As a starting musician, you might not know a lot about which mandolin suits you. Do you start with a spherical or flat shaped body? Maybe you want to buy an electrical mandolin? So, you want to purchase a mandolin but don’t know which details you need to pay attention to?
Don’t worry! We are going to help you make the best choice possible!
What is a mandolin?
A mandolin is a string instrument with a spherical or flat body and a short neck. The mandolin usually has 4 double strings (so 8 in total). Each pair of strings is tuned to the same tone. There are mandolins on the market which have 5 or even 6 double strings. The standard tuning of a mandolin is (GDAE) and is usually played with a plectrum.
Buying a mandolin
So you want to buy a mandolin? It is recommended to dive into a (local) music store instead of purchasing a piece online. It might seem obvious, but in this way you can see, hold and play the instrument before purchasing. In the store, you can pick the one that feels best and the one that sounds the best of course. You can purchase mandolins with different types of wood and materials. Each wood type has its own sound.
It is recommended to purchase a mandolin with a solid body. A solid body resonates better than, for example, a laminated body. Which results in a warmer and louder sound. Purchasing a mandolin can easily be done online, but physically looking at them gives you a better feeling over the instrument. If you do decide to purchase a mandolin online, there are a lot of webshops that have a very good return policy.
Music and mandolin
The mandolin is used to play folk, classic, traditional, country, bluegrass, rock and pop music. Depending on the genre of music that you would like to play, you can choose between a mandolin with a spherical or flat body or an electric mandolin with a solid body. The most common mandolin these days is the flat body, also known as flatback.
There are 2 different kinds of flatbacks: the F-style mandolin and the A-style mandolin.
- The F-style mandolin usually has an asymmetric body and is used for the genres bluegrass, country, rock and pop.
- The A-style mandolin usually has a pear-shaped body and is used for classical and traditional music
On a final note
If you still have no clue on which mandolin you should purchase, then simply go to your local music store and try one out! Play around with different kind of body shapes or ask if someone from the store can give you a demonstration.