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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.

Johnson MA-100 Review

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Submitted by Muscle Tone (see all reviews from this person) on 7/17/2014

Where Purchased: McKinney Pawn and Jewelry

Year Purchased: 2010
Price Paid: $85 ($US) (bought USED)

Sound

This mandolin has a lot of volume. As with typical cheap mandolins this one is very much on the bright side, but is strongly lacking on the middle and bass strings.

Sound Rating: 7

Setup

A few minor things did have to be done to the mandolin after purchasing it. A tailpiece cover had to be installed and new strings were put on it due to the fact that the strings originally on it were old and dead sounding.

Setup Rating: 8

Appearance

It's just your typical sunburst finish that you see on most student level mandolins. Very plain A-style, but this is probably what really helps keep the cost down in the end.

Appearance Rating: 7

Reliability

I wouldn't nessecarily rely on this for any gigs, but I would rely on it for jam sessions and for places where I would be afraid of bringing my Collings mandolin.

Reliability Rating: 8

Customer Service

Haven't dealt with the company behind this mandolin, but McKinney Pawn and Jewelry did a fantastic job with the overall transaction.

Customer Service: 10

Components

The only thing I would really upgrade are the tuners. They are really cheap and furthermore are way too loose.

Components Rating: 7

Overall Comments

I will admit I do think very fondly of this mandolin, due to the fact this is what I started on when I got serious about playing a few years ago. I have since outgrown this instrument, so to speak and have moved on to other great mandolins that offer more capabilities than what this one offered. If you are new to the mandolin and just want to see if you're interested in playing, find a used one or get a Savannah SA-100 (which is basically the exact same mandolin, just different name). If you find you really love playing, then start looking into options for upgrading. This would be a good option for brand new players.

Overall Rating: 7

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