Like the Banjo, the Mandolin is an important instrument in American Folk and Bluegrass music. But it is also used by some Rock and Folk Punk bands. An ancient instrument that descended from the lute, the Mandolin is part of many different cultural traditions around the world and historically comes in a variety of sizes and shapes. The modern, flat-back Mandolin with steel strings was introduced by Gibson in the early 1900s. As of late, there's been a renewed interest in the Mandolin. No wonder! It has a really nice sound!