The 6 Best Mandolins

Updated February 24, 2017 by Steven John

Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
It's no surprise that these instruments have stood the test of time, remaining as popular with many moderns musicians today as they were when first developed in 17th century Italy. We ranked the choices on our list based on quality of materials, design precision, and, of course, on their ability to deliver dulcet notes. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best mandolin on Amazon.

6. Morgan Monroe RTFM1 Rocky Top

The Morgan Monroe RTFM1 Rocky Top is designed to be played in the classic F-style, and is a fine choice for the instrumentalist of moderate experience. It has a fully-bound top neck and headstock, and the durable black pick guard is quite forgiving.
  • etched chrome tailpiece
  • backed by 10-year warranty
  • comes with poor-quality tuning keys
Brand Morgan Monroe
Model RT-FM1
Weight 3.1 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

5. Z ZTDM Deluxe A Style

The Z ZTDM Deluxe A Style has twenty nickel-silver bordered frets that require pleasantly little pressure to play each note. Some musicians find those notes to be too thin and often off pitch, however, with frequent retuning required.
  • adjustable compensated bridge
  • great low price point
  • made from sub-par materials
Brand Z ZTDM
Model MU-Dreammall-1100124
Weight 3 pounds
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

4. Washburn M3SWK

The Washburn M3SWK is a gorgeous piece of craftsmanship thanks to its sunburst design and handsome high-shine hardware. It is, unfortunately, quite susceptible to scratches and chips that reduce its aesthetic appeal over time.
  • volume control knobs on face
  • comes wth strap and pitch pipe
  • some units arrive without pick guard
Brand Washburn
Model M3EK
Weight 7.4 pounds
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

3. Pyle PBJ20 Mandolin-Banjo Hybrid

This unique Pyle PBJ20 Mandolin-Banjo Hybrid produces the distinct twanging notes of a banjo, yet its string arrangement and tuning are that of a standard mandolin. It allows a musician to cross over from traditional chamber music to the lively strains of bluegrass.
  • movable bridge stand
  • white jade machine tuner pegs
  • universal adjustable truss rod
Brand Pyle
Model PBJ20
Weight 4 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

2. Rogue RM-100A A-Style

The Rogue RM-100A A-Style is one of the most affordably-priced mandolins available that is nonetheless an admirable instrument. It features a variety of different woods, including a maple neck and a fingerboard and bridge made from rosewood.
  • chrome tuning pegs
  • high-gloss finish exterior
  • great reviews from musicians
Brand Rogue
Model SO-069-RM100A-SN
Weight 2.9 pounds
Rating 5.0 / 5.0

1. Gretsch G9350 Park Avenue

The Gretsch G9350 Park Avenue is a concert-ready instrument that produces rich, clear notes able to fill a room without additional amplification needed, though this acoustic-electric unit can be connected to an amp if desired.
  • fishman m300 pickup
  • excellent bass notes
  • lovely weight and balance
Brand Gretsch
Model 2718050500
Weight 5 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

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Last updated on February 24, 2017 by Steven John

When not writing or spending time with his family, Steven tries to squeeze in some mountain climbing. In addition to writing for several websites and journals, Steven has published multiple novels.

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