Best Mandolin for the money in 2020 – Review with an eye of detail

Best Mandolin for the money in 2020 – Review with an eye of detail

If you have ever heard any bluegrass or country music, you may know about mandolins. While the mandolin isn’t as famous as the guitar, but it generates a unique sound, which is mixed with notes from other instruments. 

Mandolins are a decent way to carry a bit of classical to your music. It is one of the most traditional fretted instruments that is being used in the US. 

The mandolin is a stringed instrument in the lute family. The descendants of the lute family, the different mandolin types are mainly outgrowths of the Neapolitan mandolin, which was in Naples during the 18th century.  The present mandolin is the bigger version of an early Italian instrument called a mandolina, which showed up between the 17th to 18th century. 

Mandolin is a small, short-necked lute with 8 strings. Mandolin generates its sound through the vibrations of the strings. However, choosing the best mandolin for the money can be a challenging task. 

Mandolins are instruments that aren’t regular to see in the present. However, they are an incredible way to generate an interesting sound to your music. 

If you are a mandolin player or if you have interests in the best mandolin for the money, then you have come the right place! 

Best Mandolin for the money

 For the people who are new to the mandolin or want to know how to play it, a mandolin is a little lute-like instrument that is peer-formed that has four sets of metal strings. And it generates a great sound. Some people call it “a small guitar”. 

The sets of strings on the Mandolin are known as courses. Each course delivers a similar pitch, not the same as the other three. As in a violin, the pitches range is from low to high, such as G, D, A, and E. When a course is played, it makes a solid repetition of the same pitch that results in an interesting musical impact. 

The mandolin had created and turned into a significant and famous acoustic instrument for many musicians. It later got famous in Europe and the United States for the creation of a few hit music songs.

Top 10 Mandolin Reviews

Before you proceed to buy your best mandolin, ensure that you have a basic idea of what you are searching for in your mandolin. We have another blog about the mandolins, which is enough to give you the basic idea about the details of the best mandolin for the money

Now if you made up your mind about buying a mandolin, then here is our review about 10 best mandolins for the money with our top picks. 


Vangoa’s A Style Acoustic Electric Mandolin

The deep colors and polished finish make Vangoa’s A Style Acoustic Electric Mandolin a premium piece.

If the looks of a mandolin can make you play, then Vangoa A Style electric mandolin has it covered. The shining finish with the chrome knobs looks useful for a beginner item. 

The Vangoa features similar accessories as the Donner A Style, which makes it something you can choose and play out of the box. 

You will get the option of playing the Vangoa either plugged in or acoustically, which allows you to explore different sounds. The plug-in options make this one of the best cheap mandolins to play at the full-scale venue in future. Vangoa has managed to enter a market in which it has little knowledge and build up a product of high caliber at a reasonable price. 


Best mandolin brands




  • It is designed elegantly in a glossy red sunburst polish.
  • It includes a mahogany body and chrome-plated gear tunes.
  • It comes with guitar picks, digital clip-on tuners, extra strings etc.
  • It features an adjustable truss rod inside its neck that makes the balance of its strings more comfortable and keeps the mandolin in tune.
  • Vangoa is one of the best mandolins for the money



  • People have issues with two low strings (G and D) and the two higher strings (A and E).  

Donner DML-1 A-Style Mandolin


The Donner DML-1 is a traditional A-style mandolin with old-time f-shape sound holes. This mandolin will be easier to play for beginners. Due to its mahogany body, the Donner DML-1 generates a warm and lively sound that projects fine through the sound gaps. 

This mandolin has a solid form and a wonderful sunburst finish in mixture with the white binding and chrome tuner that gives it a stunning display. 

If you buy the DML-1, you will get a few complimentary accessories including a gig pack, picks, a tuner, additional strings and a cleaning cloth to keep up the presence of your mandolin. If you are a beginner, these accessories are extremely valuable. 


Best mandolins for the money


  • Good value for money.
  • It comes with many convenient accessories.
  • High-quality strings.
  • It features an electric tuner to help you find the right pitch.
  • Attractive appearance.


  • People face trouble staying in tune

Ibanez M510DVS Mandolin (Dark Violin Sunburst)


The Ibanez M510DVS would be an interesting buy. The beneficial thing about this mandolin is construct quality. 

The mandolin doesn’t generate the sound quality compared to the other mandolin brands, but it has high-quality construction.

Most people in the Ibanez find the string issue and have come up with a solution. They purchase Ibanez for the unit quality itself and afterwards, replace the strings. The outcome is a better sound and something that the company ought to consider doing straight out of the box. 

However, Ibanez is still a good mandolin to purchase. You wouldn’t purchase it if you were sure that you would still be playing the mandolin for years.  



What is the best mandolin for the money 


  • High-quality construction.
  • It provides decent sound quality and projection.
  • Extensive aesthetic look.
  • The pickguard protects the soundboard.
  • A balance between affordability and quality. 


  • The top is not made of stable spruce.
  • You may have to replace the strings. 

Hola! Music A Style Mandolin

If you are looking for a cheap mandolin for beginners, the Hola! Music HM-3TS would be one of the best mandolins for the money. This classic A-style mandolin features a shiny finish and has eight strings similar to a traditional mandolin. 

Even if this mandolin comes at a reasonable price, its craftsmanship qualifies it as a better model. The sides, back, neck, and top are built of maple wood and material delivering a splendid as well as excellent sound. 

The rosewood bridge is excusing for beginners and can be balanced as well. The smooth activity is ensured to assist you with learning the mandolin. The truss rod is installed in the neck that is movable and the manufacturer supplies the wrench you require for playing out. The pickguard is made using dark ABS while the bindings around the head, neck, and body are produced using white ABS.


best mandolin for the money


  • All-maple build.  
  • The flexible bridge and truss rod will let you tweak the action at home.  
  • Built-in strap pin.  
  • Great value for craftsmanship.
  • Built-in pickguard limits damage to the finish. 


  • No included accessories.  
  • It doesn’t project higher-end instruments. 

Ibanez M510E Acoustic-Electric Mandolin (Open Pore Vintage Sunburst)

The Ibanez M510E A-style Acoustic-Electric Mandolin has a special and fresh sound that projects very well whether it’s played acoustically or by the single-coil magnetic pickup. 

Because of its convenient maple neck and rosewood fretboard, this electric mandolin is easy to play. The A-Style body is one of the best mandolins for the money that delivers a satisfying acoustic tone.

The M510E’s magnetic pickup produces genuine mandolin sound without batteries and is balanced by the onboard passive volume as well as tone controls for plugged-in performance. 



Best mandolins for the money


  • Great shape, mahogany back and sides. 
  • One of the best mandolins under $300. 
  • The Ibanez provides a good tone and stays in tune. 
  • Decent pickup.


  • People often find the electric pickups very weak.

Ibanez M522SBS F-Style Mandolin (Brown Sunburst High Gloss)


If you have tried a banjo from Ibanez, then you would know what to expect from this mandolin in terms of quality. This mandolin is solidly constructed, looks brilliant. 

The mandolin generates great sound and it is extremely loud also. If you have a good background with guitars, then you will love this Ibanez mandolin. 

This elegant 8-string bluegrass machine is one of the best mandolins under $500, which is prepared to hit up the jams out of the box. This F-style Ibanez mandolin comes with a strong spruce top and a flamed maple body for fresh and striking tones.

The mahogany neck, the rosewood bridge and the fretboard offer sustaining tone while the gold tuners keep the mandolin holding the notes in the key. With a high gloss finish, the Ibanez M522SBS F-Style Mandolin stands out in a striking style.


Best mandolins for the money


  • Stylish look with flamed maple back and sides.  
  • All-wood construction is high-quality and durable
  • The bridge allows you to adjust the height of the strings.  
  • You can choose the level that suits your playing best that makes it easier to play. 


  • It needs a good set-up by a professional.  

Kentucky KM-150 Standard A-model Mandolin


Kentucky KM-150 Standard A-model Mandolin is one of the best mandolins for the money. Kentucky KM-150 Standard A-model Mandolin is not from a cheap brand at all. This brand offers an incentive to everyone who is searching for a less expensive mandolin with a traditional tone. 

The primary thing about this mandolin is that it’s available in both solid-top and all-solid design. The solid top model is about $100 less, but it will worth your penny. The more you play this mandolin, the sound will be better.

An essential thing about this mandolin is that it has a slimmer neck than the Loar, which is its main competitor. If you have very large hands you might enjoy playing it. 

The hardware on this Kentucky KM-150 is excellent considering the price. You won’t need to worry about having a great deal of tuning issues since it has an offset bridge you will be able to set it up to have sound as good as the other fretted instrument. You may like that there is no fretboard extension. The Kentucky KM-150 also has a truss rod, which is standard at a mandolin in this price range. The bound fretboard is decent as well.  

The Kentucky KM-150 is a great mandolin, especially for beginners. While not having very much volume as The Loar, the brand is known to have better quality control over The Loar. This mandolin is less expensive and if you are on a budget, The Kentucky KM-150 would be one of the best mandolins to buy. 


Best mandolin under 500


  • High-quality woods and high-gloss finish.
  • It’s functional with every feature and element designed for best playability.
  • It comes to you already shop adjusted. So, you can start playing the mandolin right out of the box.
  • The durability and ease of use make it an excellent mandolin for beginners. 



  • It doesn’t come with a hard case. So, you will have to buy the case separately. And that can be expensive.
  • The floating bridge on this mandolin can be hard to set-up precisely. Kentucky recommends visiting a shop if you are worried about fixing the floating bridge.  

Stagg M50E Acoustic-Electric Bluegrass Mandolin


Stagg M50E Acoustic-Electric Bluegrass Mandolin includes Nato sides that are back and neck with Rosewood fretboard. It has an elegant look due to f its red burst finish with high gloss. The pearl dot inlays improve its look by including modern touch. 

Stagg M50E features a flexible black Maple bridge that permits you to control the sound. The headstock has 8 open geared nickel tuners that give precise and defined tuning. You will get excellent frequency effect and clear sound.

This mandolin generates a fresh, sweet and deep sound. Stagg M50E offers decent playability and incredible tone that is a vital feature of the best mandolin. This mandolin is a bluegrass electro-acoustic that will bring life to music. You can also use it for a wide range of musical genres.

Stagg M50E Acoustic-Electric Bluegrass Mandolin features 2 knobs, one is for volume and the other is for tone. The single picks up coil generates a brilliant tone. The F-Hole design is incredible for remarkable sound projection. The tailpiece of the Stagg M50E mandolin has an engraved design that makes it a vintage and authentic look. 

The Stagg M50 E Acoustic Mandolin is a good choice for playing in every event. 


Best mandolin under 300



  • High-quality body material 
  • It offers beautiful tones, durability, and playability.
  • It can be used for different musical genres and playing styles.
  • Besides versatility, it provides you with many practice sessions.
  • It features nato and rosewood for its different parts, as well as open-gear nickel machine heads.
  • The red burst finish will make your performance with visuals. 
  • Available in an acoustic version.
  • The black-stained maple bridge can be set so to adjust the sound whenever needed. 



  • The strings might not be as durable as expected.

Rogue RM-100A A-Style Mandolin


The cheap mandolins are a great way to decide an instrument to buy. The worst mandolins lack the basic tonal qualities of a custom mandolin, but they can be set up to play. If you are not ready to spend much on a mandolin, this Rogue is one of the better options available. 

 The features are fine according to the price. It’s completely covered wood. It’s made with unknown generic tuners while the bridge is compensated, which ensures better intonation over a non-compensated bridge. 

The main thing about this mandolin is it doesn’t come with additional items like a tuner or picks. This is normal at this price, but if you want a big pack or a couple of picks, it would cost you more than $20. 

The sound of the Rogue isn’t unique, but to the inexperienced player, it will sound great according to the price. It does not have a high gloss finish, but it will sound like a good learning instrument. 

This cheap mandolin comes with high-quality control. Considering the price, Rogue RM-100A can be the best mandolin for the money. If you are an experienced player, you might want much higher-end mandolin. 


Best mandolin on a budget 


  • It offers decent quality considering the price.
  • It allows trying out the mandolin without investing too much while you can always upgrade later.
  • Perfect training instrument.
  • Strong construction. 



  • Fragile.
  • Bad strings. 

Seagull S8 Mandolin SG


The Seagull S8 Mandolin SG is one of the best mandolins for the money in terms of uniqueness. It is made well to make it delightful to play. This mandolin gives perhaps the best sound available. The players can find its full degree by trying it. This mandolin is remarkable and most parts of this mandolin are made by hand that gives it a sturdy and great vibe. The fingerboard feels great as it is made of rosewood. 

It is perfect for players who need to travel and perform. You won’t need another mandolin once you have tried this. The main issue is the price. 



best mandolin for the money


  • High-quality mandolin.
  • Great sound quality.
  • Sturdy construction.  


  • Might take some time to settle in. 
  • A bit expensive. 

What should you look for buying the best mandolin for the money?


Before you buy your best mandolin brands, ensure that you have a basic idea of what you are searching for in your new instrument. Then you can compare between mandolin brands to realize what will be the best mandolin for the money.

Most people search for the best mandolin for money available that is hand-carved and resonates. On the other hand, if you are a beginner then you might be searching for a mandolin for the money that is less expensive. It will get you through learning the instrument as well. 

Now, if you are going to buy your first mandolin or if you are a guitarist looking to add new sounds to your collection, what to look for while buying the best mandolin for the money

What is the best mandolin for the money

 We have the solution for the best mandolin for your money and what you need to look for. By going through more than 100 best mandolins reviews, we can assist you with finding the best mandolin for the money that suits your style and budget. 

So what should you search for while buying the best mandolin on a budget? We have gathered some FAQs that will assist you with narrowing down your options. There are a large number of mandolin varieties and we can just cover a few here. However, if we consider these facts which are given below, that will help you to get your best mandolin for the money.

Body Style

Most available acoustic mandolins can be categorized as A-style or F-style. These styles were made by Gibson, one of the best mandolin brands. With a multi-piece bowl-shaped back and flat canted top, Gibson made mandolins that drew influence from violins, which include arched tops and backs. The Gibson’s two mandolin styles, the A-style id featured a balanced teardrop body.

On the other hand, the F-style features a brightening look on the upper bass side round and different points to hold out of the body. These mandolins were well known and most mandolins created today are designed according to these two styles. 

Also, don’t forget to see our post on mandolin vs banjo.

So how body style influences the sound of the best mandolin?

Most mandolin players will agree that the quality of tone wood, craftsmanship, and sound hole type influence an instrument’s sound. If you want a mandolin under 500, you will find A-style mandolins are more affordable than F-style mandolins compared to quality due to additional work required to make the scroll and points.

There are some other mandolin body styles out there including guitar-shaped bodies, modern bowl back mandolins and double-cutaway style. However, most acoustic mandolins you see will be either A-style or F-style mandolins.  


Best mandolins for the money

Sound holes

Based on sound holes, best mandolin brands fall into two groups: those with f-holes similar to a violin and those with round sound holes like a guitar. The f-holes give a bright and clear tone while round sound holes give warm and sustaining tone. The outcomes will vary from instrument to instrument, based on tone woods and other construction features.

Mandolins with f-holes are stronger than round sound hole mandolins. If you play in acoustic like a bluegrass jam where you have to play with a banjo, the f-holes mandolins would be the best mandolin for the money.

Due to these differences, the bluegrass players will prefer f-holes mandolins while the people who play old-time music tend to prefer round sound holes. So the type of sound hole is a significant consideration, but don’t be hesitant to try both types of mandolins to know the sound you prefer.

Tone woods

Mandolins feature a couple of tone woods. The back and sides are produced using maple that is valued for its purity. The regular wood for the top of the instrument is spruce. However, the variety of spruce can affect the sound of a mandolin. 

The Sitka spruce is the most well-known that gives a clear and balanced tone to hold its focus at loud volumes. Engelmann spruce offers a warmer and complex tone that reacts well to a lighter touch.

Adirondack spruce was the most recognized top wood but hard to find for a long time. It is available tone wood that offers a clear and engaged tone that stands up to heavy playing.  

The Red cedar is often used for tops to give the mandolin a warm and passionate sound. The backs and sides are often made with mahogany to give a woody tone. 

The instruments made of strong wood are more attractive than the instruments built using laminated wood. The strong tops and backs can either be carved into an arch shape as well. 


If you play at home or in acoustic jam sessions, you may not need a pickup. If you play in medium to huge venues, you need to see some pickup options. A few mandolins come with a construction installed pickup system.

However, there are a lot of aftermarket pickups that work well indeed. Many pickups need to be installed under the bridge since we advise you to install professionally.

Some mandolin pickups are passive instead of the active pickups found on numerous acoustic guitars. The essential thing you have to know is that active pickups use a power source that is generally a 9V battery to help the instrument output.

On the other hand, passive pickups give a less powerful signal. So you might want to buy a mandolin for the money that features a decent preamp to help your signal. 

Besides, another option can be a solid electric mandolin. These are excellent for playing noisy clubs, using electric guitar-style impacts pedals or different places where feedback matters. However, if you carry them to an open-air jam, you will need a battery-powered amplifier.

These guidelines will provide you with some guidance while looking for the best mandolin for the money. If you have the chance, try a lot of instruments and see what suits your taste. There is a lot of best mandolins out there.

Find the best mandolin reviews (as we have mentioned below) to find one according to your budget and taste. As you progress, you might find another mandolin that better suits your way.

Also, don’t forget to see our post on how hard to learn mandolin.

Best mandolin on a budget

Types of Mandolins

Bluegrass Mandolin

The Bluegrass mandolin is based on two Gibson models introduced around the 19th century. Gibson sales representatives promoted mandolin brands that consisted of mandolin, mandola, mandocello and the mandobass. The two principal mandolin models were the A style and the F style. The A style is a teardrop-shaped and the F style has the extra scroll and points. These mandolin body shapes are available with oval or F sound holes. 

There are 2 kinds of bluegrass mandolins: 

  • F-Style: They are the standard bluegrass mandolin that is very costly. 
  • A-Style: These are used in folk and Celtic music. They are less pricey.  


F-Style Mandolin 

The old design is the F-style body with its elegant hand-carved scroll. It takes a skilled and reliable woodworker to make and attach this compact design. The scroll joins the top of the mandolin and in a hand-carved swallowtail.

Generally, the F-style has a wing on the opposite side of the scroll and a point at the lower bout to make it accessible to grip. The F-style body is known for its punchy volume often considered as chop.

The F-style is created by Gibson master luthier Lloyd Loar regarded to be the Holy made it famous. Later it is valued by young players like Nickel Creek and Punch Brothers’ virtuoso Thile, who allegedly plunked down $200,000 for a Loar-signed 1924 model. The advanced brand is recognised as The Loar that makes both A and F-style mandolins. They say its instruments are inspired by Lloyd Loar’s legacy.   

Most F-style models have body points on the deeper side of the instrument, which impact the tone and gives a convenient resting point on the player’s thigh. Some old luthiers and mandolin manufacturers have made branches that use few features from the original F-style models, though they have added their modern touches.

The Epiphone’s MM50E Professional model brings from the legacy of its corporate owner with classic F-hole styling while adding latest gadgets and a favorable price point. Most bluegrass players approach toward the F-style. 


Best mandolin brands

A-Style Mandolin

A less complicated pear-shaped design is known as an A-style body. It is usually more affordable as it uses less woodworking skills. The body brings more smooth and well-balanced sound.

This is to define tear-shaped and oval-bodied mandolins, which don’t fall under the F-style or bowl-back groups. The term came out of Gibson’s A-type mandolins built in the early 20s. Many have carved tops and backs with the back in few for being shaped like a violin. Though, A-style mandolins with arched backs are often described as having flat backs to depart them from bowl-back mandolins.

Some A-style models have more guitar-like profiles these days. Because they lack the ornate scrolls and points found on F-style mandolins, they are easier to produce and are often less expensive. A-style models tend to be popular with the classical, folk, and Celtic artists. 

Both A and F-style mandolins can be seen with F or oval sound holes. The Kentucky KM950 is an A-style with F-holes, while the F-style Eastman MD814 and Breedlove Premier Series Fo both have oval sound holes.

Whether A style or F style, these Bluegrass mandolins have a flat back and their production costs lower than a classical bowl-back mandolin. The distinction between A-style and F-style models is exquisite. These both types generate a similar and sound same. However, the F-style mandolin has more decorations especially the scroll on op left side that increases its price. 

To be honest, you won’t see bluegrass mandolin players playing an A-style mandolin.  

Classical Mandolin 

The classical mandolins are also known as bowl-back mandolin. The classic mandolins are used in the old style or classical music and traditional world music.

These mandolins follow their Italian ancestors just as traditional lutes with their rounded backs. They are still known as Neapolitan mandolins due to the kinship with their Italian forerunners. You might see them considered by the more country term “tater bugs.”

The high-quality bowl-back mandolins are honoured with artists who play classical, Baroque, renaissance, and other authentic musical styles. Because of the volume of their bodies, the bowl-backs mandolin generates a deeper and rounder tone than other mandolin body types. 

The classical mandolins are made of different wood staves connected together to create the back, where the American mandolins can be carved into single pieces of wood and have a flat back.

These mandolins are played in solo backgrounds and they have a less projecting sound with less bass, compared to the country or bluegrass mandolins. If you want to play classical songs, this is the mandolin you will want to purchase.


Electric Mandolins

The electric mandolins have started to come in the late 1920s in the U.S.A. Then their fame has kept on increasing due to having the ability to be heard close by louder instruments in bands and the portability for on-stage musicians.

Gibson and Vega both have launched the best electric mandolin models during the 1930s. The following improvements are included in the 4-and 5-string models. 

These electric mandolins are generally played and tuned like their standard acoustic brothers. Their body types can differ as well. The way they are equipped with also varies. Such as – some being furnished with pickups also used on electric guitars, while others are acoustic instruments with a pickup that transmits the mandolin’s output to the sound system. 

Best mandolins for the money

 The way of these mandolins are electrified that varies, some being provided with pickups while the other mandolins are acoustic instruments with a pickup that gives the mandolin’s output to a sound system. Let’s take a look at the most widely recognized electric mandolins here –


They have a wood center block going through the body inside that gives tame to create feedback that can be an issue with completely hollow electric mandolins. 

Acoustic-electric mandolins

The acoustic-electric mandolins look like the traditional acoustic mandolins. However, they include a bridge-mounted piezo-electric pickup that changes the vibrations of the strings to electrical driving forces. These electrical mandolins are directed through a preamplifier mounted on the top rim of the mandolin.

The preamp builds the signal quality and sends it via a link to an outside sound system. The preamp adds volume and tone controls and may also add a built-in electronic tuner. Most players tend to prefer acoustic-electrics as an option to using a mic while performing since using a mic can cause feedback and keeps the player planted in one spot.  

Octave Mandolins 

The octave mandolins are set one octave lower than conventional mandolins, which makes the sound like a guitar in terms of the pitch. The Octave mandolins are not called as mandocellos, which are tuned simply like a regular cello: CGDA, where octave mandolins are tuned like a regular mandolin but only an octave lower. The mandocello is usually defined as being to the mandolin what the cello is to the violin. 

If you want to play the cello and want to try a pluck string instrument tuned the same, then you can try Octave mandolin.

Also, don’t forget to see our post on how to tune a mandolin.


What type of mandolin should I choose?


There are several types of mandolin that are designed to suit precise music and these mandolins will have either eight or ten strings. But there are mixtures where one specific kind of mandolin can be appropriate for different genres. After going through all types that we mentioned above, it is up to you which type you want to buy.

How much should I pay for mandolin?


A mandolin can be a costly instrument. With instruments running from $50 to $20,000, how much does a mandolin cost?

If you are a beginner, you need to rule out the cheapest and expensive models to leave with a reasonable price range. Most of the players may need to decrease the price range further due to their budget. There is nothing to worry about since decent quality mandolins can be found at almost every budget level. So what is the best mandolin for the money?

We expect you to spend a minimum of $300 for a decent mandolin. However, this doesn’t mean that each $300 instrument is of good quality. Certainly, having $300 in your budget, you need to be careful when looking for the best mandolin for the money. Many instruments at this value should be avoided. 

best mandolin for the money

 A decent mandolin is hand-carved with a chisel. The extra work required to make a mandolin can double or triple the mandolin price over a similar guitar. If we see average instruments, a mandolin that costs $600 will be about a similar quality range as a $300 acoustic guitar. There will some few exceptional cases where mandolins that stand out as outstanding qualities. 

If you want to look into detail price ranges of mandolins, check our another blog about how much does a mandolin cost. 

Is Mandolin Hard to Learn? Find out the Truth!

Is Mandolin Hard to Learn? Find out the Truth!

Want to learn to play the mandolin but wondering is mandolin hard to learn? It is fine to have questions when you want to learn a new instrument. Luckily, the mandolin is not a troublesome instrument hence it is easy to learn.

It’s compact and lightweight so you can practice it anywhere you want. It has fewer strings than most other instruments such as the guitar so you can easily read the tablature.

The mandolin as we probably aware today evolved from a group of lute-like instruments known as mandores. In the beginning, there were many sorts of mandolins and some of them had 8 sets of double strings. 

The mandolin is different enough that a lot of people will be interested in what instrument you are playing. This will give you incredible gratification if you want to stand out from the crowd. 

If you do not know a lot about the mandolin and how it sounds or thinking if the mandolin is a good first instrument, then this article is just for you! If you are asking, Is Mandolin Hard to Learn? Then the answer is no. The mandolin is an incredible instrument and easy to learn if you learn it the proper way.

Also, don’t forget to see our post on what is mandolin.

Is Mandolin Hard to Learn

The mandolin is a stringed instrument that is part of the lute family. It has eight strings and is tuned in perfect fifths like a violin (G, D, An, E). 

Since the mandolin is tuned in immaculate fifths, the chord shapes that you may or may not learn on guitar will not help you when you get a mandolin. 

While this isn’t valid for all chord structures, it’s presumably simpler in case you think about the mandolin chords as the bottom four strings of a guitar flipped around. Similar to a guitar, there are a few unique forms of mandolins. 

You can discover mandolins when you listen to the bluegrass music, classical genre, jazz, as well as in some Irish and Celtic songs. 

All things considered, the mandolin is a great instrument for learning since it is not difficult to learn. However, it depends on whether you are learning it the proper way or not.


Is Mandolin Hard to Learn or Easier to Learn?


The mandolin is a simple instrument to learn. Some instruments require a lot of effort whereas the mandolin needs the least amount of effort (not that it does not require any effort). It has fewer strings than other stringed instruments, for example, the guitar and violin, so reading tablature is easier.

For the most part, stringed instruments with frets like the guitar, banjo, and mandolin are easier to learn than those that don’t have them, for example, the violin family.

If you are wondering if learning mandolin easier than guitar or not, then do not worry. Both the banjo and mandolin are easier than the guitar due to their lighter gauge strings. In case, you have a decent teacher and you are willing to rehearse 30-60 minutes daily, it will take around 3 months to master the instrument, and one year to be proficient at it. But Is Mandolin Hard to Learn for people who have not played any instrument yet? Probably not. The process can become quite difficult but trusting yourself and learning it the proper way is the key to making it easier.


The Problems You’ll Face While Learning (And How to Avoid Them)

The mandolin is pretty straightforward to learn in case you’re thinking if the mandolin is hard to play. However, you may find some obstacles in your journey to playing the mandolin. In this article, we will tell you some of the problems and tell you how to avoid them.

The mandolin is smaller than your normal acoustic guitar when comparing sizes. This can be difficult if you have a big height or large hands since both the body and the fingerboard on the mandolin are smaller as opposed to their size on the guitar.  

The mandolin is unique in terms of the methods that are required to play the instrument. You should learn both right-hand and left-hand techniques but it should not be an issue in case you have played a stringed instrument previously. 

It’s usual for people getting into playing the mandolin to discover techniques like chops, tremolo, along with cross-picking. These are normal mandolin methods so you have to ace them if you are thinking of getting into learning a ton of mandolin music. 

Another struggle which learning the mandolin brings is that you should get your fingers used to play double strings. Your fingers will need to become accustomed to holding double strings, which is not a simple thing to do as the frets on a mandolin are very small. This can be a huge issue for people with larger hands and fingers.

Now, Is Mandolin Hard to Learn for people with very small fingers? Unfortunately, the answer is yes. You are going to need to hold two strings simultaneously with the mandolin, which can be difficult to do if your fingers are too can’t reach them. 

In case, you have big hands, you may need to squish your fingers to get the right notes. So regardless of whether you have a lot of experience from learning guitar, it might take you some time to switch to mandolin and produce quality sound if you are somebody who has bigger hands and does not have experience playing a smaller fretboard. 

As the strings have more tension on them because of the short neck, you may struggle to push the strings of the mandolin down. This will make your fingers hurt, and it will feel like you are learning the guitar again.

Also, don’t forget to see our post on how to tune a mandolin.


Is mandolin easy to learn

Final Thoughts

The mandolin is an incredible choice of instrument for anybody that needs to improve their memory, increase their creativity levels as well as someone searching for a pleasant method to make money. The mandolin will have its sets of difficulties and might require a lot of training if playing instruments does not easily fall into place for you like any other instrument.

Regardless, the mandolin is an enriching instrument that will provide you with while having a ton of fun. If you are stuck on the topic of is mandolin easy to play, then do not worry yourself. You should trust yourself and believe that you can do it.

The most significant piece of your learning process is your mindset. An insightful man once stated, “If you think you can or you cannot, you are correct” — this is a statement that also applies in figuring out how to play the mandolin.

By understanding that learning an instrument requires a lot of time, you acknowledge that the process will require patience and commitment on your part so as to accomplish your objectives. 

Keep in mind that it is critical to have explicit objectives, for example, learning your favorite songs or improvising in all keys, the real bliss is in the process. The best part is that in the first weeks and months, you will have the ability to look at your progress on a daily schedule.

In case you are searching for a simple instrument to learn, you ought to reconsider your outlook. If you are looking to get familiar with an instrument and in the end become proficient at it, no instrument is easy to learn.

The more you strive into learning your instrument, the more you are going get out of it. In simple words, you will be more successful with the instrument.

The main reason for learning an instrument is to appreciate what you are doing, so make your training fun! In case, you stress out in the details of methods or the analysis of harmony, you will not have time to relax and get into a stream. 

Suppose you are working at a significant scale pattern. You have played it climbing and plummeting, however, you have to make it musical. You need to take that pattern and ad-lib with it. You can play it in triplets, play it with swing or tune in to a song in that key and develop your own part.

The mandolin offers many advantages to musicians, however, it has a couple of disadvantages. We suggest if you are keen on learning a unique stringed instrument, the mandolin is the one you should get. 


How much does a mandolin cost? Find the best for your money!

How much does a mandolin cost? Find the best for your money!

If you are looking for a mandolin or if you are a mandolin player and you are in the market for a good mandolin, you have come to the right article. We are here to offer a few tips to assist you to let you know how much does a mandolin costWith our ultimate guide, you will locate the mandolin that is right for your music, expertise level, and budget plan. 

Mandolins are instruments that aren’t regular to find in the present music scene. However, the mandolins are an incredible method to connect a remarkable sound to your music. 

In this guide, you will become familiar with the price range of mandolins and get some answers concerning the kind of mandolins you will get according to your budget. 



How much does a mandolin cost

How much does a mandolin cost?

A mandolin can be an expensive instrument. With instruments running from $50 to $20,000, how much is a mandolin for beginners?

If you are a beginner, first of all, you need to rule out the cheapest and expensive mandolins to leave with a sensible price range. Most of the players may need to reduce the price range more due to their budget.

There is nothing to worry about great quality mandolins can be found at almost every budget level. So how much does a mandolin cost

We expect you to pay a minimum of $300 for a decent mandolin. However, this doesn’t mean that each $300 instrument is good in quality. Indeed, having $300 in the budget, you need to be cautious when looking for a mandolin. Many instruments at this value should be avoided. So how much is a mandolin? how can you decide? 

You will get your answer but first, let’s look into detail price ranges of mandolins. A decent mandolin is mainly hand-carved with a chisel. The extra work required to make a mandolin can double or triple the mandolin cost over a similar guitar.

If we see average instruments, a mandolin that costs $600 will be about a similar quality range as a $300 acoustic guitar. There will some few special cases where mandolins that stand out as outstanding qualities. 

Also, don’t forget to see our post on mandolin vs banjo.


Mandolin Budget Range  


Let’s see how much is a mandolin costs and what you will get if you spend this money on a mandolin ——–  

Mandolins that cost $300


In this budget plan, you should be looking at A style mandolin. F style mandolins are costlier than A styles since a $300 F-Style will never be adequate quality. It is significant that we focus on not to buy an F-style mandolin that costs $300.

A $300 A-style mandolin might be very worthy but it is important that you pick the correct A-style model. Most instruments that cost $300 lack quality. In this budget, search for a strong wood top, that has ideally been hand-carved.

Additionally, you need to search for good brand tuners. You might be able to purchase instruments with a lifetime guarantee in this budget. 

Picking a decent $300 A-style will get you a mandolin that will serve you long. The $300 mandolin could be best compared to other mandolin prices. In this budget, a few corners should be cut.

Interestingly, the things left off the cheaper mandolin. These serve no capacity other than making the mandolin look decent. You are greatly improved off with a plain-looking quality mandolin than a low-quality instrument.


Mandolins that cost $500


If you have a $500 budget, you will find mandolins with better features. Every single strong wood is common, the tuners are better quality and you will see more pleasant woods, inlays, ebony fingerboards, and so forth.

You may also find F style mandolins in this budget. The ebony fingerboard and inlays are additional choices at this price level. 


Mandolins that cost $700 


In this price level, you will get better woods, improved performance and more beautiful touches. You will find extensive inlays, flamed maple wood and even some gold hardware as well. The mandolins that cost $700 can be very decent. Most professional players use instruments at this price level.  

Mandolins that cost $1000 


If your budget is around $1000, you can get some top-notch mandolins. These mandolins can be used at home on stages and recordings. These mandolins are some type of mandolins that you will be pleased with.


Mandolins that cost over $1000 


If your mandolin costs more than $1000, you will get more detailed work. If you buy a mandolin over $1000, you will get high-quality woods, precise fit and finish and brand names on the headstock. Some detail work and the woods produce better tones. Most mandolins at this price level will be F-style mandolins.

Also, don’t forget to see our post on best mandolin for the money.


Before you purchase your mandolin, get a basic idea of what you are searching for in a mandolin and how much does a mandolin cost. Then make a comparison among mandolin brands and prices to make the best purchase!


Best Clawhammer Banjo – Here’s what you need to know

Best Clawhammer Banjo – Here’s what you need to know

The clawhammer banjo, also known as “frailing”, is a standard method for folk string music players. The difference between the clawhammer style and other methods is the direction of the picking. The classic methods for bluegrass use an upwards picking movement while the clawhammer method is a down-picking style, which gives the picking hand the firm fingered claw shape that provides the method with its name.

It is a technique of playing where the strings are struck using the back of your middle fingernail, then plucked with your thumb. The term ‘clawhammer’ indicates both to the shape of your hand as you play, and the way that you strike the strings.

You can play clawhammer style on any banjo, but few features of the instrument will be more suitable to the technique than others. You need to search for the best clawhammer banjo with open back design.

Regarding the fretboard and string set-up, most players find it comfortable to get the best banjo for clawhammer with slightly low action and a scooped neck.

The clawhammer banjo is firmly connected with classic tunes and traditional American music. However, the best clawhammer banjo style can be applied similarly to contemporary genres and songs.

It is normally played on open-back banjos, which stress its smooth tone and are with regards to the instruments used by its music makers.

best clawhammer banjo

Best Clawhammer Banjo Reviews 2020

If you are a clawhammer player who is looking to purchase a new banjo, look at our choices beneath. It will furnish you with the sound you are searching for. These are the best clawhammer banjos available.


Gold Tone OT-800 Banjo 


The OT-800 is the best contribution to the Gold Tone company’s catalogue for frailing. It features a laid back design. However, the structure of the neck is a significant part of this technique. It’s a scooped neck, which is made of maple with a bound fingerboard. The OT-800 includes few modern touches and most importantly the coordinator rods that are used instead of a dowel stick where the neck joins the body. This improves the fit as well as makes it simpler to fix the activity. 

The Gold Tone OT-800 is a solid banjo in terms of your playing style. It’s one of the best clawhammer banjos among country players due to its improved volume and sustainability compared to different models. This is because of the design of the rim and head, using a design based on the classic Vega Tuba phone. If you are searching for a banjo that is user-friendly with a vintage sound, this is an ideal choice. 

Deering Goodtime 5-string Banjo

Deering is one of the renown names in the banjo world. Their Goodtime series offers a range of materials, constructions, and price focuses for banjo players in every genres and style. This open-backed model is lightweight, which makes it better for travelling and gives the sound a more open quality. Deering Goodtime 5-string Banjo is the ideal choice considering its expert-level construction and materials.

The neck is made of rock maple, slim and built with a low profile on each of the 22 frets, bringing about an instrument that is simple to play. Everything on this banjo is intended to be flexible to suit any player. The 11-inch head is the tailpiece, bridge, and sealed geared tuners. The vibrant and singing tone you escape this instrument gives banjos that cost twice. 

Pyle PBJ60 

The open-back is not a vital part of clawhammer playing style but it is traditional for the players. The bluegrass players can find they miss the additional volume support their sound gets from the resonator on a closed-back banjo. The Pyle is an excellent choice with white jade tuners and a maple bridge that provide you with low action and incredible for the clawhammer style. 

The traditional cover and Remo M1 head provide you with a classic twanging tone that is punchy on the attack. The most amazing thing about this Pyle banjo is it comes at a reasonable price. It makes Pyle PBJ60 the ideal choice for a beginner and also a substitute instrument for the people who usually play on an open-back banjo but often need the extra force given by the resonator. If you are on a budget, this is the best clawhammer banjo you can discover. 

The Recording King Madison Banjo is created considering the traditional banjo players. Since the clawhammer style is frequently used by those searching for that old-school sound, which makes it the ideal fit for that playing technique. It’s an open-back design that uses a steam-twisted maple rim and a 24 bracket stress band that is made of nickel-plated brass. It uses a Remo FiberSkyn head that delivers your tone a particular vintage sound with a punch on the stresses and clarity on the support. 

The vintage touch comes through in different parts similar to the no-tie presto tailpiece and scooped rosewood fingerboard. The material is nickel with a bone nut and a two-way customizable truss rod, which make this banjo comfortable to play. Although it’s made for old-school players, the nature of the tone makes it excellent for any genre and playing style. The cover head and pearl dot trims on the rosewood fingerboard provide a great stylish design. This is one of the best clawhammer banjos in the market. 

Bluegrass and Clawhammer: What is the difference?

The bluegrass banjo was introduced by Earl Scruggs who first displayed it on the Grand Ole Opry in December 1945. His way of playing was impacted by his sibling Junie Scruggs, along with few old banjo players including Snuffy Jenkins, Smith Hammett and Mack Woolright.

Scruggs used ideas that he gained from these players and made had its impact on a series of notes called “rolls.” Most of the rolls either have four or eight notes.

The great and exciting about Scruggs style is the sheer number of notes that come flying out of the banjo! The drawback is that the song frequently gets lost in a swarm of different notes.

Clawhammer is the old style that has its foundations in West Africa. During the 1830s white artists like Joel W. Sweeney began learning the banjo from African-American slaves. Sweeney was soon joining different performers on the minstrel stage playing called the “stroke style.”

The basic concept behind how to play clawhammer banjo is that the song is played by hitting down on the strings and following that with a little rhythm.

The Scruggs style banjo is mostly played in bluegrass music where the clawhammer banjo is played in classical music. Now you have a little idea about the differences between bluegrass and clawhammer banjo playing, let’s find out how to play clawhammer banjo.

Tuning the Clawhammer Banjo 

If you are a clawhammer player, then tuning your banjo will be complicated. People who aren’t familiar with this style clawhammer is a kind of banjo playing that uses percussive hitting of a string with the middle finger.

Best banjo for clawhammer

Tuning the banjo is treated differently in the old-time music world. Both clawhammer and old-time or two fingerstyle performers can use a few unique tunings throughout a show. The reason is Scruggs style is just around 70-80 years of age and most of the songs in the tuning use open G. However, clawhammer and other old styles go back to ancient Africa.

The instrument followed slaves when they were brought to America, then they became the folk instrument of choice for a very long time. Furthermore, there wasn’t much consistency in how to play clawhammer banjo until it was adopted by minstrel performers in the 1830s. The first tuning to see the broad use was an open D variation with the strings tuned to dGDF#A.

Also, don’t forget to see our post on how many strings does a banjo have.

How to play clawhammer banjo?



Here are the basic steps on how to play clawhammer banjo:

  • With your right hand across the strings of the banjo, roll your fingers up like gripping a baseball bat.
  • Hit down on the 1st string with the nail of your middle finger, which will be your melody note. With your hand yet in action, place your right thumb to hold on the 5th string.
  • Then lift up your right hand and soon stroke down on the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd strings with the nails of your middle and ring fingers. After that, place your thumb to rest on the 5th string like before.
  • Ultimately, your thumb will hit the fifth string.

You are attempting to get a rhythm that sounds like the best clawhammer banjo style. If you are hitting your foot, it is like “down, down-up, down, down-up.”

Note: Keep your right hand moderately stiff. The initial note of the clawhammer is your melody note. It can be on the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, or 4th strings. We recommend you to use you middle finger of your right hand for the 1st string, and your right index finger for the 2nd, 3rd, or 4th strings.


Why you should learn Clawhammer Banjo? 


The clawhammer banjo is a laid-back instrument compared to the fast picking of 3-finger style. It gathers ideas of nighttime sitting out on the balcony, instead of the dancing moves of bluegrass. It doesn’t mean that the clawhammer banjo players can’t play fast. It means that each style sparkles in particular playing conditions.

The clawhammer banjo is more melodic than the 3-finger style. The rhythmic pattern puts restrictions on the number of notes you can play. This means the best clawhammer banjo players tend to stick closer to the basic melody notes of the tune being played.

The bluegrass players tend to make a ‘wall of sound’ where the gaps between melody notes are filled in with additional from the chord tone.

The capacity to play single notes and play makes clawhammer banjo a unique style. It can carry the tune by choosing single notes and play chords to emphasize the rhythm of a song, allowing it to lead different performers as needed. Singing into clawhammer is also effective as you can realize among instrumental and vocal parts of a song.

The clawhammer banjo explains well on different instruments as well. Both guitar and ukulele can be played in clawhammer style, creating a unique sound that is proper to old-time, folk and country songs.

Also, don’t forget to see our post on best beginner banjo.

Which type is right for you? 


If you want to play a five-string banjo, the choice between a clawhammer banjo or a resonator banjo is quite simple. You can find videos of both clawhammer and bluegrass banjo playing on YouTube, and choose which one you like best.

The list above will work fine with the clawhammer style in terms of playing method. You need to look at the specific sound quality you are going for and your budget.

As we have mentioned above, open-back models are expensive than closed back for similar sound quality. If you are concern about the budget, you can find Pyle that is listed above.

Also, don’t forget to see our post on how hard is it to learn banjo.

If you are not concerned about your budget, consider what sort of a sound you look for from your instrument. An open-backed model will give you a gentler, mellower sound, while a closed-back banjo will be more brilliant and stronger.

The folk players will prefer open-back banjo played in the clawhammer style, while most country players prefer the twangier, which provides the stronger sound of a closed-back or resonator banjo. If you want more flexibility for a variety of genres, the closed-back banjo would be the best one for you.

Besides this difference, the materials used in the construction of the head and rim will influence how the banjo will sound. You can listen to the models above in practical and choose which one comes nearest to your ideal sound, then you will locate the best clawhammer banjo for your own preference.

Mandolin vs Banjo: What You Need to Know

Mandolin vs Banjo: What You Need to Know

The mandolin and the banjo look different from each other, however, you might be amazed exactly how similar they are. The overall structure of the banjo and the mandolin are unalike when it comes to specific shapes but they are usually quite alike, with a lot of the basic parts shared between the two, for example, the body and the neck, the tuning heads and the bridge, and the strings. It can be confusing for people who have not played an instrument yet when it comes to the topic of Mandolin Vs Banjo and which one’s easier to learn.

banjo vs mandolin

The banjo first came to America with the slaves and musicologists have since looked in West Africa for the predecessors of it. Most of the speculation has been focused on the ngoni and the xalam, two hide-covered stringed instruments from West Africa that look similar to the banjo.

What you may know about the banjo is that it delivers a bright and intensely sparkling sound that might be able to contend with a whole Dixieland band.

This is up to the drum head and the set of steel strings that replaces the wooden top panel found on an instrument such as a guitar. Resonator banjos have a closed back and create the loudest sound and largest projection whereas open back banjos produce milder sounds.

On the other hand, Mandolin is a small stringed instrument in the lute family. It evolved in the eighteenth century in Italy and Germany from the sixteenth-century mandora. The instrument’s modern structure and proportions were firmly influenced by the maker Pasquale Vinaccia of Naples.

The mandolin was found in Italy and it was initially intended for classical music, but it eventually turned into a folk instrument. Mandolins are used in Scottish folk music, traditional Irish, English folk music and also in Bluegrass. Bluegrass mandolin players regularly use an F-5-style and A-5-style mandolin.

These two stringed instruments are both incredible, while the mandolin provides a broad and rich sound and the banjo delivers a bright and sparkling sound.  In this article, we explain the differences between the two instruments and you can figure out which one you should buy.

Now without further ado, let’s jump into their differences and which one should you get.


The Banjo or Mandolin: Which One’s Easier to Learn?


Both the mandolin and the banjo are great at Bluegrass music and folk music. They make non-identical sounds, while the banjo makes a louder and brighter sound and the mandolin produces a broader sound.Now, which one of these instruments is easier to learn, banjo or mandolin?

It boils down to the style of music. A lot of people would tell you that both mandolin and banjo are genuinely easier to learn. So, is the learning mandolin easier than guitar? The short answer is, yes. It is since it has fewer strings and that makes the written music easier to read. 

The mandolin can be very basic and easy to learn in case you have a good teacher.  Like the mandolin, the banjo can be quite easy to master except for specific style like bluegrass music. Bluegrass music can be hard to learn since it is mostly played quickly. Now, is the banjo easier than guitar? In short, yes. One of the similarities between the banjo and the mandolin is that they both have fewer strings than a guitar.  

The methods to adapting these two instruments are to get a decent instrument, find a great teacher, and ensure that you have chosen an instrument you will be excited to learn because learning anything is easy when you are enjoying the process. If you are still wondering about banjo vs mandolin and which one’s easier, both of these instruments are easy if you learn it properly.

Mandolin vs Banjo

Mandolin Vs Banjo: The Differences


As we are talking about Mandolin Vs Banjo and which one you should choose, some key traits make these instruments different from each other. Despite how similar they are, here are the major differences between the mandolin and the banjo:


One of the key differences between the mandolin and the banjo is the material that makes up the body of the instrument. A mandolin has a hollow wooden body which frequently has two ‘f’ shaped holes cut into it to allow sound to get out through the front of the instrument. Modern mandolins will, most of the time, have a plastic triangular pickguard beneath the strings to protect the wood from wearing out and getting scratches. The banjo’s body is vastly different. It is built with a ring of wood, along with a tone ring inside, a piece of plastic like a drum head on the front, and a bowl-shaped resonator on the back. The shapes of the bodies are typically different. The banjo’s body is circular and the mandolin’s body is more like a teardrop shape, making the two instruments non-identical from each other.



An obvious difference between the mandolin and the banjo is the number of strings that they have. A lot of the banjos nowadays have either four or five strings. Generally, the mandolin has eight strings. This provides every one of the instruments a different sound from each other. It provides the banjo with the well-known twang sound but the mandolin sounds practically like a higher-pitched 12-string guitar. This is due to the reason that the strings of the mandolin are played in pairs and tuned in unison to each other.



The size is also one of the differences between the banjo and the mandolin. The standard banjo has a long neck and it is comparable in length to a guitar. However, the mandolin is a smaller instrument and has a shorter neck and a size which is similar to a tenor violin rather than a guitar.  both the banjo and the mandolin have various adaptations which come in but when it comes to standard sizing, there are very different.

Also, don’t forget to see our post on best mandolin for the money.


Should You Get a Mandolin or a Banjo?


Picking an instrument to learn to play is difficult, however, choosing to play the banjo or mandolin is exceptionally troublesome as they are so firmly related. Both of them are great instruments that will provide you with fabulous sound.

Keep in mind, the two instruments are versatile and can play different types of music such as folk, bluegrass, country, jazz and so forth. The mandolin is most likely better at versatility for various kinds of music but the banjo isn’t a long way from it. So, if you are wondering about the versatility of the instruments, then don’t worry. Both the mandolin and the banjo will serve you perfectly.

Before you purchase a banjo or mandolin you should decide on what kind of music you want to play. There are different types of music such as Bluegrass, folk, country music, etc. so knowing which type of music you want to play can influence your decision of which one to pick.

It also depends on which type of sound do you prefer. If you prefer a broader and richer sound, then you should go with a mandolin but if you prefer a louder and brighter sound then a banjo should suit you fine.

Eventually, it boils down to the budget you have. You can find banjos in the range of $200 to several thousand dollars. A good beginner banjo will cost around $500-$700. Mandolin prices are similar, possibly less expensive depending on the manufacturer.

There is not a perfect answer to Mandolin Vs Banjo topic and whether one’s better than the other or not, but it depends on these three factors when choosing which one’s best for you. These factors are versatility, the type of style you want to play and your budget. So keep this in mind when you’re purchasing any of the instrument.

Banjo or mandolin

The History of the Banjo & Mandolin

The origins of each instrument are most likely the best spot to begin. The banjo was born in Africa, made by African slaves as some time in the past as the 1600s. They were initially made using gourds and animal skins and bamboo. The banjo is still used in African music today, and it’s used for some other melodic styles, for example, twang, country, and even rock and roll music.


Thomas Jefferson watched the presence of what he called the “Banjar” in the late 1700s. He learned that it came to America with the African slaves. The banjo turned into a well-known instrument among the slaves since it reminded them of their home, and even the European settlers started appreciating its music. One of the most popular minstrel performers was Joel Walker Sweeney. His utilization of a five-string banjo made the variant famous.

Modern-day banjos have either four or five strings for plucking whereas a six-string banjo is strummed in a similar way like the guitar. Due to its rich legacy among the African slaves and southern Americans, this instrument is significant in Bluegrass, country, folk along with traditional African music.

The mandolin is part of a unique history though a lot of people believe that the mandolin is just a version of the banjo. While the banjo is born in the Middle East and Africa, the mandolin is an image of Western civilization. It advanced from the lute in Italy during the 1300s. It was first perceived as a unique and distinctive instrument during the 1600s. It was well known in Italian towns, especially Naples, and it spread all through Europe.

Italian lutes were mainstream during the middle ages, and these lutes were formed into what we would now call a mandolin more than a few hundred years. It was frequently used in baroque music, yet throughout the hundreds of years, it has been adopted by numerous other musical styles like the banjo, including Celtic and classical music.

People tend to get bewildered about the debate of Mandolin Vs Banjo as both of the instruments are quite similar. But the differences among them can let you which one’s for you.

The banjo and the mandolin are both used together in certain types of music too, including bluegrass, country, and folk music.


Final Thoughts

The discussion of Mandolin Vs Banjo is often talked between people who are interested in both of these stringed instruments. Many people keep asking whether learning to play the banjo is difficult or is the mandolin hard to learn but it depends on you learn and if you have a good teacher.

Realizing the differences between the banjo and mandolin are critical when you are deciding which one to purchase and learn from. You can generally do both, pick one instrument first and once you have aced that one, move on to the following one. 

Both of these instruments provide amazing sounds and will give you a lot of fun memories as you keep progressing. If you are looking for a contender in the Mandolin Vs Banjo battle, well, there is not a definite winner because both of the instruments are quite similar.

If you want an instrument that makes a broad and rich sound, then purchase the mandolin or if you want an instrument that provides louder sound then buy the banjo. If you want to buy a smaller instrument, then you can go with the mandolin. However, there are some versions of the banjo that are small too.

You can decide according to what type of style you want to play and which one suits you best or you can buy both and learn one after another. Hope this article helped you to make your decision.

How Hard is it to Learn Banjo: Uncover the Myth?

How Hard is it to Learn Banjo: Uncover the Myth?

The banjo is a fabulous instrument that is used in Country folk music or Bluegrass. Like the guitar, the banjo is a part of the string family. A couple of things like the uniqueness of its sound and its playing style separates it from a guitar. Once you hear the sound of it, you will acknowledge why many people love the banjo. You may become passionate about the banjo after you hear its sound and you would want to know how to play banjo. Nonetheless, if you are wondering How Hard is it to Learn Banjo, then this article is just for you.

There is an explanation of why it would be hard for you to learn to play the banjo because it is different from a guitar which is played by strumming the strings or plucking with a pick. The banjo can be played using two distinctive methods such as 3-finger or claw hammer.

How hard is it to learn banjo: Myth & Reality


Keep in mind that figuring out how to play the banjo is considerably more of a physical challenge than a mental one. It would take you a lot of repetitions and physical exercise to develop the abilities that are required for you to play the banjo. 

The three-finger Scruggs’ style technique is the simplest technique for playing the banjo. It provides simple and solid rhythmic music directly. This technique makes it easy to play the banjo while delivering pleasant music.

Each instrument has different types of playing styles and learning curves so you would learn banjo as you would learn any other instrument. For some people, it might be easy and for some people, it might be difficult but that depends on how you learn to play it.

However, banjos are easier to play than a guitar because they use lighter gauge strings than a guitar. So, if you know how to play the guitar, it might not be too difficult for you to learn to play banjo. The light gauge strings it simpler to push the strings down on the fingerboard of the banjo and get a satisfactory tone.

Remember that learning an instrument requires focus, dedication and motivation. Like any instrument, the banjo requires your dedication and it needs you to practice playing it from time to time to get better at it.

The answer to the question of how difficult is the banjo depends on how you learn to play it. If you get improper training, then it would become hard for you in learning banjo.

How Hard is it to Learn Banjo

Is the Banjo Easier Than Other Instruments?

If you want to know is the banjo easier to learn than a guitar then, the short answer is no. It is not harder than a guitar. Other stringed instruments such as violins might take more time learning than the banjo.


A few things about the banjo could be viewed as easier like the strings are lighter gauge than a guitar and it is easier to push down. It does not take long to learn a couple of basic things on the two instruments.


If you play in a bluegrass band with a banjo, it may take more practice than if you play with a rhythm guitar in a bluegrass band if you are strumming chords. If the guitar player goes solo, then it would take more practice than the banjo. 


If you play the banjo, you have quite a few advantages using three fingers rather than using one flat pick that a guitar player uses when playing bluegrass music.


You will learn to play the banjo quite faster than learning to play the guitar. The question people get confused on is it hard to learn to play the banjo than it is to learn a guitar? As we have previously mentioned, a guitar and banjo’s difference is that a banjo has lighter gauge strings that make it easier to learn and play than a guitar.

You require a proper playing method along with a decent banjo and a lot of patience in case you are still How Hard is it to Learn Banjo. If you are patient and have an easy playing method, such as the 3-finger technique then the learning process will become easier than a guitar.


3 Challenges You’ll Face While Learning the Banjo

Mastering any instrument can become difficult at a point and you might find some challenges during that period. We have found three challenges that every beginner faces no matter how they learn the banjo. Here are three challenges:

Choosing the playing style

There are two common playing methods when it comes to playing the banjo. These methods are the 3-finger method and the claw hammer method. The most well-known style of playing the banjo is the three-finger technique since it is the easiest method. The three-finger method requires using the thumb. The claw hammer style is a more laid back method which makes it slower if you are just starting. We would recommend the three-finger technique for beginners as it is easier to use. 


Finding the best banjo for you

There are various kinds of banjos that you can buy. If you are on a small budget, you can discover places online that offer refurbished instruments at a fair price. You will find decent beginner banjos that may serve you for a long time.


Not having sufficient time

Learning how to play the banjo needs both time and patience. If you want to master this instrument, you will need to have a lot of time on your hands as you would need to do a lot of practice. If you are unable to take classes or do not have time, then you can learn it online.


If you can overcome these challenges, then you would surely find it easy to learn the banjo. Most beginners would ask How Hard is it to Learn Banjo and the answer is very simple, if you pick the right playing style and find a decent banjo that fits your style and have time on your hands, the learning process will become much easier.


The Ideal Banjo for Beginners

There are different types of banjos out there such as 4-string banjos, 5-string banjos, 6-string banjos and more. The most common banjo is the 5-string banjo. It is famous for its simple playability which makes it the ideal banjo for you if you have just started playing the banjo.

The reason the 5 string banjo is easy to begin playing is due to its standard tuning which is an open G tuning. This implies when you play the strings without pushing anything down, you will play a G harmony. This banjo can make your playing experience easier.

You would have a fun experience with the 5-string banjo regardless of How Hard is it to Learn Banjo. You will able to master this instrument by having a lot of practice and you won’t need to worry about is the banjo hard to learn or not.

Also, don’t forget to see our post on best beginner banjo.


Is it difficult to learn the banjo

Tips & Tricks to Learn the Banjo Easily

In case, the banjo is the first stringed instrument you are trying to play, it might seem that you have a million things to keep in mind at this first stage. Everything feels so unfamiliar and new. Try not to get disheartened! Banjo players try to be perfectionists, so do not let your desire to play accurately decrease your love for playing the banjo and know that everybody learns from the mistakes they make. Having fun is a higher priority than playing everything precisely. 

Instead of feeling stuck on the topic of how hard is it to learn the banjo and thinking whether you should buy a banjo or not, apply the tricks that we’re about to mention so that you could make your learning process much easier. With these tips, you will learn to play the instrument both quickly and easily.


Learning & Repeating basic techniques

The first task is to learn some basic methods and repeat them until they are strictly in your muscle memory and become natural. In case, you find yourself getting used to practicing and can’t put the banjo down, then you can nearly guarantee success. A lot of the students as they take up the banjo build up a physical sensation picking the strings and can hardly wait till they get the banjo again to play and practice.


 Tune & Hold Your Banjo

Keeping your instrument in tune is something that you practice each time you play and it is a significant ability when playing music with others. Tuning your banjo can be confusing when starting, yet with cautious listening to each pitch along with some experimentation, you can have this skill aced in a matter of seconds. After you are in tune, you need to embrace a comfortable playing position for both sitting or standing. You have many options regarding this. Remember not to raise the neck excessively high and use a strap.


 Fret your chords with your left hand

A chord is three notes or more sounded together. Chords support a melody and they pave the way for different musicians. The ideal approach to start playing is to get comfortable with well-used chords, for example, G, C, and D7. A left-hand position makes forming these chords way more fun. Let your thumb touch the top (of the back) of the neck of a banjo, loosen up your shoulder and elbow, and make sure you are using the tips of your fingers to press the strings behind the frets.

Apply these tips and notice a boost in your playing experience.


Wrapping Up

Figuring out how to play the banjo does not need to be an issue, regardless, there are a few people that do find difficulties that can make it hard to learn how to play. Luckily, the Internet has made it possible to limit or thoroughly get rid of the difficulties that might have scared a lot of people away from playing the banjo. We hope that we have provided you with valuable information regarding the banjo in this article that helps you out.

The discussion of is it difficult to learn the banjo is generally asked by beginners who are passionate about playing the banjo and want to have to best playing experience possible. In this article, we answered most of the concerns that banjo players have when they first start playing and if you follow the suggestions that we gave, you ought to have a fine experience with the banjo.