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Thread: Advice on a Good Beginner Mandolin

  1. #1

    Default Advice on a Good Beginner Mandolin

    Hello everyone,

    I am new to this forum, and to the world of mandolins. I am interested in picking up the mandolin, with the goal of learning to play folk music from the British Isles on it. I have always loved its sound, and I think it sounds great with a lot of old folk ballads and songs, even though it clearly isn't native to the British Isles.

    Since I am a beginner, I am lost as to which model or make of mandolin I should pick up as my first. From some of the research I have done, it seems that the A-style would make sense, but that's about all I know (feel free to correct me though).

    I am in England, and my ideal budget would be around ~250 (~$320 USD). I want to get something that will last me a little while, so that I won't want/need to upgrade very shortly after getting it.

    If you have any recommendations, please let me know!

    Thank you in advance!

    PS: Here is an example of the kind of music I'd love to play/sing:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jpG4bzdmyjc

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  3. #2
    Mando-Afflicted lflngpicker's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice on a Good Beginner Mandolin

    Welcome to the Forum! We are so glad you have joined. There are two obvious choices that most will echo. Not bringing up flat top mandolins, just going with a quality teardrop shaped with “F” holes (A5), Eastman MD305 or Kentucky KM150 are great to start on. Heck, those are good all solid wood mandolins in the long run, too. See if you can find one used and you should be able to meet your budget.

  4. #3
    Registered User Jill McAuley's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice on a Good Beginner Mandolin

    As you're in the UK an Eastman may be out of your price range - for what you have to spend you might check out either the Ashbury Rathlin or Ashbury Army-Navy models that Hobgoblin stocks- if you're looking for something that you won't have to upgrade for awhile then you'll likely need to increase your budget.
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    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice on a Good Beginner Mandolin

    The Kentucky KM-150 mandolin sells new at Hobgoblin for 469, well above your budget target; you may be able to find a used one for under 300 with some shopping.

    The Asbury AM-150 at 249 has at least a solid top, though it's heat-pressed and not carved like the Kentucky or Eastman (carved is better). It's in the category of "beginner mandolin," not sure if you'd be keeping it once you got proficient. It's an oval-hole A-bodied instrument, of the type many players of British Isles music use.

    Whatever instrument you decide on, make sure it's properly set up: bridge located in the right place and adjusted to correct height, nut correctly slotted, proper neck relief. You might also consider a gig bag, tuner, etc.; it's available as a "pack" with accessories for 289.

    Don't believe Hobgoblin does shop set-ups, but they may, or you may be able to take it to one of their stores...?
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  8. #5

    Default Re: Advice on a Good Beginner Mandolin

    I recently got a Loar LM-110 for my daughter and was pleasantly surprised. Sounds great and plays great. Well worth the money. It was 250 USD new.

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  10. #6

    Default Re: Advice on a Good Beginner Mandolin

    Formerly had a Kentucky 150 - very good sound once set up.

  11. #7
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    Default Re: Advice on a Good Beginner Mandolin

    This one is a great starter-- check out the report on the M.C. about Stradolins. How do you beat this for $250? https://www.mandolincafe.com/ads/156386#156386

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