Mandolin Buying Guide

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About mandolins

The mandolin, literally small mandola, was first brought to the U.S. by immigrants for playing classical and folk music. Mandolins have wood body and other parts including: binding, bridge, fingerboard, frets, headstock, nuts, posts, strings, sound holes, tailpiece, the neck and tuners. Mandolin comes in many designs and styles. Three prevalent ones: the flat-backed mandolin, carved-top mandolin and round-backed mandolin.


Mandolin types

Developed in 19th century America, the flat-back mandolin is a plucked box-lute chordophone. Its resonator has arched back-and sound boards, f-holes and a robust sound. It uses a thin wooden sheet of with bracing for the back, like what guitar uses. Flat-backed instruments play Brazilian, British and Irish folk music.

The carved-top mandolin is the most popular. They have their ribs bent or reinforced bent sides at the unction. Found in the best models are shallower arched back and arched top that are carved out of wood. This is type is commonly used to play American blue grass and folk music.

Round-backed or bowlback models have deep bottoms constructed of wood strips and glued together into a bowl. Most of them are manufactured in Europe, where mandolin developed and created its local styles. However, the Japanese also make them. Owing to the shape and common construction from wooden strips of alternating colors, in the U. S., they are referred to as the “potato bug” or “potato beetle” mandolin.


Why a mandolin is better?

Mandolin is easy to learn. If you know how to play other stringed instruments, you can play the mandolin. Its versatile, you can play all kinds of music on it. There are several classical musical pieces composed specifically for the mandoline. Standard tuning for the mandolin is exactly the same as the fiddle. In fact, do you know that mandolins were played in the Broadway musical Fiddler on the Roof?


Opt for the best

Before your purchase, set a budget. Price range starts as low as $200 and can go as high as $8000. Many factors add or subtract from the final cost. Consider a solid construction or one that is pieced together, and the source.


Buy a spruce soundboard mandolin for it gives the best tone. Mandolin makers show great care in choosing the right piece of spruce so before construction, each one is tested for certain sounds. Buy the higher quality although it has higher price.


However, higher quality of constructed laminated plywood will be a money-saver. To determine whether a piece of wood is solid or laminated, look and check seams carefully. It should be a solid piece not a laminated one.


Now is the time to buy

Buy now and start your musical adventure. Visit any music store or acoustic shop. Dealers of mandolins have sales personnel experienced in assisting you you’re your type of mandolin.

You can purchase mandola online, go to big and reliable outlets like Amazon Con. Be sure that the retailer provides a fully refundable return policy, so that you can ship the mandolin back if you decide you don’t like it. Buy only from reliable outlets!


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