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The mandolin reviews database is here to help educate people before they purchase an instrument. Of course, this is not meant to be a substitute for playing the instrument yourself!

89 reviews in the archive.

Rogue ff hole sunburst Review

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Submitted by Peter Summers (see all reviews from this person) on 11/4/2014

Where Purchased: Musician's Friend

Year Purchased: 2014
Price Paid: 59.00 ($US)

Sound

It's a 59 buck laminated mandolin and sounds pretty much like that (sound improved with change of strings). Nevertheless, these Rogues continue to amaze me. I've purchased 3 over the past few years (this one being the 3rd -- and played one my friend bought from Musicians Friend) and they are all virtually flawless and perfectly setup out of the box. I have no financial interest in M. F. and am just reporting my experience. I know it's shocking and certainly not what I was expecting given the reputation of Rogues on this and other sites.

Sound Rating: 5

Setup

As mentioned above, setup was excellent out of the box. I don't believe it could be improved (for my taste anyway -- low at the fingerboard end and perfect business cart space at the first fret). I kid you not. My previous Rogues, a blacktop F hole and an oval hole, were similar and also ready to go out of the box. I did also review the oval hole on this site some time ago.

Setup Rating: 10

Appearance

Bright, glossy cheap sunburst finish but quite pleasing to the eye and flawless -- not a speck of dust in the thick acrylic (I think) finish. These things are built so well it defies all reason. I have no idea how they can produce these for less than 60 bucks (used to be 50 bucks a year or so ago). Cheap factory labor I suppose.

Appearance Rating: 7

Reliability

Tuners work fine, no wobble, smooth turning. I can't anticipate the durability of this thing and I don't play professionally -- if I did play professionally I certainly wouldn't choose a Rogue, but for non-pros it is perfectly fine to learn on or play around the fireside.

Reliability Rating: not rated

Customer Service

Never had a problem with Musician's Friend. Fast service, instruments arrived setup and in great shape. I know people will dispute that M.F. does setups at all, but I'm justing telling it like it is. Mine were. 3 times now. I think 3 qualifies as a trend.

Customer Service: 10

Components

I don't know about durability. It feels solid and sturdy to me, seems very well constructed. Sound is thin and a bit tinny, of course, being what it is. But the sound is ok and mandolin like, and is improved, as mentioned above, by better strings. Upgrades on a 60 dollar mandolin strike me as silly.

Components Rating: 7

Overall Comments

It is what it is, as they say. For a cheap laminate mandolin this thing looks, plays and sounds well enough for any beginner, or even more advanced players who are drawn to cheap instruments at bargain prices. I am often surprised by the negative reputation these things have on the mandolin sites. Of course they don't compete with the high dollar pro models. But so what?  For the price, I think they are an amazing bargain. Every beginner will eventually out grow them, obviously, but as an affordable starter instrument that allows anyone to learn to love and play mandolin music of any kind, these instruments are, IMO, the best dollar for dollar value on the Internet.

Overall Rating: 9

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