A style marked second for 99 bucks. Brand new except for minor finish blem. Served me well over many years, still have it and still plays well. I never worried about it getting dinged up, I kept my better instruments safe at home.
    Ratliff R5 2007, Capek A5 2003, Washburn M5S-SB Jethro Burns 1982, Mid-Mo M-2, Epiphone MM 30 Bk mandolins, Harmony Batwing 1970's


    "Don't cloud the issue with facts!" Groucho Marx

  19. #11
    two t's and one hyphen fatt-dad's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Richmond, Virginia
    Posts
    7,542

    Default Re: Are travel mandolins worth it?

    no

    f-d

    (p.s., to add, I'm a field geologist and have taken regular-sized mandolin all over the place - North Carolina, Yosemite, Western Virginia, Panama - up near the contentinal divide.)

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	at the beach.jpg 
Views:	45 
Size:	648.6 KB 
ID:	193012
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	104_0434.jpg 
Views:	57 
Size:	119.5 KB 
ID:	193013
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	380244_3509297087928_1136856803_3360021_1166340118_n.jpg 
Views:	43 
Size:	187.4 KB 
ID:	193014
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	panama_small.jpg 
Views:	45 
Size:	72.0 KB 
ID:	193015
    °papŠ gordo ainít no madre flaca!

    '20 A3, '30 L-1, '97 914, 2012 Cohen A5, 2012 Muth A5, '14 OM28A

  20. The Following 5 Users Say Thank You to fatt-dad For This Useful Post:


  21. #12

    Default Re: Are travel mandolins worth it?

    Mandolins are small but they are still about twice as big as the little Ranger with its full fretboard. I love mine and never go out of town without it. The size difference is just enough that it has made the difference between traveling with or without a mandolin for me. I have not regretted getting this little guy for one second! It is sturdy and letís me get my mandolin fix anywhere.

  22. The following members say thank you to tiare for this post:


  23. #13
    Registered User Denis Kearns's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
    Location
    west coast
    Posts
    40

    Default Re: Are travel mandolins worth it?

    I have a Weber Sweet Pea which I plan to take backpacking and on river trips. The tone is not as rich as my “normal” Weber mandolin, but it’s great for what it is and the Sweet Pea is way, way cooler than any beater mando I’ve ever come across. Also, I suspect that it is more stable than your run-of-the-mill beater. Have not had the opportunity to try out the Weber Ranger, but I really like my Sweet Pea. That being said, when I’m just going somewhere in my truck, I take a normal-sized mandolin.

    - Denis

  24. The following members say thank you to Denis Kearns for this post:


  25. #14
    Registered User EvanElk's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
    Posts
    361

    Default Re: Are travel mandolins worth it?

    I recently got a Martin Backpacker mandolin (one of my hiking buddies will have the guitar version) for a 2-week wilderness backpacking trip in the High Sierra. They sound terrible and this is the only circumstance where it would make sense to have one. The guitar version actually sounds decent. I'm assuming after a few days of mando withdrawal the backpacker might start to sound good in the same way freeze dried beans and rice will start to taste good. The top and back are incredibly thick and the tone bars fairly tall. There must be a better build strategy so that these things can retain the portability and durability for wilderness trekking and actually have some tone. Carbon fiber may be the answer.
    1998 John Sullivan A5
    2009 Heiden A Heritage
    2015 Heiden F Artist
    2017 Duff A5
    2019 Ruhland F5

  26. #15
    Registered User mbruno's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    San Diego CA
    Posts
    401

    Default Re: Are travel mandolins worth it?

    As noted before, the mandolin is a travel instrument for the most part. The only thing I would personally consider getting as a true "travel only" instrument is a carbon fiber mandolin. The added water resistance and durability with CF would be appealing for true backpacking (not "car camping" or just flying to places etc).
    www.mattcbruno.com
    www.thebigdecisionsband.com
    https://shakedownstringband.org

    Mando's in use
    Newson 2018
    Gibson F9 2014
    Jonathan Mann OEMsc 8
    Jonathan Mann OSEMdc 5
    Weber Gallatin Mandocello

  27. The following members say thank you to mbruno for this post:


  28. #16
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    The Great Northwest
    Posts
    127

    Default Re: Are travel mandolins worth it?

    I have a Ranger that I will likely sell. The tone isn’t all that robust and it just feels funny in my hands. It is as if it was designed for the left hand. Probably good for backpacking but if I am traveling by car or plane, I will take my Weber.

  29. #17
    Registered Muser dang's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Omaha, NE
    Posts
    1,145

    Default Re: Are travel mandolins worth it?

    I had a Weber sweet pea and then sold it on the cafe classifieds to a forest fire fighter many years ago, who said bought it so he could take it out in the field.

    I ended up getting a cheap no-name one off the classifieds a few years ago that has tuners that need a drum key to turn. So it is a pain, but very small.

    There is no place to anchor your right arm on the edge of the travel instruments, so itís very different for any right hand technique. I have had ok success with a rather tight strap, but taking that into account with the poor tone from a small body chamber itís not really worth it unless you just need something to noodle on.

    My personal summary: Thin tone. Awkward to hold. Difficult to relate the right hand technique to a regular sized mandolin. That all said if I was going to be gone for a week and a full sized mando was prohibitive or annoyingly difficult, Iíd want it with me.
    I should be pickin' rather than postin'

  30. #18
    Registered User DavidKOS's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    North CA
    Posts
    4,422

    Default Re: Are travel mandolins worth it?

    I've used a full-size beater mandolin as a travel instrument most of the time.

    For a while I had Cumbus banjo mandolin that had a detachable neck and used that for travel. I could take it apart and fit it in my baggage.

    As for travel mandolins, a buddy used a Musikalia pocket bowlback for years as a carry-around mandolin, particularly at Renn faires.



    like this one

  31. #19

    Default Re: Are travel mandolins worth it?

    I’ve tried that route but nothing really works out. To begin with, I like to play mandolins that sound good. Maybe that’s snobbish. To quote a well-known player who will remain anonymous, “In the end, a cheap mandolin sounds like a cheap mandolin.” I once had about a $100 Johnson mandolin my wife bought me half as a joke, because of the name, to keep in our small sailboat. But it gets so hot in a boat (or in a car) in the summer that I didn’t feel right leaving even a hard-to-play el cheapo Amazon special there to endure the heat. I ended up donating that mandolin to some unfortunate looking for somebody to give them a mandolin. He was thrilled to have it. It seems like everything works out in the end, one way or the other.
    Ellis A5 Tradition, Red Diamond F5, Duff F5, D35, Gliga violin.
    http://www.michaelromkey.com
    http://www.bucktownrevue.com

  32. #20
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2019
    Location
    Ms
    Posts
    379

    Default Re: Are travel mandolins worth it?

    No...I'd never take a musical instrument to a harmful place and who travels so much they'd need or want a so-called travel instrument. If I were camping, hiking, fishing or sailing that's what I'd be doing and keep playing in it's time and place

  33. #21
    Registered User poul hansen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2020
    Location
    Danmark
    Posts
    193

    Default Re: Are travel mandolins worth it?

    I do 2-6 days trips(when corona allows) and sleep in my car and I find that I practice more in the long evenings in the car, than at home with all the distractions.
    BUT I already have a classical travelguitar and a steelstring travelguitar in the car and now I've started mandolin and need a lot of practice.

    Maybe I should just take up harmonica. ;-)

    Maybe I'll just take one of the old mandolins(that are often solid wood throughout) offered for 50-80$ and buy a new one if it breaks. Nobody wants a mandolin here.

    OR the Dean Tennessee that I haven't seen yet. It's still at my sons house, as he picked it up for me.
    I got it for 80$ along with the octave mandolin ;-)
    Kentucky KM-805
    Hora M1086 Portuguese II
    Hora M1088 Mandola
    Hora M1087 Octave
    Dean Tennessee Acoustic-Electric
    Richmond RMA-110-VS
    Noname (German?) mandolin

  34. #22
    Confused... or?
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Over the Hudson & thru the woods from NYC
    Posts
    2,551

    Default Re: Are travel mandolins worth it?

    Hey, a day or three of underwear makes good extra padding INSIDE the case!
    - Ed

    "Then one day we weren't as young as before
    Our mistakes weren't quite so easy to undo
    But by all those roads, my friend, we've travelled down
    I'm a better man for just the knowin' of you."
    - Ian Tyson

  35. #23
    Lurkist dhergert's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Blue Zone, California
    Posts
    1,466
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default Re: Are travel mandolins worth it?

    From my personal experience, I'd say any instrument smaller than a double bass is a travel instrument... But that's just me.

    I do strongly believe in having a backup/travel/beater instrument and have that with my MK F-style mandolin. It is a standard F size mandolin and its setup is nearly identical to my main playing mandolin, so I can switch instruments without a lot of playing style adjusting.

    i rarely travel for long periods without packing along a number of instruments, but my minimum travel instrument requirement is my main playing F-style mandolin. Small, light, easy to carry and with full size tone, volume and playability potential, it can provide plenty of musical enjoyment in those in-between hours.
    -- Don

    "Music: A minor auditory irritation occasionally characterized as pleasant."
    "It is a lot more fun to make music than it is to argue about it."


    2002 Gibson F-9
    2016 MK LFSTB
    1975 Suzuki taterbug (plus many other noisemakers)
    [About how I tune my mandolins]
    [Our recent arrival]

  36. #24

    Default Re: Are travel mandolins worth it?

    Are travel mandolins worth it?

    Sounds like it is down to individual preference.

    If you are going to jam with others or perform, it probably isnít going to be ideal for your purposes.

    I like mine for camping, hiking and quiet playing in hotel rooms. I donít care about tone in those situations. The tone is certainly not the same as a full size mando - I think mine sounds like a tiny banjo in a way that it hurts my ears if I play loudly.

    I appreciate the opportunity to play when I am simply not going to bring a full sized mandolin.

    A travel mandolin works for me but it does sound like Iím in the minority!

    That said, I am ALWAYS thrilled to return home to the pack and play a real mandolin!

  37. #25

    Default Re: Are travel mandolins worth it?

    Absolutely!

    And any mando is a travel mando if you travel with it. . . .

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •