Picking out the mandolin that matches your skill and pockets.
Your search for a suitable mandolin has led you to the correct place. We offer a wide array of mandolins. They go from basic rookie ones to the more sophisticated one. With our ranges, you can rest assured that you will get a suitable mandolin for your level of expertise, music, and pocket range.
Here, we bring you a brief history of this musical timepiece- the mandolin. Also, we furnish you with a few tips on how to pick out the best mandolin for you. If you’re a beginner, worry not- we’ve got you. We have lined up a couple of tips to set you off on your mandolin journey! Mandolin Prices $$$
The price tag on a purchase is often closely associated with its quality. Same goes for mandolins. You find the simple ones made out of ordinary materials are tagged with prices well below $100 while the ones that are embellished with touches of personalisation carrying higher prices, at times to the extent of $10,000 and onwards.
The good thing is that you can find a mandolin that is functional and reasonably priced. The amount of money you are willing to part with for a mandolin is based on a few factors-personal ones if you ask us. Your budget, your taste, and your dedication to learning how to play the mandolin rank high among those factors that inform your mandolin purchase.Ideally, you should consider buying a mandolin that is within your budget, is functional in playing, and pleasing aesthetically and sound-wise.
It is always a good idea to get the opinions of professionals and customers. These significantly add value to your decision making. Musician’s Friend’s Website offers reliable reviews.
Features of the Mandolin
Lovers widely know the F-style instrument of the mandolin. We shall, therefore, be using it to elaborate more on parts of the mandolin. Notably, most acoustic mandolins have standard features.
Head » often referred to as the peg-head or simply the head. It has the tuning pegs.
Tunings » also known as machine heads, tuning machines, or tuners. Tuning pegs have gears that secure the strings in place. They are also instrumental in fixing string tension.
Nut or the Zero fret-In conjunction with the bridge and the tailpiece, they ensure alignment of the strings.
The Neck » this part stems from the headstock and runs to the body. In some mandolins, the necks have metal truss rods. They strengthen and allow for fine-tuning of intonations.
Fret/fingerboard » it has metal frets at different points, which plays a significant role in note production. Different notes are created when the player presses strings on different frets.
Position» Position markers are the dots situated on the fretboard. Most times, they are present aesthetically, but on the other hand, they are essential to beginners who are still getting to understand their fretting hand.
The Body »The body comprises the top, sides, and the back. Also known as the soundboard, the top is the crucial part that produces the mandolin’s sound. It may come leveled or curved like a violin’s body. The back may also be leveled and concave in some cases.
Scroll »The scroll is a unique part, specific to the F-style kind of mandolins. It is there for aesthetics.
Pickguard »This part guards the finish of the body. However, it is not found in all mandolins.
The Soundhole » Key in amplifying the mandolin’s sound, the soundhole can either be an f-hole or oval, dependent on the kind of mandolin
The Bridge »It is the wooden transmitter of the mandolin’s string vibrations to the top part.
Tailpiece »The tailpiece is usually of beautiful metal, and it serves as the point at which the strings are attached.
There isn’t much difference in sound between the A-style and F-style mandolin. However, singers of country and bluegrass music find the F-model mandolin preferable. Let us delve more into mandolins by uncovering the various types and their components.
- The A-style mandolin is used to describe mandolins that take after the shape of the pear fruit or those that are simply oval, disqualifying them from being called F-style mandolins. The A-style mandolin was coined from the Gibson’s A-style mandolin in the 1900s. Their concave tops and back characterise them. As in the violin, some have arched backs. It may be amusing how arched A-style mandolins are said to be flatbacks to tell them apart from the bowl-back mandolins. Over time, A-style mandolins have evolved, almost resembling the guitar. An A-style mandolin is almost effortless to put together since it is less complicated compared to the F-style mandolin. Its simplicity also contributes to making it cheaper. Every time you listen to classical, folk, and Celtic music, the A-style mandolin is among the instruments used in making the music.
- Like we’ve pointed out above, Gibson created the F-style model in the early 20th century. This was his top of the range creation, with fragile and classy parts and embellishments. The F-5 model was his finest work, whose creation was aided by his engineer Lloyd Loar From 1924 to 1925. To date, these models are the most demanded, going for big fortunes. They actually have Loar’s signature engraved on them. Today, the modern ones that you find in the market tend to look like the Gibsons-Llyod creation or have borrowed a lot from them. They possess two f-holes similar to those in the F-5 model or one oval soundhole. For comfort and convenience, the F-style model has parts on the bottom part that makes it easy for players who love playing while sitting. Luthiers and makers of the mandolin have a spinoff of the first F-style model mandolin. They have gone a step further to modernize it. Bluegrass, roots, and country artists are big fans of the F-style. Fun fact: this mandolin is also called the Florentine mandolins.
- Then we have the bowl-back which literally looks like it has a bowl in its back part. It looks like its Italian predecessors (in fact it is also known as the Neopolitan mandolin because their resemblance is just too much) and traditional lutes. There’s a countrified term for bowl-backs-tater bugs. The bowl-back is famous among classical, renaissance, baroque, and old music styles. Given their bigger bodies, they tend to make a more profound and rounder sound compared to other mandolin types.
The Electric Mandolin
Toward the end of the 1920s, electric mandolins were a thing in the U.S. they quickly grew to be a preference for stage artistes because they allowed for easy movement across the stage and they were also audible on sets coupled with more powerful instruments. Gibson and another creative, called Vega, brought electric mandolins to the music scene in the 1930s. Improved models of 4 and 5-string models came to be later on.
The difference between the conventional and the electrical models is in their bodies. Otherwise, the playing and tuning of both models are the same. The method of electrifying them also varies. You find some are given pick-ups like the ones on electric guitars and some are acoustic mandolins fitted with pick-ups that send the sound to an amplifier, sometimes a sound system.
We have a variety of electric mandolins. Let’s have a look at them.
- Electric mandolin that are semi-halllow: These have been crafted with a wooden middle block going through the inside of the body, just like the semi-hollow guitar. Its function is to reduce the feedback common in electrified mandolins that are hollow.
2. Acoustic-electric mandolins: By all standards, they look like conventional acoustic mandolins. A closer look and you will realize they have a bridge-mounted piezo-electric pick-up. It serves the purpose of transforming the vibrations created by the mandolin to electrical signals.
The impulses are passed through a preamplifier which magnifies power. The preamp then sends the sound to a sound system or an outside amplifier. It is located on the rim at the top. The preamp allows control of volume and tone. At times, it may include an electronic tuner. Acoustic-electrics tend to give better performances than using mics for the sole reason that they amplify feedback. Also, they limit movement on stage while most artistes may want to move around during the performance.
How to electrifying a Standard Acoustic Mandolin
Pick-ups are usually used to electrify basic stringed instruments, including acoustic mandolins. This is made possible by simply making a replacement of the bridge in the acoustic with a piezo-electric pick-up. This may not be the case in all models of mandolins as others may need to employ a preamp.
Another set of pick-ups used to convert acoustics to electric are the magnetic pick-ups. These may prove to be somewhat complicated to put into use so ensure you consult with a trained technician on the same.
Tuning The Mandolin
The conventional mandolin has eight strings. They come in four courses. Every single one of the courses has two stings next to them, which are tuned simultaneously. This aspect of simultaneous tuning is what gives rise to the mandolin’s characteristic melodious ringing sound.
As is with violins, mandolins are also tuned using the technique G-D-A-E. Another method, called cross-tuning, is used sometimes. It involves tuning two strings to peculiar pitches to produce a cross-sound when played. Besides, a guitar can be tuned the same as a guitar which makes it playable for guitars.
What Accessories You Need
How bets you choose your instrument’s supplementarity will greatly impact your mandolin-playing experience as well as go a long way in ensuring extended life-span for your mandolin. The accessories may be:
- Comfortable straps: It is essential for players who tend to be on their feet most of the time. They are available in different forms, speaking to individual likings.
- Capos help to increase the pitch when need be, by holding down the fretboard. A good example is a scenario where an artiste’s vocal range surpasses the key of the original song.Go for capos that are the appropriate size of the neck.
- Sturdy cases: They guard your mandolin against abrasions and general damage, especially for those players who are often on the move.
- Picks used to play mandolins maybe those particularly crafted for mandolins or those used on guitars.
- Like any other instrument, the mandolin’s strings are prone to wear and tear necessitating replacement from time to time — a replacement guarantees better sound. Also, players can play around with strings made of a wide range of materials just to find the one that best suits them.
- A tuner is correlated to the quality of sound produced by your mandolins. Getting an excellent tuner is, therefore, important because it simplifies the mandolin-tuning process.