View Full Version : JOhnson Mandolins

Keith Miller
Jan-24-2004, 1:29am
what are Johnson Mandolins like ? the 1 I have seen on ebay is cheap (for UK anyway) but says it has a Lime body with maple neck , any good or just cheap tat.

Jan-24-2004, 3:30am
I have a MA-110 oval hole that I got off Ebay because I didn't want to invest much money (I also didn't HAVE much money at the time) into a hobby without trying it out first. It's definitely not a high quality mando, and I'm looking to upgrade, but it served its purpose (and it came with a case that was almost worth the price I paid for the instrument). It doesn't like to stay in tune because the tuners suck, but the sound isn't too bad, and it will work to learn on until I get up enough money to upgrade.

As with most things, you get what you pay for, so don't get one expecting an awesome mandolin. If you're looking for a higher quality starter mando, you'd want to look toward something like a low end Kentucky or the Johnson Ma-120, the former have at least a solid top, and the latter has all solid woods, and both run around $150. I haven't played either though, so I'll leave it up to someone else to advise you further.

Feb-27-2004, 11:44am
I am a big fan of the Johnsons. They give you a lot for not much money. I own an MA 120 and an MF100 and have set up 3 new MA100s, 1 MA110 and 1 MF310 for friends.
Of these 7 Johnson mandos, 3 required a lot of setup work by me. They would have been poor players as they came. Essentially, all they needed was the strings raised so they would fret and play well up the neck.
The Johnsons do not sound quite as good as my wife's Micheal Kelly or my friend's Mid Missouri, but they are not far off.
I know the solid wood 120 should sound better than the laminate 100, but they are close to the same. My sister's laminate oval hole 110 has really nice tone. The laminate F style, MF 100, is very pretty but I can not say it sounds better than the A style.
Best wishes.

You an tune a guitar, you can tune a mando, but you can't tuna fish. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/mandosmiley.gif

Feb-29-2004, 7:35pm
I have a Johnson MF-370 "Knoxville" and really like it. It is my first mandolin so I have nothing to compare it to but other mandolins I have piddled with. A local legand, Andy Carlson Andy" target="_blank">http://www.denison.edu/publica....Carlson (http://www.denison.edu/publicaffairs/pressreleases/carlson.html<a href=), picked it out for me. With the exception of a few Morgan Monroe's and an old Gibson, nothing I have played has even come close. Now the total number of mandos that I have seen is relitivly low and I am sure that there are better insturments out there, but it still sounds pretty good.

Mar-01-2004, 8:13am
I got a Johnson mandolin from Musician's Friend in a two-fer deal. An acoustic guitar and a mandolin for $99.00; a friend and I split the cost. He got the guitar and I got the mandolin. I had some trouble with it at first. If I tried to tune up to pitch, the E string would break. Every time. After learning to ease it up slowly, it is doing well. In fact, it is better than the Santa Rosa I bought to replace it. I am now thinking of a Johnson F-style to feed my desire for an F-style. At this point I don't see a need to buy better.

Mar-01-2004, 9:02am
I have a Johnson A-style without a truss rod, but with a carved top and back. It's not much too look at, but it sounds quite good. Much better than a Washburn F-type I tried out, that cost about 4 times the price...

It is hard to play, though. I can't get the action low enough! It's killing my left hand, so I intend to buy a set of light-gauge strings.

Another thing: it didn't have a name printed on the headstock for some reason, so I got out a metallic pen and wrote Dudenbostel on it http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/wow.gif

Mar-01-2004, 4:53pm
There is a Johnson MF-370 like mine on e-bay right now at $300. I would give it a look. http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=3707608435&category=10179 I paid almost $600 for mine. This might be a gip but you never know, it could be just the one you are looking for.