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A vs F style mandolin

Posted by Michael TheLoarStore at

A vs F style mandolin

What is the biggest difference between A style and F style mandos other than shape?

The A vs F style mandolin debate has been going on for nearly 100 years. The F style mandolin as we know it was invented in 1923. It did take a few more years before it caught on and became the standard. While originally developed for classical music, the popularity of the F-style really took off shortly after bluegrass gained popularity.

The scroll and point has nothing to do with the sound of the mandolin. In Fact, the scroll and points have solid blocks of wood in them, These do not affect the sound chamber. The Scroll does make a good place to hang your strap though.

Lloyd Loar, invented the F-style mandolin and the first production models became available in 1923.  These first models are now highly collectible and command priced up to $200,000! The F-style mandolin did not become mainstream until Bill Monroe cam a long and invented Bluegrass. This is why the F-style is associated with Bluegrass today and why it is the more desirable of the two.

Is an A style mandolin a better value for the money?

Yes! Since an A style mandolin requires less labor to build, they will almost always cost less for the same quality. 

Why does an F style mandolins cost more?

The  scroll, points and headstock design, all add to the cost of the mandolin. These may only be cosmetic details, but they add a tremendous amount of labor to the instrument.

Why spend hundreds me on an F-style mandolin?

Mostly the look!

Is it wrong to want a nice looking mandolin? Absolutely not! Many of our purchases are based on appearance, be it, clothes, furniture or even a new car. Most people like attractive things. The bottom line is that most people that think of a mandolin, picture the F-Style. This is what we have become accustomed to seeing our favorite players use.

Does an F and A mandolin sound the same?

There is some debate as to whether or not the F and A style mandolin sound the same?

In short, yes, but the true answer is actually much more complicated than this. Different models of mandolin will always have tone that varies. This is do to slightly different materials and workmanship that is applied. 

Remember, in the A vs F style mandolin debate, it it really comes down to looks.  


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