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Mandolin Players

Pick mandolin-family instruments as well as guitar? Share tips, tunes, and techniques in the mandolin group.

Members: 152
Latest Activity: Apr 16

Discussion Forum

Why do so many pros play the old Gibson A's? 5 Replies

Started by Janice Hamilton. Last reply by Jim Yates Apr 15.

new to the game 5 Replies

Started by Ron. Last reply by Robert Williamson Apr 15.

New mando player 3 Replies

Started by Jason Derrick. Last reply by Jason Derrick Mar 5, 2012.

Comment Wall


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Comment by Jim Yates on April 16, 2015 at 1:00pm

Edward, here's a really grainy, out of focus photo of John Doyle and Bruce Molsky playing at Celtic Colours, Cape Breton in the fall of 2013.  John is playing a guitar shaped OM


Comment by Edward Sparks on April 16, 2015 at 12:47pm
I am having an octave mando built which I will do so w work myself that will resemble a small bodied guitar.
Comment by Edward Sparks on April 16, 2015 at 12:45pm
Yep I scrolled down and saw that this morning!
Comment by Jim Yates on April 16, 2015 at 12:01pm

I just noticed that I'd already posted my photo 3 years ago.

Comment by Jim Yates on April 16, 2015 at 11:59am

I like the bone saddle Edward.  Did you add that?

Above is my mandolin arsenal.  Washburn Country mandolin, TC octave mando, Eastman 605.

Comment by Edward Sparks on April 16, 2015 at 9:55am

I have a Japanese knock off form the 70's that was willed to me by a friend who passed away in 1993, along with five other instruments.  It was a store brand for a place I loved to buy from called Veneman's Music near Washington DC back then, but it was bought by GC and is long gone.  Jim is correct, the F style is pretty to look at but adds nothing to tone.  Jim, thanks for the details on Eastman models as i didn't know that.  I want an octave mando, but am planning on building one myself as soon as I finish a semihollow bass I am about to begin.

Here is a picture and the description of my mando from my old website:

Company: Bradley
Model#: F-Style Mandolin
Year: Estimated 1975
Description: This instrument was one of five bequeathed to me by my friend Bruce Hathorne in 1993. The brand name on the headstock is "Bradley," a brand I had never heard of before. I had heard from Bruce that it was originally bought from Veneman's Music in Bethesda Maryland. About a year ago I met a person who used to work there and he told me that he was familiar with the Bradley brand name. He said that Ted Veneman had a grandson named Bradley. At the time it was popular to import an Asian made "store brand," similar to the way that Martin Guitars made the Ditson brand for a teacher/salesman when they were trying to get established in New York. Ted Veneman contracted with the Asian company to make his store brand and gave it the name "Bradley," after his grandson. This would make it a rare instrument indeed, since only so many of them were made. It is in excellent condition and stays and plays in tune. Particularly nice is the abalone inlay work on the head and fingerboard. I really like the natural finish on the top. It is all original, with the exception of the tailpiece cover, which Bruce added with his own initials, "BAH", engraved into it. The instrument came with it's original rectangular hardshell case.


Comment by Jim Yates on April 16, 2015 at 9:38am

Robert, Mostly the F-style mandolins are more expensive than an equivalent A-style.  The scroll adds a lot to the price.  Don't get a cheap F-style just for the scroll, since it adds nothing to the sound, but is purely cosmetic.  (or perhaps a $100 to $1000 strap hook) 

F-styles do look cool, and some folks believe that it's not true bluegrass if you don't have an F-style mandolin, but many feel it's not really bluegrass if you have a pick-up on your mandolin.
I agree with Edward that the F-4 styles with the scroll and oval hole are neat looking mandolins.  Eastman does make these. If Eastman's model number ends with a 4, it has an oval hole; with a 5, it has f holes.  If the middle number is 1, it has a scroll; middle numbers 0 are A-style.  The higher the first digit, the better quality that model is.

Comment by Edward Sparks on April 16, 2015 at 6:42am
Robert, do you need it amplified? If so I suggest the epiphone with the built in shadow pickup...f style. If you don't need it amplified then check out the Eastman line...those are really great. Just make sure it had a solid carved (not pressed) top even if the back and sides are laminate. I like f style the best but love the original gibsons with the f style body and an oval sound hole, but those are only vintage and really expensive. I think Eastman makes a couple with the oval sound hole too!
Comment by Robert Williamson on April 16, 2015 at 5:25am

well since no response in 'new to the game', I'll just be getting one of the no-name-i-have- ever-heard-ofs for under $200 mandolin, to assuage my itch... regardless of brand or resale value. From my web investigation it seems that f-type are the cheap end, while all the a-types I have seen are over $500, some over $5000! :)

I am kinds busy as I am negotiating a full-price trade-in of my fender 12 for a Gretch 12, and looking at resonators at same time... ( same non-intuitive f-hole problem BTW, f-holes are low end, round holes are very expensive )

Comment by Robert Williamson on April 15, 2015 at 6:18am

Comment by Craig Fowler on December 30, 2011

Yes those tunes/groups are in my wheelhouse also. Therefore you just might like pop country group Gloriana, before they dropped their mandolin player.

Here's an unplugged performace of one of thier tunes.


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