In this article we will go through some of the best A-style mandolins I could find on the market. A-style is probably the most popular shape for this instrument. Its smooth and clean sound, as well as the great affordability compared to an F-style, makes this mandolin an easy choice for any musician.

Quick Look: Best A-Style Mandolins

#1 Best A-Style Mandolin Overall: Kentucky KM-272 Oval Hole A-Style 


I’m a professional musician with years of experience creating rock and folk music. I consider myself a mandolin enthusiast, as I really enjoy discovering new mandolin types and techniques for this unique double-stringed instrument.

Follow me as we explore some of the most interesting and high-quality A-style mandolins, which I selected for this list.

What Is an A-Style Mandolin?

The A-style is the most common type of archtop mandolin. This type is quite cheap to produce, making it popular and inexpensive.

a close up of A-Style mandolin

The most common characteristic of this type is a warm and rich sound, which is produced by a pear-shaped body with one oval or two f-shaped sound holes.

Things to Consider When Choosing an A-Style Mandolin

There are several things to have in mind when you are buying a new A-style mandolin, such as the size, tone, and price of the instrument. Let’s take a look at each one of them.


The A-style mandolin is the smallest one of the two archtop types. Some models can have different dimensions and have slightly bigger bodies. Overall this type has a medium type size compared to other mandolin types.

The Overall Tone & Sound

The sound qualities will depend on each specific model, as the selection of the wood will determine the overall sound and tone of the instrument. The A-style and F-style are quite similar in sound, as the changes are purely cosmetic.


A-style mandolins are the cheapest of the two archtop types. The overall quality of each model will determine the price of the mandolin, as A-style mandolins can go from a few hundred to several thousand dollars.

10 Best A-Style Mandolins

Here we will take a look at the best A-style mandolins and some of the brands that create them. There are thousands of different models, each one with its own unique set of features and characteristics.

Kentucky KM-250

  • Size: 26.25 x 10.25 x 3.35 inches
  • Weight: 5 pounds
  • Material & finish: Solid spruce top, solid maple back and sides, traditional sunburst
  • Sound: Crisp and bright
  • Best for: Intermediate and professionals

Kentucky KM-250 is a high-tier model made by Kentucky with professional care and attention to detail. This mandolin is inspired by the classic instruments of the 1900s, as it takes the traditional design and renovates it with modern sound qualities.

✅ Great tone and projection
✅ Robust construction
✅ Hand-carved solid body
❌ Low-quality strings

Why I Recommend It

This mandolin will amaze you with its unique and warm tonality. Kentucky KM-250 can take time to set up, but it will certainly worth your time, as when it is fully set up and ready you will get a very professional mandolin.



Ibanez M510DVS

  • Size: 27 x 3 x 10.5 inches
  • Weight: 2.5 pounds
  • Material & finish: Spruce top, mahogany back and sides, dark violin sunburst finish
  • Sound: Bright and clean
  • Best for: Beginners and intermediate

Ibanez M510DVS is a great choice for any beginner or intermediate player. The high-quality build makes this mandolin quite robust, which is quite useful when you are learning to play.

✅ Solid Spruce Top
✅ Easy to play
✅ Robust construction
❌ Low-quality strings

Why I Recommend It

I personally really like the unique and elegant design and finish of this mandolin. As everything built by Ibanez, this model is one of the most popular and high-quality instruments on the market.



Rogue RM-100 A-Style

  • Size: 27.3 x 13.3 x 4.25 inches
  • Weight: 1.9 pounds
  • Material & finish: Rosewood fingerboard, maple neck, high-gloss sunburst finish
  • Sound: Clean and bright
  • Best for: Beginners

Rogue RM-100 A-Style is a well-respected veteran when it comes to the best budget-friendly mandolins. This particular model has numerous positive reviews and is considered the best beginner mandolin in the world.

✅ Easy to play
✅ Very affordable
✅ Adjustable bridge
✅ Beautiful design and finish
❌ Case not included

Why I Recommend It

I played this beauty for many years, and it is a very reliable and surprisingly good sounding instrument for the price it is sold at. Quite recommendable if you are looking for your first instrument.



Kentucky KM-150

  • Size: 29 x 13 x 4 inches
  • Weight: 3 pounds
  • Material & finish: Solid spruce top, solid maple back and sides, high gloss sunburst finish
  • Sound: Bright and crisp
  • Best for: Beginners and intermediate

Kentucky KM-150 is an important mandolin model for the Kentucky brand, as it was the first one they presented to the world. This mandolin made the pure American style and sound accessible to everyone, which made Kentucky KM-150 so popular.

✅ Great projection
✅ Comfortable to play
✅ Simple but elegant finish
✅ High-grade wood
❌ Require some setup

Why I Recommend It

This is a well-balanced and beautiful mandolin for a great price. If you are a bluegrass or country player, this mandolin is a perfect match for you.



Washburn Americana M1S-A Mandolin

  • Size: 28.5 x 13 x 4 inches
  • Weight: 3.44 pounds
  • Material & finish: Solid spruce top, maple back and sides, gloss sunburst finish
  • Sound: Smooth and warm
  • Best for: Beginners

Washburn Americana M1S-A Mandolin is inspired by the most traditional and classic mandolins. This instrument is perfect for folk, classical and Celtic music, as the warm and rich tone will certainly add to these musical styles.

✅ Carved solid wood body
✅ Robust construction
✅ Comfortable to play
❌ Case not included

In a perfect balance between the new and the old, this mandolin is perfect for beginners or even intermediate players. Apart from the unique tone and look of this instrument, this mandolin has a solid body and a quite affordable price.



Eastman MD504 A-Style

  • Size: 28 x 12 x 5 inches
  • Weight: 6.98 pounds
  • Material & finish: Solid spruce top, maple back and sides, sunburst finish
  • Sound: Warm and smooth
  • Best for: Intermediate

Eastman MD504 A-Style is a beautiful instrument with a truly folkloric design and sound. This mandolin has an oval sound hole in the middle of the instrument, which gives that warm and deep tone, perfect for folk and Celtic music.

✅ Handcrafted Solid wood body
✅ Versatile tonality
✅ Beautiful classic finish
✅ Hard case included
❌ A low definition on treble tones

Why I Recommend It

Eastman MD504 A-Style is a solid contender for the best A-style mandolin, particularly for folk and classical music. This handcrafted mandolin has it all, a beautiful design with a unique sound and tone.



Kentucky KM-272 Oval Hole A-Style

  • Size: 26.25 x 10.25 x 3.25 inches
  • Weight: 5 pounds
  • Material & finish: Solid spruce top, solid maple back and sides, transparent amber
  • Sound: Warm and clean
  • Best for: Intermediate and professional

Kentucky KM-272 Oval Hole A-Style is a special model for any bluegrass and country music players. This mandolin has its own style and personality, as it takes the oval hole approach and delivers a unique mix of sounds and tones.

✅ Natural clean tonality
✅ Hand-carved solid wood body
✅ Elegant natural finish
❌ Low-quality strings

Why I Recommend It

This Kentucky model has a hand-carved body and an elegant and professional finish for a reasonable price. If you need a purely acoustic instrument with a natural and warm tone, this mandolin is perfect for you.



Gretsch G9310 New Yorker

  • Size: 30.9 x 12.1 x 5 inches
  • Weight: 4.2 pounds
  • Material & finish: Solid mahogany body, rosewood bridge, vintage semi gloss
  • Sound: Warm and smooth
  • Best for: Intermediate and beginners

Gretsch G9310 New Yorker is an accessible instrument made of mahogany with a natural look and design. This Mandolin has a great volume and long sustain, which is quite surprising for the low price of this Mandolin.

✅ Solid wood body
✅ Natural and classic design
✅ Great tonality
✅ High-quality construction
❌ Requires some maintenance to be playable

Why I Recommend It

This is a great mandolin for musicians who are starting to learn this instrument. A unique natural look and great tonality make this instrument an easy choice.



Eastman MD305 A-Style

  • Size: 31 x 20 x 6.5 inches
  • Weight: 4 pounds
  • Material & finish: Solid spruce body, maple back and sides, classic finish
  • Sound: Warm and deep
  • Best for: Intermediate and beginners

Eastman MD305 A-Style is a handcrafted mandolin with a classic feel. This A-Style beauty is quite robust and has an elegant finish. The tone and sound of this mandolin are quite good too for this price range.

✅ Solid spruce top
✅ Robust construction
✅ Comfortable to play
❌ Require some setup

Why I Recommend It

I heard this mandolin several times played by a colleague, and it is quite interesting to hear, as it has a unique and elegant sound to it. Quite recommendable for classical and folk music.



Oscar Schmidt OM10E A-Style

  • Size: 25 x 12 x 5 inches
  • Weight: 4 pounds
  • Material & finish: Spruce top, mahogany back and sides, tobacco sunburst
  • Sound: Bright and clean
  • Best for: Beginners

Oscar Schmidt OM10E A-Style is a budget-friendly mandolin with great tonality. This mandolin is a classical A-style with a simple but effective design and finish.

✅ No setup required
✅ Comfortable to play
✅ Simple but elegant finish
❌ Low-quality strings

Why I Recommend It

This instrument is a great match for any beginner player, as it is quite comfortable and has a bright and clean sound, all of that for a really low price tag.



Best A-Style Mandolins Brands

Although the A-style is the most popular type of mandolin, not all brands are able to produce the best-sounding ones. Only a few of them have sufficient experience to create the best A-style mandolins on the market.

close up of an A-Style mandolin

Let’s take a closer look at some of these companies and brands.


Ibanez is a Japanese company that specializes in stringed acoustic and electric instruments. Their high-quality methods of production and attention to detail made this company quite popular among all kinds of musicians around the world.


Kentucky is a professional brand that produces some of the best mandolin in the world. The Kentucky brand brings its unique all-American flavor and sound to each instrument they produce, which makes this company a favorite for bluegrass and country musicians.


Washburn is one of the oldest companies that produce acoustic instruments to this day. This brand is known for high-quality and precise instruments, which are hand-tailored to the needs and specifications of each musician and artist.


Eastman is a brand inspired by old classics, as it tries to take some of those elegant designs and ideas and bring them to the modern age. Most mandolins made by Eastman are hand-carved and have a high-quality build with a high-grade sound and tone.

A Style Mandolins Aesthetics & Build

Two of the most important aspects of the mandolin are the wood quality and the overall look and feel. The visual part is what certainly attracts people to this instrument, as its unique and vintage look is barely comparable to any other instruments.


The most common types of wood used in the mandolin are spruce and maple. It’s important to have a solid body, as it will give a better sustain and better tone overall.


You will find the two most common types of varnishes used are the oil varnish and spirit varnish. The first one provides low protection with a natural tone, without any meddling with the sound.  The spirit varnish, on the other hand, will dampen the sound but will give better protection for your Mandolin.


The color that is most commonly used is Sunburst and its numerous variations like antique sunburst, high-gloss sunburst, red sunburst, amber sunburst, and many more.

Buying New vs Used

Buying a used one you might risk finding out some defects and hits on your mandolin. But some used instruments might have an aged sound, which will give a better tonality and rich sound. When buying a new mandolin you will get some warranties and useful accessories, which is the best choice if you are a beginner.

What’s in the A-Style Mandolin’s Box?

Each model will offer different accessories in the package. It will depend on the offer and each particular brand and model.

close up of A-Style mandolin inside the box

Let’s take a look at what you can find inside the mandolin package.


Most mandolins have a basic chromatic tuner, which is quite useful to tune those double strings. Some high-tier models will have a high-grade tuner like Snark or Fender.

Mandolin Strap

Mandolin Strap is a useful accessory if you want to play your mandolin while standing. This accessory will give you the necessary comfort when playing with a band or outdoors.

Set of Strings

Many mandolin packages will bring a basic set of strings. Normally one set of decent or low-tier strings.

Set of Picks

Most packages will have a set of picks for you to use. Some brands will offer signature picks with a special logo.


You might consider buying better strings or change some poorly crafted parts of your Mandolin. This way you can make even the cheapest mandolin sound like a professional one.

How Much Do A-Style Mandolins Cost?

The average cost for an A-style mandolin is around $400. The cheapest option will go for $100 and more expensive ones can go for several thousands of dollars.

a man playing an A-Style mandolin

Don’t worry if you are low on budget, as there are many budget-friendly instruments and brands for you to choose from.

What Are the Best A-Style Mandolins?

Let’s review some of the best A-Style Mandolins we explored on this list. Here we selected the best ones for each level of entry.

Kentucky KM-150: Best for Beginners

Kentucky KM-150 is a well-proven classic for any Mandolin lovers. This a solid Mandolin with a high-quality build and an affordable price.

Ibanez M510DVS: Best for Intermediate

The Ibanez M510DVS is a versatile instrument with high-grade wood and robust construction. The great comfort and pleasant tone make this Mandolin an easy choice for any intermediate player.

Kentucky KM-250: Best for Professionals

Kentucky KM-250 is a step forward in evolution for a Kentucky Mandolin series. This instrument is a high-grade tool for any well-respected musicians and artists.

Where Are the Best A-Style Mandolins Made?

A-style mandolins were originally created in the United States, as Gibson company created the first archtop A-style and F-style. This of course means that the most professional and dedicated brands for this type are mostly from this country.

What Is the Best Sounding A-Style Mandolin?

Personally, I would choose the Kentucky Km-272 Oval Hole A-Style, as it has the sweetest tone I’ve ever heard in a mandolin.

Where to Buy A Style Mandolins

There are several websites and online retailers that sell high-quality mandolins nowadays. Each one has its own selection of instruments and special offers.


Amazon is the most famous online retailer in the world for several reasons. The first is great accessibility, as you can buy any product from any part of the world. The second is fast delivery and a great selection of products. I personally find quite useful the customer reviews, as they give me necessary critical information from the product.

Online Music Retailers

There are numerous different online music retailers that offer competitive prices and a good selections of instruments. Here at Into Strings, we recommend,, and, as they offer the best prices and a huge selection of mandolins and other instruments.

Your Local Music Store

Your local music store will provide maybe a limited selection of instruments, but will certainly help you decide, as you can try and play any instruments before buying them. The advice of the salesperson can help you decide what instrument you really need.

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In Conclusion

Thank you for reading until the end. I hope you enjoyed this journey through some of the best A-style mandolins I could find.

If you really liked this article, feel free to share or leave any comment, as I will gladly respond to anyone who has any doubts about the mandolin.

Stay safe and good luck with your sonic adventures!