Best mandolin for a beginners 2023: Top Choices Reviewed!

For a beginner, A-style and F-Style Mandolins are generally recommended due to their affordability, versatility, and more straightforward construction. However, it’s essential to choose a type that aligns with your personal preferences, intended use, and budget. I have compiled a list of Best mandolin for a beginners keeping all the things in mind.

Best mandolin for a beginners

Each type has its own unique sound and characteristics. Here is a list of types that are suitable for beginners:

  1. A-Style Mandolins: Characterized by a teardrop-shaped body, A-style mandolins are versatile and commonly used in a variety of music genres such as bluegrass, Celtic, and classical music. Their relatively simple design and construction make them more affordable, which is ideal for beginners.
  2. F-Style Mandolins: Featuring a carved scroll and decorative points, F-style mandolins are more ornate than A-style counterparts. These are typically preferred by bluegrass players but can be suitable for a beginner who is committed to the instrument and willing to invest a bit more money.
  3. Bowlback Mandolins: Bowlback or Neapolitan mandolins have a rounded back and a smaller body. They are known for their bright, classical sound, and often used in classical and European folk music. Bowlback mandolins might not be the best choice for a beginner, as they are less versatile and more difficult to hold, but some people prefer their looks and sound and might start with them.
  4. Flatback Mandolins: As the name suggests, flatback mandolins feature a flat back rather than a rounded one. They are often more affordable and easier to construct but slightly less resonant than the A-style or F-style models. They can be suitable for beginners looking for an even more budget-friendly option.

Assuming the links represent the following products and that all of them are beginner-friendly due to their A or F style, a potential table could look like this:

Preview
Mandolin A Style Acoustic Electric Mandolins Instrument Vintage Red Sunburst Mahogany Wood for Beginner Adults, by Vangoa
Donner A Style Mandolin Instrument Sunburst Beginner Adult Acoustic Mandolin Musical Instrument Mahogany 8 String, Bundle With Tuner String Bag Guitar Picks,DML-1
Ibanez M522 - Dark Violin Sunburst Gloss
Title
Mandolin A Style Acoustic Electric Mandolins Instrument Vintage Red Sunburst Mahogany Wood for Beginner Adults, by Vangoa
Donner A Style Mandolin Instrument Sunburst Beginner Adult Acoustic Mandolin Musical Instrument Mahogany 8 String, Bundle With Tuner String Bag Guitar Picks,DML-1
Ibanez M522 - Dark Violin Sunburst Gloss
Prime
Amazon Prime
Amazon Prime
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Preview
Mandolin A Style Acoustic Electric Mandolins Instrument Vintage Red Sunburst Mahogany Wood for Beginner Adults, by Vangoa
Title
Mandolin A Style Acoustic Electric Mandolins Instrument Vintage Red Sunburst Mahogany Wood for Beginner Adults, by Vangoa
Prime
Amazon Prime
Details
Preview
Donner A Style Mandolin Instrument Sunburst Beginner Adult Acoustic Mandolin Musical Instrument Mahogany 8 String, Bundle With Tuner String Bag Guitar Picks,DML-1
Title
Donner A Style Mandolin Instrument Sunburst Beginner Adult Acoustic Mandolin Musical Instrument Mahogany 8 String, Bundle With Tuner String Bag Guitar Picks,DML-1
Prime
Amazon Prime
Details
Preview
Ibanez M522 - Dark Violin Sunburst Gloss
Title
Ibanez M522 - Dark Violin Sunburst Gloss
Prime
-
Details

Please update the table directly or provide additional information if the assumptions need to be adjusted.


🎶Best mandolin for a beginners

When buying a mandolin for beginners, it’s essential to consider several factors. First, think about the type of mandolin that suits the novice’s music style. An A-style mandolin is versatile, while an F-style is ideal for bluegrass. Second, the price is a significant factor. Opt for a moderately priced mandolin that provides value for money. 

Third, verify the instrument’s build quality. Solid wood mandolins are preferred for their sound quality, but they’re costlier than laminated wood ones. Lastly, pay attention to the setup; the mandolin should be playable straight out of the box and must come with a user-friendly manual.

Mandolin A Style Acoustic Electric Mandolins

Having had the pleasure of practicing and playing the Mandolin A Style Acoustic Electric Mandolins Instrument by Vangoa, I can say, without hesitation, it’s an excellent instrument for beginners.

This mandolin harmoniously combines practicality with an aesthetic appeal with its Vintage Red Sunburst finish and Mahogany wood that adds both to its durability and spectacular resonance. From a beginner’s standpoint, the playability of this Mandolin is affable.

The finger-friendly fretboard and comfortable neck grip make it easy on novice players to learn and practice for sustained periods without experiencing fatigue. Equally important is the pre-strung feature coming along with this Mandolin that saves beginners from the fuss of setting up.

This Mandolin, being an acoustic-electric instrument, provides the flexibility to play it acoustically or amplify the sound using an amplifier. The inbuilt-tuner is excellent and provides a quick and convenient method to ensure your instrument is always in tune.

If I have to critique, one thing that I would like to point out is the somewhat ambiguous instruction guide. For someone picking up the instrument for the first time, a more detailed guide would have been more helpful. That being said, the ample resources available on the web mitigate this concern to a large extent.

Pros

✅ Vintage Red Sunburst Mahogany Wood
✅ Pre-strung and ready to use
✅ Acoustic-electric flexibility
✅ In-built tuner

Cons

❌ Ambiguous instruction guide
❌ Might need professional setup

USP: The USP of the Vangoa Mandolin A Style is undoubtedly its acoustic-electric feature. It opens up options for beginners to start acoustically and later experiment with the amplified sound.

Verdict

The Vangoa Mandolin A Style Acoustic Electric Mandolins Instrument Vintage Red Sunburst Mahogany Wood is an excellent choice for beginners. With its acoustic-electric features, beautiful aesthetics, and easy-to-play design, it sets itself apart as a fantastic entry-level instrument.

If you can overlook its minor drawbacks, such as the ambiguous instruction guide, you’ll find that this mandolin is the perfect companion to kickstart your mandolin journey. Highly recommended for anyone looking for a beginner mandolin with great value for money.


Donner A Style Mandolin Instrument Sunburst

My journey with the Donner A Style Mandolin has been an extraordinarily gratifying experience. This mandolin, with its Sunburst finish and Mahogany body, strikes an immediate emotional chord. As a beginner’s instrument, it’s not just about its appealing look but a well-rounded balance of features that facilitate a seamless learning curve.

Speaking of the construction, the glossy Sunburst finish over the sturdy Mahogany body and the 8 strings, unleash a rhythmically rich and brighter sound.

For someone in the early phases of learning mandolin, this assures an encouraging start. The bundle comes with a digital clip-on tuner enabling beginners to have a precise tuning which is so impactful on the learning experience.

This A style mandolin does not falter when it comes to playability. It demonstrates solid craftsmanship, and the pattern on the tailpiece adds to the overall aesthetics. The adjustable compensating bridge stands out to me as an exceptional feature, making the mere act of playing exceptionally smooth.

However, in my journey, the one hiccup was the slight need for an initial setup. It wasn’t a deal-breaker, but it would have been better if I could play it straight out of the box.

Pros

✅ Rich and Brighter Sound
✅ Sturdy Mahogany Body
✅ Adjustable Compensating Bridge
✅ Comes with a digital clip-on tuner

Cons

❌ Initial setup needed

USP: The unique selling proposition is the exceptionally good bundle that comes along with it. The package includes a mandolin, gig bag, strings, digital clip-on tuner, polishing cloth, and guitar picks, providing absolutely terrific value.

Verdict

For beginners stepping into the realm of mandolin playing, the Donner A Style Mandolin is a phenomenal instrument. Combining a richness of sound, excellent craftsmanship, and an array of helpful accessories, it creates a comfortable and encouraging starting point for any novice.

With minor setup requirements outweighed by its many virtues, this mandolin is a meticulously detailed and well-rounded instrument, and it won’t fail to offer you an enriching musical journey. Its robust features and exceptional value make it a highly recommended choice for beginners.


Ibanez M522S F-Style Mandolin Dark Violin Sunburst

As part of my musical journey, I’ve come across various mandolins, but none have struck me the way the Ibanez M522S F-Style Mandolin, with its Dark Violin Sunburst finish has. A delight for beginners, let me walk you through my experiences with this beautiful instrument.

From the first encounter, the Ibanez M522S captivates with its aesthetics. The Dark Violin Sunburst finish has a magnetic charm, sparked further by the F-style design. The glossy finish and skillful crafting of the mandolin are a visual treat to anyone who lays their eyes on it.

In terms of functionality, the Ibanez M522S continues to impress. The highlight is definitely the incredible sound quality. Whether playing simple chords or complex melodies, this mandolin projects a crisp tone with a delightful resonance that is commonly associated with professional instruments.

Another aspect that really resonated with me was the ease of play. The comfortable grip, coupled with the nicely set action, allows for extended practice sessions without straining fingers. It’s an instrument designed keeping beginner needs in mind.

However, the initial setup—one may need to adjust the bridge and the strings for optimal sound—can be a bit daunting for beginners. It’s not a deal-breaker, but certainly, an added step in your journey with this mandolin.

Pros

✅ Incredible Sound Quality
✅ Dark Violin Sunburst Finish
✅ Easy to Play

Cons

❌ Initial setup needed

USP: The USP of the Ibanez M522S is its remarkable sound quality, bringing an almost-professional experience to beginners. This, along with the F-style design, lends a significant edge over other beginner-level mandolins.

Verdict

The Ibanez M522S F-Style Mandolin, with its Dark Violin Sunburst finish, offers an unmatched blend of aesthetics and functionality. The slight hiccup of initial setup is easily compensated by its superior sound and beginner-friendly features.

Therefore, this mandolin stands as a strong recommendation for anyone embarking on their mandolin journey. Given its sound quality and playability, it serves as a gem of a find for beginners craving an elevated musical experience.


ADM Acoustic Mandolin Instrument Kit

As my fingers danced across the strings of the ADM Acoustic Mandolin Instrument Kit, I was taken aback by the mesmerizing complexity and richness of the sounds it produced, belying its image as a beginners’ instrument.

The Music A Style design, along with the stunning Sunburst finish, adds a dash of sophistication to this beginner-friendly mandolin, making it a delightful experience for both kids and adult students.

Featuring precision in each note, the tonal quality of this mandolin is vibrant and warm. The blend of brightness accompanied by its resonance strikes the perfect balance, providing encouragement and motivation needed for a beginner.

In terms of playability and handling, the ADM Acoustic Mandolin is a dream come true. The neck of the mandolin was conveniently tapered for easy chord transitions, and the string tension was just right, making long practice hours comfortable and efficient.

The ADM Acoustic Mandolin kit is further enriched by a generous package that conveniently includes a bag, tuner, EQ, strap, strings, picks, and a hanger. This, without a shred of doubt, provides immense value for the beginner, eliminating the hassle of sourcing these essentials separately.

That being said, one small area of potential improvement I noticed was the strap quality. A slightly more robust strap would have escalated the overall package value significantly, but this is a small issue compared to the overall quality and value of the package.

Pros

✅ Music A Style Design
✅ Vibrant and Warm Sound
✅ Includes Essential Accessories

Cons

❌ Strap quality

USP: Packed with the distinct Music A Style design, an array of essential accessories, and spectacular sound quality, this ADM kit outperforms in value and functionality for beginners.

Verdict

The ADM Acoustic Mandolin Instrument Kit stands as a solid instrument for novices embarking on their musical journey. Despite minor concerns regarding the strap, the kit abundantly caters to the beginners’ needs and then some.

Given the substantial value it offers both in terms of acoustic quality and additional accessories that come along, it is undoubtedly a strong recommendation for anyone looking for the perfect mandolin starter pack. You will not go wrong by choosing ADM as your stepping stone into the beautiful world of mandolins.


The Loar LM-310F-BRB Honey Creek F-Style Mandolin

Over the years, my musical escapades allowed me to experiment with various instruments, and mandolins hold a special place in my heart. One mandolin that truly captured my attention and left a lasting impression is The Loar LM-310F-BRB Honey Creek F-Style Mandolin.

The first aspect that stands out for this mandolin is its craft. The F-Style design accentuates not only its aesthetics but also contributes to the tonal quality. The rich, honey creek finish provides a certain vintage charm that is hard to resist.

When it comes to the sound quality, it firmly holds its ground and promises a delightful experience. This mandolin produces a gorgeous, warm sound complemented with a balanced resonance, making it highly appealing to beginners. It has a way of making each note shine, which, for a beginner, is absolute music to the ears.

The set-up of this instrument is also praiseworthy. The string height, the fret work, the adjustable bridge – all contribute to its excellent playability, making it a user-friendly option even for those who are just starting their mandolin journey.

However, no instrument is perfect. One might find the price of The Loar LM-310F-BRB a bit high as a beginner. For someone just starting, investing such an amount might seem intimidating. But given the features and its overall package, the investment is truly worthwhile.

Pros

✅ Excellent Sound Quality
✅ F-Style Design and Honey Creek Finish
✅ User-Friendly Setup

Cons

❌ High initial investment

USP: The unique selling proposition of the Loar LM-310F-BRB mandolin is the blend of an aesthetic appeal with a commendable sound quality, all fully optimized for beginners.

Verdict

When looking for a beginners’ mandolin, it’s crucial to find something that offers quality sound, easy playability, and visual appeal – all of which are no stranger to The Loar LM-310F-BRB Honey Creek F-Style Mandolin.

Despite the initial investment being slightly high, every dollar spent on this mandolin is justified given its superior features. So if you’re a beginner yearning for an enriching learning experience with a touch of class, look no further. The Loar LM-310F-BRB Mandolin is a remarkable choice that offers excellent value for its price.


🎶Best mandolin for a beginners Buying Guide

Selecting the right mandolin as a beginner is crucial in fostering your learning journey into the world of music. With numerous models, brands, and styles available, this decision can often feel overwhelming. Here’s a comprehensive buying guide to illuminate the crucial points to consider while choosing the best beginner’s mandolin.

Best mandolin for a beginners Buying Guide

Types of Mandolins

There are two main styles of mandolins — the A-style and F-style. A-style Mandolins are ideal for beginners due to their typically lower price, simplicity, and suitability across various musical styles. F-style Mandolins, with their distinctive scroll design, are more complex and expensive, often preferred by bluegrass players for their punchy sound. Begin with an A-style for versatility and value for money.

Solid Wood vs Laminate

Mandolins are constructed either from solid wood or laminates. A Solid Wood Mandolin usually has superior sound quality, as the resonance improves with age. However, they are more expensive and require careful maintenance. Laminated Mandolins are more affordable, durable, and resistant to humidity and temperature changes. As a beginner, laminated models can be a practical choice.

Playability

The mandolin’s “action” or the space between the strings and the fretboard significantly affects playability. High action can make playing harder and may cause finger fatigue, while a low action may result in a buzzing sound. The design should facilitate comfortable holding and playing for extended periods. Lighter models are generally more comfortable, particularly for beginners.

Sound Quality

To assess sound quality, try playing the mandolin (if possible), focusing on tone and sustain. The tonal quality should be clear and balanced, with no buzzing. A good mandolin should produce sustained notes that resonate before they gradually fade.

Price & Brand Reputation

While sticking to a budget, consider reputable mandolin brands known for delivering quality instruments. Such brands guarantee good construction, sound, and durability. Reading reviews or seeking advice from professional players can be beneficial.

Mandolin Setup

Most beginners overlook the importance of a professional setup. It involves adjusting the bridge, nut, and tailpiece for optimal playability and sound. Some stores offer a free setup with the purchase, and this feature should be considered during buying.


You may also find useful: Mandolin vs Guitar: Which One Is Easier to Learn? | 7 Types of Mandolins Explained | Best Electric Mandolin

🎶Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is mandolin good for beginners?

Answer: Yes, the mandolin is a good choice for beginners due to its small size, lightweight nature, and relatively simple learning curve. Its standard tuning (GDAE) is the same as a violin, so it can be a great start for someone interested in learning stringed instruments. The basics can be learned fairly quickly, but as with any instrument, practice and dedication are required to develop mastery.

How much should I spend on first mandolin?

Answer: For a beginner’s first mandolin, a budget of $100 to $300 is reasonable. This price range will give you a decent quality instrument that is both playable and durable, without breaking the bank. As you progress in skill, consider investing in a higher-quality instrument on which you can continue to grow musically.

Do you need to read music to play the mandolin?

Answer: While reading music can certainly enrich your understanding and versatility as a musician, it is not required to play the mandolin.
Many players learn by ear or use tablatures, which are visual representations of where to place your fingers on the fretboard. That said, learning to read music can open up new opportunities for playing a wider variety of pieces and collaborating with other musicians

Which is easier to learn, ukulele or mandolin?

Answer: Generally speaking, the ukulele is considered easier to learn than the mandolin because it has fewer strings (four compared to the mandolin’s eight) and a less complex tuning system.
The ukulele’s nylon strings are also softer on the fingers, making it more comfortable for beginners. However, choosing an instrument should be based on personal preference and musical interests, so it is essential to consider which sound and style you most enjoy.

How long does it take to learn the mandolin?

Answer: The time it takes to learn the mandolin varies significantly depending on factors such as practice frequency, previous musical experience, and individual learning styles.
With consistent practice, most beginners can learn basic chords and strumming patterns within a few weeks to a few months. For more advanced techniques and proficiency, it might take a year or more of dedicated practice. The key is to be patient, stay motivated, and enjoy the learning process as you progress.


Conclusion:

In conclusion, finding the best mandolin for beginners is a critical step in your musical journey. With a careful evaluation of specific types, construction materials, playability, sound quality, price, brand reputation, and setup, you can select a mandolin that facilitates a comfortable and productive learning experience.

As you embark on your musical journey, remember that the ideal instrument should not only meet all these criteria but also inspire and motivate you to play and improve.

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