Not all mandolins are the same, so if you’re looking for a specific type of music or style then you will have to do some due diligence and research. But we have done all that for you.
This article will teach you what the best mandolins for Irish music are and what to look for before you purchase.
Let’s dive deep into the details on what makes a great Irish Mandolin.
Our Top Picks
Best Irish Mandolin
Gold Tone Mandolin – Best Overall
This is the mandolin you should get if you want the absolute best for Irish music. The Goldtone GM-50+ A-Style Acoustic Electric Mandolin comes with the top made of solid spruce and a maple neck/sides finished with a sunburst finish. Quality build and feel and with a name like Gold Tone you know you can’t go wrong. It is for beginners all the way up to advanced players. It’s a great mandolin for everyone.
Donner A-Style Mandolin – Best Budget Option
If you are on a budget or just want to test out the waters then this is the mandolin for you. The Donner A-Style DML-100B comes with everything you need to start playing such as a electronic clip-on tuner, picks, bag, etc. It is made of mahogany with chrome plated gear tuners. The Donner comes with everything you need and with the price alone you can’t go wrong.
Kentucky KM-150 Mandolin – Runnerup
This mandolin was close to being our winner but fell just short, but is still a great option for you. The Kentucky A-Style KM-150 is made mostly out of spruce and maple. Spruce for the top and maple for the neck, back and sides also finished with a sunburst gloss. Kentucky is probably the best in the business when it comes to mandolins.
Buying Guide: Factors To Consider When Choosing A Mandolin For Irish
Mandolins are becoming more popular every day, especially in America. Although mandolins are versatile instruments that can be used in various music genres, they are mainly utilized by classical music, folk, traditional, bluegrass and Irish music players.
This article focuses on tips that a buyer should know when choosing a mandolin for Irish music. Although mandolin is not an Irish instrument, it became popular in Irish traditional music in around 1970s. Many Irish musicians who played the mandolin in the middle 19th century became very successful.
Common mandolins have 4 courses of paired metal strings which are 8 altogether and tuned to basic G-D-A-E. Although in some cases there are models that have 10 and 12 strings.
An effective mandolin that can play Irish music is the instrument with a solid top. The best mandolin should not only have a solid top, but the back and the sides too should be made of solid materials. You may land a good laminate top mandolin, but there is no guarantee that any cheap instrument will be ideal. A good F-hole with a solid top can produce a kind of resonance you wouldn’t think of.
Mandolins are small; therefore, precision is needed. Irish music mandolin should have frets that are well aligned and with the perfect location. Even if you are on a budget, do not invest in a sort of mandolin that will never help you in your music journey. Some mandolins, especially those under $300, are hard to adjust the neck, whenever it is out of whack.
Mandolins that do not have that long screw to loosen and tighten soon bends out of shape due to the pressure of the strings and since the long screws ensure that the neck always curves up or down. So be careful when buying your mandolin because even famous brands sometimes leave this feature when manufacturing a lower series of the instrument.
Irish music players fancy putting magnetic coil pickups on their mandolin, which sounds great. However, correctly placed piezo-electric produces a truly impressive tone. However, mandolins with mag pickups may have a bad sound. However, if you are using a mandolin without a pickup, don’t worry cause you can still retrofit with piezo-electric and use an outboard preamp to lower the amount of carving as you may wish.
What You Should Know When Buying Best Irish Mandolin
There are things you should know and rules you should follow before buying or ordering a mandolin from the online store. Just before then be careful and buy from the recommended suppliers. When you are ordering, take the confirmation screens and preserve the copies. Also, note the dates of the warrant to claim in case any problem occurs.
When Buying Online
Only buy from reputable sellers with the favorable return policy and ensure the instrument is checked properly by an expert immediately you receive. The reason for checking the status of the instrument is because sometimes the shipment mishandling can cause damages. Also before you click the button online read through the instrument and read what people are saying about the instrument. Be sure that the reviews recommend it as ideal for Irish music.
Consider Buying Used If Possible
Before you pay thousands of dollars to an instrument you can get with a few hundreds of dollars when used, check out from the used market. It is possible to get an ideal instrument from experienced players who can assure you that it is exactly ideal for Irish music.
If you visit the used market local store with an experienced player, who can recognize and point out the best instrument for you, it will be easier to get a nice instrument.
Consider Availability and Price
After shortlisting the kind of mandolin you want to help you in your Irish music genre, find out if the instrument will be available and how much does it retail. Moreover, buy a common instrument, so that in case of a future problem you can get repair or replacement.
This article describes briefly what a new buyer should know when looking to buy a mandolin that will be effective to play Irish music. If you are careful, it can be easy to get an ideal instrument for your musical need. However, take this note home, here or elsewhere quality will never come cheap. Good luck!