Mandolin tuning

I play (to a sort of limited extent) guitar and bass and my sister tried to learn mandolin. Out of curiousity I am thinking of seeing if I could buy one of her mandolins. Looking at fretboards online. ITSM that the notes of the four strings are the reverse of those on a bass, or the first four strings of a guitar. So rather than EADG, a mandolin has GDAE.

Am I correct or am I misunderstanding something?


You are correct. GDAE from lowest to highest. A mando is tuned in fifths, rather than fourths like a guitar or bass.

And, also, the exact same tuning as a violin: GDAE.

Well that’s bloody interesting, and I am becoming addicted to stringed instruments (and this will probably piss off my wife, who is not yet aware of my interest in a mandolin).

Oh by the way, that’s eight strings.

I’ve seen both but, in the eight string version, there are two strings of each of GDAE, correct? Or am I wrong?

Right, four courses of two strings each, tuned in unison. Some electric mandolins have only single courses but I don’t think I’ve seen an acoustic one like that.

Yes, each of the strings is doubled, like a 12-string guitar, but all the pairs are in unison.

And so it begins. :sunglasses:

There is just something so magical about them.

Not the way I play it :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

Mrs P came into the relationship knowing about my attraction to bagpipes.

Just warn your wife that if not the mandolin, then it could be another magical instrument: the 26-string baroque lute!

But don’t forget this, Steve Vai’s “Hydra”:

That … does not look magical nor tempting to me.

I saw someone play a theorbo once.

Nice! Was it good?

He was part of a quartet; can’t remember if he had any lead or solo moments to stand out. His playing was great, although their song choices were a little sedate, as I recall.

The master in my mind of the mandolin was Peter Ostroushko who was able to play all genres, from classical to Irish to his own compositions. Listening to him will give you all kinds of inspiration.