2010s Loar LM-110 A-Style Mandolin

I don't show a lot of what comes through just for setup work, but I figured I might as well have my say about this recent Loar model since I just finished a setup on it this morning. For the money (sub-$300), it's a good little box after it's adjusted so it plays right. Out of the box (and apparently after a "setup" by someone else?) it plays like garbage.

It's pretty alarming that one can get a solid-top, carved (apparently) instrument at this price point. It does sound about as good as your average '50s Strad-O-Lin and maybe it's even veering into Gibson A-50 territory of the same years. The truss rod works (hooray!) and while the satin finish is dull, it's far better than if it were "dipped" per the usual import style.

The tops are cut on the thicker side so it does need the 40w-11 strings it's currently wearing to give it the chop and bite you'd expect.

Well done, Loar! I usually don't even give a glance at new mandolins under the $500 range because so many of them are plain terrible.

Keep in mind, though, that at the $300 price point there are oodles of curious, weird, and wonderful old vintage mandolins to be had.