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Does anyone have any information about Paris Swing mandolins? I haven't seen them mentioned here.I know they're an Asian import, but wonder if they're of decent quality. They certainly look cool.Thanks in advance. Chief.
I would be happy to answer any questions you have about these. The Paris Swing line is your standard Chinese import mando. Overall, comparable to a Morgan Monroe (same factory).
These have been discussed a good bit! Here are some threads on Paris Swings (http://www.mandolincafe.net/cgi-bin/ikonboard.cgi?act=Search&CODE=02&SID=47e998e0615fe2ba) and there is Jazzmando.com review of the Paris Swing Samois (http://jazzmando.com/paris_swing_samois.shtml). Jazzmando is run by head moderator Ted Eschliman.
I believe you could do better for the money. The two I saw around town both had some finish flaws concerning the woodwork. Not to say you would pick one up, play it and learn to love it. But I would sure look it over very well.
One of the flaws was an obvious wood gash on the bottom of one of the F cut soundhole on a Florentine model. I told the salesman that sure would deter someone from paying $700 nicely.
The Paris Swing mandolins are actually still made in Korea, but not for much longer, as the MusicLink production is phasing into its own shop (not a contract shop) in Shanghai. That said, there are two iterations of the D-hole model, one with a really (really) big soundhole, and a subsequent one with a somewhat more restrained grande bouche. With regards to any made so far, think Samick: pressed top with carved details, aesthetics somewhat ahead of sonic output. Have patience, as the next generation will have the same name, much of the same cool look, and be entirely better soundwise. No more pressed tops!
I went through some flipflops with these items. I disliked them at first, saw them as structural timebombs. But I set a few up for folks and warmed up to them, because they actually sounded remarkably good after a real setup. Of the three main models, my favorite is the f-hole one. For the money, they're pretty darned good, but you'd have a hard time believing that as they come right from the box. I think Ted's review (http://jazzmando.com/paris_swing_samois.shtml) is right on. The Greg Rich art touch is almost worth the price. That collage of stuff on the headstock, floating in 3-D, is priceless.
I have two here. An MA-110 and an MA-120. Both are labeled made in China. I don't recall seeing a Korean version. I thought I got one a while back that had a Daewon sticker on the headstock. I could be mistaken though.
Add to the headstock, a very cool tailpiece and tortoise binding http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif
You're right, and I had it wrong - they are made in China. I had them confused with some other Music Link instruments which are still made in Korea. Thanks for the nudge.
I own a D hole model Paris Swing and think that the fit and finish is very good. I put a Brakke bridge on it and restrung it with J-74's and it sound and plays remarkably good. The look of the mandolin is unique. I wonder how the top will react to tension over time. The hole is BIG. I purchased it around Christmas and love it.
I have the John Jorgenson Model with JM-11's on it. Plays like butter, wonderful oval hole tone. I got lucky and got a blem model for a 1/3 of the retail price, but I wouldn't hesitate spending 600.00 on this model(new)They retail for 900.00(I wouldn't pay that!) I have never played the other models so I have no idea, but I would trust Ted Eschliman's opinion.
I've seen some on eBay, and more than a few of them had sinking tops...
I've seen some on eBay, and more than a few of them had sinking tops...
That's what I've noticed too - there has been at least one reseller with ~a dozen Paris Swings on auction at once. #For some of these it would be more accurate to say the tops had collapsed, including cracking. #For whatever reason most of these had the oval holes. #I don't like their design that puts the bridge less than an inch behind the edge of the sound hole. #Given that none of these could have been very old (1 yr or less?), seeing a bunch with this problem was worrying to me.
I had one of the older ones,with the really huge D-hole. Overall build quality was similar to other mid-price imports. Playability was okay. The voice was unique, very big and hollow; however, the bass was so prominent that the trebles seemed very puny in comparison. As a fan of the Selmer-Maccaferri guitar tone, I thought this might compare- it didn't. A better choice for someone seeking that tone in a mandolin would be trying to track down one of David Hodson's Djanoglins.
Overall, it was an okay mando, but probably not for everybody (including me).
A David Hodson Djangolin? Never heard of that one. Are they still being made? And where would one find information about them? Maybe that's another topic, but if anyone knows about them, please let me know. Thanks. It seems the more you learn, the less you actually know.
Sadly, David Hodson passed away last year. He was a very accomplished maker of Selmer-style guitars in the UK. Additionally, he made the Djangolin, a Selmer-inspired mandolin. Since David is now gone, these are no longer being made, but turn up from time to time on the used market.
I owned a petit bouche version, which I was very fond of, which is picture below.
Addtionally, here is a link to a grande bouche version, once for sale at Elderly:
Those Hodson's were authentic to the laminated construction. As an aside, read the article in this quarters Fretboard Journal on John Jorgenson where the selmer styles construction (laminates) are discussed. Great article, great journal (NFI).
Here's Maurice Dupont in about 1994:
I don't know anyone who made one of these earlier than he did. Selmer, of course, never made one. I sold a number of these Dupont mandolins way back when. Notice the uke on the table behind him.
FWIW, the rationale for laminated woods for guitar bodies was rooted in Maccaferri's internal resonator, and simply carried over from that after the resonator disappeared. Having handled hundreds of Selmers and good copies (including John Jorgenson's) in solid and laminate bodies, only the player might (emphasize: might) ever hear the difference. The listener ten feet out front certainly never would: all they hear is the top. The Dupont mandolins were solid wood, for a variety of good reasons. Selmer (and Dupont) laminations were about 60% of what is the common standard in Asian instruments and old Gibsons - very light. In a mandolin this would make zero difference audially.
Love that blue sparkle case!
Ah, Rich, la petite bouche Djangolin. Je crois que je suis amoureux.
[Djangolins] With 3 to view, RichM's, the one on elderly.
and the one here, I note some variations there is a notched fretwire atop the bridge of Mine.
that and the zero fret, and nickel wound light strings are all part of the sound.
I had the height cut down on the bridge, the bridge 'fret' is angled but straight,not an offset intonation,
so went in a similar slot when the extra height came off.
it appears the one on elderly's site some offsets attempt was in the carving of the bridge.
Blue, Red and Green metalflake cases..
my "deux sou" contribution is that they look awful - the model with the enlarged sound hole in particular: looks like something out of disney's "alice in wonderland." (blood-shot-eyed, white rabbit emoticon)
I like my Paris Swing, the oval holed one. I have less than $300 in it right now, it is well worth that. The tuners were the typical junk but everything else was OK. I scooped the fretboard extension and the next string change it is getting lopped off altogether.
I'd snap up a Djangolin in a second if I could get one for six or seven hundred but they just aren't around. The last one on ebay went for over $1,100.
The Draleon's look promising as well but they aren't available either.
Moi aussi, Tom, about the Djangolins. I think they're adorable (said with French accent, of course). I've missed two, TWO of them, when they were up for sale and I didn't have the cash in hand. The last one for about $725, which really hurt. Now I have the cash, and they're nowhere to be found. A little lesson in patience, I guess.
There's a Draleon, new, a few hours drive from me, or there was last summer: Spruce Tree Music, up in Madison. Just checked: it's still there. Out of my price range, though, and I've never seen one used!
There's a Draleon, new, a few hours drive from me, or there was last summer: #Spruce Tree Music, up in Madison. #Just checked: #it's still there. #Out of my price range, though, and I've never seen one used!
Funny, I had my Draleon up for sale in the classifieds just two weeks ago! Although, I must admit, it wasn't up there for long. I had an enormous flurry of interest and had it sold in less than 24 hours. I guess they're still pretty hard to come by.
As you might surmise from this thread, I've been intrigued by the concept of a Selmer-influenced gypsy mando. I had the Paris Swing, the Djangolin, and the Draleon Royale (although never one of Marice Dupont's, and I love the look of Michael Lewis'!). My assessment:
1. Paris Swing D-hole (older, giant D-hole): interesting look, unusual tone, although not really Django-ish.
2. Draleon Royale: very well-made archtop mando, very crystalline and clear tone, no bluegrass woof. Excellent jazz sounds, although not very Django-ish either.
3. Hodson Djangolin (petit bouche): Much more like a little guitar than a mandolin in look and feel, played beautifully, lots of elements of that in-your-face strident Selmer tone. The best of the bunch for my money, if you're trying to channel Django through a mandolin. BTW, I chatted with David Hodson about this, and he said there was no discernable tone difference between his petit bouche and grande bouche models; he did it primarily for aesthetics.
I've posted this before, but here's (http://members.aol.com/mouser9997/nuages.mp3) a link to me playing Nuages on the Djangolin, mistakes and all!
Rich, I saw yours but it was gone by the time I got the budget officer to agree to let me spend her money on it. (Thank you to whoever kept me out of the doghouse!)
To be honest, I'm not all that thrilled with Django's Selmer tone. I like a smoother tone which is why I'm so interested in the Draleons. "Great chop" is usually enough of a description to steer me in another direction since I don't have any need for a great chop unless it is pork.
There are several mandolins available that are really close to the sound I want but I doubt I'd be able to hear them well over the screeching that would be prevalent in our household if I spend that much money. "For the money" is important to me. I can't really justify spending several thousand dollars to get that last little bit closer to perfection.