How Much Does a Mandolin Cost? (An Authentic Answer)

Mandolin costs vary significantly depending on factors such as type, materials, brand, craftsmanship, and level of expertise.

But, exactly how much does a mandolin cost?

Well, beginners can find decent entry-level mandolins from $100 to $300, while intermediate players can expect to pay $500 to $1,200. Advanced and professional players may invest in high-quality instruments priced anywhere from $2,000 to over $10,000.

How much does a mandolin cost

Aside from the initial cost, mandolin ownership also entails expenses related to maintenance, accessories, and learning resources to ensure optimal playing experiences.

🎶How much does a mandolin cost? 

A mandolin’s cost depends on its type, materials, brand, craftsmanship, and intended user proficiency.

Here’s a breakdown of the estimated costs for different types of mandolins across various proficiency levels:

  • A-style Mandolin: Suitable for various genres, entry-level models cost between $100 to $300, intermediate models fall in the $500 to $1,200 range, and high-end A-style mandolins can go above $2,000.
  • F-style Mandolin: Often preferred by bluegrass players, F-style mandolins start at $300 to $500 for beginners, with intermediate versions costing $800 to $2,500 and professional models exceeding $5,000.
  • Bowlback Mandolin: Preferred for classical and folk music, bowlback mandolins generally cost between $200 to $500 for entry-level, $800 to $1,500 for intermediate, and $2,000 to $5,000+ for high-quality instruments.
  • Flatback Mandolin: Similar in shape to the A-style mandolin but with a flat back instead of a curved one, offering a slightly different sound and playing experience. Depending on craftsmanship and materials, prices may range from $200 to $1,500.
  • Irish Bouzouki/Octave Mandolin: These have a longer scale length, which results in a deeper, richer sound, and is used in Celtic and folk music. The price ranges from around $300 for entry-level models to over $2,000 for custom, high-quality instruments.
  • Mandola: Slightly larger than the standard mandolin, the mandola has a deeper tone. Prices range from $400 for beginner models to over $3,000 for professional-quality instruments.
  • Mandocello: This larger, cello-like mandolin family member has a richer sound and is usually played with a pick. Prices range from $1,000 for entry-level models to $5,000+ for high-end pieces.

Remember, these price ranges are approximate and actual prices may vary depending on the brand and specific model. In addition to the base cost, players should account for added expenses, such as maintenance, accessories, and learning resources.

Whether you’re just starting or are an experienced player looking to upgrade, carefully consider your budget and musical needs before investing.

🎶Costs of Mandolins Broken Down by Level of Player 

The following breakdown of mandolin costs by player level aims to simplify the buying process by providing appropriate price ranges, recommendations, and key features to search for.

Remember that musicians grow and evolve, so it’s essential to consider both your current skill level and future aspirations when investing in a mandolin.

Costs of Mandolins Broken Down by Level of Player 

Personal preferences for sound, aesthetics, and playability should not be overlooked. The right mandolin can facilitate progress and deepen your love for music, so take the time to carefully consider the best fit for your unique journey.

For Beginners

Estimated cost range: $100 to $300

Recommended brands/models:

  • Rogue RM-100A
  • Kentucky KM-150
  • Ibanez M510 A-Style
  • Oscar Schmidt OM10

Key features to look for:

  • Good playability and comfortable neck
  • Decent build quality and durable materials
  • Stable tuners to hold tuning well
  • Adjustable bridge for easier action adjustment
  • Clear, balanced, and warm sound

For Intermediate Players

Estimated cost range: $500 to $1,200

Recommended brands/models:

  • Eastman MD315 F-Style
  • The Loar LM-520-VS Performer F-Style
  • Kentucky KM-505 Artist A-Style
  • Breedlove Crossover OF

Key features to look for:

  • Solid wood top (preferably spruce or maple) for better sound projection
  • Quality tuners for improved stability
  • Well-crafted bracing for resonant and balanced tones
  • Attention to detail in finish and design
  • Reliable electronics (if opting for an electric mandolin)

For Advanced/Professionals

Estimated cost range: $2,000 and up

Recommended brands/models:

  • Gibson F5-G
  • Collings MF5
  • Northfield Master Model
  • Weber Yellowstone

Key features to look for:

  • Handcrafted construction and superior workmanship
  • Solid, high-quality tonewoods (e.g., Adirondack spruce, premium figured maple)
  • Impeccable fit and finish with attention to detail
  • Expertly carved and tuned tops for optimal tonal response
  • Customization options for personal preferences
  • Superior playability and intonation
  • High-quality hardware and components

🎶Costs of Mandolins by Brands

Costs of Mandolins by Brands

Gibson Mandolins

  • Average cost: $3,000 – $15,000+
  • Reputation & specialties: Known for high-end, professional-quality mandolins. Gibson is respected for its F-Style mandolins, especially the “Gibson F5” revered by bluegrass players.

Eastman Mandolins

  • Average cost: $600 – $2,000
  • Reputation & specialties: Offers a range of A-style and F-style mandolins highly regarded for their craftsmanship and sound quality.

Kentucky Mandolins

  • Average cost: $300 – $1,500
  • Reputation & specialties: Known for reliable, cost-effective instruments for beginners and intermediate players.

The Loar Mandolins

  • Average cost: $400 – $1,200
  • Reputation & specialties: Offers hand-carved, vintage-inspired mandolins focusing on aesthetic appeal, tone, and affordability.

Ibanez Mandolins

  • Average cost: $150 – $600
  • Reputation & specialties: Popular for entry-level and beginner mandolins, with a durable build and good sound quality for an affordable price.

🎶Additional Costs Related to Mandolin Ownership

Owning a mandolin extends beyond the initial purchase cost. The additional costs could stem from regular maintenance needs like string replacements and professional setup services.

Additional Costs Related to Mandolin Ownership

Other related costs can be a case for protection, additional picks for playing, mandolin straps for comfortable positioning, lessons or courses for skill improvement, and possible repair or restoration costs.

Regular budgeting for these expenditures is essential to maintain the instrument’s performance and longevity.

Maintenance Costs

  • Regular tune-ups: While tuning your mandolin yourself is possible, a professional setup can drastically improve the sound quality and playability, costing around $50-$75.
  • String replacement: Changing your mandolin strings every 3-6 months is recommended, depending on usage. A set of mandolin strings typically costs between $5 and $20.

Accessory Costs

  • Mandolin case: A soft gig bag can cost $20-$50, while hard-shell cases range from $50 to $200+ for high-quality cases.
  • Picks, straps, etc.: Picks cost around $1-$10, and straps range from $10-$50. Other accessories, such as stands, tuners, capos, etc., may add to the cost.

🎶Best mandolin brands for beginners

Sure. The best brands for beginner mandolin players include Ibanez, Rogue, and Kentucky.

The Ibanez M510 is regarded as a great beginner mandolin that offers good value for the money. Ibanez is one of the most recognized instrument brands worldwide, ensuring quality and reliability.

Rogue, known for their affordable musical instruments, has been identified as an excellent choice for beginners.

Best mandolin brands for beginners

Its RM-100A model is particularly recommended. The Kentucky KM-150 presents a user-friendly design, ideal for new players. This model comes from Kentucky, a brand recognized for producing satisfying playing experiences.

These brands have made mandolins accessible to beginners through affordable, quality instruments.

However, it’s important to note that the best mandolin for a beginner depends on personal preferences like comfort, sound, and design.


The cost of a mandolin can vary widely based on various factors, including the brand, craftsmanship, and materials used. For beginners, affordable options from brands like Ibanez, Rogue, and Kentucky offer excellent entry points into the world of mandolins.

On the other hand, professionals and serious hobbyists may invest in high-end mandolins from Gibson, Eastman, or Weber.

Beyond the initial purchase, a mandolin owner can face additional costs related to maintenance, accessories, and learning materials.

Knowing your playing level, musical preferences, and budget will ultimately guide your mandolin purchase decision.

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