Warning about Antoniotsai guitars and mandolins!

There are now more than 70 posts here of people having problems with Antoniotsai and his work!

Positive... sorta


  1. Hi, You'd do a great job if You stopped this f..g disgarceful thing about Antonio Tsai.. If the people who buy on ebay are absolute dumbs and idiots not knowing what they are in for, then it's not the luthiers fault... I have 12 solid bodies and they ALL are on the fantastic level... with a little help from myself these guitars are a solid match to Gibsons. With respect, Rhea.. (45 yrs guitar player, luthier, and music instrument historian) 9/30/2011
  2. Just stumble on your site by accident. I have 4 guitars from this guy, which I paid between 30 and 90 $. They all play well and have no crack. I bought 4 years ago.
    At this price, I don't think anyone can complain. Anyway, I was surprised by the stuff on your site. I guess I must have been lucky. Cheers Daniel 5/15/2011
  3. Hi, I recently ordered an F-style mandolin from Antoniotsai (eBay) before discovering your web page (http://www.chionline.com/Antoniotsai/index.html). After several days of wondering how big a mistake I had made, the mandolin arrived (5 days from Vietnam to Florida). All in all, I'd have to say it's better than expected. It is hand made, so the build quality is nowhere near that of my Taylor, Fender, G&L and even Line6 guitars. But, for the price I feel it's a good value. The inlays are quite nice and the small imperfections only remind you that it is a hand made instrument. I've been playing if for about 10 days and so far have seen no indication of cracking or problems with construction. The bridge does still need some work; something I'll do when I restring the instrument (soon). Granted, the tuners are cheap and will probably need replacing at some point. The fretwork is a bit poor, but the edges are dressed and I've found no sharp edges or burrs. I find it as playable as my friend's Michael Kelly F-Style. Tonally, I find it to be warmer and fuller than the Michael Kelly; probably due to its deeper body. There may be some minor issues with intonation, but again, for the price it's certainly acceptable. And this may be that I haven't perfectly positioned the bridge. On the aesthetic side, the tiger striped maple sides and back are really quite stunning for an instrument of this price. I noted several complaints about cracking on your web page. My bet is that cracking issues are related to rapid changes in humidity. Instruments are made and shipped worldwide, so the argument that instruments made in Vietnam are not compatible with the weather in CA (for example) just doesn't hold water. As long as the instrument is allowed to acclimate, it should be fine. With that in mind I have kept a humidifier in the case and only left the instrument out of the case when room humidity is above 50% RH. As an owner of several Taylor acoustic guitars, I'm very sensitive to the issue of humidity. Luckily, this is easier to deal with in Florida than, say, Arizona. Just wanted to add my feedback to the "positive, sorta" side of the argument. 2/6/2011
  4. I've been meaning to write for a long time so here it goes. I won a Telecaster from Tony and read your reviews too late like most but now i'm glad I did. It sounds like I am one of the fortunate ones. My guitar actually plays better than most $1500.00 guitars. The neck is almost like my 80's Charvel model 6. All of the hardware has been replaced because it was junk but now i only have $250 wrapped up in it total so I can't complain. I have waited for well over a year for it to start cracking but it hasn't . I even dropped it once and the wood is so solid it didn't put a dent in it. I have looked on ebay and can't find him anywhere but maybe i'm not looking hard enough. I would NOT buy another one from him though. Don't want to press my luck but I wanted to let you know I think I got a really good deal. DV 2/03/10
  5. I believe his instruments to be works of art......and...affordable for the working guy...like me. I will buy from him again and again and again. One mans thoughts. Steve 1/29/10
  6. Hey i just stumbled upon the website and was in shock of how many bad orders came form this guy. I have bought 3 ukuleles from Antoniotsai and have really enjoyed all of them!Perfect condition and i feel a quality product. Not sure if he only makes quality ukuleles or what. I didnt see any body's posts about ukulele purchases but didnt have time to read them all. SO if your considering a ukulele i would recommend it but anything else I would stay away from. 9/13/09
  7. Ok...so I read your site and was quite appalled and surprised to see everyone's bad experience with Tony's guitars, especially the guy from Europe that knows Tony personnally. I have been buying from Tony for over 10 years and own 11 of his acoustic guitars, some custom pieces. I do not have any cracks with any of the guitars at all, and I live in Denver, Colorado, one of the driest climates in the USA. True, there are some downsides to his stuff.....the tuners are cheap, so I always replace them with Rubners, Schallers, or Pemium Gotohs. The saddles and the nuts, in most cases, need to be stripped off and replaced with properly slotted ones. I usually like to change the endpins, too, for ones more dense. I have never had a problem with a bad shipment, with any crakcs in any of the guitars, and with any warped necks, fret issues, etc. Tony has made custom pieces for some of my very expensive guitars, and I do own many. I have over 50 custom guitars from all over the world, many of which are antiques and were crafted to perfection by famous makers such as Stauffer, Lacote, Panormo, and Fabricatore. Most of Tony's guitars need hardshell cases-cases that protect. I can tell you that even some of my Martins and Gibsons have cracks, but not the guitars Tony has sent. Maybe, I am just one of the lucky ones. Oh- and Bruceweiart's guitars do crack! I have one of them and it is a mess! 7/11/09
  8. Hi, I bought a twin neck guitar from the same guy .. It came well packed and is still beautiful 8 months later .. I reckon It would be impossible to get a guitar hand made here in UK for the price I paid £130,, so low it was almost unfair ..I thought what the heck! if it cracks I will get it repaired ..lets face it ! The timbers alone would cost a fortune in the UK .. The inlay work is superb but I play it more than I look at it anyway so I am prepared to do a little restoration work should I ever need to .. With luck I wont have to, ... You have got to be careful when you buy anything long distance over the Internet ..some you win ...some you lose .....these guitars are beautiful and very cheap that's the attraction ..but because of shipping costs etc its really a one way deal ,, too late moaning afterwards .Anyway .. I am happy with my twin neck ! But then again I didn't buy 100 guitars .. Good luck , Mo 5/27/09
  9. Hi, I can see that you site is set up as a warning, and I agree that buyers should be aware. I am sorry that some people have had a bad experience. I just wanted to say that I have bought a couple of solid body guitars, a hollow body acoustic and a violin from Tony. I have owned these now for couple of years or more and they are good instruments to play and look fabulous with no problems with the timber. All necks are dead straight and no sign of warping. The only issue I had was with the violin where the fingerboard had come away from the neck in transit. I advised Tony who kindly offered a partial refund to cover the repair cost, The money was credited to my account, and it was a minor repair and been great ever since. These instruments were so cheap for what had gone into them to the point where I felt a bit guilty paying so little for them. I agree that yes the fretwork and electrics are a bit rough, but with a little knowlege and work these things were easily tidied up. A student of mine bought one of the solids LP copy because he said it played better than his Gibson and now his main guitar. I had to agree but I had done some work to that guitar by upgrading the electrics, pickups and I setup and detailed the fretwork to silky smooth. I live in Queensland Australia so we have a relatively humid climate which is perhaps similar to where Tony manufactures and I presume that some of these instruments are going to places that are very dry which has helped caused the problems. I also own plenty of high end instruments from Gibson, Fender, Taylor. Ernie Ball etc, but for me I enjoy playing Tonys instruments even with their little quirks. Nice to have somthing unique. I have found Tony's staff to be polite and helpful, as I have always been to them. Instruments well packed and timely delivery. There is a language barrier so you do have to keep your dialog simple, but it has worked ok for me. Maybe I was just lucky, 4 out of 4 instruments all good. Value for money. So it may not be something you wanted to hear or publish, but wanted let you know that they are not all bad experiences. Kind regards, John from Australia.  3/08/2009
  10. Hello. I have bought 25 gutars, 5 electric basses, 15 violins, 2 violas, 4 mandolins and one banjo. I have only once got unlucky by his instruments, and that was the first guitar. I live in Iceland/Europe, wich is very dry-air country. Where he lives it is up to 80% more wet air so I did not be careful enough with the first guitar. I just took it out of the box and startet playing. Then I just kepti it in my living room and soon it started to crack. I got some plastic cover to put in the big hole in the guitar and could make it wet from time to time. It stopped cracking at once. I kept it in the guitar for 3 months and always did put less water each week and finally I could take it away. Now it has no more crack, only the first 3. After that, I have to keep the instruments in theyre bags for at least 3 months before opening them, and they never crack. The prices on Tonyīs instruments are very low so I did not expect too good quality. I am satisfied and I am selling them here in Iceland for fine prices. I have received no complain so far. That is my story and I hope you will find it good enough to put on your webside. Tony is not bad at all. Thank you. Baldur, from the land of the midnight sun. :) 12/5/2009
  11. Hi I'm Joel ,I think I've got an inlaidartists' 7 string basses but I dk someone said it was a Bruce Wei ? maybe the one in the same , anyway ,there's one little crack just below the neck along with about 5 frets in random places along the neck unplayable , but other than that I love it and play it more than my 1981 peavey T-40 , sorrt for no pics there's a huge spider on the body above the raer pickup and a sword in the fretboard and another little spider in the headstock it's quite beautiful but again needs some work I dk if I'd complain about it ..... yet I just got it I traded a motorcycle that needed $5,000 worth of work so I think I made out pretty good I'll get some pics soon maybe you know more about it than I do since what I know or anyone I know , knows about it is nothing ty , Joel . 11/24/2009
  12. Hi, I have also read lots of problems from other people with his acoustic guitars, but I have to say I have an electric solid body and it's perfect, I believe that you can't really mess up a solid body, you have a great site and I'm glad you are posting this for others to see but I feel that it's just the acoustic type of stringed instruments he sells. also I've had my guitar now for about 8 months. the frets needed work and all of the electronic parts needed to be replaced but the wood is what really maters. thanks,
  13. Hi I just bought one of his guitars fully inlaid back, almost like the one martin sells i have had it for only a week and so far no problems. I think maybe the problems might be due to the extreme altitudes attained from the airlines from overseas, these wood are very fragle and react to differences in temperature and pressure. at first you might not see a crack because it is inside the wood but as time goes by it will begin to open up. If you look at the owners manuel from an american made or any other well made guitar it planly says DO NOT PLACE ON AIRPLANES. that said I sure hope I didn't get taken. I have purchased many other peices of his inlay work and never have had a problem. 5/3/2008
  14. I keep buying instruments from Tony. I love abalone and pearl inlay and am willing to deal with severe fret problems. I know we may also have to deal with cracks and warps. Some have had just the usual poor fretwork and with some setup have turned out to be lovely playing and sounding instruments. It's a major crapshoot but my experience -even #15 on this site, which Tony eventually replaced at his expense- has been that Tony means well, will stand behind his products and do what he can to make good on them. I recently got one of his mahogany construction New Design guitars, which looks a bit like a Russian onion dome. It is an incredibly good sounding, fan-braced guitar. It was a very pleasant surprise (disregarding the nasty frets). I also won a gorgeous megaflame maple dragon inlaid neck parlor guitar which unfortunately has started to badly crack in several places. I sent pictures to Tony, and Paul immediately offered to refund, letting me keep the guitar. Instead I worked out compensation in the form of a beautiful mandola which I had wanted for several weeks. Maybe I have an unfair advantage with these guitars because I'm a luthier and expect they're going to need extensive setup, to the point of refretting perhaps. But if the wood will hold up -big if, so it is still a shot in the twilight- they are wonderful eye candy and can be set up to be marvelous instruments. If you go into this with the right low expectations, you may be happy with the outcome. Helps if you can do your own fretwork, because you'll need it. Pay special attention to the advice about language in post #19. As of 4-15-8 at Tony's, Paul has been excellent, he seems to have a pretty good command of English. But the advice in 19 is very good. 4/20/2008
  15. If you donít mind posting this on your site. I have purchased 5 mandolins form Toniís eBay Store, 2 had trouble. Workmanship was fair as I had to give one a partial fret job. The other three are mint great sounding solid instruments. I didnít send the other ones back as I could repair them and still have a super deal for the price I paid. I donít see any mention of why they are cracking on your site. I had one crack and it was the rosewood back. The mandolins with maple backs are solid instruments. I think they had a bad lot of Rosewood that was not dried well, Air dried in the tropics could mean dried in high humidity environments and when they get here to our dry winter homes they literally pull them selvesí apart. Keep in mind Toni has many of his instruments sent from a location in Vietnam and probably never gets to see them. He only finds out there was a problem after the fact. So I ask that the buyers put themselves in Toniís shoes and work with him, buy giving him data about what went wrong and what they think may help it from happening in the future. Toni is a serious artist musician and business man. His Vietnamese inlay artists are of the best in the world and work hard with little pay to product these products. As there knowledge of instrument making improves so will his instruments. And they have been improving over the years. A thing like a bad lot of rosewood can hit a business man hard and with the language barrier a problem like that can go unseen for a very long time. There is a change factor time line in manufacturing. For example if you see the original design for how your neck connects to the body can be improved and implementing the changes may not show up in the market place for several months. I ask people to search the market place for a all solid wood guitar or mandolin, you will find your price is twice what you can win one of Toniís for. For the record I do not work with Toni, I am a customer. I am a business man here in the U.S.A that makes high quality violins. Toniís store and how he does his business is good. He is professional always kind, he will see you through to satisfaction if you give him a chance. Some tips; when contacting sellers in other countries use simple words that their language translator software can better understand. Think what would you do if someone sent you a email in Japanese! If you think they didnít hear something you said in email they probably didnít. Try sending it again using different words. Keep the email light and to the point. Summarize your current pending transactions in the email such that the seller can take the situation form the most current email you sent. Be clear accurate and kind. And remember for every one thing that happens wrong 99 things that person has done were right.  Nov. 16, 2006  

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