When you want to play folk music, why not play an instrument made by folk musicians? Gold Tone mandolins are quality instruments, even though they are made in China and Korea. This company was started in 1993 in Titusville, Florida, where they still operate today.
The big difference between them and a lot of other mandolin importers is that they design their own equipment. When you buy from a lot of other import brands, you’re getting an instrument that is mass produced in a factory and then labeled for numerous different brands – that means the exact same instrument is sold under many different brands and models. This is not the case with this brand. Every one of their instruments is an exclusive design that you won’t find anywhere else. One of their founders, Wayne Rogers, helps design every new piece, and then that prototype is sent to their factory for production.
Since all of their mandolins are designed in-house and unique to their company, they actually have a variety of styles that you won’t find anywhere else. Left-handed mandolins, guitar-style mandos and even 6-string mandolins for guitarists are just a few of their specialties.
This is a perfect beginners mandolin and is even great for those that want to upgrade from a cheap brand. It’s made with quality materials like a solid spruce top and maple neck and body.
Best of all, after this instrument is made, it is shipped to Gold Tone in Florida for a professional set up. This means that it will arrived ready to play and you won’t need to go to your local music store to spend $80 on a set up like you would need to do with most other brands.
One of the only downsides to this as an entry-level mandolin is that it doesn’t use the best tuners, but these can always be replaced with Grovers to make this an excellent piece that will last for many years.
Gold Tone Rigel GM-110 F-Style
The GM-110 is similar to a traditional F-Style mandolin, but the body is more shaped like a guitar.
It is made with solid woods – spruce for the top and maple on the back, sides and neck.
This model was a collaboration between GT and Pete Langdell of the Rigel Mandolin Company to reproduce one of Rigel’s most popular designs.
Gold Tone GME-4 – 4-String Electric
The GME-4 is a 4-string electric mandolin that is great for a variety of uses and music genres.
This plays like a mandolin but it is simpler like a guitar since there are no double strings.
Excellent for any beginner to intermediate musicians that want to play in public, to a group or in a band.
Gold Tone GM-6+ – 6-String Guitar-Style
For the guitar player that wants to play the mandolin, the GM-6 is a perfect choice.
This allows you to avoid learning new chords and finger placement because you can play it just like a guitar but it sounds like a mandolin because it is tuned an octave higher than a normal guitar.
It has a solid spruce top, maple body and bridge mounted pickup. It also comes with a hardshell case.
Need a left-handed mandolin? Take a look at the Gone Tone lefty selection here.