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Thread: Help Identifying Mandolin

  1. #1

    Question Help Identifying Mandolin

    Hi! I was browsing the mandolin subreddit this morning, and saw that somebody posted a thread asking about this mandolin they picked up from the Salvation Army:

    https://imgur.com/a/2xOME7x

    I am deeply curious to know anything about it! The fish inlay, in particular, looks deeply familiar to me (though I can't place where I've seen it before). Also, I was wondering if the all-metal tuners provide any clues that might be useful in dating it.

    Any insights would be most appreciated!

  2. #2
    Confused... or?
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    Default Re: Help Identifying Mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by westquote View Post
    ... wondering if the all-metal tuners provide any clues ...
    ... ya mean, other than that they look like poor imitations of Grover's economy tuners that you can get for $20 on ebay? Or that they're installed poorly with re-drilled holes, some shafts at hokey angles, and most barely lining up side to side? Or that folks couldn't be bothered to trim the string ends to at least look neat for a sales attempt? (Okay, that last one was just grousing.) Sorry if I'm sounding harsh but ...

    The elegant-seeming inlays remind me of the Antoniostai (spell?) instruments, and some others from S/E Asia, that have FAR-less-than-stellar reputations around here. My personal experience was a classy-looking F-shaped & highly inlaid guitar that, 8 or 10 years ago, The Kennedys had implode in the middle of their set here in northern NJ. Couldn't get an image to attach, but if you look up The Kennedy's "Better Dreams" CD (out of print), you'll see two of them on the album cover. The guitars DO look great, but I suspect that both are long-gone by now.

    YES, this is a warning!
    Last edited by EdHanrahan; Jan-21-2020 at 1:19pm.
    - Ed

    "What our group lacks in musicianship is offset by our willingness to humiliate ourselves." - David Hochman

  3. #3

    Default Re: Help Identifying Mandolin

    Thanks, Ed! A wealth of insight there, and what sounds like a valuable warning. Fortunately, this is just a third-party curiosity for me and not a purchase, but (if I may) I will pass along your thoughts to the owner of the mandolin.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Help Identifying Mandolin

    Well, let's see......Paul Reed Smith can have his artisans inlay a dragon on a guitar, they do a beautiful job, and they will charge you about $20,000 for such a creation. Now, Antoniotsai has it down where he can inlay a dragon on a guitar for about 2 percent of that figure. By all accounts, they do a beautiful job, as well, with the inlay. It is the instrument itself that usually has issues from the beginning. Some blame humidity differences for instruments cracking and worse. Some blame the species of wood used, etc. I know a guy who has an inlaid Les Paul 12 string type of thing Antoniotsai made and he loves it -- then again, not an acoustic, so......?

  5. #5
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help Identifying Mandolin

    Yup, made in Vietnam, sold on eBay by either Antoniotasai or Bruceweiart. Just the same as a recent banjo shaped object that was here.

    For Posterity:
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    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  6. #6
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help Identifying Mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by westquote View Post
    ...clues that might be useful in dating it...
    Hmm...last week? Can't tell ya what day, though...
    Allen Hopkins
    Gibsn: '54 F5 3pt F2 A-N Custm K1 m'cello
    Natl Triolian Dobro mando
    Victoria b-back Merrill alumnm b-back
    H-O mandolinetto
    Stradolin Vega banjolin
    Sobell'dola Washburn b-back'dola
    Eastmn: 615'dola 805 m'cello
    Flatiron 3K OM

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  8. #7
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help Identifying Mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by allenhopkins View Post
    Hmm...last week? Can't tell ya what day, though...
    OK, warn me next time you do that.

    These have appeared in the last 10 or 15 years and I think it's closer to 10 or less. It's not vintage by any means.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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