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Author Topic: go forth & find thee an M1SDL  (Read 1974 times)

Offline Tony Raven

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go forth & find thee an M1SDL
« on: November 22, 2015, 01:24:46 PM »
My first mando was a Harmony Sovereign (almost as old as me) with a split caved-in top that I continued to play for many years because it sounded decent & never let me down.

On to the second. Last summer, I sold my Johnson MA-100-B, which I'd bought new in 2002 for ~$85. Still beautiful, & decent tone at good volume, but the neck was clearly (to me) curved & it has a non-adjustable trussrod. The model is still around as the Rogue RM-100A, which can be had new for $60.

So, I set out to find a mando with an actual trussrod (just on case)... but while not a top-of-line -- I'm primarily a guitar player though recent years have seen me more on bass, & mando is a stretch down the ol' list -- it'snot as though I'm living in a cardboard box, so I wanted something that'd make me want to PLAY it. And for some reason I've always loved the tone & feel of A-style oval-hole mandos. Plus, I just thing they look better in ANYTHING but sunburst.

And that's how I picked up a clearance Michael Kelly A-Solid, in tobacco sunburst, with F-holes.



Nah, just messing with you. Well... okay, so that REALLY IS what happened. The MK certainly has a sweet tone, & it's a THIN mando with hand-carved top & back. I certainly wouldn't hesitate to record with it.

(FWIW, they're blowing out the last 18 on for $195 delivered, which is about what they sell for used.)

And the thing is, I loved it so much that I decided to ALSO keep an eye open for a proper gig-worthy mando.

So, I happened to be scrounging around for Washie guitars, & happened to spot a used M1S going cheap. But, heck: sunburst, F-hole, & now I had a nice one, so I set that thought aside.

Going to a retail site, I soon found the M1SDL, oval-hole, in gloss black... with a Florentine-style headstock, an in-joke that kinda tickles me. While nowhere near the quality of an all-solid-wood 116 or 118, it's also (at $200) less than 1/3 their price. And if the pressed-arch top eventually gave up, I wouldn't feel so bad as about a carved-top.

Then a site that normally gouges (especially on shipping) had one in near-new condition for a shade over $100 delivered, I had to jump.

To my shocked delight, it showed up in a near-new soft-side case. :o

It's a bit more than 1/4" thicker than the MK, & the tone isn't quite as sweet, but it's distinctly louder, so it'll have a better chance of cutting through onstage.

And I think the tuners are distinctly BETTER than the MK's.

The only downer? While I really like having the pickplate, its bracket is misinstalled, with the screw a good 2 mm further from the edge than it should be. If I'd got this new ($199), I'd likely have returned it; as is, I'll gladly live with it until I get the urge to fill-&-drill (the bracket will hide the off-center hole).

The model is all decked out in gold hardware. Besides black, t's available in red or blue as well. The blue is kinda funky (unless you're a Buckaroo) but the deep transparent red seems quite pretty.

If you're in the market for a mando to expand your repertoire, I've gotta highky recommend the M1SDL.
M1SDL; XB-400 (natural), XB-400 (burg), XB-500 (teal); X-10, X-33; D46CESP, WCSD30SCE; BT-3, BT-4, BT-6, JB-80; WS-4; WI-66V; Lyon LCT24; OS Autoharps

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