2000s Paris Swing Nuages MS-120-N 4-String Mod F-Style Mandolin

While this mandolin is definitely tres cool, it has also definitely caused me some trouble. I originally sold it back in May on consignment to a friend of mine. We added a K&K Twin Spot pickup to it and all seemed well until about a month later when the top continued to collapse and collapse under tension. I took it back in trade from him and it then sat over here for half a year waiting for me to have a little bit of time to make some changes to it.

These are neat instruments and this one was made probably around 2005-2010 in Korea. It's solid spruce on the top and has solid flamed maple everywhere else, though the fretboard is ebony and the trim is tortoise plastic. It looks snazzy and sounds killer because it was built light which is why it had structural issues. The press-arched top only has a single center-mounted tonebar brace. To reinforce this, I added two "wing" ladder braces just below where the soundhole terminates and just in front of the bridge. This helped with some of the sinking under tension and gave it a clearer, cleaner voice, but to really solve the tension problem I converted it to a 4-string.

Even with half the strings, it's still a loud, punchy, great-sounding piece of kit. It sort-of works with the gypsy-jazz aesthetic and having single-string lead from a mandolin tuning and pitch gives a curious, "mini archtop guitar" or "mini archtop tenor guitar" kind-of voice. I like it and it's made the instrument useful. I especially like the feel for playing all sorts of weird chord shapes up and down the neck, too. It's a different kind of mandolin.

So, anyhow, post-final-repairs it's now stable, has plenty of adjustment room at the bridge, and is playing like a champ. It's also something your buddies won't have in their stable and it's plug-in ready, too. The K&K pickup sounds excellent, needs no batteries, and is high-output.

Repairs included: a light fret level/dress, 4-string conversion, extra "wing" braces added, new wide ebony bridge base added (gypsy-style), K&K pickup added, new Gotoh Kluson-style tuners.

Top wood: solid spruce

Back & sides wood: solid flamed maple

Bracing type: single tonebar

Bridge: rosewood, stained

Fretboard: ebony

Neck wood: flamed maple

Action height at 12th fret: 
hair under 1/16" overall (fast!)
String gauges: 36w, 24w, 15, 11 singles

Neck shape: medium V

Board radius: flat

Truss rod: adjustable

Neck relief: straight

Fret style: smaller

Scale length: 13 3/4"

Nut width: 1 1/8"

Body width: 10 1/8"

Body depth: 1 5/8" + arching

Weight: 2 lbs 3 oz

Condition notes: it's pretty clean throughout and only shows the mildest usewear/playwear via light scratching here and there. I've added non-original parts: tuners, bridge base, and extra bracing. As per the usual on this line of mandolins, the top sinks under tension so it needs a taller bridge to compensate for it. There's one little "kink" in the binding at the soundhole and that looks like it left the factory that way. You can see it near the end of the fretboard extension on the bass side. My 4-string conversion was fast and a little clumsy so I just filled the holes in the headstock and brushed some paint to more-or-less match the color on the back. The nut slots were filled, leveled, and then recut for a 4-string format.

It comes with: no case, sorry.


Oscar Stern said…
Well there are 4 String Electric Mandolins but this instrument seemed like a great Candidate for a 4 String Acoustic Mandolin due to how lightly built it was. I'd imagine that the 8 String versions would've had to been built a bit more heavily so that it would work better.
MA~stringwinder said…
Jake has an “out of the box” solution for rethinking a problem encountered by this mandolin’s lightly built construction. The instrument is gorgeous and nicely detailed. It would have been a waste to make it wall art, or worse landfill detritus.
By transforming this 8 to a 4 string mando he has given new life and a new sound to this one of a kind instrument. Not having paired strings makes my callouses sing out a bit but I’ll get used to it quickly.
A beautiful and carefully thought out transformation are Jake’s strong suit.
I couldn’t be happier with this unusual addition to my instruments.
Oscar Stern said…
MA~stringwinder Jake Wildwood has done this w/ alot of Mandolin Banjos & Electric Mandolins due to how lightly built they were, & he did the same thing w/ this Gypsy Jazz F Style Mandolin. Now w/ a 4 String Acoustic Mandolin (4 Single Strings in Mandolin Pitch) you get a very interesting "Mini Archtop (Tenor) Guitar Vibe". So yeah it's a Different Sort of Mandolin.