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Oval: Single, central oval or round holes are often said to produce a "sweet" tone with a rich set of high harmonics. They are generally thought to be more versatile for playing across different musical genres. Oval-holed mandolins can be right at home playing folk, country, jazz, classical and many other types of music.
F holes: Paired F-hole tone is often described as a "bark" with a strong focus on the principal tone. F-holed mandolins are employed in many musical genres, but dominate in bluegrass. The quintessential bluegrass mandolin is f-holed and arched and its tone provides the bassy, rhythmic drive of the "chop" chord to the music.
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