View Full Version : Hand carved, solid spruce F-style for under $100?

May-17-2011, 1:14pm
OK, I REALLY don't need another mandolin. But this one (http://cgi.ebay.com/Hand-Carved-Solid-Spruce-Top-F-Style-Mandolin-Sunburst-/200588542467?_trksid=p4340.m1374&_trkparms=algo%3DPI%26its%3DC%26itu%3DUCC%26otn%3D 5%26ps%3D63%26clkid%3D9219480400559594045) is intriguing.


No brand listed, and there's something on the peghead, but I couldn't read it in the photo. Here's the description.

* Hand Carved Solid Spruce Top F Style Mandolin, Sunburst
* Maple Neck
* Rosewood Fretboard
* Steel String,
* Width at Nut: 1"
* Width: 10.3"
* Depth: 2"
* Total Length: 28"

I would be interested to read any comments about this obviously cheap mandolin, but it's an F-style with hand carved solid wood top, so it's at least intriguing.

Clement Barrera-Ng
May-17-2011, 1:31pm
I see these on eBay a lot, and I really question whether they are actually carved top. From the pictures, the scroll looks really flat and seems to suggest that they are pressed top.

I seem to recall a thread in the past about this. They are also advertised as 'Advanced mandolin' or 'New York' mandolin. See if a search turns up anything

May-17-2011, 1:32pm
Well, the auction lists the brand as `K-Tone', which a search yielded this thread:


Not encouraging, as it suggests the top is laminated spruce, fingerboard is maple painted dark. A musical instrument, but sounds like it is far far less than a few hundred bucks more, and not in the same discussion with instruments ten times it's price.

Also is a very skinny 1" at nut, difficult to play unless you like the thinnest necks.

OK, I REALLY don't need another mandolin.

Well, if you're still looking then perhaps you haven't really found `your' mandolin yet.

And in that case, I would suggest that you are unlikely to find that mandolin by looking for a deal, at a price tag, or online where feel and impressions are absent.

Not that I haven't looked at other mandolins, but that's more `when I win the lottery' dreaming of instruments far out of my current price range. Then again, while I have a mandolin, guitar, uke, fiddle, keyboard, djembe, and half of a home studio I'm not a `multiple of the same' sort of collector - my tastes, not yours .... plenty of folks here have whole extended families of mandolins.

Anyway - as it's the internet peanut gallery, thought I'd spout my opinion off. You are free to ignore it.

Ed Goist
May-17-2011, 1:48pm
How much can this thing really be worth if they are asking only $100 for it, and they are willing to ship it anywhere in the world for free from "Best Deal, United States"?

May-17-2011, 2:27pm
This is from the other string Markus notes above:

" . . . you’ll find you have to tune the mandolin almost constantly. . . . Although this is frustrating, the constant tuning of the mandolin trains the beginner ear to the proper pitch quickly."

Talk about turning lemons into lemonade!

May-17-2011, 2:30pm
How much can this thing really be worth if they are asking only $100 for it, and they are willing to ship it anywhere in the world for free from "Best Deal, United States"?

That was my real question as well. Looks very suspicious to me. And no, Markus, I'm not really looking. I love my Ovation and my Rogue, and they're plenty for me right now, plus I'm still working on that bowlback. But I had set up a search on eBay when I was looking for the Ovation, so I clicked on the e-mail for curiosity, and this was one of the "related items." It looks pretty cheaply made to me, but I'm not that knowledgeable and it does say hand carved. Just wondering.

May-17-2011, 2:36pm
It is good to bring these up Michael, don't stop learning.

It also might help someone out just browsing later, or on search.

Evidently I woke up on the wrong side of the bed today.

May-17-2011, 2:44pm
Yeah, that was part of why I posted it. Just for curiosity mostly. And BTW, good catch on the brand name. I had missed that completely.

I have the cheap, low-end Rogue that came with a gig bag and two instruction books for $40 total, so I know about cheap mandolins. But the Rogue is clearly laminate and A-style. The F-style equivalent Rogue is $169 at Music123, which is where I got my Rogue. So, thinking of Rogue as the low end, I wondered how they could even make a hand-carved F-style for a hundred bucks.

May-17-2011, 5:19pm
These mandolins come up often in discussions here. A Cafe member actually bought one. His advise was to not waste your money.

Cheryl Watson
May-17-2011, 5:46pm
Too good to be true.

Bill Snyder
May-24-2011, 7:23pm
I would almost bet my house (and I don't gamble) that the top on that one is plywood. Hard to carve plywood and make it look like much. :)

May-25-2011, 11:27am
I would say a pressed plywood top. But the roughly shaped tone bars may have been carved by carved by hand.

Jun-12-2011, 9:58am
what i don't get is there are no negative reviews and no complaints about its being pressed when the add clearly says hand carved...this is why i hate ebay now.

Ed Goist
Jun-12-2011, 3:03pm
This is a good example how the description "Hand Carved" is meaningless in a mandolin description.
In 15 minutes any adult can be trained to whittle out a small curl of spruce. Next, take that spruce top blank and press-out the soundboard..."Ta-Da!" You have a hand-carved top!
It's just an uncomfortable truth that the best indication of quality is price.
With so many products we like to kid ourselves otherwise, but it's just true.
You get what you pay for.

John A
Sep-24-2012, 3:18pm
I used to use Ebay quite a bit - a few years back - but the past few years have been awful. It has been full of bad quality stuff and fakes - and I don't refer to only mandolins - it is harder now to find an authentic deal from a real seller, vs some type of online sore hawking cheap junk.

Oct-03-2012, 10:34pm
In my opinion it is foolish to shop Ebay without knowing what you want or when finding something of interest, researching it to determine its quality, price from a dealer, if new and reputation. That is why this site is so valuable. But i think that a new mando for $100 is junk and you get what you pay for.

On the other hand I have purchased a couple of realy nice old mandolins for less than $100, but they were in need of repair and that's why I got them at a low price. I have never felt cheated on eBay. Surprised sometimes, but never cheated. But I may be more cautious than some folks.