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Old 11-07-2016, 03:40 AM   #1
TheScholar
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Default Price of Mandolins and Violins vs Guitars

Started getting some side work as a studio musician again. So I was trying to price a new fiddle and a new mandolin this week. I finally got money and thought I could move up to mid quality instruments in both categories. Due to the guitar being a larger instrument, I figured it would cost more (materials and labor). That was not the case.

I can get a Taylor Big Baby (Good mid quality guitar) for about $430. Let's use that as a baseline.

The price of fiddles and violins - my god. I'm going to have to drop at least 800 to 1,200 dollars.

The price of mandolins is much more manageable, but it's hard to find an F-style mandolin of any quality without dropping at least 600 dollars.

How can this be?
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Old 11-07-2016, 07:56 AM   #2
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You can get an A style with a F hole for less. If you have to have F style that's just for looks and looks are what you will be paying for. It's labor intensive to carve all that scrolling and to put binding on it.

The market for fiddles and mandolins is smaller than for guitars as well so there's less economies of scale for the manufacturers.
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Old 11-07-2016, 02:32 PM   #3
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I've got a pal here in my little middle-o-nowhere town who is quite the git'r expert - excellent musician, fine luthier, and connoisseur of fine instruments. not surprisingly, he runs the local music shop, which deals in high-end instruments, ranging from Martin (dealership) up to stuff like Collings and one-off custom stuff.
I asked him this once, and he said that git'r design is pretty standardized and it's not that hard for either a factory or an individual to prduce a pretty fine guitar, compared to a mandolin - which is, once you get into upper-quality instruments, literally a one-off piece of luthiery artwork...he has mando's in his shop that are $8000.
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Old 03-17-2017, 09:06 PM   #4
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Possibly due to size and workmanship to make them strong enough to not fall apart, the price is respondent to the effort at building.
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Old 03-17-2017, 09:14 PM   #5
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I would imagine there are economies of scale at work also.
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Old 06-08-2017, 01:19 PM   #6
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Fiddles and Mandolins are archtops. That's the main reason they are more expensive. The arch gives them more strength, and effects tone. More effort and wood (if carved out) I'd look for a used A model and get the best quality I could. Or some F's don't have the full scroll, just comes to a point where the scroll is. But also just shop around. Some of cheaper ones sound surprisingly good. (other's don't!)
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Old 06-09-2017, 04:11 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheScholar View Post
The price of fiddles and violins - my god. I'm going to have to drop at least 800 to 1,200 dollars.
You think that's bad. Wait 'til see how much the bow costs!

Bluegrass circuit fiddlers will spend 5 or 10 G's easy on a fiddle and bow. Symphony violinists? Ha! You'll need a bank loan, insurance, etc...not exaggerating.

Now on the up side, the fiddlers can carry right on to an airplane for a travel gig. Guitar pickers? You never know what you'll face at the gate.
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Old 06-19-2017, 03:57 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big John View Post
You think that's bad. Wait 'til see how much the bow costs!

Bluegrass circuit fiddlers will spend 5 or 10 G's easy on a fiddle and bow. Symphony violinists? Ha! You'll need a bank loan, insurance, etc...not exaggerating.

Now on the up side, the fiddlers can carry right on to an airplane for a travel gig. Guitar pickers? You never know what you'll face at the gate.
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