Today when you go to a music store specializing in stringed instruments, you will see a variety mandolins by different instrument makers. They may come in different wood finishes and colors, yet the styles have remained the same for many decades.
The two modern standards include the A Style and the F Style mandolins. These two styles can be credited to Orville Gibson, who as early as 1898, came up with different styles of mandolins from their predecessors. It is quite amazing, actually, that Mr. Gibson had the foresight to create styles for mandolins that are still in demand over 100 years later.
Patent number 598,245, dated February 1898, diagrams the A style mandolin. Today, the A Style mandolin is quite popular and is the most affordable of the two styles. My original mandolin was an A style mandolin. It wasn’t a Gibson but it was a nice mandolin for a beginner to get started on. This mandolin sadly is hanging on my wall after accidentally falling from a shelf that at the time, I felt was a safe place for it to be stored. The lesson learned, a little too late, was to protect your instruments in a hard shell case whenever possible.
Today, I play an F-5L Fern Gibson mandolin. It is a beautiful instrument with a wonderful tone. The early vintage F Style mandolins are highly collectible and quite valuable. You will often see many professional mandolin players performing with the F Style mandolins.
Mandolin players have a common love of their instrument. If you are proud of playing your mandolin, I am certain that others would have an interest in hearing your comments and sharing their own stories of their favorite mandolin. Did you buy a mandolin recently? What style did you choose? Do you dream of one day having one of those vintage mandolins in your collection. Let us know!