The mandolin is considered an old-world instrument that is making a big comeback on the music scene.
If its rich and idyllic sounds have captured your heart and you want to learn to play, it is important to find the best mandolin for beginners.
Unfortunately, not all instruments are created equal.
Some are made with inferior materials, and some are so expensive beginning musicians simply cannot afford them.
Thankfully, ten models are perfect for beginners, while helping you to stay within a reasonable budget.
What Should You Look for in a Mandolin?
With so many brands and models on the market, all claiming to be the best, it can be tricky for new musicians to find what they are looking for in a mandolin.
If you are new to this instrument, consider the following.
- Choose a style. There are bow-backed, A-style, and F-style models. Bow-backed are the most traditional, but many beginners start with an A or F-style.
- Choose the wood. The soundboard should ideally be made of spruce or maple, for the best sound.
- Choose the type. There are electric and acoustic versions. Many beginners start with acoustics because they are less expensive.
- Choose your budget. Most beginners do not want to pay too much when they first start. You can expect to pay at least $100/ £72.00 for a quality mandolin.
Top 10 Mandolins for Beginners
The following offers insight into the top ten mandolins for beginners.
With this guide, you will learn the important details and the pros and cons of each one, so you can make an informed decision.
1. Hola! Music A-Style Mandolin
This instrument has a maple top, back, and sides. Its dimensions are 26 x 12 x 3 inches, and it has a glossy sunburst design.
This Hola! Model is a traditional 8-string A-style. It offers an adjustable truss rod and includes a wrench for making adjustments. This instrument has chrome-plated gear tuners and a tailpiece, with a black ABS pickguard.
2. Ibanez M510DVS A-Style Mandolin
This Ibanez A-style mandolin has a spruce top and mahogany back and sides. It offers a beautiful rich brown color with white binding. The dimensions of this instrument are 8 x 12 x 35 inches.
The M510DVS model comes with picks and a clip-on tuner. Everyone who plays this model is surprised it sounds so rich and is so affordable. You will not hear that “tinny” cheap sound coming from this mandolin.
3. Kentucky KM-256 A-Type Mandolin
Kentucky is an instrument name that is relied upon for quality, and this is an ideal beginner model to help you get started on learning to play fluently. This model is carved from solid spruce and features steel strings.
The color of this mandolin is rich brown, and the dimensions are 27.88 x 27.88 x 3.75 inches. It features an East Indian rosewood fretboard, and a slim maple neck, which is easier to play for beginners.
4. Kentucky KM-150 Mandolin
This is another beautiful Kentucky mandolin for beginners. It is pricey, but you do get excellent quality. The top is made of solid spruce and the sides are made of mahogany.
With this selection, you can purchase the mandolin only or a mandolin and case or bag. The neck is slim Alpine maple, making it ideal for beginners who may not be accustomed to holding frets. The dimensions of this instrument are 26.38 x 10.25 x 3.38 inches.
5. Rogue RM-100A Mandolin
This is an A-style mandolin with a beautiful sunburst design. The neck is made of maple, and the fretboard is rosewood. It features an adjustable rosewood bridge that allows you to change up the sound as you like.
The chrome tuners and nickel-plated frets are a nice addition. This is a well-made instrument for the price and is ideal for beginners.
6. Trinity College TM-325 Mandolin
This is another pricey mandolin, but it is beautifully made. If you plan on playing for the long haul, this would be an ideal purchase.
This mandolin comes with a hard case and is available in black and natural top. The dimensions of this instrument are 35 x 14 x 7 inches. The top of this mandolin is made of spruce, and the back and sides are made of maple.
The East Indian rosewood fingerboard allows for smooth playing. This instrument provides a Celtic sound.
7. The Loar LM-310F-BRB F-Style Mandolin
This mandolin features a solid hand-carved spruce top. The neck is made of maple and offers a thinner profile, which is ideal for new players.
The sides and back are made of maple, and the design features a satin brown burst finish. This instrument offers that iconic mandolin “chop” you only experience when the top is made from solid spruce. The dimensions of this mandolin are 27.5 x 10 x 2 inches.
8. Stagg M20-S Bluegrass Mandolin
As the name suggests, this instrument was made for playing bluegrass music. The top of this mandolin is made of solid spruce, and the back and sides are made of basswood.
It offers a rosewood fingerboard and a nato neck. With its violin burst design, this is a beautiful specimen. The dimensions of this instrument are 29 x 13 x 5 inches. The bridge is adjustable.
9. Washburn M1-Pack with Bag
If you are looking for a mid-priced mandolin that will take you through the beginning and intermediate stages, this Washburn may be the right instrument for you. The design of this mandolin is tobacco sunburst, and the dimensions are 2362.2 x 1574.8 x 787.4 inches.
This A-style mandolin comes with a gig bag, a pitch pipe, picks, a strap, and a learning booklet. It contains everything a beginner would need for getting started.
The top of this instrument is made of solid spruce, and the back and sides are made of maple. Although it does not have the tone of some of the more expensive mandolins, it sounds mellow and holds the intonation well.
10. Vangoa A-Style Mandolin
This is a highly affordable mandolin that comes with everything beginners would need for getting started playing. It comes with a gig bag, tuner, strings, strap, and picks.
The top, back, and sides are made of basswood. The strings are alloy steel, and the dimensions of this mandolin are 28 x 14 x 4 inches. This instrument features chrome-plated open-gear tuners and a one-year warranty.
Top 10 Mandolins For Beginners – Conclusion
So, there you have it.
These are the top ten mandolins for beginners.
Feel free to watch the videos and click through to learn more about the features of each instrument.
No matter which you choose, you are going to love starting on your journey towards mastering this mystical stringed instrument.