Common Questions Mandolins

How to Choose a Mandolin?

When buying a mandolin, there are three key elements you should consider.

Mandolin Style

Mandolins are available in A, F, and bowl-back styles.

F-style mandolins (sometimes referred to as Florentine mandolins) were invented by the Gibson Guitar Company. F-styles are the first choice for most bluegrass, country, and roots-music musicians.

A-style mandolins don’t offer the fancy scrolls and points found on F-style mandolins. This makes them somewhat easier to build - and therefore, they’re often less costly. A-style mandolins are popular with classical, folk, and Celtic musicians.

Bowl-back mandolins are popular with classical, Baroque, and renaissance musicians. Due to the volume of their bodies, bowl-backs usually produce a deeper, rounder tone than other mandolin types.

Mandolin Construction

Just like with other acoustic instruments, construction quality and materialss are important factors to consider when purchasing a mandolin.

The best mandolins are made with a solid top, back, and sides.


Tuning is an important factor when choosing a mandolin. The most popular mandolin tuning involves eight strings with four courses. The two adjacent strings are tuned in unison. Mandolins use the same standard tuning as a violin: G-D-A-E.

What Are the Best Mandolin Brands?

Some of the best mandolin brands based on overall quality and availability are: Eastman, Epiphone, Gibson, Godin, Ibanez, and Washburn.

Where to Buy a Mandolin?

At Cream City Music, we have a hand-selected collection of high quality mandolins at unbeatable prices, all backed by our signature 35-point inspection. We only sell the finest mandolins, so you know you’re getting great gear at an amazing price.

Our inventory of used gear is always growing - if you have a mandolin to add, we want to see it!

If you’re looking for something in particular, get in touch with our experts by filling out our gear finder form or giving us a call at 800-800-0087.