In the USA, there are a lot of import brands of mandolins from China, but among the best of the imported mandolin brands is The Loar or sometimes just called “Loar”. Their instruments are hand-crafted in their own workshop in China, so these are not mass produced instruments coming from the same factory as other brands like is commonly seen among the budget import brands.
Since The Loar mandolins are higher quality than most import brands, the cost is higher, but they still cost nowhere close to the high-end domestic brands. This makes The Loar a preferred choice for both beginners and more experienced musicians that want a premium mando without breaking the bank because not everyone can afford $5,000 or especially $10,000 instruments.
The 1920s and 30s are often referred to as the “Golden Age” of mandolins. This is when some of the best sounding and looking designs were first created, and those same designs are still the gold standard for today. Loar mandolins are inspired by these Golden Age mandolins to bring you that classic sound and look.
Their premium mandolin model, the LM-700-VS, is the ultimate in sound and style available from The Loar. It uses AAA spruce for the top, and it is a solid piece that has been graduated and carved by hand. The flame maple sides and back are also hand-carved, and the maple neck is a single piece with a rounded profile. Other meticulous features like gold-plated hardware, finish hand buffing and ebony finger board give this instrument a classic and stylish look that you simply won’t find in the other models.
Most online listings do not mention this coming with a case, but it should be standard on this model because it is their high-end mandolin. This is recommended for someone that wants a flashy piece that will catch the eye and be great to watch on stage or on display.
The LM-520-VS is a more affordable version of the 700.
This model is lacking a few of the fancier features found in the 700, such as the gold hardware and hand buffing. However, many of the other aspects of the two instruments are the same, such as the wood selections. This has made the 520 one of the Loar’s most popular designs because you get the quality, great sound and stylish look from the 700 at a much lower price.
Many players prefer this look because it is more simplistic and it’s doesn’t affect the sound quality because the missing features are merely aesthetics.
The LM-170-VSM is a teardrop-shaped A-Style mandolin that is great for a beginner because of it’s affordability and quality.
It features a solid spruce top that has been carved by hand, along with a maple neck, back and sides. It also has a thin profile, making it easier to play, which is especially important for someone that is just beginning to learn to play.
Great for modern or bluegrass playing.
Want to see more? Take a look at more Loar mandolins here.