Review: Mannedesign PFM + RDV

Mannedesign – logo

Mannedesign is the more affordable, Far Eastern-produced brand of Italian company Manne Guitars.

Apart from Mannedesign’s wide array of electric guitars and basses the brand’s model range also includes several steel-string acoustics, two of which are featured in this review:

The Parlour-sized Mannedesign PFM and Roberto Dalla Vecchia’s signature-Dreadnought, the RDV.

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Mannedesign PFM – full front 2

The Mannedesign PFM (660 €) is an all-solid, small-bodied instrument for the Blues-, Folk- and Roots-guitarist, who is looking for a vintage-toned guitar.

The deep and rich matte finish on the PFM’s cedar top embues the instrument with a good dose of street credibility.

Mannedesign PFM – full back 2

The mahogany neck is one-piece, save for the upper half of the headstock, and a another piece used to get the neck heel up to its full length. The neck joint is a the 12th fret, just like it was on many guitars in the 1930s.

The back and rims of the soundbox have been crafted from beautiful solid mahogany.

Mannedesign PFM – headstock

The headstock sports a rosewood veneer, which has been beautifully inlaid with a maple Mannedesign-logo.

TRhe top nut has been carved from genuine bone.

Mannedesign PFM – tuners

Gotoh supplies this model’s quality open tuning machines, which are a well-designed update on vintage tuners.

Mannedesign PFM – fretboard

The Mannedesign’s rosewood fingerboard holds 19 well-seated, medium-sized frets.

Mannedesign PFM – body angle

The PFM’s body has been adorned with stylish flame maple binding, while the guitar’s beautiful rosette sports abalone inlays.

Mannedesign PFM – bridge

The characteristic dip of the Mannedesign’s headstock is mirrored in the rosewood bridge’s design.

The compensated bridge saddle has been made – just like the top nut – from bovine bone, which is still one of the best materials for this purpose.

Mannedesign PFM – back beauty

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Mannedesign RDV – full front 2

Roberto Della Vecchia is an Italian Fingerstyle-wizard – I can only recommend hopping over to his website to check the man out!

Della Vecchia’s Mannedesign RDV -signature model (950 €) is a gorgeous Dreadnought guitar carefully crafted from traditional materials. AA-quality sitka spruce is used for the guitar’s solid top.

Mannedesign RDV – full back

The RDV’s mahogany neck is one-piece, save for a separate bit used to make up the neck heel.

The solid Indian rosewood used for the back and the rims is stunningly beautiful.

The body of the guitar comes with a gloss finish, while the neck has been finished with a matte lacquer.

Mannedesign RDV – headstock

The headstock facing is black ebony, inlaid with a mother-of-pearl Mannedesign-logo.

Mannrdrsign RDV – tuners

The RDV comes equipped with gold-coloured Gotoh tuners with ebony-styled plastic tuning buttons.

Mannedesign RDV – fretboard

Maple binding frames the ebony fingerboard. The RDV is equipped with 20 medium-sized frets.

Mannedesign RDV – binding + heel cap

The back’s centre line has been inlaid with a very beautiful black-and-white motif.

Mannedesign RDV – binding

In addition to the maple edge binding the top also sports very crisp-looking herringbone purfling.

Mannedesign RDV – rosette

The rosette’s central ring is made up of genuine mother-of-pearl.

Mannedesign RDV – bridge

The RDV’s bridge is the same design we’ve already seen on the PFM, but this time crafted from deep black ebony.

Mannedesign RDV – body back angle

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Mannedesign PFM – full front

As most do Parlour-sized guitars, the Mannedesign PFM has a medium-length scale of 63 cm, which makes bending the 012-gauge strings relatively easy to bend. Instead of a ”vintage-correct” – and often loathed – V-profile neck, Mannedesign have opted for a more sensible and nice-feeling middle-of-the-road D-profile. The guitar’s nut width measures 4,4 cm, while the string spacing (E to e) at the bridge stands at 5,4 cm – good for both plectrum player, as well as fingerstylists. The test sample was set up with a very friendly action (E: 1,9 mm/e: 1,5 mm).

The Mannedesign PFM is a typical Parlour-guitar in the best possible sense. The guitar’s sound is quite dry and has a barking attack, with a strong and slightly nasal overall mid-range focus. Fingerstyle-guitarists will love the relatively light bass register, which keeps things transparent. When using a plack, you will be positively surprised by how well the PFM is able to cut through and project – great for Ragtime and early Blues. The Mannedesign PFM also records really well, because it doesn’t clutter the low-mid and bass registers.

Mannedesign PFM – beauty shot

Mannedesign PFM – back beauty

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Mannedesign RDV – full front

The Mannedesign RDV has the long scale (63 cm) typical of a Dreadnought. Roberto Della Vecchia requested a slightly wider-than-usual string spread at the bridge (5,9 cm) to accommodate the needs of fingerstyle players. The neck profile is a very nice, oval C. The Della Vecchia model’s set-up was superb, with a nice and comfortable action (E: 2,0 mm/e: 1,5).

Rosewood-bodied Dreads often turn out to be great ”shouters”, which also holds true for the RDV’s healthy volume levels. There’s plenty of lush bass on tap, with a warm mid-range and shimmering top-end to boot. The Mannedesign RDV is a prime exponent of the famous Dreanought-sound, offering you volume, character and dynamics in spades.

Mannedesign RDV – beauty shot

Mannedesign RDV – back beauty

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Mannedesign-instruments still have a rather low profile here in Finland. Still, based on this review I can only recommed a closer look at the brand’s acoustic offerings.

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Mannedesign PFM + RDV

PFM – 660 €

RDV – 950 €

Finnish distributor: Nordsound

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Pros (both models):

+ value-for-money

+ workmanship

+ playability

+ sound

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Mannedesign PFM – logo

One Comment to “Review: Mannedesign PFM + RDV”

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