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Thread: Picking the right mandolin

  1. #26
    Registered User Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    Default Re: Picking the right mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by SteveBray View Post
    Thanks for the welcoming Charlie and this great advice. Iíll look into a tone gaurd. Does it require any involved installation? Can it be moved from one instrument to another? I kinda like A style as well
    No installation. They just slip on the back, and slip off whenever you want. No modifications or adhesives are involved. Just some rubber grips to hold it in place and protect the mando's finish.

    A Tone-Gard is good for most standard bodies, but you can email the company to confirm the fit before you buy one. (And, of course, they'll let you return it.)

    My question, which I asked here, was whether I'd still be able to close my case. Folks said I probably could, and indeed I can. They don't add much size.
    Gibson A-Junior snakehead (Keep on pluckin'!)

  2. #27
    Confused... or?
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    Default Re: Picking the right mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan in NH View Post
    ... Oval hole mandolins tend to be warmer. F hole mandolins tend to be brighter, and project their sound better. ...
    Since so much of the tone is in the touch of the player, IMHO it's easier to tone down an F-hole than to brighten up an oval. Thus: F-holes tend to be more versatile.

    Also be aware that the pick (big, small, thick, thin, stiff, soft, pointed, rounded, $ - $$$$) has a HUGE influence on tone; some would say more than any variation in body style.
    - Ed

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  4. #28
    small instrument, big fun Dan in NH's Avatar
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    Default Re: Picking the right mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by SteveBray View Post
    Thanks for the welcoming Charlie and this great advice. Iíll look into a tone gaurd. Does it require any involved installation? Can it be moved from one instrument to another? I kinda like A style as well
    I have one. It's shaped to just sort of "grip" the back of your mandolin. It has padded "feet" so you don't have to worry about it marring your finish. You can move it from one mandolin to another without too much bother. But IMO if you only own one Tone-Gard then it should "live" on the back of your "primary" mandolin.

    Mine was on my Kentucky KM-250. When I bought my Eastman 514 I moved it to the Eastman and it lives there now, even though I still occasionally play the Kentucky. If I ever get that Eastman 815/v, or if the stars align a Northfield, then I'll probably get another Tone-Gard too.
    Eastman MD-514 (F body, Sitka & maple, oval hole)
    Kentucky KM-250 (A body, spruce & maple, f holes)

    And still saving my nickles & dimes & bottle caps & breakfast cereal box tops for my lifetime mandolin.

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  6. #29

    Default Re: Picking the right mandolin

    Thanks Kirk, this sums it up for me.

  7. #30
    Playing on the porch
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    Default Re: Picking the right mandolin

    I happen to be an F-style enthusiast not because of the looks, but because of how it sits on my lap while playing.The points on the underside of the body hold it on my lap just right. I'm an old violinist and a terrible guitar player. I started out in 2017 with an Eastman F-style 515 and then, because I wanted a campfire instrument, bought a Recording King A style with f-holes. Both were set up nicely and the Eastman was my go-to instrument. Both were setup to play pretty nice, although the Eastman was the clear winner. The Recording King, which I got pretty cheap at GC, has been a great loaner. I did finally decide that I was getting fair enough that a serious lifetime upgrade would be great and that is when I bought my Ellis F5 Special, which is about all I play these days. The Ellis is glorious! I like f holes on everything, partly because I am an old violinist, but also because I used to spend considerable time holding my guitars upside down and gently shaking as I tried to extract my lost picks. As an additional note, I prefer Thomastik Infeld Mediums 154 for my strings as they seem sweeter to me and are reasonably easy on my fingers. to top off my combo, I use CT-55 picks as that is what I am used to. I do have a reasonably excessive number of other pikcs, that I often try out, but still keep coming back to my CT-55. My mostfervent wish is that you enjoy your mandolins as much as I have. Cheers!
    ---
    2021 Ellis F5 Special #564 mandolin
    1928 Roth violin
    2016 Eastman MD515 mandolin
    1907 Foltz violin

  8. #31

    Default Re: Picking the right mandolin

    Kentucky makes only 2 models with a radiuses fingerboard, the KM-950 (A-style) and KM-1050 (F-style). They also have the 1/18Ē nut and larger frets, though more in the medium gauge youíd find on a traditional Martin guitar. The Eastmans, AFAIK, all still have narrower frets and nut, though they do have a radiuses fingerboard.

    You donít see a lot of higher end Kentucky models for sale in the used market, so their retail price is a bit daunting and used Northfields pop up in that range. I have a 950 and think it is a great mandolin, and the neck feel leans more to the NF than the Eastmans I had. Iíve been traveling with it for a month and at a week-long festival before they and itís as satisfying as my NF in every way, though it has slightly more mids. I donít even miss the scroll!

  9. #32

    Default Re: Picking the right mandolin

    Hey yíall! I did some shopping and pulled the trigger on a used Eastman 515-V for around $1000. Itís a little more reddish in color than I originally set out to get but I also had an open mind. Itís kind of a whiskey color. The Acoustic Shoppe will be shipping it on Monday.

  10. #33
    small instrument, big fun Dan in NH's Avatar
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    Default Re: Picking the right mandolin

    Cool. I've got my eye on that one as well for a sub-$2k f-hole f-body.
    Eastman MD-514 (F body, Sitka & maple, oval hole)
    Kentucky KM-250 (A body, spruce & maple, f holes)

    And still saving my nickles & dimes & bottle caps & breakfast cereal box tops for my lifetime mandolin.

  11. #34

    Default Re: Picking the right mandolin

    I will let you know what I think probably by the end of the week. I deliberated about getting A style maybe with an oval hole but this kind of fell into my lap.

  12. #35

    Default Re: Picking the right mandolin

    There are two body styles of mandolin-A body and F body. The F style can be used for classical. Theyíre really versatile, especially if you play around with different strings. Iíd recommend playing or at least listening to oval, f style, bowlback, and flat to see which sound you like best.

  13. #36
    Gone Fishing Tiderider's Avatar
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    Default Re: Picking the right mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by SteveBray View Post
    Hey y’all! I did some shopping and pulled the trigger on a used Eastman 515-V for around $1000. It’s a little more reddish in color than I originally set out to get but I also had an open mind. It’s kind of a whiskey color. The Acoustic Shoppe will be shipping it on Monday.
    That's a great mandolin for a good price. You'll never have a problem being heard as the 515V has plenty of volume and solid chop, it should take you far. Congrats!
    Lee Hill

  14. #37
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    Default Re: Picking the right mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by SteveBray View Post
    Hey y’all! I did some shopping and pulled the trigger on a used Eastman 515-V for around $1000. It’s a little more reddish in color than I originally set out to get but I also had an open mind. It’s kind of a whiskey color. The Acoustic Shoppe will be shipping it on Monday.
    Excellent choice! If your experience is like mine, you'll love it!
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    Listen to original tune "When You Fly" by my old band The Kindreds

  15. #38

    Default Re: Picking the right mandolin

    It has wonderful tone and was set up perfectly. I just couldnít get over exactly how distressed this one is (gloppy varnish, steel wool scratching all over it, etc.) so I exchanged for a 615. Itís not quite as open toned but aesthetic is important to me and it looks much nicer.

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