Build Quality:5 out of 5 stars
Hardware:4.9 out of 5 stars
Sound:5 out of 5 stars
Value:4.9 out of 5 stars
Average:5 out of 5 stars

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Gold Tone GM-70 F-Style Mandolin

Pros:

  • Stunning looks
  • Great sound
  • Quality tonewood that ages well

Cons:

  • Pricey for beginners
  • Not as widely available

As someone who has never had any experience with mandolins or any folk instrument name, Gold Tone might not ring a bell. But I am sure the more you get into the “scene” of folk instruments and do more research you will end up seeing the name of the company pretty much everywhere and notice their models in “the best” instrument lists. The same goes for the Gold Tone GM-70 F-Style Mandolin, a stunning, vintage, well-built instrument that is criminally underrated. While this instrument might seem a bit overpriced for beginners trust me when I tell you that if you are serious about this, you might as well get a quality instrument that will outlive all the cheap ones (and maybe even you).

Build

With a gorgeous solid spruce top that promises a lot more than just looks and playable maple neck, the GM-70 proves from the get-go why it is one of the best mandolins in its price range. The maple back and sides add to the overall bark of the instrument while the radiused ebony fingerboard (an interesting and nice choice, by the way) with traditional inlays provides great playability and smoothness of the best instruments on the market. The high gloss tobacco sunburst finish accentuates the stunning wood coloring while also allowing the instrument to breathe and vibrate freely. Overall, if I did not know the price of this instrument I would have marked it up a bit higher. With such a solid, well-thought-out construction and a good selection of tonewood, the GM-70 brings out the best look, sound and durability-wise.

Hardware

With the Gm-70+ Gold-Tone went with something simple, basic but time-tested. None of the hardware you will see on this model is anything beyond believable or astounding but they are all pretty functional and durable. Starting from the top you get Grover tuning machine heads that your 5-year-old kid will think is too easy to tune. Moreover, the instrument stays in tune which cannot be said with a lot of other mandolins. The radiused ebony bridge and bone nut are high quality and prove once again that Gold Tone has high standards no matter whether they are building an instrument for an absolute beginner or the most notable professional. This model is also available for lefties so you won’t have a problem with that.

Gold Tone GM‌ 70 Sound

While the question of how an F-style is different from A-style is posed all the time and as a beginner you might be confused about which one to choose, I can definitely tell you why this F-style model is a beautiful looking but even better sounding instrument. With GDAE tuning and a good setup, this baby can achieve amazing sound, playability and even better tone. With nice resonance and great mid-range, this mandolin is a frontrunner in quality of the sound for intermediate and beginner players. Just as important as the sound, the playability of this instrument is pretty good too. I mean, what is the point of owning a good sounding instrument if there is no enjoyment of picking it up. Thankfully, the GM-70 feels as good as it sounds.

Conclusion

What makes a mandolin a good one? Tonewood, construction, choice of hardware are just a few things that play into making a quality instrument. The expertise of the company and quality control are the next big thing. Fortunately, Gold Tone has impeccable quality control and great pride in their fold instruments. The Gold Tone GM-70 F-Style Mandolin might not be the cheapest mandolin on the block but it is also not just for beginners. This is not just a backup instrument that you will pick up once a month and then forget about it until the next mood hits. You pick this instrument and you get obsessed with the feel, the sound, and the looks. That is why the Gm-70 is one of the best mandolins in its price range – and the best in much higher price ranges too.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Thanks So Much for this highly valuable introduction to the Gold Tone Model FM-70+ Mandolin. I spent a month reading through the various available models, and dad being Left Handed already limited us to Oscar Schmidt, Eastman(seeming to lack Pick Guard but otherwise gorgeous!), and the one we selected after reading this amazing article, the Gold Tone.

    I would also love to add that it appears Gold Tone is the only company adding a Hard Case for the Instrument with-in it’s slightly elevated price(again, remember I am shopping Southpaw Instruments which are already $100+ per model, or even more…. So the Hard Case was a welcomed incentive as well!

    Also, in the Youtube videos I have noted, the Gold Tone FM-70 sounded the best in clarity, midranges, and vocalization volume.

    Furthermore, it’s just outright gorgeous, and I might counter that- “it is beyond belief” that you CAN get this attention to detail, next-level tolerances, and SOLID WOOD(not Laminate or Microcellulose) Maple, Spruce, and Rosewood.

    All that said, they are all beautiful, it just seemed Gold Tone took it even further with front and back Pearl Inlay, the gorgeous chrome hardware vs. brass with competitors(that darkens with time), and the fact that even though the neck inlays are decorative vs. dots, the dots appear on the side for looking down at the instrument’s neck- Brilliant!!! ATTENTION TO DETAIL, AGAIN!!!

    Alas, that all made the choices harder when selecting my father, whom I adore, the Mandolin he will play for the rest of his life…. And I can’t pick them up and try them. That’s why I am in your debt for explaining why the Gold Tone was worth my attention, and the wonderful assurance that gave my father and me.

    Thanks for taking the time to inform us, assure us, and educate us on something I will only be able to do once- and get it right! What a gift!! I am grateful I found your article!

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