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Thread: "Amazing" Antoniotsai

  1. #26

    Default Re: "Amazing" Antoniotsai

    I bought mine several years ago when they first started flooding ebay. Mine is Bruce Wei I believe. There was not much in the way of reviews at the time and none on the ground that I had come across. One showed up on a no reserve auction that had fallen through the cracks and I grabbed it for $60! The shipping cost another $80 and was the best packaging job I have ever seen. Spruce top and a rosewood box --super over blinged inlay and as I mentioned above pretty nicely done whether or not you like that sort of thing or not. That type of inlay work is done on a lot of stuff in Vietnam(like furniture) and other parts of Asia as well and so there seems to be a healthy labor supply of skilled inlay people. Tuning machines,strings, case all of very poor quality and forgivable given that it's something they would have to buy and one wouldn't expect a set of Waverly's on there. The materials(wood)on the instrument are very nice. Maybe the builder of DavidKOS's mandolin is better made,you would think that at least one of the builders would concentrate on the instrument quality rather than the presentation . I have thought all along that if these builders could ever really get their act together and produce a good reliable and consistently good sounding and playing mandolin we would all be buying them. The example given above by DavidKOS is someone having already imported these mandolins to the US and then reselling here. The price we are seeing might not really be a proper idea of what the price is from a direct sale-or rather semi direct sale---most of those Vietnamese instruments seem to be handled by Taiwanese middlemen. I am hoping now that I have a situation where I will be traveling to Thailand every few months that I can go to Vietnam and see where and how these instruments are produced. I have thought that someone would eventually go there and maybe make an investment to make a proper exportable good instrument-- like people are already doing with inlay work. It occurred to me that now that I am travelling to that part of the world that maybe that person could be me!

  2. #27
    Registered User DavidKOS's Avatar
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    Default Re: "Amazing" Antoniotsai

    Quote Originally Posted by barney 59 View Post
    ...Maybe the builder of DavidKOS's mandolin is better made,you would think that at least one of the builders would concentrate on the instrument quality rather than the presentation . I have thought all along that if these builders could ever really get their act together and produce a good reliable and consistently good sounding and playing mandolin we would all be buying them. The example given above by DavidKOS is someone having already imported these mandolins to the US and then reselling here......that I can go to Vietnam and see where and how these instruments are produced.!
    Best of luck! Perhaps you will be the guy that upgrades the Vietnamese mandolin scene.

    I worked for a company that used to sell these mandolins, and we got them from a jobber that went to Vietnam and purchased them.

    Indeed, my better Vietnamese mandolin could stand better tuners, but they do work. One day I'll replace them with better ones.

    BTW, do any of you know what model French mandolin the Vietnamese makers copied?

  3. #28

    Default Re: "Amazing" Antoniotsai

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Mando View Post
    I think what keeps 'em going is that eBay buyers think, "how bad can it be for $250?" (or whatever--this one is being sold by a guy in Texas for $450) I've heard most of them implode before they make it to the buyer or shortly after, although Antoniotsai's feedback is 99% and he has done over 31,000 transactions, so......somebody likes 'em.
    I suffered a 7-string guitar neck from those bandits. The fret work was horrible - wacky, wrong places, etc. - so he agreed to accept a return. Cost me almost as much as the neck to send it back. It took a couple months for Vietnam post office to send it back unclaimed. By then the time to file an eBay complaint had lapsed. If you look seriously at his "feedback" you'll find it is almost exclusively for things like beads, inlays, and nick-nacks, not actual finished instruments.
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  4. #29

    Default Re: "Amazing" Antoniotsai

    Good point, I guess the other way of looking at feedback is that 1 percent of buyers felt screwed or approximately 310 people over his eBay "career".

    In that case, even though he agreed to accept a return, it is better to file a complaint with eBay to get the return documented and dated. (Also, it sort of serves to light a fire under their keister) That being said, I have contacted Paypal by phone and actually explained situations like this to a person and was able to get refunded PAST the 90 day limit (or at least that was the limit at the time).

  5. #30

    Default Re: "Amazing" Antoniotsai

    Quote Originally Posted by barney 59 View Post
    super over blinged inlay and as I mentioned above pretty nicely done whether or not you like that sort of thing or not. That type of inlay work is done on a lot of stuff in Vietnam(like furniture) and other parts of Asia as well and so there seems to be a healthy labor supply of skilled inlay people.
    Not only furniture, but traditional Vietnamese plucked instruments are typically made with elaborate inlays.

    However, there does seem to be a US niche for inlaids as well.

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  7. #31
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: "Amazing" Antoniotsai

    I have wondered about the US market for mandolins inlayed to the limits of ostentatious and often exceeding those limits. I recall it was mostly bowlbacks at first, or it seemed anyway that all I saw from AntonionTsai and Bruce Wei were over the top decorated bowlbacks. Now its every style imaginable.

    I was very attracted at first, because that eye-catching bling is something that non musician friends and family are immediately impressed by, and the mandolin music I could make at the time was ummm.... not.
    Last edited by JeffD; Sep-29-2015 at 10:13am.
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  9. #32
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: "Amazing" Antoniotsai

    Quote Originally Posted by StuartE View Post
    However, there does seem to be a US niche for inlaids as well.
    It is hard to understand. My thoughts early on were that most of the sales were not to players, but decorators looking for mantle pieces.
    Indulge responsibly!

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  10. #33
    Registered User DavidKOS's Avatar
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    Default Re: "Amazing" Antoniotsai

    Mine has limited inlay...no big picture on the back, just a few inlays on the peghead and pickguard.

    My personal opinion would be that too much inlay may inhibit the top and back from vibrating.

  11. #34

    Default Re: "Amazing" Antoniotsai

    Jeff: I didn't use PayPal and by the time I realized he was a scammer it was an exercise of throwing good money after bad. I just cut my losses and moved on.

    When looked at even moderately closely you'll see those inlays are very poorly done and very cheesy looking. I had considered "fixing" the bad fretwork, but given all the inlay on the fretboard, it would have been a horribly tedious job that would still look like crap regardless what one did.

    BTW - I sent a money order that was cashed by a fellow by the name of Paul in Philadelphia. My gut told me this is a US based scam that's taking advantage of the cheap VN labour and distance to suck in the unsuspecting.
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  12. #35
    Registered User DavidKOS's Avatar
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    Default Re: "Amazing" Antoniotsai

    Quote Originally Posted by Verne Andru View Post
    ... but given all the inlay on the fretboard, it would have been a horribly tedious job that would still look like crap regardless what one did.
    The problem with those fancy designs that are not just fret markers but extend under and beyond frets, it's not a stable solid fingerboard. Those fancy inlay art work designs are pretty but certainly not as practical as a basic wooden fingerboard with fret marker inlay.

  13. #36

    Default Re: "Amazing" Antoniotsai

    NFI but I just had to report the sighting of an unusual (though not necessarily for this builder) Antoniotsai mandola in the wild, and instead of creating a new thread figured I would use this as the most recent one I could find instead of one from 2004.

    Anyway, behold this oval and round-holed marvel:

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    The rest of the pics can be seen here: https://charleston.craigslist.org/ms...497518168.html

    It has all the standard hallmarks of a top-of-the-line 'Tsai: Elaborate inlays front, fretboard, and back (Oooh, a saucy lady!). Dubious claims that it 'looks and plays beautifully'. Neck like a Louisville Slugger. Glossy finish over cheap wood. Large crack.

    Have at it folks. It's all yours.

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  15. #37

    Default Re: "Amazing" Antoniotsai

    Double soundholes!!!!

  16. #38
    Registered User Timbofood's Avatar
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    Default Re: "Amazing" Antoniotsai

    The “Esther Williams”!?
    Timothy F. Lewis
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  17. #39
    Registered User Russ Donahue's Avatar
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    Default Re: "Amazing" Antoniotsai

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    Imagine it in conjunction with a Nudie Suit and a set of high lonesome yodels...
    One watch by night, one watch by day...if you get confused, just listen to the music play.

  18. #40

    Default Re: "Amazing" Antoniotsai

    If my dad were still alive, he'd be a total sucker for buying these types of things. He always liked anything odd or unusual, if the price was right. That's how he ended up with a number of sub-par tremoloas and ukelins and other weird items, he just couldn't tell the difference between "unusual and awful" vs "rare and wonderful". Of course his collecting also netted him some valuable old Gibsons and other good-quality items but it was mostly just by pure chance and volume of purchases that he got some good stuff mixed in with the bad.

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