Ignoring the hysterical rantings of one reviewer and taking the balanced advice of another, I bought this mandolin. Yes, the strings fitted to the instrument are soft and don't hold tune well. Replace them with a set of good quality strings and you'll have no further problems. Am I happy with this instrument? Oh, yes. It is, after all, a budget mandolin, but the tone is excellent (In fact a friend, with a mandolin costing four times as much offered to do a swap!). The instrument, particularly the neck, is straight and true and the adjustable action is spot on. The machine heads work smoothly and, although I haven't yet played it as often electronically as acoustically, the amplified sound is just as good as the acoustic. This is a fine mandolin for the money.