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The mandola, while fairly uncommon in other types of music, is a mainstay in Celtic bands as a lower-voiced alternative to the mandolin. Tuned to C, G, D, A, the mandola arguably has a more vibrant range than its higher-pitched cousin, and is more suited for open-chord accompaniments than to playing the melody, giving it a little bit of a different role in a stringband. This mandola, from Gold Tone Music Group, is an excellent, affordable model for mandolinists or tenor banjo players who want to give this highly underappreciated instrument a whirl. With a solid spruce top and the Celtic-style triangular soundhole, it has a big, loud sound with plenty of sustain and a surprisingly rich low end. Included in the price is a Gold Tone gig bag.