best f-style mandolin under $1000

Best F-style Mandolin Under $1000 In Detail: 2022

Are you looking for the best F-style mandolin under $1000? There is a long list of such mandolins in this price range, but not all of them are the best.

F-style mandolins are famed for their beautiful and elegant design. The lovingly hand-carved instruments are the perfect choice for bluegrass music and are helpful in earning you the recognition of your peers. However, they are expensive, more than A-style mandolins. They require at least 30% more handwork than other mandolins, and as they are hand-carved, the process takes time. Nevertheless, it is the F-style mandolins that are more commonly used.

Finding the best F-style mandolin under $1000 is not easy. Like we have said earlier, the good ones are expensive, so if you are limiting your budget to $1000, you will face some difficulties. However, even in this price range, there are some mandolins that qualify as the best instruments. As such, we have reviewed and prepared a list of all such mandolins to help you make your choice.

But what is it that you should look for in an F-style mandolin?

Criteria For Buying Best F- Style Mandolin Under $1000/ Buyer’s Guide:

Even though it is best for bluegrass, Celtic and folk music, it still works well with other genres. There are many types of mandolins from different brands at different price ranges. But as a buyer, you need to focus on the following factors to make the best decision about your purchase.

Sound Holes:

In this category, there are two types of mandolins. First are the mandolins with f-holes like a violin. Second are the mandolins with round or oval-shaped sound holes, just like a guitar.

The mandolins with f-holes produce clear, bright tones. They are also louder than oval-shaped sound holes, so they serve better acoustic situations. This makes them suitable for bluegrass music. On the other hand, the mandolins with oval holes produce a warm, sustaining tone. This makes them a perfect choice for Celtic or old-time music players.

Tone woods:

Generally, mandolins have a pair of tone woods. Different types of tone woods can affect the sound of a mandolin. The back and sides are typically made from maple due to its clarity. But for the instrument itself, varieties of spruce are used for different purposes. For example, Engelmann spruce creates a warmer and complex tone and responds well to lighter touches. On the other hand, Sitka spruce is the most commonly used tone wood due to its creation of a balanced and clear tone that retains focus even at loud volumes.

Then there is Adirondack spruce that gives a focused and clear tone that stands up to heavy playing. Then red cedar paired with mahogany gives off a lively sound with a punchy, woody tone. In short, experimenting with different tone wood combinations can give you varying results in looks and tone.

Pickup:

Depending on where you are going to play, you will prefer a mandolin with pickup. For home and acoustic jam sessions, pickup is not needed. But if you are going to play for a bigger audience in large venues, pickups become necessary. Many mandolins come with preinstalled pickups; many don’t. Getting one installed on them by a professional is best.

Type Of Pickup:

There are 2 types of pickups; active and passive. Active pickups use a power source to boost the instrument output, usually a 9V battery. The passive pickups, on the other hand, send a less powerful signal. Due to this, you might need to invest in an amplifier to boost the signal.

Amplifier, Or No Amplifier?

Like we mentioned earlier, with passive pickups, you will need a good preamp to boost the signal. Investing in a battery-powered amplifier is better if you are going to play the instrument at home or campfires. But if you get solid body electric mandolin, the amplifier is not needed.

Nut Width:

There is a nut piece at the end of the fingerboard, where the headstock and neck connect. The width of the nut is actually the width of the neck, at that point, to be specific. The wider the neck is, the more distance between string courses. A nut width of 1 1/8” is commonly used, but there are larger nut widths. The difference may not seem much, but for the player, it makes all the difference in the feel of the instrument. It depends on moston on the size of your hand. If you have more extensive hands, you should opt for nut width of 1 1/8”. Otherwise, the standard is ok for you.

Now that you know what to look for, let’s move on to the best F-style mandolin under $1000.

Best F-style Mandolin Under $1000:

The Loar LM-500-VS Contemporary F-Style Mandolin:

The Loar LM-500-VS Contemporary F-Style Mandolin

Starting off our list of best F-style mandolin under $1000, we have LM-500-VS from The Loar. This F-style mandolin is a tribute to its makers, as it is designed with classic techniques used for such instruments. Even though the lovingly hand-carved mandolin is made from classical, old techniques, it still reflects the style of modern players. The bran has spared no effort in updating all the features. Hence, it appeals to the modern musician a lot.

Specs:

  • Brand: The Loar
  • Color: Sunburst
  • Dimensions (L x W x H): 27.25 x 10.5 x 2.5 inches
  • Weight: 3.1 Pounds
  • Top Material Type: Fully Graduated Spruce
  • Back/ Sides Material Type: Fully Graduated Maple
  • String Material Type: Alloy Steel
  • Headstock Inlay: Abalone/Mother-of-Pearl “Bon Fleur”
  • Finish Type: Gloss
  • Nut Material: Bone
  • Nut Width: 1 1/8 inches
  • Number of Frets: 29
  • Binding: Ivory
  • Bridge: Compensated Adjustable Ebony

Key Features:

  • compensated adjustable ebony bridge
  • Grover turners for keeping the instrument in tune
  • Nut width is bigger, suitable for people with more extensive hands.

Pros:

  • The compensated adjustable ebony bridge allows you to modify the instrument for your performance.
  • Grover turners keep the mandolin in tune no matter the type of performance.
  • Beautiful design, perfect for professionals.

Cons:

  • Unfortunately, as a minimally appointed mandolin, it does not come with any features.

Eastman MD315 F-Style Mandolin:

Eastman MD315 F-Style Mandolin with F-Holes

The Eastman MD315 is not just one of the best f-style mandolin under $1000; it is also the first choice of bluegrass music players. The hand-carved f-style mandolin is created from traditional materials. Additionally, the instrument’s design and body reflect the Eastman’s heritage. Its superior tones and compact body will make any player fall in love with it.

Specs:

  • Brand: Eastman Guitars
  • Color: Brown (Natural wood)
  • Dimensions: 30.7 x 13.8 x 6.1 inches
  • Weight: 4.81 pounds
  • Top Material: Carved Solid Spruce
  • Back/Sides Material: Carved Solid Maple
  • Finish: Satin lacquer
  • Neck Material: Maple
  • Nut Material: Bone
  • Nut Width: 1 3/32 inches
  • Binding: Ivoroid
  • Bridge: Fitted adjustable Ebony
  • Body Style: F-Style
  • Sound hole Shape: F-holes
  • Pickguard: none

Key Features:

  • Vintage F-style
  • Distressed stained and matte finish
  • Nut Width: 1 3/32 inches

Pros:

  • It comes with an Eastman warranty
  • Smooth, excellent playability

Cons:

  • None

Ibanez M522S F-Style Mandolin Dark Violin Sunburst:

Ibanez M522SBS F-Style Mandolin

Getting the best f-style mandolin under $1000 is not easy for a beginner. However, Ibanez M522S F-Style Mandolin has proven to be a perfect choice for them, as it is low costing high-quality F-style mandolin. The superior materials used in the construction of the instrument give balanced mid, punchy percussion, and bright high-end sparkle.

To summarize, this is the best f-style mandolin for beginners as it is classy, inexpensive, and has superior sound quality.

Specs:

  • Brand: Ibanez
  • Color: Sunburst
  • Dimensions (L x W x H): 1 x 14.5 x 7.4 inches
  • Weight: 3.7 Pounds
  • Top Material Type: Rosewood, Maple, Mahogany, Spruce
  • Back Material Type: Maple, Rosewood, Mahogany
  • Neck Material: Mahogany
  • Fingerboard Material: Purpleheart
  • Finish: Gloss
  • Body Style: F-style
  • Sound hole Shape: F-holes
  • Number of Frets: 23
  • Nut Width: 1.181 inches
  • Bridge: Purpleheart, adjustable

Key Features:

  • Weight: 3.7 Pounds
  • Nut Width: 1.181 inches
  • Bridge: Purpleheart, adjustable

Pros:

  • Inexpensive
  • Perfect for beginners
  • Balanced mid, punchy percussion
  • lightweight
  • Beautiful, compact design

Cons:

  • The strings might need to be replaced
  • Low-quality tuning pegs

Left Hand Oscar Schmidt OM40LH Mandolin:

Left Hand Oscar Schmidt OM40LH Mandolin

Technically, this mandolin should have been at the top of this list with its glowing reviews ad satisfactory comments. However, it is not because it is made specifically for left-handed musicians. In spite of its use being limited to one category of users, it is still one of the most high-quality mandolins you will ever see. This is why it is a worthy inclusion in the list of best F-style mandolin, as the makers have spared no effort in upgrading its quality.

Specs:

  • Brand: Oscar Schmidt
  • Color: Tobacco Sunburst
  • Weight: 5 pounds
  • Dimensions: 35 x 14 x 4 inches
  • Top Material Type: Rosewood, Maple, Spruce
  • Back Material Type: Maple, Rosewood
  • Finish: Gloss
  • Neck Wood: Mahogany
  • Style: Left-Handed, F Style

Key Features:

  • Left-handed
  • F Style mandolin

Pros:

  • Perfect for left-handed musicians.
  • F style mandolin, which makes it perfect for bluegrass music.
  • Beautiful design.

Cons:

  • Left-handed musicians can only use it. This limits the use of the instrument to just one category.

The Loar LM-520-VS Performer F-Style Mandolin:

The Loar LM-520-VS Performer F-Style Mandolin

The Loar LM-520-VS is another high-quality mandolin from the brand. Made to wow its users, the instrument is designed to give the best performance with effortless playability. In addition to that, it is a minimally appointed mandolin. Consequently, it is best for those players who don’t want hi-fi features. Moreover, no matter how hard you play this instrument, it does not get out of tone. This is indeed a worthy addition to the list of best f-style mandolins under $1000.

Specs:

  • Brand: The Loar
  • Color: Sunburst
  • Dimensions (L x W x H): 9 x 10.5 x 1.75 inches
  • Weight: 2.9 Pounds
  • Top Material Type: Solid Hand-Carved Spruce
  • Back Material Type: Solid Hand-Carved Maple
  • String Material Type: Alloy Steel
  • Finish Type: Gloss
  • Finish Options: Vintage Sunburst
  • Tuning Machines: Grover with Pearloid Buttons
  • Number of Frets: 29
  • Binding: Ivoroid
  • Nut Material: Bone
  • Nut Width: 1 1/8 inches
  • Bridge: Compensated Adjustable Ebony Bridge
  • Pickup: Available With Fishman Nashville Pickup

Key Features:

  • Bridge: Compensated Adjustable Ebony Bridge
  • Weight: 2.9 Pounds
  • Beautiful design

Pros:

  • You can get it in different sizes.
  • Lightweight, easy to carry
  • Crisp, rich sounds
  • It does not get out of tone no matter how hard you play

Cons:

  • The action is very high, so there might be some intonation issues.
  • The highest frets are essentially useless.

Ibanez M522SBS F-Style Mandolin, Brown Sunburst High Gloss:

Ibanez M522SBS F-Style Mandolin

Next up on the list of best f-style mandolin under $1000 is the M522SBS from Ibanez. Sure, it’s not exactly the sturdiest mandolin out there, but it still is the perfect choice for beginners. This instrument is a very handsome-looking mandolin, and minor flaws can be ignored, given its price tag and other features.

Specs:

  • Brand: Ibanez
  • Color: Sunburst
  • Dimensions (L x W x H): 27 x 3 x 10.5 inches
  • Weight: 2.5 Pounds
  • Top Material Type: Rosewood, Maple, Mahogany, Spruce
  • Back Material Type: Maple, Mahogany
  • Neck: Maple neck
  • Fingerboard: rosewood
  • Bridge: rosewood, adjustable
  • Finish: gloss
  • Body binding: ivory
  • Number of frets: 24
  • Nut Width: 1.2 inches

Key Features:

  • Weight: 2.5 Pounds
  • Adjustable bridge
  • Nut Width: 1.2 inches

Pros:

  • Very light compared to other mandolins
  • Loudest mandolin in this price range
  • Play ready out of the box needs just a little bit of adjustment

Cons:

  • Not precisely the sturdiest mandolin out there.

Washburn Mandolin Series M108SWK:

Washburn Mandolin Series M108SWK, Natural

Moving on, we have the M108SWK from Washburn. The brown-colored f-style mandolin looks excellent due to its rustic finish. However, it’s not just its looks that have earned it a spot on the list of best f-style mandolin under $1000. The bright sounds and tones produced by the instrument have made it one of the best.

Specs:

  • Brand: Washburn
  • Color: Vintage F Style
  • Dimensions (L x W x H): 41 x 16 x 5 inches
  • Weight: 10 Pounds
  • Top Material Type: Spruce
  • Back Material Type: Mahogany
  • Number Of Frets: 24 frets
  • Nut: Bone
  • Nut Width: 1 ¼ inch
  • Body Style: F-style
  • Sound hole Shape: F-holes
  • Pickguard: None

Key Features:

  • Weight: 10 Pounds
  • Bridge: Ebony
  • Tuners: Distressed Open Gear

Pros:

  • Sturdy
  • Loud, beautiful tones
  • Perfect choice for beginners

Cons:

  • Heavy, double the weight than most mandolins
  • The neck needs some adjustments to work properly

Savannah SF-100 F-model Mandolin, Sunburst:

Savannah SF-100 F-Model Mandolin

Coming up next is the Savannah SF-100 F-model Mandolin. The beautiful sunburst-colored mandolin is constructed with excellence. The fittings and sounds are of high quality. It made on to the list of best f-style mandolin under $1000 because it is rare to find such well-built mandolin in this price range.

Specs:

  • Brand: Savannah
  • Color: Sunburst
  • Dimensions (L x W x H): 31 x 14 x 7 inches
  • Weight: 5 Pounds
  • Top Material Type: Spruce
  • Back Material Type: Maple
  • Fingerboard: Rosewood
  • String Material Type: Nickel-Coated
  • Number of Frets: 24 Fret
  • Bridge: Adjustable Compensated Ebony Bridge
  • Tuners: Nickel
  • Pickguard: yes

Key Features:

  • String Material Type: Nickel-Coated
  • Bridge: Adjustable Compensated Ebony Bridge
  • Pickguard available

Pros:

  • It comes with a pickguard
  • Nifty warranty for 2 years
  • Solid build
  • Soothing tones

Cons:

  • Not playable out of the box

Ibanez M700AVS Spruce/Maple F-Style Mandolin Violin Sunburst:

Ibanez M700AVS Spruce Maple F-Style Mandolin

The last entry in our list of best f-style mandolin under $1000 is the Ibanez M700AVS F-style mandolin. This is another high-quality crafted instrument from Ibanez that embodies elegance and beauty in its build. The punchy and bayonet tones have made it a favorite of bluegrass players. Additionally, it creates authentic and inspiring tones that will make anyone fall in love with it.

Specs:

  • Brand: Ibanez
  • Color: Antique Violin Sunburst
  • Dimensions (L x W x H): 35 x 14.1 x 7.3 inches
  • Weight 15 Pounds
  • Top Material: Solid engraved Sitka Spruce top
  • Back material: Solid engraved Flamed Maple back
  • Side Material: Flamed maple sides
  • Neck Material: Maple
  • Fretboard Material: Purpleheart
  • Bridge: Purpleheart, adjustable
  • Number of frets: 24
  • Nut Width: 30mm

Key Features:

  • Adjustable bridge
  • Superior materials in the build
  • Protection for soloing and chopping

Pros:

  • Punchy, bayonet tones
  • The perfect combination of classic craftsmanship and modern techniques
  • Protection for soloing and chopping
  • Perfect for bluegrass music

Cons:

  • The turner knobs can come loose.
  • Strings need to be replaced.

Comparison Chart:

Title

The Loar LM-500-VS Contemporary F-Style Mandolin

Eastman MD315 F-Style Mandolin

Ibanez M522S F-Style Mandolin Dark Violin Sunburst

Left Hand Oscar Schmidt OM40LH Mandolin

The Loar LM-520-VS Performer F-Style Mandolin

Ibanez M522SBS F-Style Mandolin

Washburn Mandolin Series M108SWK

Savannah SF-100 F-Model Mandolin

Ibanez M700AVS Spruce/Maple F-Style Mandolin

Products

Brand

The Loar

Eastman

Ibanez

Left Hand

The Loar

Ibanez

Washburn

Savannah

Ibanez

Item Weight

3.1 Pounds

4.81 Pounds

3.7 Pounds

5 Pounds

2.9 Pounds

2.5 pounds

10 Pounds

5 Pounds

5.15 pounds

Dimension

27.25 x 10.5 x 2.5 inches

30.7 x 13.8 x 6.1 inches

35.1 x 14.5 x 7.4 inches

35 x 14 x 4 inches

26.9 x 10.5 x 1.75 inches

27 x 3 x 10.5 inches

41 x 16 x 5 inches

31 x 14 x 7 inches

35 x 14.1 x 7.3 inches

Color

Sunburst

Brown

Sunburst

Tobacco Sunburst

Sunburst

Sunburst

Brown 

Sunburst

Antique Violin Sunburst

Top Material Type

Fully Graduated Spruce

Maple, Rosewood, Ebony

Rosewood, Maple, Mahogany, Spruce

Rosewood, Maple, Spruce

Solid Hand-Carved Spruce

Rosewood, Maple, Mahogany, Spruce

Spruce

Spruce

Solid engraved Sitka Spruce top

Back Material Type

Fully Graduated Spruce

Rosewood, Maple, Spruce, Ebony

Maple, Rosewood, Mahogany

Maple, Rosewood

Solid Hand-Carved Spruce

Maple, Mahogany

Mahogany

Maple

Solid engraved Flamed Maple back

Body style

F-style

F-style

F-style

F-style

F-style

F-style

F-style

F-style

F-style

Sound hole Shape

F-holes

F-holes

F-holes

F-holes

F-holes

F-holes

F-holes

F-holes

F-holes

Pickguard

None

None

None

None

Yes

None

None

Yes

None

Prices

Top Picks:

The Loar LM-500-VS Contemporary F-Style Mandolin:

The Loar LM-500-VS Contemporary F-Style Mandolin

The classically designed mandolin comes with updated features that would appeal to a modern-day musician.

Eastman MD315 F-Style Mandolin:

Eastman MD315 F-Style Mandolin with F-Holes

All music lovers love a true representative of Eastman’s superior mandolin-making techniques, the mandolin.

Ibanez M522S F-Style Mandolin Dark Violin Sunburst:

Ibanez M522S F-Style Mandolin

The classic, elegant-looking inexpensive mandolin comes with a high number of features but a low price tag. Hence, it is perfect for beginners.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: What Is F-Style Mandolin?

Ans: F-style mandolins are a type of mandolin with F-holes and beautiful design. They require 30% more handwork than A-style mandolins, which are expensive. These instruments have more concentrated sounds and are recommended if you want peer recognition.

Q: Is F-Style Mandolin Hard To Play?

Ans: Mandolins are very easy to learn and play. They have 4 strings repeated twice, hence 8 strings in total. Compared to other instruments like guitars, they are easy to play. But if you are comparing A-style mandolins, then no, there is no difference in this regard in both types.

Q: What Is The Difference Between F-style And A-style Mandolins?

Ans: First of all, f-style mandolins are much more beautiful than A-style mandolins. Second, A-style has a traditional oval sound hole. On the contrary, F-style has, well, F-style holes. Third, F-style mandolins require more handwork than A-style, so they are more expensive. Also, some people believe that the F-style has a more full-bodied tone, but not everyone believes in that. Both sound almost similar, although they are suitable for different music genres.

Q: Why Are F-Style Mandolins Expensive?

Ans: The F-style mandolins have stunning designs. They have f-holes on top, marking their difference from A-style. As they are hand-carved, both of the factors mentioned above require at least 30 percent more handwork, which makes them so expensive. However, they are worth the price tag they come with.

Q: Which Mandolin Should I Get? A-style Or F-Style?

Ans: It depends on what you need and want. For instance, if you are a bluegrass music player or have high acoustic requirements, the F-style mandolin should be your first choice. On the other hand, if you’re a folk music lover, A-style mandolin will suit you better.

But it’s not just the music genre. Some musicians do not care about peer recognition, but some do. If you are one of those people, then F-style is the way to go.

Q: What to Look For in a Mandolin?

Ans: When buying a mandolin, you should look for the following things.

  • Type of mandolin
  • Sound hole type
  • Material/ tone wood
  • Pickguards
  • Price
  • Nut width

Q: What Should You Know About Mandolins When Buying Them For The First Time?

Ans: First-time mandolin buyers should be aware of following and following the given tips.

  • If you are a beginner, then get an A-style mandolin. They cost much less.
  • F-style mandolin will be best for learning if you are more concerned about the sound and not money.
  • Leave the setting of the bridge to a professional.
  • Don’t buy the instruments from unknown, unreliable sellers online.
  • Don’t hesitate if you get a second-hand mandolin from a store. You can graduate to a brand new one when your skills improve.

Conclusion:

And there you have it, our list of best F-style mandolin under $1000. F-style mandolins are expensive, authentic, but you can still get one of the best under $1000 if you search for it.