Best F Style Mandolin

Florentine or the F style mandolins spots a classic and sophisticated design; it is characteristic of an ornamental scroll in the area close to the neck and the headstock. 

In the world of mandolins, there are only two distinct types, and which are the classical and the Bluegrass. Therefore, the F-style mandolin fits under the Bluegrass and also happens to be the best in this category. Mandolins coming under Bluegrass and Classical are further categorized with regards to style, body shape, and soundhole. 

The F-style mandolin is undoubtedly the best, but we have different brands that manufacture mandolins. This then begs the question of functionality and reliability. So, as you scout the markets for a perfect mandolin to add to your ensemble, here are a few features that you should tick on your checklist. And the first one is sound, the build, and workmanship of your mandolin are among the primary determinants of the final sound produced. 

The mandolin should be playable. Find one that has good actions. That is, the distance between the strings and the fretboard should be narrow. This will make it easy to play. Tuning and intonation are also some of the features that you should look at before purchasing a mandolin. Therefore, the below review has sampled some of the best F-style mandolins in the market to help you make a conscious choice during purchase. 

Let’s get started. 

Best F Style Mandolins-Comparison Table 

Best F-Style Mandolin Material UsedPrice
Ibanez LM700AVS F-Style Mandolin Spruce/ MapleCheck Price Here
The Loar LM-520-VS F-Style MandolinTop material-Solid hand-carved spruce 

Back Material- Solid hand-carved material 
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Kentucky, 8-String Mandolin, Right, Sunburst (KM-1500)Top material- Adirondack spruce 

Back material- Highly Flamed Graduated Northern, Michigan Maple
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Gold-Tone GM-35 F-Style MandolinTop Material- Rosewood, Maple, Spruce

Back Material-Maple, Spruce Wood
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Washburn Package Program Mandolin PackTop Material Spruce

Back Material Maple
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The Loar LM-310F-BRB MandolinTop Material -Spruce

Back Material -Maple
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Eastman MD315 F-StyleTop Material Rosewood, Maple, Spruce, Ebony

Back Material Maple, Rosewood, Ebony
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Washburn Vintage Series M118SWK MandolinTop Material Rosewood, Maple, Spruce, Ebony

Back Material Maple
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Review of the Best F-Style Mandolin 

 Ibanez M700AVS F-Style Mandolin

Best F Style Mandolins-Comparison

The eight-stringed Ibanez F-style mandolin is a great-sounding instrument and relatively easy to play. Ibanez was established to produce the sound of classical American Acoustic music. It is characteristic of an archtop made complete with a spruce top and flamed maple back and sides. Maple is a reliable tonewood known to produce unique sounds because of its strength and density. 

Maple wood is additionally appealing thanks to the unique curls on its surface, which enhance the aesthetics of the Ibanez M700AVS F-Style Mandolin. The Ibanez is a finely crafted unit and can suffice for soloing and chopping. The mandolin is especially comfortable to play with and produces loud and bright sounds. 

Pros 

  • Durably built 
  • Made with maple wood that produces enhanced sounds 
  • Produces clean and bright sounds 
  • The edges of the frets have been dressed

Cons 

  • Must be set up by a professional 
  • The strings might need replacing 

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The Loar LM-520-VS Mandolin

Best F-Style Mandolin 

The Loar is characteristic of a hand-carved and fully graduated spruce top, and at the back is a solid maple that has also been hand carved. In addition, the sides of the Loar LM-520 are made of solid maple, meaning that you can expect it to produce high-definition tones with an excellent projection. The Maple neck has additionally been equipped with a comfortable and rounded V profile and made complete with a Padauk fretboard. 

The workmanship of the Loar LM-520 VS Performer mandolin ensures that they have the best intonation and will not deviate from their tune even when played intensely and for longer sessions. Among its best qualities is that the Loar will deliver a high-end tone, chop, and projection. The finish of the Loar LM-520 is glossy, enhancing its overall aesthetic, but you can also settle with one that has a Vintage Sunburst. 

Pros 

  • Equipped with an adjustable truss rod
  • The fretboard is made of bound Padauk
  • Have the best intonation and always stay in tune. 
  • Comfortable V profile on the maple neck

Cons 

  • The neck has too much relief
  • The highest frets are not functional 

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Kentucky, 8-String Mandolin, Right, Sunburst (KM-1500)

8 string mandolin

The sides of the Kentucky 8 string mandolin are made with Michigan maple, while the back and the neck have both been made with a pale fine-grained Adirondack top. The fingerboard and the bridge are made of ebony that has a good texture and a smooth surface that makes it comfortable to use. 

Worth noting is that the Kentucky 8 string mandolin is equipped with a traditional hand-carved and enhanced top and back, made complete with the Fern Inlay. Although the KM-1500 is quite comfortable to play with and produces clean and bright sounds, the mandolin also features a slim flamed maple neck for effortless action. At the same time, the vintage sunburst lacquer enhances the aesthetics of the Kentucky mandolin. 

Pros 

  • Ivoried binding on the edges enhances durability. 
  • The hand-carved Adirondack spruce top enables note clarity 
  • Features the height-adjustable ebony bridge 
  • The mandolins construction is quite robust

Cons 

  • The strings might need replacing 

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Gold-Tone GM-35 F-Style Mandolin

F-Style mandolin

The Gold Tone GM-35 F-Style mandolin features a high gloss Tobacco sunburst finish that enhances its overall aesthetics. In addition, its back and sides are made of dense and robust maple, perfect for high-definition tones. You will also get an adjustable walnut bridge known to yield the best up the neck response. 

The top part of the Gold-Tone GM-35 F-Style mandolin is made of spruce, which helps balance the tones produced by the mandolin. The neck is also made of maple, while the fingerboard features the rosewood material that offers warm sounds known to smooth over the harsher frequencies, consequently enabling rich and clear tones. 

Pros 

  • The incorporated truss is two way adjustable 
  • Features an adjustable bridge 
  • It comes with a case with a rigid foam
  • The tobacco sunburst finish enhances its aesthetics 

Cons 

  • Must be set up by a professional before use

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Eastman MD315 F-Style

Eastman MD315 F-Style

Eastman musical instruments are made from solid wood. They are carved and assembled traditionally and which ensures that they produce the most authentic sounds. The Eastman Md315 is hand-built with old-world craftsmanship and traditional materials; the top is solid spruce, while the back features solid maple material. In addition, the sides have been made with the Rosewood fingerboard that produces warm and rich tones while enabling the mandolin to level out the high-end harshness. 

Rosewood is additionally durable and porous. The Eastman Md315 F-style also boasts an adjustable ebony bridge that enables customization and the production of rich tones. 

Pros

  • The Eastman mandolin has excellent quality 
  • The design and workmanship are great 
  • The mandolin produces great sounds 
  • And offers value for money

Cons 

  • The tuning machines are not easy to use
  • Must be set up before use 

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Washburn Package M3EK F Mandolin Pack

F-style mandolin from Loar

The Washburn package program F-Style mandolin features a spruce top and a maple back material. In addition, it has six strings and a unique Sunburst color. Upon purchase, the Washburn F-Style mandolin comes equipped with a gig bag for easy transportation and protection of the mandolin. The Washburn is an entry-level mandolin and comes complete with a built-in pick-up. 

The material used at the top and bottom of the Washburn Package program F-style mandolin makes it sound great while enhancing its durability. In addition, the tone and volume control features are highly responsive. 

Pros 

  • Good mandolin for beginners 
  • The mandolin features a robust build 
  • Volume and tone controls are top-notch 
  • Produces good sounds 

Cons 

  • Users will have to set the floating bridge 
  • Tuning the mandolin is not exactly easy

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The Loar LM-310F-BRB Mandolin

Best F Style Mandolins Comparison

The LM-310f-BRB F-style mandolin from Loar is light in weight at 4 pounds and has been hand-carved with a solid spruce top and maple material with a thin “V’ profile to enable it to fit on the player’s hands properly. The Honey Creek has additionally been designed with a removable fretboard extension and which goes beyond the 20th fret for effortless strumming with zero chances of getting hung on the extended upper frets. 

Notable is that the design of the Honey Creek enables it to have enough vibration to fit in with the modern ensemble. 

Pros 

  • Produces excellent sounds 
  • Perfect mandolin for beginner players 
  • The color and finish enhance overall aesthetics 
  • The top and bottom have been built with durable material 

Cons 

  • Requires a complete setup before use 
  • The sound quality is average 

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Washburn Vintage Series M118SWK Mandolin

Guide for the Best F-Style Mandolin 

The top material of the Washburn vintage series has been derived from spruce, rosewood, maple, and ebony, automatically making this mandolin a timeless unit. The back material is derived from the dense and robust maple material, producing high definition tones with almost zero projection. 

The Washburn vintage series is a replica of the mandolins produced in the medieval period, especially with the distressed, stained matte finish. The worn look has been additionally combined with aged hardware, a thinner satin finish, and the ebonite tuner buttons incorporated to enable a broken-in and well-played feel. 

We also noticed that the body design of the Washburn vintage series is deeper when compared to the traditional instruments and enables more volume and projection. 

Pros 

  • It offers the much-needed projection and tone 
  • Boasts of more volume and projection 
  • The top part is made of solid carved European spruce 
  • And the sides are made of the durable Canadian flame maple

Cons 

  • Needs setting up before using 

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A Buying Guide for the Best F-Style Mandolin 

For a mandolin to produce the required tones and volume, its construction must incorporate suitable quality materials, apart from the workmanship, which is also an essential aspect. Below are some of the features that you ought to look out for when scouting the markets for a mandolin? 

The strings

Good mandolins could compromise on the quality of the strings, and that is why it is advisable always to have an extra pair ready, or better yet, if you feel that you don’t like the quality of the strings on your mandolin, you can always swap them. This job is best done by a professional. 

Tuner– The clip-on chromatic tuner is the most common tuner used with a mandolin because it enables perfect tuning and spots an accessible design. 

The Mandolin strap

It is meant to enhance comfort and stability during rehearsals or live performances. A robust strap will prevent your mandolin from falling and allow you to play your mandolin for extended hours without necessarily feeling the weight of the mandolin. 

Back and side sets

For the back and side sets of a mandolin, maple wood is the most preferred option as it enables players to produce the traditional mandolin sounds. 

The mandolin’s bridge- the bridge of the mandolin can be made from different types of woods, besides many manufacturers preferring the quarter sawn maple. If you, therefore, wish to invest in an F-hole mandolin, then the European maple would be the best because it offers richness. While the oval hole mandolin would do well with the American maple as it offers clarity. 

FAQ’s

What is the price range of beginner mandolins? 

Beginner mandolins retail between $100-$400 and more. 

Which are the best Mandolin brands? 

The best mandolin brands are such as Kentucky, Ibanez, Washburn, Loar, and Savannah, among others. 

Conclusion 

All the mandolins reviewed in this article feature a unique construction. The materials used are almost the same but with a few different configurations. In addition, each mandolin is differently enabled, so when it comes to choosing one, it all boils down to personal style and preference. 

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