Musicians that play traditional Celtic music will want to take a look at Trinity College mandolins. Trinity College has been around since the 1970s and is actually a brand owned by Saga Music Instruments, which is located in California. This is the same company that owns Kentucky, another popular brand known for it’s quality instruments.
When you get a mandolin from this company, you’re basically getting a Kentucky quality instrument but one made for playing Celtic music, although they’re also great for the Blues, Brazilian and more. While these instruments are made in China, they are a much higher quality than a lot of the other import brands, so these are definitely not low-end mandolins. Overall, we recommend this brand for players of any skill-level that want to play this type of music, although the cost can be a bit high for those that are just getting started and have never played before.
All of the instruments available from this brand are made in a similar manner with solid woods and quality craftsmanship. This is another one of those brands that does import from Asia, but their instruments are unique and not available from other companies. Each of them comes professionally set up from the factory, which is something you simply won’t find from the budget brands and this normally costs about $80 to have a luthier do for you after you buy. They also come with a hardshell case because they generally won’t fit in standard mandolin cases.
Trinity College TM-250
The TM-250 is the standard Celtic mandolin model. It uses solid Sitka spruce for the top, solid maple sides and back, and a mahogany neck.
An excellent choice for any beginner to mid-level player.
All of the other models available from this brand are similar to this one, except this is the smallest instrument of the bunch.
Trinity College TM-275
In addition to mandolins, they also make mandolas, like the TM-275.
Not a lot of other brands offer quality mandolas unless you are willing to have a private luthier build one for you that will cost multiple thousands of dollars.
It has a 17 inch scale to reach the deep bass notes that make a mandola. This also features Sitka spruce, maple and mahogany woods like the 250.
Trinity College TM-325
The TM-325 is a standard Celtic octave mandolin, which has a 20 inch scale.
This provides a much wider range of playing possibilities since you have an extra octave beyond what a mandolin can use.
The same tonewoods are again used in the construction of the 325 as are used on other TC instruments.
Trinity College TM-375
The TM-375 is a standard Irish Bouzouki. This provides a rich and deep tone – it is tuned an octave below a standard mandolin and also offers a 26 inch scale.
In pretty much all other ways, this is built the same as the other models in this series with spruce, maple and mahogany.