With the number of mandolin instruments on the market, it is difficult to know which one is the best mandolin instrument. In order to prevent this confusion, we made a review of the 8 best mandolin instrument. This review will help you when you decide to get a mandolin.
Our reviewing criteria is pretty simple. We compare the mandolins by price, ease of use and even intonation. As such you’ll be having the best available information so that you can make up your mind. If you wish to get one of the best mandolins, make sure to read it all.
What is a Mandolin Instrument?
Like the guitar, the mandolin is an instrument that is part of the string family (learn more on Wiki). It emerged in Naples in the late 1500s and 1600s. The body of a mandolin acts as a resonator. The latter connects to a neck. In turn, it connects to a headstock. People might confuse it with the guitar but it is not. It is a soprano instrument meaning it has a high pitch.
The most common form of the mandolin has 8 string. When compared to other instruments, they are one of the easiest instruments to learn. It is ideal for people wanting to learn a quick instrument. Thanks to it, you can learn to play a variety of classical and folk music.
People who have played guitar may find it easy to learn. After all, their design is almost the same and you can pretty much follow the same concept. As a result, most beginners opt for buying one.
To benefit from the best mandolin instrument, check our review below.
Rogue RM-100A A-Style Mandolin Sunburst
The design of the RM100-A is one of the best on the market. It is a well-built mandolin. You’ll find that this traditional mandolin is eye-catching. It has an overall great design and also sports a bright tone along its bark. One great thing about it is the adjustable bridge and neck which makes it easy to play for pretty much anyone. It is fair to say that this one of the best mandolin instrument and it is also perfect for beginners. Overall, it is pretty good and offers several features. This mandolin is pretty easy to maneuver and adds a good feel overall.
What adds to its style is the high gloss finish. This instrument has a really good feel about it. The overall architecture makes it a pleasure to play. As for the price, it is fair to say that it is affordable. There is nothing more a beginner will need if they got this one.
- It is affordable
- Great style
- Easy to play
- Adjustable neck and bridge
- The string quality is inconsistent
Ibanez M522SBS Brown Sunburst High Gloss
The M522S is an acoustic mandolin and produces one of the best tones on the market. For an F-Style, it delivers a pretty rich and warm sound. The style of this musical instrument is stunning. The body, made from maple wood has a crisped feel. From top to bottom, the tone is already set. With a combination of rosewood for the bridge and mahogany for the neck, it is pretty solid. In addition to that, it has gold tuners to hold notes longer. That is great for experts and beginners. They can appreciate the sound better.
The M522S is one of best mandolin instrument and with the high gloss finish, it literally shines. In addition to that, the rest of this instrument stands out compared to any other mandolin out there. It comes with 24 frets, gold hardware and much more. The Ibanez logo looks great on it. It is not too flashy either. Overall, it is probably a very good deal for anyone.
- Looks great
- It is pretty solid
- Made in high-quality wood
- Price is pretty high
- Strings are of low quality
A Style Mandolin Model HM-3TS
The HM-3TS is made of Maple – one of the most popular wood. This gives this musical instrument an incredible look while having a nice crispy tone from top to bottom. This mandolin has 8 strings and is a traditional A-Style which is one of the best mandolin instrument. The appearance is also great since it has a sunburst glossy finish. The truss rod is adjustable. The latter is the steel bar which runs along its neck. Good touch from the manufacturer’s part is that they’ve supplied the wrench. It also has silver nickel fret. Thanks to the chrome plated tuners and tailpiece, it has a smooth look.
The fingerboard is crafted in walnut – which is also used when crafting guitars. This gives your fingers a better feel when playing. It is great that the Hex Key is also in the package. This makes sure that you can make adjustments to the neck if required. The strings actions are adjustable. It is done using the 2 silver screws.
- It has a good overall quality
- Striking design
- Adjustable neck and finger action
- Required accessories are supplied
- The price is a little bit high
Oscar Schmidt OM10E A-Style Spruce
This instrument is probably one of the best mandolin instrument in terms of value. The OM10 A-Style is pretty good for a folk instrument since the sides are crafted in Mahogany. As for the bridge and fretboard, rosewood is used. This gives is an overall great feel. In terms of finish, it simply looks great. You’ll like the tobacco finish at first glance. Despite the overwhelming look, it is perfect for beginners.
The pickup system of this instrument is passive. In addition to that, you have volume and tone control. The hardware is chrome plated giving it a pretty good feel. There are also 3 play pickguards. In terms of value for money, you probably aren’t going to get better.
If you feel like learning how to play the mandolin, this is probably the one. Despite the price, it is one of the best mandolin instrument around. There are some issues with string quality. They aren’t really consistent. However, you can buy them separately.
- Has a great sound
- The tobacco finish looks great
- Has a pretty good feel
- Perfect for beginners
- Strings supplied aren’t the best
Donner A Style DML-1
The DML-1 is a traditional mandolin. One of the first thing you notice about it is the design and style. It does indeed look pretty good. The design isn’t too simple or too overboard. Made from one of the innovative brands around, it is sure to please anyone. There are several great features in it. Before we get there though, let’s take a look at the sunburst glossy finish first. This is sure to please anyone. It goes well with any type of clothes. The finish will also never take the limelight from you.
It is one of best mandolin instrument since it provides a bright and rich sound thanks to the Mahogany body. The latter also makes the body looks smooth. Most of the equipment are plated in chrome which is true for both the tailpiece and tuners. The truss rod can be used to adjust the neck. In addition to that, a lot of accessories are provided. These are in terms of guitar picks, polishing cloth and even a gig bag. This is a first in this list.
- Gig bag and several other accessories supplied
- Best price for quality mandolin
- Great tone
- The adjustment has specific limits
Seagull S8 Mandolin SG
The seagull is probably is one of the best mandolin instrument in terms of uniqueness. It is crafted pretty well and is a joy to play. It does indeed provide one of the best sounds on the market. Players can experience its full extent by simply trying it. This mandolin is pretty unique and that’s a fact. Most parts of this mandolin are crafted by hand which gives it a great feel. The fingerboard also feels great since it is made of rosewood.
Thanks to all the material used to handcraft this mandolin, it is pretty sturdy. This means it can take some beating and still perform. It is ideal for performers who have to travel. You can pretty much tell that it is of high quality. Everything about it is pretty good. You won’t want another one once you’ve tried this. The only issue is the price.
- High-quality mandolin
- Great sound quality
- It is sturdy
- As a matter of fact, there are no cons for this one.
The Loar LM-520-VS
The LM-520 is one of the best mandolin instrument in terms of value for money. This model design was taken upon the LM-600. The latter is one of the best-selling mandolins. Since it was based on the LM-600, you can be sure it will have some great features. The LM-520 is also a handcrafted mandolin, just like its predecessors. They all have spruce tops and their shapes are also similar. Since Maple is the standard set to craft string instruments, the back of the latter is also made in it. As a result, they made the sides from the same material. Overall, this gives a pretty solid feel.
The neck of this mandolin is also very comfortable. Thanks to the different woods used, this mandolin has pretty good intonation. You can play as hard as you can, they will always stay in tune. This model is great for players who prefer high-quality mandolin. It delivers a high-quality tone and delivers all that it advertises for. The LM-520 might be expensive to some but it is probably worth it. It is not a mandolin that one regrets buying.
- Made of high-quality wood
- Best price for quality ratio
- High-quality tone
- Price is a bit high
The KM-150 might be one of the best mandolin instrument around. This is true, at least in terms of wood used in its construction. Everything is hand selected. As a result, the best material is always used. This also guarantees that you are getting a quality mandolin. The wood chosen to make this mandolin is to maintain tone and quality along with a reasonable price. Once the selection of wood has been done, crafting starts using traditional techniques. This makes sure that a high level of quality is achieved. Any beginner or experienced player will love this mandolin.
As for the fitting and fingerboard, they are all shaped to look good and last long. You’ll also find that the frets are almost perfect. They are positioned in a very precise way. The bridge is also adjustable which makes it easy to change the strings. You only have to remove the engraved tailpiece. This will reveal the base. The base is also pretty sturdy since it is made of steel.
- Every part is handcraft and therefore unique
- High-quality mandolin
- Great intonation
- The price is a little bit high
Now that we’ve reached the end of this review, it’s time to reveal our pick. Even though we’ll be picking one, it doesn’t mean the others are not great. As a matter of fact, all the mandolin on this list is all pretty good. If that wasn’t the case then they wouldn’t be on this list, to begin with. We can say that all of them are one of the best mandolin instrument.
We had several criteria before making our choice. These are in terms of price, ease of play, bridge-neck adjustment and so on.
So the one we would most likely choose is the Seagull S8 Mandolin SG. The reason is simple, it has no cons or disadvantages. Even though an argument can be made about the cost, it does compensate in terms of quality.
Your choice might be different though. This will depend on your budget, preference, type of mandolin and so on. Just make sure to read this review so that you can select one of the best mandolin instrument.
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