Not every mandolin comes at a high price tag. It is possible to get an affordable one that delivers great sound quality.
This is a small instrument that has a similar resemblance to a guitar. The mandolin contains eight strings and is part of the Lute family. The best mandolin under $500 in 2022 will help you save money and give you a chance to learn how to play this musical instrument.
Though numerous musical instruments have come up, the mandolin still remains a relevant instrument that most musical bands need. Finding an affordable and high-quality mandolin is, however, not that easy. That is where we come in. After research, we came up with a review and buying guide that can help you identify the best mandolin under $500. Let’s get started!
Table of Contents
Best mandolin under $500 in 2022 Comparison table
|Best for||Call to action|
|Kentucky KM-150||Best for beginners and intermediate players |
|Check price here|
|Ibanez M510DVS mandolin |
|Best value||Check price here|
|Stagg M50E |
|Best for different playing styles||Check price here|
|Seagull S8 Mandolin SG |
|Best for playing on the go||Check price here|
|Rogue RM-100A |
|Best for training||Check price here|
Reviews of the Best mandolin under $500 in 2022
Kentucky KM-150– Best for beginners and intermediate players
Whether you are new to playing the mandolin or not, this model will not disappoint. It is an all-wood mandolin that is made using spruce and maple. It also features a stock tailpiece that makes it suitable for beginners.
- Body shape: A-style
- Type: Acoustic
- Material: alpine maple and spruce
The manufacturer also includes quality finish to this mandolin to protect the wood and make it more durable. Before choosing a mandolin, you should try to find out the quality of sound it delivers. Kentucky KM-150 offers smooth sound considering the price. It has a great tone and comes in an elegant look.
Most musical instruments from Kentucky are easy to play, and this mandolin is no exception. It comes with large frets that are connected vertically on the fingerboard. The shape of the neck is important in a mandolin since it determines how convenient a model is to play. This specific model comes with a slightly wide neck. You can even play it if you have large hands.
The tonewood fingerboard of this mandolin leads to a smooth feel. It also features F-shaped soundholes that give it a traditional look. Users reveal that they enjoy playing this mandolin.
Note that you need to adjust it before you start playing it. Consider getting better strings for this mandolin since it does not come with high-quality ones. The mandolin also comes with a case that you can use to store it after use.
- Professional look
- It is solidly constructed
- The mandolin offers smooth playability
- It sounds great
- Adjustments are needed before you start using it
- It contains a plastic strap button
Ibanez M510DVS– Best value
Are you in search of a mandolin that can help you hone your skills? If yes, you should not overlook this model. Ibanez M510DVS is a beginner-friendly mandolin that is equipped with professional features.
- Materials: Mahogany and Spruce
- Finish: Sunburst
- Fingerboard: Rosewood
This is an acoustic mandolin that is made from quality materials. The back and sides of this musical instrument are made with spruce and mahogany. These materials lead to a pleasant tone and decent sound. The fretboard and rosewood fingerboard also enhance the tone of this mandolin.
Though this model does not deliver the same sound quality as more expensive models, it can give you value for your money. You only need to replace the strings to enjoy better sound. With proper tuning, it can sound great. This mandolin is also made with a sunburst finish that gives it an attractive look. You should, however, be careful not to scratch the paint job since it tends to chip easily.
The manufacturer equips it with a pickguard that can protect the soundboard. This eight-string musical instrument is built on an A-style platform. Since it does not come with a case, you may have to buy this separately. According to most musicians that have used this mandolin, it is easy and convenient to play.
It is also a compact musical instrument that is easy to carry around. Since it weighs less than most instruments, you will not struggle to move it around. The manufacturer offers it in various color combinations so that you can choose your favorite.
- Made from quality materials
- It sounds great
- Setting it up is a breeze
- Great aesthetics
- This mandolin comes with poor quality strings
Stagg M50E– Best for different playing styles
Get a versatile mandolin that you can use for different musical genres. Stagg M50E is a suitable model that can help you save some cash. It can also be used as an electric or acoustic musical instrument. Feel free to play this mandolin at different events or even use it during your practice sessions.
- Materials: Nato wood
- Fingerboard: Rosewood
- Finish: Redburst
The mandolin is made from nato wood, which enhances its durability. This type of wood also gives it an appealing natural coloring. It also features a rosewood fingerboard that leads to smooth playability. The manufacturer also uses redburst in its finish to add aesthetic value to the mandolin.
Stagg M50 also offers decent sound quality, considering the price. You have to tune it well to enjoy playing it. This mandolin also contains pearl dot inlays that make it look modern. It also contains a black maple bridge which gives you the ability to control the intonation while playing.
Its headstock contains open geared tuners that offer precise tuning. These allow you to adjust the frequency of the mandolin. The headstock refers to the wooden part located at the end of the neck that holds the tuners. Stagg M50 is a beginner-friendly mandolin that can produce a deep sound.
You will also notice the two knobs that this mandolin comes with. One of them is designed for tone, while the other is for volume. Due to the inclusion of the knobs, you can enjoy a crispy and bright tone.
This mandolin also comes in an F-hole design that enhances sound projection. The problem with such cheap mandolins is that they come with poor-quality strings. If you choose this model, consider replacing its strings.
- Made using quality materials
- Suitable for different playing styles
- It allows you to adjust the sound accordingly
- This mandolin holds tuning and is easy to play
- Less durable strings
Seagull S8-Best for playing on the go
If you are searching for a cheap mandolin that you can rely on for a long time, Seagull S8 is for you. Seagull is famous for creating musical instruments with unique designs. This manufacturer takes inspiration from Italian mandolins when making this model.
- Materials: Spruce and maple
- Shape: Double cutaway
- Finish: Polished
This is the best mandolin under $500 in 2022 since it is solidly constructed. Most of the parts of this mandolin are hand-made. The body of this model is made using maple and spruce, which also leads to decent sound quality. Unlike other mandolins, Seagull S8 has a wider fingerboard that enhances convenience while playing.
Seagull S8 also comes in a double-cutaway shape which gives it a close appearance as A-style mandolins. The neck of this model extends down to the tailblock, thus enhancing the sturdiness. Since the spruce soundboard of this mandolin is curved, it enhances the tone.
Unlike most models, it also comes in smaller dimensions that make it easy to move with. Do not underestimate this mandolin based on its size. Though small, you can play this mandolin loud. Apart from that, this mandolin is offered in different finishes that you can pick from. The headstock of this mandolin features open geared tuners that hold the tune well.
- It is well made
- Sounds great and is easy to play
- The mandolin is lightweight and portable
- You have to purchase the case separately
Rogue RM-100A– Best for training
Learn how to play the mandolin by choosing an easy-to-play model. Rogue RM-100A is an ideal choice that was designed with beginners in mind. It is an A-style mandolin that comes at a lower price than other models.
- Material: Maple
- Finish: Sunburst
- Frets: Nickel-plated
It is constructed using maple. The sunburst finish included in this mandolin gives it an elegant look. Most users are not impressed with the laminated top of this mandolin since it produces a poor quality tone.
Rogue RM-100A has nickel-plated frets that are connected to the fingerboard. It also comes with chrome tuners that you can use to tune the mandolin. Most experienced musicians reveal that this model does not take tuning well. You may find it challenging to tune the mandolin accurately.
This mandolin also contains an adjustable bridge that makes it easy for you to get the level of action you want. The bridge is the wooden part that is designed to carry the vibrations of the mandolin’s strings to the top part. This mandolin is also equipped with F-shaped sound holes that make it more visually appealing.
You should not expect additional items in this mandolin, such as picks considering its price. Through this mandolin does not deliver a unique sound, most new players find the sound to be great.
- Durable construction
- Great sound
- It is affordable
- The mandolin has a solid feel
- This mandolin is fragile
How to find the best mandolin under $500 in 2022
Getting the best mandolin that comes at a low cost is not that easy, considering the high number of models available. You have to know the most important factors that you should pay attention to so that you can choose one that will give you value for your cash. Some of the factors include the following.
Mandolins come in different types. While some of them are electric, others are acoustic. The market also offers electric/acoustic mandolins. If you are inexperienced, you should choose an acoustic mandolin since it is the easiest to learn.
On the other hand, electric mandolins are designed for experienced musicians. These are better since they deliver a unique sound. An electric/ acoustic mandolin is suitable for a player that needs amplification.
Once you start searching for a budget-friendly mandolin, you will realize that they come in different body shapes. Most of them have either an F-style or A-style design. An A-style mandolin has an oval-shaped hole, while an F-style mandolin features a violin-style hole.
If you want a mandolin that you can play in a small room, you should go for one with an A-style design since it is likely to produce a mild tone. On the other hand, an F-style mandolin produces a more defined sound and is great for outdoor playing.
You can determine the quality of a mandolin by checking the materials it is made from. The best models are made from spruce, mahogany, or maple. You should also choose one that contains a rosewood fingerboard.
You should also look at the components that a mandolin comes with before making the purchase. Choose one that has useful components like an adjustable bridge, geared tuners, picks, and a hard case.
Pay attention to the quality of the finish of a mandolin and choose one that is durable. Rather than choosing a mandolin with a sprayed-on finish, you can go for one that features lacquer over stain since it is less likely to develop scratches. You can also choose a mandolin that comes in your favorite color.
Which brand should I get a mandolin from?
Consider some of the reputable brands known for producing quality mandolins, such as Kentucky and Seagull.
Can I replace the strings of a cheap mandolin?
Yes. These are easy to replace. You can make a cheap mandolin sound better by getting high-quality strings.
Is a mandolin easy to play?
Yes. You can learn this musical instrument after a few sessions of practice. It comes with minimal strings and is easy to play.
Start making music with this simple musical instrument. If you don’t want to spend so much on it, you can find the best mandolin under $500 in 2022. Pay attention to the models we have covered and do not overlook the highlighted factors.