6 Best Mandolins Under $1000 [2023]

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Trying to find the best mandolins under $1000? Want to buy a great mandolin but don’t have much money to spend?

The mandolin is a unique and beautiful instrument that is also a lot of fun to play. While it’s most well-known as one of the core instruments of bluegrass music, it’s had a place in a variety of other genres as well and is continuing to grow in popularity.

While we’ve listed some great beginner mandolins in the past, we’ve decided to take a look at a few more great mandolins for players in this article.

Below we’ll give you our list of the very best mandolins under $1000.

Best Mandolins Under $1000 – Quick View

ImageModelPrice
The Loar LM-520-VS Performer F-Style MandolinCheck Price on Amazon
Eastman MD315 Classic Finish F-style MandolinCheck Price on Amazon
Kentucky KM-256 Artist A-Model MandolinCheck Price on Amazon
Washburn Vintage Series M118SWK MandolinCheck Price on Amazon
Seagull S8 MandolinSeagull S8 Acoustic-Electric MandolinCheck Price on Amazon
Ibanez M522SBS F-Style MandolinCheck Price on Amazon

How Much Do Mandolins Usually Cost?

As with all musical instruments, there are a variety of price ranges that you’ll find when buying a mandolin. Mandolins can cost anywhere from $100 or less to thousands of dollars. While this isn’t an exact science, here are the prices that you can expect to see when buying a mandolin:

  • Beginner Mandolins: $100-$300
  • Intermediate Mandolins: $300-$1000
  • Professional Mandolins: $1000-$3000+

Generally speaking, the higher price you pay for a mandolin, the better quality, playability, and sound it will have. However, this isn’t always the case. Sometimes expensive mandolins will offer disappointing quality and sometimes cheaper mandolins will be impressively built and will sound great.

What Affects the Price of a Mandolin?

Mandolins will typically be more expensive than guitars of comparable quality. However, much of what makes a mandolin expensive doesn’t necessarily relate to how it sounds or plays.

One of the main factors that affect the cost of mandolins is the labor it takes to build them. Building mandolins will typically be very labor intensive. Because of the intricate and arched designs on mandolins, they can be difficult to make and the process can be time-consuming.

There are more things that can affect the cost of a mandolin as well. Here are some of the things that can affect the cost of a mandolin:

  • A-Style or F-Style: Although the sound will be the same, the F-style mandolin design is a bit more intricate, so these mandolins tend to cost a bit more than A-style mandolins.
  • Wood Materials: The materials and the specific tonewoods used on a mandolin can also affect the cost.
  • Acoustic or Acoustic-Electric: An acoustic-electric mandolin will typically be a bit more expensive than a comparable mandolin that doesn’t feature a built-in pickup.
  • Brand: The reputation of a mandolin brand will typically affect the price as well.

Top Mandolins For Less Than $1000 – REVIEWED

Are you ready to find a killer mandolin at a great price? Here’s our list of the best mandolins under $1000.

1. The Loar LM-520-VS Performer F-Style Mandolin

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Best Mandolins For Intermediate Players

The first mandolin on our list is The Loar LM-520-VS Performer F-Style Mandolin.

The sound of this mandolin is incredibly rich and features a crisp, punchy tone. The quality of this mandolin punches above its weight when considering its low price. The fretboard feels great on the fingers and the action allows the fingers to glide smoothly.

This is a solid hand-carved mandolin that features a fully graduated spruce top along with fully graduated solid maple sides and back. The instrument has a maple neck, a bound rosewood fretboard, and a compensated adjustable ebony bridge.

While this may be considered a low-end mandolin by more advanced players, it’s definitely a step up from the most budget-friendly mandolins that are out there.

Unfortunately, one drawback to this mandolin is that it doesn’t have a built-in pickup. The fit and finish of this mandolin are pretty impressive, but not the best that money can buy.

Overall, this is a pretty impressive mandolin that offers a lot of value to players.

2. Eastman MD315 Classic Finish F-style Mandolin

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Best Cheap Mandolin

The next mandolin on our list is the Eastman MD315 Classic Finish F-style Mandolin.

This is a great mandolin if you’re a beginner or intermediate player looking for a quality instrument. While some people consider this an entry-level mandolin, some would disagree as it’s definitely on the more professional level of those in that category. This instrument offers a lot of value for the money you’ll pay and is truly one of the best out there for under $1000.

This mandolin sounds, looks, feels and plays great. It’s a comfortable instrument that is easy to play.

The top wood is made from carved solid spruce while the back and sides of the mandolin are carved solid maple. This instrument has a classic finish with satin lacquer. The instrument has an amazing satin finish.

This Eastman mandolin doesn’t only look exceptional but has a pretty killer tone as well. The sound of the mandolin is crisp and bright.

Overall, this is a great mandolin that won’t steer any player wrong and simply sounds, looks, and feels great.

3. Kentucky KM-256 Artist A-Model Mandolin

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Best A-Style Mandolins

The Kentucky KM-256 Artist A-Model Mandolin is a great option for players looking for an A-Style mandolin under $1000.

The sound of this mandolin is incredibly clean and crisp and players will love the bright and punchy tone. For beginners and intermediates, this is a well-priced mandolin that offers a lot of value.

The maple neck of this instrument is slim and allows for easy comfort and playability. The mandolin’s choice East Indian rosewood fingerboard offers excellent playability.

This Kentucky mandolin has a solid carved Sitka spruce top along with solid carved maple back and sides. The instrument has a great vintage appearance due to the high-gloss transparent brown lacquer finish.

The intonation and action of this instrument are pretty impressive and will serve mandolinists well. Not only does this mandolin play and sound great, but it also has an impressive appearance.

Overall, this is a worthy mandolin that would not likely be returned after purchase.

4. Washburn Vintage Series M118SWK Mandolin

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Top Vintage Mandolins

The Washburn Vintage Series M118SWK Mandolin is the next mandolin on our list, and while it currently costs a little over $1,000 when buying new, it’s still well worth a look.

The mandolin features a florentine cutaway design, a distressed stained matte finish, and a solid spruce top. This Washburn mandolin has a great vintage aesthetic and a distressed look that players will love.

If you’re a fan of the mandolin’s unique history and love that vintage look, this mandolin may be for you. This instrument truly looks and feels like a mandolin from a bygone era.

The finish looks amazing but also enhances the tone of the wood as well. The tone of this instrument is pretty killer and it offers a rich maturity that offers a good balance of both highs and lows. The sound of this mandolin punches far above its weight and offers great value to players.

No matter the genre you’re interested in playing whether bluegrass, Celtic, classical, or country, this mandolin will serve you well.

Overall, this mandolin makes for a great option, especially for players who love the vintage look and feel.

5. Seagull S8 Acoustic-Electric Mandolin

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Seagull S8 Mandolin

The Seagull S8 Acoustic-Electric Mandolin is a unique mandolin instrument with a stylish design and an amazing sound. This mandolin features a solid Sitka spruce top and a great look overall.

These mandolins are made in North America and are crafted with quality in mind by a family-owned company. Owners of this mandolin are impressed by the playability and sound of this mandolin and it’s truly well above a beginner’s instrument when it comes to quality and craftsmanship.

If you’re looking for a well-made acoustic-electric mandolin with a beautiful look, be sure to consider the Seagull S8 for your purchase.

6. Ibanez M522SBS F-Style Mandolin

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Ibanez M522SBS F-Style Mandolin

The Ibanez M522SBS F-Style Mandolin is one of the more affordable mandolins under $1,000 but offers a great level of quality.

This sunburst mandolin features a mahogany neck, flamed maple back and sides, and a spruce top. The instrument also has gold die-cast tuners with Pearloid knobs.

Owners of this instrument are impressed with the quality of this affordable F-style mandolin. The mandolin offers great projection, a beautiful sound, and great playability. While it’s not the most impressively built mandolin that’s available, it’s definitely well above most beginner mandolins that are out there.

On the negative side, many reviewers have stated that this mandolin’s bridge needed a good bit of setup to start playing it. In particular, you may need to do a bit of work on the bridge and tailpiece cover to get the mandolin just right.

Overall, however, this is an impressive and affordable mandolin that’s sure to be a great choice if your budget is $1,000 or less.

Choosing the Perfect Mandolin for Your Needs

If you’re trying to find the best mandolins under $1000, this list will serve you well. You don’t have to spend an arm and a leg to find a great instrument that will serve you well on and off-stage or at jam sessions.

Trying to find a great bluegrass banjo instead? Click here to see our list of the very best banjos for beginners.