The mandolin is an excellent choice if you want to learn to play a classic instrument and become a mandolin player. Regrettably, not all mandolins are as good as they appear. Don’t be fooled by the fact that a mandolin doesn’t appear to have much. This buying guide is critical to carefully select your new instrument in order to guarantee that it meets your needs.
Kentucky KM-150 Standard A-Model Mandolin
- Solid German spruce top gives you clean articulation and a crisp, bright tone
- Solid Alpine maple back and sides for extra punch
- Slim Alpine maple neck for comfortable, easy action
The Kentucky KM-150 mandolin is a fantastic value in an all-solid, historically constructed A-style instrument that elegantly blends period-correct vintage specifications with an incredibly low price tag for mandolin players. The KM-150 also shines in terms of tone and playability. The top is made of choose solid spruce that has been precisely hand-carved and graduated to create the best tone and volume, while the back and sides are made of select solid maple.
A solid maple neck with rosewood fingerboard and classic snakehead-shaped peghead is linked to the body by a modified dovetail neck-body joint, which adds to the genuine aesthetic while also providing a comfortable shape that is pleasant to play and offers a lifetime of serviceability. With a pair of accurate, open-geared tuners and an adjustable rosewood bridge, tuning will be simple, precise, and always in excellent intonation. This is one of the best mandolins on the market that was designed with tone and sound quality in mind rather than a plethora of gimmicks. With this mandolin orchestras from Kentucky, you’ll be investing roughly $400, but it’s an investment that’s readily justified.
The Kentucky KM-150 is an excellent entry-level mandolin for folks who have prior musical expertise but aren’t sure about mandolin yet. While the overall design of this mandolin isn’t particularly appealing, the high level of craftsmanship seen in this instrument is undeniable. With an adjustable truss rod, the Kentucky KM-150 has a solid spruce top, solid maple sides, and solid maple back. Despite the fact that mandolins are famed for their deep tones, this instrument has a superb tone even in its higher register.
When it comes to the disadvantages of this beginner model mandolin, the lower register can have a duller sound quality than other models in the same price range. Some of the guitar’s hardware, such as the strap button/hook, style body is made of plastic and can easily fall off and become misplaced. This is the Best Mandolin For Beginners in 2023.
Stagg M50-E Electro-Acoustic Bluegrass Mandolin with Nato Top
- Nato Back and Sides
- Nato Neck
- Rosewood Fingerboard
Are you looking for a way to add an electronic spin to your mandolin? A nato body is featured in the Stagg M50E acoustic-electric bluegrass mandolin. It also features a black maple bridge, a rose fingerboard, and pearl dot inlays. This physical combination is what gives this acoustic-electric mandolin such a refined appearance with tone quality.
Moving on, the bridge of the Stagg M50E acoustic-electric bluegrass mandolin can be adjusted. You’ll be able to modify the intonation of your mandolin thanks to the adjustable feature. You’ll also get eight open gear nickel tuners, which means you’ll be able to change the frequency of your instrument and stock strings. And your mandolin will have excellent articulation as a result!
The electronics of the Stagg M50E acoustic-electric bluegrass mandolin consist of a single pickup with a tone and volume control knob. This means you’ll get a bright, sharp tone of excellent quality. This is the Best Beginner Mandolin in 2023.
Ibanez M510DVS Mandolin
- A-style mandolin
- Select spruce top
- Mahogany back & sides
If you’re more familiar with guitars, Ibanez might be the first brand name on our list that comes to mind. The Ibanez M510 is an outstanding entry-level instrument because of its excellent build quality and low price. Ibanez was quite concerned about an entry at this end of the mandoline market, so they went to great lengths to guarantee that the build quality was excellent.
The string quality is the only genuine criticism that can be leveled towards the Ibanez M510DVS Mandolin. Many beginners and intermediate players will be disappointed by the lack of string response and will replace them soon after obtaining this mandolin. You might be astonished at the level of tones you can create once the Ibanez M510DVS Mandolin is properly tuned up and the new strings are installed in the style mandolins.
At this price point, the tone is exceptional, and the strong construction makes this an ideal purchase for anyone novice to mandolin playing. Of course, if you get serious about playing, you won’t be using the Ibanez M510DVS in ten or even five years. However, you will learn to play well, and the tone will be exact enough to produce satisfactory results. When you consider the low price, it’s difficult to find anything wrong with the Ibanez M510DVS Mandolin.
Ibanez deserves credit for creating a cheap, playable, and well-built mandolin. The Ibanez M510DVS is hard to beat if you want to test mandolin playing before investing a lot of money in a more expensive model. This is the best beginner mandolin in 2023.
Rogue RM-100A A-Style Mandolin
- It features clean workmanship throughout and projects a bright tone with lots of bark
- With an easy-to-play neck and adjustable bridge, the RM-100A is perfect for beginners who wish to play bluegrass
Many beginner mandolin player are familiar with Fender and Gibson, but they may not be familiar with Rogue. This quality mandolin brand is best described as a store-brand counterpart that produces low-cost entry-level instruments. The RM-100A is one of the cheapest methods to get started playing the mandolin, and Rogue makes a variety of banjos, ukuleles, guitars, and mandolins. Given the foregoing, you may believe that Rogue instruments are awful, but this is just not the case. When you buy the Rogue RM-100A A-Style Mandolin, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the level of quality you get at such a low price.
Many players have learned to play the mandolin on a Rogue instrument, and they frequently teach their family and friends how to do so as well. If you’re new to mandolins, you don’t want to spend too much money unless you’re sure it’s the appropriate decision. Rogue fills this vacuum in the market nicely with their low-cost production, and the RM-100A is a great way to learn the mandolin on a budget. However, not everything about a budget mandolin is as rosy as you may think.
For starters, tuning this instrument accurately can be difficult, and fret placements can be variable, resulting in inconsistent performance. The guitar has a wonderful thick finish, but it detracts from the tone, and there is no truss rod to keep the neck from warping. However, the build quality is excellent, and you can always upgrade to a better mandolin as your playing talents grow.
Loar LM-310F-BRB Honey Creek F-Style Mandolin
- Hand-carved solid Spruce top
- Maple neck with thin "V" profile
- 1-1/8" nut width
On our list, the Loar LM-310F-BRB Honey Creek F-Style Mandolin is the best F-style mandolin. With a pair of trademark F-style cuts at the top and bottom of the main body, this mandolin has a stripped-down visual appeal that adds an air of genuineness. When compared to a solid-topped instrument, the mandolin’s top is composed of hand-carved solid spruce, which has a fantastic tone. The F-style mandolin has been around for almost a century and has become synonymous with modern acoustic sound. Hand carving by expert craftsmen is required to accomplish the scroll work on the body of this instrument.
The LM-310F-BRB Honey Creek F-Style Mandolin from Loar has a good reputation for outstanding build quality. Every curve is great, and if you’re looking for a truly authentic tone and want to keep it acoustic, this mandolin is hard to beat. For ages, every arched top instrument built with matching solid spruce pieces has been the secret to generating a great tone.
The mandolin manufacturer can keep the grain and natural fibers that allow the strings to sing thanks to the hand carving procedure. True, there are several excellent mandolins with carved tops on the market right now. However, none of them are as inexpensive as the LM-310F-BRB, and when it comes to sound, this mandolin is absolutely unique at this price point.
Ibanez M522SBS F-Style Mandolin
- Body Shape: F-Style
- Neck: Mahogany Neck
- Backsides: Flamed Maple Back and Sides
Ibanez M522 F-style instrument provides musicians with a lot of volume and tone while still having a beautiful aesthetic. While the craftsmanship of this mandolin isn’t the best, it does allow musicians to get an acceptable quality F-style mandolin without spending a lot of money.
The M522 has a solid spruce top, flamed maple back and sides, and maple sides, as well as a mahogany neck. This mandolin’s neck is wide, making it easy to play, especially if you have large hands or fingers (fingerboard). Also, the mandolin’s construction makes it sound fantastic.
This best electric mandolin 8-string bluegrass machine is an excellent value for the money, and it’s ready to rock straight out of the box. The sturdy spruce top and flamed maple body of this lovely F-style Ibanez mandolin provide crisp, strong tones from top to bottom. The rosewood bridge and fretboard, as well as the mahogany neck, provide long-lasting tone and sustain, while the gold/pearloid tuners keep the mandolin in tune. The wood’s innate beauty comes through with a shimmering veneer thanks to the high gloss finish, while the gold hardware stands out in a dramatic way.
The sound of a pounding mandolin solo conjures up images of the Appalachians and sorrowful ballads from a bygone era. Ibanez’s flagship acoustic mandolin, the M522S, is a very cheap F-style mandolin that produces a warm, rich sound. This is best 8-string mandolin.
Savannah SA-100 A-Model Mandolin
- Hard Maple Neck
- Bound Rosewood Fretboard
- 12th Fret Neck Joint
The Savannah SA-100 A-Model mandolin brands are a budget option with great player experience. You should absolutely look into this instrument if you’re searching for a model that’s around $100. When you look at the instrument’s structure, you’ll note that it’s made using high-quality materials. However, don’t be shocked if you need to keep up with the mandolin’s maintenance from time to time.
These mandolins have some of the greatest tuners you’ll find on an instrument this price range. When you glance at the mandolin body style, you’ll notice that the top section is made of spruce. However, there is a maple neck with a rosewood fingerboard. On the fingerboard, there are additionally dot fitted.
In terms of appearance, you’ll notice that this mandolin has a sunburst pattern and a black finish. The worst aspect of this instrument is its lack of durability. So, if you’re not careful, this mandolin could be destroyed if you drop it. It does, however, come with a 3-ply pickguard that will protect the body of your instrument from scratches.
Hola! Music A Style Mandolin Instrument with Adjustable Truss-Rod Model HM-3TS
- 8-string traditional A style Mandolin in glossy Sunburst finish
- Maple top, back, sides and neck. Adjustable compensated Rosewood bridge
- Adjustable Truss Rod inside the neck - wrench included
The Hola! Music HM-3TS A-Style Mandolin is one of the best beginner mandolins on our list. Hola has clearly put in a lot of effort to produce a mandolin that is both portable and a nice place to start learning to play. Players may strum while standing thanks to the built-in strap pin, and the black ABS pickguard protects the woodwork from unpredictable strumming and includes chrome hardware.
The walnut bridge may be moved up or down to further shape the sound, and despite the low price, it feels like a long-lasting instrument. This is a conventional eight-string maple mandolin with a beautiful sunburst finish. This isn’t the best mandolin on the market, but it’s more than adequate for beginners, and it can be played to a high standard with the right strings. Of course, you won’t get the same deep, well-defined tones as you would with a more costly mandolin, but that isn’t the goal.
There are a few drawbacks, but they are understandable given the price. For starters, the tuning heads on this mandolin are difficult to alter, thus it may get out of tune. Next, if you strumming hard enough, you may hear a tiny rattling noise that you won’t hear on a higher-end instrument. However, if you’re just getting started and don’t want to spend a lot of money, this is a fantastic option. If you’re not new to mandolins and are looking for an intermediate instrument, this is not the ideal pick.
Washburn Americana M1-Pack with Gig Bag
- String Material Type: Steel
- The Package Height of the Product is 4 inches
- The Package Length of the Product is 30 inches
The Washburn Americana M1-Pack with Gig Bag is our best value pick and the best starting mandolin set on our list. Washburn Guitars is a well-known company that has been manufacturing stringed instruments since 1883 and mandolins since 1889. Washburn knows a lot about creating mandolins, and the M1 is a great place to start for beginning players.
The Americana M1SD mandolin, a gig bag, a strap, a pitch pipe, a booklet, and picks are all included in the Washburn Americana M1-Pack with Gig Bag. The acoustic electric mandolin is built of maple and spruce, and the gold hardware complements the woods beautifully. This robust body is A-style and weighs roughly 312 lbs, making it quite portable for practice. It’s a well-made instrument, but it lacks the high-quality tone that you’d expect from a more expensive mandolin.
The bluegrass music of the Americana M1SD, like that of many other inexpensive mandolins, may not be the best. When you pull it out to play, the finish is straightforward, and you’re unlikely to turn many heads. The tuning pegs, on the other hand, operate nicely, the build is sturdy, and you have everything you need to get up and running quickly. Better quality strings might improve the overall tone, but as a learning instrument, it’s hard to match for the price.
Loar LM-520-VS Performer F-Style Mandolin
- Solid Hand-Carved, Fully Graduated Spruce Top
- Solid Hand-Carved, Fully Graduated Maple Back, Solid Maple Sides
- Maple Neck with Rounded “V” Profile
The real and hand-crafted spruce top can be found on this mandolin. You can also achieve a genuine 1920s sound. It’s the ideal blend of authentic and conventional F-style construction. This product is not only beautiful to listen to, but it is also simple to play for novices. It is also the finest option for next-generation players.
It’s incredibly warm and rich, thanks to its woody features. It has the ability to produce very sophisticated tones. It’s simple to play and enjoyable to listen to. When you demand nothing less than perfection from your mandolin, you’ll enjoy the inherent beauty of the Loar LM-520-VS F-Style Mandolin, which is readily apparent the first time you see it.
It boasts a gorgeous spruce front that adds to the beauty and durability of this very dependable instrument that will consistently deliver a solid musical performance. It also features solid maple back and sides, which add to the overall great quality of this lovely instrument. The open-geared tuners round out the instrument’s ability to perform properly and in tune whenever you wish to play some relaxing mandolin music. You’ll appreciate how smoothly this mandolin plays and how it avoids the unpleasant harsh sounds that often occur with lower-quality mandolins.
The strings are quite robust, so you won’t have to worry about them snapping when you’re playing for yourself or for an audience who enjoys hearing exhilarating mandolin music.
Donner A Style Mandolin Instrument Sunburst Mahogany DML-1
- Mahogany Body: Donner 8-string a style mandolin has mahogany body in glossy Sunburst finish. Mahogany wood makes Donner mandolin have a more stable...
- Rich Warm Sound: Mahogany body bring you richer and brighter sound. Suited for all styles of music. Sturdy and lightweight characteristics of AAA...
- Solid Exquisite Craftsmanship: Chrome plated open gear tuners are easy to tune and keep mandolin playing in tune. Carved patterned tailpiece make...
It’s apparent that Donner had simplicity in mind when designing their A Style Mandolin. That isn’t to claim the product is easy to use — far from it. It’s because the firm opted to include all of the gear and accessories that you’ll need along with the mandolin itself. You don’t have to pay extra for chrome tuning machines, a PVC pickguard, or a case.
Donner is proud of the careful procedure that goes into making its mandolin. The company claims that all of the wood it uses is meticulously screened, that it uses special drying procedures, and that its items are sculpted by professional artisans. Of course, given the unit’s low price, this is hard to believe, but there’s no disputing that the hand-feel is excellent. The spacing between the frets and the strings is pleasant, and you get the impression that whoever assembled the mandolin knew what they were doing.
The A Style’s sound quality pales in comparison to premium mandolins; this is definitely an entry-level device. That isn’t to say that if you’re a newbie, you shouldn’t consider it. After all, you’re probably still deciding whether or not playing the mandolin is something you’d like to do in the long run.
The Donner A Style is a mandolin that is surprisingly approachable. The thin neck makes it easy to wrap your hand around (especially if you have small hands), and it’s also easier to play than a regular guitar in many respects. The frets are strong, and even if you overlook the sound quality, you won’t get the idea you’re strumming on a cheap guitar. In our opinion, the tactile feedback is excellent.
Try to look past the company’s marketing spiel about careful material selection and craftsmanship if you’re thinking about buying the Donner A Style. It’s incompatible with the nature of the product. Take a look at the price-to-value ratio instead. You’re paying for a device that will give you a respectable sound while also allowing you to try your hand at mandolin playing. If you like it, great: save your money and treat yourself to something better later with the best mandolin for the money.