The mandolin is a very versatile instrument which gives you a variety of different playing options. Originating from the lute family, a Mandolin is an 8 stringed instrument that adopts a hollow body design. You can find mandolins from a variety of different leading music brands including Bridge, Stagg and Ozark.
The Folk Mandolin
The folk mandolin has a large body and produces a deep sound. The round sound hole is also a distinctive feature, with most mandolins having an f hole. A lot of woods are normally used in the folk mandolin and this includes rosewood, mahogany, walnut and even cedar as well. The top and back are often flat but in some instances, they can be slightly arched however they are usually never carved.
The octave mandolin is tuned an octave below the standard mandolin. It has very strong American origins and it can also be tuned in the same way as the Bouzouki. The shorter neck is great for playing melodies and it is commonly used to play chords. It's also used to play jazz, blues and short riffs and it is best when used with a combination of other instruments due to it being tuned an octave lower.
The Bluegrass Mandolin
The bluegrass mandolin is based on a Gibson model. The two most common types include the A style and the F style. With the A style you have a teardrop neck but with the F you have scroll points or Florentines. This is a very popular option if you are an experienced mandolin player and it is also great if you want to venture into different types of music. As the name suggests it is usually used to play bluegrass music however it is not uncommon to find it used in country music as well.