Players have, over time, expressed concerns about the various brands of mandolin and their quality. In addition, some players complain about the necks of mandolins that prove difficult to get into shape. However, a good neck shape can be set up quickly, allowing both the newbie and professional players to fret the notes quickly and cleanly. The soundboard of the mandolin will also tell you if you have a good quality unit or a poor quality one.
Laminated mandolins are a no-go zone, especially if you can get your hands on a solid wood mandolin. Also, anytime you invest in a mandolin, always check out the neck by performing a small test. Just lay a straight edge along with it and check the shape between the nut and the body join. If you notice that the fingerboard steadily rises upwards from the body, then that mandolin will be challenging to play. Below is a list of mandolin brands that have released poor-quality models in the market.
Mandolin Brands to Avoid
Vangoa A Style mandolin
Vangoa as a brand enjoys an excellent rating and is known to produce beginner types of mandolins. The brand’s mandolins sound wonderful and play relatively well. Vangoa mandolins also retail cheaply, which means that the quality of mandolins produced by this brand is nowhere near the expensive mandolins. But for as much as Vangoa retails some of the best beginner mandolins, you might want to stay clear of the Vangoa A style mandolin musical instrument because many players have complained about its two low strings G and D, claiming that they sound weak and that the two higher strings A and E sound a lot louder.
You will also notice that the strings’ height over the fretboard is too high, and the situation becomes even worse with the adjustable bridge that seems to be at the lowest position. So while this mandolin might have a few downsides, you can be sure that it can help you learn several tunes, and the good thing is that you can always customize it to suit your playing style.
Ibanez is a prominent manufacturer of musical instruments and even made the headlines back in 2017 for marketing up to 165 models of bass guitars, about 130 acoustic guitars, and over 300 electric guitars. One of their popular mandolin brands is the M510 A-Style mandolin, which offers an outstanding balance between affordability and quality. We would, however, like to call your attention to the Ibanez M522SBS F-Style mandolin.
And the reason why you should stay away from this particular model is because it is equipped with poor quality frets, the bridge slots are cut too narrow, and the materials used in its construction are not sturdy. And while it might display some superior aesthetics, the top clear coating is highly uneven. Of course, if you are a severe mandolin player, then you could get the brand M510 A-Style, but if you want a wall decoration, then the M522SBS will be more than perfect.
The Mario mandolin is believed to be of excellent quality. It is easy to play, has an adjustable solid wood bridge, and comes with an extra-musical instrument, not to forget that it also boasts of a 1-year warranty. But don’t let the above deceive you. We are calling out this Miro A-Style mandolin because it is made with fiberglass duly painted to resemble wood. And as if the above is not enough, the mandolin fails terribly when it comes to holding notes. Apart from the above problems, the mandolin has a short lifespan and could give up its ghosts in less than five months.
Kentucky brands have commanded the music industry for quite some time, and it might seem insane to go after this brand, but you better believe that we have a good reason. The Kentucky 8 string mandolin traditional sunburst has been a pain on the neck for some mandolin players. Most of its problems are manufacturer-made. For example, some of the unit’s tailpieces are crooked, some players have complained of intonation problems on the 2nd string. And the A chords and D chords were also found to sound terrible; the second and the third frets also appear to be visibly sharp.
Notable is that upon purchase, you might need your Kentucky 8 string mandolin checked out because, in more cases than not, it comes with an unfitted bridge.
Anytime you search for information about Stagg mandolins, you will be informed that they are suitable for the money, sound well, look great and play well. But, unfortunately, the above doesn’t apply to one of its models, the Stagg M50 E WH Acoustic-electric bluegrass mandolin. And one of the significant issues with this mandolin is that it is made with poor-quality strings.
Strings make up a mandolin, and without them, then producing tones is impossible. The lines equipped in the M50 E WH Acoustic-electric bluegrass mandolin corrode and render it redundant in the shortest time possible. It is quite a shame that you will not be able to play this mandolin a few months after purchase.
Mandolins are great instruments to relive traditional and classical music; however, you will always want to ensure a reliable instrument that will produce the best tones. The brands mentioned above put out to the market many different mandolin models; while many of their models are of stellar quality and offer the best performance, they also have some poor quality models that are less durable. Some of the models have been captured above to help you make a conscious choice during purchase.
How do I know the best mandolin to buy?
Best mandolins are characteristic of hand-carved soundboards from pieces of spruce; the fretboards would be made of rosewood or ebony, both of which are hardwoods but with a smooth surface and enable fast-fingered fretting.
What is the price estimate for the professional mandolins?
Professional mandolins cost between $600- $3,000, going up.