As we talked with acoustic professionals, statements about Eastman’s quality and affordability kept coming up again and again. The Eastmans are generally finely made with delicate finishes. Really like it. You can either take it to a local music store to get it put together for you (this usually costs around $50-100), or you can try to do it yourself. Some models may be flat, arched (similar to a violin) or even bowl-shaped. Buy from Amazon Retrieved December 10, 2016, from https://reverb.com/, F. (n.d.). Golden Nehru Jacket Award, Friends of The Gopher Society, http://www.theloar.com/products/mandoli ... -lm-700-vs, http://www.theloar.com/products/mandoli ... lin-lm-600, http://cumberlandacoustic.com/product/mandolin-bridge/. One of the most important characteristics to look for in the body of a mandolin is the material from which it is made. Most of the popular F-hole models have an oval-hole model equivalent for those interested in this more specialized sound. Not the prettiest wood but then I have $700 with all of the improvements in it. Most of these reviewers said that after they upgraded to better strings, such as D’Addario J73/74 lite, the tone improved. Washburn M1SDLB Bluegrass Series A-Style Mandolin. When deciding to get back into mandolin this year, found a used The Loar LM-220 on eBay. (n.d.). Often the beauty and quality is in the eyes (or rather, ears) of the beholder. The Loars have a consistently traditional sound but rather thick, bombproof finishes. 8. With its solid maple body and spruce top, the Ibanez M522S is the perfect instrument for a driving bluegrass solo as it provides rich, bold tones for the player. Our handcrafted mandolins pay tribute to traditional build methods and body styles while delivering a balanced and refined tone. Find deals on mandolins from top brands like Eastman, Washburn, Gibson, and more. This is a gorgeous F-style mandolin with a body made of solid maple and spruce with an attractive vintage finish. 9 available from $682.49. Legacy Dragonfly’s integrated one-piece tailpiece pulls out a nice ring and produces a very pleasant sound. Retrieved December 8, 2016, from http://www.samash.com/, The Guitar Center. Picking the perfect mandolin is a bit like picking out a painting. While the 400, 600, and 700 are indeed nitro top coated, my guess is that the base coats are poly. Mandolin Acquisition Syndrome is just as crippling as GAS, and maybe worse. According to one of the acoustic experts we talked to, setting up a mandolin usually takes him 45-60 minutes, and he’s a professional! (n.d.) Retrieved December 8, 2016, from http://www.guitarcenter.com/, The Mandolin Store. (n.d.). It sounds and plays great, very resonant, great neck. Most of the models chosen as our top favorites are A-style because of their greater affordability, but almost all brands offer an F-style equivalent (or near equivalent) to the A-style version. My take is you'd be well-served starting out with any of the three. Eastman or the loar? When you click on a link that we recommend and make a purchase, Hear the Music Play may get a small share of the sale at no additional cost to you. By using our website, you agree that we can place these types of cookies on your device. Because the A-styles don’t have the fancy scrolls, points and other ornate traits found on the F-style, they are somewhat easier to build and are usually less costly to buy. Because the mandolin’s strings withstand 60-100 more pounds of pressure than a guitar, it is essential that the headstock, neck, tuning pegs and tailpiece are of top quality to ensure that your mandolin will hold up to regular use and will stay in tune for you. You want to buy the best mandolin you can afford that will meet your needs. Look for a mandolin that contains a metal truss rod in the neck, this will add strength and allow for adjustments in intonation. Best Beginner Mandolins. Mandolin Capos – A capo clamps on the fretboard to allow you to increase the pitch of the mandolin and play songs in keys higher than the original key. The Loar LM-700 Supreme F-Style Mandolin. Costing you around $450, the Breedlove Crossover OF is a great affordable choice for a guitarist looking for a gateway into mandolins. Yes they are very good for the money. After hours of testing and research, here's the final competition. It's a poor workman who quarrels with his tools. ... Eastman Mandolins. For my entry, I thought a Kentucky A style was the best value. This is not necessarily inadequate, especially if you are buying a beginners mandolin, but a body made with solid wood makes the nicest sound and stays in tune longer. Unlike most mandolins in this price range, each MD305 is individually handcrafted using traditional materials and “Old World” craftsmanship. I have friends that played Kentuckys and Eastmans. Throughout the several hours of research on this project, we sifted through upwards of 100 different mandolins and interviewed some of the top acoustic specialists across the country from music stores including Dave’s Guitar Shop, West Music, Chicago Music Exchange, Sweetwater, The Mando Shop, Folk Musician Instruments, Sam Ash Music Stores, The Guitar Center and The Mandolin Store. I've moved on, but feel like the Kentucky served me well. This website uses cookies to manage authentication, navigation, and other functions. The company aims to create instruments that are beautiful, traditional, and sound great. I forget the model, but solid wood with an OK sound, good resonance and easy to play (proper setup is a MUST... makes a HUGE difference). F-style mandolins tend to be more popular than the A-styles, and as stated earlier, are usually more expensive because of the delicate body scroll and other embellished features. That was about 5 or 6 years ago and that little sucker really sings now. Buy from Amazon An A-style mandolin has a tear or oval shape to the body. They actually all sound different with the last two being A models. (2015). The top, or soundboard, has the primary role in producing the mandolin’s sound. The sound is nice. If you notice a guide that needs a little more care, or has errors, please email us at. Retrieved December 8, 2016, from, Mandolin Buying Guide. The new one don't compare though. Folkmusician – Mandolins, Fiddles, Dulcimers and more. Try out different types and brands to find a set that works well with your mandolin. Strumming or Plucking the Strings: Which is Best? F-Style Mandolins . If you are looking for a top quality instrument at an entry-level price, the Eastman MD305 is your mandolin.