Mandolin Tuning

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by HunsBassist, May 12, 2005.

  1. HunsBassist


    Oct 3, 2004
    Orlando, FL
    Hey, I'm thinking about buying a mandolin, I've played them before and music stores and I think I have a knack for it. But there's just one probably. I don't know what the strings are tuned too. I know what the strings are in relation with each other. I just don't know what the strings are tuned too. Could somebody please help me? Also I don't know if there are various tunings of mandolins that I should know about.
    I didn't know if I should post this in Off-Topic or Miscellaneous. If it's in the wrong one, please move it.
  2. Juneau


    Jul 15, 2004
    Dallas, TX.
    Same as bass usually, E A D G and often coursed with octaves I believe.
  3. smperry

    smperry Moderator Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 3, 2003
    Bay Area, CA
    Endorsing Artist: Martin Keith Guitars
    In my experience, mandolins are in fifths, and generally:
    (from bottom) G D A E
    with each one in unison.

  4. HunsBassist


    Oct 3, 2004
    Orlando, FL
    That's what I thought it was, but they always say it's an "A" style Mandolin, which leads me to believe that's not right. ok, thank you, I've been trying to figure this out for months!
  5. Juneau


    Jul 15, 2004
    Dallas, TX.
  6. pklima


    May 2, 2003
    Kraków, Polska
    Yeah, I can confirm that standard tuning is GDAE, same as a violin only with two strings per course. Tuned in fifths from bottom to top, the lowest note is the same as the 12th fret of the G string on a bass. "A style" is a body shape. And Mandolincafe is a great site.
  7. Juneau


    Jul 15, 2004
    Dallas, TX.
    My mistake earlier, I forgot to mention, same as bass, but backwards hehe. (5ths from G, instead of 4ths from E)
  8. DaftCat


    Jul 26, 2004
    Medicine Hat
    {Mando player here}

    Yes it is tuned the same as a violin. Things to consider:

    1. I suggest getting a mando with a pickup built-in. Mandolins are usually passive, btw.
    2. Carry extra strings(obvious) but do --NOT-- continue to play a mando if a string breaks during a tune. The tension on those things goes higher once a string breaks and you could break 2-3 more by the time a tune is finished.
    4. If you take a mando to an open jam, be prepared to stay up with others(people rarely show up with them is why).

    Since you are a bass player you won't feel "too" much pain once you get into the mandolin. I've seen people wince after playing them for an hour or so.

    Mandolin....easy to learn, difficult to master. Glad to see you have an interest. :)

    Hope this helps,
  9. P. Aaron

    P. Aaron Supporting Member

    Mandolins are cool...John Paul Jones play(s)ed one.