Folk and Bluegrass 5 Best Mandolins For Beginners – Buying Guide and...

5 Best Mandolins For Beginners – Buying Guide and Reviews in 2021


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Have you ever considered playing a mandolin, which produces the sweet sounds that still make it great for jamming?

Some people might find it a bit confusing from the many brands available.

That’s why I did the research to help you out, so read on as I show you the five best ones!

5 Best Mandolins for Beginners in 2021 (Reviews)

Here are my top five choices on the best mandolins for beginners:

1. Hola! Music A-Style Mandolin

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This is a music beautifully made mandolin with the attractive glossy sunburst finish. It’s meant to turn heads not only with its appearance, but with how it sounds, too! I love that it produces the crisp and fine sound for its price, exceeding expectations for an affordable instrument.

Furthermore, it’s made of the maple top and rosewood bridge, which is what make it both affordable and suitable for beginners to practice on. It also has excellent string action and response, as well as a good feel to it. Definitely a worthy investment for those on a budget and looking for quality.


  • Excellent value
  • You get more than what you pay for
  • Attractive and beautiful finish with crisp sounds
  • It’s ready to play immediately upon receiving it


  • Its tone has a bit of a rattle when played
  • Though not as noticeable
  • The strings aren’t as durable and need to be replaced


2. Rogue Learn-the-Mandolin Package

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The Rogue Learn-the-Mandolin Package is the ultimate beginner mandolin because of the complete accessories it comes with. This is an affordable starter set which includes two beginner books, a gig bag, and the mandolin itself. I like these two books as it’s easy to follow and I enjoy learning it.

The mandolin itself is made of exceptional quality for its price. It looks great and sounds beautiful once you have it tuned right.


  • Nice
  • Glossy finish and durable construction
  • Doesn’t look cheap
  • It has two easy-to-learn mandolin books for beginners
  • Comes at an affordable price with a good starter set


  • Doesn’t come with a tuner and needs one upon receiving
  • It may sound a bit twangy for some


3. Donner A-Style Mandolin

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The Donner A-Style Mandolin has the traditional A-style for beginners who want to learn all about how to play the classics. It has eight-strings so it provides that learning curve, made of the right-hand design that feels smooth and accurate. This mandolin also has the mahogany body, which produces the rich and bright sound to enjoy!

It has the right-hand design and great quality I appreciate, coming with the chrome-plated tuners and even the extra accessories meant for beginners. There’s even a money-back guarantee in case something goes wrong. With all this in mind, I believe it to be worth the price.


  • Has the beautiful sunburst finish and mahogany body for great sound
  • Good playability
  • Enjoyable to use and feels comfortable
  • Built well with accessories and guarantees
  • Making it worth the price


  • You can’t make the string height lower
  • Strings might be a bit tight at first


4. Savannah SA-100 BK A-Style Mandolin

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For those who want something adjustable and simple, then the Savannah SA-100 BK A-Model Mandolin is for you. It’s made of the hard maple neck and bound rosewood fretboard, which is what gives it the excellent durability to last.

Also, it has the adjustable bridge and smooth tuners, so you’re able to control the way it sounds. While the setup and packaging during shipment needs improvement, you can’t deny that this is a quality mandolin that’s easy to play.


  • Easy to tune and holds its tun well
  • Made of the quality maple and rosewood to last
  • Good acton and quality sound for its price


  • Only comes with the instrument itself
  • Packaging during shipment is lousy


5. Seagull S8 Mandolin SG

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Last but not least, the Seagull S8 Mandolin is an excellent purchase for those who have the extra bucks to spend. This is a special A-style mandolin, which has the superb sound for tis price range, made of the hand-finished neck, rosewood fingerboard, nickel-plated brass, and the quality saddle and tusq nuts which improve its durability and sound.

It’s such a pleasure to use and listen to, with the crisp, rich tones. From its solid and robust del down to the unique design and sound, you get more than what you pay for!


  • Unique and classy design with quality materials
  • Solid and robust feel
  • Easy to play with
  • Amazing sound quality for its price


  • Slightly wider than standard fingerboard
  • May not be suitable for some players
  • Case sold separately

Choosing a Good Mandolin For You

Mandolins aren’t complicated to buy, as long as you know your stuff! Here are a few tips to help you out:

How Much to Shell Out?

You get what you pay for with mandolins, with the price depending on the model and material and processing quality. Some can range up to $10,000, but you don’t need to shell out that much!

Find the middle range based on your status as a player, having the combination of playability, sound, and looks. A budget of around $300 to $500 can give you a good starter mandolin.

Understand Its Parts

The F-style mandolin is the most popular type and can be used for beginners. The soundboard is responsible for producing sound, while the sound hole projects the mandolin’s sound.

The overall body should be made of quality spruce for beginners, or maple and mahogany for a deeper tone. For something more affordable and great for beginners, a laminate top works well for the meantime.


Our Choice

Of all the different mandolins tried and tested, I love the Hola! Music Mandolin the most.

It has the attractive Sunburst finish that turns heads, as well as the solid construction that makes it easy to play with.

Also, it’s made of the quality maple top and rosewood bridge, which is adequate enough for beginners and produces fine, crisp sounds as you learn and progress.

Guitar Junky
Hi there, I’m Charles, chief editor here at The Guitar Junky. I'm a professional guitarist, and have over 10 years experience in playing guitar, piano, and other music instruments. When not working, I love playing with my two lovely kids, Caryss and Philip.


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