Today we review an A-style mandolin by Hola, which is a traditional A style mandolin in a glossy sunburst finish.
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A-style mandolins are great for those starting out and looking for a beginner instrument, and there are several reasons for this. First, A style are the simpler model of mandolin, as compared to the F style which has scrolls and hand-carved features for more intricate design. The A style is a simple tear- or pear-shaped body, and this makes it easier to construct, therefore cutting down on labour and material costs for an overall more affordable instrument.
A-style mandolins are typically favoured by Celtic and folk musicians, while F styles are used by bluegrass. The Hola A style mandolin has a super smooth maple top, back, sides and neck for a sleek shape and flatback that is comfortable for the user to both hold and play. Maple is a popular choice for mandolin construction as it not only looks beautiful, but is great for intonation. Intonation has to do with the pitch of the instrument.
The bridge, made of rosewood, is adjustable so you can control how high or low you want it to stand. Inside the neck are adjustable truss rods and the wrench needed is included with the purchase of the mandolin. The truss rod defines the steel bar that runs along the neck of the mandolin. Adjusting this will affect the tone that comes from the strings, the farther or closer they are from the fretboard. The fingerboard is made of walnut, another popular wood commonly used in guitars and the like.
The neck has 20 frets with silver nickel, as well as chrome-plated open gear tuners and tailpiece. The tailpiece is carved with filigree for an added touch of beauty, making the playing all the more enjoyable. This is an instrument you can be proud of. The glossy sunburst colours of the body give it a very classical look.
Hola! Music is a manufacturer of musical instruments offering well constructed, high quality and great sounding instruments at affordable prices.
You will find white ABS binding around the body, neck and head, and a black ABS pickguard. ABS is a highly durable plastic material used on a wide range of musical instruments. You can strum as hard as you like and never worry about scratching the body of the mandolin. Pickguards are replaceable so if yours becomes too scratched, it is easy to replace.
An interesting thing to note is that the bridge on all mandolins is not glued or screwed to the body; it is instead held in place by the pressure of the strings. The bridge sits between the two F holes. Should yours become loose and out of place, you should loosen the strings a bit, which you can do by turning the tuning pegs on the neck, gently move the bridge into place, and then tighten the strings again.
The F holes give a sound akin to a boat cutting through the water, while oval holes (on other mandolins) give a sound like water flowing around a rock. The F holes give a ringing sharp sound that is clean, focused, more intense, compared to oval sound holes that would be a softer purr. The F holes tend to carry the sound farther and give more versatility in the sounds you can create with the instrument: you can really catch the effect two strings in unison when strumming. Plus they look extremely classy. Overall the sound nuances are up to the maker of the mandolin and its materials.
This mandolin also features something very special that you don’t always find on acoustic mandolins: a strap pin. There is usually a knob at the roundest part of the body, but never one at the top of the neck for the other side of the strap. The inclusion of a strap pin into this model’s design ensures you don’t have to risk damaging your mandolin by installing one yourself.
This mandolin has a great body onto which you can attach new strings if you go in for a different sound. If you are new to playing mandolin, keep in mind that your fingertips will need to build callouses before you can play comfortably. The first few times you pick up the mandolin, your fingers will sting slightly from pressing them onto the strings. It is strenuous to play chords as you have to press the strings sufficiently (all the way down) to the fretboard to get a good, crisp note. The more you play the stronger your fingertips will become as the skin thickens. This will make you a better player as you will be able to press the strings without any discomfort.