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Best Mandolin For Beginners 2024: 6 Budget-Savvy Mandolins!

What brand is the best mandolin? How much should I spend? We investigate...

FUN FACT: Not every mandolin is the best mandolin for beginners.

By that we mean some mandolins can get a bit complicated. You see, not every mandolin is made with a beginner in mind – some are very much ‘pick up & play’, whilst others require you to have a more in-depth knowledge in order to really eeek the best out of them. Point being that not every mandolin works well for a beginner, as we’ve found out… hence this blog.

Jump in at the deep end, with something high-end (& expensive) from the likes of: Ibanez, Kentucky or Oscar Schmit, & he could find yourself in over your head. So really, before spending your hard earned cash on any sort of mandolin, you’d be wise to get a feel for the instrument first. Something that beginner mandolins are pretty much perfect for. So with that in mind, what is the best brand of mandolin to buy? How much should I spend on a mandolin? Can you spend too much? We investigate.

After something specific about which is the best brand of mandolin? Or just curious what we consider to be the best mandolin for the money? Use the menu below to find the info you need SUPER fast…

beginner strumming for the first time on a mandolin

NOTE: Interested about more than just mandolins? Be sure to check out our reviews of the Best Banjo For The Money + the Most Popular Ukuleles EVER too.

When it comes to choosing the best mandolin, there’s a lot of factors to take into account.

Not only do mandolins come in various shapes, sizes as well as various types of wood, but they also each come with their own specific tone. Something that as you can imagine, with them being an instrument, is a major selling feature. 

Thankfully though you needn’t worry about choosing the best mandolin – we’ve done 90% of the work for you! All you have to do is read on to discover which mandolins we feel fit the bill + our verdict on what is the best mandolin for beginners…

1: Donner DML-1 Sunburst A style beginner mandolin

person sat on a porch playing a mandolin

2: Vangoa Sunburst A style mandolin for beginners

3: Janerock Sunburst A style mandolin (for lefties)

4: Kmise Spruce A style student mandolin set

music artist performing live with a mandolin

5: Donner DML-100B A style mandolin bundle

In the case that budget mandolins look a bit, well… budget, then you may want to consider something a bit more premium.

A mandolin that perhaps isn’t the cheapest, but ticks a lot of boxes when it comes to tone & playability. That’s not to say budget mandolins aren’t playable – they are, only (as with most instruments) the more you spend, the better the overall experience gets. Something worth considering, especially if you’re a beginner who’s not held hostage by a strict budget.

So without further ado, here’s a slightly more high-end mandolin that we think would work rather well for a more ‘progressive’ beginner…

6: Gold Tone GM-35/L professional mandolin

buy a mandolin online

Mandolins aren’t to everyone’s taste.

So while they are a really good instrument, especially for string instrument fanatics, if you’re after a few more strings then you may benefit from spending that bit more to get yourself an Arabic Oud. In comparison to your typical mandolin which has 8 strings, an Oud has 12 & is of a slightly different shape. Something as you can imagine can have pretty sizeable effects on the acoustics.

So in the case you are after a slightly different sound, be sure to check out this – what we consider to be the best oud for sale today…

BONUS: Turkish AO-101M Oud

Enjoy this review of the best mandolin for beginners & eager for more? Dive into more of our Stringed Instrument Knowledge, as well as our latest Gossip On Musical Instruments. Recently, we also did a rundown of the Top Tenor Ukuleles + another on the Most Popular Electric Violins that may also be a good read.

close up of the strings on a mandolin

Or if you’ve still trying to decide what acoustic electric guitar is best for you, keep reading & we’ll answer more of your burning questions…

You’ve come to the correct place if you’re interested in learning how much a mandolin costs. Many novices who have recently shown an interest in the art of playing the mandolin frequently inquire about this. You should be ready if you wish to explore the legendary mandolin realm.

Even though a mandolin can cost as little as $100 or as much as $10,000, it’s important to be realistic, particularly if you’re a beginner searching for the instrument. The range is wide, so if you’re a first-time buyer, you must remain careful because something too cheap may lead you to purchase an unproductive machine.

A beginner mandolin could cost between $100 and $400. A highly professional mandolin might cost between $600 and $3,000, while an intermediate mandolin might cost between $400 and $800.

A mandolin is a fantastic instrument for a novice just beginning their musical adventure. You’ll be pleased to find that the mandolin is among the simplest instruments to understand how to play. Though a mandolin may appear to be a small instrument, you should not underestimate its strength.

Reading tablature is undoubtedly simpler because it has fewer strings than stringed instruments, such as the violin or the guitar. The scale structure will be well laid out and simple on the fingerboard based on the key of the tune you are playing, making it less difficult to master with practice.

If a learner is enthusiastic about learning the mandolin, it will take them roughly 90 days. Learning the mandolin quickly requires commitment, sincerity, and tolerance for a novice.

Since 1908, Ibanez Guitars has always been in business. However, the organisation in that era was a distributor of commodities and a sheet music shop in Nagoya, Japan. Eventually, the Japanese firm started selling Ibanez guitars in the US in the middle of the 1970s. 

Since then, Ibanez instruments have become one of America’s most well-known manufacturers of mandolins. They are unquestionably created with the finest care, accuracy, and durability, making them a name that customers like.

There is no definite answer to this question, but let’s start by stating that when both mandolins are of identical quality, there is no audible difference between the tones of an A and an F Style. Despite having different appearances, these are quite similar to each other in every aspect that affects tone and performance. The two are just visually different from one another.

If no other variables are involved, it makes no difference whether you have an A or F-style mandolin. Compared to an A style with the strap looped around the headstock, an F style produces a different balancing point. This might be regarded as under playability, but it’s not something to worry about.

In actuality, A-style and F-style mandolins have identical tonal characteristics. All they differ in is appearance. In the end, buying an F-style mandolin has advantages if you want to be recognized by your contemporaries. The A-style mandolin is ideal if you don’t worry about what others think and want the smoothest playing mandolin for the price.

Even though everyone adores mandolins, learning the ukulele as a first instrument has several significant advantages. The use costs much less and is simpler to play. For most players, these two factors alone make this the better option. There is, of course, a lot more to the story. The ukulele will typically be the instrument that most players find easiest to learn how to play.

The tuning on the mandolin is considerably simpler to understand. The mandolin has the edge in this situation as far as learning the notes is considered. The technique is where it evens out. Higher levels of competence are needed for the kind of music for which the mandolin is utilized. Additionally, it will take far longer to sound decent on a mandolin due to the physical effort.

Next, we contrast the mandolin with the incredibly well-known banjo. Because they have fewer strings than the guitar, both the banjo and the mandolin are typically seen as simpler to learn. Due to the banjo’s propensity to be played faster, the mandolin may be simpler to master than the banjo.

You’ve come to the correct place if you play the mandolin and are looking for a well-known, high-quality instrument that will be worth every cent. Mandolins are unique instruments in today’s mainstream music environment, but they’re a terrific approach to give your music a distinctive vibe.

The Kentucky KM-150 Standard A-Model Mandolin is one of the well-liked and popular mandolins on the market. It is a fantastic value instrument with a conventional, all-solid build that expertly blends vintage characteristics with an astonishingly low price. This model was developed with a stronger emphasis on tone and audio quality and is not filled with many fancy frills.

Mandolins have a far broader spectrum than many other instruments. As a result, you should be cautious when selecting one for yourself. Make sure you clearly understand what you’re searching for in your new mandolin and that you’ve compared mandolin manufacturers so you know what to anticipate before you go and buy one.

Some of you could be searching for the best mandolin available, one that is entirely handcrafted and echoes like a dream, while others might be searching for a beginner’s mandolin that is affordable and will assist you in playing the instrument.

Regardless of your situation, ensure you understand the qualities you want in a mandolin and remember the following elements. At the same time, you shop for your next instrument. The body type comes first. Your choice of mandolin will depend on your favoured body style. There are mandolins with bowl-backs, flat tops, F-styles, and A-styles. The mandolin body shape will depend on the type of music you want to perform, the build you find more aesthetically pleasing, and your finances.

Second, remember that mandolins come in both electric and acoustic varieties. You will probably need to buy an acoustic instrument if you participate in a mandolin orchestra. However, electric instruments are preferred in some folk styles, such as bluegrass. Your decision between an electric and an acoustic mandolin will be influenced by your knowledge of the mandolin genre’s principles.

Mandolins exist with various strings in addition to different body types. Instruments with four, five, and eight strings are all often used. Additionally, the tuning system employed will depend on the number of strings. Choose wisely, following your preferred style, and utilize the greatest mandolin available!

Numerous companies currently dominate the market for mandolins. Most create instruments that are easy to use and durable enough for beginners to learn before playing. Kentucky, Ellis, Northfield, Weber, Rogue, Ibanez, Eastman, and other well-known brands are just a few of these.