Best Mandolin

Rogue RM-100A A-Style Mandolin Sunburst

Rogue RM-100A A-Style Mandolin Sunburst

Rogue RM-100F F-style Mandolin Sunburst

Rogue RM-100F F-style Mandolin Sunburst

Ibanez M510 A-Style Mandolin

Ibanez M510 A-Style Mandolin


Are you a music lover? If so, then you have come to the right place. A passion for music goes hand in hand with the inevitable driving force of creativity and adventure. This adventure is induced by your ability to experiment and find new grounds.

I am pretty sure you have had countless awkward moments where you just want to try new styles and inject some sass into your music. So, I won’t waste time asking you if you have tried a guitar, drums or even piano, being that they are very common in the music industry.

The real question is have you tried a mandolin? Mandolin has existed for quite a while now, but it’s commonality has been shrouded by the new age musical styles , but that’s all coming to an end now as different artists strive to get out of their comfort zone, you should too!

A mandolin is a stringed instrument from the lute family with eight strings that can be simply plucked to produce a soothing smooth sound. It has its origin in Italy but has since evolved both in body and design to accommodate a more versatile outlook.

Why do you need a mandolin? Simple, to break the monotony. It is an exceptional instrument with the ability to bring a new alluring sound to your songs. Of course, its success was highly paraded in folk and classical jazz genres, but it has no taken a modern trajectory.

That being said, the market is flooded with a variety of mandolin instruments. Differentiated by their quality and price, so if you want to buy one without sorting through the bulk, here is a list of the top five mandolin you can buy without a doubt in your mind.


Best Mandolin List


1

Rogue RM-100A A-Style Mandolin Sunburst

Rogue RM-100A A-Style Mandolin Sunburst

The Rogue RM-100A is one of those instruments you see through the shop window and immediately know that you want to get your hands on it and that you will do everything within your power to make it happen, partly because of its glorious finish.

Its workmanship isn’t the only bright spot you’ll find on this instrument. It has a bridge made of a beautiful rosewood material to bring a more traditional but still incredible style. The also has an adjustable bridge that enables you to easily tune your instrument to produce the desired sound.

Tuning is also easy due to the nickel frets that easily blend with the finish to make this mandolin a spectacular instrument. Due to its cost and simplicity that RM-100A is a great option for beginners and smoothly oversees their progress into more complex mandolin instruments.

Pros

  • It is very affordable
  • It is well constructed and hence 
    long lasting without compromising the quality
  • A very good mandolin for beginners

Cons

  • The finish diminishes the tone quality
  • Offers some challenges when it comes to tuning it

2

Rogue RM-100F F-style Mandolin Sunburst

Rogue RM-100F F-style Mandolin Sunburst

When it comes to effortless stylish designs, few mandolin instruments can stand out like the RM 100F. It has on numerous occasions been classified under gorgeous aesthetic instruments that are just mind blowing to even look at, coupled with its performance it’s definitely a keeper!

When it comes to the body, RM 100F doesn’t disappoint either. It has a 24-fret neck that is accompanied by a fingerboard. The tuners are made from nickel and the headstock has a unique design that plays a very big part in the overall beauty of the mandolin.

The body is also constructed out maple wood, making it sturdy and long lasting. From the name you can tell that its body shape is F-style. This mandolin is very affordable for anyone looking to start their mandolin journey on a high note, see what I did there!

Pros

  • It has an incredible sound quality
  • It is extremely beautiful and stylish giving you a sense of pride when you play it
  • It is very affordable

Cons

  • The tuners present some challenges when it comes to tuning accurately 
  • The wood is a bit of a letdown but not too much to hurt the aesthetic value of the mandolin

3

Ibanez M510 A-Style Mandolin

Ibanez M510 A-Style Mandolin

Unlike the two aforementioned mandolin, the Ibanez M510 has an eye-catching body with the back neck and sides constructed from mahogany. This gives it a dark mysterious look that is far from simple. It is a great choice for anyone who wants a unique classical style to flaunt around.

It also has a spruce top that is able to balance the tones the minute it comes out of the box. The major problem with some mandolin instruments is usually the tone quality. However, the Ibanez M510 has been able to solve this issue with a rosewood fretboard that improves the tone quality.

It has a gloss finish that is remarkable and stylish without compromising the general quality of the mandolin instrument. For effective tuning, it is equipped with chrome tuners that are easy to handle and have a very high quality also, to make sure you are not buying a cheap knockoff.

Pros

  • It has an attractive finish
  • The spruce top helps very much in improving sound quality
  • It has an adjustable neck.

Cons

  • Some materials like the tuning pegs are low quality
  • The dimensions are rather irregular hence it might not fit in every hard case

4

Ibanez M522 F-style Mandolin

Ibanez M522 F-style Mandolin

Ibanez mandolins are not new to the game, they have been around since the 70s. However, despite their notable reputation they haven’t slacked over the recent decades. They have showcased improvements in body, style and quality to subdue the competition.

The Ibanez M522 is a clear definition of this progress. Unlike the Ibanez M510, it has mahogany only in the neck, while the sides and back have a style maple. But this unique combination is able to improve the overall tone quality of the mandolin making it a masterpiece.

It has gold cast tuners that are very pretty and enable you to tune the strings to the level you want. The other part that plays a big role in the tone quality is the spruce top that balances the tone emanating from the box, it also includes a fretboard and rosewood bridge.

Pros

  • It has an attractive mahogany neck and maple sides and back that help improve the tone quality
  • It is able to project the sound impressively 
  • It is very affordable

Cons

  • The gold cast tuners are low quality
  • There has been complains that the strings are also cheap

5

Kentucky KM 150 A-style Mandolin

Kentucky KM 150 A-style Mandolin

When looking for a mandolin instrument it is very crucial to ensure that it has smooth playability. That is exactly what the Kentucky KM-150 brings to the table, an array of features all designed to offer the best tone quality for you and your audience.

It has a German spruce that is included to precisely improve the quality of the tone and make sure the mandolin projects sound well. The sides, neck and backside are all alpine maple for good sound quality, it has a high gloss finish to recreate that classical look everyone loves.

For accurate tuning, there is open-geared tuners and tonewood bridge that can be easily adjusted negating any tuning problems that may arise. Though one might argue that the Kentucky KM 150 doesn’t exactly hit the nail when it comes to aesthetic, the tone quality is impressive.

Pros

  • Has an awesome tone quality making it worth every bit of your money
  • It has a smooth playability
  • It projects the sound nicely

Cons

  • ​Some parts of the instrument come off easily
  • It isn’t exactly stylish like the many other quality mandolins

Things to Consider Before Purchasing the Best Mandolin


Arthur Schopenhauer was not wrong when he said that music is food for the soul. This has been proved time and time again, whenever you are feeling low or just conflicted you can always turn to music to give you a clearheaded path.

But to make this magical portion that heals various wounds you also need the right instrument. Sometimes instruments are all you need, that piano or violin is enough to ease you mind and gift your soul.

So it isn’t a surprise that mandolins have lasted the test of time and are now serving a modern world with different styles of music. A mandolin is able to blend with any type of music sprinkling some unique favor to it.

A mandolin is also a nice place to start if you are into instruments and suddenly want to branch out and try other types. But just like your average product it varies distinctively in features that make it whole.

So you must be very keen when buying a mandolin to make sure you get the best instrument possible within your price range. Here are some features you must learn and adhere to intently if you wish to bag a good mandolin.

Best Mandolin
1.

The Body Style


In order to get the best mandolin you must first be conversant with the body styles so that you can effectively pin point the type of body style you think suits you without a hint of doubt which goes a long way to saving you some time.


Mandolins usually come in three body styles; A-style, F-style and bowl backed. F-style and A-style are typically new to the game since they have graced the modern world in a bid to continue with the legacy of mandolins.


Back bowled mandolins on the other hand are the original types that came from Italy and were very influential in the folk and classical music of that time. They still exist for anyone with that traditional and authentic taste, though their quality is low, their use cannot be forgotten.


One the other hand A-style are very common for beginners due to their ease and simplicity. These mandolins are shaped like a tear drop and can either have the O or F sound holes on them. They are considerably cheaper than the F-style.


The last type of mandolins are the F- style, in all honesty there isn’t much of a differences between them and the A-styles. They are generally have quality features hence their high price and are beautifully shaped.

2.

The Wood


The mere mention of wood doesn’t really spark that much interest in people when it comes to instruments, since the basic requirement is for the wood to be strong. But in reality it’s a whole different story, the wood can have fundamental effects on the quality of sound.


For a mandolin, the type of wood is especially important and sensitive. You must choose a mandolin with the right type of wood, the instrument typically has different types of wood in different parts for an overall high sound quality.


For instance, the neck has to be rigid, most quality mandolins use rosewood or tonewood on the neck to make sure you have good playability. When it comes to the fretboard you should go for one made out of rosewood.


Another important part of the mandolin that plays the biggest role in determining the tone of the mandolin is the soundboard. When you can through most mandolin instruments you will see spruce, it is the best wood for the soundboard because it is very strong and easy to carry.


The other parts that have a role in the tone quality are the sides and back. They usually mahogany wood or maple. Like I said it’s all about blending different types of wood for the best results.

3.

Tuning


The concept of tuning is the very hallmark of playing a mandolin. So you should check the number of strings and the tuners. Mandolins can have various numbers of strings from four to eight, however the most common one is an eight-string mandolin.


So if you are a beginner and want to smoothly learn how to play a mandolin, then you can go for eight strings and I assure you the process will be a breeze. Another aspect that determines your tuning are the tuners.


You should ensure that you don’t buy a mandolin with low quality tuners that are poorly coated. Since you the mandolin to tune accurately. Most mandolins have chrome, nickel and even gold coated tuners.

4.

The Case


I totally understand that people buy mandolins for different reasons, some are artists looking for a good mandolin to go well with a song they just wrote. Others just want an instrument they can play during their free time and perhaps eventually go pro.


It really doesn’t matter because one thing is for sure, you are going to put the mandolin through the hell of travelling, packing, dust and water. So to prevent this you should consider buying a mandolin with a case.


Many mandolins come with cases, while for others you buy separately. The case can be made from wood or foam, but what matters is that it must be strong, fitting, but most of all lightweight. We don’t want you struggling to carry your instrument whenever you have a gig.

5.

New or Used


Yes, you can either buy a new mandolin straight from the store or a used one that has been tweaked a bit to look good as new. There a different opinions when it comes to this matter, so it is up to you to decide.


Some say that old used mandolins are better in their tone quality, others say otherwise. So as much as we would like to say mandolins age like fine wine, we cannot be entirely certain. It is best to first try playing or tuning the instrument if you are buying a used one.


If it is the issue of price, then there are tons of good affordable mandolins. Plus, new ones come with some perks. For instance, when you buy a new mandolin you can get a free set up and also guarantee, thus you don’t have to waste money paying a professional to set it up for you.

6.

Electric or Acoustic


​What is the use of the mandolin you want to buy? This question is at the heart of buying a mandolin, since the answer conveys a more straightforward direction in your search. So what is the answer?


Are you planning to play it alone as a hobby? Are you in a sick bad and just can’t wait to incorporate your mandolin? Maybe you can also sneak the price into the conversation, since an electric mandolin is more expensive than an acoustic one.


So if you plan on playing the mandolin alone merely as a hobby, then an acoustic one will do there really is no need spending a large amount of cash if you will not need to amplify it in any instance whatsoever?


But if you want to amplify it just for the fun of it then a microphone can also work pretty well. An electric mandolin is very good for a band performance to be able to penetrate past the other instruments being played.


Their bridge has a special feature that is able to transmit the vibrations of the strings to the amplifier. The good thing however is that it is very easy to transform your acoustic mandolin to an electric one whenever you wish.

7.

Accessories


It can’t harm anyone to check for good accessories, since it means you are getting your money’s worth. So, it is advisable to choose a mandolin that comes with straps since it is much easier to play standing up if you have the mandolin strapped around your shoulders.
Another exciting accessory is picks, the times of plucking guitars or mandolins with your bear fingers are past us. So, if you happen to come across a quality mandolin that offers picks in the package deal then go for it!


Last but not least, you must ensure that the strings of the mandolin you intent on buying are strong and set up accordingly so that they don’t break within the first week. But in the long run you may have to replace them because of wearing out so can buy a mandolin with an extra piece.

8.

Price


Allow me to let you in on a little secret, you don’t have to pay an arm and a leg to get a good mandolin. If your budget is a bit tight then you can go for a cheap one, the prices can range from $100 to even $ 10,000.


If you are a beginner, then a cheap mandolin will suffice to get you where you want to be in terms of playing. But in all honesty if you are looking for a top-notch mandolin with superior materials and exquisite cosmetics then “the price just went up.”


In most times these high-end mandolins end up being a good investment, since they have better sound quality and are generally long lasting, not to mention if they look good then you get to walk around like the ground was made for you.

Conclusion

Whether you are a music guru and have been in the art for a long time or a newbie who wants to experience the magic of music, a mandolin is just the instrument for you. It is mostly popular with bluegrass but can be incorporated into any other style of music.


It is able to give your music a unique flavor that is both riveting and exciting. A mandolin is certainly a breath of fresh air during these times. Then again, these utopian promises are all dependent on you choosing the right mandolin.


Which can be a hefty burden on your shoulders considering the innumerable options. So if you are looking for the best mandolin, then the Rogue RM-100A A-Style Mandolin Sunburst is exactly what you need.


It has a German spruce that is included to precisely improve the quality of the tone . The neck, back and sides are all made from alpine maple wood which is very strong and lightweight. So take that extra step, rush to the store and get yourself the Kentucky KM 150 A-Style mandolin.

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