how to tune a mandolin

How To Tune A Mandolin – With And Without Tuner

If you’re a beginner musician or guitarist, learning how to tune a mandolin can be a daunting task. But don’t worry, with a little practice; you’ll be able to get your instrument in perfect tune in no time. This blog post will teach you how to tune a mandolin using the proper techniques and tips. We’ll also provide a step-by-step guide on how to tune a mandolin. So whether you’re a beginner looking to get started on your mandolin journey, or an experienced musician looking for a new challenge, this blog post is for you.

5 Steps You Need To Tune Your Mandolin

Step 1.

How To Tune A Mandolin

Two strings, each comprising a G, D, A, and E, make up the mandolin. The first thing to do if your mandolin is out of tune is to grab a tuner. Clip-on tuners cost between $10 and $15, which is not much.

Once you have one, you can tune your mandolin with it. You can tune your strings up if they are too flat so that the tuner will read the right tone. It’s a good idea to tune up to the pitch while tuning and then back down if necessary. You’ll get more proficient and swifter at mandolin tuning with time.

Step 2.

How To Tune A Mandolin

Align a tuning peg with one of the strings on the peghead and pluck it gently to test its pitch. You will probably find that this tuning peg is too high or too low to match your string’s pitch, so adjust it as necessary using a small wrench (or guitar string winder) if needed. Be sure not to over-tune your instrument; going much higher than standard A-440hz is common and can cause major problems.

Step 3.

How To Tune A Mandolin

Reattach the string and tuner, ensuring that the tuner is seated properly in the hole on the headstock.

Step 4.

How To Tune A Mandolin

Tune each string one-eighth of a step higher than your tuning peg’s pitch (or lower if necessary). For instance, if your tuning peg is set at A-440 Hz, tune strings 1-4 to D-465 Hz, 5-8 to C# 467.5 Hz, etcetera.

Step 5.

How To Tune A Mandolin

Play your instrument for a while to ensure all of the strings are sounding correct; chances are good that you’ll need to fine-tune the tuning a few times before it’s perfect. Congratulations. You’ve successfully tuned your mandolin.

How To Tune A Mandolin Without A Tuner?

Step 1:

If you don’t have a tuner, the first step is to find the tuning fork that came with your instrument. Usually, this will be located on the peghead or in the mandolin case (near where you store your strings when not using them). If not, look online for images of mandolins from different eras and locate an approximate tuning rod. These should all be about 1/8″ in diameter.

Step 2:

Once you’ve located the tuning fork, place it against one string and pluck it gently to hear its pitch. Tune each string by sounding it against the tuning fork, spacing the strings evenly around the fretboard. Be sure to check your string’s pitch after tuning each one; you may need to adjust the tuning peg accordingly.

Step 3:

Reattach the string and tuner, ensuring that they’re both seated properly and plucking each string once more to confirm that its pitch has been accurately set. Congratulations! – you’ve successfully tuned your mandolin without a tuner.

Tuning A Mandolin With An Electronic Tuner:

How to tune a mandolin

These tuners have a meter display and operate similarly. When the string needs to be tightened or “tuned up,” the meter will swing to the left; when it is sharp and needs to be loosened, it will swing to the right. How to tune a mandolin, according to the Prime Sound website.

The majority of current tuners use the chromatic scale and are chromatic. As long as the pitch is not too far out, they will pick up the correct pitch of the string you are trying to tune, and you can proceed from there.

Tuning With An Online Tuner App

how to tune a mandolin

Some tuners can be accessed online or through apps. Some of these chromatic tuners will have a meter so you can see the tuning progress as you go and also offer tuning assistance. These are great when you don’t have a mandolin in hand but need to tune it up quickly.

An online mandolin tuner will provide a reference tone, indicating what each string should sound like. Following that, you can tune your instrument using this.

If you don’t have a very good ear for pitch, then this might be a struggle still. It certainly takes a little bit of getting used to.

Drop Tuning

Drop tuning is a type of tuning that allows the strings of a mandolin body to be played in lower positions than they would ordinarily be played. This can help to make the instrument easier to play, as well as improve the tone and sound of the mandolin.

To drop-tune, a mandolin player first needs to adjust the string height on the mandolin so that the lowest string is at the 12th fret. Next, lower each fret string until it is in position for playing. Be sure to use the correct finger position on the mandolin strings – index finger on the low E string, middle finger on D, and ring finger on G. Finally, retune the strings so they are in their normal positions.

Alternate Tuning

There is an alternate tuning that’s used for mandolin, which was developed by luthiers of the 19th century. This tuning uses a different fingerboard layout and pitches the string sound at a lower frequency. While this standard tuning provides some acoustic benefits (such as less string noise), it’s not commonly used today because of its difficulty to play and maintain.

A-D-A-E, G-D-G-B, G-D-A-D, and G-D-GAG are the most popular alternate tunings from low to high. These are still paired tunings with paired fresh strings tuned to the same note.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What are the four strings on A mandolin?

A: The four strings on an A mandolin are the E-G-D-A.

Q: Is it hard to tune A mandolin?

A: The mandolin has four pairs of strings (two E Strings, two A Strings, two D Strings, and two G Strings), which make it twice as difficult to tune. It is tuned the same as a violin or fiddle. Mandolin tuning is also available in various approaches, each with its pros and cons.

Learn how to Tune a Banjo.


I hope this guide has given you the necessary instructions on tuning a mandolin. With the steps outlined in this article, you can ensure that your instrument is in perfect condition and ready to play. If you have any questions or concerns about tuning your instrument, be sure to consult a professional. Thanks for reading!

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