customer reviews of our products
Product: The Tortoise - F5 Mandolin
Reviewer's Name: Gregory A. Short
Location: Brinkhaven, Ohio
I have been playing guitar for over 30yrs. I got into mandolin around 5yrs. ago, playing songs that I picked up here and there. Mandolin has always been one of my favorite instruments for bluegrass but learning the fast paced picking can be a challenge. My first mandolin I bought at a local shop, it was a laminate mandolin, a frame, and it sounded ok for learning. Jumping ahead to this year, I started looking around for a little better mandolin. I went to several stores and picked around on Washburns, Eastman’s, Loars, Micheal Kelly’s, Kentucky’s, well, you get the picture. After doing my research, I found out all these companies make their mandolins overseas. Not a big deal, I own guitars made overseas also and they sound great. The part I could not understand was the price tag. All the mandolins I looked at that had the features I wanted were $800-$1200.
I joined a group on Facebook, and figured I would ask what everyone was buying. Adam Sweet reached out to me and told me about these Mando Mo Strings mandolins. Air dried tone wood, solid wood, great sound, and bought through a local company. I took a look at the web site and found the mandolin that just stood out to me, the tortoise.
I got my mandolin in the mail less than a week after ordering. Shipped in the hard case I bought with it, and packaged very well. The case is very nice, latches in three spots with a lock. The padding is very soft, not worrying about scuffing my instrument. The mandolin was everything I asked for. Beautiful maple sides and back. The inlays on the fret board we’re solid and clean, also the head stock inlays. The mandolin came with, I think medium strings, which I don’t use, but they made the mandolin loud! The mandolin is very well made, I had no issues with any of the craftsmanship of the instrument. The only thing I found was a little build up on a couple of the fret areas, maybe some glue that did not get scraped off, which I did with no problem. The binding is solid and clean, no blemishes on it either. I bought new strings, put them on and set the intonation with no problem. The bridge is square to the body and I like that a lot. Overall, I am very pleased with my purchase and glad I bought my Mando Mo Strings mandolin. For the price, I think they are right up there with every other mandolin in the $500-$1200 range that I looked at. If you want something that not everyone else has, then this is the way to go. I am sure you would be pleased with your purchase.
Product: The Pup - Flat-top mandolin
Reviewer's Name: Will Melton
Location: South Hadley, MA
I love the Mando Mo Pup and I send best wishes to you for your new venture. I’ve seen lots of budget-priced mandolins, and none match the quality yours offer. The junior size of the Pup is truly perfect for my seven-year-od granddaughters’ hands, but it is also large enough for her dad to get started playing the mandolin. Having spent a couple of weeks with it, I now regret promising to pass along to them this very solid and sweet-sounding instrument!
Mandola player for L’Esperance Mandolin Ensemble, and formerly musician and treasurer of the Providence Mandolin Orchestra, Mandola player for Mandolin New England, South Hadley July 2018
Product: The Red Fox - hand-carved F5 mahogany
Reviewer's Name: Deb Noyes
Location: South Hadley, MA
I have been playing mandolin now for a few months and I own an Eastman 515 F5-style mandolin. I was at my teacher's studio in South Hadley, and was blown away by this red mahogany mandolin. What amazes me mostly is the price. I mean, you can't buy a hand-carved F5 mandolin anywhere for under $1,000. My Eastman cost more than that! I just love the tone of this instrument. I play mostly Celtic music and so I want something with a sweet gentle tone, not a big brassy "barky" sound.
Deb Noyes, June 2018
Product: The Terrier - hand-carved F5 mandolin
Reviewer's Name: Adam Sweet
Location: Granby, MA
I have been playing mandolin since I bought my first Kentucky A-style in 1980. I'm a classically-trained violinist and so it was pretty easy teaching myself how to play the mandolin. Because I also play guitar, picking up the right hand wasn't as difficult as it would be for a rank beginner. I started teaching mandolin and fiddle in 1986 after graduation from College. I've owned a number of mandolins over the years, but this is my go-to instrument. It's got a great sound, but what I like most of all is the way it looks. It's beautiful. I don't like all the binding and finish and varnish and whatnot that goes on a lot of Eastman or Kentucky mandolins. I also own a Breedlove which has a natural finish, and a Gibson A style built in 1916 with a natural finish. But you know what's truly amazing? This mandolin cost less than $500. You can't buy a hand-made mandolin (made with air-dried tone wood) for less than $1,000 these days and more if it's made in the US (Collings, Sorenson, etc.). I've played just about every mandolin there is out there and tried all the instruments that come through my studio over these last 32 years, and there have been a lot of them. I've also traveled to the mandolin factories in China, South Korea and Vietnam. I know how they're made, I know they mostly use kiln-dried tonewood. I've tried them and played them and I'm more than satisfied with this one. Feel free to PM me on Facebook or through my website any time if you have questions. I've also posted videos of me playing this mandolin on Youtube. Feel free to check them out here.
Adam Sweet, owner of Sweet Music Studio, Co-Founder of Mandolin New England, Director of the Springfield Mandolin Orchestra, Granby, MA May 2018