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The Loar LM-520 Hand-Carved F-Model Acoustic Mandolin Sunburst

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The hand-carved LM-520 F-model mandolin is the response to players' requests for a value priced mandolin with more stripped down appointments yet a s...Click To Read More About This Product

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OVERVIEW

No frills, just a hand-carved, fully graduated spruce top and a hand-carved maple back for optimal tone.

The hand-carved LM-520 F-model mandolin is the response to players' requests for a value priced mandolin with more stripped down appointments yet a similar sound to the best-selling Loar LM-600 mandolin.

The 520 is carefully assembled in the same hand-carved workshop that gave birth to the LM-400 and 700, and have similar hand-carved, fully graduated spruce tops. The solid maple back of each instrument is also hand carved, and the solid maple sides complete the package. The maple neck has a comfortable rounded V profile finished with a rosewood fretboard. The compensated adjustable ebony bridge and high quality vintage-style Grover tuning machines insure that these mandolins have great intonation and stay in tune no matter how hard they are played.

Perfect for players who want a high-quality, great-sounding hand-carved mandolin but don't need all of the bells and whistles, these minimally appointed instruments deliver the high-end tone, chop and projection the music community has come to expect from The Loar. Case sold separately.

FEATURES
Top: Solid Hand-carved, fully graduated spruce
Back & Sides: Solid hand-carved, fully graduated maple back, solid maple sides
Neck: Maple with rounded "V" profile
Fretboard: Bound rosewood
Headstock Inlay: M.O.P. Logo
Finish Type: Gloss
Finish Options: Vintage Sunburst
Tuning Machines: Grover with Pearloid Buttons
Scale Length: 13-3/4 in.
Truss Rod: Adjustable
Frets: 29
Binding: Ivoroid
Nut and saddle: Bone
Bridge: Compensated adjustable ebony
Upper Bout: 6-3/4 in.
Lower Bout: 10 in.
Nut, Width: Bone, 1-1/8 in.
Depth: 2-1/2 in.
Body Length: 12-3/4 in.
Total Length: 27-1/4 in.
Case sold separately

Reviews
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Review Snapshot

by PowerReviews
The LoarLM-520 Hand-Carved F-Model Acoustic Mandolin
 
4.9

(based on 25 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (23)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (0)

95%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Good tone (19)
  • Consistent (14)
  • Well built / quality (11)
  • Long life (6)

Cons

No Cons

Best Uses

  • Concerts (12)
  • Practicing (8)
  • Back-up (5)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Experienced (10), Novice (5), Professional musician (5)

Most Liked Positive Review

 

LM-520 After 2 Years

Let start out by saying that I still consider myself a beginner on the mandolin even though I have been playing for 4 years now and the mandolin was the first instrument I decided to...Read complete review

Let start out by saying that I still consider myself a beginner on the mandolin even though I have been playing for 4 years now and the mandolin was the first instrument I decided to play. I started out with a Fender Acoustic Starter Mandolin Kit. It was nice but the neck was very narrow. I started my research and found The Loar had a 1/8 inch wider neck and the reviews on it were good. So I bought it from another site that does set ups.

Right out of the box beautiful sound and very easy to play compared to the Fender. But after about 18 months of playing it I started to get some string hum on the frets. I raised the bridge to get calm it down some but that made it very hard to play.

I gave it to a friend to look at, He lowered the bridge back down, cleaned up the frets adjusted the truss rod for me and then I put on Martin Bluegrass Light strings and now the lttle guy really plays and sounds phenominally.

I have taken it to the local Bluegrass Jam sessions and and all of the old timers with Weber's, Jade's, and Flatiron's loved it.

VS

Most Liked Negative Review

 

Wanted it to be a keeper

I really wanted to love this mandolin. I read reviews of sub $1k mandolins for weeks before I purchased the Loar LM-520 over the Michael Kelly Legacy Dragonfly. When it arrived it was...Read complete review

I really wanted to love this mandolin. I read reviews of sub $1k mandolins for weeks before I purchased the Loar LM-520 over the Michael Kelly Legacy Dragonfly. When it arrived it was beautiful and had good tone but of course the action was terrible. I expected poor action so that was no big deal as I hear all mandolins need setup. But, while bringing the mandolin up to pitch, one of the tuning keys came out of the worm gear and dropped little parts in my lap. I believe the tuners on this mandolin are poor quality. MF was great about returning it and I now have a Michael Kelly Legacy Elegante on order. Hopefully that one will be a keeper.

Reviewed by 25 customers

Displaying reviews 1-20

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(21 of 21 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Best F Style for the money

By Ibanezae

from Brandon, FL

See all my reviews

Ask me a question

Comments about The Loar LM-520 Hand-Carved F-Model Acoustic Mandolin:

Overall I am very happy with my purchase. It is not as loud as I'd like but I am still playing on the stock strings.
The fingerboard extension seems to get in my way when really picking and doing loud tremelo which I am adapting to and is probably more a matter of hand position than anything. Though others who are not used to this style of fingerboard will probably run into issues as well.
The finish and workmanship are beautiful and get "OOOO's" from everyone who see's it. The lack of inlays and other fluff is appealling to me personally giving the mandolin a classy, clean look.
I have been wanting an F style mandolin for sometime and have looked at many of the pac-rims, I am convinced that this is the only choice in this price range for an F and will compete with just every mandolin I have seen in the range.
If you are a hobbyist or a gigging musician who only uses a mandolin for a few tunes this is all the mandolin you will ever need.
This Mandolin is a basic version, no pickguard, inlays, etc. The tuners are fantastic and the woods used are outstaning for an instrument in this price range. I was hesitant to purchase it because of the "V" profile of the neck and my smaller hands but found the "V" to be very comfortable to play.

My only issue is the fingerboard should be scooped.
Of course the review is relative to the price of the instrument. The finish is flawless. Woods are beautiful. Binding is tight and consistant. It looks, feels and plays like an instrument costing hundreds more.
An outstanding mandolin for the price and the only F style for in this range I've ever seen that is worth owning.

(17 of 17 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Excellent Instrument for the Price

By John

from Silver Spring, Maryland

About Me Experienced

Comments about The Loar LM-520 Hand-Carved F-Model Acoustic Mandolin:

Fair notice, I'm not a thoroughly experienced mandolin player. I primarily play guitar, and also dabble with ukuleles. The only other mandolin I've played besides my new LM-520 is a $50 Rogue that I've had for a year and a half (I put a ton of work into properly fitting the bridge and lowering the action at the nut to make the Rogue playable, but when set up properly, it's surprisingly decent for the price). With that said, I do own numerous acustic instruments, and know quality when I see and hear it.

When I recently decided that I wanted to upgrade to a quality mandolin, I read a ton of reviews and articles about their construction and setup. I decided to go with the Loar 520 because it got great reviews from buyers, and it appeared to be a great value (it was the only solid wood, carved-top mandolin I saw anywhere near this price range). I have no problem with the "stripped down appointments" The Loar says justifies the low price. I'll trade inlays for solid wood construction all day.

Upon its arrival, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the online images of the LM-520 don't do it justice. The finish looked dark and plain in photographs. In person, it's a very beautiful instrument, with nice wood grain visible on the top, back and sides. The sides of mine are even flamed maple. The back is straight grained, as is the spruce top.

I was also pleasantly surprised to find that the instrument was set up perfectly out of the box. The bridge fits the top seamlessly, the intonation was perfect, and the action was set comfortably low. The neck required no adjustment of the truss rod. The overall construction quality is excellent.

For sound quality, I have only my Rogue to compare with. I was a little surprised to find that right out of the box the Loar didn't completely blow away the Rogue in terms of tone and projection. The Rogue has a larger oval body than the F-model Loar, which probably accounts for the projection. After playing the LM-520 for only two weeks, I'd swear I can hear a dramatic improvement in the tone, resonance and volume of the instrument. The Rogue now sounds brassy and harsh in comparison.

Bottom line: I've very pleased with my purchase, and I think I got an outstanding value for my money.

(17 of 17 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

LM-520 VS Hand carved F5 mandolin

By Forest Summers

from Kentucky

Comments about The Loar LM-520 Hand-Carved F-Model Acoustic Mandolin:

Overall, very nice mandolin for the beginner or intermediate player for the price. I have owned other higher priced mandolins in the past that didn't sound much different than the LM-520VS. It would have been nice for the scale to be the same (longer) as the LM-400 and LM600, 700.
Nice wood, neck is V style, and fits my hand perfectly. Mandolin has a wonderful tone and bark. The frets are well done, and just right. Nice fingerboard. The bridge is well done also, ebony wood.
Well constructed, solid tone woods, good detailing on trim. Good looking finish, very even. "The Loar" M.O.P. logo is very nicely done. Great tuners, keeps the mandolin in tune. Factory bridge is well fitted. Strings are good quality.
This is THE F5 style mandolin to get, for under $500!

(14 of 15 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

An Incredible Mandolin

By SAWood04

from Colorado Springs, CO

Comments about The Loar LM-520 Hand-Carved F-Model Acoustic Mandolin:

I would like to first point out, the LM-520 VS was produced as a professional sounding mandolin without the "bells and whistles." The Loar produced it to sound much like it's top of the line models, The LM-600 and The LM-700. It certainly succeeds in that category. Its sound is absolutely incredible. It keeps tune wonderfully and looks exceptionally pretty, even if certain inlays were left out, or tuning knobs changed to reduce price. For the price, this solid top, hand carved mandolin is exactly what a serious musician is looking for when he doesn't want to pay for a few custom inlays or Grover tuning knobs(which some, including myself, actually prefer) instead of Gotch.

(13 of 13 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

An outstanding deal!

By Sam

from Blacksburg, VA

About Me Experienced

See all my reviews

Ask me a question

Pros

  • Consistent
  • Good Tone
  • Long Life
  • Strong

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Backup
    • Concerts
    • Practicing

    Comments about The Loar LM-520 Hand-Carved F-Model Acoustic Mandolin:

    First, I should point out that I had a professional luthier do the setup on my LM-520 since there is no such thing as a perfect "right out of the box" mandolin. Take the time to have the bridge adjusted and cut if necessary. Any instrument with a moveable bridge is going to require expert setup the first time.

    That said, this mandolin is eons ahead of any in its class or price range, and even many in h" motiff, and unless you plan on playing with the biggest names in bluegrass tomorrow, there is no need to spend thousands on whistles and bells. BUT, even without the whistles and bells this is a visually stunning instrument (no photos can do it justice) and the sound is out of this world, even with the factory supplied strings. There are a few good Youtube videos that demonstrate that point.

    I have been playing for over 20 years, tried many different mandolins (although i've owned only a few) and this one makes me proud. Even beats my custom made McGee. The Loar is an up and coming force to be reckoned with. After all, Jesse McReynolds and ronnie Reno both play The Loar mandolins (LM-700s, which, even as the top of the line for the brand is just over 1k).

    (9 of 9 customers found this review helpful)

     
    5.0

    nice upgrade

    By Lee

    from Central Ohio

    About Me Novice

    See all my reviews

    Ask me a question

    Verified Buyer

    Pros

    • Good Tone

    Cons

      Best Uses

        Comments about The Loar LM-520 Hand-Carved F-Model Acoustic Mandolin:

        This was an upgrade for me from an inexpensive mandolin in a frustrating ordering process. Musician's Friend saved the day by providing me with a great deal on this much higher quality instrument. I couldn't be more pleased with it. The factory set up is sufficient for now and I've been playing it for several weeks. I'll get a professional set up at some point but I'm not proficient enough a player for that to matter much just yet. It has a good action, the neck provides a comfortable center position and action was fine right out of the box. Intonation is right on the money. This instrument is loud if you strum it hard and this leads to some great chops-especially as you develop your ability with four finger chords. However, it has great tone even at lower volume for single note leads or transition runs. I'm primarily a guitar player and got this as a new toy. However, I find myself playing it as much as my guitars because it's so fun.

        (9 of 9 customers found this review helpful)

         
        4.0

        AWESOME

        By Joe

        from Asbury Park, NJ

        About Me Professional Musician

        See all my reviews

        Pros

        • Consistent
        • Good feel
        • Good Lookin'
        • Good Tone

        Cons

        • Fragile

        Best Uses

        • Backup
        • Concerts
        • Practicing

        Comments about The Loar LM-520 Hand-Carved F-Model Acoustic Mandolin:

        First one I received was broken. A crack near the bottom F hole. I sent it back, got another one, bought a really great case for it, and now I love this mando! Makes me smile every time I look at it haha. Just be careful with it (aka dont drop, bang, or throw it)

        (9 of 9 customers found this review helpful)

         
        5.0

        LM-520 After 2 Years

        By mdshec

        from Abilene, TX

        About Me Novice

        See all my reviews

        Pros

        • Consistent
        • Good Tone
        • Long Life
        • Strong

        Cons

          Best Uses

            Comments about The Loar LM-520 Hand-Carved F-Model Acoustic Mandolin:

            Let start out by saying that I still consider myself a beginner on the mandolin even though I have been playing for 4 years now and the mandolin was the first instrument I decided to play. I started out with a Fender Acoustic Starter Mandolin Kit. It was nice but the neck was very narrow. I started my research and found The Loar had a 1/8 inch wider neck and the reviews on it were good. So I bought it from another site that does set ups.

            Right out of the box beautiful sound and very easy to play compared to the Fender. But after about 18 months of playing it I started to get some string hum on the frets. I raised the bridge to get calm it down some but that made it very hard to play.

            I gave it to a friend to look at, He lowered the bridge back down, cleaned up the frets adjusted the truss rod for me and then I put on Martin Bluegrass Light strings and now the lttle guy really plays and sounds phenominally.

            I have taken it to the local Bluegrass Jam sessions and and all of the old timers with Weber's, Jade's, and Flatiron's loved it.

            (7 of 8 customers found this review helpful)

             
            5.0

            LM-520

            By WILLIAM STREET

            from Maryland

            Comments about The Loar LM-520 Hand-Carved F-Model Acoustic Mandolin:

            Great sound, needs to break in a little. Very loud, need to adjust to a lighrter pick
            Was a little disappointed with the craftsmanship. Where the neck meets the body, the wood was rough and the finish wasn't exactly what I'd expected (this part only). The end where the strings attach, the loar cover was bent and the peg on the end for the strap was broken off. Otherwise, very satisfied!
            A very finely crafted machine, just the few problems listed previously.
            Still feel this is a "best" deal for the price

            (6 of 6 customers found this review helpful)

             
            5.0

            excellent choice

            By bruno

            from madden,ms

            About Me Experienced

            Verified Buyer

            Pros

            • Consistent
            • Good Tone
            • Long Life
            • Strong

            Cons

              Best Uses

              • Concerts

              Comments about The Loar LM-520 Hand-Carved F-Model Acoustic Mandolin:

              i purchased the lm-520 from other reviews, right out of the box i was impressed, it came set up and ready to play. may tweak on it later.freinds who own more expensive mandolins say's it plays as well as there's, and it looks great.

              (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

               
              5.0

              Great Value

              By none

              from Alabama

              About Me Professional Musician

              See all my reviews

              Ask me a question

              Verified Reviewer

              Pros

              • Consistent
              • Good Tone
              • Long Life
              • Strong

              Cons

                Best Uses

                • Concerts
                • Practicing

                Comments about The Loar LM-520 Hand-Carved F-Model Acoustic Mandolin:

                Best buy in F-Style Mandolin market.

                (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

                 
                5.0

                great for the money

                By Dr. D

                from Goose Creek, SC

                Pros

                • Consistent
                • Great Tone

                Cons

                • Needs Slight Fret Work

                Best Uses

                • Any Venue

                Comments about The Loar LM-520 Hand-Carved F-Model Acoustic Mandolin:

                great sound. perfect intonation. quality build. the ends of the frets are a little rough and could use some finishing touches. just what I needed at this price. the instrument is nice enough that I also bought a case and a pick-up.

                (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

                 
                5.0

                Absolutely amazing instrument

                By Andy

                from Alabama

                About Me Experienced

                Pros

                • Consistent
                • Good Tone
                • Long Life
                • Strong

                Cons

                  Best Uses

                  • Concerts
                  • Practicing

                  Comments about The Loar LM-520 Hand-Carved F-Model Acoustic Mandolin:

                  I've been playing Bluegrass/Old Time music for years now. About a year ago I picked one of these up at a local music store and could not have been more pleased. Once I did a little work it the sound it made was unbelievable. I use it for both small jam sessions and performing with a band. And just look at the price! You will never find another mandolin with this kind of quality for that price. I'm sure mine will live a long and happy life.

                  (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

                   
                  5.0

                  Good Quality

                  By Mandolin player

                  from Meridian MS

                  About Me Experienced

                  See all my reviews

                  Ask me a question

                  Pros

                  • Good Quality
                  • Good Tone

                  Cons

                    Best Uses

                    • Backup
                    • Concerts
                    • Practicing

                    Comments about The Loar LM-520 Hand-Carved F-Model Acoustic Mandolin:

                    This product is a VERY good quality item! I would definitely recommend this to everyone!

                    (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

                     
                    5.0

                    New to Mando

                    By NotAnotherGuitar!

                    from Oregon

                    About Me Novice

                    See all my reviews

                    Pros

                    • Consistent
                    • Good Tone

                    Cons

                      Best Uses

                        Comments about The Loar LM-520 Hand-Carved F-Model Acoustic Mandolin:

                        New to the mandolin. Initially I bought a REALLY cheap brand… fun but hard to keep in tune - if anything it made me catch the bug. Picked up The Loar 520 about 6 months ago and I have been amazed by the quality. It is a solid wood instrument with plenty of volume. It is slightly wider at the nut which makes it easier to play for us guitar folks. Not only does it sound good but it's lovely to look at as well, mine has a very nice figured maple back and sides.

                        (2 of 8 customers found this review helpful)

                         
                        3.0

                        Wanted it to be a keeper

                        By Barry

                        from Murrieta, Ca.

                        About Me Novice

                        See all my reviews

                        Ask me a question

                        Pros

                        • Good Tone

                        Cons

                        • Breaks Easy

                        Best Uses

                          Comments about The Loar LM-520 Hand-Carved F-Model Acoustic Mandolin:

                          I really wanted to love this mandolin. I read reviews of sub $1k mandolins for weeks before I purchased the Loar LM-520 over the Michael Kelly Legacy Dragonfly. When it arrived it was beautiful and had good tone but of course the action was terrible. I expected poor action so that was no big deal as I hear all mandolins need setup. But, while bringing the mandolin up to pitch, one of the tuning keys came out of the worm gear and dropped little parts in my lap. I believe the tuners on this mandolin are poor quality. MF was great about returning it and I now have a Michael Kelly Legacy Elegante on order. Hopefully that one will be a keeper.

                          (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

                           
                          5.0

                          Pleased with my purchase

                          By spanky

                          from Central Florida

                          About Me Novice

                          Verified Buyer

                          Pros

                          • A Very Nice Looking Instr
                          • Good Tone

                          Cons

                          • None

                          Best Uses

                          • Backup
                          • Practicing

                          Comments about The Loar LM-520 Hand-Carved F-Model Acoustic Mandolin:

                          Good looking and very playable.

                          (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                           
                          5.0

                          Would Buy Again !!!

                          By Bob

                          from Myrtle Beach, SC

                          About Me Experienced

                          Pros

                          • Consistent
                          • Good Tone
                          • Strong

                          Cons

                            Best Uses

                            • Concerts

                            Comments about The Loar LM-520 Hand-Carved F-Model Acoustic Mandolin:

                            Pedal steel?Dobro picker since 1975.Playing Southern/Bluegrass Gospel/Contemporary Christian.Wanted to add mandolin to the group.This is a beautiful & well crafted instrument.No fancy inlay or headstock binding which was exactly what I was looking for.I was not expecting such beautiful wood,especially the back.Gorgeous flame ! Just a beautiful instrument.Being a Gospel picker I will be adding a custom ebony truss rod cover inlaid with a small,mother of pearl dove.

                            (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                             
                            5.0

                            YES !!! I would buy this again & reccomend to a friend !

                            By Bob

                            from Myrtle Beach SC

                            About Me Experienced

                            Pros

                            • Consistent
                            • Good Tone
                            • Strong

                            Cons

                            • Hard as a try,I just can't find any !

                            Best Uses

                            • Backup
                            • Concerts

                            Comments about The Loar LM-520 Hand-Carved F-Model Acoustic Mandolin:

                            No longer play for a living so I wouldn't say professional. tired of being on the road & in bars all the time.Playing for the Lord now.Southern Gospel.I'm 63,a lifelong bluegrass,old time & country picker,pedal steel being my main instrument.Wanted a good mando for a challenge to learn something new.Thi one is great.well crafted,beautiful tone & plays really nice.Also quite a nice looker ! I was truly surprised when I saw the back-beautiful flame that I wasn't expecting.I usually go for less eye candy(fancy inlays,highly figured wood) this one is gorgeous.It's got all the tone,playability you could want.I was amazed at how well it played out of the box.I did lower the action a bit @ the bridge,but that was all it needed.They really did their job well when it came to the setup.Overall,I couldn't be happier !

                            (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                             
                            5.0

                            Great instrument

                            By J

                            from Arkansas

                            About Me Experienced

                            See all my reviews

                            Verified Buyer

                            Pros

                            • Consistent
                            • Good Tone
                            • Strong

                            Cons

                              Best Uses

                              • Concerts
                              • Practicing

                              Comments about The Loar LM-520 Hand-Carved F-Model Acoustic Mandolin:

                              Awesome instrument. Solid construction. Looks great. Great sound.

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