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54 + 1, Giveaway 3, And Mandoblast

September 2nd - 4th 

In store discounts in every department all Labor Day Weekend long. Stop by and enter our raffle, see what's for sale, and celebrate the first year of The Denver Folklore Center's new ownership.

*Consignments excluded *Discounts not stackable with the 10% Swallow Hill member discount

It isn't mandolin related but...

We are having another Martin Backpacker Guitar giveaway! The last raffle got such a great response that we have decided to giveaway another Martin Backpacker Classical Guitar. Come by the store any time Friday the 1st through Monday the 4th to enter to win a Martin Backpacker Classical Guitar. A winner will be chosen at random on Tuesday afternoon. 
See the Martin Backpacker

A brief yet informative history and guide to



The mandolin as we've know it today has been thru many iterations. As a descendent of the lute, mandolin gained prevalence in Italy in the 17th and 18th centuries, and led to the creation of the bowl back style of mandolin in the 19th century. Some would say the the golden age of mandolin came in the early 20th century thanks to the help of Gibson and instrument designer Lloyd Loar whose innovations led to what we now think of as the modern mandolin.

Throughout the coming decades players such as Bill Monroe would use the mandolin to shape the sound of a new style of music called Bluegrass. Bluegrass has since been adopted and transformed by virtuosic mandolin players and some of our most beloved modern musicians such as Chris Thile and Sierra Hull

At the Denver Folklore Center we  offer a large array of mandolins from leading industry manufacturers such as Eastman, Breedlove, Weber, and Collings as well as used a vintage mandolins.


Mandolin Shapes and Styles

Pre- Gibson

Before 1896...

Bowlback Style

Aka Tater Bugs

Mandolins, adapted from the lute, were bowl backed (also known as a tater bug shape) and were commonly used in Italian Folk music. 

Here we have a classic bowlback 'tater bug' mandolin with some very ornate inlays on the rosette, pickguard, and fingerboard. 

Mystery Bowlback
$699.00 with original soft shell case

deep bodied, bright in tone, with a classic Italian mandolin sound

Mandolin Shapes and Styles

Orville Gibson and the Gibson Mandolin Company

1896 - 1918

F Style Oval Hole

The F is for Florentine.

Sometime in the 1890s Orville Gibson, an instrument builder living in Kalamazoo, Michigan, came along and applied the same carved top and back that are used in violins to the mandolin design. The F variation features the distinctive scroll and two point design that has become the foundation for the modern mandolin.

Eastman 514 Mandolin
The F Style Oval Hole was a popular design in the early 1900's (and now!)
These provide a full, mellow sound akin to that of classical and celtic styles of mandolin.

Eastman MD-514
$999.00 with hardshell case

Tonally rich, easy to play, and affordable

A Style Oval Hole

A standard since the 1890s

The A is a simpler teardrop design and often costs less than that of their F Style counterparts. 

Gibson A-3 Mandolin
The A shape Oval Hole mandolin is great for Irish, classical, or old time. The neck feels more fiddle like than that of an modern F-hole mandolin and the mellow sound has much more sustain.

Gibson A-3 White Top Mandolin (1920)
$2,299.00 with hardshell case

Cool vintage vibe from the 1920s. A staff favorite.

Mandolin Shapes and Styles

Lloyd Loar and Post Lloyd Loar

1920 - 1924

F Style F Hole

A Contemporary Classic

F Holes are a design feature taken from the violin family and adapted to the mandolin by GIbson acoustic expert Lloyd Loar. Their size and placement create a more punchy midrange heavy tone that lets the sound of the mandolin jump out and feel more present. 

Collings MF Wide Nut Gloss Top Mandolin
F Shape F Hole mandolins are the gold standard of bluegrass mandolins. They provide the rhythmic chop sound that is so distinctive to the style of music. 

Collings MF Gloss Top Wide Nut
$4,950.00 with hardshell case

Austin, Texas made.

Loud and crisp with extra room for you finger tips!

A Style F Hole

A mandolin for all music

Weber Gallatin A-14F Mandolin
There is a reason so you see so many A style mandolins out there- they're good for everything! They provide the tone and feel you'd expect from a modern mandolin, and are often less expensive than their F Style counterparts.

Weber Gallatin A14-F
with hardshell case

Classic simple style. Faded Leather Finish. Made in Bend, Oregon. 

K Style F Hole

Retro Modern

The K Style is a bit different than the F and A Style mandolins we are used to seeing. Essentially it is Breedlove's version of old Harmony and Kay mandolin designs of yesteryear. 

Breedlove KF Mandolin
The K style often provides the same tonal chop that F style mandolins are known for but available at a lower price. The Crossover series by Breedlove are designed for the gutiarist trying to pickup the mandolin.

Breedlove Crossover KF NT
$699.00 with gig bag

Wide neck. Attractive natural finish.

Mandolin Shapes and Styles

Other Mandolin Family

There is a whole family of fun.

The mandolin has has whole family of larger lower voiced instruments. The family includes the mandola, octave mandolin, and the bouzouki.

Trinity College Octave Mandolin
These instrument are lower voiced with a larger body and longer scale. The Trinity College has a flat top and a flat back. These are great for celtic music and similar to what mandolin star Sierra Hull plays.

Trinity College TM-325 Octave Mandolin
$899.00 with hardshell case
Weber Octar (2015)
The Weber Octar is lower voiced than the mandolin, with a longer scale, and a guitar body The solid spruce archtop and solid mahogany arch back and sides make for a gigantic sound. This one was made with love in Bend, Oregon and signed by Bruce Weber himself. These have become popular due to singer songwriter Sarah Jarosz.

Weber Gallatin Octar (2015)
$3,250.00 with hardshell case