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Product 510461

Fender FM-53S Acoustic Mandolin   

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This little beauty features a solid spruce top, nato back and sides, and 4-ply ivory binding. It's gorgeous to behold and the sound quality is except...Click To Read More About This Product

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OVERVIEW

Pretty to look at; fun to play!

This little beauty features a solid spruce top, nato back and sides, and 4-ply ivory binding. It's gorgeous to behold and the sound quality is exceptional. 4-in-line gold tuners with white plastic tuning knobs.

FEATURES
  • Solid spruce top
  • Nato back and sides
Reviews
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Review Snapshot

by PowerReviews
FenderFM-53S Acoustic Mandolin
 
4.2

(based on 29 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (14)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (11)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (2)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (1)

90%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Good tone (7)
  • Well built / quality (4)
  • Consistent (3)

Cons

No Cons

Best Uses

  • Practicing (7)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Experienced (4), Novice (4)

Most Liked Positive Review

 

Great entry level starter or backup instrument for the price

I've wanted to add mandolin to some of the songs that our worship band plays but didn't want to drop a ton of cash on one just to see how it worked. This is...Read complete review

I've wanted to add mandolin to some of the songs that our worship band plays but didn't want to drop a ton of cash on one just to see how it worked. This is a good instrument for the amount of money spent. You might want to swap out the medium strings for some decent light ones if you are just starting out as the mediums are a bit harder to learn on but they'll last longer and project better than the lights. This mandolin has surprisingly good tone and stays in tune. It's not fancy at all but it seems to be made of quality materials (According to Fender it's Solid Spruce Top and laminate back and sides) and was easy to setup. I would definitely recommend it as a great entry level instrument. As a comparison my brother had bought an inexpensive Washburn mandolin a couple years ago that was at the similar price point and we've had a heck of a time setting that one up and keeping it in tune and it doesn't have nearly as good of tone as this Fender. So for the $$ I spent this Fender is a great mandolin to learn on.

The only gripe I could make was a super minor one but the crazy adhesive protective plastic wrap on the pick guard was nearly impossible to remove and had been applied before the pick guard was screwed down so I had to unscrew the pick guard simply to take the packaging off and then it left such a tenacious sticky residue on the pick guard that I had to use Goof Off liberally to get that off too. Not a big deal by any means in light of the rest of the qualities the instrument has but a bit of proper preparation on the Hunan Peninsula would've made that way easier to deal with.

VS

Most Liked Negative Review

 

basic, no-frills with problems

This Fender FM-53S is a $$$ mandolin, and unfortunately in the world of mandolin luthery, I guess $$$ does not buy you much.Fit and Finish: The lacquer is unevenly applied...Read complete review

This Fender FM-53S is a $$$ mandolin, and unfortunately in the world of mandolin luthery, I guess $$$ does not buy you much.Fit and Finish: The lacquer is unevenly applied on my mando with spots where it is thick and other spots where it is thin. The sound holes were cut with little attention to detail as the hole edges do not appear to be sanded at all.Playability: As was previously mentioned, the frets need attention. Out of the box, both the 11th and 12th fret on the A-string gave me an "A." There was also lots and lots of fret noise on the D-string. The action needs to be set VERY high to eliminate the above problems. Additionally, after two trips to the luthier, the instrument is still out of tune with itself--(problem with luthier or instrument??).Sound: The sound (excepting fret noise and intonation problems) is louder and more warm than other mandos I have played in this price range.

Reviewed by 29 customers

Displaying reviews 1-10

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(5 of 5 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

great mando at low price

By ktnwin99

from San Jose, CA

Comments about Fender FM-53S Acoustic Mandolin:

I have been looking for one and found an used one which I bought for 80$ !!! I had to do some little fixing work (replace one broken tuning knob), re-polishing it. Now it looks clean and the sound is great, warm and loud compare to the brand new Savanah I have been playing with.One recommendation: ignore the bad rating from any buyer who complain about mandolin tuning. New mandolins must be setup before you can tune it. I had one in the closet for years that I can never tune until I learn how to setup mandolin (online) , then I start playing from that day.

(4 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

The Fender FM-53S is grrreat!

By StratsRule11

from USA

See all my reviews

Comments about Fender FM-53S Acoustic Mandolin:

The Fender FM-53S is great in all aspects. Compared with a Breedlove Mandolin, it surpassed the sound and quality of the Breedlove.

(3 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

This thing is great

By PWFrocks

from Montgomery, AL

See all my reviews

Comments about Fender FM-53S Acoustic Mandolin:

I love this mandolin. It is comfortable to play and sounds great. For anyone with a brain, it will be simple to pick up and easy to jam on immediately. I highly recommend it for anyone looking for a new sound or a great mandolin.

(3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Pretty Good Mando

By Anonymous

from Undisclosed

Comments about Fender FM-53S Acoustic Mandolin:

The finish and the warm sounding tone are much better then my kentucky although the kentucky has more volume. The action is better on this one too. This mando would probably be my first choice if I bought another one.

(2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Very Fun Instrument

By Dave

from Florida

About Me Experienced

Verified Buyer

Comments about Fender FM-53S Acoustic Mandolin:

I got this on the SDOTD for 1/2 off but even at the regular price I think I would have been pretty happy. I mostly play 6 string electrics but I thought I'd start working on my mando chops. The instrument is actually quite nice and I was pleasantly surprised by the quality level at this price. The one thing I will say is I had to lower the bridge all the way to get the action right. Intonation is pretty spot on across the fretboard and this sucker is loud. Fun little instrument to start playing mandolin at a great price.

(2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Perfect for checking the mandolin out

By mmeade

from New Carlisle,OH

About Me Novice

See all my reviews

Verified Buyer

Comments about Fender FM-53S Acoustic Mandolin:

After years of guitar playing I decided to try out the mandolin. SDOTD price for this one was perfect so I took a chance. I love it! I've never played another mandolin, but it seems well made, plays easily and stays in tune. The E string seems to lack volume but as a beginner's instrument it more than fits the bill. I will keep playing the mandolin!

(2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Surprising quality at this price point

By Beerman

from The O..C.

About Me Experienced

See all my reviews

Ask me a question

Verified Buyer

Pros

  • Decent finish
  • Good Tone
  • Strong

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Jamming, plinking & plucking
    • Practicing
    • Recording

    Comments about Fender FM-53S Acoustic Mandolin:

    Mandolin is not my primary instrument. It certainly is a sound that I've always enjoyed incorporated with other stringed instruments & that's why it was purchased. The mandolin was easy to set up. The tuners have held tune. The finish is good - no thin spots, no runs - it's a pretty little basic unit. Very enjoyable to play. If you're an experienced guitarist or even a violin or uke the mandolin is a breeze to pick up. My wife is having fun with it also, as it's an easy instrument to hold and for fingering if you have small hands. That being said, I have fat fingers (like BB) and I still do pretty well with the fretboard. Worth every penny!

    (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

     
    4.0

    Great entry level starter or backup instrument for the price

    By Bikeopeli

    from Northern IN

    About Me Novice

    Verified Buyer

    Pros

    • Consistent
    • Good Tone
    • Stays in tune, easy to setup.
    • Strong

    Cons

    • Crazy weird protective wrap on the pick guard.

    Best Uses

    • Backup
    • Beginner
    • Practicing

    Comments about Fender FM-53S Acoustic Mandolin:

    I've wanted to add mandolin to some of the songs that our worship band plays but didn't want to drop a ton of cash on one just to see how it worked. This is a good instrument for the amount of money spent. You might want to swap out the medium strings for some decent light ones if you are just starting out as the mediums are a bit harder to learn on but they'll last longer and project better than the lights. This mandolin has surprisingly good tone and stays in tune. It's not fancy at all but it seems to be made of quality materials (According to Fender it's Solid Spruce Top and laminate back and sides) and was easy to setup. I would definitely recommend it as a great entry level instrument. As a comparison my brother had bought an inexpensive Washburn mandolin a couple years ago that was at the similar price point and we've had a heck of a time setting that one up and keeping it in tune and it doesn't have nearly as good of tone as this Fender. So for the $$ I spent this Fender is a great mandolin to learn on.

    The only gripe I could make was a super minor one but the crazy adhesive protective plastic wrap on the pick guard was nearly impossible to remove and had been applied before the pick guard was screwed down so I had to unscrew the pick guard simply to take the packaging off and then it left such a tenacious sticky residue on the pick guard that I had to use Goof Off liberally to get that off too. Not a big deal by any means in light of the rest of the qualities the instrument has but a bit of proper preparation on the Hunan Peninsula would've made that way easier to deal with.

    (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

     
    4.0

    Great instrument for beginner or intermediate

    By Idaho Spud

    from Everett, WA

    Comments about Fender FM-53S Acoustic Mandolin:

    I have had my FM-53S for three years, having never owned a stringed instrument before. After mastering a few basic chords I found myself unable to put it down and now play on a daily basis, both at home and bluegrass jams. The tone quality has always been satisfactory although the volume produced was somewhat of a disappointment initially. After some minor setup adjustment and trying different strings I have the sound and volume that can be heard while jamming with my bluegrass friends. For the money, you can't go wrong with this instrument. The key is starting out with the right setup and a change to higher quality light strings.

    (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

     
    4.0

    Great for beginners.

    By Billy Savage

    from Los Angeles

    Comments about Fender FM-53S Acoustic Mandolin:

    The set-up takes a bit of work, but what instrument doesn't? It came with the fretboard a bit chewed up, but not where it matters. Once I got mine dialed, I couldn't put it down. It's a great way to get in the game without dropping big dollars. Costs about the same as a Gibson A-style case. I liked it so much that I ordered an FM63 so I can compare them. I wonder how much better the 63 sounds? I can't wait for it to get here.

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