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Thread: Suzuki A Style...?

  1. #1
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    Hi all,

    A local shop has a used Suzuki mando for sale.

    It's a Suzuki A style with f holes in sunburst. There is a sticker on the back of the headstock that says "Made in Japan" and a label inside the body that says "Suzuki Violin Co" or something similar.

    The ticket the shop staff have put on it claims it is a Suzuki MF 150, but it's a general second-hand store, not a music shop and I don't see a model number on the instrument itself, and I can't find any info on a model MF 150 on the Web. All the Suzuki info seems to be about the bowl-backs with the weird necks...

    The mando has quite a few dings and it is priced at £65 which strikes me as way high for what it seems to be.

    Anyone know anything about these. Were they any good? If they were ok then I might make an offer.

    Thanks for any info.

  2. #2
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by (jackofall @ Jan. 18 2006, 05:11)
    All the Suzuki info seems to be about the bowl-backs with the weird necks...
    Not sure at all what you mean by "weird necks". Most of the Suzukis I have seen seem to be copies of Calace bowlbacks.

    Jim
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    When searching for info on the A style Suzuki I read quite a bit about the bowlbacks including a range of criticism of the necks. There were some odd claims about the materials used, and several claims that the necks on those generally sucked.

    I know nothing about them, it's just stuff I saw while searching on the "MF 150" A style, which is the one I saw in the shop...

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Ah... the discussion included that whatever wiood they used to make the necks it was not adequate for the tension.

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    Quote Originally Posted by
    It's a Suzuki A style with f holes in sunburst. There is a sticker on the back of the headstock that says "Made in Japan" and a label inside the body that says "Suzuki Violin Co" or something similar.
    Hi, Jackofall

    I would judge this mandolin by its apparent quality and sound. #It may be somewhat better than you're thinking.

    I also have a Suzuki, made in the style of the 1960s 2-pt Gibson A5 with oval soundhole. #Its label says "Handmade by Kiso Suzuki Violin Company". #I don't remember the model number offhand. #I have seen one other like it come up on ebay or somewhere. #The one I have was described as probably from the late 60s-70s; I would guess early-mid 70s. #It has a solid spruce top, laminated maple back. #The sunburst and paint are a bit on the #"vivid" side, but the playability is very good, and the sound is really very decent. #It's my main kick-around and travel mandolin. #I paid around $375 for it, probably a little too much but I thought it was kind of cool.

    My guess is that there was some connection or relationship between the Suzuki and Ibanez companies/brands of that time. #I have seen several Ibanez copies of the Gibson A5 oval, that look almost identical to the Suzuki in their styling, as well as a couple obviously nicer Ibanez versions. #One consistency is that both the Suzuki and Ibanez examples had "through-nuts", ie, the nut slot was cut through the fingerboard near its upper end, like on a Fender guitar. #Another common feature to several was a black-painted neck. So far, I have seen several Suzuki/Ibanez Gibson A5 copies, and also several Suzuki/Ibanez bowlback copies (for which I have no judgement or opinion), but not an f-hole Sukuki. #

    A handmade Japanese instrument from the 70s is usually a pretty good bet. #Look at the interest in Japanese-made Kentucky and Ibanez mandolins. I would carefully look over and play this mando if you're interested in it #- #For ~$130 or whatever 65 LBS is worth, or less depending on your offer, it might well be a pretty good vintage Japanese instrument.
    Jeff Rohrbough
    "Listen louder, play softer"

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    Thanks for the food for thought, acousticphd.

    I'll go have another look tomorrow. I did check out the action last time, and that seemed ok. Couldn't play it as it was way out of tune and the strings looked so corroded I thought they might snap if I tuned it.

    It's the kind of store that might consider a snapped string to mean "you broke it you buy it".

    I'm gonna risk tuning it up and playing regardless.

    Cheers.

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    Still dithering over this.

    BTW the model is actually MF-130 not 150 as I mis-read it first time.

    I offered £30 but they didn't bite. I may have another go when they've had it on the rack for a couple more weeks... No way am I spending £65 on this one, especially as I just spent a heap on a new tenor b*njo (asbetos shorts are on, so fire away )

    Oh, and the Suzuki mando does indeed have the nut cut into the fretboard as acousticphd describes above...

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    OK, got them down to £45 so I bought it!

    Plays and sounds really good with new strings. I think the top is solid and the back laminate. There're quite a few small dings on the finish, but little sign of wear on the nut, bridge or frets. Although it looks fairly old, it doesn't actually look like it's been played a huge amount - which is odd because it's a good enough mando.

    Actually, looking again, I think the bridge may be a replacement... I'm not sure.

    I'll post a pic later in case anyone's interested.

    acousticphd, thanks for getting me to give this one further thought. I'm glad I did

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    Hey jackofall,

    Glad you like the mando. #What does 45 GBP work out to, like $90? #I suspect that was a pretty good deal.

    I wouldn't form much of a conclusion re: the model number, I would go more on direct inspection and sound. #But I found a few references in the earlier searches that the model number referred to the instrument price in dollars when they first came out - Thus ~$130 when it came out in 1970-whenever. Like Gibson used to do with guitars (can you imagine buying a J35 for $35??)

    Anyway, your post is timely as I recently noticed a '70s-appearing A-f style Ibanez on ebay:
    #Ibanez/Suzuki.

    Look at the emblem on the tailpiece - The "S" is the Suzuki logo, which I also have on the original tailpiece of mine. #Also notice the black painted neck, and the nut which is slotted through the end of the rosewood FB, all features common to several of the Suzukis I've seen also have. #I think what this indicates is that you have a 70s, quasi-handmade in Japan Suzuki/Ibanez. #Again, most likely a very good instrument for the price.



    Jeff Rohrbough
    "Listen louder, play softer"

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    Remember this(these) old thread(s)?

    Here's a probably '70s-vintage Ibanez 511, with a Suzuki tailpiece, on ebay. #This is also probably a very good deal for a solid-top A style for ~$100.

    <a href="http://cgi.ebay.com/IBANEZ-Model-511MANDOLIN-with-Case-and-Extra-Strings_W0QQitemZ250001871948QQihZ015QQcatego
    ryZ10179QQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem" target="_blank">Ibanez 511</a>

    Headstock:
    Jeff Rohrbough
    "Listen louder, play softer"

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    Argh.
    Headstock:
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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    Jeff Rohrbough
    "Listen louder, play softer"

  12. #12
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    And body/tailpiece:
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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    Jeff Rohrbough
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    I have a Suzuki FM 100 A style made in Japan that I bought from a Co-Mando member for about $100. I put a Brekke bridge and Thomastik strings on it and use it as a travel instrument. It sounds and plays great. Very good quality. I think in todays market, I would place the value in the $500 or more range.

    tp

  14. #14

    Default Re: Suzuki A Style...?

    Hi, just joined the site, have recently acquired a Suzuki bowlback, probably one of those '70s models. The neck has a pronounced bow to it which has obviously rendered it unplayable. I agree with jackofall that the necks are badly constructed, in this case, the bottom of the neck is separating from the body and there is at least 10mm of daylight. Does anyone know how Suzuki constructed their neck joints. I have read that the best way to straighten the neck is to remove the fingerboard. Any contributions would be welcome here, I studied guitar-making and play the guitar but would also like to start playing the mandolin.

    Thanks from Grahamstown, South Africa!

    Dave Fuller.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Suzuki A Style...?

    10mm separation? With a gap that wide I would suspect that removing the fretboard will lead to the neck coming right off and you will be able to tell us what type of neck joint was used.
    Bill Snyder

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