Used Mandolins For Sale: The Why, Where And How Much

When buying a mandolin on sale, you usually have a very clear choice – you can look at new mandolins and used mandolins. Although price is normally a consideration, a lot of people prefer a used mandolin for other reasons, such as a well-grooved fret-board, or a seasoned neck and soundboard. Others might buy one for sheer art value, such as one used by a famous musician, or one that has emotional connotations. No matter what your reasons, used mandolins are aplenty and come in a variety of brands and models, so if you look hard enough, there will definitely be one with your name written on it – well, that is if your name is either Morgan Monroe or Johnson. There are several online resources for used mandolins, also known as pre-owned, once-loved, or professionally seasoned mandolins. On such website that leaves no room for doubt about the pricing is cheapmandolin dot com, an eBay redirection site that features used mandolins and accessories that can either by bought immediately or bid on. You can find a decent instrument in fairly good shape, such as an acoustic spruce top for as little as $77, or a Vintage Givens 70s A-style mandolin for a little under $1500, including everything in between. Another great store on the internet is a site called folkofthewood dot com. This site lists dozens of models starting at about $150 for basic used mandolins and going all the way up through to $2000 or more for vintage used mandolins.

Buying A Used Mandolin: Rich Hunting Grounds

There are also places you can go to find good used mandolins. Flea markets, used instrument stores, antique music shops and even the odd yard sale or two are all good hunting grounds. No matter where you go, be sure to take your time and test out the instrument before you pull out your wallet. And don't let anyone push you into buying an instrument; in fact, the more you're pushed, the more suspicious you should be. Be ready to walk out of any place if you're not completely happy with the available pieces.

Pre-Buying Process: Checking A Used Mandolin

When buying used mandolins, be sure that you go with a checklist that covers all the different parts. First, give it a thorough once-over, checking for any cracks or obvious signs of misuse or improper storage. Telltale hairline fractures and neck warping are usually the easiest to spot. Next, check for any signs of separation between attached parts – joints with gaps, improper gluing, broken or missing parts, or cracks that have been poorly repaired. Once you're happy with the overall look, it's time to inspect the hardware. Check that all the tuning pegs and gears are in working order and not too worn out, or worse, broken; see if the feet of the bridge marries well with the body contours and that there's no unseemly gap that indicates inability to handle string tension; check the neck joint to see if there are any minor shakes that could be signs of bigger problems; align the length of the neck with eye level and see that it's absolutely straight – warping may be rectified by a simple truss-rod adjustment, but only if it's mild; finally, take a good look at the top – it should be slightly curved, a design that helps it to handle string tension, a flattened or warped top being an indication to put down the instrument and move on to the next.

The Sound Of Music: Play And Tell

After you've checked all the visual cues, it's time to check the auditory ones – by actually tuning and playing the instrument. Even the keenest eye of the most experienced mandolin manufacturer or repair technician can sometimes miss seeing things that adversely affect the tone or playability of a used mandolin. Ask for a tuner or bring your own, tune the instrument and check if you're able to do that without a problem. If you're new, bring your teacher along to try it for you. See that you're happy with the tone that the instrument produces. For example, a flat-back may not produce as round a sound as a bowl-back, which doesn't mean that there's anything wrong with the flat-back except for the design being different. When you're absolutely certain that you've done everything is your power to make sure that you're buying a sound instrument, only then start your price negotiations. With a little time and effort invested in the purchasing, a used mandolin should give you years of pleasurable plucking and picking.