on January 2, 2006
This mandolin is a sleek and beautiful instrument, very traditional in style. Dean is becoming known for its quality instruments at reasonable prices, and I'm happy to say that this mandolin is no exception. It has a clear, mellow sound that meshes well with accompanying guitar or solo. One small warning - it did not come with directions on how to place the bridge on the instrument, so beginners unfamiliar with mandolin setup should find some information online or invest in a beginners' book for mandolin instead of relying on directions to come with their new purchase.
on March 24, 2008
The Dean Tennessee A is attractive, carefully made, and bargain priced. The tuners are good. A tag says it was made in China. It doesn't come with any picks. It was shipped promptly and packed well. You get to place the bridge. On all instruments that are fretted in half steps, the 12th fret plays an octave above the open string, so it has to be the same distance from the 12th fret to the bridge as the distance from the nut to the 12th fret. Use your measuring stick. I also got the Musician's Friend MG Hardshell A-Style mandolin case and recommend it. You can turn this mandolin into an $800 dollar instrument for less than $50 by replacing the strings. I got Thomastik 154 Tin-Plated Steel Flatwound Medium and they make a tremendous difference to my fingers and to the sound.
Notice in Customer Discussions that Stan, who gave this instrument a good verbal review but only one star, says he intended to check 5 stars but missed and doesn't know how to correct it. That means the reviews are unanimously 5's so far.
on September 12, 2013
This applies to any instrument with non-installed or questionable bridge placement. The 3-star rating is generic as I have not examined this particular product. It's a common issue with many brands since these can easily be jarred in shipping, or sometimes ship with masking or protective tape under the bridge which should be removed before use.
For mandolins: Discard the strings. Measure from the nut to the 12th fret (approx 6.75"). Double that measure and add 1/4 inch (approx 13.5 + .25 = 13.75"). That is the point where the center knife edge of the bridge should align on average, known as the intonation point. Align the bridge to this point and put down a piece of masking tape in front of the bridge to show where the base should line up in case it slips.
Yes, I did say discard the strings. The vast majority of pac-rim production ships with junk for strings. Do yourself a big big favor and install a decent US set, save the junkers as emergency replacements. Probably the best 6 bucks you will ever spend on improving the tone of any instrument.
If you do insist on keeping the existing strings, say just to test the suitablity of the instrument, just loosten the strings enough to be able to slide the bridge to the correct point (if needed).
on February 9, 2013
As others have mentioned, this ships without the bridge installed. This mandolin is presumably marketed to beginners, most of whom will have no idea how to correctly install a bridge. There are also no bridge installation instructions included. Essentially, this thing arrives as a pretty brick that is unplayable until you either a: install the bridge yourself and hope you did it correctly, or b: take it to a professional to complete the setup. Save some frustration and go to a music store and actually play the instrument before purchasing. If that isn't option, I've purchased other stringed instruments from another online retailer, and they have always arrived ready to play.
on July 5, 2006
I have ordered a total of seven mandolins in the past six months ago. These have included Rogue brand, Johnson A type (which seems to be identical to the forty dollar Rogue black mandolin except for the name, an Ariana A type, and two of these Dean instrument.
I think that these instruments are superb for two hundred bucks. Unlike the other mandolins mentioned above, they are made in Korea as opposed to China.
China seems to crank out good stuff but Korea seems to do a really excellent job. My first mandolin, which I picked up in a music store in the Washington, D.C. area in the seventies, was of Korean manufacture and it gave me years and years of service.
Since I don't wish to spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars on an instrument, I decided that this mandolin would be my instrument of choice. This is why I ordered two of the things both now nicely ensconced in hardshell mandolin cases from Musician's Friend.
This mandolin did come with the bridge sort of set up so I guess the people who sell the thing are reading these reviews. If that is the case, 8th Street Music, let me just say that I have a lot of reservations about the quality of your packing though no complaints about getting the thing quickly. I think it was something of a matter of luck that both mandolins seem to have come through undamaged.
While we're on the subject: Listen up UPS. Your guy driving the truck is great in this area but whoever handles your stuff along the way seems to do a worse job than Fed Ex. Parcel Post seems to arrive in better shape than UPS though I do not claim to have a really good statistical sample. It's just a general impression.