The model i purchased was the M1087, the one without a pick-up as I prefer to mic these instruments to produce a more natural sound.
This model has a banjo-style bridge which didn't bother me too much at first as I also play banjo, but after playing for a while i found the corner of the bridge uncomfortable on my hand as this is my preferred playing position. I would have preferred a guitar style bridge as on the M1087-P model, but hey, you get what you pay for.
The first I noticed when i received this mandolin is how light it felt. I have regular mandolins that feel heavier than this model. It appears to be well manufactured but using average quality components and wood. The fretwork round the sound-hole appears to have been punched out as opposed to being cut by saw and some traces of wood remained where the holes were not punched out cleanly but this is barely noticeable.
Immediately upon opening I tuned it to regular mandolin tuning G D A E and played a few chords and i was quite pleased with the overall sound and tone, except for some fret-buzz on the E string at the third fret. The neck was straight but i decided to give the truss rod a quarter turn to try and remedy this ( the allen key was included ) and I was surprised buy how loose the truss rod was. Anyway, a little tightening seemed to cure the problem and the action was still very good and the neck was still straight afterwards.
I like to play in different keys without changing styles so I use a capo a lot. I tried a regular Kyser guitar capo without any problems. The mandolin held it's tuning right up to the 7nth fret.
The bag that came with the mandolin is average but perfect for the job. There is no point getting an expensive case for an inexpensive instrument.
I have no hesitation in recommending this instrument to beginner and experienced player alike. While it is not a very high quality instrument it is still well made and represents good value for money. I would rather take this on a gig and play the hell out of it, than worry all the time about a more expensive instrument. If this got broken, lost or stolen I would certainly replace it with the same one.
Great deal for beginners and more experienced players
Light, well-made and with a nice tone, this instrument is a good starting point for mandolin players looking to diversify.
Remarkably (given the price point) it features all solid wood and a truss-rod (look inside the soundhole), both of which are great to have. I like the fact it is a European-made instrument, using mostly European wood. The fretwork around the soundhole looks fine and adds to its sound. Looking inside, the mandolin has been competently made. Coming from mandolin and tenor mandola, the slimmer neck is very welcome and the frets appear well-dressed.
Two immediate upgrades worth making (you can buy them for a great price here on Thomann.de) would a better bridge and better strings (phosphor bronze strings really improves the sound). It took a little effort to bring the intonation into line, with the bridge needing some repositioning. Players with less experience of setting-up their instruments might be daunted/disappointed by this, but I'd strongly advise them to speak to their local music shop to get the most out of this. In my case the intonationout quite a bit...but then the octave mandolin had just travelled a few hundred miles in the mail, so I wasn't expecting anything 'ready to go' straight out of the box. One thing I did find was that adding a drop of quality lubricant on the tuners made them much smoother (I used bicycle lubricant!).
The bag supplied is decent quality, fits the instrument well and doesn't look completely cheap. There's a little padding in there, so it could take a few light knocks and not be a cause for concern but it's never going to be bullet-proof. Then again it does the job it's intended to do.
On Thomann's delivery and packaging, the instrument arrived in Scotland in 4 days and was exceptionally well-packed. The update service was very helpful in keeping track of where the instrument was and what the next step would be.
Overall I'd *definitely* recommend this instrument. For experienced players this is a competent instrument that you can take out and about with and not feel worried about it taking a few hits. For beginners, this is a great way of exploring the mandolin family.