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A-Style Mandolins

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The A-style mandolin has carved out a unique niche for itself in the world of popular music. While it plays an important role in a wide variety of country and bluegrass music, the mandolin has also found a home in indie, power pop and rock and roll music. Artists such as Butch Walker, Primal Scream, and Steven Van Zandt of the E Street Band have all used the mandolin to bring a special kind of vibe to their songs. When shopping for your own mandolin, it’s important to have an idea of what you’re looking for to make sure you get the one that is perfect for you. First of all, you should take note of the mandolin’s style of sound holes. Generally, mandolins will either have “ff” sound holes or an oval sound hole. Oval sound holes deliver strong bass sounds and resonance, along with a warmer tone and lush character. On the other hand, “ff” holes project better, with a clearer and more cutting sound. Both types of sound holes are very popular, and in the end your choice will have more to do with personal preference rather than one being superior to the other.

Construction materials will also play an important role in your decision about which mandolin to purchase. Ask any mandolin enthusiast and they’ll all give you a different answer on which wood your mandolin should be made of. Generally, spruce wood is a pretty reliable option, though beginners may want to consider a laminated top as they can offer a better entry level point before you make the decision to upgrade.

Believe it or not, the finish on your mandolin can also have an effect on the sound quality of your instrument. A mandolin without a finish can pick up dirt and oils from playing, leaving your instrument with a less crisp, almost soggy sound. On the other hand, a thick finish can keep your instrument looking its best, but it can also take some of the quality out of the bass and thin out your treble range. Though it may not be something you initially think of, this is still definitely something to keep in mind while making your purchase.

From the pop-country style of Taylor Swift to the Irish Folk-Punk of the Pogues, the mandolin is a versatile instrument for musicians of all levels and interests. Adding one to your original songs will definitely add a level of character you, your band mates, and your audience are sure to love.
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