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Mandolin Players

Pick mandolin-family instruments as well as guitar? Share tips, tunes, and techniques in the mandolin group.

Members: 152
Latest Activity: Apr 16

Discussion Forum

Why do so many pros play the old Gibson A's? 5 Replies

Started by Janice Hamilton. Last reply by Jim Yates Apr 15.

new to the game 5 Replies

Started by Ron. Last reply by Robert Williamson Apr 15.

New mando player 3 Replies

Started by Jason Derrick. Last reply by Jason Derrick Mar 5, 2012.

Comment Wall


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Comment by Dale Hinckley on June 21, 2009 at 12:33pm
The mandolin is tuned like a violin; mandola corresponds to viola: CGDA (tuned in fifths a fifth lower than violin/mandolin); octave mandolin is an octave lower than mandolin. I think that's why the octave mandolin is pretty popular: all the music is in the right key instead of having to transpose and work out the new fingering for mandola.
Comment by Edward Sparks on June 21, 2009 at 10:10am
Hi Pat,
Woulds love to see pics of your mandola...especailly since I want to build one. I know there is an extra string reach, but I am thinking of using a shorter scale, like Gibson's 24 3/4" scale as opposed to the regualr 25" scale on most acoustic guitars...I can order a pre-cut fingerboard in that scale. I built an 8 string gutiar that looks alot like an octave mando and I tried stringing it like an octave mando and it didn't work. Thanks for the info, and really, I would like to see pics of yours! Edward

Comment by Pat Collins on June 21, 2009 at 9:06am

Yes, the mandola is tuned an octave lower than the mandolin - same strings eadg. What I like about it is that it gives very nice acoustic sound when you play chords. It's not as tinny as the mandolin. The frets are further apart, which means it takes a little while to get used to longer stretches for notes.
My wife gave me my mandola for my 50th birthday and it is hand-made. Best of luck building the mandola!

Best Wishes

Comment by Pat Collins on June 21, 2009 at 9:01am

The Session is a great site. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Bst Wishes
Comment by Edward Sparks on June 21, 2009 at 7:35am
Pat, I am going to build an octave mandolin and I want to know if the mandola is the same insturment? I played a Morgan Monroe octave F style and just fell in love the the sound...but I have 30 instuemtnes and can't justify spending a grand on another...but I can build one that I design for less than that! Anyway, is the mandola tuned an octave lower than the regular mando? Thanks, Edward
Comment by Mary Stoughton on June 21, 2009 at 2:07am
Wendell, awesome chord tool.
Pat thank-you for turning me onto the Session.

I got my Fretboard Roadmap book out for Mandolin. I worked on getting familiar with the D Major Scale (calling each note off as I played it so I can get familiar with the hnotes on the fretboard) and practiced a few old standards and practiced a new one that uses chords...were I can sing and strum...need to work on timing.

Guess I practiced for 20 minutes....then Baebe started calling my name (that's my bike :-) and I just had to ride. Beautiful day, here in the Northwest.
Comment by Pat Collins on June 21, 2009 at 1:37am
I have started up playing mandolin and mandola in the last year. A really good resource is Mandolin Cafe ( It has loads of tab for most of the basic Irish traditional tunes. Another good site for tunes and comment on Irish music is The Session (
Comment by Wendell Smith on June 20, 2009 at 10:55am
Here is a good site for finding chords. I use it all the time.

Another person previously mentioned ""

I hope this helps you!
Comment by Mary Stoughton on June 20, 2009 at 10:17am
I have been playing the mandolin for a couple of years. I know some old standards, but am really wanting to play with a Celtic group here in town. I have their music and found some mp3s online.

I dont know chords that well yet, but figure with practice I can eventually get in with them.

Any encouragement out there for new mandolin player who is not up to speed but wants to join in with the big boys?
Comment by John Bjorkman on June 11, 2009 at 9:20am
I don't exactly qualify as a bonafide mandolin player, but I picked up a cheapie A-style last year. Since it's basically a double-stringed violin, and that was my first instrument (aside from some piano and trumpet lessons in first grade....), I figured, "how hard could it be?"

My problem is moving from single notes to chords and any sort of improvisation. I can read music and play those notes just fine - it's just like playing classical violin - it's learning the new chord patterns and fill style that's going to take some time.

I'm having fun, though!

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