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Thread: Flat Tops, Waterloo and others

  1. #1
    Registered User J.C. Bryant's Avatar
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    Default Flat Tops, Waterloo and others

    I love flat top mandolins.

    I have owned several and for some reason or another, traded or sold them. I owned a Waterloo before , liked it, and then sold it.

    Now. I am looking for another flat top and even another Waterlpoo. But wehn it look at Beavertails, Calhouns, Redlines, Kalamazoo KM's, etc and compare them to the Waterloo. I see that the Waterloo is close to twice the price.

    FDo you see that as a worthy situation, or, are the Waterloos over priced, in your opinion? Understand, I know they are good but are they twice as good as, say a Sawchyn Beavertail, or the others?

    I would value your thoughts.

    Thanks, J.c.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Flat Tops, Waterloo and others

    To say it plainly, no, their quality does not translate to their price. But that is my opinion and your mileage may vary.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Flat Tops, Waterloo and others

    The point might be moot. Collings has idled the entire Waterloo line. I haven't seen one for sale in quite a while.
    There's nothing better than first-hand experience.

  4. #4
    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Flat Tops, Waterloo and others

    I have played a Waterloo and thought it was a bit bright. I would explore Crystal Forest, Sawshyn, used Flatiron army-navy mandolins before I bought a Waterloo.
    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

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    Default Re: Flat Tops, Waterloo and others

    I find the entire Waterloo series imbalance of features, quality, playability and tone- to- price a serious deterrent to purchase.

  6. #6
    Purveyor of Sunshine sgarrity's Avatar
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    Default Re: Flat Tops, Waterloo and others

    The Waterloo is an excellent mandolin for the money. It is nothing like the old Flatirons. It's made for medium strings which gives it much more tone and volume.
    Glad I got one when I could!


  7. #7

    Default Re: Flat Tops, Waterloo and others

    Waterloo instruments might cost a lot simply because of the Collings cachet.

    The best bang for the flattop buck is probably Big Muddy. I had the spruce-and-rosewood model for a while, and it was terrific.

    If you want something higher-end and highly interesting, check out Joel Eckhaus's mando line at Earnest Instruments.

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  9. #8
    Registered User Eric Platt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Flat Tops, Waterloo and others

    Well, for the price of a Waterloo you could also get a Peter Coombe classical flat top. http://www.petercoombe.com/classical-mandolin.htm

    The Coombe is also designed for (flatwound) medium strings and has great volume. Yes, I am biased as an owner of one that's now my main instrument.
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    Default Re: Flat Tops, Waterloo and others

    Love my Big Muddy, but I can only compare it to my Eastman F style

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    My Florida is scooped pheffernan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Flat Tops, Waterloo and others

    Quote Originally Posted by J.C. Bryant View Post
    Understand, I know they are good but are they twice as good as, say a Sawchyn Beavertail, or the others?
    No, thatís not how mandolin pricing works. While I have yet to play the Waterloo, though I have been occasionally tempted, I am sure that it is a flawlessly built example of what it is. That said, its price is more a reflection of what it costs Collings to produce and what its cache can extract. Sawchyn has a completely different business model.
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  13. #11

    Default Re: Flat Tops, Waterloo and others

    It's like comparing apples to pineapples. The concepts behind the builds are quite different, also, please do the cost accounting accurately when considering pricing. Many of these models come without cases. Many have no binding, and they are made out of different materials with different finishes that cost less to build with.

    How many people here in this thread, outside of Shawn and the OP, have played a Waterloo mandolin? A Calhoun? Sawchyn? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?
    There's nothing better than first-hand experience.

  14. #12
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Flat Tops, Waterloo and others

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandobar View Post
    ...How many people here in this thread, outside of Shawn and the OP, have played a Waterloo mandolin? A Calhoun? Sawchyn? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?
    Not me. My flat-top is a Gibson A/N Custom, a fancy 1986 reissue of the Army-Navy: figured maple, A-3 inlay pattern, Carlson-signed. Were I in the market, I'd buy a used Flatiron, since I've been 30-years-satisfied with my 3K "bouzouki" octave mandolin.

    Wonder if Collings miscalculated the market, since there can't be too many flat-top buyers who are interested in upscale pricing -- especially with a good selection of mid-price competitors?
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    Registered User J.C. Bryant's Avatar
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    Default Re: Flat Tops, Waterloo and others

    When I started this thread of comparisons (kiind of ) I didn't include the Kalamazoo KM 11. I wish I had, for these are the models from which was born the Waterloo ( I think)

  16. #14
    Registered User Eric Platt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Flat Tops, Waterloo and others

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandobar View Post
    It's like comparing apples to pineapples. The concepts behind the builds are quite different, also, please do the cost accounting accurately when considering pricing. Many of these models come without cases. Many have no binding, and they are made out of different materials with different finishes that cost less to build with.

    How many people here in this thread, outside of Shawn and the OP, have played a Waterloo mandolin? A Calhoun? Sawchyn? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?
    Have played Calhoun, Waterloo, Morris, Flatiron, Kalamazoo, Big Muddy, Coombe. Not enough to have any knowledge and will defer to someone like yourself who has owned all the models mentioned.
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    Purveyor of Sunshine sgarrity's Avatar
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    Default Re: Flat Tops, Waterloo and others

    I also own a Nyberg flattop. And I promise you it cost a lot more than a Waterloo! Flat or carved fine craftsmanship is worth the money!

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    Barn Cat Mandolins Bob Clark's Avatar
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    Default Re: Flat Tops, Waterloo and others

    Quote Originally Posted by sgarrity View Post
    Flat or carved fine craftsmanship is worth the money!
    Amen to that!
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  20. #17

    Default Re: Flat Tops, Waterloo and others

    I like my redline would not buy another make at any price. Well made .

  21. #18

    Default Re: Flat Tops, Waterloo and others

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandobar View Post
    . . . How many people here in this thread, outside of Shawn and the OP, have played a Waterloo mandolin? A Calhoun? Sawchyn? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?
    Good question!

    I haven't even laid eyes on 'em. It sounds like fun, but expensive fun. For me, part of the attraction of a flattop is that you don't pay for carving.

  22. #19

    Default Re: Flat Tops, Waterloo and others

    Paul Shippey makes a flat top with a carved back. The Axe. Sounds great to me. Not cheap but I think it's still a good value.

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  24. #20
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    Default Re: Flat Tops, Waterloo and others

    I've got a Waterloo mandolin and think it is great - flawlessly built, easy to play, loud and its tone works well for the type of music I play...

    ...I haven't played the other flat tops mentioned, but I prefer the Waterloo to the Hathway and Fylde flat top mandolins that I had previously. Based on cost, is the Waterloo 2-3 times better than those mandolins? Definitely not, but at the Waterloo's price point I think we are past the point of diminishing marginal returns anyway...

    ...all that said, it is expensive and I can see why people would feel that other mandolins might offer better value for money.

    Also - Hello!!!! This is my first proper post on the cafe...

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    Default Re: Flat Tops, Waterloo and others

    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Leyda View Post
    Paul Shippey makes a flat top with a carved back. The Axe. Sounds great to me. Not cheap but I think it's still a good value.
    I've played one of these - its fantastic.

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  28. #22

    Default Re: Flat Tops, Waterloo and others

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Boyett View Post
    I've played one of these - its fantastic.
    I agree. I was seriously thinking about getting one (or the equally cool carved top Shippey Tone) but I'm a bit nervous about international shipping in the never ending pandemic. I got on Max Girouard's waiting list instead and I'm confident he can dial in a great oval hole sound.
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    Default Re: Flat Tops, Waterloo and others

    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Leyda View Post
    Paul Shippey makes a flat top with a carved back. The Axe. Sounds great to me. Not cheap but I think it's still a good value.

    thanks for posting this, i thought it sounded amazing. never heard of the maker so this is fun to explore and learn about.
    d

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  31. #24
    Registered User J.C. Bryant's Avatar
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    Default Re: Flat Tops, Waterloo and others

    I agree! It is an amazing mandolin and the sound fits my idea of what I would like my mandoln to sound like. I contacted Paul Shippey. He quickly responded back and informed me that the wait time on one of the "Axe" mandolins was 34 months. I am 76 almost 77 and 34 months is a little beyond my focus. But I think it would be nice to have one! I must also admit that when I see something like that, which I really like,I get a little MAS, but whn I pick up one of my mandolins they soound good to me as well. "Life is good!"

  32. #25
    Registered User J.C. Bryant's Avatar
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    Default Re: Flat Tops, Waterloo and others

    Just to close this off, in case anyone was wondering, I ended up getting another Waterloo. Yes it sounds great! Is it worth the price? People, like me, that buy them insure that that is probably so. But seriously,it plays and sounds great. I am glad to have it!

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