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Thread: Care with old mandolins and modern cases...

  1. #1
    Mandolingerer Bazz Jass's Avatar
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    Default Care with old mandolins and modern cases...

    A cautionary tale.

    My F4 came in this case, half way around the world. Not the original case obviously, but seemed good enough for travel:

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    Took it to see a luthier this weekend, and he winced when he saw it. Not because it wasn't the original case, but because - being a shorter neck - the headstock was taking the weight on the neck rest. The neck wasn't contacting at all.

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    Something I hadn't even thought about. But obvious now. Case falls, headstock take impact.

    Fortunately my Eastman MD 515 hardcase fits just fine, and the neck is well supported.

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    Here endeth the lesson.

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  3. #2
    Registered User Eric Platt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Care with old mandolins and modern cases...

    Yup. And not just older instruments. Any instrument where the neck doesn't meet the body at about the 14th fret or so has a similar issue. My Coombe does not fit in either a Travelite or a Airloom Deluxe case. Thankfully Peter Coombe let me know it would fit in a TKL Vectra case.

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  5. #3
    Registered User TheMandoKit's Avatar
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    Default Re: Care with old mandolins and modern cases...

    The later version of the Eastman fiberglass F style shaped cases also fits shorter necked mandos. I believe they are, unfortunately, discontinued, but you still see one surface from time to time. Good to know about the TKL Vectra.

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  7. #4
    Registered User Sue Rieter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Care with old mandolins and modern cases...

    Thanks for posting this, Bazz Jass. I just realized I have this issue, too.

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  9. #5
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    Default Re: Care with old mandolins and modern cases...

    On some cases, where the pocket is held in place by screws or staples, it can easily be moved if you are handy with tools.
    It won't work on the case in Bazz's picture, though.

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  11. #6
    Mandolingerer Bazz Jass's Avatar
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    Default Re: Care with old mandolins and modern cases...

    Quote Originally Posted by TheMandoKit View Post
    The later version of the Eastman fiberglass F style shaped cases also fits shorter necked mandos. I believe they are, unfortunately, discontinued, but you still see one surface from time to time. Good to know about the TKL Vectra.
    Yep, I don't see the fiberglass ones available. But even the Eastman plywood case that came with my MD515 works with the shorter neck. The tuners are clear of the accessory compartment, the neck rests on the neckrest, and the headstock area doesn't make contact with anything.

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    So I've just swapped cases - the F4 can go in the Eastman case, and the MD515 can go in the liteflite case.

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  13. #7
    Registered User TheMandoKit's Avatar
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    Default Re: Care with old mandolins and modern cases...

    Quote Originally Posted by Bazz Jass View Post
    So I've just swapped cases - the F4 can go in the Eastman case, and the MD515 can go in the liteflite case.
    Good solution. I have the original case for my F-4, but handle is a bit worn, so when I take it (the mando) anywhere, I put it in the Eastman fiberglass case. It doesn't have accessory storage to speak of, but it does a nice job of protecting the mandolin. I just carry other things in a separate little bag that I clip to the case handle or strap.
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    Registered User Eric Platt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Care with old mandolins and modern cases...

    Quote Originally Posted by TheMandoKit View Post
    The later version of the Eastman fiberglass F style shaped cases also fits shorter necked mandos. I believe they are, unfortunately, discontinued, but you still see one surface from time to time. Good to know about the TKL Vectra.
    The Vectra still has issues. It will not work with my Strad-O-Lin. Or probably any other instrument with a deep body. And other reviews have said it doesn't work on an instrument with an elevated pickguard. Have not tried it with a Gibson oval hole (or Eastman equivalent) as my Jr is on loan to a bandmate. So no idea if that would fit.

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  17. #9
    Registered User Sue Rieter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Care with old mandolins and modern cases...

    Quote Originally Posted by rcc56 View Post
    On some cases, where the pocket is held in place by screws or staples, it can easily be moved if you are handy with tools.
    It won't work on the case in Bazz's picture, though.
    Won't work for me, either. The case is molded foam. Guess I gotta start saving my pennies and get a case instead of another instrument

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    Registered User Louise NM's Avatar
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    Default Re: Care with old mandolins and modern cases...

    For a relatively inexpensive solution, (at least compared to Calton or Hoffee) try one of these. It fits my 1918 L&H like it was made for it. Should fit most shorter-necked mandolins.

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  21. #11
    Registered User Eric Platt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Care with old mandolins and modern cases...

    Quote Originally Posted by Louise NM View Post
    For a relatively inexpensive solution, (at least compared to Calton or Hoffee) try one of these. It fits my 1918 L&H like it was made for it. Should fit most shorter-necked mandolins.
    That's good to know. Was very seriously looking at one of those for the Coombe before going with the TKL. Just wasn't sure it would fit comfortably.

  22. #12
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Care with old mandolins and modern cases...

    This has been an issue that comes around every few years. Years back the solution for the A styles was a $25.00 Musicians Friend hard case. Then they changed the design and ruined that. Jim Garber most likely still has a few in use, I have one in use still. In the past some folks were modifying inexpensive F style hard cases by modifying the pick compartment or removing it all together and adding padding to brace the neck. The people that really don't have many options are the folks that own Style A & B Martin mandolins. Nothing fits those well other than original cases and they are rare.

    Some past threads are here.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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  24. #13
    Registered User Sue Rieter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Care with old mandolins and modern cases...

    Just tried the F2 in the Gator case I bought for the Morris. It appears to fit pretty nicely, and that was a pretty inexpensive case.
    The whole neck is pretty much sitting flat on the support.

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  25. #14
    Mandolingerer Bazz Jass's Avatar
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    Default Re: Care with old mandolins and modern cases...

    Quote Originally Posted by Sue Rieter View Post
    Just tried the F2 in the Gator case I bought for the Morris. It appears to fit pretty nicely, and that was a pretty inexpensive case.
    The whole neck is pretty much sitting flat on the support.

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    The danger is the headstock resting on the support there. You really want all contact with the case to stop at fret 2 - no closer to the headstock than that. A sideways knock here could cause that neck rest to whack the side of the headstock.

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    I'm probably overthinking it, but a broken and repaired headstock is about every vintage Gibson owner's worst nightmare, and all ways to avoid it should be encouraged or even over-thought!

  26. #15
    Registered User Sue Rieter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Care with old mandolins and modern cases...

    Quote Originally Posted by Bazz Jass View Post
    The danger is the headstock resting on the support there. You really want all contact with the case to stop at fret 2 - no closer to the headstock than that. A sideways knock here could cause that neck rest to whack the side of the headstock.
    Hmm. I didn't know this. The case it came in is a rectangular foam one, and it's kind of cool but a much worse fit. I probably won't be going anywhere with that mando anytime soon, though. Nonetheless, I wish I had the original case - and I'm not talking about the metal and plywood one that came with it. No wonder the older ones are in such demand.

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