Let us start by saying that this price is on the low side for a nice F-style mandolin. By nice, we mean an all solid instrument from one of the popular makers. As we have touched on in other articles, an F-Style Mandolin in more labor intensive to make compared to an A-style, and they always cost more for equal quality. This is not to say that you can not purchase an F-style mandolin under $500, just that you may not be getting the best mandolin for the money.
Most people prefer the look of the F-style mandolin and rightly so. It looks great! There is no denying it. We are not here to convince you to go with an A-style. If your budget is $500, there are still going to be quite a few options available to you. Now the question is, which mandolin to choose?
We are going to run through a few models and give some options based on experience. Hopefully this will keep you from making a mistake, or at the very least, you will know what to expect before ordering.
Without further ado!
The hands down best F-style mandolin under $500 is… The Loar LM-520. Hey wait, that is not under $500! Ha, you caught that! We are mentioning this one first, because it rules the price point and really should be your first choice of F-style mandolin in this price range. You can occasionally find them being discounted or get a blem and save a little. We sometimes have blems available.
What makes The Loar LM-520 mandolin such a great choice?
This is one of the few at the price point that is carved from all solid woods. Yes, others state that they are also carved from solid woods, but that typically means pressed woods with “some” carving done. The LM-520 has Deluxe Grover tuners that are very nice. In fact, Weber uses the same tuners.
The Loar Mandolins have a lifetime warranty. Not a reason to buy one in itself, but if they include it, all the better!
We could go on and on, but basically, no other F-style competes without going up in price. There you have it!
This happens to be our best selling F-model mandolin!
And no hard feelings if you get it from Amazon:
That is great and all, but what if I want to spend less?
Well, you do still have options.
While we will not tell you are getting a great F-style mandolin for under $200, we are flat out blown away that you can get an F-style at all at this price point, yet there are a few. The current top choice would be the Morgan Monroe RT-MF1. A few players have bought this (we do not sell it), set it up and were happy with the value.
Somewhere in between is the Ibanez M522S Mandolin.
This mandolin has a solid spruce top and good workmanship throughout (for the price point. This is a good starter instrument but may need a little bit of setup work to reach its full potential. This is another mandolin that we do not sell, but you can get it here:
We sell a wide variety of F-style mandolins, but do not offer a big selection under $500. You can view our instruments here: F-Style Mandolins
Or checkout our recommendations on Amazon:
Comments will be approved before showing up.