View Full Version : iida mandolins...

Apr-04-2006, 7:41pm

new forum participant here asking about iida 'sunburst florentine' F5 style mandolins...mine is a model I402S with date of '8-26-94.' the one i have seems to be well made, plays well enough, stays in tune and so forth...not really a player yet so my opinion on its playability is/maybe wishful thinking....

hoping to find out where iidas were made and what players think of them...adverse comments ok....


dave dickerson, austin, tx

Eric F.
Apr-04-2006, 8:21pm
Dave, I know they are from somewhere in Asia, but I don't know what country. If it plays well enough, stays in tune, etc., then that's what counts. It should get you started. Welcome to the Cafe, and to the world of the mando.

Jim Garber
Apr-04-2006, 8:42pm
This one is the same model you mention at Eddie's Guitars (http://www.eddiesguitars.com/) in St. Louis.



Celtic Saguaro
Apr-04-2006, 10:42pm
It's a typical import of the era. Neither the best nor the worst. If it seems good to you, follow the golden rule of mandolins - Play it till you find something better. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif

Iida's were originally Japanese, but by '94 production probably had been moved to Korea or elsewhere in Asia.

jim simpson
Apr-05-2006, 8:16am
The same headstock inlay is seen on many imports making one suppose that they are all made in the same factory.

Jim MacDaniel
Jun-12-2006, 2:48pm
The fretboard extension and inlays in the F-style pictured above looks a lot like those on Gold Tone's F-style model, but the model number Dave references above, the I402S, looks to be a two-pointer from my web searches (see below).

Dave, is yours a two point model? I've always had a soft spot in my heart for two points. Are any of your friends mandolists -- if so, what have their comments been regarding it?

Jun-12-2006, 4:12pm
hello Jim,

probably wrong, *but* i think mandolin pictured is the I401S...i've seen that picture somewhere else, maybe ebay, and thought to msg seller with correction, but never have...anyway, I402S is an F5 look alike

have not had a good player play mine yet...but hope to do so soon...i will report results here....

have not come across any further Iida provenance either for mine or for the breed in general....

thanks to all for replies above,

best wishes,

dave dickerson, austin, tx

Jun-12-2006, 10:38pm
Are you implying people on ebay might not tell the whole truth? I am shocked. Shocked! http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/tounge.gif

Aug-28-2006, 10:56pm
Hey - I about jumped out of my chair when I saw the picture of the 2-pointer. It's an I401S model, same as I received for a Christmas present some 4-5 years ago. Mine has a one-piece back. Still my only mando, but hoping to remedy that soon with a better Mid-MO.

It's a bit of a dog: sure, stays in tune, but you have to put fairly stout strings on it to get any tone. I play Irish trad with it, and it really isn't made for that. Intonation is off above the 10th fret up, and no adjustments of bridge have improved this. #It's certainly playable, not bad for a beginner's model. Just don't expect miracles.


Mando Medic
Aug-29-2006, 2:13pm
I used to sell Iida instruments and was told by the distributor that during that time period they were made in Korea and came out of the Samick factory. Just after that, they moved production to China. Ken Cartwright

an uncalloused fingertip
Aug-31-2006, 7:12pm
I miss my Iida, which was sold five years ago. It was an F-style, F-hole, with all solid wood construction. I received it in 1999 as a Christmas gift. The craftsmanship of the one I owned was sound. No varnish blemishes or runs, neat binding and well inlaid flower fret markers. I was in college when I had mine and underestimated how loud it was. Some of the guys on my dorm wing said you could hear it throughout the wing, and I didn't believe them until I let one play it in my room with the door closed while I was at the other end of the hall in a different room (with the door closed); it was a cannon!

At that time I wasn't educated as to what mandolins were preferable for certain styles of music, and I used an obvious bluegrass mando for Classical and Celtic music; the Iida was crisp but had little sustain. I didn't know about the flat-backed mandolins with mahoghany or rosewood backs that sounded sweeter and had A LOT more sustain - made for the music I liked to play.

I suggest looking for one made in Korea, if it is still possible. They are an off-brand, yet it shouldn't tempt you to assume that it is of poorer quality. I regret selling mine. It was a quality, solid instrument. When I received it, it was purchased for around $500 (with hardshell case). Mandolin prices seem to have increased quite a bit since then, so this instrument - if purchased today - would probably cost 2 to 300 hundred more.

Aug-31-2006, 8:18pm
Well, okay, but...I just saw an Iida F-style at a local shop for $600 without a case. For the same price, you can get a Mid-Missouri that's made of solid woods, not laminates. It might not be as fancy looking, but it will definitely play and sound better. Not affiliated with Mid-Mo, etc., honest!

But having said all that, a gently used Iida at $200-300 would be an excellent bargain.


an uncalloused fingertip
Sep-01-2006, 6:22pm
I agree with you on the Mid Missouris. In fact, I agree with you so much that I ordered one directly from Mid Missouri a little over two weeks ago. As I type this, it's waiting - yet unopened in the box it was shipped in - at my father's house for me to pick up. Let's just say that this mandolin will be replacing a dead turtle. I already have a pack of my favorite strings, picks, a strap, and a(nother) mando book of tunes ready to go. All I have to do is go git it. And I will. Tomorrow. Yeehaw, yippy do!

Sep-05-2006, 2:47pm
hey look its my old mandolin!!
well a fine mandolin. however, if you start picking hard after a few years the thing will bust in some way. generally speaking it will be a shakey trus rod.