The Best Mandolins Under $300 – Comprehensive Buying Guide

Even though mandolins can be pretty expensive, many brands and models prove somewhat affordable and provide good quality sound. So if you are looking to purchase one under $300, you came to the right place.

There are many types of mandolins, and they present different characteristics and designs. However, the central constant aspect between all types is producing a distinct sound that adds incredible depth to your music. Unfortunately, their diversity in characteristics translates to the same price, and getting a good quality mandolin frequently means loads of money. However, it is possible to get a good quality mandolin for less than $300. We compiled a list of a couple and reviewed them below.

The Best Mandolins under $300 Comparison Table

Mandolin Model Style/ Type Special Feature Check on Amazon
Loar Honey Creek LM-110-BRB Mandolin A-styleHand carved topSee Price Here
Savannah SF-100 Mandolin F-styleExtended fingerboardSee Price Here
Dean Bluegrass Vintage Mandolin F-styleGold and pearloid hardwareSee Price Here
Washburn Americana M1SD Mandolin A-styleGold hardwareSee Price Here
Ortega Guitars 8-string Mandolin RMA5VSA-style2-way adjustable truss rodSee Price Here

The Best Mandolins Under $300 Products Review

Loar Honey Creek LM-110-BRB MandolinBoasts a hand-carved solid spruce top.

A favorite among beginners and professionals, this mandolin makes an incredible acquisition for people who like to like a quality instrument that does not demand too much money to purchase.

Key features

  • A-style mandolin
  • Hand-carved spruce top
  • Maple wood neck
  • Bronze strings
  • Solid-body

One of the features of this mandolin that stands out the most is that it is made using solid Sitka Spruce that is hand-carved. Most mandolins come with laminate bodies, and the bulk of them are hollow. The fact that this one is made using solid wood and is slid through sets it apart from many others.

Because of the type of wood used and the type of body, this mandolin produces some incredible sounds that carry loads of depth. It also presents excellent resonance so that the sound produced is clear and loud enough to be heard even with many loud instruments.

Apart from being solid, the body is also made to be easy to hold and, therefore, easy to play with. This is why it is preferred mainly by beginners learning the motions that come with playing the mandolin. The neck, made with maple wood, also presents a slim profile, making playability pretty easy and great for learners.

Apart from producing beautiful sounds, this mandolin is also a beautiful piece described as timeless and elegant and stands out with its simplicity and classic look. However, one of the main downsides is that it does not come with a hard case, and you would have to purchase one separately.

Pros

  • Made using solid Sitka spruce
  • Its body is handcrafted
  • Produces deep and resonant sound
  • It proves easy to hold and play
  • It is beautiful

Cons

  • It does not come with its hard case

Verdict

If you have an eye for elegance and are just starting your mandolin playing journey, you might want to grab this instrument. It presents a good deal of characteristics that would ideally be impossible to find at its price range.

 

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Savannah SF-100 MandolinIt is fitted with an extended fingerboard

The sturdiness of this mandolin, combined with its beauty, makes it an incredible instrument for beginners and pros who are looking for reliability and great sound.

Key features

  • F-style mandolin
  • It comes with an extended 24-fret fingerboard
  • The top is made of spruce
  • Back is made using mahogany
  • Ideal for pros and beginners

Much like the previous model, this one is made to deliver incredible sound. Seeing as it is an F-style mandolin, it provides sounds that are deeper, more defined, and fuller, allowing it to fit into a performance with many other loud instruments.

The top of the mandolin is made using Sitka spruce that is incredible for depth and resonance. Additionally, mahogany presents a good deal of resonance. When the two materials work together, you end up with both depth and loudness that add to the overall quality of the music being played.

Apart from the incredible sound, this mandolin is put together to be a sturdy instrument that can handle a good deal of pressure. This means that you do not have to worry about playing it for extended periods. It promises longevity which, in turn, gives you good value for your money. The mandolin is also pretty affordable, ensuring that you enjoy good music at a considerably low price.

Even though it is pretty affordable, it does not come with its case, meaning you have to spend a little extra for it.

Pros

  • Delivers lots of depth and resonance
  • Presents high-quality build for longevity
  • Ideal for both beginners and pros
  • Very affordable
  • It has an extended fretboard

Cons

  • It does not come with its hard case

Verdict

If you are looking for excellent quality sound that carries depth and resonance, this mandolin will make a great match because it combines F-style and the ideal type of wood for the same.

 

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Dean Bluegrass Vintage MandolinPresents gold and Pearloid hardware.

The classic look on this mandolin gives it a brilliant elegance that sets it apart from many F-style mandolins of the same caliber. Additionally, it allows you to achieve depth and resonance with ease.

Key features

  • F-style mandolin
  • It has a spruce top
  • Rosewood fretboard
  • Maple body
  • Gold and Pearloid hardware

One of my favorite things about this mandolin is how beautiful and elegant it looks. Its manufacturers made sure to give it a classic look that sets it apart from regular F-style mandolins. It also makes an excellent acquisition for persons looking for deep tones and earthy sounds in their music.

Most significant parts of this mandolin are made using different types of wood, and each one presents a unique characteristic. For example, the top is made using Sitka spruce that is known to deliver deep tones, allowing the mandolin to stand out when it is played. On the other hand, Maple has an incredible resonance that projects the deep tones farther and better. In addition, this wood produces bright sounds that combine with depth to make a beautiful tone.

The fretboard is made of rosewood, a luxurious type of solid hardwood that proves excellent for string instruments and has an incredible strength that allows for longevity. To give it that beautiful and elegant finish, the top is lined with a gold and Pearloid finish that creates a vintage feel.

Another interesting characteristic of this mandolin is that it is pretty light. It weighs just 3.3 lbs. (1.5 kgs), making it pretty easy to hold and easy to play, especially for just starting people. Apart from good playability, this characteristic also shows that you carry it about with you without much fuss.

Even at its lightweight, the build on this mandolin is pretty sturdy, allowing you to enjoy longevity and good value for money.

Pros

  • Delivers loads of depth and resonance
  • It has a beautiful build and finishes
  • It is pretty sturdy
  • Very affordable

Cons

  • It does not come with its own case

Verdict

This mandolin combines both class and performance to set it well above many other mandolins in its caliber. In addition, the build and sound quality are well thought out, allowing you to enjoy using it for a good amount of time, a characteristic that translates to value for money.

 

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Washburn Americana M1SD MandolinPresents beautiful gold hardware.

The black glossy finish gives this mandolin a beautiful dreamy look, mainly observed in many acoustic and electric guitars, which make for an elegant look coupled with the gold hardware.

Key features

  • Carved solid Sitka spruce top
  • A-style mandolin
  • Oval soundhole
  • Gold hardware
  • Maple back and sides

Unlike many mandolins of its caliber that are oftentimes built using laminate wood, the Washburn Americana M1SD Mandolin’s top is constructed using solid Sitka spruce wood. This gives the mandolin an incredible amount of depth and earthiness when the strings are plucked. In addition, solid spruce is also known to produce resonance that projects the sound farther.

The sides are made using maple wood which is also incredible for sound and delivers more sharpness and resonance, creating an all-around effect. This mandolin also comes with an oval soundhole that enhances the sound it produces and adds to its unique physique.

This mandolin also boasts gold hardware which is made more beautiful by the shiny black background on the instrument. This effect combines vintage and modern look that allows the instrument to look timeless. In addition, the frame of this mandolin is pretty compact, making it easy to hold and easy to play.

Pros

  • It has a beautiful look
  • It comes in beautiful tones
  • Small and easy to hold
  • Has a strong and sturdy build

Cons

  • It does not come with its own case

Verdict

If you are looking to make a statement with the look of your mandolin, you might want to pick this one. Seeing as it also produces incredible sounds, you end up with a win-win situation.

 

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Ortega Guitars 8-string Mandolin RMA5VSComes with a 2-way adjustable truss rod.

This mandolin presents a beautiful look that is facilitated by its vintage look and glossy finish, and it also comes with soft and warm sounds that also present impressive crisp and clarity.

Key features

  • A-style mandolin
  • It has a mahogany top, back, and neck
  • Vintage look
  • Bronze strings

When you play this mandolin, you will notice that its tone carries a lot of warmth but a good deal of brightness and clarity to the sound. This characteristic is made possible by the fact that it is an A-style mandolin made mostly of mahogany and comes with f-holes on its top surface.

There are 20 frets on the fingerboard that allow you loads of room to experiment, especially when you are learning to play. The neck is also pretty slender, making sure that you can play without worrying much since it is easy to hold.

When it comes to building, this mandolin presents a good deal of strength, allowing it to take on a lot of pressure. This way, you can be sure it will last a long time.

Pros

  • Produces warm crisp tones
  • Has 20 frets
  • It has a beautiful vintage look
  • String and sturdy build

Cons

  • Some people have found it a little difficult to master

Verdict

With its warmer and clearer sounds, this mandolin is bound to give you a different feel altogether. The look on it and the friendly price make great added advantages.

 

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Buying a Mandolin under $300 – What to look out for

Style

There are different mandolin styles, and your choice of one is crucial as it affects the kind of sounds you are going to achieve. For example, A-style mandolins are sharper and clearer, while F-style mandolins present more depth.

Build quality

Make sure that you go for a properly constructed mandolin, especially if you intend to put in long hours over extended periods of time. This way, you can be sure your mandolin will last you a long time before needing replacement.

Price

Mandolins, even those under $300, may not live up to their caliber or price range. However, keep in mind that it is possible to find good quality even at very low prices.

Final Verdict

Finding a good quality mandolin that is affordable can be a tricky affair. Most times, you may have to compromise on a particular feature so that you end up taking something home. However, with a good level of search, you can be sure to find something under the $300 cap that will perform beyond your expectations. Happy hunting!

Michael Gray is a Virtuoso by profession and has wowed many with his instrument playing skills. He is well versed in playing various musical instruments thus the need to share some of the knowledge. Individuals looking to get into music tend to have a hard time finding the perfect instrument for the type of genre that they play. But with the resources compiled at Mandolin Expert, Michael believes that finding the right equipment that fits an individual’s style of play and complements their music will be easier. Michael Gray is a Trainer and a Virtuoso and he also loves to teach music in schools.

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