Best Mandolin Under 2000: Best Quality Mandolin In 2022

Best Mandolin Under 2000

Are you searching for the best mandolin under 2000?

Mandolins are beautiful-looking musical instruments that add flavor and flair to any piece you might be playing. Famously known as the core instrument of bluegrass music, it is becoming more commonly known in other genres as well.

As beautiful it is, it is equally expensive. Finding the perfect one while remaining within the budget, especially under 2000, is difficult. Nevertheless, we took the trouble of reviewing and creating the list of the best mandolins for you. But before you hasten to get one, you need to understand some essential points.

What Is Mandolin?

By definition, the mandolin is a stringed musical instrument from the lute family. It is famous for being one of the powerful instruments of bluegrass music. That does not mean it is limited to only one genre, as it also meshes well with jazz, and surprisingly rock. Although it is not as famous as other musical instruments, it is still slowly but steadily gaining popularity in other genres. Many rock legends, including Led Zeppelin, have also used the mandolin in their music. Plucked with a plectrum, the instrument is classic, elegant and will create uniquely beautiful and unique pieces of music you might ever hear.

Criteria For Buying Best Mandolin Under 2000/ Buyer’s Guide:

Even though it is best for bluegrass 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.

Type Of Mandolin:

What type of mandolin do you want? Is it A-style or F-style mandolin? On their basis, they mostly sound the same. Most of the difference comes from how both types look. If you are a bluegrass music player, F-style mandolin is best for you. But if you want a mandolin for Celtic music and like, A-style is the better option. Generally, F-style mandolins are more adaptable to other genres. However, they are also more expensive. Again, both sound the same, but if the recognition of peers is your goal, then F-style brings more advantages.

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 in 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 Wood:

Generally, mandolins have a pair of tone woods. Different types of tone woods can affect the sound of a mandolin. Most backs and sides are 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 a lighter touch. 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 a necessity. 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. On the other hand, the passive pickups 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 at 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. To be precise, the width of the nut is actually the width of the neck at that point. The wider the neck is, the more distance between string courses. Commonly, a nut width of 1 1/8” is 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. The main factor is hand size. If you have more extensive hands, you should opt for a 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 mandolin under 2000.

Comparison Chart of Best Mandolin Under 2000

Last update on 2022-12-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Best Mandolin Under 2000:

Best Mandolin Under 2000 infographic jpg

Kentucky KM 1050:

Kentucky, 8-String Mandolin, Vintage Sunburst

Want a professional mandolin? Then Kentucky KM 1050 is the one for you. The sturdy hand-carved Adirondack spruce top gives the player an elegant look, superior sound, and comfort. The Michigan maple side and back give an extra punch to the songs. This user-friendly model sits at the top of the list of best mandolin under 2000 as it is perfect for both; beginners and experts.

Durability, user-friendly, beautiful, what’s not to like?

Specs:

  • Brand: Kentucky
  • Color: Vintage Sunburst
  • Dimensions (L x W x H): 35 x 13 x 3.75 inches
  • Weight: 5 Pounds
  • Top Material Type: Maple, Spruce, Ebony
  • Back Material Type: Maple, Spruce Wood
  • Bridge Material: Polished Ebony with Adjustment Wheels
  • String Material Type: Alloy Steel
  • Finish Type: Lacquered
  • String Material: Alloy Steel
  • Binding: Ivoroid
  • Body Style: F-Style
  • Fingerboard Binding: Ivoroid
  • Fingerboard Material: Ebony
  • Finish: Sunburst High-gloss Lacquer
  • Fingerboard Inlay: M-O-P Dots
  • Neck / Body Joint: Dovetail
  • Neck Material: One-piece Maple
  • Number of Frets Clear: 15
  • Number of Frets Total: 29
  • Nut Material: M-O-P
  • Nut Width: 1 1/8″
  • Peghead Inlay: Abalone and Pearl Flowerpot-style / Logo Script
  • Peghead Overlay: Black Composition
  • Pickguard: None
  • Plating: Silver-plated / Pattern and Logo Paragraph Engraved
  • Scale Length: 13 7/8″ (354mm)
  • Sound Hole Shape: Traditional F-Hole
  • Tailpiece: 1920s-style Stamped Brass / Press-fit Cover
  • Top: Premium Solid Adirondack Spruce
  • Top Purfling: Multi-ply W-B-W / Side Inlay
  • Truss Rod: Traditional Two-Way Adjustable
  • Tuning Machines: Deluxe Gotoh„¢ 4-on-a-plate / Removable Pearloid Buttons

Key Features:

  • Slim neck
  • User-friendly features like skillfully scooped fingerboard extension with inlaid nickel-silver fret markers, a Wider nut, and saddle for more comfortable string spacing,
  • Ebony fingerboard with a compound radius
  • Taller and broader frets compared to those on vintage mandolins

Pros:

  • Durable built.
  • It will last for a long.
  • User friendly.
  • High-quality material makes it sturdy and beautiful.
  • Shop adjusted, so you won’t need to do anything.
  • It doesn’t get out of tune easily

Cons:

  • Initial setup can be challenging.
  • The sound needs some time to start opening up.

Kentucky KM-270 Artist Oval Hole A-Style Mandolin:

Kentucky, 8-String Mandolin, Traditional Sunburst (KM-270)

Surprisingly, or unsurprisingly, the Kentucky brand’s next entry on our list also belongs. The Kentucky KM-270 is one of the best mandolins under 2000 due to its durability, functionality, and classic look. However, what made it beloved to a musician was the weight and size of the instrument. It is small and lightweight, but it still produces the best traditional sounds you can hear.

Classy, durable, functional, and traditional, all rolled into one package. Nice!

Specs:

  • Brand: Kentucky
  • Color: Traditional Sunburst
  • Dimensions (L x W x H): 26.25 x 10.25 x 3.25 inches
  • Weight: 5 Pounds
  • Top Material: Spruce
  • Back Material: Maple
  • String Material Type: Alloy Steel
  • Finish Type: Lacquered
  • Binding: Ivoroid
  • Body Style: A-Model
  • Bridge Material: Rosewood with Adjustment Wheels
  • Fingerboard Binding: White ABS
  • Fingerboard Material: Rosewood
  • Finish: High-gloss Traditional Sunburst Nitrocellulose
  • Neck / Body Joint: Dovetail
  • Fingerboard Inlay: M-O-P Dots
  • Neck Material: One-piece Maple
  • Number of Frets Clear: 14
  • Number of Frets Total: 22
  • Nut Material: Bone
  • Nut Width: 1 1/8″
  • Pickguard: Black/White/Black ABS with beveled edge
  • Plating: Nickel-plated / Pattern and Logo Stamped
  • Scale Length: 13 7/8″ (352.40mm)
  • Sound Hole Shape: Traditional Oval
  • Tailpiece: Nickel-plated with cover plate and leather insert
  • Truss Rod: Traditional 2-screw black ABS
  • Tuning Machines: High-quality tuning machines with white buttons

Key Features:

  • Solid carved maple back and sides for extra punch
  • Slim maple neck for comfortable, easy action
  • Sound Hole Shape: Traditional Oval

Pros:

  • The solid carved Sitka spruce top gives a clean articulation with a crisp, bright tone.
  • Produces a mellow sound that is perfect for Celtic and folk music.
  • Sturdy and durable built.
  • Beautiful looking design.

Cons:

The bridge is not fitted, creating problems for those who don’t know how to do it.

Eastman MD515 F-Style Classic Finish Mandolin:

Eastman MD515-CS F-Style Mandolin

Next up on the list of best mandolin under 2000 is the Eastman MD515 F-Style Classic Finish Mandolin. The F-style mandolin is perfect in every way; from its performance to its looks, there is nothing that might make you feel unsatisfied.

Perfection in your hand. What more could you want.

Specs:

  • Brand: Eastman Guitars
  • Dimensions: 26 11/16″ x 10″ x 1 7/8″
  • Weight: 7.63 pounds
  • Color: Nickel
  • Body Top: Solid Spruce
  • Body Back/ Sides: Solid Maple
  • Finish Type: Lacquered
  • Neck Material: Maple
  • Fingerboard: Ebony
  • Fingerboard Radius: 12″
  • Nut: Bone 1 3/32″
  • Scale Length: 13 7/8″
  • Style: F-Style w/ F-Holes
  • Binding Material: Ivoroid
  • Logo: Pearl Headstock
  • Inlay: Pearl Dots
  • Body Finish: Gloss Finish
  • Neck/Headstock Finish: Gloss Finish
  • Bridge: Adjustable Compensated Ebony Bridge
  • String Spacing: 1 5/8″
  • Nut Height: 0.018″
  • Pickups: Optional K&K Duotone
  • Strap Peg: Ebony

Key Features:

  • Material: Spruce and Maple
  • Bridge: Adjustable Compensated Ebony Bridge
  • Pickups: Optional K&K Duotone

Pros:

  • The adjustable compensated ebony bridge helps in the modification of any performance
  • Excellent tone
  • Beautiful design

Cons:

  • A bit heavier than other mandolins.

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

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

Our next entry on the list of best mandolin under 2000 is The Loar LM-500-VS Contemporary F-Style Mandolin. Perfect for professionals, it is a tribute to its designers, as it gives a classy and elegant vibe. Although the maple and rosewood mandolin is manufactured in China, which can be a turn-off for many, it still captures the essence of an actual musical instrument.

Specs:

  • Brand: The Loar
  • Color: Sunburst
  • Dimensions (L x W x H): 27.25 x 10.5 x 2.5 inches
  • Top Material Type: Spruce
  • Back Material Type: Maple
  • String Material Type: Alloy Steel
  • Weight: 3.1 Pounds
  • Top: Solid Hand-Carved, Fully Graduated Spruce
  • Back: Solid Hand-Carved, Fully Graduated Maple
  • Sides: Solid Maple
  • Neck: Maple with Rounded “V” Profile
  • Fretboard: Bound Rosewood
  • Headstock Inlay: Abalone/Mother-of-Pearl “Bon Fleur”
  • Finish Type: Gloss
  • Finish Option: Vintage Sunburst
  • Tuning Machines: Grover with Pearloid Buttons
  • Scale Length: 13-29/32″
  • Nut Material: Bone
  • Nut Width: 1-1/8″
  • Truss Rod: Two way Adjustable
  • 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:

  • It is a minimally appointed mandolin, so it does not come with many extra features as modern mandolins do.

Kentucky KM-252 Artist A-model Mandolin:

Kentucky KM-252 Artist A-model Mandolin

Another entry from the Kentucky brand, the Kentucky KM-252, is an A-model mandolin, perfect for Celtic and folk music. The silky-smooth playability makes it much easier on the player. Additionally, the slim neck is perfect for quick but comfortable action.

One thing that sets it apart from others is that it has both the expected oval-shaped holes and f-shaped holes.

Specs:

  • Brand: Kentucky
  • Color: Transparent Amber
  • Dimensions (L x W x H): 26.25 x 10.25 x 3.38 inches
  • Top Material Type: Spruce
  • Back and Side Material: Solid Alpine Maple
  • String Material Type: Alloy Steel
  • Finish Type: Lacquered
  • Weight: 5 Pounds
  • Number of Strings: 6
  • Binding: Ivoroid
  • Body Style: A-Model
  • Bridge Material: Polished Santos Rosewood with Adjustment Wheels
  • Fingerboard Material: Radiused Santos Rosewood
  • Finish: Sunburst High-gloss Lacquer
  • Neck / Body: Joint Dovetail
  • Neck Material: One-piece Alpine Maple
  • Number of Frets: Clear 14
  • Number of Frets: Total 22
  • Nut Material: Bone
  • Nut Width: 1 1/8 in.
  • Pickguard: Black/White/Black ABS with beveled edge
  • Scale Length: 13 7/8 in. (354mm)
  • Sound hole Shape: Traditional F-Hole
  • Truss Rod Vintage Single Adjusting

Key Features:

  • The extra punch from solid carved maple back and sides
  • Comfortable, easy action due to slim maple neck
  • Ensures silky smooth playability with East Indian rosewood fingerboard ensures silky smooth playability

Pros:

  • Beautiful, sturdy, and smooth.
  • Has booth the expected oval-shaped holes and f-shaped holes, which brightens the tone and opens up the high pitches.

Cons:

  • As the finish is easily scratched, it needs to be handled with care.
  • The bridge needs to be adjusted.

Left Hand Oscar Schmidt OM40LH Mandolin:

Left Hand Oscar Schmidt OM40LH Mandolin

Oscar Schmidt OM40LH made it onto the list of best mandolin under 2000 because it is for lefties! The standard bluegrass music instrument is the perfect choice for left-handed and tired of searching for the perfect one. But even though it is unique, it still incorporates all the necessary features, making it indistinguishable from the typical right-handed mandolins.

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:

It is made for left-handed players, so right-handed musicians can’t use it.

Top Picks:

Here are 3 top picks from best mandolin under 2000:

Kentucky KM 1050:

Kentucky, 8-String Mandolin, Vintage Sunburst

Kentucky KM 1050 is perfect for both professionals and experts. Its user-friendly design and sturdy built will simply make you fall in love with it. Although it’s a couple of dollars above 2000, it is the perfect choice if you are willing to part with a few extra dollars. After all, why leave something so perfect?

Kentucky KM-270 Artist Oval Hole A-Style Mandolin:

Kentucky, 8-String Mandolin, Traditional Sunburst (KM-270)

The Kentucky KM-270 Artist Oval Hole A-Style Mandolin is a small, lightweight instrument that produces perfect traditional sounds. Its beautiful and sturdy design gives a classic yet vibrant look that makes it aesthetically pleasing to the onlooker. It is durable, functional, and beautiful so that you will miss out on nothing.

Eastman MD515 F-Style Classic Finish Mandolin:

Eastman MD515-CS F-Style Mandolin

The F-style mandolin is perfect in every way; from its performance to its looks, there is nothing that might make you feel unsatisfied. This jewel is the perfect choice in its price range.

Frequently Asked Questions Related To Best Mandolin Under 2000:

Q: Is Mandolin Hard To Play?

Ans: Actually, compared to other instruments, mandolins aren’t hard to learn and play. It has 8 strings in total, 4 strings repeated twice. The number of strings in the mandolin is less than other instruments, and the less the number of strings, the easier it’s to learn the instrument. Additionally, it’s lightweight and compact.

Q: Do A And F Mandolins Sound Different?

Ans: Actually, both sound precisely the same. It’s in the looks department where they differ. However, if you want recognition among peers, it might be better to buy the F-style mandolins.

Q: Do F Style Mandolins Sound Better?

Ans: It depends on who you’re asking. It boils down to scroll and points at the end. Some hold the belief that scroll and points create no difference in the sound of the instrument. But some say that scroll and points do affect the tone of the F-style mandolin, due to which it creates a more concentrated sound than the A-style mandolin.

Q: What Makes An F-Style Mandolin More Costly Than An A-Style Mandolin?

Ans: F-style mandolin looks very different from A-style mandolins. From the headstock and scroll to the points, everything needs a significant amount of handwork to create an F-style mandolin. This is why these cost 30 to 50 percent more than A-style ones.

Q: Is An F-Style Mandolin Better Than An A-Style Mandolin?

Ans: Not really. They do sound the same. However, the F-style creates a different balancing point when the strap is wrapped around the scroll. But honestly, that doesn’t factor much in the playability of the instrument.

Q: Are There Any Difficulties In Playing Mandolin?

Ans: It’s easy to learn. However, there’re still some difficulties. For example, it’s smaller than an average acoustic guitar, so it can be challenging to use it for people with larger hands. The strings have more tension, which can cause you to struggle to push them down.

Q: Is Mandolin Harder Than Guitar?

Ans: By comparison, the guitar is much more challenging to learn than the mandolin. Because guitars have more strings than mandolins. There are 6 string guitars, but the mandolin has 4 strings that are repeated twice.

Q: How Long Does It Take To Get Good At Mandolin?

Ans: The process of learning new musical instruments asks for patience, skill, dedication, and consistency. If you practice at least 30 to 60 minutes daily, you’ll be able to play the mandolin after approximately 3 months of learning. But again, it needs your dedication and consistency to do so.

Best Mandolin Under 2000 – Conclusion:

And there you’ve it, our list of best mandolin under 2000. A piece of advice; use the musical instrument you are confident and passionate about. Like all other instruments, mandolins have their own pros and cons. But in the end, it depends on what you want, what you need, and most importantly, what you can afford.