The Best Mandolin for the Money: Reviews and Buying Guide
Are you looking for a great mandolin that doesn’t break the bank? In this blog post, we’ll review some of the best mandolins for the money. We’ll provide a buying guide to help you choose the right one for your needs. Whether you’re a newbie or an experienced musician, there is a mandolin out there that is perfect for you! So let’s get started!
Mandolins are small stringed instruments that come from the lute family. They have a bright, warm tone. There are many different kinds of mandolins available today. It can be tough to choose one when you’re a beginner.
You need to pick the right mandolin that suits your needs. If the mandolin is not comfortable to play or does not have good playability, you will not enjoy playing it. This will lower your motivation, and the instrument will just collect dust. It would be better to spend that money on something else.
Here are the Best Mandolins:
Kentucky KM-150 Standard A-Model Mandolin, Sunburst
Kentucky is an excellent brand of mandolin and is well-respected by musicians. This model is especially good because of the company’s focus on quality control.
This mandolin is made from German spruce and maple. It comes in two different types- with a solid top or an all-solid top. The all-solid top is more expensive, but it sounds better, so it is worth the extra cost.
The A-style mandolin has a tear-drop-shaped body design. The back and sides are carefully carved from solid Alpine maple. The fretboard is made from tonewood, which makes it easy to play. It also has a high-gloss sunburn finish that makes it look beautiful.
- Hand-carved solid spruce top
- Vintage glossy sunburnt finish
- Exquisite craftsmanship and attention to detail
- Compensated bridge for better intonation
- Choice tonewood fingerboard
Luna Folk Series Trinity A-Style Mandolin
This model has a unique signature look, with a trinity knothole, faux tortoise binding, and tobacco-gloss finish. It is crafted from solid spruce and solid maple wood, which is contrasted by black open-geared tuning machines.
- Maple, rosewood, and walnut construction
- Sunburst high-gloss vintage finish
- Built-in metal strap pin for easy strapping
- Adjustable truss rod
- Compensated rosewood bridge
Hola! A Style Mandolin HM-3TS
If you’re starting out with mandolins, you’ve probably heard that A-style mandolins are more commonly played by Celtic and folk players, while bluegrass musicians usually favor F-style.
The Hola! HM-3TS is an A-style mandolin that has a maple top, sides, and neck. The rosewood and walnut fretboard and adjustable bridge help produce excellent sound. The high-gloss sunburst finish gives it a timeless look and also makes it more durable.
The neck is fitted with open-geared tuning machines and a beautiful sunburst finish, making for a fantastic contrast. It also has an adjustable truss rod – for variable tones, as well as an adjustable compensated bridge – which allows you to fine-tune it.
- Maple, rosewood, and walnut construction
- Sunburst high-gloss vintage finish
- Built-in metal strap pin for easy strapping
- Adjustable truss rod
- Compensated rosewood bridge
Gretsch G9350 Park Avenue F Mandolin
The Gretsch G9350 is an F-style mandolin. It includes a spruce top, maple sides, and rosewood fingerboard. The finish is semi-gloss, and the color is antique sunburst. It is well-built and looks neat and tidy.
This mandolin has a slim neck and smooth action. That makes it easy and comfortable to play. It also has a warm, clear tone that is perfectly balanced. The ebony-wood bridge, tailpiece, and open geared tuners all help to give this mandolin a professional look and feel. And the volume is good enough to be heard over other instruments.
- F-style mandolin
- All-solid spruce and maple construction
- Mid-range price
Washburn Americana M1SD Mandolin
This is another A-style mandolin that has a unique and fresh design. It has a solid spruce top construction and uses maple on the sides and back. Both of these are considered excellent tonewoods for mandolins.
The stylish glossy black finish sets it apart from the rest, complementing the golden hardware and parts. If you don’t like black finishes, you can choose between transparent red or transparent blue versions instead.
This maple wood neck has 20 frets and tuning pegs which work smoothly so you can tune your mandolin without any trouble. This model has an oval hole, which makes the sound it produces louder than an A-style mandolin, but a bit boomy.
- Uses spruce and maple tonewoods
- Black gloss finish
- Gold-colored hardware
- Smooth functioning tuning machines
- Rich, more rounded, and loud sound
Donner DML-1 A-Style Mandolin
The DML-1 A-style mandolin is a great value for its affordable price. You get the mandolin, plus a gig bag, a couple of picks, an electric tuner, and some extra strings, all for a price you would usually pay for just the mandolin.
- An all-in-one bundle
- Includes a gig bag, clip-on tuner, picks, and extra strings
- It has an elegant sunburst finish
- Features a compensated bridge and a truss rod
Oscar Schmidt OM10E A-Style Spruce Top Acoustic-Electric Mandolin
The Oscar Schmidt OM10E is a type of electric/acoustic mandolin. The top’s made from spruce, while the neck, back, and sides are mahogany. The fretboard and bridge are built from rosewood. The tobacco sunburst gloss finish makes the body look great.
- Mahogany and spruce construction
- Tobacco sunburst finish
- Passive pickup system
- Adjustable volume and tone
Ibanez M510DVS Mandolin
This A-style mandolin has a tear-drop body shape and is made from select spruce wood. The mahogany used for the instrument’s back and sides gives it a traditional feel, while the rosewood fingerboard completes the look. It comes in three different shades, each of which has its own unique look and feel.
- A-style design with a mahogany construction
- Dark brown glossy finish
- Chrome-plated rust-resistant hardware
- Compensated bridge
- Truss rod
The Loar LM-520
This instrument is very admirable. It has a lot of classes and is one of the best mandolins in its price range. The Loar LM-520 stands out from other mandolins because it has a lot of features.
This is well-crafted with a solid hand-carved spruce top and back and sides made of solid hand-carved maple. The glossy sunburst finish gives it a stylish and vintage look.
The adjustable bridge is made from ebony, and it helps the mandolin sound better. It has classic-style Grover tuning pegs, which help the mandolin stay in tune longer. The sound quality is also excellent. The whole thing is well-crafted and sure to impress people.
- All solid hand-carved fully graduated spruce and maple
- F-style design
- Ivoried binding
- Two-way adjustable truss rod
When shopping for a mandolin, you need to consider many things. You can’t just choose the first one you see and call it a day.
It’s important to get a mandolin that is within your budget. You also need to make sure the mandolin is right for your skill level. Getting a very expensive mandolin might not be a good idea if you are just starting out.
The Right Price for Your Mandolin?
Mandolins can cost a lot of money. The cheapest ones are under $100, but the most expensive ones can cost up to $10,000. If you’re unsure what you want, there are a lot of mandolins in the middle price range.
‘Budget’ mandolins are a good choice for beginners who want to try out the instrument to see if they like it. The mandolins are less expensive, so people don’t have to worry about spending too much money on something they may not end up liking.
The more high-quality and top-level mandolins offer great playability, design, and quality. More experienced mandolin players often favor them. If you’re one of those people, you probably wouldn’t want to compromise on quality. The higher price would be worth it.
You should buy a home that is in line with your budget, your skills and how much work you want to do on the house, and the features you are looking for.
Which Body Style To Opt For?
There are different body shapes for modern mandolins. You can choose between a bowl-back, A-style, or F-style mandolin.
You will need to choose the shape of your speaker based on your music style, how it looks, and how much you are willing to spend.
The bowl-backed mandolin is the oldest type of mandolin. It is also the cheapest and poorest quality of the three types. Bowl-backed mandolins often have a poor tone and volume, making them unsuitable for novice or beginner players.
There is a difference between the way A-style and F-style mandolins look. But there is also a difference in their tone and music style. A-style mandolins are often ideal for both beginners and experienced players.
There are two types of mandolins- A-style and F-style. A-style mandolins are more popular with classical, folk, and Celtic music players. They have a tear-drop shape, and their backs are flat. They also have oval or F-shaped sound holes, which is similar to violins. As a rule of thumb, they’re typically cheaper than F-style mandolins because they’re easier to build.
F-style mandolins are more expensive than A-style mandolins, but they offer a more comfortable grip and playability. They have a more intricate and novel body shape, combined with dual F sound holes.
The Tonewood Used in Construction
The body shape of the mandolin affects the sound, but not as much as the materials used to make it.
Most high-quality mandolins are made from wood. The best type of wood for a mandolin is spruce because it is strong and lightweight. Spruce is used to making many other instruments like guitars, pianos, and more.
If a mandolin has cedar or mahogany, it is likely less expensive. It might not be as loud as other mandolins, but it will have a better tone. Most budget mandolins have a laminated body made of spruce and mahogany. This makes the instrument more durable, but it doesn’t sound as good as other types of mandolins.
If you are not sure which chessboard to buy, beginners might find laminated variants good choices because they are cheaper and sturdier.
The top-quality mandolins have a solid maple wood body. This makes the mandolin stronger than if it was made with spruce wood. Some high-quality mandolins also have a mahogany or koa wood body. If you’re looking for a less expensive option, there are mandolins with laminated bodies made from multiple wooden sheets.
The neck should be laminated instead of solid wood because a solid neck is more likely to bend or warp. Mahogany and maple are both good choices for necks because they are very rigid.
The ‘truss rod’ is an important part of your mandolin. It helps you adjust the instrument to how you want it to sound.
Finally, we have another wooden hardware called the bridge. This is different from most other plucking instruments because it can be adjusted. The bridge is usually made of rosewood but can also be made of ebony wood. This part of the instrument affects the intonation.
Most mandolins you find will have a glossy finish. This isn’t just for looks; it also protects the instrument from getting scratched or damaged. However, if the finish is not done well, it can affect the sound quality of your mandolin. So make sure to choose one with a high-quality finish.
If you need electric mandolins’ flexibility, you should buy one. Electric mandolins are usually more expensive than acoustic mandolins. If you don’t need the onboard electronics or if an acoustic instrument will work for you, then don’t buy an electric mandolin.
The choice of a mandolin depends on what you will use it for. If you will only use it for yourself or with friends, then an acoustic mandolin is better. If you will use it on stage or for recording, then an electric mandolin is better.
You can use a mic to amplify your acoustic sound, but this trick doesn’t work well when you’re playing with a band. If that’s the case, you’ll want to use an acoustic-electric or a semi-hollow electric mandolin.
Some electric mandolins have pickups that send electric signals to the amplifier. These are called acoustic-electric mandolins. They are different than regular electric mandolins because they use a wooden block to stop feedback.
However, if you later change your mind, you can easily use magnetic pickups or preamps to electrify your acoustic mandolin.
There are many things you need to think about when choosing a mandolin. The instrument itself is important, but you also need to think about the accessories you will need. Some of these are vital to your playing experience, while others just make it better. It is up to you to figure out which ones you need.
If you’re looking for a way to protect your instrument, you should consider investing in a hard-shell case. However, if you are on a budget, a gig bag will work well enough.
Strings are a very important part of the mandolin. Often, the strings that come with budget or less expensive mandolins are not very good and need to be replaced before the instrument can be played. Even if you choose a higher-end option, the original tone of the strings will eventually fade, and you’ll have to restring your mandolin. You can choose from a wide selection of quality strings available and choose the kind which suits your needs best.
Last but not least, think about buying a clip-on electric tuner. This will make the tuning process much easier and less frustrating.
The Best Mandolin for the Money
The mandolin is a stringed instrument. It is in the lute family who came from the Neapolitan mandolin. During the 18th century, this mandolin style was very popular in Naples.
The modern mandolin is a larger version of a traditional Italian instrument. This instrument showed up between the 17th to 18th centuries.
Mandolins are small, short-necked lutes with eight strings. They make their sound through the vibrations of the strings. Buying a mandolin can be difficult because they are not a common instrument today. However, they can create an interesting sound for your music.
Rogue RM-100A A-Style Mandolin
The Rogue RM-100A A-Style Mandolin is a great affordable option for those looking to purchase their first mandolin. It typically retails for around $80.
However, the price isn’t the only advantage. It’s easy to pick up and play, so it’s perfect for new players.
This Rogue RM-100A A-Style Mandolin is a great option for beginners. It’s well-suited for bluegrass as well as any other music style. It boasts a slim neck, a rosewood bridge that can be adjusted, and a stylish black finish. Plus, it has a rosewood fingerboard and chrome tuning machines.
Gibson F-5G Mandolin
Another mandolin we want to show you is the Gibson F-5G Mandolin. It is expensive, but it provides a great playing experience.
It is made with high-quality spruce, maple, and ebony materials that make it very durable.
This Gibson mandolin has beautiful inlay on the headstock, triple top binding, and nickel-plated hardware. It also has a tuned parallel tone bar which gives it an amazing tone. Plus, its top-quality lacquer finish makes it look great too! If you’ve ever played the mandolin, you’ll understand how valuable it is.
Gretsch G9310 New Yorker Supreme
The Gretsch G9310 New Yorker Supreme is a unique guitar with a rustic design. It has a solid mahogany top, rosewood bridge, and fingerboard and is finished in an antique semi-gloss. This guitar produces a warm tone that is good for folk and blues music.
The Gretsch G9310 New Yorker Supreme is a good choice for people just starting with their mandolin lessons. It’s a reliable mandolin that has a vintage vibe.
The Eastman MD505 is a great choice for a mandolin if you want to spend under $1000. It is handcrafted, which means the quality is good. The tones it produces are clear and beautiful. The body is made of maple spruce, and the back and sides are made of highly-flamed maple. The fingerboard is ebony, and the adjustable bridge makes it a good choice for you.
The Eastman MD505 has a beautiful high-gloss finish that makes it look elegant. In addition, it comes with a hardshell vinyl case, so you don’t have to spend any extra money. The Eastman MD505 will meet your expectations whether you’re a novice or an intermediate player.
Stagg M20 Left-Handed 8-String Bluegrass Mandolin
Check out the Stagg model if you are looking for a left-handed 8-string mandolin. This mandolin is perfect for bluegrass players because it has a spruce wood top, basswood neck and back, and rosewood fingerboard.
The Stagg M20 has a unique engraved design. This is a nice touch. It is also affordable, making it convenient for anyone on a budget. Overall, it’s a wonderful choice for beginners and lefties alike.
Gold-Tone GM-35 F-Style Mandolin
If you are a beginner and are looking for a good mandolin to buy, take a look at the Gold Tone GM-35 F-Style Mandolin. It has a vintage Tobacco sunburst finish, perfect if you love country music. It also has a slim neck, convenient for beginners and players with smaller hands.
The Gold Tone GM-35 F-Style Mandolin is a lightweight model that is easy to use and doesn’t cause fatigue. This makes it ideal for both practice and travel. It also has a slim design that makes it perfect for taking you on the go.
Ammoon 8-String Electric A-Style Mandolin
The Ammoon 8-String Electric A-Style Mandolin is a good option if you don’t want to spend too much money on a mandolin just now. It’s an electric violin, but it doesn’t look like one. It’s very affordable and won’t cost you more than $180.
It does, however, have a spruce top and a rosewood fretboard, which are often found in more expensive versions. It also has all of the advantages of an electric instrument. It may be connected to an amplifier, making it a handy stage instrument.
Vangoa’s A Style
The Vangoa A Style electric mandolin is a high-quality instrument. It has a polished finish and deep colors that make it stand out. It also has chrome knobs that make it easy to use for beginners.
The Vangoa is similar to the Donner A Style in that it comes with many of the same accessories. As a result, it’s a wonderful option if you want something you can use right away.
You’ll have the option to play the Vangoa either plugged in or acoustically. This means you can explore different sounds. If you plug it in, it will be louder and sound better at a full-scale venue in the future. Vangoa has managed to enter a market where it has little knowledge and build up a product of high caliber at a reasonable price.
Seagull S8 Mandolin SG
The Seagull S8 Mandolin can be a great choice because it is unique. It is well-made and delightful to play. This mandolin gives the best sound available. Players will find their full potential by trying it out. This mandolin is remarkable, and most parts are handmade, giving it a sturdy and great vibe. The fingerboard feels great since it is made of rosewood.
This mandolin is perfect for players who need to travel. You can take it with you wherever you go. It’s also great for people who perform because it is easy to use. The only downside is the price.
How To Choose The Best Mandolin For You
Mandolins are becoming more popular because they can be used in all music genres.
The variety of online learning platforms is another factor for their growing appeal. It’s never been easier to learn to play music. With frequent practice and online resources, you can accomplish it from the comfort of your own home.
You must, however, find the perfect instrument for you. Even experienced musicians sometimes feel overwhelmed when choosing a new instrument.
People who are advanced at playing the mandolin know what to look for when buying one. If you’re just starting, you’ll need to research before making a purchase.
A mandolin is usually an investment, so you want to ensure you get good value for your money.
However, purchasing a new instrument does not have to be a stressful experience. You can acquire enough information from the Internet to make the process enjoyable and engaging.
If you want to buy a mandolin, you need to know what makes a good one.
Parts Of The Mandolin
You will see more technical language and specs when looking at mandolin reviews.
It is important to learn about its main parts to understand what makes a great violin.
The body of the mandolin is the main part. This is where the sound is made. The top, back, and sides make up the body.
The mandolin’s body is built of various woods, including spruce, maple, mahogany, and birch.
The guitar section that extends from the body is known as the neck. The strings can be stretched in this section. Beginners and gamers with smaller hands benefit from thinner necks.
Finally, the head of the mandolin is at the end of the neck. This is where you will find the tuning pegs.
The frets are important because they affect the sound and pitch of the strings. You can create different notes by pressing down on different frets.
The fretboard is a piece that holds the frets in place. It is usually rosewood, ebony, or walnut, all strong materials.
Strings are frequently made of various metals, and they’re often coated in silver. One of the most popular strings is composed of the phosphor bronze alloy.
There are different types of gauges for mandolin strings. Experienced players will require different gauges according to their preferences for tone, volume, and ease of play.
If your new mandolin strings aren’t to your liking, you can replace them with better ones. The sound of the mandolin can be significantly improved with new strings.
The mandolin bridge helps the strings across the body. It can change how long each pair of strings is. The adjustable bridge is often a good feature.
Some features that you might want to look for when choosing a violin are an adjustable truss rod. The quality of the tailpiece (cast tailpieces are good) and carved points (on an F-style violin).
The materials used in a mandolin are important because they affect the instrument’s sound, performance, and durability. Some cheaper materials that you might find on a mandolin include laminated wood. While it might be tempting to buy a low-priced mandolin, it’s important to remember that these instruments are likely made with lower-quality materials.
The quality of materials you choose for your mandolin depends on your budget. But don’t worry, many affordable mandolins are made of good quality materials. The type of wood you choose also impacts the quality of the sound. Spruce produces a nice, bright sound, while cedar produces a more direct, warm sound.
Types Of Mandolins
When you buy a mandolin, you have to decide what type you want. A-style mandolins are usually the best option for beginners because they have a classic teardrop shape and are more affordable.
The A-style mandolin is good for playing folk, Celtic, and Irish music. The F-style mandolin usually has a louder and crisper sound. It also looks more like a guitar than the A-style mandolin. However, the F-style mandolin is more expensive.
Many bluegrass players like to play the A-style mandolin. However, the A-style and F-style mandolin difference is not so significant. Of course, suppose you’re an experienced player. In that case, you’ll appreciate the build quality and the nuances in the sound of an F-style mandolin.
But if you’re a beginner, an A-style mandolin will give you great performance. It will also be a more affordable choice. Both A- and F-style mandolins can have F or oval sound holes. Oval holes give a sweet tone that easily blends, while the F sound holes produce a clearer tone.
Mandolins have a wide range of prices. You can get a beginner mandolin for $100 or more than $400.
However, professional mandolins can range in price from $600 to $3,000. The most expensive mandolins can cost a lot of money.
Mandolins are not cheap, so it is important to find a good one.
Higher-priced mandolins are made of better materials and will last longer. They also sound better and are easier to play.
If you’re a newbie, it’s fine to go with a less expensive model. However, you should not go for the lowest option.
New Vs. Used Mandolin
If you’re thinking about getting a used mandolin, you’ll save some money.
But you need to know what to look for when buying a mandolin. You might not be able to tell if a mandolin is in good shape if you don’t have any experience with them. Buying a used one might be less expensive, but it won’t help you if the previous owner didn’t take care of it properly.
When you buy a new instrument, it is always an investment. But if you make a smart choice, it can be worth it. Many brands offer warranties and money-back guarantees. So, both new and used mandolins have their benefits.
In conclusion, you can wrap up this guide by learning about the mandolin. This instrument has been around for a long time and produces a sweet, bright, warm, and mellow sound that many people find pleasing. Most mandolins also have a beautiful vintage or antique look that often catches people’s attention.
Buying a new mandolin can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. After all, you’re getting a new instrument, which should be exciting!
When looking for a mandolin, you must consider its build quality, materials, and any extra features it offers.
If the mandolin is within your budget and matches your music style and skill level, you’re ready to buy it!
However, many similar models are available. They all promise excellent sound quality and playability.
Frequently Asked Questions about Best Mandolin for the Money
Most of the players may need to reduce their price range more. This is because they have a smaller budget. But don’t worry, you can find great quality mandolins at almost every budget level. We expect you to pay at least $300 for a decent mandolin. However, this doesn’t mean that each $300 instrument is good in quality.
The Ibanez M522SBS is the best F-Style Mandolin because it has versatile features. These features include tone and volume controls and a single-coil magnetic pickup. The spruce top and mahogany sides and back create great tones.
The F-style mandolin has a scroll on the headstock and near the neck. The body is also shaped like a point. The A-style mandolin usually has a plain, pear-shaped body with no points.
The mandolin is a simple instrument to pick up. It is lightweight and easy to carry with you, so you can practice anywhere. It also has fewer strings than many other instruments, like the guitar, making reading tablature much easier.
The best quality mandolins have soundboards hand-carved from solid pieces of spruce. Many of them have arched tops, but there are also models with flat tops that some people prefer. Both soundboards may have beautiful wood that adds to the instrument’s aesthetics—and cost.
Mandolins need more work to be done on them. They have to be curved or arched. This means that it takes more time, and their prices go up. Most American-made mandolins cost at least $1,500.
The Kentucky KM-140 is one of the most popular mandolins when starting to look into higher-quality mandolins. Of all the mandolin makers, Kentucky may very well be one of the best options for anybody. Kentucky is a brand that is known to be reliable.
Some people have said that this instrument is not worth the price, but I think it is fine. It tunes up well and stays in tune. The sound is as good as some more expensive mandolins.
Some people think that Gibson still makes the best mandolin money can buy. But there are other companies that make mandolins that are just as good as Gibson’s. These companies charge just as much as Gibson does for their mandolins. Building a high-quality mandolin takes artisans, time, and fine materials.