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Thread: Chinese mandolins

  1. #1

    Default Chinese mandolins

    Hi, I am novice, thinking of buying a Chinese mandolin. They seem well build and offer two all solid models. Spruce top and maple back and sides. Attached find the photos. Mandolin 1 is more expensive model than Mandolin 2. They say the difference is the following:

    1: The wood paint on the process is different.
    2. The neck joint is different
    3. The mando1 maple wood grade is 3AAA, higher than mando2.

    Mandolin1 costs 30% more than Mandolin 2.

    They both have single action truss rods. Is this usual for this type of mandolin or double action truss rods are available too? I assume that would be better?

    What are different types of joints and is it important to clarify which is which before the buy?

    Is Mandolin 1 worth that much more than Mandolin 2 and which would you go for? Should I ask them something else? Please help me with advice.

    Thanks,
    DarioClick image for larger version. 

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  2. #2
    Registered User William Smith's Avatar
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    Default Re: Chinese mandolins

    They both look very nice! What is the brand name? I'd see if the more expensive has a dovetail neck joint? I personally don't care for a bolt on neck-Gibson did this on the 80's-90's F5-L's and I had an 88 I got rid of and played others and didn't like the bolt on? Just my opinion. Check also, maybe the more expensive has a better finish, a lighter lacquer or varnish is way better than a thick nitro.

  3. #3
    Registered User slimt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Chinese mandolins

    If the build those like the Walmart furniture I would find a better place to shop. But thats me.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Chinese mandolins

    Quote Originally Posted by slimt View Post
    If the build those like the Walmart furniture I would find a better place to shop. But thats me.
    They're built like every other mandolin ever - almost certainly better than most American made factory instruments available from 1940-1985. But that's true of all solid-wood instruments available from any country right now.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Chinese mandolins

    I have been tempted to buy the one on the left that you feature. It looks like a good instrument. None of this type has been sold yet and my purchase would be as a bit of a gamble- for the hell of it- and I have a highly skilled man who could deal with any issues! My only concern might be the inlays on the board- will they be problematical as is the case with some Vietnamese instruments? Of course, the time-honoured words "buyer beware" are worth repeating and as I mentioned, if I went for one, it would be because there is an element of chance- one may be extremely happy or kicking oneself for being stupid! Mind you, every time you buy an unseen instrument on ebay, you are taking a bit of a risk.

  6. #6
    Registered User William Smith's Avatar
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    Default Re: Chinese mandolins

    Who has these for sale? They look pretty good and I can rework anything! Thanks, Will

  7. #7

    Default Re: Chinese mandolins

    Quote Originally Posted by William Smith View Post
    They both look very nice! What is the brand name? I'd see if the more expensive has a dovetail neck joint? I personally don't care for a bolt on neck-Gibson did this on the 80's-90's F5-L's and I had an 88 I got rid of and played others and didn't like the bolt on? Just my opinion. Check also, maybe the more expensive has a better finish, a lighter lacquer or varnish is way better than a thick nitro.
    Hi, thanks for the comment. I will check what kind of joints they make. The brand is "Feeling" but they can print on whatever you want as a name Yes, according to photos the more expensive one has a lighter finish. Matte vs shiny on cheaper.

  8. #8
    Registered User William Smith's Avatar
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    Default Re: Chinese mandolins

    Ah they can print any name huh "lets go with a discussion on another thread I want mine called GIBSON" LoL!!! But seriously where do you find them at? evilbay?

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Chinese mandolins

    Mandolin 2 does not appear to have a truss rod cover, mandolin 1 does. So I presume mandolin 1 has an adjustable truss rod ( unless the cover is just for decoration). That’s a desirable feature worth more money IMHO.
    Don

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  10. #10

    Default Re: Chinese mandolins

    Quote Originally Posted by William Smith View Post
    Ah they can print any name huh "lets go with a discussion on another thread I want mine called GIBSON" LoL!!! But seriously where do you find them at? evilbay?
    I sent you message with the source.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Chinese mandolins

    Quote Originally Posted by multidon View Post
    Mandolin 2 does not appear to have a truss rod cover, mandolin 1 does. So I presume mandolin 1 has an adjustable truss rod ( unless the cover is just for decoration). That’s a desirable feature worth more money IMHO.
    Thanks Don. Actually they both have single action truss rods. The cover is just not very well visble on one of them from these pictures.

  12. #12
    Registered User William Smith's Avatar
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    Default Re: Chinese mandolins

    I watched that you-tube link and that's really a fine mandolin for the $, way better than many costing 5 times the price! Maybe more with a killer set-up if your into the modern sound so to speak, I say go for it! Post that link on here so everyone can get a sense of them?

  13. #13

    Default Re: Chinese mandolins

    I asked about some more details and here is what they say:

    Mandolin 1 has dove tail neck joint, Mandolin 2 has standard neck joint (whatever that means?!).
    Mandolin 2 has standard Baking finish (?!). Mandolin 1 finish is done by hand much and more thinner than on Mandolin2.
    So is 30% more for Mandolin 1 worth it?

  14. #14
    Adrian Minarovic
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    Default Re: Chinese mandolins

    They both appear to have pressed top. The very even staining of the top doesn't look like carved wood.
    What I see through f-holes on the mandolin 1 looks like plain maple - doesn't appear to be 3AAA grade to me.
    Adrian

  15. #15

    Default Re: Chinese mandolins

    Quote Originally Posted by HoGo View Post
    They both appear to have pressed top. The very even staining of the top doesn't look like carved wood.
    What I see through f-holes on the mandolin 1 looks like plain maple - doesn't appear to be 3AAA grade to me.
    Thanks about the hint about the pressed top. I will ask them about it. Actually Mandolin 1 with 3AAA grade wood is the one where the holes are dark and can not be seen through. Here are a few more pictures of the Mando 1, the better of the two.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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  17. #17
    Registered User William Smith's Avatar
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    Default Re: Chinese mandolins

    Even if its a pressed top, for the $ the you tube link video that A-5 style sounded pretty sweet-granted the guy said he had to do a major set-up? If one has a little skill they can do the work themselves and save even more cash? I have an old budget brand Gibson from the 30's with pressed top and back and its a pretty great sounding mandolin, Gibson back in the 30's had many mandolins and guitars with that style of build, for the $ that wouldn't shy me away if I wanted something newer import wise. One just has to look at the whole overall cost when said and done-also the waiting time, and if you feel like you have to get something like that from China compared to the say Kentucky, Eastman, and the like that you can get most anywhere here in the states at anytime, like order now and get it in a day or two?

  18. #18

    Default Re: Chinese mandolins

    Quote Originally Posted by William Smith View Post
    Even if its a pressed top, for the $ the you tube link video that A-5 style sounded pretty sweet-granted the guy said he had to do a major set-up? If one has a little skill they can do the work themselves and save even more cash? I have an old budget brand Gibson from the 30's with pressed top and back and its a pretty great sounding mandolin, Gibson back in the 30's had many mandolins and guitars with that style of build, for the $ that wouldn't shy me away if I wanted something newer import wise. One just has to look at the whole overall cost when said and done-also the waiting time, and if you feel like you have to get something like that from China compared to the say Kentucky, Eastman, and the like that you can get most anywhere here in the states at anytime, like order now and get it in a day or two?
    Here is what they said when asked about pressed top or carved top:

    "The shape of the top was in virtue of the mould but the all carved by hand."

    I guess its carved then?

  19. #19
    Registered User William Smith's Avatar
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    Default Re: Chinese mandolins

    I thought the one on you-tube was very nice, the fit and finish! And the sound reminded me of a Collings MT2-V I had once upon a time, I'd say go for the more expensive model and if they'll build one I sure like that blonde look with the tortoise style binding-that's a looker that sounds pretty sweet for the $!

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Chinese mandolins

    Sounds to me like the basic shape of the top is pressed, but then they do some carving so that they can say it’s carved. The term “carved” is somewhat vague after all. This is not an unknown procedure in low priced imports. It’s been done before, by some very well known names. At least, that’s my interpretation of the fractured English.
    Don

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  21. #21
    Struggle Monkey B381's Avatar
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  22. #22

    Default Re: Chinese mandolins

    Yup

  23. #23

    Default Re: Chinese mandolins

    My feeling? Ain't no free lunch. Mandolin shaped objects abound.
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  24. #24

    Default Re: Chinese mandolins

    Quote Originally Posted by Br1ck View Post
    My feeling? Ain't no free lunch. Mandolin shaped objects abound.
    This guy here is very happy with one of these

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yODWgWmh78Y

  25. #25
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Chinese mandolins

    I am thinking you can do better for the same or not much more.

    Don't over look flat top mandolins. You can likely get a very nice flat top, with great workmanship and materials, for not a whole lot of money. Mandolins that you might still choose years from now when you know "better".
    Indulge responsibly!

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