The F-style mandolin is the most sought after, but not necessarily for the reasons everyone believes. The “F” stands for Florentine. These have the elaborate carved scroll and two small points on the side. The headstock also has scrolls. Many F-Style mandolins will be more heavily decorated with inlays, binding, and flamed maple. Just to be clear, none of this aids in improving the tone. It is strictly cosmetic eye candy with one possible exception. The scroll does make a good place to attach your strap! In fact, the scroll is sometimes jokingly referred to as an expensive strap hanger.
All this elaborate carving and construction methods does add to the price of the instrument. It takes significantly longer to make an F-style mandolin as opposed to an A-style version. For this reason you will almost always get a better value buying the A style version. Of course, there is nothing wrong with wanting the Florentine mandolin. After all, it is what Bill Monroe played!
That brings us to expectations. If your playing bluegrass, the F-style is almost expected. Again, there is no real basis for this, though many do have the misconception that they have better “Bluegrass tone”. Despite this, there is no real difference in tone between an A-style and F-Style mandolin of equal quality and design.
View our selection here: F-Style Mandolins
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