View Full Version : Forgive the newbie question, but...

Dec-17-2005, 10:46pm
I know what the difference between A and F styles is visually, but how are they different sound wise? I've only ever seen A-styles in RL, so I really don't know. (I think the F's are prettier, though, lol!)

Celtic Saguaro
Dec-17-2005, 11:17pm
To me F-styles sound a little more woody, A's a little more bell like. But the sound is similar. Depending on the builder they may sound very much the same. There is more difference between a mandolin with F-holes and one with a round sound hole, also more difference between a bowlback and a relatively flat-back mandolin.

Dec-18-2005, 10:18am
I find (generally) the A styles have a little more harmonics to the tone, but don't peirce as well in a loud or multi instrument setting. The F styles seem to focus a little more in a group setting and can be heard better.


Tom C
Dec-18-2005, 10:44am
There is virtually no tone difference between a good "A" and a good "F". I've heard tons of "A" that sound better than "F"s. just listen to Hunger Mountain Boys. Would you know what type of mando this is if you did not already know?
Track (http://www.hungermountainboys.com/2005/mp3s/going_back.mp3)

Dec-18-2005, 12:40pm
I agree with Tom C. It just depends on the individual instrument and the maker. I own an F, but was actually looking for an A when I ran across a deal I couldn't pass up. A's don't have all those scrolls and pointy things to snag and get dinged up, and for me that's a big plus. They're more comfortable to practice in a realxed posture.

Jim Broyles
Dec-18-2005, 2:08pm
When I first heard that track, I figured it was an oval hole. Guess my ear isn't trained on mando tones yet.

Dec-19-2005, 8:48am
Thanks for the info! I'm learning, but ever so slowly http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/tounge.gif

Dec-19-2005, 9:31am
I've heard from many people that A-style mandolins give you more "bang for the buck" than F-style, since the scrolls and points and all that are so much more difficult to build properly. So, if you have a brand-new A-style mandolin and a brand-new F-style, and they're the same price, the A-style is probably better, made with better wood, bindings, etc.

If i'm wrong, let me know!

Dec-19-2005, 10:05am
...makes sense http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif

Dec-19-2005, 10:26am
The greater tone difference in archtop mandolins comes from hole configuration: central oval vs. paired f. This has actually been studied and published in peer-review journals. Look up the work of Cohen and Rossing (or perhaps Dave will post here).

Dec-19-2005, 10:49am

Dec-19-2005, 10:51am
Another important factor in sound is the bracing used. I have an A and a F and they sound very different but this is due to the F being x-braced and the A having tone bars. If they were both braced the same way I would expect them to sound very similar, if not identical.

Dec-27-2005, 8:51am
an f is a mans mandolin...an a is a girls mandolin.......

Dec-27-2005, 10:04am
If that's the case, harley, then by all accounts here, the girls are getting more mando for their money and the men are making a big deal over an extra appendage that adds little if any acoustic value but costs a lot and is used mostly for tying on the strap.

Celtic Saguaro
Dec-27-2005, 10:16am
Actually, harleymando, all mandolins are for all men, women, girls and boys who can capitalize and use apostrophes. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif

Bertram Henze
Dec-27-2005, 10:29am
an extra appendage that adds little if any acoustic value but costs a lot and is used mostly for tying on the strap.
http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif