Re: Good Mandolin for Beginner/Intermediate
Lots more info needed: what kind of music do you play? What kind of mandolin do you have now? Where in the "$100-$1000" range do you really want to be?
General rules: solid wood not laminated, hand-carved (if you're getting a carved-top-and-back instrument) not heat-pressed, good shop set-up required. And when in doubt, go for quality materials and construction over "bling" ornamentation. Try to get an instrument with a reasonably thin finish, rather than one of the "dipped in plastic, but really shiny" ones that some Asian factories tend to turn out. You get more acoustic quality for your buck if you buy an "A-model" mandolin, without the ornamental scroll, body points and fancy headstock, than if you buy an "F-model." You also get more for your money if you buy used, but that also implies a level of confidence in the seller, and prevents you from getting a factory warranty. (I don't impart a lot of value to the warranty, but there are cases in which it's been very beneficial to some buyers.)
Kentucky, Eastman and Loar are makers who get a lot of support here on the Cafe, but there are a myriad of choices out there, especially with your wide price parameters. I'd try to get a bit focused on mandolin type, and narrow the price range a bit, to make the number of alternatives manageable.
Gibsn: '54 F5 3pt F2 A-N Custm K1 m'cello
Natl Triolian Dobro mando
Victoria b-back Merrill alumnm b-back
Stradolin Vega banjolin
Sobell'dola Washburn b-back'dola
Eastmn: 615'dola 805 m'cello
Flatiron 3K OM