How much does a mandolin cost?

If you’re a beginner and want to play an instrument, a mandolin is a great option to start your musical journey. It’s a lightweight and compact instrument that you can easily carry and practice anywhere and isn’t difficult to learn. It also has fewer strings than the guitar, so it’s easy to read tablature.

But as a first-time player, you may be wondering how much a mandolin costs? A mandolin may cost as low as $100, while the most expensive can cost more than $10,000. So to buy a good quality mandolin, you should expect to pay at least $300, but this doesn’t mean that every $300 instrument is good quality. So it would be best if you were very careful when shopping for a mandolin.

You can find a good quality mandolin at almost every budget level. Mandolins are one of the most expensive instruments because of their car construction. Where an instrument like the acoustic guitar can be made using an automated machine, a good mandolin is usually hand-carved using a chisel. This labor-intensive process can easily double or triple the price of a comparable guitar. If you compare a $600 mandolin, it’s about the same quality range as a $300 acoustic guitar.

Mandolin type Style Price range
Irish music mandolin A-style $300 – $1000+
Bluegrass mandolin A-style $300 – $1000+
Classic music mandolin F-style $400 – $2000+

What to expect from different types of mandolin at different price points

$300 mandolin

At this price point, you should be looking for an A-style mandolin. The F-style mandolins are more expensive than an A-style, so a $300 F-style mandolin will not be of acceptable quality. You should also choose the right model A since many $300 instruments lack quality. Look for a mandolin with an all-solid wood top that preferably has been hand-curved, and doesn’t forget to look for brand tuners with a good reputation. Although it’s not common, you can look for an instrument with a lifetime warranty. A mandolin in this price range will mean that some corners have been cut, but the most important features that are crucial to the tone or playability of the mandolin are included.

$500 mandolin

A mandolin at this price range has much better features, including all solid wood top, better quality tuners, nicer woods, ebony fingerboards, inlays, etc. the F-style mandolins can be found at this price range.

$700 mandolin

At this price range, you’ll get improved workmanship, better woods, and more aesthetic touches. You may also see flamed maple wood, elaborate inlays, and even some gold hardware. Mandolins at this price range are of pretty good quality, and professionals can use instruments in this price range.

$1000 mandolins

Instruments at this price range are of very high quality, and you can use the mandolins for recording at home on stages. Generally an instrument you can be proud of owning.

Above $1000

These are top-quality mandolins you’ll find in high-end online or local stores. They’re excellent instruments you’ll find being used by trainers in music schools and are mostly used in concert halls and on stages. Most mandolins in this price range are designed with much higher grade solid woods like mahogany and spruce, perfect finish, and big names on the headstock. And most of them are F-style mandolins.

Purchasing the right mandolin

The style of music you choose to learn will affect some aspects of the mandolin you choose to buy. Although you can play any genre of music on the mandolin, some of the designs are specific to certain music genres. For example, if you want to play bluegrass music, you’ll want to buy the F-style or A-style mandolin. The F style has a swoopy curl at the top near the neck, while the A style has a more tear-drop shape. However, if you want to play European folk or classical music, an A-style mandolin with a bowl-backed shape is a good option.

Final thoughts

Now that you know how much most mandolins should cost, you can make an informed decision on which is the best mandolin to buy. And since we all have different purchasing powers, it will come at a price if you want quality.


Why are Gibson mandolins expensive?

Mandolins require a more involving process because they have to be arched. In addition, arching an instrument requires more work since its hand-carved, which can increase the prices.

Why are mandolins more expensive than guitars?

Mandolins are harder to make since they’re made from maple, which is very brittle wood and not easy to bend at the tight radii needed for the mandolin sides, and they also have arched tops.

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