Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Looking for a Mandolin

I have been a guitar player for a number of years but recently i have gotten the bug to pick up the mandolin. Here’s my problem… I play left handed. I know, I know why did I do that. I feel like a second class citizen whenever it comes to stringed instruments. Its completely frustrating to try and buy a guitar.

There are LH mandolins out there. But I would like to find one that I can learn on but isnt a total piece of crap. Looking in the 300-600 range. I’d prefer an F style, but open to suggestions. Oscar Scmidt has one (OM40) but Morgan Monroe seems to have a better variety. Once again, not much to choose from.

Help me Bango Ben Kenobi… you’re my only hope…

Here are some lefties, I would suggest looking at an A-style in that price range. … oducts/52/

Thanks for the suggestions. I am familiar with and have been looking at what they offer. Just curious, why an A model?

Ben, are there places in Nashville that carry a good variety of left handed instruments? I dont live that far from Music City and we drive right through it on the way to my in-laws in KY.

I would rather find one I can sit down with and try out before I commit. Thanks for the help.

The reason I’d suggest getting an A-style is that you would get a better instrument for your money. The F-style is more difficult to build because of the shape so is more expensive. I also have an F because I like the way they look, but my next one will probably be an A.
Have you looked at the Eastman MD505 A style F hole mandolin? Or the Kentucky KM350S and the KM250S? These are probably in your price range.
Here is a good article on purchasing a mandolin: … nner1.html

Jim, Thanks for the info. That was a great article. It helped out alot.

Ben, I figured the mandolin scene up there would be feast or famine. Either way I figured it probably would be expensive.

So after your guys inputs and countless hours of research on the matter, you have me talked into the Eastman. Now… here is the hard part. Finding a left handed model that I like that someone has. I’ve settled on the 515, 505, 315, or 305. I guess the hard work begins now.

Thanks for all the help.


Or the fun work! Try to play as many as you can find.

Thats the problem Jim, I cant find any to play because I’m left handed. I have to order based on reviews and hope for the best.

There you go, Ben’s personal touch, can’t ask for more than that!

Thanks for all the input guys. I was able to find an Eastman MD515L on eBay and luckily i won the auction for what I think was a good price. Here’s the listing

Looking forward to its arrival. Now I have to sell my Fender Strat so my wife will bless this purchase… Wish me luck.

That looks like a nice mandolin, and a great price, congratulations! I look forward to hearing all about it when it arrives.

I have an Eastman 505 - really nice mandolin for the price! Hand carved, all solid woods, radiused ebony fretboard, ebony bridge and cast one-piece tailpiece, plus a nitro finish. AND a fitted case. What’s not to like?!



PS Also tried out a 305, which was also very nice, but figured it was well worth the extra money for better upgrades (better tuners, bridge, fretboard and tailpiece on the 505).

PPS Realise you bought a 515 not a 505 but all the other info about fit and finish still holds true.

Well, how did the drama end ? What did you buy? Randy

Eastman 515. Been real impressed with it so far. The quality is very nice and I don’t feel like its a cheap instrument. Even though it is my first mandolin, I feel like it will last me many years. If someday I get good enough, I’ll probably stick with Eastman and get one of their top models. Always wanted a Gibson, but I’m not sure I’ll ever find one that’s left handed that’s cheaper than a new car.