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How to Pick Out a New Mandolin

When shopping for a new mandolin, it can be hard to select the best mandolin for you. While it’s easy to make a purchase based off of aesthetic, it can be far more difficult to find the mandolin with the best tone, sound, and feel. We’re here to break down some simple yet important things to look for and listen to when you’re picking out the next mandolin for you.
Before you begin, it is important and helpful to take into consideration what type of music you want to play with this mandolin, your skill level, and what sort of budget you ultimately have for a new instrument.
Selecting the Right Mandolin
Breedlove offers 12 different Crossover mandolins. They vary by body style and soundhole design which provide different tone and feel. We named them Crossovers as they are designed for the guitar player that would also like to play the mandolin. The neck profile is wider (nut width is 1.19 inches) than a traditional mandolin. They are also reasonably priced – between $499 and $749.


When it comes to picking an instrument you’ll love, it’s ultimately up to you. You need to like the feel of the instrument and the sound as you play it. When testing out different mandolins, it’s great to be able to compare them to one another. Head to a Breedlove dealer, and play the different styles you’re considering. Pick each of them up, one at a time, try to compare features or sound on each instrument, and find the one you like best.


One of the best ways that can be a little unconventional is to do a blind listen. Narrow down your top choices of instruments.  If you have someone else play them while you close your eyes, it’s the best way to listen to only the sound and tone of the instrument. Don’t open your eyes between instruments, as it could influence you if you know it’s the least expensive, or the most beautiful finish.
Simply compare and contrast the sounds, the tone, etc. of the instruments. Often, when this is done, it can completely change a decision. After all, you play the mandolin because you love the sound of the instrument, not because of how it looks. The blind listen is the best way to strip all influencing opinions out of the process and go solely on how it sounds to you.


While it can seem stressful, enjoy the experience. Play with different styles and tones of mandolin, until you find the one that feels like home to you. Rely on your ear, more than your eyes. The tone and sound are what you’re looking for regardless of how it looks. The benefit of Breedlove mandolins is that while they’re created with sound in mind, you have your pick of beautifully designed mandolins to choose from.