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PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2009 10:10 am 
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Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan
OK, who hasn't peeked into a dumpster before? This example was saved from a certain demise by my whimsical girlfriend, it was made in Romania by Kaman, circa unknown, I'd guess the 70's, but X189 do chime in:

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Has a very tight grained Spruce (solid) top, unknown body and sides, and this remarkable Maple neck that has a fantastic flame all the way through it:

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When presented to me it had your basic barbed-wire rusted strings, four missing tuner buttons and action about an inch high at the seventh fret (magic number on instruments tuned in fifths). But something about it (maybe the flamey neck?) intrigued me. After ElectraFest had run it's course I took off the old strings and cleaned her up. The neck is starting to pull away from the body which is the reason the action was so high. I know a more capable person would have steamed the neck off and reset it... way beyond my abilities. So, I took a deep breath and did what any simpleton would do, shaved about 3/8 of an inch off the bridge and put some new strings on it.

Because of the negative neck angle there is almost no string angle from the tailpiece to the bridge (oops), so there isn't a lot of down pressure on the soundboard, but the action was greatly improved. As you can probably see from the shadow, I repositioned the bridge to intonate it, and the pitch is pretty true now (note zero fret) if you don't use a death grip when playing.

It's interesting to compare it to my other Mandolin, a pointy 'F' type copy, which has all the bells and whistles (except for a radiused fretboard!!). The fretboard on the Romanian is noticeably wider and more comfy to me, and the romanian sounds a bit more fuller (read as Bassy) than my 'pretty' mandolin. You will sometimes hear Bluegrass players say they prefer the F4 (oval soundhole) to a F5 (F sound holes, different bridge position). Some say that ol' Lloyd Loar put the sound holes in the wrong place, others say that the elongated fingerboard inhibits playing the strings farther away from the bridge (which sounds fuller) on the F5's.

In any event, this was definitely worth saving, and worth the $8 in strings and probably $10 I'll spend for replacement tuner buttons (the tuners themselves are really clean, not sure if that comes through in the photographs). My idea was to give this to my Drummer as a gift (as he seems to struggle with a six stringer, and well we both have Irish ancestors!) but I'm having too much fun playing it to give it up just yet, so nobody tell him! Cheers, Mike.
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2009 12:09 pm 
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Location: Tifton, Ga USA
:up: Great save and great find for a dumpster dive. Makes you wonder what lies beneath the surface sometimes. :up:

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2009 7:43 pm 
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GOOOOAAALLLL!!! :up: What a cracker find!! Really, in a dumpster?! You have to wonder what else idiots have tossed out, don't you?! :eek2:

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2009 7:37 am 
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Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan
I was way off on this one, turns out the 'ELM-100' mandolin was produced from 1995 until 2002, I guess it just looked 30 years old (no wonder the tuners look so clean). Kaman, it turns out, is the parent company for Ovation, Applause, Hamer, etc. and Montana is their 'Budget' line made out of Romania, so maybe not a true 'Cheesy', but it has traveled far from eastern Europe to be used here in the midwest.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2009 12:22 pm 
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Modern cheese is true cheese, even if it hasn't had time to age its scent.

still a nice find! I'm not surprised, I'd like to see eastern european stuff supplant asian manufacturing. Ikea sells some pretty awesome furniture made in Slovenia and Poland, way better than chinese equivalents for the price.

Time for the Czech Republic to rise up and overthrow the Korean market! Do I foresee the return of Jolana? I wish!


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2009 12:27 pm 
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Posts: 265
Location: Iowa, USA
Wow - that is really cool, Mike! Nice find!

It's amazing what people throw away. I worked a summer for a friend of mine helping him haul garbage. I scored a completely intact Teisco Del Rey guitar out of someone's garbage that summer. It had a few dings here and there, but it had all of the tuners, pickups, hardware, funky metal pickguard / cavity covers - the whole nine yards. I ended up trading the thing in on an amp, but yeah, truly amazing what people throw away....

I expect ye an yer brudder be playin' us an olde jig or two next time we by dat way for a pint den, eh?

Sorry. Couldn't resist. You may smite me later....


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2009 8:42 am 
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Location: NYC
My favaorite dumster find was the double bass my brother got. It had a crack in the bridge. Some gorilla glue and two clamps and he was in business.

I got a PA head once and would have grabbed the cabinets except I was taking the subway home. A nieghbor threw out a peavery bandit amp (shoddy but free). The only thing wrong was a piece of christmas tinsel was shorting the speaker.

Enjoy the mando they are cool little instruments.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 20, 2009 12:57 am 
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Location: Battle Creek, MI
X189player wrote:
Modern cheese is true cheese, even if it hasn't had time to age its scent.



Whatta quote!!! hahaa.

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