Reviewed in the United States on March 25, 2018. In the good ol’ … The bridge on a mandolin serves the same function as the bridge on a guitar: determining the height of the strings, controlling both the action and the intonation. A solid wood instrument is also a sign of a higher quality standard in the overall construction, which makes the instrument more likely to serve you well in the long term. Even if your mandolin arrives with the strings on it, you’ll still need to thoroughly tune it before you play it for the first time, and to tweak the intonation before every playing session after. Like with the difference between laminate and solid wood, you’re not simply paying for the different shape when you buy an F-style mandolin. They were founded in 2012 with an aim to provide new, innovative designs of familiar instruments and music equipment. The action is a term used by string players to generally describe how high the strings are set off of the fretboard. Players who use a pick will appreciate the addition of an ABS pickguard, as well, which protects the finish on the mandolin from being damaged while you play. There's some minor blemishes and some things that you might consider normal for your price point like this and I am fine with it. Of course, this is only one factor in how the instrument sounds. When a mandolin leaves the factory, it will typically be un-strung. For the price point, I wasn't expecting much more than functional, but the instrument had a surprisingly good tone out of the box. They’ll not only sound noticeably better but will also be more durable overall. Because the mandolin is smaller than a guitar, for example, the adjustments will be finer, but it will otherwise follow the same basic principles. The tailpiece and tuners are chrome plated for durability and better functionality. It’s not the most affordable option, but it’s still comfortably priced. This mandolin might cost more than you’re looking to spend—but for the level of quality you get, it’s an incredible value. If you’ve set it up correctly, this will be an in-tune octave. The five options below are some of our favorites for sound, construction quality, playability, and overall value. Plays mostly in tune... looks great.. built well for the price point. If you’re a professional musician, or even an advanced student, you’re probably looking for something a bit more sophisticated in its design than the entry-level models prevalent on sites like Amazon. It uses open-gear tuners, with chrome plating on both the tuners and the tailpiece. The more intricate shape generally means these instruments will be hand-carved and hand-assembled, which increases the overall construction quality. The main work on a music label. I am thoroughly enjoying this instrument. Watching your repair technician set up the instrument can be one way to learn them, but you can also ask your lessons teacher to evaluate your set-up and give you some pointers. If you have experience with string instruments you know this already. As good as the mandolin itself is, the accessory package that comes with this instrument is equally impressive. Spruce: A popular choice for the top (or “soundboard”) on a variety of instruments, including the mandolin. The extra money you’ll pay for the LM-520 is pretty much because of the different shape. If you look at this Golden Gate mandolin pick and compare it to a standard guitar pick, you’ll see the difference right away. This is an easy adjustment, though, and they’ll do it at any music shop for pretty cheap if you don’t have the know-how to do it at home. 9 Donner A-Style Mandolin (Includes big bag, guitar strings, DT-2 tuner, polishing cloth, and two picks.) The fretwork is really very good. Laminate is formed by layering thin strips of wood together into one thicker piece. He works as a DJ at night. This is what anchors the strings to the instrument, and if it’s not well-made or sturdily attached you’ll definitely notice an effect on your intonation. If you want an instrument that both looks and sounds stage-worthy without breaking the bank, this mandolin from Kentucky is a winner. Overall, the RM-100A mandolin is a classically-designed, perfect beginner instrument. The electronic tuner works great. The tone out of this little guy has some bite to it. Reviewed in the United States on August 13, 2020. The build quality is solid where it matters. Product was received well packaged and without any damage. This combo was just the thing I needed. To calculate the overall star rating and percentage breakdown by star, we don’t use a simple average. The important thing is the instrument itself, though, and in that regard the HM-3TS from Hola! The Donner Mandolin Sunburst Mahogany is awesome. The binding is immaculate, and it really pops against the gloss black. To the first point, we got the opinion of string players who have used the models on this list to see how they think the action stacks up. To get us started, let’s circle back to what we were talking about above: the difference between the woods used in the construction of these various instruments. Your recently viewed items and featured recommendations, Select the department you want to search in, Reviewed in the United States on March 1, 2018. Here’s everything you might want to know about shopping for your perfect mandolin.