21 Best Mandolins in 2021 (All Price Ranges)

When I purchased my first mandolin there weren’t nearly as many options as there are today. While having more options is a good thing, it can also make choosing one a more complicated process. You’re going to spend a lot of time playing your mandolin, so it’s important to choose one that fits your playing style, skill level, and budget.

Best Mandolins (Featured Image)

Finding a mandolin that you feel comfortable playing will not only give you the confidence to play it often but will also ensure that you do not become injured or bored while practicing! Thus it is vital that you take the time to research exactly what you want before you purchase your new mandolin.

Don’t worry, though, whether you need a beginner mandolin or are looking for something high-end, there will be something for everyone on the list below. I’ll start this article by reviewing the best mandolins at each price point, but if you want to learn more about them before reading reviews, check out our mandolin buying guide at the bottom of the page here.

Name of ProductImage of ProductDescriptionPrice RangeFull Review
1. Kentucky KM-150 Standard A-Model Mandolin (Best Under $500)Kentucky KM-150 Standard MandolinBody Shape: A-Style Body
Top: Spruce wood
$450Read Full Review Below
2. Ibanez M510 (Best Under $200)Ibanez M510Body Shape: A-Style Body
Top: Spruce wood
$170Read Full Review Below
3. Vangoa A-Style 8 String Acoustic Mandolin (Best Value for Beginners)Vangoa A-Style Mandolin Musical Instrument Sunburst, 8 String Acoustic MandolinBody Shape: A-Style Body
Top: Mahogany
$130Read Full Review Below
4. Donner A-Style Mandolin (Best Under $100)Donner A-Style Mandolin Instrument Sunburst MahoganyBody Shape: A-Style Body
Top: Mahogany
$100Read Full Review Below
5. Rogue RM-100A A-Style Mandolin (Runner Up Under $100)Rogue RM-100A A-Style Mandolin SunburstBody Shape: A-Style Body
Top: Spruce wood
$80Read Full Review Below
6. Loar LM-700 F-Model Mandolin (Best Under $1000)Loar LM-700 F-Model MandolinBody Shape: F-Style Body
Top: Spruce
$1000Read Full Review Below
7. Loar LM-600 F-Model MandolinThe Loar LM-600 F-Model MandolinBody Shape: F-Style Body
Top: Spruce
$900Read Full Review Below
8. Loar LM-520Loar LM-520Body Shape: F-Style Body
Top: Spruce wood
$600Read Full Review Below
9. Kentucky KM-1500 Master F-Model Mandolin (Best Under $3000)Kentucky KM-1500 Master F-Model MandolinBody Shape: F-Style Body
Top: Spruce
$2700Read Full Review Below
10. Gibson F-5G Mandolin (Best Premium Choice)Gibson F-5G Mandolin Cremona SunburstBody Shape: F-Style Body
Top: Spruce wood
$6400Read Full Review Below
11. Ibanez 8-String Mandolin M522 (Best F-Style Mandolin)Ibanez, 8-String Mandolin (M522)Body Shape: F-Style Body
Top: Spruce wood
$200Read Full Review Below
12. Ibanez M700AVS F-Style Mandolin (Best For A Higher Note Range)Ibanez M700AVS Spruce/Maple F-Style Mandolin Violin SunburstBody Shape: F-Style Body
Top: Spruce wood
$550Read Full Review Below
13. Stagg M20 Left-Handed 8-String Bluegrass Mandolin (Best for Bluegrass Players)Stagg M20 Left-Handed 8-String Bluegrass MandolinBody Shape: A-Style Body
Top: Spruce wood
$325Read Full Review Below
14. Gold Tone GM-35 F-Style MandolinGold Tone GM-35 F-Style MandolinBody Shape: F-Style Body
Top: Spruce wood
$420Read Full Review Below
15. Loar LM-310F-BRB Honey Creek (Best For Country Music)The Loar LM-310F-BRB Honey Creek F-Style MandolinBody Shape: F-Style Body
Top: Spruce wood
$350Read Full Review Below
16. Eastman MD305 All Solid Wood A Style Mandolin (Best Handcrafted)Eastman MD305 All Solid Wood A Style Mandolin Satin Nitrocellulose Chrome HardwareBody Shape: A-Style Body
Top: Spruce wood
$500Read Full Review Below
17. GRETSCH G9320 New Yorker Deluxe (Best Electro-Acoustic Mandolin)GRETSCH G9320 New Yorker Deluxe Electro Acoustic MandolinBody Shape: A-Style Body
Top: Spruce wood
$379Read Full Review Below
18. Hola! Music Mandolin (Best For Children)Hola! Music MandolinBody Shape: A-Style Body
Top: Laminate Wood
$25Read Full Review Below
19. Washburn M1SDLB A-Style MandolinWashburn M1SDLB A-Style MandolinBody Shape: A-Style Body
Top: Spruce wood
$270Read Full Review Below
20. Oscar Schmidt OM10-O-U 8-String MandolinOscar Schmidt OM10-O-U 8-String Mandolin Ts - A StyleBody Shape: A-Style Body
Top: Ebony wood
$185Read Full Review Below
21. Ammoon 8-String Electric A-Style MandolinAmmoon 8-String Electric A-Style MandolinBody Shape: A-Style Body
Top: Spruce wood
$175Read Full Review Below

Here Are the Best Mandolins (Beginner to Professional)

1. Kentucky KM-150 Standard A-Model Mandolin (Best Under $500)

Kentucky KM-150 Standard Mandolin

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Estimated Price: $450

Body Shape: A-Style Body
Top: Spruce wood
Back and Sides: Maple
Neck: Maple

My Review: The Kentucky range of mandolins has become a very popular choice for many beginners and even advanced players. One of the best things about this Kentucky model is the fact that the neck is slimmer than most other models on the market. This is what makes it a great choice for beginner players who are struggling to perfect their playing, or even for more advanced players who have much smaller hands than most.

The overall design and hardware construction of this mandolin is surprising given its mid-range price. You definitely will not need to be concerned about this mandolin slipping out of tune easily, which is great news for a gigging musician who will be playing on stage a lot.

Overall, if you are a beginner player who is willing to pay the price for this mandolin, then the Kentucky mandolin will definitely not disappoint. With the smaller neck and overall high comfortability of this instrument, it would make a fantastic choice for all players who are just starting out on the mandolin.

Finish: The beautiful high-gloss finish on the Kentucky KM-150 gives this instrument an allure of expensiveness for a mid-range price. The gloss will ensure that the wood on the instrument is kept looking beautiful, even after years of playing. The sunburst finish is one of the most popular colors to choose from in Mandolins and it works well with this body and style of instrument.

Bottom Line: The Kentucky KM-150 would be perfect for anyone in the market for a mid-range mandolin that has a smaller sized neck than most other mandolins out there. If you have smaller hands than most and are struggling to get to grips with the instrument, then you should definitely check out this Kentucky model. Overall, I would say the Kentucky KM-150 is the best mandolin under 500 dollars.

2. Ibanez M510 (Best Under $200)

Ibanez M510

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Estimated Price: $170

Body Shape: A-Style Body
Top: Spruce wood
Back and Sides: Mahogany
Neck: Mahogany

My Review: The Ibanez M510 is a great beginner mandolin and for the money, it’s hard to beat. Ibanez is one of the most popular brands for instruments worldwide, so you can be sure that you are purchasing an instrument from a reputable brand.

A noticeable difference between the Ibanez brand mandolins and some cheaper models is the fact that the hardware is of such great quality. This mandolin has amazing tuners given the price. The strings will be held in place better and you can be sure that this mandolin will not be slipping out of tune frequently. This is highly important if you are a gigging musician!

Although the tone on this mandolin is not as rich as the tones on more expensive instruments, given the great price tag many musicians will not complain!

Finish: The finish on the Ibanez is a burnt sunburst color, which has become extremely popular for mandolins. The instrument is finished with a high gloss ensuring that not only is the wood protected but that the instrument looks especially expensive also.

Bottom Line: If you are in the market for a great quality mandolin from a reliable brand that will not break the bank, then the Ibanez M510 is a great choice for you! This instrument perfectly balances quality and price and will make for a great mandolin for beginners and more advanced players alike.

3. Vangoa A-Style 8 String Acoustic Mandolin (Best Value for Beginners)

Vangoa A-Style Mandolin Musical Instrument Sunburst, 8 String Acoustic Mandolin

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Estimated Price: $120

Body Shape: A-Style Body
Top: Mahogany
Back and Sides: Mahogany
Neck: Mahogany

My Review: Vangoa isn’t typically a brand that springs to mind for mandolins, but I am quite impressed by their offering here.

One great thing about this budget instrument is that you have the option to play it acoustically or electronically. If you are in the market for an electro-acoustic mandolin that is at a budget price then you should definitely consider the Vangoa.

The Vangoa has an A-Style body making it a very comfortable and reliable instrument for beginner players also.

The glossy red finish of this mandolin makes it look like a much more expensive instrument than it actually is. The red color is so striking that you will definitely be noticed once you are on stage!

Finish: The bright red, glossy finish on this mandolin will ensure that you will always stand out on the stage! If you are in the market for a mandolin with a bit of edge and that looks different from the more traditional instruments, then this is the one for you!

Bottom Line: If you are in the market for an electro-acoustic mandolin that won’t break the bank then the Vangoa mandolin would be a fantastic choice for you. Although it is not a brand that is highly popular, we recommend it for its fantastic price and quality. Considering its price and overall build quality, I feel that this is one of the best beginner mandolins out there.

4. Donner A-Style Mandolin (Best Under $100)

Donner A-Style Mandolin Instrument Sunburst Mahogany

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Estimated Price: $100

Body Shape: A-Style Body
Top: Mahogany
Back and Sides: Mahogany
Neck: Mahogany

My Review: Another budget option is the Donner A-Style mandolin. This mandolin is perfect for anyone that is on a very strict budget!

As it is a budget instrument, the sound quality on the Donner is not as great as the sound quality you will find on the more expensive instruments listed here. However, for the fantastic price, many musicians would not be complaining!

The sound is rich enough to satisfy most beginner and intermediate players and will definitely still be strong enough to pierce through other instruments while you are playing on stage with a band. For this price, there is not much more you can ask for in terms of sound!

The Donner is a small mandolin with a slim neck, making it most ideal for younger players or beginners who are still trying to figure out the instrument. The slim neck will make the playing experience extremely comfortable and easy for you to practice your scales on!

Finish: The finish of this mandolin comes in glossy sunburst and a matt black finish. The matt black finish is perfect for anyone that is searching for an edgier style as it has become so commonly used in rock music or alternative mandolin music.

Bottom Line: If you are a beginner player in the market for a cheap mandolin that will make your playing experience as easy as possible then you should definitely check out the Donner mandolin! This is a great beginner mandolin.

5. Rogue RM-100A A-Style Mandolin (Runner Up Under $100)

Rogue RM-100A A-Style Mandolin Sunburst

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Estimated Price: $80

Body Shape: A-Style Body
Top: Spruce wood
Back and Sides: Maple
Neck: Maple

My Review: The Rogue RM-100A mandolin would be a fantastic choice for anyone that is in the market for a budget mandolin. The incredible price point of this instrument will not disappoint anyone who is looking to save some money on their new mandolin.

Obviously, as a much cheaper instrument, the Rogue RM-100A will not produce the same level of sound production or tone quality as the more expensive instruments on this list. However, if your main priority is to save money and purchase a budget mandolin, then the Rogue RM-100A will not disappoint.

Overall, the design of the Rogue is fantastic for the budget price. To the untrained ear especially, the sound of the Rogue will be great and the laminated wood will look and feel fantastic to play on.

Finish: The high-gloss finish on the Rogue RM-100A is beautiful and gives this mandolin a unique edge over the more popular sunburst models. The black finish would suit anyone that is searching for a mandolin with a bit of edge!

Bottom Line: If you are a beginner player who is not sure whether they will seriously pursue the mandolin, or if you are a player that is looking for a budget option, then the Rogue would be a great choice for you. As a more advanced player, you may look for another model that will give you a better sound. If you’re on a tight budget, this is another great mandolin for beginners.

6. Loar LM-700 F-Model Mandolin (Best Under $1000)

The Loar LM-700-F Model Mandolin

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Estimated Price: $1000

Body Shape: F-Style Body
Top: Spruce
Back and Sides: Maple
Neck: Maple

My Review: The last mandolin on our list is the Loar LM-700 mandolin. Another premium mandolin choice, the LM-700 would suit a more advanced player who is looking to upgrade their current mandolin.

The LM-700 is handcrafted by one of the most known mandolin brands on the market. You can be assured that when you purchase a Loar mandolin, you are purchasing a reliable and high-quality instrument.

Once you begin playing this instrument and you hear the tone and sound production, you will understand why this instrument has a premium price tag. If you are in the market for a mandolin that sounds equally fantastic when playing solo or with a band, then the Loar LM-700 could be for you.

Finish: Like the other Loar mandolins mentioned on this list, the LM-700 is handcrafted and rubbed with an extra thin poly finish. This ensures that the aesthetic of the instrument is gorgeous and the wood will be kept perfect for years to come. The vintage sunburst color is a common and timeless finish for most mandolins today.

Bottom Line: If you are searching for a top-quality mandolin from a reliable brand, and are willing to spend a little extra cash, then we have no doubt that you will not be disappointed by the Loar LM-700! Overall, I would say that this is the best mandolin under 1000 dollars.

7. Loar LM-600 F-Model Mandolin

The Loar LM-600 F-Model Mandolin

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Estimated Price: $900

Body Shape: F-Style Body
Top: Spruce
Back and Sides: Maple
Neck: Maple

My Review: The Loar LM-600 F-Model Mandolin is a handcrafted mandolin that is definitely worth paying the extra money for! If you can afford the price tag, then we cannot recommend the LM-600 enough.

The F-Style body on the Loar LM-600 ensures that this mandolin is extremely comfortable to play, even when sitting down. If you play in a band where you are normally sitting down, for instance in Irish Celtic Folk music, then the Loar LM-600 would be a fantastic choice for you!

One of the best things about this mandolin is the tone it produces, especially given the price of the instrument. You would find it difficult to find a tone like this in another mandolin model of this price! The two F holes on the body only enhance this tone production.

Finish: The LM-600’s finish is a beautiful tobacco sunburst with a special nitrocellulose lacquer used on top. This lacquer is one of the best on the market to be used on mandolins, so you can be assured that the LM-600 will not be susceptible to chipping while you have it!

Bottom Line: Although the Loar LM-600’s price tag is considered mid-range when compared to other models on the market, many may still find this price tag a little high. However, if you can stretch your budget to afford this mandolin, we can assure you that you will not be disappointed with the Loar LM-600!

8. Loar LM-520

Loar LM-520

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Estimated Price: $600

Body Shape: F-Style Body
Top: Spruce wood
Back and Sides: Maple
Neck: Maple

My Review: The Loar LM-520 is a popular mandolin choice as it is a great quality instrument at a somewhat affordable price. What brings the price up for this instrument is the fact that it is hand-carved. This means the tone and overall sound production of this instrument is of superior quality to many other mandolins on the market. Many will find this mandolin slightly expensive, however, if you are willing to pay slightly more for your new mandolin then we can assure that you will not be disappointed in the Loar LM-520.

The Loar LM-520 is an F-Style mandolin, meaning that it is incredibly comfortable to play, even when sitting down. This is what makes it a great instrument for a beginner player, as well as more advanced players.

Finish: The matt Sunburst finish on the Loar LM-520 gives this mandolin an air of vintage and class. As the finish is not glossy, you will not have to worry about your instrument looking ‘cheap’ on stage.’ Overall, the finish will keep your instrument protected while giving the mandolin more of an expensive look.

Bottom Line: The Loar LM-520 is a great choice for anyone looking for a fantastic quality instrument for a great price. As it is slightly more expensive it may not be the best option for those who are not quite sure if they want to pursue the mandolin seriously or not yet.

9. Kentucky KM-1500 Master F-Model Mandolin (Best Under $3000)

Kentucky KM-1500 Master F-Model Mandolin

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Estimated Price: $2700

Body Shape: F-Style Body
Top: Spruce
Back and Sides: Maple
Neck: Maple

My Review: The Kentucky KM-1500 is the perfect choice for anyone that wants to purchase an expensive mandolin, but does not want to pay the most premium prices like those found at Gibson!

The Kentucky KM-1500’s quality is truly amazing and you will certainly not be disappointed playing this instrument. The woods that are used have been handcrafted to ensure that the tone and sound that is produced by this instrument is one of the richest and warmest you will find.

The hardware, including the tuning machines and the tailpiece, are gold-plated, giving this instrument a fantastic vintage look. The hardware is also of superb quality so you do not need to worry about any of it breaking over time through use.

Finish: The Kentucky KM-1500 mandolin was handcrafted and then rubbed with an ‘extra thin poly finish.’ Not only will this ensure that the wood of your instrument is protected for a long time, but it will also enhance the overall tone and sound projection of the instrument.

Bottom Line: If you are in the market for one of the best mandolins that you can find, but are still hoping not to pay the most premium prices, then the Kentucky KM-1500 would be a fantastic choice for you. The hardware and woods used on this instrument will ensure that you will be playing it for years to come!

10. Gibson F-5G Mandolin (Best Premium Choice)

Gibson F-5G Mandolin Cremona Sunburst

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Estimated Price: $6400

Body Shape: F-Style Body
Top: Spruce wood
Back and Sides: Maple
Neck: Maple

My Review: The Gibson F-5G Mandolin is the most premium choice that we have included on the list here. The hefty price tag makes this a great instrument for anyone that is hoping to spend a lot of money and one of the highest quality instruments on the market right now.

The Gibson F-5G Mandolin features bound scroll work and a tuned parallel tone bar. Each of these things are special additions to this expensive mandolin, making the price well worth the money. These features ensure that the tone and sound production that is produced by the Gibson F-5G is the best that you can find out of the majority of mandolins that are on the market right now.

Finish: The Gibson F-5G Mandolin has a top-quality lacquer finish with a Cremona Sunburst color. Not only does this give the mandolin a gorgeous vintage look, but the strong lacquer will keep this very expensive instrument looking perfect for a very long time.

Bottom Line: If you are not worried about budget and are searching for the best possible choice of mandolin then the Gibson F-5G would definitely be a fantastic instrument to purchase!

11. Ibanez 8-String Mandolin M522 (Best F-Style Mandolin)

Ibanez, 8-String Mandolin (M522)

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Estimated Price: $200

Body Shape: F-Style Body
Top: Spruce wood
Back and Sides: Maple
Neck: Maple

My Review: Next on our list is another Ibanez. The Ibanez M522 is another popular choice for many mandolins players due to the reputable branding and overall fantastic quality.

This model is an F-Style model, making it a great choice for beginners as it will be the most comfortable to play out of other body styles out there. The back and sides are maple and the top is spruce. These are quality woods that ensure that the Ibanez M522 produces a warm and rich tone that is very like that of much more expensive models.

The hardware on this Ibanez is of superior quality and you will definitely not have to worry about the tuning slipping on this instrument while you are on stage! It includes gold die-cast knobs which also makes tuning incredibly easy. This would suit a beginner player who is still trying to figure out the instrument.
Key Specifications / Features:

Finish: The finish on this mandolin is a classic style with a beautiful and professional finish. The finish certainly gives this mandolin a look of a much more expensive instrument than it actually is.

Bottom Line: As Ibanez is one of the most popular and reputable brands on the market, this would suit someone who is searching for an instrument that will be secure and will last a long time. The Ibanez m522 would also be a great choice for beginners as it has an F-Style body and the hardware makes this instrument very easy to tune.

12. Ibanez M700AVS Spruce/Maple F-Style Mandolin (Best For A Higher Note Range)

Ibanez M700AVS Spruce/Maple F-Style Mandolin Violin Sunburst

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Estimated Price: $550

Body Shape: F-Style Body
Top: Spruce wood
Back and Sides: Maple
Neck: Maple

My Review: The Ibanez M700S is another more expensive choice that we have provided here. Coming from such a reputable brand, you can be assured that the money spent on this mandolin will be completely worth it. It is sure to last you a very long time!

The Ibanez M700S is an F-Style mandolin, making it ideal for all players from beginners to more advanced. This particular model also includes a 24 fret range which is fantastic if you are hoping to play some music within very high registers. The 24 fret range is what makes this mandolin so unique!

The quality wood construction ensures that the Ibanez M700S produces one of the most beautiful tones on mandolin within this price range. It is also incredibly strong that when you connect up to a mic it will definitely hold its own on stage – even if there are many other instruments there also!

Finish: The finish on this particular Ibanez mandolin is quite similar to the rest of their mandolin models. The antique burnt orange color is an acquired taste. However, if you are in the market for a mandolin that looks different from the rest, then this is the mandolin for you!

Bottom Line: If you are in the market for a mandolin that will give you more notes than a usual mandolin then the Ibanez M700S is definitely the one for you! The 24 fret range is fantastic and makes it unique when compared to the other mandolins on this list.

13. Stagg M20 Left-Handed 8-String Bluegrass Mandolin (Best for Bluegrass Players)

Stagg M20 Left-Handed 8-String Bluegrass Mandolin

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Estimated Price: $325

Body Shape: A-Style Body
Top: Spruce wood
Back and Sides: Basswood
Neck: Basswood

My Review: The Stagg M50ZE is the number one choice for Bluegrass players. This instrument features Nato sides and a Rosewood fretboard which ensures a comfortable playing experience overall.

The sound that is produced by the Stagg M50ZE is crisp and clear, making it perfect to play Bluegrass music. If you are in the market for a Bluegrass mandolin and you do not want to pay very high prices, then the Stagg would be a great choice for you.

The hardware of the Stagg M50ZE is of great quality, especially given its mid-range price, and contributes to the perfect sound that is produced by the instrument. The tailpiece of the mandolin has a special engraved design giving it a very cool and vintage look.

Finish: The ‘violin’ finish on this mandolin gives it more of a classic look, and makes it look fantastic on stage when you are playing with other instruments! The overall finish is of great quality and is sure to keep the wood in mint condition for a long time.

Bottom Line: The Stagg M50ZE is perfect for bluegrass mandolin players. Obviously, it works well with other genres, however, this instrument truly shines when it is being played in a bluegrass setting.

14. Gold Tone GM-35 F-Style Mandolin (Best Under $500)

Gold Tone GM-35 F-Style Mandolin

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Estimated Price: $420

Body Shape: F-Style Body
Top: Spruce wood
Back and Sides: Maple
Neck: Maple

My Review: The Gold Tone mandolin is another mandolin from a lesser-known brand. However, this definitely does not mean it is of lesser quality!

This mandolin has a particularly slim neck so it is perfect for beginner players or players who have smaller hands and struggle with other mandolins of bigger neck size.
The overall tone production of the Gold Tone is fantastic and certainly will not disappoint players, even if you are a more advanced player! The sound production is so great that you will not need to worry about this instrument being drowned out by other instruments while you are playing on stage!

The Gold Tone mandolin is also incredibly light and weighs around 1lb. This makes it ideal for traveling musicians who are tired of carrying around a lot of heavy instruments while on tour! If you are a beginner player then this would suit you also.

Finish: The finish on the Gold Tone comes in a classic and vintage Tobacco sunburst color. This color has become iconic in country music, so if that is the look that you are hoping for then you should definitely check out this model!

Bottom Line: If you are in the market for a very lightweight mandolin then the Gold Tone would be the best option for you. Weighing at 1lbs you will barely even notice if it is strapped to your back!

15. Loar LM-310F-BRB Honey Creek F-Style Mandolin (Best For Country Music)

The Loar LM-310F-BRB Honey Creek F-Style Mandolin

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Estimated Price: $350

Body Shape: F-Style Body
Top: Spruce wood
Back and Sides: Maple
Neck: Maple

My Review: The Loar LM-310 is an F-Style mandolin that is great for beginners and advanced players alike.

The sound quality that is produced by the LM-310 is great for country folk or bluegrass music. If you are particularly interested in playing this style of music then you should definitely check out this model!

The maple neck of the Loar LM-310 is particularly comfortable to play and gives this instrument a fantastic playing experience. This is what makes it so good for beginner players who are searching for a mandolin that they can seriously learn on.

Although this mandolin is certainly not the cheapest on the list, the overall construction and beautiful sound that is produced makes it worth the extra money. It is hard to believe this instrument is priced so low in fact!

Finish: The satin brown burst finish gives this instrument a gorgeous look and would suit anyone that is hoping to find a mandolin that looks slightly different than the traditional ones on the market.

Bottom Line: If you are willing to spend a bit of extra cash on your mandolin then this model would be great for you. The overall construction and sound quality make this instrument worth every penny!

16. Eastman MD305 All Solid Wood A Style Mandolin (Best Handcrafted)

Eastman MD305 All Solid Wood A Style Mandolin Satin Nitrocellulose Chrome Hardware

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Estimated Price: $500

Body Shape: A-Style Body
Top: Spruce wood
Back and Sides: Maple
Neck: Maple

My Review: Although the price may be out of many people’s price range, when you assess the Eastman MD305 you will see that it is actually a bargain for this instrument!

It is an A-Style mandolin, making it incredibly comfortable to play, especially for beginners. The woods used in this instrument are all of the top quality, which is why the sound produced by the Eastman MD305 is one of the best you will find on the list here!

The Eastman MD305 is handcrafted, which is surprising given its price! This will ensure that the best craftsmanship has gone into making each of these instruments. For this price, you really can’t ask for much more!

If you are willing to splurge a little bit more money on your new mandolin then we can not recommend the Eastman MD305 enough. You certainly will not be disappointed!

Finish: The finish on the Eastman MD305 is a classic matt brown. Although this is certainly an acquired taste, it would suit those that are looking for that classic, mature mandolin look. The overall finish is of superb quality, ensuring that your wood will not be damaged by a little bit of wear and tear.

Bottom Line: The Eastman MD305 is perfect for anyone that is looking for top quality craftsmanship and a handcrafted mandolin. Handcrafted mandolins typically are much more expensive than the Eastman MD305. So, if this is what you are looking for, then you won’t find a better price than this model!

17. GRETSCH G9320 New Yorker Deluxe (Best Electro-Acoustic Mandolin)

GRETSCH G9320 New Yorker Deluxe Electro Acoustic Mandolin

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Estimated Price: $379

Body Shape: A-Style Body
Top: Spruce wood
Back and Sides: Laminated Mahogany
Neck: Laminated Mahogany

My Review: Gretsch is an incredibly popular make of electric guitars and many will not know that they also make mandolins. The Gretsch G9320 would make for a fantastic choice for anyone that is in the market for an electro-acoustic mandolin. This particular model perfectly combines all the great features of an electric mandolin with an acoustic mandolin!

The pairing of the laminate woods on this instrument brings the price down lower than what an electric-acoustic mandolin will usually cost. This will be a great benefit for anyone that is hoping to save a bit of money on their new electro-acoustic mandolin.

The most significant benefit of the Gretsch G9320 is the built-in electronics that are included on the instrument. These will make a gigging musician very happy! Given the price, the electronic options that are provided by this mandolin are amazing.

Finish: The overall finish on the Gretsch G9320 is a vintage semi-gloss which is perfect for anyone in the market for a vintage-looking mandolin, but with the perks of a newer model! This semi-gloss will ensure the wood is protected and that the instrument looks great on stage!

Bottom Line: The Gretsch G9320 would be a fantastic choice for anyone in the market for a new electric-acoustic mandolin, but who also doesn’t want to spend a lot of money on it. The Gretsch G9320 is an affordable option that will give you everything you could need from an electro-acoustic mandolin.

18. Hola! Music Mandolin (Best For Children)

Hola! Music Mandolin

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Estimated Price: $25

Body Shape: A-Style Body
Top: Laminate Wood
Back and Sides: Laminate Wood
Neck: Laminate Wood

My Review: The Hola mandolin is the perfect mandolin for your little ones to start off on! It is small in size and not at all expensive so you will never have to worry about replacing a very expensive instrument if your child drops it or seriously damages it!

This mandolin comes with a built-in strap to make the playing experience even easier for your child. It will keep the instrument safely secured to your child’s body so you will not have to worry about them dropping it while they are playing it!

Given the incredibly low price, this mandolin is fantastic in sound and is sure to delight your child when they can strum all the new chords they will be learning!

As it is a cheap instrument, it does have a tendency to go out of tune often. However, given the price tag, we are certain this is not something that many will worry about!

Finish: Given the incredibly cheap price of this instrument, the overall finish is certainly not up to scratch when compared to the other more expensive models mentioned here. However, given that it is the perfect instrument for a child, the finish is sure to be able to withstand some scratches while your child is playing with it!

Bottom Line: If your young child is interested in learning the mandolin then we highly recommend the Hola Music mandolin. Not only is it small to accommodate small fingers, but it is incredibly cheap so you will not have to worry about your child damaging a very expensive instrument!

We hope that you have found this article helpful and you are now sure what mandolin will be the best one for you! Remember that purchasing a new mandolin is a process and it may take a while to find the most appropriate one for you. Remember to stick by our top tips and you will have found your perfect mandolin in no time.

19. Washburn M1SDLB A-Style Mandolin

Washburn M1SDLB A-Style Mandolin

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Estimated Price: $270

Body Shape: A-Style Body
Top: Spruce wood
Back and Sides: Maple
Neck: Maple

My Review: The Washburn mandolin is another great budget option for anyone out there that is hoping to save some chase when they are purchasing their instrument!

The body is A-Style making it one of the most comfortable mandolins to play. It features quality maple and spruce wood which gives the instrument a warm and rich tone which is hard to believe given the price!

The oval sound hole that is included on the Washburn mandolin enhances the sound production even further, making it an ideal choice for players who know they will be playing in bands with other instrumentalists.

Finish: The finish on the Washburn is a classic matt black, giving it a unique edge over the more glossy finishes of many other mandolins out there.

Bottom Line: If you are hoping to stick to a very strict budget, but still purchase a mandolin of great quality that will produce a sound big enough to join in with other musicians, then the Washburn mandolin would be a fantastic choice for you!

20. Oscar Schmidt OM10-O-U 8-String Mandolin

Oscar Schmidt OM10-O-U 8-String Mandolin Ts - A Style

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Estimated Price: $185

Body Shape: A-Style Body
Top: Ebony wood
Back and Sides: Ebony
Neck: Ebony

My Review: The Oscar Schmidt would be a great choice for anyone that is on a budget and does not want to spend too much money on their new mandolin.

The Oscar Schmidt has great hardware, especially given the price. Although this mandolin is much cheaper than many other models you will not need to worry about the tuning slipping a lot or any of the hardware breaking through excessive playing.

Obviously, as a cheaper instrument, the Oscar Schmidt’s sound is not as rich as some of the more expensive instruments on this list. However, it does produce a clear and warm tone which many musicians would be extremely happy with.

Finish: The Tobacco Sunburst finish on the Oscar Schmidt OM10 mandolin is one of the most popular colors in mandolins. The finish gives the instrument a vintage look with all the features of a modern instrument!

Bottom Line: If you are in the market for a budget mandolin that still gives you a fantastic playing experience then the Oscar Schmidt would be a great choice for you!

21. Ammoon 8-String Electric A-Style Mandolin

Ammoon 8-String Electric A-Style Mandolin

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Estimated Price: $175

Body Shape: A-Style Body
Top: Spruce wood
Back and Sides: Plywood
Neck: Plywood

My Review: The Ammoon mandolin may not be one that you have heard of before, but it is definitely a fantastic choice for anyone that is on a budget. It would also be a great choice if you are a beginner and are just looking to try out the mandolin with a serious commitment yet.

The spruce top and rosewood fretboard give this budget mandolin an edge as these are woods normally found in more expensive models. This obviously has an effect on the sound of the instrument, and the Ammoon sounds fantastic, especially given the budget price!

Many more advanced players will find fault in this model, particularly the hardware, which feels slightly cheaper than other mandolins found in this list. However, for the low price, you can’t get a better instrument than this!

Finish: The Sunburst finish on the Ammoon gives this budget mandolin a vintage look. If you are searching for a mandolin in this style then the Ammoon mandolin would be a great choice without breaking the bank!

Bottom Line: The Ammoon mandolin would be best suited for beginner players or anyone that is on a strict budget. If you are a more advanced player you may wish to purchase a higher quality instrument for your playing style.

Choosing the Right Mandolin (Buying Guide)

Before you jump right into buying your new mandolin it is important that you understand what makes a great mandolin, and what you can get that is within your budget. There are many different styles and makes of mandolins on the market out there, so it will be very confusing knowing where to look if you first haven’t researched what makes a great mandolin. We have detailed some top considerations that you should make before you start researching for instruments. This will definitely help narrow down your search, and ensure that you are on the right path to choosing the perfect mandolin for you!

Mandolin Body Styles Explained

As anyone who has ever purchased a mandolin before or who has done research into the different types of mandolin will know, there are a variety of body styles to choose from. Which body style you choose will depend on your budget and your personal preference, but it is important that you understand the difference between them. There are a number of different body styles but here are the most common that you will find:

F-Style

An F-Style Mandolin is a great choice for beginner players, or those looking for a cheap option that will still produce a fantastic tone.

The Gibson Company developed the F-Style of Mandolin. Typically these styles of mandolins will include two F holes rather than one O hole on the body of the instrument, and many will also include small ‘points’ at the bottom of the instrument. These points ensure that the instrument is as comfortable as possible to play while you are sitting down. For this reason, many beginner players choose this style of mandolin. If you are hoping to find an instrument that will give you the maximum comfort as you figure the instrument out, then the F-Style mandolin could be the right choice for you!

Although the F-style body of mandolin can be found in a variety of musical genres, and it would work well on any style of music you are hoping to play, they have become increasingly popular with bluegrass and country music. If you are in the market for a mandolin in order to play these styles of music, then you should definitely check out the F-Style mandolin.

Bowl-backed

This is the oldest body style out of all the other bodies out there for mandolins. It has a distinctive round back so it is perfect for someone searching for that vintage mandolin look. The bowl-backed mandolin produces a deep and dark tone, which is great for players who are hoping to play traditional folk music or in mandolin orchestras. Obviously, the tone that is produced will need to be chosen with your personal preferences in mind. But if you are a fan of the darker-toned mandolin sound, then a bowl-backed instrument could be perfect for you.

Although you may prefer this tone on the mandolin, it is important to note that as a beginner, the bowl-backed mandolin can be challenging for a beginner player. It is much harder to produce a great tone while playing with a bowl-backed mandolin, and because of this, many beginner players will choose either the F-Style or the A-Style mandolin as their first instrument.

A-Style

The A-style body on a mandolin is extremely similar to an F-Style body. Like an F-Style body, the A-style will suit beginner players, as well as other levels. This style is typically chosen for beginners as they are comfortable to play and inexpensive while still producing a great tone.

A-Style mandolins have a pear-shaped body and are often called flat-backed mandolins. A-Style mandolins have either one ‘O’ hole in the middle of the instrument’s soundboard but they may also include two ‘F’ holes on each side. However, the one O hole is much more common in A-Style mandolins.

A-Style mandolins are much easier to build than bowl-backed or F-Style mandolins and therefore, are much less expensive than other models on the market. This makes them perfect for beginners who are still trying to figure out if they want to pursue the mandolin long term or not!

A-Style mandolins will sound great in a variety of musical genres including folk, classical and Celtic. If you are in the market for a mandolin but you are not quite sure what style you will be playing, then you should definitely consider an A-style body.

Wood

One of the most important aspects of any mandolin will be the wood that it is made from. Although the different body styles will have a small effect on how the instrument sounds, they are mainly related to the comfort of the player.

What greatly affects the tone of a mandolin is the wood that the instrument is made from. You should consider the type of wood that is best for your budget to ensure that you can get the best possible tone from your new mandolin.

Mandolins are generally made from a variety of woods. Each part of the instrument will be made from different woods. If the majority of a mandolin is made from the same wood then this generally means that it is a cheaper model of instrument.

If you are searching for the right tone of mandolin you should research the wood that the soundboard of the instrument is made from. The soundboard wood will greatly affect the tone of the mandolin. Usually, the soundboards of mandolins are made from Solid Spruce Wood. This is a very common wood used in instruments such as mandolins, guitars and violins. Spruce wood is extremely lightweight making the mandolin comfortable to play, and is also very strong. This means that your mandolin will be able to withstand a bit of wear and tear when you are gigging or touring. Choosing a strong wood will be vital in ensuring your mandolin will not become damaged or warped by regular playing and traveling around with the instrument.

Even though spruce wood is a very common material to use to build mandolins, it is also in high demand which means it is slightly more expensive than other materials. Because of this, many beginner players will choose a mandolin made from mahogany or cedar wood instead. Generally, these materials are much less expensive to produce so are perfect for a person that isn’t quite sure if they want to pursue the mandolin seriously or not. Cedar wood and Maghony will give the mandolin a deep tone, which is preferable in some people’s opinion, however, this wood makes the tone much quieter than spruce wood. If you are playing in an orchestra or band and you really need the sound of the mandolin to project through other instruments, then Spruce wood would be the best choice for you.

Some mandolins are made from laminate which is a variety of woods pressed together in layers. Generally, the inner layers are made from cheaper models of wood. This style would be most common in cheap models of mandolins and those most suitable for absolute beginners. As this is a cheap way to manufacture mandolins, you should consider this if you are hoping to spend the least amount of money as possible on your new mandolin. Laminate tops on mandolins are very strong, so are ideal if you are a traveling musician and you will need your instrument to be protected while you are gigging. However, you will definitely notice the difference in tone and sound quality when you hear a spruce wood mandolin and a laminate mandolin played side by side. However, many musicians feel this is a sacrifice they are willing to take to ensure they can purchase a budget mandolin!

The sides of a mandolin will usually be made from maple wood. Maple is even stronger than spruce wood, making it ideal for the sides of the instrument. This will help ensure the instrument is protected should your case be in an accident and it will not become warped.

Many budget mandolins will have laminate sides and back. Although this will make the instrument much cheaper, it will also mean that it is much more likely to become damaged should something happen to your instrument, even while it is in its case. This is something that you must consider if you are shopping for a mandolin on a budget.

The fretboard of a mandolin is usually Ebony. Ebony is a strong wood but is also very smooth, making it an ideal material to run your fingers across multiple times. Rosewood is also a very common material for these reasons.

The wood in the neck of the instrument is also vital in ensuring that the instrument will have a good quality in sound and will be able to be protected against harm. A neck in any instrument will always be the most vulnerable part and will be susceptible to bending. Because of this, maple wood and mahogany are preferred for the neck as they are extremely strong woods.

Electric or Acoustic Mandolin

You will have noticed in your own research, or if you continue through the rest of this article, that some mandolins will be acoustic and some will be electric. Ultimately, what you choose will depend on your personal preference and what style of music you will want to make. If you are in a band and the other instruments are electric then you will definitely want to purchase an electric mandolin to ensure that your instrument can still be heard through the rest of the instruments.

Even if you don’t know whether you will be playing with other musicians or not it is vital that you consider this. If you feel that you may be interested in playing in bands with your mandolin then you should seriously consider purchasing an electric mandolin.

Electro-Acoustic mandolins have the same style as an acoustic, however, with the option to plug in and play electronically too. This could be a great choice for anyone that wants the best of both worlds.

New or Used Mandolin

Many will be wondering if you should purchase a new mandolin or a used one. This will, ultimately, depend on your preference and budget. However, there are some advantages and drawbacks to both.

Purchasing a used mandolin will work out cheaper in many ways, and, therefore, is a great option for beginner players or those hoping to save some money. Many musicians out there will be hoping to sell their used mandolin to make some money or to help with upgrading for a new mandolin. This means that you will be able to find affordable used mandolins that are still in fantastic quality.

Purchasing a new mandolin will have many advantages. First, and foremost, as you are the first person to buy and use the instrument, you can be 100% sure that it has not been damaged or warped in the past. Many times, musicians will purchase used instruments thinking they are in perfect condition, only to find out that the instruments are in fact damaged and need repairs a few months in. However, if you decide to purchase a new mandolin, it will be much more expensive than purchasing a used one. Because of this, beginners or those looking to save some money may decide that they can not purchase a brand new instrument.

Buying a Mandolin Online vs In-Person

This is a very common query when musicians are purchasing their first mandolin. Which is better? To purchase the instrument online or in person. There are many advantages and drawbacks of both, and you will have to consider which is the best for your personal circumstance.

By purchasing a mandolin in person you will actually be able to feel the instrument and play it, giving you a great idea of what it sounds like and how comfortable it is to play. Many musicians will decide to only purchase instruments in person because of this. If you purchase your new mandolin online, you will not be able to try out the instrument beforehand, so it is riskier in some sense. Many musicians will in fact schedule to try out a few instruments in person before they finally decide on their favorite. By comparing instruments in this way, you will be able to see what you like best in a mandolin and this will help you find the perfect instrument for you!

If you decide to purchase your mandolin online, there are many advantages also. Although you will not be able to try out the instrument before you order it, there are still great things about purchasing instruments online too. For instance, online you can generally find much better deals on instruments than in person. This is great for someone who is hoping to save a bit of money.

When you purchase online, you have a much wider variety of instruments on offer. So, therefore, if you have done your research and have decided on a specific model, you will most likely be able to order it online. It may be tricky to find the specific instrument you want in person, however.

Although you can not try out the instrument before purchasing it online, many instrument websites will give you a certain amount of time from ordering the mandolin to try it out and see if you like it. This gives you the reassurance that if you do not like the instrument, and it is not comfortable for you to pay, you can always send it back and get a full refund.

Budget

As with anything you are going to purchase, you must first consider what your budget is. Mandolins will vary in prices tremendously, so it will save you a lot of time researching if you first decide how much you are willing to spend on your new instrument.

You will ideally want to buy the best instrument possible that fits within your budget. To do this, decide on the highest price you are willing to pay, and then you can narrow your search for mandolins to suit this.

If you are a beginner player then you may want to purchase a cheap model to begin with. This will give you the freedom to try the instrument out first to see if you actually enjoy playing the mandolin, and also see if you are going to pursue learning the instrument further There is no point in purchasing an incredibly expensive mandolin if you are going to decide after three months that you hate playing it! As a beginner player, you will not need an expensive instrument, just one that you will be able to get started with.

If you are a more advanced player, then you are probably looking for a mandolin that is much more expensive than a beginner model. These mandolins will also vary in price so it is a big consideration to make before you start looking for your instrument. It is hard to put a price bracket on exactly how much you should spend on a more advanced model as this will greatly depend on your personal budget, preference, and playing style. Once you figure out what the highest price is you are willing to pay, then you can start analyzing what the best instrument for your money is. Many of the mandolins that we have mentioned below will give you the best bang for your buck and ensure that you find an amazing instrument that will be perfect for your budget.

We hope that you have found this article helpful and you are now sure what mandolin will be the best one for you! Remember that purchasing a new mandolin is a process and it may take a while to find the most appropriate one for you. Remember to stick by our top tips and you will have found your perfect mandolin in no time.

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