Best Mandolin Under 5000 In 2022

best mandolin under 5000

Are you in search of the best mandolin under 5000 dollars?

$5000 is a pretty big range, so it will make your task very easy. But still, deciding between the different specs and looks might stump you. This is why we have prepared an in-depth review of the best mandolins that fall under the price range of 5000 dollars.

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 a 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 better serve 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.

Tonewoods:

Generally, mandolins have a pair of tonewoods. Different types of tonewoods can affect the sound of a mandolin. The back and sides are normally made from maple due to their clarity. But for the instrument itself, varieties of spruce are used for different purposes. For example, Engelmann spruce creates a warmer and more complex tone and responds well to a lighter touch. On the other hand, Sitka spruce is the most commonly used tonewood 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 tonewood 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, normally 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?

As 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:

At the end of the fingerboard, where the headstock and neck connects, there is a nut piece. 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 it makes all the difference in the feel of the instrument for the player. It depends mostly on the size of your hand. If you have bigger 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 5000.

Comparison Table:

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

Best Mandolin Under 5000:

Kentucky KM 1050:

Kentucky, 8-String Mandolin, Vintage Sunburst (KM-1050)

Kentucky KM 1050 is a professional-level musical instrument that many dreams of. It’ll be appreciated by those players who have experience with fretted instruments, as they will get wider string space to play around with. It does bear resemblance to the famous KM-1000, but the designers have included additional user-friendly features that will make you appreciate it all the more. With its superior sound clarity and unmatchable playability, you won’t get a better instrument than this.

Its features make it worthy enough to stand at the top of the list of best mandolin under 5000.

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
  • Neck Material: One-piece Maple
  • Nut Width: 1 1/8″
  • Pickguard: None
  • Sound Hole Shape: Traditional F-Hole

Key Features:

  • Slim neck
  • User-friendly features include a wider nut and saddle for a more comfortable string spacing skillfully scooped fingerboard extension with inlaid nickel-silver fret markers.
  • Ebony fingerboard with a compound radius
  • Taller and wider frets compared to vintage mandolins

Pros:

  • Durable built. It will last for a long.
  • User friendly.
  • High-quality material
  • sturdy and beautiful
  • Shop adjusted, so there is no need to do anything
  • Doesn’t get out of tune easily

Cons:

  • The initial setup is a bit hard for most.
  • The sound will need some time to start opening up.

Eastman MDC805 16″ Archtop Sunburst Mandocello:

Eastman MDC805 16 Archtop Sunburst Mandocello

The next entry on this list of best mandolin under 5000 is the Eastman MDC805. This archetype jazz mandolin is not only extremely beautiful, but it is also brilliantly functional. With its tonal brilliance and easy playability, it is the perfect choice for those who want to have the best hand-crafted mandolin with all the perks.

Specs:

  • Brand: Eastman
  • Color: Sunburst
  • Dimensions: 40 31/32″ x 16″ x 3 1/4″
  • Weight: 5 pounds
  • Top Material Type: Maple, Spruce, Ebony
  • Back Material Type: Maple
  • Bridge material: Ebony
  • String Material Type: Nylon
  • Finish Type: Lacquered
  • Neck Material: Maple
  • Fingerboard: Ebony
  • Nut width: 1 ¾ inch
  • Nut Height: 0.018 inches
  • Body Style: Archtop Jazz
  • Sound hole shape: F-Holes
  • Binding: Ivoroid

Key Features:

  • Body Style: Archtop Jazz
  • Sound hole shape: F-Holes
  • Nut width: 1 ¾ inch

Pros:

  • Beautiful, compact design
  • Comes with an Eastman warranty

Cons:

  • None

Kentucky KM-1000B:

Kentucky, 8-String Mandolin, Right, Black Top (KM-1000B)

Coming up next is the Kentucky KM-1000B, a mandolin for unique players. The thing is, its specifications are the same as Kentucky KM-1000, but what makes it different is its color. It has a black top instead of the traditional sunburst amber of the same series. But its color is not the only thing that makes it worthy of being on the list of best mandolin under 5000. Its tone, sound clarity, and smooth playability make it stand apart.

Specs:

  • Brand: Kentucky
  • Color: Black Top,
  • Dimensions (L x W x H): 63 x 9.88 x 3.38 inches
  • Weight: 5 Pounds
  • Top Material Type: Adirondack Spruce
  • Back Material Type: Highly Flamed Graduated Northern Michigan Maple
  • String Material: Alloy Steel
  • Finish Type: Polished
  • Body style: F-style
  • Sound hole shape: F-holes
  • Binding: Ivoroid
  • Bridge: Vintage style Ebony bridge with small adjustment wheels

Key Features:

  • Black colored top
  • F-style mandolin
  • Vintage style Ebony bridge with small adjustment wheels

Pros:

  • Superior sound clarity
  • Comes in black instead of traditional amber sunburst
  • Solid carved maple gives it an extra punch

Cons:

  • The sound needs some time to open up as it is tight at the beginning.
  • You need to get it set up by a professional before use

Eastman MD515 F-Style Classic Finish Mandolin:

Eastman MD515 F-Style Classic Finish Mandolin with Hard Case

Moving on, we have another entry from Eastman, which is the famous MD515. Another F-style contender worthy of being the best mandolin under 5000, this is a clear tribute to its craft. This beautifully built instrument is extremely easy to play and maneuver. The tonal brilliance and sturdy brilliance make it one of the highest quality mandolins that are hard to find.

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
  • Body Finish: Gloss Finish
  • Bridge: Adjustable Compensated Ebony Bridge
  • String Spacing: 1 5/8″
  • Nut Height: 0.018″
  • Pickups: Optional K&K Duotone

Key Features:

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

Pros:

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

Cons:

  • A bit heavier than other mandolins.

Kentucky KM-750 (Kentucky, 8-String Mandolin, Sunburst, 0 (KM-750)):

Kentucky, 8-String Mandolin, Sunburst, 0 (KM-750)

When talking about the best mandolins, it is impossible not to mention the Kentucky brand, and it deserves respect. The Kentucky KM-750 is famed for its crisp, bright tunes and clear articulation. Worthy of being the best mandolin under 5000, it is a lightweight addition, and its notes are always kept in key.

Specs:

  • Brand: Kentucky
  • Color: Sunburst
  • Dimensions (L x W x H): 63 x 10.13 x 3.38 inches
  • Weight 19 pounds
  • Top Material Type: Spruce
  • Back Material Type: Solid Alpine Maple
  • Fretboard Material: Santos Rosewood
  • String Material Type: Alloy Steel
  • Neck Material Type: Maple
  • Body style: F-style
  • Sound hole shape: F-shape
  • Binding: Ivoroid
  • Number of Frets Clear: 15
  • Number of Frets Total: 22
  • Bridge Material: Polished Santos Rosewood with Adjustment Wheels
  • Nut Material: Bone
  • Nut Width: 1 1/8 inches
  • Pickguard: Multi-ply B-W-B

Key Features:

  • Body style: F-style
  • Nut Width: 1 1/8 inches
  • Pickguard: Multi-ply B-W-B

Pros:

  • Great tone and silky smooth playability
  • Perfect for beginners
  • Produces a crisp, bright tune

Cons:

  • None

Eastman MD315 F-Style Mandolin:

Eastman MD315 F-Style Mandolin with F-Holes

Eastman has never disappointed its loyal customers, and MD315 reflects that fact. This loving hand-carved F-style mandolin comes with smooth playability and superb tone. A pride of its brand, the instrument’s design is classic, making it a worthy choice under 5000 for musicians who like to keep it traditional.

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:

  • Comes with an Eastman warranty
  • Smooth, excellent playability

Cons:

  • None

Kentucky KM-755(Kentucky, 8-String Mandolin, Amber burst (KM-755)):

Kentucky, 8-String Mandolin, Amberburst (KM-755)

If you like to keep lightweight mandolins, Kentucky KM-755 is another worthy choice. Another best mandolin under 5000; this is perfection in your hands. The building is beautiful, sturdy in design, and has superb acoustic qualities. To summarize, there is nothing you won’t like about this mandolin.

Specs:

  • Brand: Kentucky
  • Color: Amber burst
  • Item Dimensions (L x W x H): 28.5 x 12.88 x 4.38 inches
  • Weight: 3.15 Pounds
  • Top Material Type: Spruce
  • Back Material Type: Maple
  • String Material Type: Alloy Steel
  • Fretboard material: Rosewood
  • Neck Material Type: Maple
  • Binding: Ivoroid
  • Body style: F-style
  • Sound hole Shape: F-holes
  • Number of Frets Total: 22
  • Nut Material: Bone
  • Nut Width: 1 1/8 inches
  • Pickguard: Multi-ply B-W-B

Key Features:

  • Weight: 3.15 Pounds
  • Body style: F-style
  • Pickguard: Multi-ply B-W-B

Pros:

  • Lightweight, 3.15 pounds make it the first choice for musicians who lighten their load.
  • Perfect for bluegrass music and acoustic situations.
  • Comfortable to hold.

Cons:

  • None

Washburn Mandolin Series M108SWK:

Washburn Mandolin Series M108SWK, Natural

No list of best mandolins is complete without a mention from Washburn, and this list of best mandolin under 5000 is no different. The Washburn Mandolin Series M108SWK might not be the first choice of many musicians; it still has enough features to be adequately capable. In fact, this is the best mandolin for beginners and learners, as it has a sturdy body that can take few hits. Perfect for practice.

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 for beginners

Cons:

  • Heavy, double the weight than all other entries
  • The neck needs some adjustments

Left Hand Oscar Schmidt OM40LH Mandolin:

Left Hand Oscar Schmidt OM40LH Mandolin

It is not a mystery why Oscar Schmidt OM40LH made it onto the list of best mandolin under 5000. It’s because it is made for left-handed musicians. But that doesn’t take away from its beauty and allure, far from it. It still has all the features you might expect from a traditional F-style mandolin. Hence, it is on par with one of the best mandolins out there. Although, its usability is limited to a selected group of people.

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, perfect for bluegrass music and acoustic situations.
  • Beautiful design.

Cons:

  • None

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

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

Coming up next is the famous The Loar LM-500-VS Contemporary F-Style Mandolin. The best mandolin for professionals, this f-style instrument is famed for being a high valued great-sounding mandolin. The carefully hand-carved instrument has many of the qualities of the LM-400 and LM-700. Consequently, it has been given its makers the same treatment and consideration. A truly worthy entry in the list of best mandolin under 5000.

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 bigger 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:

  • Does not have many features as it is a minimally appointed mandolin.

Ibanez M522S F-Style Mandolin Dark Violin Sunburst:

Ibanez M522S F-Style Mandolin

If you are a beginner, it is best to buy an affordable mandolin and easy to play. The Ibanez M522S F-Style Mandolin is one of those instruments that perfectly sit in this category. The whole building is sturdy beautiful and gives off a punchy tune that will make you fall in love with it.

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 need to be replaced
  • Low-quality tuning pegs

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

Ibanez M522SBS F-Style Mandolin

At last, we are ending the list of best mandolin under 5000 with the affordable M522SBS from Ibanez. It is a perfect choice for beginners due to its economical price and beautiful looks. Its numerous features make it easy to overlook its minor flaws.

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:

  • lightweight
  • Loudest mandolin in this price range
  • Play ready out of box
  • Needs just a little bit of adjustment

Cons:

  • Does not have a sturdy built

Top Picks:

Kentucky KM 1050:

Kentucky, 8-String Mandolin, Vintage Sunburst (KM-1050)

A professional-level mandolin with superior sound quality and unmatchable playability.

Eastman MDC805 16″ Archtop Sunburst Mandocello:

Eastman MDC805 16 Archtop Sunburst Mandocello

Brilliant tonal quality, easy playability, and extremely beautiful body; in short, it is a tribute to its makers.

Kentucky KM-1000B:

Kentucky, 8-String Mandolin, Right, Black Top (KM-1000B)

A unique black-colored mandolin with all the qualities you would expect from an instrument of the Kentucky KM-1000 series.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q. Is Mandolin Easier To Play Or Guitar?

Ans: Guitar usually has 6 strings or 12 strings. On the other hand, Mandolins have 8 strings in total, 4 strings repeated twice. So compared to the guitar, it is easier to play the mandolin.

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

Ans: Because F-style mandolins require 30 percent more handwork than an A-style due to their aesthetics, they are expensive.

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

Ans: No, because they sound the same. It’s just that F-style mandolins are more beautiful.

Q: Is Mandolin Difficult To Learn Or Guitar?

Ans: In guitar, you will need to play 6 or 12 different strings, but 4 strings are repeated twice in the mandolin. So mandolin is easier. However, there are still some challenges, like players’ hand size, etc.

Q: What Is A Mandolin Instrument Used For?

Ans: Depends on the type of music you are playing. For instance, Neapolitan mandolins are mostly used in European classical music as well as traditional music. On the other hand, you have Archtop instruments common in bluegrass music or American folk. Finally, flat-backed mandolins are generally used in Irish, Brazilian, and British folk music.

Q: Do You Strum Or Pick A Mandolin?

Ans: Mostly, the mandolin is played by using a pick, as it helps to produce a better sound. Moreover, pick is provided easy playability.

Q: How Much Should I Spend On A Mandolin?

Ans: It depends on what you need and what your mandolin skills are. For a beginner, it’s best to limit yourself to up to $300-$500. If you can spare more, good for you. for intermediate skills, you might get a good deal in the range of $400 to $800 or even $900. But for the professional level, it is best if you increase your budget to $3000. Above that, and that is what you call having an instrument for luxury or show-off.

Conclusion:

And there you have it, our list of best mandolin under 5000. Keep in mind that the end decision depends on your own personal preference, so be sure to include your requirements in that.