Mid-Missouri M0, blond. $400.
Budget instrument from this well-known no-frills maker of years past. Built in Columbia, Missouri, the M0 features a solid straight-grained spruce top; mahogany body and bolt-on neck; and a rosewood fretboard. The original 1-piece bridge has been replaced with a 2-piece adjustable. The mandolin is just back from a pro setup and plays and sounds just fine. It is certainly nothing fancy, but is a U.S.-built mandolin made entirely of solid woods, will get the job done, and is an ideal beginner mandolin. Comes in a gig bag, or upgrade to a hardshell case.
     It was played a lot; there is pick wear on the upper treble bout, but there's plenty of life in the frets. Mid-Missouri has been reborn as Big Muddy Mandolins. The closest match to this instrument in the Big Muddy lineup is the MW-0, which costs $695. Skip the imports and go right to the heart of the matter with this instrument. It's good for Celtic or folk music, or for a travel/"beater" mandolin when you don't feel like taking your Gilchrist to the beach. See more photos, or for more information. $400 plus shipping.