A great oval soundhole F-style mandolin.
by Teja Gerken
November 30, 2018
Collings Guitars began building mandolins in 1999, and though it started out as a side project the company’s mandolin production has grown to be a significant part of its business. Collings now offers A- and F-style instruments, each available with either f-holes or oval soundholes and with a variety of appointments. We recently had a chance to check out an MF O model, generously provided to us by Gryphon Stringed Instruments in Palo Alto, California.
The MF O, which is modeled on the classic oval-soundhole F-style mandolin, has a carved Adirondack spruce top and flamed maple back and sides. While vintage F-style mandolins typically had a single horizontal brace across the top, the MF O is built with X-bracing, which Collings feels gives the instrument a warmer sound with more sustain. A satin finish and simple appointments help make the MF O one of the more affordable F-style Collings mandolins, while the instrument’s craftsmanship and quality of materials conform to Collings’ extremely high standards.
The MF O we checked out has a big sound with great balance and a lovely bottom end. Peghead Nation’s Irish Mandolin instructor Marla Fibish, who plays the Irish reel “The Cameronian” on the MF O in this video, noted how much more comfortable the V-shaped neck is than the one on her 1922 Gibson A, and she liked the instrument’s even tone and lively response.
Overall, the Collings MF O is a great mandolin for anyone looking for a contemporary take on a classic style.
SPECS: F-style mandolin with oval soundhole. Carved Adirondack spruce top with X-bracing. Solid Eastern flamed maple back and sides. Maple neck. Ebony fingerboard. Adjustable ebony bridge. 13⅞-inch scale. 1³/₁₆-inch nut width. Nickel Gotoh tuning machines with black buttons. Made in USA. $4,725 street. Collingsguitars.com
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