Best mandolin under $500

Best Mandolin Under $500 In 2022

Who says you have to pay a fortune on an excellent mandolin? A high-quality instrument can be found at an affordable price if you know where to look. We researched for you to find the best mandolin under $500 that sounds as good as the high-end models.

We reviewed the top-rated instruments available and selected this review. We’ll cover the most important factors to consider when making a decision. There are all the details, from whether the mandolin is electric or acoustic to what its shape is. Furthermore, we ensured that the materials were of the highest quality and that the finish added to the overall appearance, making it pleasant to hold and play with. Would you like to find out more? Continue reading, and you’ll learn what makes the best mandolin under $500.

Are There Good Mandolin Under $500?

You can indeed find a decent instrument at any price. Mandolins can be expensive, but there are many brands that offer high-quality instruments at a reasonable price.

We’re looking at intermediates and beginners in this price range. They are a perfect match for someone learning this instrument or seeking something of higher quality for their music.

Types Of Mandolins Under $500

Mandolins come in several designs, each with a unique set of features. The two most common are the archtop A-style and F-style. Their main differences are:

  • The F-shaped sound holes and decorative wood scrolls on the F-style.
  • The oval sound holes on the A-style.
  • Their more straightforward design.

Their sound and tone are also quite different. In terms of sound, the F-style is brighter and sharper, perfect for bluegrass, while the A-style is warmer and more profound, which makes it a good fit for folk music.

You May Also Like: Best Mandolin Under $1000

Things To Consider When Choosing Best Mandolin Under 500

As you are going to be playing the mandolin, you need to consider the type of music you want to play. It is important to note that each model has sound characteristics that make it suitable for a particular genre of music. Depending on your experience level, you may also have to take your experience level into consideration, as some models can be pretty demanding for new players.

I recommend you look for an instrument that is comfortable and made of high-grade wood. This way, you’ll get a long-lasting instrument that will give you countless hours of enjoyment.

Level Of Experience

Various mandolins are available on the market, each offering a unique set of features that can prove helpful to beginner, intermediate, or professional players. We are going to take a look at some of those features and explain how they apply to each level of experience.

Beginner Mandolins Under 500

The best mandolin for beginners must be comfortable and easy to play, as you may be spending numerous hours learning and practicing the instrument. When buying your very first mandolin, an excellent, reasonable price is also something to look for.

Intermediate Mandolins Under 500

Generally, when it comes to a mid-range guitar, it is better to look for high-quality wood and robust construction, as these will give you a better sound and tone. There are some intermediate mandolins that might have a decent finish and some extra accessories like a tuner, strings, picks, etc.

Pro Mandolins Under 500

When you need something professional and high-grade, look for specialized brands since they consistently deliver high-quality instruments. Among the best-valued brands you can find are Kentucky, Washburn, and Ibanez. Many of these brands have been manufacturing mandolins for years.

Size

In general, the size of mandolins is mostly the same for most brands, although you can find some bigger ones like some models made by the Kentucky brand. The blowback type of the mandolin can also be more prominent. They are made with a big acoustic cage and have a higher volume than other models.

The Overall Tone & Sound

The mandolin’s sound and tone will differ depending on the type of instrument and wood from which it is made. 

The F-style has a sharp and bright sound, and the A-style has a warmer tone.

But, each brand might use a different kind of wood, which might have unique characteristics, so what I suggest is just to try each brand and see which sound you like the most.

Price

As you might have a limited budget for buying a mandolin, you will need to consider its price. Nevertheless, remember that mandolins are expensive instruments, so if you lower the price too much, you might get a poorly made instrument with a terrible sound.

You May Also Like:

  1. Best Mandolin Under 5000
  2. Best F-style Mandolin Under $1000

Best mandolin Under $500

Kentucky KM-150 Standard A-model Mandolin – Sunburst

Kentucky KM-150 Standard A-model Mandolin - Sunburst

The Kentucky KM-150 is our top-rated candidate for the best mandolin under $500. There are many reasons why the Kentucky mandolin has become a popular choice for a lot of beginners as well as advanced players. The best feature of this Kentucky model is the slimmer neck compared to other models. For this reason, it makes it an excellent choice for beginner players having trouble perfecting their technique or even for more advanced players who have smaller hands than most other players.

Amid its mid-range price range, the overall design of this mandolin is surprising, as well as its hardware construction. It is undoubtedly true that you will not need to worry about this mandolin sliding out of tune too fast. This is good news for an aspiring musician planning on playing on the stage at some point in the future.

In summary, if you are a beginner player willing to pay the price for this mandolin, then the Kentucky mandolin will not disappoint you. As a result of its smaller neck and an overall high degree of comfortability, it would be an excellent choice for all players just beginning to play the mandolin.

Specs:

Size: 26.38 x 10.25 x 3.38

Back and Side Material: Solid Alpine Maple

Weight: 5 Pounds

Body Style: A-Model

Finish: Sunburst high-gloss

Fingerboard Material: Tonewood

Top: Solid German Spruce

Scale Length: 13 ⅞”

String Material: Alloy Steel

Number of Strings: 4

Pros

  • The all-wood construction is high-quality
  • It comes in a beautiful high-gloss finish
  • Beginner-friendly for the smaller-sized neck
  • It offers a mid-range price
  • Great tonality
  • Handcrafted parts
  • Amazing sound quality for the price

Cons

  • It doesn’t come with a case; you need to buy one
  • Requires setup
  • Dull tone on the lower register

Ibanez M510DVS Mandolin, Dark Violin Sunburst

Ibanez M510DVS Mandolin, Dark Violin Sunburst

The Ibanez M510DVS is the second pick for the best mandolin under $500 due to the fact that it is available in three different color combinations. Second, the manufacturer used top-quality materials for the mandolin. You will find spruce tops and mahogany sides and backs.

Despite the fact that both aesthetics and durability are present, when it comes down to it, performance is what really matters. That is where Ibanez’s instrument excels, and you can expect that it will exceed your expectations. 

I have to say that this mandolin is not only a treat to listen to but also to play. It makes it an excellent instrument for beginners or those perfecting their skills on this instrument. While tuning requires a bit of effort, it will hold up well, which is convenient. Overall, you cannot go wrong with this mandolin since it delivers plenty of value for its price.

Specs:

Item Dimensions LxWxH: 27 x 3 x 10.5 inches

Top Material Type: Mahogany, Spruce

Back Material Type: Mahogany, Spruce Wood

Item Weight: 2.5 Pounds

Number of Strings: 8

Pros:

  • Fantastic sound quality for the price
  • It looks good
  • Excellent setup, in-tune 
  • Easy to play

Cons:

  • Cheap plastic pegs
  • Poor quality
  • Paint job prone to chipping

The Loar LM-310F-BRB Honey Creek F-Style Mandolin

The Loar LM-310F-BRB Honey Creek F-Style Mandolin

With the Loar LM-310F-BRB Honey Creek F-Style Mandolin, you get the authentic sound of the 1920s with a modern fabrication technique and high-quality materials. The Loar is known for creating great instruments at a reasonable price, making classic-style mandolins affordable.

Vintage mandolins inspired the design of this particular mandolin. However, some modern production methods have allowed this instrument to maintain a classic and natural sound compatible with many different musical styles.

Specs:

Item Dimensions LxWxH: 27.5 x 10 x 2 inches

Top Material Type: Spruce

Back Material Type: Maple

Item Weight: 4 Pounds

Pros:

Pros:

  • Durable construction
  • Hand-carved spruce top
  • Elegant finish

Cons:

  • It might require some setup
  • The truss rod needs adjustment

Hola! Music A-Style Mandolin

Hola! Music A Style Mandolin

A glossy sunburst finish covers the top, back, sides, as well as the neck of this maple guitar. 

With the HM-3TS A-Style Mandolin, you will find an adjustable compensated Rosewood bridge, an adjustable truss rod, and a simple ABS pickguard. 

The white body binding contrasts with the chrome-plated open-gear tuning machines, while the chrome-plated tailpiece is ornamented with fine engraving. The neck is maple, and the fingerboard is walnut. Strap pins complete the look of this traditional mandolin.

Known for its decent, playable, low-cost instruments, the company offers new players affordable prices, good materials, and valuable features that aren’t often found on entry-level mandolins. While this instrument won’t satisfy an expert, it will motivate beginners to practice until they become proficient.

Specs:

Item Dimensions LxWxH: 26 x 12 x 3 inches

Top Material Type: Rosewood, Maple

Back Material Type: Maple

Item Weight: 2 Pounds

Pros:

  • Gorgeous appearance
  • Pleasant sound

Cons:

  • Tuners felt stiff at first
  • Low-quality strings; recommend replacement

Vangoa A Style Mandolin 

Vangoa A Style Mandolin

A mandolin from Vangoa isn’t normally a brand that springs to mind when thinking of mandolins, but I am impressed with their offering here.

This is one of the most significant features of the Vangoa: you have the option of playing it either acoustically or electronically. In case you are in the market for an electro-acoustic mandolin at an affordable price, you should definitely consider this instrument.

A very comfortable and reliable instrument for beginners, the Vangoa has an A-Style body, making it a very reliable instrument.

As a result of the glossy red finish on this mandolin, it appears to be a much more expensive instrument than in reality it is. When you perform in the red color, it is so striking that you will definitely be noticed!

If you are looking for a mandolin that will always stand out on stage, this red, glossy mandolin is the perfect choice for you! If you are in the market for a mandolin with a bit of edge that looks different from the more traditional instruments, this is the one for you!

The Vangoa mandolin is a beautiful electro-acoustic mandolin that isn’t going to break the bank. Although it is not a highly popular brand, it is recommended for its fantastic price and quality. I consider it to be one of the best beginner mandolins.

Specs:

Top Material Type: Basswood

Back Material Type: Basswood

String Material Type: Alloy Steel

Finish Type: Varnish

Item Weight: 3 Pounds

Operation Mode: Acoustic

Pros:

  • Amazing sound quality
  • Beautifully crafted
  • It comes with a pick-up, picks, strap, extra strings, an instrument bag, and a tuner.

Cons:

  • The tuning hardware is cheap and loose

Kentucky 8 String Mandolin, Right, Traditional Sunburst (KM-250)

Kentucky 8 String Mandolin, Right, Traditional Sunburst (KM-250)

In order to produce the most delicate and comfortable instrument for players of all levels, every Kentucky Artist mandolin is carefully handcrafted from the finest materials. 

As such, the redesigned KM-250 Artist A-model series of mandolins is no exception. Because of the enhanced woods and specifications, we were able to offer the most connoisseur players some of the most delicate instruments ever developed. Its rich tone and quick response continue to improve as the instrument ages. It is available in a traditional sunburst finish.

With a solid carved Sitka spruce top, this guitar gives you clean articulation and a bright, clear tone. The maple back and sides give it additional punch. This is also the best mandolin under $500. 

Specs: 

Item Dimensions LxWxH: 26.25 x 10.25 x 3.35 inches

Top Material Type: Spruce

Back Material Type: Solid Flame Maple

String Material Type: Alloy Steel

Finish Type: Lacquered

Item Weight: 5 Pounds

Number of Strings: 8

Pros:

  • Slim maple neck for comfortable, easy action
  • Choice East Indian rosewood fingerboard ensures silky smooth playability
  • High-gloss sunburst lacquer finish imparts traditional beauty and luster

Cons: 

  • Poor string’s quality 

Gold Tone GME-4 Mandolin

Gold Tone GME-4 Mandolin

The next entry for the best mandolin under $500 is Gold Tone GME-4. With its solid body and maple radiused fingerboard, the Gold Tone GME-4 electric mandolin is excellent for Texas swing, folk, and even rock n’ roll. The stacked humbucking pickup is extremely quiet for recording and has volume and tone controls.

This left-handed guitar has a solid alder body with a multi-layer pickguard and a vintage cream gloss finish. It features a slim maple neck with black dot fret markers and a radiused fretboard. It includes a padded gig bag.

Specs:

Item Dimensions LxWxH: 25.75 x 10.5 x 3 inches

Top Material Type: Maple

Back Material Type: Maple

String Material Type: Nickel

Item Weight: 6 Pounds

Operation Mode: Electric

Number of Strings: 4

Pros:

  • The GME-4 is beautiful and very well-made
  •  It is a joy to play and has better tonal balance among the strings than my other two electrics.
  • It has a beautiful sound 
  • Very easy to play

Cons:

  • None so far

Donner A Style Mandolin 

Donner A Style Mandolin Instrument Black Beginner Adult Acoustic Mandolin

The Donner A-Style mandolin is another best mandolin under $500. It is perfect for anyone who has a tight budget and is looking for a high-quality instrument.

As it is a budget instrument, the sound quality on the Donner is not as good as what you would find on a more expensive instrument listed here. However, for the low price you are getting for this instrument, you are probably not going to be complaining.

While you are playing on stage with a band, the sound is strong enough to cut through other instruments and satisfy most beginner and intermediate players. There is not much else you can ask for this price in terms of sound quality!

The Donner is a small mandolin with a slim neck, making it ideal for younger players or beginners who are still trying to figure out the instrument. The slim neck will make the playing experience extraordinarily comfortable and easy for you to practice your scales!

Specs:

Item Dimensions LxWxH: 3.94 x 24.41 x 14.17 inches

Top Material Type: Mahogany

Back Material Type: Mahogany

Operation Mode: Acoustic

Number of Strings: 8

Pros:

  • The optimal choice for new players 
  • Excellent quality
  • Looks beautiful
  • The tuner and gig bag are a pretty big bonus

Cons:

  • No truss rod

Stagg M50E Acoustic-Electric Bluegrass Mandolin 

Stagg M50E Acoustic-Electric Bluegrass M

In our opinion, if you are learning to play music, affordable instruments are the way to go. You won’t find a mandolin under $500 with more value than this one. This is especially true since you can use it as an acoustic and an electric instrument.

It’s worth mentioning that while the sound quality is satisfying for the price, the electronics could be better. However, beginners and those practicing their skills won’t mind this. It’s helpful that the tuning is maintained for a long time, so you can play for a long time once everything has been adjusted.

The red burst finish is a nice touch and adds to the overall elegance. The manufacturer used rosewood fingerboard and nato neck, back, and sides. The quality is decent, and you will love this A-style violin.

Specs:

Item Dimensions LxWxH: 29 x 13 x 5 inches

Top Material Type: Rosewood

Back Material Type: Nato

Item Weight: 1.43 Kilograms

Operation Mode: Acoustic, Electric

Number of Strings: 8

Pros:

  • Good quality instrument
  •  Sounds great
  • Easy To play

Cons:

  • Have minor cosmetic damage
  • Tuners are sloppy

Washburn Americana Series, 8-String Mandolin

Washburn Americana Series, 8-String Mandolin

https://www.amazon.com/Washburn-M1S-A-A-Style-Mandolin/dp/B074VYRPZ2?&linkCode=ll1&tag=bestaudiopro-20&linkId=bfa3d92315687825ab6bdce0b2ea5250&language=en_US&ref_=as_li_ss_tl

Last but not least in the list of the best mandolin under $500 is Washburn Americana MIS-A. The Washburn Americana M1S-A Mandolin is a classical mandolin with some modern features. In terms of its tone and sound, this model can be described as classic Italian, with warm and smooth tones that make it perfect for folk and classical music.

This mandolin perfectly blends the old and new. The high-quality construction and unique smooth tone make this model a unique and distinguished mandolin for any budget.

Specs:

Item Dimensions LxWxH: 29 x 13 x 4.5 inches

Top Material Type: Solid Carved European Spruce

Back Material Type: Maple

String Material Type: Phosphor Bronze

Number of Strings: 8

Pros:

  • Classic and elegant finish
  • Carved solid spruce top
  • Easy to play

Cons:

  • Case not included

You May Also Like:

  1. Best F-Style Mandolin For The Money
  2. Best Mandolin Under 3000
  3. Best Mandolin Under 2000

FAQs

Q: What are the mandolin strings made of?

Ans: Mandolin strings are made of high-quality materials such as bronze, stainless steel, alloys, and other mixtures, and they are doubled in order to extend their longevity, and this has become a part of the character of this musical instrument over time.

Q: What are the mandolin maintenance recommendations?

Ans: You must take good care of your mandolin if you want it to last. For example, you should avoid bumping it into walls or dropping it, especially from great heights. The experts recommend having a case to store it in when it is not being played.

Lack of humidity is the main cause of problems with mandolins. It can lead to cracks and other structural damage. Check the humidity with a hygrometer to see if it needs humidification. Approximately 49% relative humidity is ideal for the mandolin, so you will need to humidify it periodically. You should use specialized solutions for that purpose.

Q: Is mandolin harder than guitar?

Ans: Mandolins aren’t as difficult to learn as guitars are because they have fewer strings than guitars do. It would be easy and fun to learn this instrument if you already know the basics of playing guitar.

Conclusion:

Hopefully, after exploring the best mandolin under $500, you now know what to look for when purchasing a mid-range mandolin. Some of the instruments I listed here might be considered professional instruments, while others would be better suited to educators or people who are just getting started learning the mandolin.

Hopefully, you enjoyed reading this article and learned a little bit about this double-stringed beauty. Feel free to share it and ask questions below.

You May Also Like:

  1. How lond does it take to learn mandolin?
  2. Is the mandolin easier than guitar?
  3. Can you teach yourself to play mandolin?
  4. Is mandolin a violin?