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Banjo and Mandolin

Discussion in 'Worship Service Players' started by guitarwrench, Sep 18, 2016.

  1. guitarwrench

    guitarwrench TDPRI Member

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    For those who are playing them, what are you playing. I would maybe be playing it twice a month. Wondering what you recommend at a reasonable price and good sound. Same thing with mandolins. Thanks!
     
  2. JuneauMike

    JuneauMike Poster Extraordinaire

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    I have a Kentucky 700 (Mandolin Hut in Knoxville) with a K&K pickup and preamp. Great price and overall a good mandolin although the violin neck is tough on my large hands. If I had it to do over again I think I'd buy an Eastman just because I've heard that their necks are a little larger.

    When I was looking for a mandolin I think I read that the real value with Kentuckys begins when you get above the KM-500-ish models. The ones below that are supposedly not that great. These guys can be of assistance regarding mando brands, although you have to wade through a lot of cork sniffing (no offense, guys). http://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/showthread.php?39321-Kentucky-brand-mandolins

    I use a Recording King RK25 Madison (Banjo.com) that I just mic. Its a perfectly fine banjo. But again, if I had it to do over again I'd probably buy an RK-20 since it is cheaper and also it qualifies as a banjo. I chose not to buy the RK-20 because it seemed so blinged out that I would have felt embarrassed to play it. I'm a hack and I wanted something that looked understated enough for me, if that makes sense.

    My impression of banjos, unlike guitars and mandolins, if the neck feels playable and the instrument makes a banjo-like sound then its good enough. There doesn't seem to be the same maddening, frustrating hand wringing over "tone" that guitars elicit. Close enough is close enough.

    In both of these cases, like most other stringed instruments for the proletariat, you should reasonably expect to pay more than $500 but less than $1,000 for a reasonably priced quality instrument. Buying a good f-style mandolin for under $1,000 is challenging, but it can be done. If I spend more than $1,000 on a musical instrument then I get very persnickety about its look and performance. And who needs that?
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2016
  3. guitarwrench

    guitarwrench TDPRI Member

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    Thanks JuneauMike. I need to check out those forums.
     
  4. WallyArms

    WallyArms Tele-Afflicted

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    I play a Gold Tone Cripple Creek "Banjitar" most Sundays - I would expect the 5 string version to be of the same quality (on my wish list for an eventual purchase). I definitely recommend taking a look at the Gold Tone options.

    As for Mando I have a Gretsch "New Yorker" Supreme - I play it regularly on Sunday and it is good enough for what I do with it. I don't enjoy changing strings on it though :)
     
  5. drmoniker

    drmoniker TDPRI Member

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    Second checking out Mandolin Cafe. I got a cheap Rogue to beat around with and a guy over there emailed a setup guide that enabled it to sound decent enough. I'd be ok micing the Rogue in a pinch, and it was cheap enough that I don't feel bad about rarely playing it.
     
  6. JuneauMike

    JuneauMike Poster Extraordinaire

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    Yep to all. Kentucky, Eastman and Loar seem to be the big three in reputation when it comes to starter to -intermediate mandolins. But if it sounds good and plays good then it is good.

    If possible, when you shop for mandolins I'd recommend you take a mando player with you so that they could help you in finding the instrument. As I'm sure you already know, if you buy something that you grow to dislike, you won't play it.
     
  7. CapnCrunch

    CapnCrunch Friend of Leo's

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    Man, I was lucky to have a friend who won a nice F style Weber mandolin in a drawing. He doesn't play, so I've been able to use his mando on long term loan. I've seen some pretty decent mandos on Craigslist though. Some old Gibsons, and Flat Irons specifically. If you watch for a while, you'll run into something nice. Don't be afraid of old A style mandolins. I have a friend who bought a 20's Gibson A style mandolin off the local Craigslist. It plays great and it sounds phenomenal.
     
  8. Tele-Caster

    Tele-Caster Tele-Holic

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    I play the banjo. Same old c.1977 Deering I started out on back when it was newish and I was, too. I think Greg Deering was only making one style of banjo then; could be wrong, probably am. When I play a banjo in a church, though, that's what it is.
     
  9. JuneauMike

    JuneauMike Poster Extraordinaire

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    Don't forget to check back in if you buy something. It feeds the gearheads, like me.

    Good luck.
     
  10. guitarwrench

    guitarwrench TDPRI Member

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    Will do. Looking at the Goldtone EB 5 or 6 as options too.
     
  11. Pineears

    Pineears Tele-Afflicted

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    Just finished this Saga kit mandolin. I'm liking it, plays so easy. Sounds real mandolin thru a chorus pedal. IMG_0449.JPG
     
  12. Bensen

    Bensen Tele-Meister

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    Banjo: Buy a decent 5-string and invest a couple of month of learning solid right hand skills, otherwise it'll just sound like a crappy guitar. I'd say scruggs style is best for louder bands and clawhammer is cool for solo/duet


    [​IMG]
     
  13. Pineears

    Pineears Tele-Afflicted

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    In addition to the Saga Tele Mandolin above, I have a Michael Kelley, a Morgan Monroe, and a Siminoff. The Siminoff has best tone, Monroe plays the easiest, and the Kelley is the prettiest.
     
  14. Pineears

    Pineears Tele-Afflicted

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    Banjos, I have a Gold Tone open back which I use most now days and a Gold Tone OB250, and a Bacon Belmont open back.
     
  15. PastorJay

    PastorJay Friend of Leo's

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    I think it depends on what you mean by reasonably priced. Good mandolins seem to start about about $1,000. And you could need to mortgage your house to buy a great one!
     
  16. jbmando

    jbmando Poster Extraordinaire

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    I play an Oscar Schmidt A style electric mandolin at church. So far I've only done bluegrass but I would play any style on it. With a good setup, good strings - the heaviest you can stand - and a decent acoustic amp it sounds great. I use GHS Silk & Bronze strings and I run it through a Fishman Loudbox Mini. There's a video of me playing it in the Theory Forum, in a thread about a Chris Stapleton song. FWIW, I don't buy that you have to pay $1000.00 for a decent mandolin. The one I described here was $169.00. I have a Gretsch oval hole F style that I paid $ 437.00 for and it sounds marvelous.
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2016
  17. JuneauMike

    JuneauMike Poster Extraordinaire

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    Hey PastorJay, just saw this. You can get a very good mandolin for under $1,000. Mando players will tell you that you can get more bang for your buck going after the A-style madolins as they are cheaper to produce. You can get a nice A-style for well under $1,000. You can get a quality F-style mando for under $1,000, but you are gonna have to shop around quite a bit.

    JBovier is another mando name that no one has mentioned. You can get a nice JBovier F-5 Tradition for under $1,000 if you shop around. But I admit its much less work finding the +$1,000 F-style mandos than finding the sub-grand ones.
     
  18. Charlie Bernstein

    Charlie Bernstein Poster Extraordinaire

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    Guitarwrench, find anything yet? If not:

    I wanted the impossible: a solid wood mando made in the US for well under $1k. Finally figured out there was only one kind that would fill the bill: a flattop!

    There are several companies that make 'em. Mine is a Big Muddy, from Missouri. Got it used for $500. Love it. It's a big improvement over the A-style plywood Fender I started with. And folks always have questions about it when I pull it out. Even (I swear!): "What IS it?"

    Redline in Tennessee also makes 'em. I've also seen Flatirons around, but I don't know where they're from.

    Flattops come in two styles: teardrop (that's mine) and pancake. Worth knowing about!
     
  19. dlew919

    dlew919 Doctor of Teleocity

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    I have a jbovier solidbody mando which is magnificent.

    For a solidbody mando under 1000 I love my gretsch New Yorker deluxe. Pure mahogany
     
  20. JuneauMike

    JuneauMike Poster Extraordinaire

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    A solid body? Like an electric mandolin?
     
    dlew919 likes this.
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