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Old 02-28-2019, 12:56 AM
Wade Hampton Wade Hampton is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Chugiak, Alaska
Posts: 24,956

Nicholas, I’ve owned a couple of mandolas - a “Sumi-era” Kentucky KH-Dawg model (which was a superlative instrument) and a Romanian-made mandola that looked identical to the one in the photo you posted.

It was inexpensive but all-solid wood and sounded remarkably good given how cheap it was (I think I paid $250 for it some 15 or 20 years ago.). The biggest problem I had with it was that the tuners were crappy, but I found a set of Schaller mandolin tuners intended for a slotted headstock mandolin and that solved that problem.

Where I found mandola most useful was when playing solo gigs; mandolin played solo can be too trebly for people who aren’t mandolin fans to listen to, but the mandola is more of a midrange instrument and more folks find it tolerable.

The first performer I ever saw do that was the late, great Steve Goodman. He would break up his set a bit by putting down his guitar and picking up the mandola for a couple of songs.

Anyway, if the mandola you’re considering is the same as the second one I owned, what you’ll discover is that the fit and finish are a little bit rough by North American standards but the instrument itself is worth playing once you get the action dialed in and, perhaps, replace the crappy stock tuners with better ones.

Hope this helps.

Wade Hampton Miller
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