Mandolin is an impressive instrument because of its challenging way of playing it. If not careful, you might be playing the instrument out of tune because it just does it that way. That’s why it’s important to get acquainted with an instrument aside from learning how to play it.
Good thing, mandolin is doable to tune unlike other instruments. As long as you know the basics, how to handle it and if you follow the step by step guide below, then you should be good to go.
A Step by Step Guide to Tune a Mandolin
- Be familiar with the appropriate tuning G-D-A-E
Knowing the basics is very crucial so that you can adjust and tune your mandolin. Make sure that you know which string you’re adjusting and it should follow the sequence G-D-A-E or 4-3-2-1.
- Start working on the E-string
Even if it’s the last one from the sequence, this is where you need to start tuning the mandolin strings. Start fixing the E string first, so the rest of the strings will easily tune in later.
- You’ll need to work on the A-string
After tuning in the E string, move forward with the A-string. Place your left or right index finger onto the A string which would be at its 7th fret. Adjust the string until it sounds the same as E-string when openly played. Make sure it’s harmonizing after a few tests before you move on to the next one.
- Adjust the D-string
Still using the 7th fret, position again either your left or right index finger and have that string sound like the A-string when openly played. If you notice the process, it goes like a sequence of tuning. You tune the next string by harmonizing it from the previous string that you’ve just adjusted.
- Last but not the least is to adjust the G-string
Use the same 7th fret and adjust the G string having the same sound as the D string by positioning your left or right index finger to the string. Don’t forget to play it in an open or unfretted manner.
Then test the strings again if it’s finely tuned like how it was before. Make some adjustments if you think it still sounds different.
Other ways to tune your Mandolin:
- Online Tuning Website – With the internet advancement, there’s nothing you can’t do online. There’s a lot of websites that provide free or charged services that can help you tune your mandolin. A simple keyword search will take you to a ton of choices to choose from. Pick the ones that have the best reviews.
- Tuning Fork – It actually resembles a barbecue tong fork, created like a U-shape made of elastic metal material. It is one of the classic ways to tune in mandolins or even other stringed instruments. It produces an excellent tone of waves that can fix the instrument and back in its original tune.
- Mobile Tuning App – Other than visiting a website online, there are a lot of free apps in the Play Store that offer an effective fix for tuning stringed instruments. It’s also an effective way to precisely tune your mandolin for free.
- Other Instruments that are in tune – Yes, you can take advantage with other instruments that are in tune. This is easier if you’re also familiar with that instrument. It can be a keyboard, guitar or other stringed instruments.
Surely after tuning your instrument, your mandolin will be in perfect pitch for your next musical rehearsal, gig or recital.
David Nilsen is the former editor of Fourth & Sycamore. He is a member of the National Book Critics Circle. You can find more of his writing on his website at davidnilsenwriter.com and follow him on Twitter as @NilsenDavid.