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I have a 1980's KM-850 Bought on Ebay.Fantastic wood & workmanship-almost mint-which brings me to the problem.I think it has hardly been played & has been kept in it's case unplayed for months or years.So the neck has a kink at the 12th fret-straight from nut to 12-I'VE TIGHTENED THE TRUSS ROD,but it's still the same.Perfectly playable,but the fingerboard extension means pick clicking.I know I could get the frets filed down or even removed,but my main concern is that the mandolin just doesn't produce the tone or volume it should.Ideas please!

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An inherent and persistant prob w/ mandos is the high stress area where neck meets body. Unless you spend most of your time in that upper end IMO just have a good fret job done and take 'em down out of harms way. Even the pros have stuff like that done to acheive max. low action and quick response.I'm constantly trying for that great feel of playability so don't try this at home.And it could have injured itself being
put away for an extended period. There's no help like no help,huh?
Thanks for that,I know a fret job would end the pick click,but why doesn't the mando roar?-I know-just play it all day every day!
Oh wait you said it's perfectly playable but sounds like crap. In that case why not get one that sounds really good and big and plays perfectly with no pick ckicking. You can't pick in that sweet spot unless you get it out of the way.lowered or scalloped.
Hi Mike.
I'm not so sure that the truss rod will do much to the fingerboard extension. Maybe this one is different but I'm thinking that the truss rod ends at the heel of most mandolins.
You said your mandolin doesn't have the tone or volume it should but you didn't say what you are comparing it to. What with the volume and tone issues and the fingerboard extension problem it sounds to me like your dissatisfaction is high enough that you might consider dumping it and purchasing another mandolin.

Ned
Here's the skinny according to me,,,,,the carved top and back type mando's mass produced lack the the required attention needed to make them sing like a LLOYD LOAR .No life to them.Too many parts required for assembly and they all look the same .My Washburn just goes thud when you tap it. No discernable tone.That's why I ditched it which leads me to the conclusion that this style is simply man's attempt at trying to build mando like a violin.Too much wood.I'm sticing to flattops. At least they have a voice!I make my own and I like 'em a lot!
Thanks Guys,
You're confirming what I already thought.It doesn't sound crap,but it doesn't fill the room like my Gibson F-12(Squared off fb)or my Chris Eccleshall(UK Luthier-trained violin maker)F-5 where he sloped the extension down toward the top.I've also got a Chinese Kentucky km675,which did sound crap until I put the top half of the F12 BRIDGE ON IT AND IT CAME TO LIFE!
I also think just playing it at gigs helped(it's got a bug in it)so it was my main mando when we payed electric,but we've gone back to playing into mics.I probably will get the frets filed down,keep tinkering and whacking it till I get the sound I think is in there-(somewhere).
Other things to try........A one piece bridge or at least all wood.No metal posts.I put a Brekke/old style using
inserts at the sides adjusted w/a hex driver which pushes 2 wood wedges up under the saddle.A really good tailpiece like a Monteleone/heavy but effective volume wise.The tin ones all suck IMO making the instrument sound tinny as well.Both improved the tone on the Washburn by at least 50% or more to my ear.Bridge $80,
tailpice $100.It was worth it to hear the difference.
Mike Help your brother Luthiers and buy a good hand made F model. You can always take it back to him if it gives you any problems. He will be glad to fix it or give you your money back or build you another one that you like. Better still build one your self. Bill."""""""
Hey people-- I have a washburn mando. and its an "A" style and the things does an excelent job of doing what I want it to do.. baught the thing on eBAY for less then 90 bucks and that in it self is a gr8 deal .. but the thing is,
sometimes your the windshield and sometimes you're the bugg if ya kno what I mean.
best to you in your search for that mando that you like Mike and be well :-)
Donald
The Eccleshall is luthier hand made-I swapped a Vanden for it-made by a guy I knew personally-never regretted it.I know two other luthiers locally who've made F5's and an accountant who makes mandolins as a hobby!
When he finished his first F-5 he said he'd never make another,but within months he was making an F-4!
This all started when I found a KM1000 (Chino)at Hobgoblin & fell in love.The price was £200 more than the Acoustic music centre and they offered me £600 px on a Gibson J-50.then they put the price UP!
So I bought the MIJ KM850 on ebay at a very good price.Endorsed by Grisman,Scaggs etc.Looks the biz!
The sound is getting there-I put Elixirs on it today & again an improvement.
I agree with the solid bridge suggestion-that's what's on my F-12,Courtesy Martin Cole another Brit luthier,
but "The Kentucky" is such a Loar clone I want to keep it original.
Don, wanna buy my Washburn M38SW/TS ? I paid 800. i just don't care for F5's.It will accept good low action
set-up. Needs bridge & Tailpiece & tuners....
Hey Tim -- I must admit that I'm not much of a mandolin player- I can strum a few cords and thats about it.
My hands are like a gorella and I cant get my fingers on that skinnie fret board.
I have a plan to make a mando with a OM size body and and a 1-5/8 nut and tuned an octive below.
best to you Tim,
Donald

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