Yes, I know we're in Acoustic & Classical Guitar, but it looked like the most suitable place to put this. If you have a better place, tell me right away and I'll delete this.

Anyway, I want to get a mandolin, I've been playing guitar for 3 years now (both acoustic and electric) and I wanted to try something new, so I chose the mandolin. I like the way it sounds, but I know nothing about them. I searched Musicians Friend and saw a lot of things I don't understand, like F-Style, A-Style, FS-E, and other things. I was just wondering, what's a good beginners mandolin and what are the differences between each model? And what brands are good?

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an A style mandolin is your basic plain looking mandolin

The F style mandolin is the mandolin with the fancy pointy bits and the curly bits

FS-E stands for F style electric. So it's just an F style with a pickup.

Sometimes you will see a number behind the F or the A. The number is there to tell you what type of soundhole the mandolin has. An F 5 has f holes and the f4 has a center hole

A F style mandolins are a lot harder to build and have several large solid chuncks of wood which makes them more expensive. They are not "better" than A style mandolins, they just sound a little different and look fancy. Typically F style mandolins project more but A style mandolins are louder when you are up close.

Because mandolins are so small, you the materials used for the body are usualy pretty nice. The differance between a $400 mandolin and an $8,000 mandolin is usualy just cosmetic. For around $120 you can get a good beginner mandolin. The beginner mandolins sound just fine but tend to have cheap tuners than come out of tune somewhat quickly. If you get a good cheap mando and like it then for another $60 (or so) you can replace the tuners and then it will be almost as good as a $400.

My 1st mandolin was the cheapest Fender and I was really happy with it.
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Last edited by CorduroyEW at Sep 9, 2006,